Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa Review: Legit Kolo Mee In CBD | Eatbook.sg
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Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa Review: Legit Sambal Kolo Mee And More At Downtown MRT Station

28th June 2023

Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa has sambal kolo mee at Downtown


I was born and bred in Sarawak for the first 18 years of my life, and every Sunday after church, my parents and I would head down to a kopitiam for a bowl of Sarawak laksa. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the dish then, but ever since moving to Singapore, I find myself craving this comforting bowl of noodle soup more often than I’d like to admit.

As the only Sarawakien on the Eatbook team, I consider myself the most qualified person to review this East Malaysian delicacy. I’ve patronised most of the Sarawak laksa stalls in Singapore, and after trying their food, I can confidently say that none have impressed me as much as Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa, located at Downtown MRT Station.

Food at Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa

As my colleague and I visited the stall on a late weekday afternoon, we were the only customers there at the time. To order, simply head up to one of their self-ordering machines to choose your food and make payment.

Fun fact: while the eatery is not halal-certified, all their food does not contain pork or lard.


We went for the Laksa Special + Drink set, which cost us $10.40. You can choose your preferred noodles for the dish, so we went for bee hoon as it’s the type of noodles I usually get with my laksa back home. The set also gives you one bottle of Haus Brew––you can pick the flavour you want from the fridge, such as Earl Grey, Almond Milk, or Rock Melon. We recommend going for something that cools the tongue, because trust me, you’ll need it later.

Our hearty bowl of laksa came packed with fresh prawns, shredded chicken, strips of egg omelette, and bean sprouts. It also came with sambal belacan and lime on the side.


As we were taking pictures of the food, we noticed that the bee hoon soaked up the broth really quickly. Before digging in, we requested an extra ladle of laksa broth from the staff, and they happily complied by adding two more scoops.


After taking pictures, I took a sip of the laksa broth and immediately let out a satisfied sigh. The broth was cooked to perfection: heady, fragrant, slightly spicy, and with a subtle hint of tanginess. I could also taste the aromatic herbs and spices used, such as tamarind, which was distinct without being overpowering.

My colleague who’s never tried Sarawak laksa commented that the dish tasted like mee siam, but “more spicy”. Both of us agreed that the spice level was just right—it offered a piquant kick down the throat without us needing to reach for a cup of water in between.


I also enjoyed the slippery bee hoon noodles and slurped up every last bit of it. While the laksa only came with four prawns, they were relatively big in size and had a lovely bounce. The prawns also tasted fresh, and I appreciate that they were deveined so there was none of that gritty, fishy taste.

When it comes to Sarawak laksa, I believe that consuming it without sambal belacan is one of the biggest culinary sins you can commit. Some people prefer taking a dollop of sambal and spreading it onto the bee hoon or prawns, but for me, I usually scoop up a generous amount and dump it into the broth before mixing it all together. Ian-Tau’s sambal belacan tasted exactly like the ones I had at home––not too spicy, with a distinct, salty flavour from the shrimp paste.

Besides laksa, the stall also sells kolo mee, which is another one of my favourite foods. Kolo mee is typically cooked using pork lard, but because Ian-Tau aims to be halal-friendly, the eatery uses chicken oil and shallots instead.

The kolo mee here comes in three flavours: Original, Spicy Sambal, and Sweet Red Char Sio Sauce. You can also choose from three different noodle types: Q mee, mee pok, and bee hoon.


We opted for the Kolomee Chicken Char Sio ($6.90) with Q mee and Sweet Red Char Sio Sauce. The noodles came in a bright orange hue, and was topped with slices of chicken char siew, minced chicken, vegetables, and green onions. It also came with a bowl of chicken soup on the side.

One of my favourite kolo mee variations is the one from Sibu, a small town in Sarawak. This rendition sports the same bright orange colour and is known for having a sweeter taste, courtesy of the char siew sauce. The noodles here tasted exactly the same as the ones I had growing up, if not better.


A gripe I typically have with kolo mee is that the char siew tends to be on the dry side. However, the chaw siew here was incredibly tender. Even the minced chicken was soft and moist, and had a texture that was similar to meatballs.


As for the Q mee, the noodles were satisfyingly springy and al dente. I usually prefer Q mee for my kolo mee over thicker noodles such as mee pok, as I like the noodles to be thoroughly coated in the orange sauce. Despite being left out for a while, the noodles were not dry at all, and soaked up the savoury-sweet sauce well.


We also tried the Kolomee Fishball ($6.90), featuring mee pok topped with the same minced chicken and vegetables, along with four springy fish balls. Underneath it all is an uber spicy sambal—my colleague and I were fanning our tongues throughout the rest of our meal because of how spicy it was

The sambal was too spicy for me and I felt that it overpowered the taste of the other ingredients, but my colleague who has a better spice tolerance was able to enjoy this dish to its fullest. Personally, I enjoyed the savoury minced chicken, which came in thick chunks, as it helped to balance out the spiciness of the dish just a little bit.


Despite struggling to finish this kolo mee towards the end, my colleague and I agreed that the mee pok was definitely the star of the dish. The noodles were silky smooth, with just the right amount of bounce. I definitely would have finished this dish if it weren’t so spicy.

3 Legit Kolo Mee Stalls In Singapore To Satisfy Your Sarawakian Food Cravings

Ambience at Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa


Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa is tucked away in an obscure corner at Downtown MRT Station, making it easy to miss if you aren’t actively searching for it. The stall was quite empty while we were there, with the occasional one or two guests who would come in to have a quick meal. I personally enjoyed the quiet location as it allowed me to enjoy my meal in peace, but at the same time, I believe that Ian-Tau definitely deserves more customers due to their superb food!

Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa’s Downtown outlet has only been open for less than two months, so there’s still time to get the word out there. Both their stores at VivoCity and Toa Payoh have since closed down, which means that fans of Sarawak laksa and kolo mee will have to head to the CBD to enjoy these yummy bowls of goodness.

The verdict

I’m glad I discovered Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa because I no longer have to wait until I’m back in Malaysia to savour my favourite local delicacies. I’m also impressed that their food tasted super authentic despite not using any pork or lard. I definitely got a taste of home, and despite the stall being quite out of the way, I can see myself heading down just to satisfy my noodle cravings.

For more good food along the Downtown Line, check out our Geylang Bahru food guide. For more Malaysian eats, read our Ge Bi Lao Wang Bak Kut Teh review for Malaysian-style claypot bak kut teh in Aljunied.

Address: 15 Central Boulevard, #B1-04, Downtown MRT Station, Singapore 018969
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm
Tel: 9388 5596
Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa is not a halal-certified eatery but uses no pork or lard.

Ge Bi Lao Wang Bak Kut Teh Review: Malaysian-Style Claypot BKT In Aljunied

Photos taken by Tan Jia Hui.
This was an independent review by Eatbook.sg

Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa Review: Legit Sambal Kolo Mee And More At Downtown MRT Station
  • 8.5/10
    Ian-Tau Sarawak Laksa Review: Legit Sambal Kolo Mee And More At Downtown MRT Station - 8.5/10


– Sarawak laksa and kolo mee tasted legit
– Food portions are generous
– Food is relatively affordable

– Location is obscure
– Spicy sambal kolo mee was too spicy

Recommended dishes: Laksa Special + Drink ($10.40) and Kolomee Chicken Char Sio ($6.90)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm

Address: 15 Central Boulevard, #B1-04, Downtown MRT Station, Singapore 018969

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