Thursday, 13 January 2011

A Typical Makan-ing Day In Penang

Last month, me, LL, Lance, Mel, and my mom went up to Penang for a pure makan trip. Meaning we just went up there for the sole purpose of eating, eating, and oh, more eating.

Sure, we did a bit of sightseeing at Suffolk House and the Blue Mansion as well (both of which were very impressive, BTW), but really, we would have been happy just eating the entire weekend away.

Anyway, a typical makan-ing day in Penang for us usually starts here:

That's a makan shop near the Pulau Tikus market, just opposite the road from the police station. And it serves one of the best goddamn Hokkien mee (prawn mee to all you KL people) EVER. Well, that's what WE think anyway.

How do you know when something is REALLY good? When you actually finish EVERY SINGLE DROP of soup, EVERY SINGLE STRAND of noodles, EVERY SINGLE PIECE of taugeh and anything else in the bowl. That's what I always do when I eat the Hokkien mee here. It's THAT good.

Be warned though, we usually go there around 7-8am, to be safe. If you go around 8:30am, don't be surprised to see THIS:

Yup, the Hokkien mee at this stall runs out REALLY early (they only make one pot of soup a day), and by 8:30am, they'll be literally scraping the bottom of the pot.

So if you wanna eat it, you need to be there REALLY early.

If you miss that, you could always eat the 'famous' wantan mee, which really is pretty good:

But seriously, I seldom eat it, because c'mon, it's WANTAN MEE. KL pun berlambak lar, why waste stomach space? :D

Or stick around and have some fluffy, delicious apam (no, it's not a typo. It's not Spam, it's Apam)

Made by this Indian dude. It's damn interesting watching him make the apam, so if you have time, watch him at work!

After the Hokkien mee, we immedietely headed to the next makan place (stopping by at another stall for a packet of Siamese mee kerabu, another favorite of ours), also near Pulau Tikus, to have one of my personal favorites, koay chap!

Mmm, duck meat, pork bits, and all sorts of unidentified meaty goodness in herbal soup. AWESOME.

My sister calls koay chiap 'guai zai mee', or 'good boy noodles'. Why? Because it's so easy to eat, it just sits nicely in the spoon like a good boy! :D

That was our morning itiniery. Next, it was lunch time, and it was time for some asam laksa!

Now, our favorite Penang laksa stall is actually in Balik Pulau, which has easily THE BEST asam and siam laksa ever, but because we didn't have time to go there this time, we had to settle for the one at Penang Road, which was STILL pretty good:

This is still one of the few asam laksas in the entire MALAYSIA that I can actually finish the entire bowl down to the last onion/drop of soup. Most of the ones in KL, I can barely finish the noodles, let alone the soup.

And of course, we had to have the cendol also lar:

One thing about these old food stalls in Penang though - don't keep asking them when your food's arriving. If you've ordered, just wait patiently for it to arrive. Question the stall owners' memory, and you'll be snapped at, like the little old lady behind the laksa stall:

From one cranky aunty to another, we next went to Lorong Selamat for the infamous Lorong Selamat char koay teow (yup, the one people are calling for a boycott over).
After hearing so much about it, I just had to try it out, by hook or by crook. As expected, we had to wait for an entire HOUR for the CKT to get here.

At least the hou jien (oyster and egg) and the yam kueh we had while waiting for the CKT was pretty good though:

And right on the dot, exactly an hour after we got there, our char koay teow finally arrived.

After finally trying the char koay teow, I can see why it's so popular. It really IS good, and the prawns are HUGE. One plate definitely isn't enough, especially after you've waited so long for it.

And there lies the biggest problem I have with the place. Sure, the char koay teow is awesome, but frankly speaking, for RM6 (RM9 if you order extra prawns) AND a waiting time of an hour for each plate of char koay teow, it just isn't worth it. It's got nothing to do with the aunty's attitude - her rudeness is average hawker standards at best - but everything to do with the fact that there are cheaper and equally as good CKT in Penang, AND you don't have to wait so long for it.

So, after finally seeing what the fuss is all about, it's safe to say I probably won't be going back there again (unless like KY says, I go before 11am when its less crowded... then again, there are OTHER more awesome things to eat in the morning).

On Sunday, it was time to go home. But not before waking up early (well, early-ish) to go and have some kick-ass koay teow thng at a small lorong just off Burma Road (I can't remember what road it is now...).

Anyway, this is easily one of the best koay teow thngs I've ever had, and I should know because I LOVE my koay teow thngs. The meat is juicy, the pork bits are crunchy, the koay teow is smooth, and the soup is just HEAVENLY. Yup, I finished the whole bowl, down to the last drop of soup. Wanted to order another, but the old uncle said it was all sold out. At 9AM.

The stall's been there for DECADES - the only reason we knew about it was when my mother said she used to go there when she was a STUDENT. And the same little old man has been manning the stall all this while:

It's pretty sad that the old uncle is the only one manning the stall though. No younger generation to take over, nobody to help him. Watching him hunched over his stall, lovingly making each bowl of koay teow thng two at a time (like the Lorong Selamat Aunty, he'll also snap at you if you ask him why your food is taking so long), it makes you sad that once he is gone, the recipe for the koay teow thng goes with him. Never mind old buildings, people like this old man are the LIVING Heritage of Penang.

Anyway, back to the food. The items mentioned here are not the only things we eat in Penang, of course. I haven't even mentioned the Balik Pulau laksa, the bowls of braised chicken feet at New Lane that we DEVOUR on evevery single trip to Penang, the old school nasi kandar at the Butterworth jetty... dammit. now I'm hungry. Road trip, anyone?


KY said...

i'm missing all these, wuwuwuwuwu

Lynn said...

There's pork bits and mushrooms in the 'famous' wan tan mee!! And KL ones don't even come near it, hehe

camlok said...

Dang, the Hokkien mee place is just behind my granma's house. Luckily it's close to Chinese new year so I'll be back to enjoy it... seeing the picture has stirred up my craving for it.

eyeris said...

I doubt it'll be open on CNY though. haha

camlok said...

They are still open on chinese new year eve, and I'll be back by then. It's like a once a year thing for me now :)

camlok said...

Speaking of Char Koey Teow, there's one that opens at night at the pulau tikus market which is quite decent as well. (Sin Hwa Char Koey Teow). Their shop is actually just furthur down the road from Swee Kang, the Hokkien Mee place (along the main road parallel to the police station), which opens in the morning, but it doesn't taste as good as the night one (different cook, either his brother or sometimes the sister that does it in the morning, I think)