Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.
Showing posts with label Penang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Penang. Show all posts

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guest Post by L: Delicioso

This is another guest post from my dearest friend, which I would use as an escape for me from my own proper posting. Enjoy again on Penang food fare, but this time something of a hole in a wall, hidden even from most Penangites. It is no hawker food, but once in a while, even the most hawker food lover needs a break for some fresh style. Now let us see what L has brought us.

What’s with Mexican food? For one, I loved it to bits. And second, there’s never a joint here for Mexican till recently. Or at least, just recently, I found it. Penang isn’t just about the finding food at the usual places; it is the “Hole in the Wall” thing that appeals more to me.

So, it was a gloomy evening as my friend and I made our way on foot from Upper Penang Road to Little India. I love Little India as well. I will try blog about it in the near future as there are unanimously good banana leaf restaurants there.

As we sneaked our way through Chulia Street, we passed the Blue Diamond Inn – a backpackers place and one which serves Western and Mexican food! This isn’t the usual restaurant one would stop by for a meal, at least for me. It looks shady and ‘questionable’ but the sight of a Mexican food sign nailed outside the Inn is enough to convince us to stop by after our ‘trip’ to India.

The place was mostly young tourist lads. I wanted fajitas as I love anything with tortillas but *Pedro, a bandana clad moustache dude told me there was none. So I parted with the beef enchilada while my friend ordered chicken quesadilla.

I’m just kidding. The cook, *Pedro is obviously nicknamed by my friend and I. Heck, his picture is even on the Mexican food menu. Check that out if you are ever there. We wanted to believe that *Pedro was a runaway from Mexico after he accidentally murdered someone there. So with a glimpse a better future here, he opened his Mexican food joint here in Penang.

When he brought us our food, my friend asked if he’s from Mexico. All he did was looked at us and shook his head with cold gleaming eyes. Alright, he is obviously Malaysian who is pissed all the time. But hell, he cooks really good Mexican food.

My Beef enchilada is the best I ever had. The portion is huge. With minced beef, button mushrooms cooked in lots of spices wrapped with warm tortillas, I was struggling to finish it up. It was really delicious.

While it was the first time I tasted quesadilla, I loved it as well. Sandwiched between crisped, toasted tortillas are bits of chicken sautéed with tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce and cheese, topped with some chili sauce, it was spicy

Hey, this is probably the second to best authentic Mexican food ever here in Penang and given that *Pedro is Malaysian, he must had known what us Malaysian folks like – spicy food!

Then, it rained in between our meals. The heavy downpour ‘blessed’ our seats but we were too reluctant to move, indulging in our food. While we were dining, an older gentleman began serenading us with his ‘Kapok’ guitar. Obviously drunk, his intro to his song is 15 minutes of yapping, which he then proceeded to strum a couple of lines and went back to repeating the same words.
I loved the place! So down to earth and of course, a budget meal!

My enchilada is RM7 while my friend’s quesadilla is RM6. Don’t think there could ever be a more colorful meal – good & cheap food, dining in a backpacker’s inn, getting the feeling of being a tourist and getting entertained by a drunkard. I would definitely come back here for more action.

P/S: Mr. Drunkard is actually one hell of a guitar player. He once played in Oktoberfest, Munich. Boy, I’m sure he drinks everyday on his trip.

Blue Diamond Inn
Chulia St. Penang

Monday, October 30, 2006

Penang Food Diary: Part 3

Life has been really busy and my kitchen had been feeling pretty lonely lately, but my tummy is still filled contently. This would be my final part of Penang food endeavour, which I had held off for far too long. I hope I would be at least posting once a week from now on unlike my recent absence, for my job load is high and my weekends are spent relaxing or having fun. But I have no intentions to abandon this blog of mine, which had just celebrated its first birthday! Oh no, where is the cake? It will come, I have no doubt but when is the question. It deserves a cake (or maybe a cupcake) and a post on its own, so do look out for it. Now off you go to drool on more Penang food fare.

Off we head towards the outer sides of this island, where the road is long and winding, and the sea runs along the side. We stopped halfway just to have a glimpse at the sea, though not really clean and beautiful, but still we needed a breather. Cheekily, we stopped right beside this sign, which I seen for the first time and found it pretty interesting.

Then we head on winding around the hillsides, searching for a hill which J said have spectacular view, with lovely set up and a Thai restaurant. On the way, we passed by a huge dam, which was a good place to stop for fresh air and clean view.

We continue our way to find our special hill, when suddenly we saw a huge signboard saying “Fruit Farm 1km” with an arrow pointing the way. On a whim we decided to give it a visit. We drove up at a turning up a steep road for few turns, and then we found the fruit ‘stall’.

The place was packed with local fruits that are currently in season. There is also a counter which serves freshly squeezed juices and sliced fruits.

We opted to just get some local fruits, some for a friend we would be visiting later and some for us to lug home. J and I was attracted to the black (or dark red) banana, which we have never seen before in our local markets back home. We enquired and the shopkeeper explains that it is nothing special in taste but the color causes many not to plant it due to superstitution. (Here locals believe that banana tree are prone to evil, thus a black banana would certainly be much worst that its yellow counterparts). So we happily bought a bunch back home to try.

Off again we go in search again and finally, we found the hidden way up to Genting Hill! Yes, there is such hidden gem in Penang, which even most localites do not know. The way up was pretty steep and scary, especially for my little black car to brave, but we did nonetheless and were certainly thankful we did. The view was certainly breathtaking, the place lively with funky designs and woodwork of Thai influences.

We found that this Thai haven also offers Thai massage and reflexologies, being crazy, we decide to go for the Thai massage (we do not know what effects will it have judging we just had reflexologies few hours ago) but we came out refresh and rejuvenated. Then we sat down by the restaurant’s balcony, just a top the beautiful scene below.

The meal was alright, just like a cross between Thai food and Mamak (Indian-Muslim) style of cooking. We had green curry chicken, which was a bit water down and with slices of chicken meat which seemed like pre-cooked and then thrown into the gravy for a little while before serving. Then the salted fish green vegetable, which I suppose should be Thai but tasted deceivingly like a Malay dish I know, and lastly was the Mango Kerabu, which was totally disappointing, nothing like the authentic tangy salad but instead very sweet (I suspect liberal sprinkles of brown sugar here).

Then we ended the meal with a Thai jackfruit with chestnut dessert, which came in a really small portion, which was not too bad. It tasted real coconuty with a little sweetness from the jackfruit and chewy-crunchy jelly-covered-chestnut. Given the credit of beautiful scenery, I really enjoyed the meal.

Bukit Genting (Genting Hill)
Off the road between Teluk Kumbar and Balik Pulau
(take a left turn at the huge water storage tank)
11.30am – 10pm daily

It is time for us to go back down to Penang, I am starting to miss the hawker food again. We went straight towards Kek Lok Si, to my one-and-only-favourite laksa in town.

I do not need to describe more of this wonder bowl, which I had featured before. Beside this stall, there was another mini stall selling fried popiah, which we found crunchy and tasty from our previous trip. We had it as starters while waiting for our laksa.

Laksa Stall
Pasar Air Itam

(Kek Lok Si)


Close: Tuesday

J remembered I mentioned that I wanted to try out Penang version of Chee Cheong Fun, which I learnt from L’s post long ago. So he took me to a nearby hawker stalls to try it out.

Chee cheong fun, apart from a smooth, slightly chewy and soft texture, the sauce is one of the most important part of the dish. This one comes with heavy take on heh kor (a sweet thick prawn paste, usually served with assam laksa; the black sauce drizzled on my laksa up-close shot above). Heh kor taste is usually acquired, it can be smelly to some, a taste really hard to be describe other than you taste it yourself, just like rojak. The chee cheong fun was not bad and certainly something new and different, although I still prefer the Taiping-style tim cheong (sweet sauce) best.

I forgot to note down the address but it is the restaurant not too far from Kek Lok Si where there are few more with the name in numbers. This one is a corner shop with the name of a year.

Our last stop is not any hawker stall or any fancy restaurant, but instead J’s friend’s house. Being a gracious host, they had prepared a full course delicious home-cooked meal, Penang style for us. Our eyes bulge at the amount of food they prepared, cursing our whole day gluttony. Yet being gracious guests too, we devoured everything, even though we were already filled to the brim. But it was not too hard as the meal was fantastic.

I did not get to take much picture, as not to be rude. The picture was sneakily taken while our hosts are bringing more food from the kitchen. We had the smoked chicken, prepared specially by the lady host, which later when I asked her, she explained that the chicken was rubbed with mixes of spices and then smoked with rice and coffee beans. It was certainly the star dish of the evening; with the deep smoky flavour embed right into the bones while the meat was juicy and sweet. I can still imagine it now. Then there was the dry beef curry, with slices of daging bakar (barbequed meat) with thick curry with kerisik (pounded dry-fried grated coconut, like those in rendang). It was really addictive too. then there was the tom yam fish head, which was the huge bowl you see there, that was good and really spicy after some time. Then besides that, there was another fish dish, which was Teochew steam fish, the fish was really fresh and the simplicity of the dish brought it out. Then we also had some stir-fried vegetables to complete the meal. When we just came we chit-chat with the hosts’ son on the topic food (of course, he is a penangite after all) and he asked us what was our best meal in Penang so far, that time I answered Laksa, but after the wonderful Penang-home-cooked meal, I had to re-declare that it was the best meal I had so far in Penang! Nothing beats home-cooked meal isn’t it, and to top it off, this one is by one of the food-critics in Malaysia.

After the meal we had long hours of catching up and talking about everything under the sun. Finally when we leave, we have slightly digested and did not feel like a walking wate-balloon. Then J get on with the final itenary, which is of course food, this time is for kuey teow kerang (fried flat rice noodles with cockles). This one surprisingly is not made by Chinese, but from a Malay stall, that had adapted the infamous char kuey teow into a slightly wetter version with much much more of cockles.

This kuey teow dish was certainly thick with cockles taste, though I am not a fan of it but this one was certainly yummy. It was slightly spicy with loads of fresh cockles drowning the white kuey teow, which was soft and smooth. It is certainly a dish well worth the extra space in my overload tummy.

Kuey Teow Kerang Stall
Jalan Sungai Dua

Finally when the day has ended, J and I packed into my little black car and head back home, discussing all the way about all the food we had and some extra funs we had thrown in. Definitely a trip to remember by, else my expanded waistline will remind me anyway.

Penang Food Diaries:
Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Penang Food Diary: Part 2

11.02 am
J and I got Jalan Penang (road) for a fix of something icy, this time it is
cendol. But it is not like the ordinary cendol we can get others places as this one apparently is Teochew style.

We ordered for a bowl and got into the restaurant, where this stall is parked right outside. This restaurant, charged extra rm0.40 if you ordered the cendol into their premise. I guess they can’t earn much judging that everyone drinks from the stall outside instead of their drinks. We obliged nonetheless as we wanted a place to sit and cool down.

The cendol came, looking ordinary, but once I tasted it, I found that it is milder in coconut taste than the usual Indian cendol and also there are more red beans. I can’t say this is the best cendol, in fact I still love the one back in PJ, still it is a cool refreshing drink to down the thirst.

Then J spied on a char kuey teow stall in restaurant and wanted to give it a try. After all we could not have the famous one at Lorong Macalister.

The plate of char kuey teow came, Penang style with huge prawns, cockles, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), fishcake, and taugeh (beansprouts). It tasted great, even better than the one we had at Kek Lok Si. So J quickly cleans out the plate.

Joo Hooi Café
475 Jalan Penang
Opens 10-7.30pm

After that, I still yearns for more icy stuff and told J about a famous ais kacang (local shaved ice dessert) nearby at the next street. Just outside the restaurant, is the junction to four famous streets in Penang. We walk over the overhead bridge, which connect all four streets, one of it leading towards Komtar (shopping mall), towards our destination.

11.31 am
Down the street from the overhead bridge, we got into Kek Seng restaurant for its famous
ais kacang. We ordered for one and it came looking really special.

It tasted great too, unlike anywhere else I get, with sweet corn, red beans, huge jelly and two dollops of ice cream. The ice cream is even freshly made, as I saw a huge sign showing they have their own-made famous durian ice cream here, which was served with the ais kacang. Indeed the ice cream tasted great and complimented the ais kacang well.

Feeling bit nibbly, we ordered the popiah (Chinese spring roll) to go along. The lady came to serve asked us whether we want to pour in the broth (first time I encountered broth for popiah) then we agreed and it was poured over the popiah. It was a little bland but the texture was not bad.

Kek Seng Coffeeshop
384 Jalan Penang

Feeling really filled up we decided to have a little break from our eating frenzy and head over for some massage and reflexology. It is located at the same row with Joo Hooi Café, at the other end of the row of shops. Here, they offer massages and reflexology by the blinds. Nowadays, it is really popular in Malaysia, for the blinds to learn reflexology, from a school which is catered to them specially. Going to these places always makes me feel that I had helped them in a way, where they can earn their own income. I opt for the reflexology while J went for the massage. The service was great and both of us enjoyed it. I would recommend you to stop by if you ever had a chance to be around town.

Aroma Reflexology
Jalan Penang
(same row with Joo Hooi Café)

After an hour and half of relaxing, we are ready to eat again (surprise!). So J and I got in the car and sped off in search of Char Kuey Kak (stir fried radish cake) and Or Chien (oyster omelette). I read that the one near the Chinese school was famous so we went there and alas again, we found that the stall was not open. Then we guessed that it is only opened for dinner. So we sat down and ordered har mee (prawn noodle) instead.

The noodle was great, expectedly as har mee is another famous dish hailed from Penang itself. It came in a superbly rich prawn broth, with prawns, sliced pork, eggs and beansprouts. It was good; we eat and drank the soup dry (we would not want to count the calories here).

Opposite Penang Chinese Girl School
Jalan Gottlieb

So, feeling satiated again, J and I decided to head on to some site seeing. I just found out, thanks to J that, besides the glorious food, it turns out there are some hidden places to visit in Penang.

To be continued….

Penang Food Diaries:
Part 1
Part 3

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guest Post, Again, by L: SOHO

Come weekend and with a friend from mainland visiting, the first thing that I wanted to do is EAT! Naturally - since my dream during my final year here in university is to review as many restaurants as I can. Although money is always a constraint, but dining out once a week should very much be allowed.

Soho, in the UK is well known to be a red-light district and boosts a similar name elsewhere across in New York. Here in Penang, it is very much a British concept pub, which serves food typical to the public houses in the UK. Located at Upper Penang road, Soho is a half club/half pub and a restaurant all in one. A hard to be missed double story building which is usually choked with tourists.

I had been there for drinks but never there for its food until recommended by a Penangnite who frequents it. So last Friday, I needed a place to eat and to review and decide to give Soho a try.

The lower floor has a bar, pool tables, dart boards and a dance floor and upstairs is mainly for dining purposes. I always loved the upstairs of Soho, with its lush interior wall carpeting, mini chandeliers, deep red curtains which boosts a very grand atmosphere, a solid wooden bar and my favorite part of it, an old fashioned balcony overlooking Upper Penang Road – the place where Penang’s party scene happens.

I was told that Fish & Chips lovers will not be disappointed with the one in Soho. Deep fried fish fillets to the scrumptious, in crisp yellow batter, with a dash of salt and pepper, - It is simply delicious. My friend ordered just that and another pal, ordered the roasted herb chicken. Roasted chicken that comes with a serving of homemade mashed potatoes and boosts thick gravy, a recipe by Soho itself.

I had Grilled lamb chop which honestly, the best lamb chop I had in years. Delicious lamb chops that is first marinated in their own concoction, served in mint sauce, chips and a garden salad. The chops are thick and succulent and grilled to perfection.

Soho is also the only pub in town that serves Kilkenny beer, all the way from Ireland and I was told that this waterhole probably boosts the cheapest beer in town. So if you are from out of Penang, looking for both cheap booze and the party scene, Soho is the best place to be.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Guest Post by L: A Girl's Night Out

One of the exuberance of youth to me is going out on dates. It gives you this surge in self confidence as you know someone had actually asked you out and would like to know you better. It’s a great feeling when someone takes an extra interest to you and there’s the whole dressing up part for the wooing and dining which is always fun.

Sadly it had been a long time since I had dates and in an impulse attempt to revive it, I asked a friend out. A dear friend of mine, PY whom also had been a lil’ drained in the love department. There are so many reasons to ask her out, for one, she’s a great companion and then, there’s the part I know, there’s never a chance that she will bail on me.

So we went out. A day before, I asked my local Penangnites friends on where can I go for good food, good ambience and all must come with a fair price due to the constraints of being a student. I was then referred to this small restaurant located right in the middle of Georgetown called Pintail. It is on the same row as Cititel Hotel, right opposite Oriental Hotel.

Pintail, sandwiched between the old buildings is dimly lighted and with a signboard that isn’t too prominent for new diners to come to realize. My date with PY happens on a Wednesday evening where both of us took a little initiative to dress up for dinner and then, dancing later on.

It wasn’t hard locating it but it was not prominent like I mentioned. Just a shop lot on its own, and a very warm ambience upon arrival, it was pretty packed on a Wednesday night. We were lucky to get the final table and as I realized it was mostly backpackers, tourists and some locals dining there.

I ordered rosemary lamb with a serving of sautéed vegetables in butter and pepper and mashed potatoes. PY had a half done steak with diced potatoes and sautéed greens as well. I would give a lot of credits to their selection of drinks which were made up of fresh fruits juices, on its own or a mixture and even alcoholic beverages at a fair price. My honey lime got me hooked as it was made perfectly for the sweet tooth that I am.

I wasn’t too pleased that my lamb was all chopped up for me upon arrival but I love the vegetables and mashed potatoes. PY’s steak was a little chewy and her potatoes were rather blunt. It fascinated me that she could eat it all with her braces.

But overall, I love the ambience and the service is extremely friendly. Cozy, warm and serves good food at a fair deal, I will definitely go back to that place more often. The bill for our meal was a little over RM60. Last order of the day is at 10.45pm and the restaurant closes at 11.30pm.

Pintail restaurant
84, Penang Road
10000 Georgetown

For reservations call: 04 264 2694
Opens whole week except on Mondays. From noon till night.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

In Search of Good Eats

I am back in my hometown, Taiping with J! Yes, finally everything is over, I am now graduated, or can be said unemployed. Since I’m now in Taiping, you can be sure to look forward to lots of food review. But for that, you got to wait. I have something up my sleeves, and well, you will know soon enough.

As for now, J and I went up north to Penang yesterday, in a half day trip, big part of the reason is for food hunting. So, J had stayed there before during his internship, and so he know a few places, though that time he only cycled to work, oh yes, to skip the crazy Penang traffic, he did not get to go out much, especially to town. But yesterday, base on his male direction instinct, he took me to the best part in town for good eats that is Air Itam.

We went in hunt for laksa, a peranakan spicy dish, richly blend with best of Chinese and Malay Cuisine. J took me to a reputable laksa stall in Penang, located along the street in front of Kek Lok Si Temple (the famous Buddhist temple in Penang). One bite into the laksa, and I am sold.

So many years in Malaysia, I though I had ate all types of laksa (curry laksa, assam laksa, bias to Chinese or Malay laksa, with all level of tastes. But now I have reopened my taste buds to a whole new experience with this Penang assam laksa. I ate it and drank the soup till the very last droplet, well nearly. The mee has a good springy texture, and it was served with good swirled of He Kor (prawn paste), thus the sweet taste. The soup is full of fish flakes (my favourites) and the broth is rich yet not overpowering.

The stall is manned by an old man and an old lady, who worked at lightning speed to serve up a bowl. One look and you know they had been selling for years. The table has a gigantic of laksa mee with two huge pots bowling hot broth. Though seemingly unbelievable, but I’m sure they can sell it all by night. There is also a stall beside which sells freshly squeezed sugar cane.

I was really too full to completely lick the bowl clean because, right before laksa, we went to line our growling stomach with char kuey teow first. You wouldn’t want to eat laksa in an empty stomach, or you are sure to suffer burn. Laksa is really tart with although I’m not too sure of the scientific components, we all know it’s really acidic and can cut through your tummy. Besides, who can go to Penang and not to eat char kuey teow?

This char kuey teow stall is located just across the road from the laksa stall, in a true old style restaurant. The kuey teow was really tender, with loads of flavour infused in it. The prawns and cockles are fresh, and as an authentic Penang style, it was added with sliced lap cheong (Chinese stuffed pork, sausage style).

Though this might not be the best char kuey teow in Penang, but I am darn sure I ate the best laksa in town! Ah, I am satisfied that I have ate two of Penang’s most famous food, the indisputable char kuey teow and the bowl licking laksa.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Little Hong Kong

Life has been the same. Now nearing my final year project subsmission, life just turn a lot more hectic. As usual, L came again, with more wonderful fare from up north Malaysia. This time is another Hong Kong wannabe bistro in Malaysia, which I had talked about and also cooked the famous cheese baked rice before. This kind of bistro is all over PJ and KL, now it is in Penang too. Talk about little Hong Kong in Malaysia!

Hongkie Kopitiam

E-Gate is one of my all time favorite spots in Penang. Located just right off the bridge, just next to Tesco, it is a brand new plaza with restaurants, a fitness center, a hair saloon and a few pubs and a pretty huge Starbucks. Bored with regularly eating ‘tar-pau’ed (take away) food for meals, my friend suggested that we try a brand new Hong Kong styled restaurant in E-Gate.

Hongkie Kopitiam has a very olden day Chinese restaurant ambience. Interior are mostly made of wood, including tables and chairs. Well it seems pretty congested to me as the furniture are placed within close proximity and the restaurant was almost full when I was there, perhaps it was regular dinner time.

It has a very extensive menu with rather interesting names for its food and I took almost 10 minutes to decide on my order. My friend was there for the second time said that the French toast was really good. We ordered that, along with a bowl of Fuku Leslie Cheung for her, which is ramen with one fried egg, sausage, ham and vegetables while I opted for meal with a quirky name, Zoo Pharms, baked fragrance rice with cheese and a triple combination of fish fillet, beef and chicken.

The meals we both ordered are very typical Hong Kong meals. Her bowl of ramen consists of a sunny side up, deep fried ham and sausage, garnished with vegetables. The soup was pretty salty but the portion came big. While my baked rice came with a generous serving of melted cheese with the triple combination of beef, fish fillet and chicken were nicely cooked and tender. It was good but somehow, eating too much cheese made me feel bloated. I could not even finish the serving.

The French toast was superb. It was greasy due to the melted butter that came a top of the toasted bread, but the sweet and thick peanut butter in between the loafs was fabulous. Of course, you got to eat it while it’s hot.

I ordered an almond tea with egg custard for my drink. I’m not sure why I kept expecting the infamous chilled ‘lai cha’ (milk tea) usually served in HK restaurants. Turns out, it came in a saucer, in scalding hot almond tea and a raw egg which I guess, was put in moments before it was served to me. It would at any other time, be a great cuppa for breakfast. However, after eating my baked cheese rice with awful lot of meat, I figure, that cup of sinfully sweet almond tea is just too much for me.

Perhaps, this isn’t exactly a rave review but remember I said it had an extensive menu, I’m sure, with more time in the future, and I would get to try better stuff of it.

Hongkie Kopitiam
Block 1-01-10
Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2
11700 Gelugor

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