Friday, 31 March 2017

Getting Hooked On Penang Food

        Good food beckons in Penang and so, during our 4-day stay at the Pearl of the Orient, we went on a food trail. As we were staying in a homestay between Jalan Burma (a 3.7km long major thoroughfare) and Gurney Drive, our food trail was focused around that area.
     Upon the recommendation of our homestay host, we walked to the nearby Chang Senr coffee shop for lunch. Hubby could not resist the lure of the chicken rice, which he said was good but still could not beat his favourite chicken rice in Ipoh. I, on the other hand, opted for assam laksa. Mmm...this Penang Road assam laksa with its generous serving of "bunga kantan" sure does beat those in Ipoh. The soup has the right degree of spiciness but if the tangy level could be kicked up a notch, it would have been perfect.
Colourful bowl of "assam laksa"

RM4.50 for a small bowl of tantalising "assam laksa"

This corner coffee shop is located at 304, Jalan Burma, opposite Maybank and Domino's Pizza

     On our first evening in Penang, we decided to have an early dinner so that hubby could pursue his sunset photography. We were delighted to find that Restoran 77 Curry Fish Head, located between Gurney Paragon and Evergreen Laurel Hotel, opens from 11a.m. up to 10 p.m., with no break in between. Perfect for an early dinner! It is a small and simple restaurant, but their signature curry fish is incredibly yummy. It is cooked with lots of onions, lady's fingers, mint leaves, lemongrass and torch ginger flower ("bunga kantan"). In addition to the curry grouper slices, we also ordered their famous fried "belacan" chicken and stir-fried "siew pak choy". All in, the meal came up to RM86.60, which we thought was fairly reasonble.
Restoran 77 Famous Curry Fish Head is located at the intersection of Lorong Burma and Persiaran Gurney.

Come closer and venture in for a truly tasty meal.

This pot of curry grouper slices was immensely sumptuous.
Tempting grouper slices peek out from the pot

Fried "belacan" chicken

Stir-fried "siew pak choy"

     After hubby's sunset photography and some fruitful shopping for me, we headed to the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre for supper. This hugely popular open-air food paradise is the icon of the seafront promenade. I threw caution to the wind and gobbled down an entire plate of duck egg oyster omelette, while hubby went for a bowl of "koay teow thng", which he said was excellent. Although my "or chien" was tasty, I still hankered for the one sold at Macalister Road. 
Fresh succulent oysters tossed in a gooey mixture of eggs and starch 

     For breakfast on the following morning, we decided to try another coffee shop recommended by our homestay host. Apparently, this New Cathay Coffee Shop has a famous "char koay kak" (fried rice cakes) but sadly, the stall was closed on the day of our visit. I settled for "char koay teow" while hubby went for Hokkien prawn mee. Having spotted the equally famous Mr. & Mrs. Ravi's "apom manis" (pancake with soft spongy middle and crisp edges), I couldn't resist ordering 5 pieces (RM4) to share with hubby. 
Trio of delights for a late breakfast

     Before setting out to survey prospective photography sites, hubby and I braved the congested clan jetties along Weld Quay to feast on our favourite "hae chee" (prawn fritters) and "lor bak" (five spice pork rolls) at Tan Jetty. This stall is a hidden gem, tucked away behind the main road. According to a blogger, this stall is also the wholesale supplier to food stalls around Penang.
Head to 90-A, Tan Jetty, Pengkalan Weld for these awesome prawn fritters

Who would have thought an unassuming stall can yield such delights?

The "lor bak" is bursting with well-marinated meat

     Wishing for something lighter and less greasy following the afternoon's oil overdose, "assam laksa" at the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (Stall no. 11) was my best option for dinner. It turned out to be a prudent decision as it was one of the best I've ever tasted. I like my "assam laksa" really tangy and this one hit all the right notes. The robust soup was so flavoursome that I almost slurped it all up. Hubby was so impressed with the previous night's "koay teow thng", with a smorgasbord of pig's innards thrown in, that he had the same thing again, this time ordering a portion fit for two.
Presentation wise, this "assam laksa" may not  be as attractive as the one at Chang Senr coffee shop, but in terms of taste, this one wins hands down!

Hubby's "koay teow thng" is filled to the brim with additional goodies.

Innards swimming in the pot to entice a pork lover like hubby

     Our homestay host had strongly recommended the "wan ton" noodles at Chang Senr coffee shop but the stall was not open on our first visit. So on the third day of our stay in Penang, I decided to try my luck again. Boy, I was blown away by this superb Hong Kong shrimp noodles. The  noodles were extremely springy, the shrimp roe scattered liberally over the noodles lent a delightful seafood taste to the noodles and the three larger-than-usual "wan tons" hiding beneath the noodles were packed with flavourful meat. I was informed that the secret to their springy noodles lies in the kneading of the dough. A man straddles a long bamboo pole to press down the dough repeatedly...hence the name "bamboo wan ton noodles".
The focus is on the springy noodles with shrimp roe dusting, perhaps that's why the "wan tons" are hiding beneath the noodles
This is a branch of the famous Hong Kee Bamboo Noodles at Lebuh Campbell.

     Back in 2014, hubby and I were wowed by the "koay teow thng" at a roadside stall along Chulia Street so we ventured there for dinner on our third night. Most of the stalls were busy in operation by the time we arrived at a quarter past seven, but the "koay teow thng" stall was nowhere to be seen. Swallowing our disappointment, we proceeded to give other stalls a try. Hubby's curry mee was mediocre but my "char koay teow" from the stall just outside Mugshot Cafe was fairly impressive with its sidekicks of "lor bak" pieces and additional fried egg.
Succumbed to the allure of the sinfully greasy "char koay teow"
As we were leaving the area, we saw the "koay teow thng" uncle setting up his stall. I suppose we would have to return on another occasion and remember to make it a late dinner. Click on this link to read my previous post on Penang and a mention of the "koay teow thng" stall :     
Look out for this stall, which I believe is the only "koay teow thng" stall there.

     Crepes have always been one of my favourite desserts and upon learning that a modest creperie along Gurney Drive has been garnering great reviews, I could not resist the temptation. Hubby and I first shared a Mango Crepe (RM13). It was incredibly scrumptious, and I just had to have more. We next shared an Espresso Crepe (RM11), which I loved even more because the coffee-based crepe rendered it less sweet. I can now understand why this no-frills eatery ranks high on places to eat in Georgetown.
Crepe Cottage (77-A, Gurney Drive) is situated two doors away from Restoran 77 Famous Curry Fish Head

Very eager to start eating my Mango Crepe

Nicely fanned out, decorated with mango slices and topped with a scoop of mango ice cream

The very mouth-watering Espresso Crepe (coffee ice cream on a bed of coffee-based crepe)

     I was not going to leave Penang without having my fill of "koay teow thng" so on our last morning, we tried the one sold at another coffee shop along Jalan Burma. We enjoyed it too but should we return to Seng Lee coffee shop, I will undoubtedly give the Indian "mi goreng" a try. Throughout our breakfast there, the Indian uncle was frying non-stop and the aroma of his fried noodles permeated the air.
Seng Lee Coffee Shop is located at 270, Jalan Burma (intersection of Bangkok Lane and Jalan Burma).

Even in looks, Penang "koay teow thng" is more attractive than Ipoh's version.

     After we checked out of our homestay, we met up with Jason, hubby's cousin. Having a nose for good food, Jason took us to the Super Tanker food court at Lip Sin Garden. He had taken us there on a previous visit and I remember it was another food paradise. Again, I ordered the fried "mi sua" and was pleased that it was as good as I remembered it to be.
This Super Tanker food court is located in Lengkok Nipah 2, Bayan Lepas.

Fried "mi sua" with a dash of "sambal"

     With that plate of fried vermicelli, our March 2017 Penang food trip drew to its conclusion. Now it's time to burn off the calories. And the first workout was lots of walking at the newly-opened Design Village, Malaysia's biggest outlet mall.


  1. The mention of Penang's assam laksa always makes me crave for it. Then its the Hokkien mee and Or Chien. The mango crepes looks delicious and I will have to search it out when I am next in Penang.

    1. Oh yes, the crepes were most delicious. The place is not difficult to locate.