I spent the last weekend working up in Penang. *groan*
*My only regret is not having enough space in my stomach for some nasi kandar. But I hear there’s an awesome one in Lebuh Chulia called Nasi Kandar Beratur (literally translated as Nasi Kandar with a Queue). Can’t wait to return and try this. Tell me what you think if you have tried it before.
Low Eng Hoo coffeeshop
Perhaps more on the pricey side, but this goggle man’s Char Kway Teow (fried flat noodles) is full of wok hei (breath of wok/fire power – an essential quality in Chinese cooking) and tasted excellent. For that price you also get 3 large pink and springy prawns, a couple slices of lap cheong (Chinese waxed sausage) and a handful of tiny cockles stirred into the noodles and served on a plate laid with a piece of banana leave. A few steps away in Kafe Heng Huat is where the previous goggle wearing CKT seller has set up her own place. Food’s still good, but you just have to bear with her pricing and her I’m-all-that attitude.
Add: Lorong Selamat, Georgetown, Penang
Business Hours: Mornings til late afternoons
Sungai Pinang Foodcourt
The concept of a Bali-styled foodcourt complete with huts isn’t exactly revolutionary, but do make your way here for some unique treats which is not often synonymous with this island. Try the silky smooth Grilled Aubergine with Garlic, Grilled Salt & Pepper long beans, Belacan Fried Chicken, Salted Fish Fried Rice and a mee jawa like Prawn Noodles (not to be confused with Penang Hokkien Mee)
Add: Corner of Jalan Sungai Pinang, Penang
Business Hours: Lunch and Dinner til late.
Anba Coconut Trading Pte. Ltd
Cool yourself down and quench your thirst the natural way. Enjoy the refreshing and sweet fresh coconut water in Abu Siti Lane. This row of pre-war shophouses is THE place to go to for coconuts and they have been trading here for the last 20-over years. You get to choose from regular coconut to the sweeter and more fragrant pandan coconuts (frankly I have no idea how the sweet aroma of screwpine leaves ended up in these coconuts but it’s oh-so-good!) and even coconut jelly. What I love most about this place is scrapping the translucent young coconut meat with a piece of its shell.
Add: Lorong Abu Siti, close to corner of Burma Road
Business hours: 10:00am to 7:00pm. Closed on Sundays.
Seng Lee Cafe
This has definitely got to be my favourite breakfast place in all of Penang. I come here for the authentic taste of its Mee Mamak (Indian-Muslim styled fried yellow noodles). Watching the uncle toss the noodles in a gigantic cauldron is a show by itself, and beautifully coating them with egg, tofu, mixed vegetables, tomato sauce and the magic ingredient – a spicy cuttlefish sambal. Damn syiok! This mee mamak stall has been operating for generations and is believed to be the birth place of the dish. Across the lane, one can also find a good grilled roti bengali (to be eaten with sof boiled eggs) and a smokey turmeric-infused pork satay vendor that serves them with a special sweet potato sauce.
Add: Corner of Jalan Burma and Lorong Bangkok, Pulau Tikus, Penang
Business Hours: 8:00am – 630pm. Closed on Mondays.
Pulau Tikus Market
Next to Seng Lee, this is another breakfast favourite of my mine. This is where I will get my Asian-styled pancakes fix. First is the traditional Indian Apom that’s baked in a claypot over charcoal at Swee Kong Coffeeshop at the corner of Moulmein Rd and Burma Rd. Be enthralled by the skills of the pancake maker and his heat-proof fingers as he whip them up. The apoms are crispy and flaky on the side while the middle is thicker and pillowy. Then go across towards a mobile stall parked outside Kwai Lock Coffeehouse a crispy Apam Balik. This version is like a thin and crispy crepe filled with your choice of fillings. I always stick to the original roasted peanut, sugar and corn combination.
Further down the street is a push cart selling Ban Chang Kueh located in front of Queensway. Here is where you’ll find a thicker and more chewy version pancake that’s slow-cooked in a hot iron flatpan, once again over charcoal fire. Once ready, you’ll find its generous amount of crushed peanuts and brown sugar filling oozing out with every bite. All of these are best eaten when hot. So dig in as you move along the street.
Also, if you are curious as to how Putu Mayam are made, there is a stall here that do just that. Even my local Penang friend was fascinated by it.
Add: Along Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus, Penang
Business Hour: Most stalls operate from 7:00 – 9:30am.
Kafe Sea Pearl Lagoon
A well-hidden and modest looking seafood restaurant located behind the Tai Pak Koong temple and beside the sea overlooking the north channel. Its modest cooking methods have also resulted in the popular Salt-baked Prawns and Baked Crabs that is both smokey and bursting with the flavours of the sea. Do order the excellent Fried Spring Chicken, Or Chien (Oyster Omelette) and the best fried spring roll I’ve ever had. Thanks to gorgeous CK Lam for revealing this place to us and for her wonderful company.
Add: 338 Mukim 18, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Business hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
GPS Coordinates : N05 2748.8 E100 1828.9
The entire island may be bombarded with the tagline “Penang Famous Hokkien Mee“, but this is one place where that claim is not an exaggeration. Zero in on Ah Soon Kor Har Mee stall that’s located at the front of the shop for a bowl of noodles drenched in a stock that is thick and rich with prawn flavours. For RM1 extra you’ll get roast pork added in, or you can go straight for a premium bowl which is topped with roast pork and fried mantis prawns for only RM5! That’s a steal by Penang’s standards. Another thing worth mentioning is the Fried Pancake stall, where fluffy traditional western pancakes bits are “fried” with an egg, raisins, almonds and loads of butter. What an indulgent way to sweeten your meal here.