Over the last couple of weeks, the question of what my idea of joy is, was much debated. Finally, I’ll have to say hitting the road and feasting over fabulous food would be my reply. Road trips are always a great experience. No matter what the reason is or where the destination may be or how long it takes or just how unexpectedly crazy it might get, road trips are always about having fun. And FUN indeed was the road trip taken last weekend to Penang (yes, again!).
Getting a go with the new BMW 1-series 120i was of cause the main reason to get out of town. Plus, I was obviously super free being ‘jobless’ and all. Far from my initial impression of this being just a basic BMW, the Baby Beamer did measure up to its brand’s promises – although not a exactly a 3 or a 5, it’s still a great driving experience. The new and improved 1-series is definitely a HOT car – perfect for th0se young and restless attention seekers. You got that right, the car is definitely all about the attention! It’s a statement maker and is guaranteed to make heads turn no matter where you end up with the car. The things that really makes me go OOOH were definitely the interior fittings, the sporty aesthetics, the M-Sport Kits and of cause the Start-Stop button which gave Victor an ‘orgasm’ upon revving up the car! Other than its look-at-me-now features, the handling and performance of the car was not too bad considering we got to “test” it out on the highway and in the rain. Here’s a reminder to all future 1-Series owners…always, always leave the DTC on!
The car took us down to Penang, where we met up with Ivan for a late night supper. Ivan, who have just moved to the island recently, took us to a food spot down along Jalan Ayer Itam (Dark Water Street). Ironically, the stalls were located at the junction of Jalan Ayer Puteh (White Water Street). Of cause there were the regular hawker fair, we are in Penang after all, but the thing that really stood out at this place was the Putu Piring. Shaped rather differently from the rather flat-pyramid ones that we’re used to, the art of making these pipping hot and steaming Sri Lankan delicacies were carefully mastered by this push-cart vendor. Served hot together with desiccated coconut and palm sugar, these rice cakes are probably the best in this northern state.
The next morning called for another round of lip-smacking Penang breakfast down at Bangkok Lane. And of cause, we could not stop ourselves from pigging out on the original Mee Mamak along with other orders of Mee Rebus, Hokkien Mee, Curry Mee, Roti Bengali, and a variety of dishes from the Dhalca Curry store. And all these only for 3 people! Our excuse was that Ivan have yet to tried these lovely dishes before.
Still on Bangkok Lane, on our way back to our car, we walked pass a street vendor with a long line of customers waiting in a queue for what has to be a “lucky” opportunity to savour on this Uncle’s to die for Pork Satay. You see, what we found out from the people in queue was that this Uncle only sells his satays on days when he feels like it. And it’s not always that he sets up his cart at the same spot. Apparently, he travels around Bangkok Lane’s area. You just gotta look out for him. This must be our lucky day then. Each skewer is a perfect mix of lean meat and fats, it does look a lot like bacon, was marinated in turmeric and grilled to perfection. These satay is then dipped into the accompanying spicy and sweet blend of peanut and tapioca sauce. Kinda like Pineapple sauce on roast pigs, they just go perfectly together. Going at RM 4.00 per 10 skewers, this uncle has his customers eating out of his hands.
Another lucky strike came in the form of a pan cake. We were amongst the last customers from this legendary stall down at Jalan Pasar which sells the most authentic Ban Chien Kueh around. The two variations of normal white sugar or palm sugar was distinctively different in taste and also aroma. Super yummylicious! Feeling lucky, Ken went ahead to the 4-D shop to bet on some numbers based on our BMW’s car plate. Only to find out that some bird poo-ed on our fabulous 1-series when we got back to the car. They say bird sh*t’s good luck right?
The final leg of our food stop was dinner down at the hawker stalls along Kimberly Street. Another KL-exiled friend, Terrence, decided to join in on our glutton fest. A great way to start off the meal was the braised 5-spice chicken which accompanied the Kuay Teow T’ng was amongst the smoothest meat we’ve tried. Ivan had to order seconds and thirds. Another yummylicious dish here would be the Char Kuay Teow which its store-owner fries with love. Frying one plate at a time, the outcome was a wonderful plate of flat rice noodle, with the freshes cockle and prawns hidden in cloud-like fluffy half-cooked eggs (similar to the ones found in Cantonese Fried Noodles).
Another great gatronomical treasure here would be the Chee Cheong Fun store. This uncle really knows how to make the perfect blend of sweet sauce, prawn paste and chili sauce to make the simply the BEST Chee Cheong Fun dish. So good that we ordered seconds and super food critic, Ken, had to buy some back to KL!
Only 3 words to sum up this joyful weekend, as the Penangnites would say, “SI BEH SHIOK!” So, what’s your idea of joy?