Meow Mee has authentic Sarawak kolo mee and laksa in Geylang
As a Sarawakian, I’m always on the lookout for authentic Sarawak kolo mee in Singapore. When I first moved here nearly a decade ago, there weren’t as many kolo mee stalls. Now, there’s a fair number of stalls to choose from—219 Sarawak Kolo Mee, Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa and more. Many of them also offer Sarawak laksa, which is one of my favourite childhood dishes. I recently got to visit Meow Mee, which is helmed by Kuching-born hawkers Eric and Chun Hao.
FYI, Meow Mee is named after Kuching’s moniker as the city of cats!
Food at Meow Mee
On our visit, we had the Sarawak Kolo Mee Original ($5.50) and Red Kolo Mee ($5.50).
The Sarawak Kolo Original, with its classic white noodles, was a delightful start to our meal. The springy noodles, despite looking a bit dry at first, proved to be quite moist and came topped with fried shallots and spring onions. I also liked the addition of shallot oil and white vinegar, which added extra savouriness to the dish.
While the minced pork was well-seasoned with soybean paste and soy sauce, the char siew was unfortunately too tough for my liking.
I was born in Miri, Sarawak, where white kolo mee was more common than the red version. The ones back home were also typically sweeter in flavour. I preferred Meow Mee’s red Kolo Mee was to the original one, as it came with a better balance of sweet and savoury notes. In fact, I actually enjoyed Meow Mee’s rendition a lot more than the ones I had growing up!
For the uninitiated, red kolo mee comprises the same noodles as white kolo mee, but with the addition of char siew drippings, imparting its distinct red colour.
Meow Mee also offers unique kolo mee variations such as Chicken Cutlet Kolo Mee ($7) and Mala Kolo Mee ($6.50). As a kolo mee purist, I would never be caught trying something that strays from the authentic version of the dish, but I dug into the mala kolo mee with an open mind.
Unfortunately, the mala chilli oil was too spicy for me, and I couldn’t enjoy the dish without taking big gulps of water. My colleague, who fared better with spicy food, enjoyed this dish more than I did. It’s a shame I couldn’t enjoy the mala kolo mee to its fullest, though, as it smelled super fragrant—exactly like an aromatic bowl of mala xiang guo.
I was also very excited to try their Sarawak Laksa, priced at $7 for a bowl with bee hoon noodles, and $8 for kolo mee. We opted for the latter.
Those used to Singapore laksa may not be accustomed to the Sarawak version, which comes with a distinct assam flavour. It’s also not as creamy due to the absence of coconut milk—an ingredient that characterises the local rendition. Our huge bowl featured fairly large prawns that tasted quite fresh, along with shredded chicken and beansprouts for added crunch.
Savoury and fragrant, with a hint of tanginess from the squeeze of fresh calamansi served on the side, this bowl of Sarawak laksa immediately brought me back to my childhood. I also helped myself to a dollop of hae bee hiam chilli paste, which added just the right amount of heat to the dish.
Meow Mee has recently introduced two new dishes to their menu: Kolo White Wanton Mee ($5) and Seafood Soup ($5.50). The white wonton mee featured white kolo noodles topped with cai xin, char siew, and three small pieces of fried wanton. I would’ve preferred the fried wonton to be bigger in size, as they were quite delicious and hence would’ve added more flavour to the otherwise bland dish.
I preferred the Seafood Soup, as it was comforting and made for a good palate cleanser. The clear soup, which was mildly sweet, came with crabstick rolls, prawns, seaweed, fishballs, and meatballs. You can also order this soup with the kolo mee as a set for $7.50.
We also got a Platter ($12) to share, which included various fried items such as cheese tofu, handmade fried wonton, and handmade hei zho, AKA Teowchew crispy prawn rolls. While the items were simple, each piece was fried to perfection and had a nice crunch.
As a kid, I always enjoyed my kolo mee with a glass of three-layered tea, AKA Teh C Peng Special. It’s made using red tea, evaporated milk, and gula apong, a type of palm sugar from the nipa palm tree that’s native to Sarawak. Similar to gula melaka, gula apong is golden brown in colour, but richer and stronger in flavour than the former. For delivery orders, Meow Mee offers them in cans, which come in Caramel ($2.20) and Pandan ($2.20) flavours. If you’re dining in, you can order the beverage—available with coffee or tea—from the drinks stall next to Meow Mee for $2.30 each.
Ambience at Meow Mee
Meow Mee’s recent closure of their Bukit Panjang outlet makes this branch their only location. The stall is situated at Kim San Leng Coffee Shop in Geylang East, a nine-minute walk from Aljunied MRT Station. You can easily spot Meow Mee by its animated signboard bearing the Chinese phrase “猫城古早味,” which translates to “traditional flavours of the city of cats.”
The coffeeshop itself is spacious and well-ventilated, providing ample seating for groups of different sizes. It’s a popular spot among elderly patrons and those living around the area. If you’re dining with little ones, there’s also a playground right next to the coffeeshop that you can visit after your meal.
Despite a few misses, Meow Mee is a decent place to enjoy authentic Sarawakian cuisine in the East. Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa still remains my favourite kolo mee spot in Singapore, but I’ll definitely consider dropping by Meow Mee due to its convenient location near my office, especially for their delicious Sarawak laksa and red kolo mee!
Address: Block 134 Geylang East Avenue 1, #01-229, Kim San Leng, Singapore 380134
Opening hours: Daily 8:30am to 8pm
Tel: 8877 7034
Meow Mee is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Raelynn Ng.
This was a media tasting at Meow Mee.