As usual, today I am on a morning prowl for some good Halal food. I was here in the afternoon, around 4pm. Most stalls were already packed and closed. I sniffed , spied and tiptoed in and around the stalls that were still open.
I stood in front of this stall with its flashy green name banner read: Al Hambra satay.
I looked inside and see 2 gentleman grilling skewers and endless skewers of satay.
I looked at the marinated satay. They looked so GOOD! (Rule Number 1 for Putri-Visual must always be good! Food must always looked good, either raw or cooked before it can enticed me to taste them)
As I scrutinise their menu on the stall, I noticed the name- Mee Rebus Tetel.
Ok,what is Mee Rebus?
“The dish is made of yellow egg noodles, which are also used in Hokkien mee, with a spicy slightly sweet curry-like gravy. The gravy is made from potatoes, curry powder, water, salted soybeans, dried shrimps, and peanuts. The dish is garnished with a hard boiled egg, calamansi limes, spring onions, Chinese celery, green chillies, fried firm tofu (tau kwa), fried shallots and bean sprouts. Some eateries serve it with beef, though rarely found in hawker centres, or add dark soy sauce to the noodles when served. The dish also goes well with satay…”
And the word that litted up my eyes is “TETEL”.
Tetel (pronouced as -”tay-tail”)is a Malay word for the beefy parts of the cow in which is considered spare parts. This includes the fats, the “muscle”ly tendons, tongue, tripe, cheeks and whatever the stall owner felt like throwing…or nicely put…give for free…)
I never grew up liking Mee Rebus.Because to me, it is not “Carnivorous” enough.Normally, people do not add meat in it.And I’m a meat lover.
A kilogram of “tetel” in the market normally cost about $5. And to tenderise it will take some time…few hours.
Anyway, TETEL in different markets meant different things.
In Tekka market (Little India), it meant tough tendons..but in Geylang (in some stalls), it meant spare parts of the cow. So I normally get my “marketing” for TETEL done at my favourite Tekka market stall- Joe’s Butcher.
Anyway, today we are not gonna be talking about cooking the tendons.
But do you know? Originally, Mee Rebus used “tetelan” (plural form)beefy tendon meat for that meaty, robust flavours in the gravy or “Udang Gerago” (tiny fresh prawns often used in Belacan making). Old timers will know. Ask your grandmas and grandpas…
My mother is one of those “oldy goody” cook who always cook Mee Rebus with these “tetel” only after she had moved away from her birth country.Suddenly she craved for childhood food like Mee Rebus and all that and do a myriad versions of various kampung food when she is back here. I am often pampered when she is back here from the Netherlands. For sure, I will be round and plumpy! *grins.
Ok, so the word “Tetel” ignite some curiousity in me. Because not many Mee Rebus recipe still uses that.. Because we are from multi-racial community. The Chinese LOVES our Mee Rebus and to respect their restrictions of beef in their diet (because some Buddhist do not eat beef)…some cooks remove it completely from the ingredients while some unique Mee Rebus substituted beef with mutton.
And its name- Alhambra Satay enticed me further to taste their food.
Alhambra is a Satay brand name that is so popular in the olden days in the Satay Club (now no longer exists). I heard it, then moved to Esplanade and then I remembered seeing the glorious brand at the flyer, and now its here? (OR has it always been here, hiding its old past glorys?)
Pardon my long-windedness. I have frozen my blogging ability ever since I left for my solo world tour. So its being thawed slowly but gradually.
And so I ordered the Mee Rebus special with “tetel” (inclusive of 4 pieces of random satay-not specified) which costs about $4.50.
Due to weekends, the stall was exceptionally busy and the young girl,who served us, seems too busy to answer any of my queries. Oh well, I shall “disturb” her some other day. I do have many questions to ask about the existence of this unique stall with a mega brand name.
The Mee Rebus was prepared soon enough and was handed over to me. I sniffed at it… all the way to my seat. Luckily, my mom, the experienced Cook and Mee Rebus enthusiast was there to lend her taste buds too.
There was something unique about its gravy smell. I thought it came from the 4 pieces of skewered satay meat and satay sauce but it came directly from the Mee Rebus gravy.
It smelled SO GOOD! The odour of Charcoal grilled Mee Rebus gravy…Where can you find that, in Singapore?? I noticed, there was also a quartered raw Tomato piece and large chunks of tahu (soya bean tofu)cut in big pieces and a whole calamansi lime.
I tasted it immediately. Woohoo!It is semi-thick with peanutty taste and flavours.Best part is…It’s not sweet! Me and mom do not fancy very sweet Mee Rebus gravy (which was often served to us by 80% of the Mee Rebus stalls in Singapore.YIKES!).
I’m not saying that sweetness is not good but there must be a limit. Sugary taste can musk the original taste. I do not fancy that. I love Mee Rebus for its most authentic flavours and this is one of them!!
And the tetel is not from spare parts but just tendons which has been cooked long enough till it tenderise to perfection, yet has some chewy texture which I like. (So no worries, grandpa!).
Overall I find that the servings are quite generous for one person (or have my tummy shrunk?).The satays are flavourful but I preferred it to be crispy (garing) at the sides. They have given me the beef and chicken satays. But I can “waved” that unsatisfactory satay-taste aside for now because I am not here to judge their satay, today. That itself will be another story…on another day.
So if you are craving for some unique authentic Mee Rebus (with meaty beefy flavours), do come on down and enjoy theirs!
Selamat Makan! (Bon Appetit!)
Al Hambra Satay
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre,
1 Geylang Serai, #02-145, Paya Lebar, 402001
Opening Hours:10am-7pm daily.
Disclaimer: Food featured are subject to my personal taste. I hold no responsibility for your body’s gastronomical adventure.All food shown are either from Halal-certified or Muslim owned establishments(with no liquour/alcoholic beverages unless otherwise stated).Do ensure that the Halal-certificates are up-to-date,renewed (not expired) and displayed promptly before ordering/consuming. If in doubt,always ask the staff with a smile.Remember: Use ur senses especially your heart.But mainly, ask your iman (faith).Our body,our responsibility, check its HALAL authenticity.