Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Penang Food Diary

I have just notice that one main reason of the scarcity of post is not just because the lack of free time, but also my own expectations from it. Every time I wanted to rush to post up something, I would in the end put it off or did not even start due to the fact that I know I would not be able to give my best. I guess its time to change my mindset a little, after all, when it comes to blogging it should be about the flexibility, the freedom to express oneself and most of all, it should be enjoyable. Of course I do enjoy writing, but sometimes I might just be too hard on myself. Enough of self-ranting and let’s get on with the food. Oh yes, I promised you my food excursion up north, didn’t I?

Morning 8.00am
Drag myself off the bed to the bathroom, wash up and dress up hastily. Got into my little black car with J and sped off northward bound. Did not have enough sleep but strangely felt seriously energized, thinking of all the food to come (the wonders of being tham-jiak).

Finally crossed the
Penang Bridge and had arrived at food paradise. The air seems mixed with sea breeze and food smell. Now it is probably the morning sickness or it is just that I am really hungry. Finally, after just a short search, we got to our first food destination. We stopped by for the infamous Sg. Pinang Ark Thooi Mee Suah (Duck Leg with Fine Wheat Noodle). We ordered for it and after some time, it still has yet to arrive, I got agitated, went over to reorder then they told me ark thooi has just finished and they recommended me to take keh thooi (chicken drumstick) instead. Oh well, I just obliged as my stomach seems to get grumpy.

This keh thooi mee suah also came in the same broth as the famous ark thooi, which is double boiled yok choy (herbs) soup. The ingredients, I believe should be of the usual yok choy herbs such as kei chi (wolfberries), tong sum, wai san, ginseng and so forth. It was really energizing as a breakfast, and certainly fueled me with enough energy to wander around whole day in my food adventure. The mee suah deserves a mention as it was exceptionally soft and smooth, without the floury coating which can be found in commercially made mee suah, and certainly complements the yok choy broth well.

Oon Swee Hoe
Duck/Chicken Drumstick Noodle
Jalan Sungai Pinang,
10150 Penang

After that good and hearty noodle soup, our hopes are high as we gaily drive to the next destination which was just a few streets away. We got over to get some less heart healthy stuff which the famous Penang char kuey teow (stir fried flat noodles) at the famous Lorong Macalister but alas, when we got there, the store was close. So we head on next to another killing delicacy that is the famous Penang curry mee (noodle). This one we got off the internet from
Penang Haven, which she mentioned that this stall is known as the brothers curry mee. This is because the stall, which was passed on by their father, is run by a sibling. I just had to go there to see what the fuss is all about to be able to remain reputable for two generations.

The noodle came, just like how authentic Penang curry noodle should be, with prawns, cockles, pig's blood cubes, sotong (squid) and beancurd. J tasted the noodle first and found nothing special about it (I guess he is accustomed to the KL style ones) thus he took the liberty and add huge dollops of sambal, available at the table.

After that J announced that now it was good and so I have a try at it. I love the spiciness (thanks to J) and also enjoy the extra flavours from the ingredients aforementioned. Certainly different from other curry noodles I used to have.

Brothers Curry Mee,
Lorong Seratus Tahun,
(access from Jalan Macalister)

After sweating all over from the spicy curry noodle, we got back into the car and drove down several blocks to Lorong Bangkok (Bangkok Lane). Here, is specially taken by J as he had tried it once, following a Penang food-lover friend, as a typical Penangites, who took him there before. J swore that this stall has the best mee goreng (fried noodle) you can ever find in Malaysia. We arrived at the humble restaurant, where the mamak stall is located. J ordered for the mee goreng in
Hokkien, as the mamaks there in fact had learnt to speak this ubiquitous dialect of Penang. I was certainly impressed.

The noodle came looking redder than the usual mamak mee goreng. One bite and I am totally won over, I was never really a fan of mee gorengs of any kind, but this is certainly different. As the stall also sells mee rebus (literally boiled noodles), which comes in thick sauce (consisting of potatoes, curry, soybeans, shrimps and peanuts), which usually comes with marinated sotong, tau kwa(firm tofu) and beansprouts. Judging from the taste of the mee goreng, I can guess that they had used the mee rebus kuah (gravy) to fry the noodle. Eating it you will find sotong (which was marinated well before hand, thus extremely flavourful and without the fishy taste at all) and mashed up potatoe. It is certainly hard for me to explain how special this plate of mee goreng is, I guess the best way is for you to head on there for a try if you had the chance, I personally recommends it.

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
Lorong Bangkok
(Located in the coffee shop at the junction of Lorong Bangkok and Jalan Burma)

Then filled up with spicy fried noodles, I am thirsting for something refreshing, something icy. J and I got into the car and sped off once more in search for more.

To be continued….

Penang Food Diaries:
Part 2
Part 3


babe_kl said...

wow amazing lah both of you, it's really a makan excursion!!! all that just for breakie haha... did you both order separate bowls or invividual? :p

5xmom said...

The Sungai Pinang there hor, got plenty of good foods like the kari mee, roti babi and even the apong also good. Only problem is the place is so dinghy, the floor so muddy. You don't get tummy ache from all those chillies ah? Hehehe.

rokh said...

babe, you got us! hehe, everything is shared, else how to gobble so much food? hehe

chanlilian, yea we saw the apong but did not cross our mind to try it out. must go back next time then!

KampungboyCitygal said... marathon..never invite us??

reona said...

They look like delicious!

I am planning to go to Penang next year.

So I will try eating delicious food of Penang.

Thank you for good informations!

teckiee said...

they open that lorong seratus tahun shop in SS2 also... so so only. I wonder is the Penang one is better

Rasa Malaysia said...

I forgot to eat Mee Goreng while I was home and had to make a home-cooked one a few days ago. Next time put it down on my to-eat list.

Piggy said...

the duck leg mee sua is a must-have whenever i go back to penang... slurp! now you're making me hungry in the middle of the night... ;-)

zhengning said...

i think the mee sua looks extremely appealing. ahh, i wanna try... but it's at penang :(
i wonder if i could taste it in sg! haha

Mochene said...

I feel the same way about my posts. I'm quite behind, and now, after all this time has passed, the inspiration has left me.

Glad you're back and thanks for the yummy pics.

fooDcrazEE said...

u made me gian Penang food nia - :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a penangnite but working in the uk at the moment.. was thrilled to have come across Tham Jiak while i was surfing online and your Penang Food Diary in particular.

Just wanted to mention if you do go to penang again, try the mee goreng in air itam. the stall is only open in the afternoons (3 pm onwards i think) and is located in ASIA Kopitiam (very near the roundabout leading to penang hill but not the one next to Lai Lai).

Keep up the good work at Tham Jiak, lovin' it!

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

We are thinking of renting a car in Penang during our next makan trip in 2008. Can anyone recommend a cheap, good and reliable car rental company in Penang? Thanks a lot.

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