Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘street food’

I already wrote about Kopi Classic and its famous Hokkien Mee some time ago. See: https://diehardowl.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/kedai-kopi-classic-hokkien-mee/  

I don’t pretend to have tried all the Georgetown Hokkien Mee stalls but this one remains my favourite. For those of you who haven’t visited Penang before and are going to look for a Café with a sunscreen like the pic just below: don’t, because last year the kopitiam invested in a brand new flaming red sunscreen. 

The former sunscreen at kedai kopi Classic
The former sunscreen at kedai kopi Classic

Have a look at  the video below. It shows the new outside look of the kopi Classic.

Now what is so special about a dish serving a bowl of noodles in a broth? As far as I’m concerned the most important part is the making of the broth itself. It’s a shrimpy and spicy soup and I guess it’s all about balancing the ingredients with a not too sweet and real spicy shrimp/pork broth.

Penang being a food paradise has of course many signature dishes but for me personally, a big bowl of kopi Classic’s Hokkien Mee is the best way to start the day. So, for the newbies, what is it all about?

Mr Ooi's hokkien mee

Mr Ooi's hokkien mee

Hokkien Mee is a mixture of yellow noodles, rice noodles and bean sprouts  served in a prawn and pork broth. What makes it special in my experience and view is the balance of the strong, spicy and flavourful shrimp/pork taste. It’s usually served with sliced and fried shrimps, thin slices of lean pork and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots. If you come very early to kopi Classic you also can get great fried lard crisps adding an extra kick to your noodles dish.

The bowl comes also with a spoonful of added chilli for people who really like it hot. YES, I do!

Noodles for HM

Noodles for HM

Some stalls in Penang add too much extra pork meat while cooking the broth;  in my view that makes the soup way to sweet. Some also add sliced hard-boiled egg (what I like) but no extra egg in the Classic’s bowl though.

The Classics' Mrs & Mr Ooi crew in full operational mode

The Classics' Mrs & Mr Ooi crew in full operational mode

The place usually starts business at 8 in the morning. Regulars however are already sitting round the tables as early as 07:30! Just bring along a book or a newspaper. Or you also can admire the team getting prepared to fire up the gas-cookers, unloading bags of noodles to start a new day for us to enjoy delicious Hokkien Mee. 

There is another Hokkien Mee stall in the “One Corner café” coffee shop (Jalan Bawasah).First we tried to visit the place on tuesday, kopi Classic’s closing day. No good as it was also their closing day. Then we tried again 2 day later ( it was not yet 11:oo am), they already were closing down: sold out!  We’ll try again on a next visit as it also has a reputation for being one of the best in town. As a matter of fact,  I later read somewhere that Kedai Kopi Classic Hokkien Mee’s Mrs Ooi is the elder sister of Mr Lim Bok Huat, owner of the stall at One Corner Café.  So, I guess they share the same recipe and in fact are having 2 of the most popular HM businesses in Georgetown. Both stalls closing Tuesdays,… to avoid losing customers to one another? A good alternative in my opinion is the Hokkien Mee stall in Swee Kong café, across the police station in Pulau Tikus. They open very early and close already round 09:00 in the morning.

Hokkien Mee (Swee Kong)

Just a little warning: when asking for Hokkien mee in Singapore or KL, don’t expect the same dish  as in Penang. In Singapore they use both the egg noodles and rice noodles, stir fried in lard and served dry without soup. It comes with shrimps and sliced lean pork, sambal (chilli) and lime. In KL they use thick egg noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce. Ingredients include cabbage, squid, fish cake, pork and crispy fried cubes of pork fat.

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 »

This was going to be a challenge: I only had very few information how to find a certain place I read about. It was way out of town, a private house in a fishing village on the West Coast, near to Balik Pulau. Anyway, we’ll be trying to find it. Moreover we wanted to drive via Batu Feringgi, the Telok Bahang dam and reservoir all the way to Balik Pulau. A very scenic road through the hills of Penang. At times it remembered me of some driving I used to do in Europe’s Dolomites or Ardennes. When we finally arrived in Balik Pulau, we started asking around, got lost a few times but finally we had the impression we were nearing our destination driving along Jalan Bharu (P16). For the exact location check the map at the end of this post. Along this kampung road look out for a small bridge over a also small river; before the bridge on the right you can see the stall, it’s a small makeshift place. It’s a Malay food stall promoting its own Assam Laksa. I think the place is called Sungai Pinang kampung. We decided to have a look and have some food, in case we wouldn’t find our initial target.

IMG_1470

A friendly Malay lady told us the Laksa on offer was a self service operation thingy. So we started to fill a bowl with those thick rice noodles, chopped some onions and the other laksa ingredients like bunga kantan flower ( torch ginger in English), cucumber, lemongrass, chilli, mint…

bunga_kantan_torch_ginger_bud

The fish stock is made with mackerel (ikan kembung) and its most important feature is the assam ( tamarind) which gives the soup its typical sour taste.

IMG_1474

The good thing about that self service was that you could pick more or less of the ingredients and noodles according to your preferences .

IMG_1468

After all the ingredients were added the lady did pour the hot Laksa broth in our bowls and then it was up to us to judge the dish.IMG_1471

 It was tasty and although the broth was rather light we did enjoy it very much. After we finished the lady put a box with homemade cookies on our table, inviting us to have some. IMG_1472

Price: 1 Ringgit/person all in! Incredibly cheap.

IMG_1469After paying we innocently asked the shop owner if she knew about some Chinese community in the neighbourhood that was reputed for its Hokkien Mee. (We didn’t mention Chinese Penang Assam Laksa, as we thought it might not please her.)  And yes, she knew about that place, only 1 or 2 km down the same road along the river on the outskirts of a local Chinese fishing village. So, we were going to have more food and more precisely the food we initially came for! I’ll write about that experience in a next post.

Location:

Read Full Post »

Ah Leng

Location :  Kafe Khoon Hiang, Jalan Dato Keramat/Corner with Jalan Dunlop, Penang. Opening hours are from 8am till 2pm and their closing day is Thursday.  It’s situated in the same  neighbourhood as  Padang Brown food court and Kedai kopi Classic. A highly recommended area for food lovers.

IMG_1333

IMG_1332

Anyway,  after some 12+ visits in 5 years, [trying  to make that now a 4 times visit per year] I’ve made up my mind about the Penang Char Koay Teow. It’s basically a great dish but at some places it’s way overrated. So, I stopped asking for the special or extra add-on stuff, as I personally feel that the basic dish is the right one. No need for extra big shrimps or prawns, neither for (too sweet) mantis prawns. Just K.I.S.S. =  keep it stupid simple.

I’ve had the CKT at various places and personally I prefer it with regular chicks… Oops, I mean chicken eggs, instead of duck eggs.  Anyone out there tried with goose egg? (Grin).

Thus, when we made our way to Ah Leng, I already knew I was going for the regular dish and boy, THE WORKS! It was simply a great treat!

IMG_1334 Tastewise?  The fast frying-and-tossing-noodles technique of the wokmeister plus a professional handling of the heat, resulted in a most delicious Char Koay Teow dish.  Malaysia, truly Asia? CKT: truly Penang!

IMG_1335

Another stall in the same Kafe was selling Hokkien Mee. As I’m a big fan of that dish, I could not resist and ordered a bowl.

IMG_1336

IMG_1337It looked very nice but after tasting, it was a bit of a disappointment. Not spicy, not sour, the soup tasted sweet.  A pity for sure, but then again, who am I to judge? Lots of people, looking like regulars, came and ordered the Hokkien Mee. So, lets agree to disagree and accept that personal taste is very different from person to person.

IMG_1338

Read Full Post »

 

For those with a sweet tooth: Muar Chee

IMG_0901

Sin Hup Aun Kafe is situated in Pulau Tikus at the corner of Jalan Pasar and Jalan Moulmein. On the street in front of the shop there always are a few stalls selling fruits and sweets like those colourful rice snacks and other candy or Muar Chee.

IMG_1330

Muar Chee is made from glutinuous rice paste, steamed. And then, it is cut into small cubes and mixed with grounded, roasted peanuts and sugar. One can choose whether to add some fried onions on top too.

IMG_1457

Have a look how the Muar Chee is made:

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 »

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 »