Sunday, 12 July 2015

Delighting In Bukit Mertajam's Food

     When hubby suggested going to Bukit Mertajam again for the weekend, I was delighted for two reasons : tucking into good food and attending Mass at St. Anne's Church. He made plans with his photography buddy, Boey, for their nocturnal outing, while I gleefully listed out food that's not to be missed out on.
The front of the coffee shop
First stop (for Saturday's lunch) was at Sentosa Corner, off Jalan Kulim (this is along the main road leading to St. Anne's Church). This coffee shop seems to be extremely popular with the locals, so bagging a table may be a little difficult at times. But the jostling with the crowd is really worth it as there are plenty of stalls selling great food.
     One of the biggest crowd-pullers is the famous BM Yam Rice stall. I first
Fluffy yam rice with its sidekick
tried it several months back and have been hankering for another go ever since. The rice is cooked to perfection with a hint of dried shrimps, a slathering of dark soya sauce and a generous amount of the star ingredient, yam. It comes with a bowl of pork slices, pork balls, some oink oink stomach, kidney and intestines in salted vegetable soup. I shy away from innards so I requested for them to be omitted. If one chooses (though I cannot fathom why),  one can opt for white rice instead of yam rice. There's also the option of having the yam rice with braised pork belly and egg, which I resolve to try some other time. A meal for one person comes up to a reasonable RM5.

     Another stall here at Sentosa Corner that is highly recommended by hubby's friend is Peter's Jawa Mee.
A dish of amazing goodness
Hubby ordered a plate (RM4.50) and we were surprised to see the huge serving. You will never get this amount for RM4.50 in Ipoh, where prices of food are escalating. The hawker was incredibly generous with the crispy bits (everyone's favourite). There were also peanut bits sprinkled onto the gravy, which was a pleasant surprise. And the gravy, which will make or break this dish, had the right amount of sweetness, sourness and spiciness. In fact, I find the gravy not as sweet as those at the Ipoh Jawa mee stalls, and this definitely wins me over.
     You can usually see an orderly queue in front of the stall that sells Portuguese egg tarts. 
With the ovens right beside the stall, you are guaranteed some heavenly smells and some very fresh egg tarts. Hubby and I bought some to be eaten for tea later. The Portuguese egg tarts were crunchy on the outside and superbly soft inside...yum! This stall, which has been featured in local newspapers, also sells other types of egg tarts as well as Seremban siew pao.   

     Our dinner stop later in the evening was to Mei Le Hwa coffeeshop, diagonally opposite Sentosa Corner. At night, only one stall operates at the coffeeshop and it is the sole reason why people flock to this eatery. It is for its famous duck egg char koay teow. We did not get to try this a few months ago because hubby's friend had insisted on giving us a dinner treat elsewhere. This time around, he tried to do the same but hubby knew he would be in for an earful (plus a long face) from his wifey should he accept. So hubby wisely put his foot down and insisted that we would like to give this much talked about char koay teow a try. The ravings on the internet were well justified. Someone even said that the famous Sisters Char Koay Teow at Macalister Road, Penang, can "move over". Having now tasted the heavenly plate of char koay teow fried with duck egg and bits of crispy fried lard, all done with gusto over charcoal fire, I can attest to its oomph! Hubby and I ordered a big plate each topped with an extra fried duck's egg (RM5.50). Plunge your chopstick into the yolk and it comes oozing out onto the flat noodles, giving it additional allure. Cholesterol? What's that? You do not exist in my dictionary tonight. I paused by the stall on my way out to give a big thumb's up to Ah Heng, who fries non-stop from 8pm till 1am, to which he smiles shyly.

Look at all those bags of koay teow, poised to be fried throughout the night
Behold the duck egg char koay teow, which Anthony Bourdain called as "the tastiest ugly mess"!
     Third foodie stop for this Bukit Mertajam weekend was at 7 Village Noodle House for Sunday breakfast, courtesy of hubby's friend, Boey. Quite well-known among the locals, 7 Village Noodle House boasts of several branches on mainland Penang and one on the island. It all originated from humble beginnings when old Mr. Lim used to sell his koay teow th'ng (flat noodles with fish balls and pork in broth) on a tricycle around some residential areas in Butterworth. Today their signature dish remains as koay teow th'ng but they have also diversified their menu to include la mian, toasts, soft boiled eggs and an assortment of side dishes like lor bak, deep fried squid, blanched boneless chicken and dragon balls in seaweed soup. Hubby opted for a big bowl of koay teow th'ng, which he enjoyed heartily. I, on the other hand, could not resist the dry la mian with chicken pieces, minced pork and an egg. Fortunately, I remembered to save the GPS co-ordinates of this Bukit Tengah branch so that I can find my way there again in the future.
Mix all the ingredients up in my bowl of  dry la main and I go oo-la-lla
Hubby's bowl of koay teow th'ng in really flavorful broth
Popular side dishes (clockwise from top right : deep fried squid, dragon balls in seaweed soup, lor bak and blanched boneless chicken)
     As I write this, I am planning another trip to Bukit Mertajam soon, this time with Mummy dearest. Shall we go there this coming St. Anne's Feast?