FOOD EXPEDITIONS: The History Behind Of Mie Ayam, Indonesia’s Traditional Noodles.

If you are Indonesian, you must be familiar with mie ayam. It’s one of the most popular traditional Indonesian noodles that can be easily found throughout the country. Unlike most noodles, mie ayam stands out as an exquisitely delicious traditional dish from Indonesia, featuring chicken as its key ingredient, just as the name implies.

The secret lies in the sauce, which is topped with succulent slices of gravy-braised chicken. In Indonesia, mie ayam is readily available, ranging from affordable street food to more luxurious versions.

When it comes to mie ayam, many people assume that it originated in Indonesia. However, this delectable dish is actually of Chinese heritage, later modified to suit Indonesian tastes. This chicken noodle dish hails from South China, specifically the Fujian and Guangdong regions, where it is known as bakmi.

As many Chinese immigrants settled in Indonesia, this dish began to gain popularity there. In its country of origin, this type of noodle dish typically uses pork as a topping, as indicated by its name, which translates to “pork noodles”.

However, due to the predominance of Islamic kingdoms in Indonesia at the time, pork was not a widely accepted ingredient. As a result, chicken was substituted for pork and the dish was prepared with soy sauce instead.

Even though this type of noodle originally hails from China, mie ayam holds a special connection with one district in Central Java, Wonogiri. Indeed, you can readily find this delicious dish in the area, served from carts scattered along the streets. Many people even claim that chicken noodles have become a daily snack for the local community.

Over the years, mie ayam has gained immense popularity in Indonesia, a fact evidenced by its widespread availability across the nation. There are a few reasons for this dish’s fame in Indonesia.

Many attribute the popularity of mie ayam to the unique fusion of two different cultures. And, of course, the primary reason why this noodle dish is so beloved is due to its taste. With its chewy noodles served with a chicken topping and aromatic soup, this dish offers a novel culinary experience.

The second reason for its popularity is its affordable price. Mie ayam is known for being budget-friendly. In some regions of Indonesia, you can even enjoy a bowl of delicious mie ayam for just $1.

Last but not least, mie ayam’s widespread accessibility contributes to its appeal. You can find it everywhere in Indonesia, from affordable street food carts to high-end restaurants. Street vendors, known as “abang-abang mie ayam”, are particularly common. As for the taste, never underestimate it; it always exceeds expectations.

When it comes to the finest traditional Indonesian noodle dish, Mie ayam always tops the list. As the name suggests, mie ayam consists of delicious noodles topped with chicken and served with a uniquely aromatic soup. Now, let’s explore the secret behind the delightful mie ayam.

First, you need to prepare egg noodles and boil them until they are cooked. For the delicious chicken topping of mie ayam, you’ll need a chicken breast fillet, garlic, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, regular soy sauce, salt, and a touch of sugar. Combine all these ingredients, then set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

Mie ayam is also known for its aromatic soup. The key to this soup is onion oil. To create the onion oil, you’ll need canola oil, garlic, and chicken skin.

Mie ayam, this simple yet divine noodle dish, has more than just a delightful taste to offer. It is a cultural phenomenon that embodies the rich history and unique culinary evolution of Indonesia, drawing from Chinese traditions and seamlessly integrating into Indonesian culture. Its universal appeal lies not just in its exquisite taste, but also in its affordability and widespread accessibility. 

From the bustling streets of Wonogiri to high-end restaurants, the presence of mie ayam is a testament to its deep-seated connection with the people of Indonesia. Moreover, the easy preparation of mie ayam, from its chewy noodles and succulent chicken topping to its aromatic soup, further elevates its charm. Therefore, whether you are a culinary enthusiast or a casual food lover, the story of mie ayam and its delightful taste experience are bound to captivate your palate and your heart.

WORDS: Dian Rahmat.

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