Breakfast chronicles – Kolo Mee

Breakfast is the most important meal of my day, because it is the meal with which i experiment with new recipes. Yes, i take pleasure in doing something different every single day. This morning’s breakfast is Kolo Mee, the ubiquitous noodle originating from Kuching, Sarawak.

All along, i thought Kolo is translated from the Chinese phrase 干捞, since Kolo Mee is often referred to as 沙捞越干捞面, but i learned that Kolo is actually called 哥罗 in Chinese (Mandarin), which simply sounds like Kolo. Anyway, i will leave it as that and not try to find out which came first, Kolo or 哥罗.

I brought back instant Kolo Mee from my Kuching trip, and it has been a regular breakfast option. The preparation is fairly easy. I do a scaled down version of Kenneth Goh’s recipe – mine would be with just fried shallots (i just use onions), minced pork and fried egg, skipping the Char Siew and vegetables. Fried shallots is the defining feature of Kolo Mee. Also, without minced pork, it would be quite dull, and the addition of a fried egg (which is never actually served in the real Kolo Mee) is simply to make it a more satisfying meal. For authenticity, i use Soy sauce very sparingly and add salt instead. Black rice vinegar plays an important role of making the noodles tangy and appetizing, but my preference is still not to have too much of it (for reference, the vinegar used in the typical Bak Chor Mee is too much for me). It probably takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and only 2 minutes to gulp down.

Fried onions - scoop some the oil into the noodles
Fried onions – scoop some the oil into the noodles

If you happen to have a chance to visit Sarawak, you should definitely bring back some Kolo Mee. There are two types – one that includes the sauce and shallot-infused oil and the other without. The one that comes with the sauce is a lot more like the real thing. It typically expires within 3 months from purchase and is white in colour, while the other type lasts at least one year before expiring and has a yellowish tinge. I suppose lye water was added to the latter and it acts as a preservative.

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