Archive for May, 2010
Char Koay Teow is no doubt the most iconic food in Penang. For tourists, if you left Penang without tasting a plate of this popular fried flat rice noodles then your trip is definitely in vain. Because of its immense popularity some hawkers had to have something special in order to stand out from the stiff competition and win more customers.
Nowadays having the option to top up extra ‘liao’ (ingredients, usually prawns) in your Char Koay Teow to make a premium plate is no longer a new thing. Cheaper ‘premium’ ones cost at least RM5 and the most expensive one I had so far is RM10 at Ah Leng.
We have seen before Char Koay Teow topped with humongous prawns and mantis prawns. But what about bamboo clams? Now that’s a first for me. Introducing Tiger Char Koay Teow 老虎炒粿条 at Ping Hooi coffee shop along Carnavon Street, which has seen operated by the Yeow family for three generations over half a century.
Tiger premium Char Koay Teow here @ RM6 is a healthy portion that consists of extra prawns, bamboo clams and fried using duck egg – something common in the mainland Penang but quite rare in the island.
The current chef of Tiger Char Koay Teow is the grandson of the first generation who officially took over from his father a decade ago. But his experience in frying Char Koay Teow is an impressive 30 years and counting. Penang’s famous philanthropist Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew was a weekly customer at Tiger Char Koay Teow when he was still alive, which contributed to their popularity considerably.
Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Centre can be considered as my 2nd favorite in Singapore after Tian Tian. And if I am not mistaken, they serve Cantonese Chicken Rice instead of the more popular Hainanese Chicken Rice. I don’t really know their differences, since there are contrasting views in the history and even from the Chicken Rice chefs themselves but this is a good research topic.
The stall’s location at a basement food court of a rather quiet shopping complex filled with various maid agencies does not seem to affect its business. The queue for a plate of chicken rice here is so long it’s not even funny, it stretched all the way to the entrance!
Despite being advertised as boneless chicken rice, the chicken pieces do not come in boneless form by default. A sign saying “Please tell me if you want boneless chicken” is hung at the stall front lol. Not a problem to me anyway, either bony or boneless.
There is only one push cart stall along Lebuh Melayu (Malay Street) selling Wantan Mee and luckily it is a good one too. Actually, I happen to discover this stall by chance. One day I was driving along Lebuh Melayu and noticed an unknown noodle stall doing very brisk business despite its secluded location. At that moment I knew I had to explore it for myself.
The stall is run by Ah Hock, who has been selling his Wantan Mee here for a faithful 23 years and still counting. His specialties are his delicious self-made Wantan and sambal that not only adds a spicy kick into the noodles but also made it more appetizing. A small one costs RM2.50, RM3 for medium and RM3.50 for large.
I have to admit I am very skeptical when it comes to mixing any form of chili paste into my bowl of Wantan Mee – may it be chili oil, chili sauce or sambal because I am too used with having it with green chilies. But in this case, I highly recommend you to choose the sambal over the green chilies simply because the Wantan Mee just tastes much better with the former. In fact, I’d even suggest you to ask for more sambal!
Chinese Pancake is not a commonly available hawker food in Penang so you really got to know exactly where to find it. A popular stall, which is my mom’s favorite used to operate along Beach Street. It was so good she would travel all the way to Penang from Sungai Petani just to savour it. Recently she went back to look for it but the stall had mysteriously disappeared. To fulfill her cravings as well as my own curiosity, I did some research and found that the stall has moved to Church Street.
But what do you know? The unexpected happened again. When I went to the coffee shop at Church Street to look for the Chinese Pancake, I was told that the stall had shifted again. This time to Sin Kim San at Rangoon Road.
Luckily my perseverance paid off and I finally found the stall, currently operated by Madam Yeoh who took over from her aunt’s stall at Beach Street (during my mom’s time) years ago. When asked why she shifted to Sin Kim San, her reason was simple: at Sim Kin San she could sell everyday, while the coffee shop at Church Street closes on weekends because they only cater to the banking staff and customers.
If you didn’t know, this unique pancake is actually a Nyonya styled food. The pancake batter consisting of flour, sugar and alkaline water (air abu) is mixed and stirred on the spot for every fresh batch of pancake ordered.