Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hawker Centres’ Category

Chee cheong fun (*see note below) is widely on offer by Chinese hawkers in Penang. Originally it came from Hong Kong and Guan Dong province in China. That makes it a Cantonese thin (well, sort of?) steamed rice roll. It’s sheets of rice noodles, made from a mixture of glutinous rice flour and water, spread open on a table and wrapped together. This intestine (chee cheong) noodle (fun) is very popular, also in Hawker Paradise Penang.

They are filled with a diversity of ingredients. Pork of course but also beef, shrimps,fish, chicken, bean sprouts or other veggies. When served pour soy sauce over before eating. In Malaysia it is served mostly with a black sweet sauce, a kind of hoisin sauce. (Goooooogle is my friend!). In Penang, I’ve been told it is usually served with a black and sweet shrimp paste sauce or a chilli sauce or a mix of both. And there I was thinking the Penang chee cheong fun was served with just an ordinary soy sauce!

Still, not really my personal favourite as I find it in general a too much slippery noodle with not enough filling. Not well balanced according to my taste.  Then again, as the frenchies say: “Les gouts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!” And right they are.And then here is another way, also made in Penang:

(*note) Not referring to Sgt Chee Chong FFFUNNN from the Singaporean army as shown in a rather comical series on the National Geographic Channel about “every Singaporean son’s military service”.

Read Full Post »

Back from having been  away for some time lah!

Flag of the State of Penang, Malaysia.

 Since our latest visit we have counted the months, weeks and days before finally touching down again in Penang some 10 days ago. And boy …  were we in need! Desperate for Food with Capital F. So, as from the moment of arrival till the eve before flying out one week later, I gained about 5-6 kg. Na und? So what?  Anyway, that still is only about 70+ kg for a guy over 6 feet. No danger for turning into a sumo or average USA-er there yet [grin].

Of course we went to many of our favourite places in George Town during the week. I’m personally getting good at comparing quality at different stalls for their recipes of CKT, Penang Hokkien Mee, Loh Bak, fried rice, satay and more. In fact, I/we even start being  picky! On average we visited and sampled food from up to 5/6 different shops every day and almost always it was well worth it. Regarding Hokkien Mee, Kedai kopi Classic and Swee Kong remain among “da best” but we tried many more and all were ok,  from average good to real good, to very good.  Yet… we also started noticing [already during our last trip] that we better avoid the newer, so-called modern Hawker centres, equipped with LCD screens and loud music. As it seems the food quality at those places is going down hill while prices are climbing and the offered decoration is of a definite and certain lack of taste for those older than 13. (My opinion only). Now sadly that is nothing new for me but I was hoping Penang would have been able to avoid that kind of “modernisation”. I explain:

On our last visit to Belgium I invited my wife to one of the local stalls selling Belgian fries. Once upon a time in Old Belgium they all were selling their stuff with an ok to very good/excellent quality. Those hawkers prepared the potatoes at home (peeling, cutting) as well as they did prepare themselves the extras like curry chicken [local Belgian style], beef carbonades and more. Nowadays however the youngsters that take over the business, buy the food from industrial manufacturers. Gosh, even the fries now, they buy them pre-cut, if not [the horrour] frozen.Go figure. In fact it’s simple, they don’t find pleasure in preparing. They are becoming a lazy bunch. The only thing they want is selling and getting your/my money. Well, we just vote with our feet and our wallet as we do no longer buy from that lazy bunch. To find a decent “fritkot” (translation: fry-stall) one, sadly, has to look around for quite a while. I hate to say it but having been there and seen that, I’m afraid that Penang’s GOOD hawkers also are a disappearing breed. Let’s hope I’m wrong but…

I’ll be posting about our latest experiences in the coming days, as for the moment I’m in “kicking-off mode”, being back home in HK. Not because of jet lag but more because of Makanan lag, sort of.

In the mean time: here is a nice read from another blogger from Penang… (living in the UK… the poor thing) for those who are new to culinary Penang Hawker Food.

http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/what-is-malaysian-food/

Read Full Post »

Wa i chiak Hokkien Mee!

According to Wikipedia there are 3 kinds of Hokkien Mee. My favourite is the Penang version.

Hokkien hae mee
(prawn noodles)
Hokkien char mee
(fried noodles)
Refers to either the Penang prawn noodle or Singapore prawn noodle Refers to the Kuala Lumpur Hokkien noodle
Soup based (Penang) and stir fried (Singapore) Stir fried
Egg noodles and rice noodles Fat yellow noodles
No dark soya sauce used Dark soya sauce is used
Prawn is the main ingredient with slices of chicken or pork, squid and fish cake.
Kang Kong (water spinach) is common in the Penang version
Slices of chicken or pork, squid and cabbage

◊◊◊◊◊◊

Together with Penang Assam Laksa and Char Koay Teow, Penang Hokkien Mee is one of the signature dishes of the state and more precisely of the island [Pulau] of Penang. The soup is a ‘sourish’ and ‘shrimpy’ tasting seafood broth using fresh prawns, dried shrimps and pork meat. It’s served with egg and rice noodles, small prawns, sometimes with thin slices of pork and a half hard boiled egg. Served with a spoon of chilli paste for an extra kick aiming at your taste buds. I’ve eaten Penang Hokkien Mee at different kopitiam and hawker stalls and here I’m trying to get a few of them in some kind of  ranking with my personal rating.

Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock is one of the bigger coffee shops in Pulau Tikus. It is located at the corner of Jalan Burma and Solok Moulmein.

HokkienMeeRating: 13/20.

Good balance between the sourish broth and noodles, little prawns. A decent but average plate. Good spicy chilli. It’s a big coffee shop and very busy in the morning.

Kedai Kopi Swee Kong is situated just opposite Kwai Lock, also on the junction of Jalan Burma with Moulmein. Opens very early in the morning till about 9:30. Reopens afterwards for lunch.

HokkienMeeRating: 15/20

Comes without the egg but it’s very tasty. If I recall correctly there are also some small clams mixed in the broth. Worth a try but do come early,  you might have to wait a while as the place can be very crowded.

Kafe Khoon Hiang – Jalan Dato Keramat at the corner with Jalan Dunlop.

HokkienMeeRating: 9/20

When I ordered the dish was looking very promising. Alas, at the first tasting it turned out to be a disappointment. The secret of a good typical prawn broth was definitely not mastered by this cook. Way to sweet and even adding lots of chilli paste was not able to improve the taste. A pity.

Bee Hooi Coffee Garden– on Kimberly road is a big cafe. We were strolling through the neighbourhood and decided to have some refreshments at the outside terrace. Then my eyes made contact with a Hokkien Mee stall in full schwung. Of course,I had to order a bowl> Mind you, only for analysing and rating purposes [grin].

IMG_1316  Rating: 15/20

Very good balanced broth with many prawns and added hard boiled egg.

Kedai Kopi Classic –  Address: 126, Jln Perak, opposite Padang Brown food court. It has the reputation of being one of the best Hokkien Mee stalls on the island and yes, the stall lives up to that reputation!

HokkienMeeRating: 18/20. Simply superb.

Sungai Samagagah-Kuala Jalan Bahru. Fishing village near Balik Pulau at the Kampung Jalan Baru. Private houses that open their kitchen for guests only during the weekends. This one is famous for both Hokkien Mee and Penang Assam Laksa. The Hokkien Mee was very good and served in a rich broth with plenty of sliced prawns and pork meat. Yummy.

HokkienMee

Rating: 17/20. Excellent, full of rich flavours. Quality ingredients.

My apologies for only reviewing a small number of outlets. I’m sure there are many more excellent Hokkien Mee sellers. It would take a life time job to review them all. When returning and testing more places I’ll update this post.

Read Full Post »

Padang Brown, also known as Padang Dato Keramat in George Town is bordered by Dato Kramat Road, Perak Road, Anson Road and Johore Road.

IMG_1441

The chinese section opens in the afternoon while the Malay section runs in the evening. At least that was our impression.

IMG_1292

Malay section closed in the afternoon

Malay section closed in the afternoon

The land on which Padang Brown is located was donated by David Brown, one of the wealthiest landowner in Penang at the time.
Brown Memorial, erected in Esquire D. Brown’s memory, once stood in the middle of Padang Brown. It was subsequently shifted to the corner, near the junction of Jalan Perak and Jalan Anson, and stands today in the midst of the Padang Brown Food court.
The food court itself has a Chinese section next to Dato Kramat road and a mostly Malay section that borders the Padang. The day of our arrival we checked it out in the evening and it seems that only the Malay section was in operation while the Chinese part already was closed down. I think they open only from noon till late afternoon. But there are also Chinese stall on the other side of the field, along Johore road. They open in the evening as well. We had some great Satays, prepared the Malay way:

img_1236bis2

Ordering beef & chicken satay from Satay Station No 33.

IMG_1238

IMG_1235bis
Cooking the Satay skewers to perfection over a charcoal fire.
IMG_1239

Padang Brown food court – Malay section Beef and chicken satay, accompagnied by the traditional cucumber, onion and a well balanced satay sauce. On another occasion we went back in the afternoon to some more food at the Chinese section of the food court. BTW, they have a parking lot that you can enter from Dato Kramat Road,just opposite the “Kedai Kopi Classic”, famous for its Hokkien Mee. This time the Malay section was closed while the Chinese one was starting to get in full swing. We came here to check out a specific stall. According to local foodies, one of the best popiah tastings on the whole Island defends its reputation here. We arrived round 01pm but the stallwas still not in operation. After asking around we were told they usually show up round 2 pm!  Ah…ain’t it sweet to be a famous hawker celebrity? You pick your own working hours as you know patrons will always be lining up to buy your stuff.While strolling around,  a Malaysian Pancake stall looked like selling very nice banana pancakes. I hesitated but still, as I am not really into sweet deserts etc,  I decided not to try it out. Maybe on a next visit.Yummy pancakes for those with a sweet tooth
Malaysian Pancake stall

Malaysian Pancake stall

While waiting for the popiah, my wife decided on getting some cendol. Looked great but again to sweet for my taste buds.IMG_1436

IMG_1437

 

Then, finally the local Prince of Popiah made his entree on the Royal Tricycle with pots filled with all his goodies.

IMG_1442

IMG_1301So, now let’s see what all the fuss is about. BTW, when you are ordering, do address the old lady because SHE says SHE is in charge of the orders. She was not the most nice person to address (attitude problem that might be related to be a [rich] local celebrity?) but hey, we didn’t come for her but for HIS popiah!

Indeed it is the best popiah I had till now. During our stay we went back several times for more and more. Have a look at the preparation on site, and enjoy.

Read Full Post »

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 016

Malaysia, truly Asia…

Last year in January we quickly had to use up  free Cathay air miles as their expiry date was nearing. We decided to spend a week in Sabah on Borneo and booked a  little hotel, The Hamin Lodge.  Ratings on the travel websites were better than average and while the place was not High End, it was clean and had a nice bathroom. Also important:  it came really inexpensive, especially if comparing with those resorts à la Rasa Sayiang and Co. It might seem like comparing apples and oranges but all depends what you expect from your holidays. In this case no need for a lazy stay at a beach resort alongside  the pool/bar/spa, nibbling on not so good resort-like finger food etc. We wanted a bit more action to get an idea about the environment, the local [sea]food and get on some Rain Forrest trail to visit our brethren, the [red] men of the woods… aka bro and sis Orang Utan.  

As for the Lodge, the only negative experience was the mattress on the first night: hard like rock. After remarks made the morning after they immediately changed ours to a softer version. Terima Kassih!

Hamin Lodge website: www.haminlodge.com

Another positive coincidence was that the hotel was next to one of the most popular food courts of KK. – Seri Selera @ Sedco Complex. The $$ saved on Hotel prices were used to make our tummies purr with joy. Most evenings we ended up here enjoying the seafood, lobsters, steamed garoupa, satay, veggies, cockels and all you can dream of  in coastal Malaysian seafood places.

Have a look at their website here: http://www.seriselera.com/public/aboutus.asp

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 008

Staff in the morning cleaning the veggies and setting up the tables.

 Kota Kinabalu 01-08 002

Early evening. Food court getting ready for welcoming  the customers.

 Kota Kinabalu 01-08 017b

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 019

Rock lobster RIP. ‘t was an excellent beast.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 018

Garoupa steamed to perfection.

 

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 020

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 021

Making your choice from the many fish tanks is serious business.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 022

 

Videos with thanks to the bloggers from www.malaysia.com 

Even if the place is a bit touristic, top food quality is also present.

 The entertainment provided did include dancers performing the Magunatip, Sabah’s most famous Murut bamboo dance.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 036

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 037

Read Full Post »

Being both customer and judge doesn’t make us foodies as if we were having a PhD in that inexact science called Epicurean Gourmetology. Admit it, we just are not objective when it comes to food. Our upbringing, our cultural inheritance, our traditions and also our instinctive aversion of some exotic dishes do play tricks on us.

Hawker centres however have a huge advantage with their many stalls to allow you always to find that yummy dish among the large choice on offer. There are so many hawker centres in Penang that it would be impossible to try them all.

We all have our preferences because of that one famous stall in that one particular hawker centre that serves that one famous dish that we consider our favourite.

Goodall

Goodall Food Court

Goodall Food Court is quite large, situated at the corner of Jalan Scott and Jalan Gottlieb. Very convenient for us as it’s very close to our house in Penang. My favourite cockles cooked in a hot and spicy sauce are found here.

 cockels

Also the satay stall offers very high quality, although I do agree that it’s maybe a very easy dish to cook.

 Satay

My wife also likes the Poh Piah sold here

 Poh Piah

while her mom says the Durian seller has great quality and is also very inexpensive.

Durian

(Regarding the stall that sells chicken wings and bisshop’s noses: not as good as the one on Gurney drive’s Song River Food court.)

Here is the one on Gurney drive:

Song River food court

Read Full Post »