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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Penang Food Trails- List of Penang Delicacies that I Tried

Penang Island, the birthplace of my dad which is quite often being visited since my aunts are still residing there. Apart from that, a short stay in Penang during each school holidays, year-end in 2009 as well as occasional trips to Penang with friends/ loved ones have contributed the gastronomic journeys which are remarkable and worth to be listed for reference. When any visitor comes to Penang, the first thing that he/she will wonder is why there are so many eateries serving different type of cultural cuisines -from Nasi Kandar, Jawa Mee, Loh Mee, Hokkien noodles and etc. It's proud to say that Penang is another great place to hunt for delectable delicacies due to its wealth of street foods apart from Malacca.

So, have headache in choosing where and what to eat in food-obsessed Penang Island? From char koay teow, loh mee, asam laksa, Penang Hokkien mee (prawn noodles), lam mee till rojak and etc.,there're so many foods to be tasted and tried in Penang. Given the amount of variety existing in Penang’s hawker scene, there is definitely room for many other unlisted savory that more preferable by others. Here's my gastronomic adventures in Penang Island, covering most of the street foods I had tried so far. Alternatively, you could check out some of the blog posts listed in Epicurean Journey of Penang for details. 

1. Asam Laksa

Penang asam laksa had been ranked seventh in a list of the “world’s 50 most delicious foods”, published by CNN before. Thick broth cooked with poached mackerels, tamarind, chilies, shrimp paste, lemongrass, pineapple slices, onions and cucumbers, carrying a balanced medley of sweet, sour and spiciness. The thick rice vermicelli remained bouncy and addictive enough to be eaten together with the spicy-sourish broth. I would say it's one of the must-have dish whenever come to Penang. Few popular asam laksa stalls included Asam Laksa Stall at Pasar Air Itam ( on the way to Kek Lok Si) and Joo Hooi Cafe@ Lebuh Keng Kwee (Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol).


Joo Hooi Cafe (愉园餐室)
Address:475, Jalan Penang

Penang Asam Laksa @ Joo Hooi Cafe

Asam Laksa Stall at Pasar Air Itam 

2. Penang Hokkien Mee/ Prawn Noodles

Another delight from Penang Food Paradise that worth mentioning is Hokkien Hae Mee/ Hokkien Mee. Pork ribs and fresh prawns were used as the base after the prawn shells had been boiled for a few hours giving it a rich, meaty flavor. The hokkien mee was usually garnished with crispy fried onions, shallots, lean pork slices, water spinach,sliced egg and shredded prawns. Some may rave that this simple soup-based noodles could be easily gotten from other states in Malaysia. After trying so many stalls in KL, the best Hokkien Mee I have had still from Penang. Most Penang Hokkien Mee in KL was rather blend.

One Corner Cafe 和喜茶室 Penang Hokkien Mee would take you queuing up for the steaming bowl of hokkien mee for almost 45 minutes to 1 hour. Another famous hokkien mee stall is normally named as Pulau Tikus Balai Polis Hokkien Mee by locals located at Kedai Kopi Swee Kong. The exact stall name is Lean Huat Hokkien Mee. The one I tried from Macalister Road may not be the best prawn noodles I had tried, but it's much flavorful compared to those I had in other states.

One Corner Cafe 和喜茶室
Address: 2, Jalan Bawasah (Behind Penang Plaza) 10050 Georgetown, Penang.

Lean Huat Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee @ Macalister Road

3. Mee Rebus /Mee Goreng

I am not fancy of yellow noodles which normally have alkaline taste. However, mee rebus/ mee goreng from Penang is often marked down in my list when I visit to Penang. The mee goreng possess all the flavors to tingle the taste buds i.e. sweet, sour and spicy. The spicy stewed cuttlefish/ squids, mashed sweet potatoes, fried tofu cubes, crispy fritters, bean sprouts,crunchy fried shallots and slices of cabbages are the main ingredients of the mee goreng, The tomato gravy furnished the noodles with sweetness while the chili paste contributes spiciness accompanied with a slice of lime adding a hint of sourness to this irresistible dish. The best one I have eaten is from Seng Lee Coffeeshop; Bangkok Lane. Gerai Makanan Batu Lancang's mee goreng is also very delicious in which the sweetness of mashed potatoes is perfectly matched with the spiciness of the fried noodles. 

Address: 270 Jalan Burmah at Seng Lee Coffeeshop

Mee goreng with squids and chicken slices 

Mee Rebus /Mee Goreng @ Gerai Makanan Batu Lancang

Mee Rebus /Mee Goreng @ Gerai Makanan Batu Lancang
A plate of reddish noodles served with a handful of marinated squids and topped with an egg.
This is another version of mee goreng offered here with more tomato gravy [ wet mee goreng ].

4. Char Koay Teow

The popular Penang delight which one would not miss when come to Penang. The sloppy, flat white noodles are fried in iron cast wok with oil, minced garlic and soy sauce, then topped with prawns, bean sprouts, egg and cockles. The fragrant Penang Char Koay Teow might be the most Penang delight that require more skills as a delectable char koay teow depending on the 'wok hei' producing a good balance between savoury, sweet and spicy flavor imparting the noodles.  Heng Huat Café-Red Hat Lady's Char Koay Teow at Lorong Selamat remain popular and the price of a plate of char koay teow had increased to RM10 during my last visit in year 2016. I still haven't tried the famous yet not-so-expensive char koay teow at Siam Road.

Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow (Red Hat Aunty Stall)
Address: Kafe Heng Huat ,108, Lorong Selamat, Georgetown

5. Duck Meats Koay Teow Th'ng

Kim Lee Coffee Shop's duck meats koay teow th'ng is one of my favorite Penang delicacies. The silky smooth, thin and flat rice noodles garnished with sliced duck meats, fish balls, fried crispy onions and chopped scallions.The nourished full-bodied soup have been boiled for hours, flavorful till you might have finished sipping all. You could request no internal parts for your bowl of duck meats koay teow th'ng. Koay Teow Th'ng from Kim Lee Coffee Shop is often full-house with food patrons particularly due to its strategic location at market and popularity of the koay teow th'ng. The duck meat were much tender yet both portion was rather small.

Koay Teow Th'ng@ Lebuh Melayu

Closer look of the koay teow thng

6. Duck Kway Chap

Kway Chap;a handmade flat and silky rice noodles served in a herbal broth. Braised duck meats, innards, and boiled eggs were served together with the kway chap. Porridge is also available apart from the flat and silky rice noodles. For me, it looks like duck meat koay teow th'ng with the obvious difference is the herbal soup base. The famous duck kway chap shop which would be Restoran Kimberley. The duck meats are properly braised and tender while the herbal soup is flavorful without bitterness.It is then garnished with coriander leaves and fried onions.

7.  Char Koay Kak

Char Koay Kak is definitely different compared to char koay teow, it refers to fried radish cake. The raddish cake or carrot cake is made of rice and corn flour, basically tasteless and being flavorful after cooking with seasoning, egg, bean sprouts, chai poh (菜圃), dark soy sauce and chili. Despite being soft and silky smooth in texture, it’s somehow tasted like char koay teow except that it has no cockles. The stir-fried carrot cake pieces from Char Koay Kak by Eoh’s sisters at Seow Fong Lye Cafe; Macalister Lane. is very delicious and aromatic.

8.  Cendol

Cendol is a cold and sweet dessert comprised of shaved ice with coconut milk, green jelly noodles, palm sugar, red beans, glutinous rice, sweet corns, attap chee (palm seed) and etc. The popular stall in Penang is Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol @ Lebuh Keng Kwee and you just have to follow the crowds to sample the cendol here. The bowl of cendol would be the best refreshing drink to quench the thirst. This roadside stall has operated since year 1963, being a well known cendol (chendul) stall that most tourists will drop by to purchase this dessert. Let's scoop hearty helpings of cendol from Penang now!

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
Address: 475, Jalan Penang, Georgetown

9.  Rojak

Rojak is a traditional Asian fruit and vegetable salad. The ingredients such as cucumber, pineapples, turnip,guava, raw mangoes and other fruits are mixed together with the thick prawn sauce, then it's topped with squids/ cuttlefish, prawn fritters, shredded peanuts and fried bean curd. The one I used to eat is at Joo Hooi Cafe due to its convenience to satisfy cravings of cendol and asam laksa. The rojak here does not have cuttlefish/ squids and contain most fruits.

10. Popiah / Seafood Popiah

Popiah are similar to spring rolls, most filled with shredded vegetables (turnip, lettuce, cucumber and carrot slices) with peanuts/ fritters to give the popiah filling extra crunch and fragrance. Joo Hooi Cafe 愉園茶室 is probably the cafe where you could get all kinds of Penang savory including asam laksa, rojak, cendol and popiah too. The popiah here is just so-so as the one I got from neighborhood is much better. However,  the thin and moist handmade popiah skin complements the popiah filling perfectly.

Popiah at Stall 17 of Padang Brown Hawker Centre is different from most eateries. Shredded omelette, shredded crab meats and fried shallots accompanied with an abundant serving of popiah fillings are served in a warm gravy with robust crab flavour. A scrumptious seafood popiah where you would find it interesting to be tasted.

Gerai Padang Brown/ Padang
Address: At the corner of Perak Road and Anson Road, beside a green field and directly behind Datuk Keramat Police Station.

11. Pasembur/ Cheh-hu

Pasembur/ Cheh-hu is a Malaysian-Indian salad consisting of cucumber, potatoes, bean curd, turnip, bean sprouts, crackers, prawn fritters, spicy fried crab, fried octopus or other seafoods and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce. The Chinese version pasembur stall is located next to the seafood popiah stall at Padang Brown Food Court is the stall which I'm used to visit. The sauce is semi-sweet and tasty to dripping the jellyfish slices, bean curds, cucumber slices, bean sprouts and etc. However, a quick dining process for pasembur is needed before everything becomes soggy and sauce be liquidized.

12. Penang White Curry Noodles

The thick, spicy, fragrant, coconut-rich curry shall be familiar by all Malaysians. The main difference of Penang white curry noodles compared to other states' is the condiments where most of curry noodles from Penang contain cuttle fish,congealed pork blood,cockles,soft bean curd puffs and shrimps/ chicken slices/ pork slices where as other states' containing meat balls, bean curd skin, long bean/ bean sprouts, BBQ pork slices or chicken slices. Of course, the accompanying sambal or chilli paste is the key importance of the white curry noodles.

My favorite bowl of Penang curry noodles is usually dined at Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee
(Address: 55 Lorong Seratus Tahun, George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia). The chilly paste could be added depending on own spice level.

Penang Curry Noodles from Lebuh Melayu

13. Nyonya Kuih Muih

Nyonya kuih; a Pernakan delicacy which is famous in Penang and Malacca. Nyonya kuih come in different shapes, colours and textures. The bite-sized treats of these Nyonya Kuih would be definitely great for breakfast or tea time. Kuih Bengka- purple color, kuih kosui, glutinous rice topped with sweet kaya, kuih talam and many more are my all-time favorite. I normally had my cravings of Nyonya Kuih Muih from Bayan Baru Morning Market -next to Sunshine Square and One Corner Cafe.

Various Nyonya kuih

kuih bengka made of yam, kuih kosui, blue glutinous rice with kaya, kuih talam(pandan and coconut layered cake)

Kuih kosui is best matched with the shredded, salty coconut flesh

Ang Ku Kueh ( a kuih that looks like  red tortoise ) from Eaton Kuih Centre comes in big size and we like the soft filling of smooth sweetened mung bean paste. The freshly made Ang Ku Kueh tasted the best on the same day as steaming it on the next day will cause its skin becoming too soggy. Well,  I hardly resist to keep it for the next day.

14. Chee Cheong Fun

Seow Fong Lye Cafe has one of my favorite Penang style Chee Cheong Fun. It is not hard to spot this stall as you could see a long queue most of the time. The name of the hawker is Lim Mei Fong if I ain't mistaken. She put a spoonful of sweet and slightly spicy shrimp paste dazzling over the rice rolls after pouring a dash of sesame seeds, shrimp paste and chili paste.

The sauce was so pungent that its aroma flew into my nostrils.

Just a simple dish yet it made remembrance after eating. 

15. Fried Oyster Omelette / Oh Chien

Fried Oyster Omelette is a culinary treasure among the list of popular street foods in Penang. It could be a normal dish where we could get from other states but somehow those I have tried in KL or other places are found to be over starchy, sticky or gooey and lack of fresh oysters.  I still prefer fried oyster omelette from Penang and the famous one you could try is at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor (Address: 160, Lebuh Carnarvon, 10100 Georgetown, Penang)

16. Pastry

The Penang specialty biscuits should not be forgotten and it's conveniently packed as souvenir or tasty snack from Penang Island. There are many bakery shops which sell Tambun biscuits with the famous biscuits brands as Ghee Heang 義香餅家 and Him Heang 馨香餅家 which I have written a detailed blog post regarding my all-time favorite pasty from Him Heang. Read more : http://lovewinter19.blogspot.com/2015/08/tambun-biscuits-him-heang-burma.html

The another famous bakery shop in Penang i.e. Ming Xiang Tai has become our recent stop-point to take away their pastries. I love their egg tarts very much, crunchy thin outer layer and soft and rich egg flavor. The salted egg puff and kaya puff from Ming Xiang Tai are worth the try too!

17. Penang Yam Cake (Or Kuih)

The yam cake, or more affectionately known to locals as or kueh is one of the usual local delicacies sold in most hawker stalls in Penang. The texture of this steamed yam cake is very soft and being made of yam cubes. The yam cake in Penang is usually topped with generous amount of deep fried shrimps, shallots, white sesame,chili slices and scallions, providing a boost of flavor and fragrance while eating. Penang yam cake is usually served with the shrimp paste and chili paste. My cravings for Penang Yam Cake is normally fulfilled at One Corner Cafe and Lam Heng Cafe. 

Simple yet delicious

List of foods will be continued, covering loh mee, lam mee~