When I was talking to the Chinese Jawa Mee seller at Kek Seng I asked him about his favorite food. It turned out to be Koay Teow Soup. Then he recommended me to try one of his favorites at a nearby coffee shop called Kim Lee. According to him the stall has a long history and they use duck meat to boil the soup, which makes it really delicious.
“Just look for an old man preparing the noodles”, he said. And little did I know Kim Lee is located just next to Seow Fong Lye, where the delicious Chee Cheong Fun can be found.
Uncle Ah Hai (阿海) started following his father to sell Koay Teow Theng since he was 12. It was during WW2 and Penang was under Japanese occupation then. Their first stall actually started out at the old coffee shop where the Chee Cheong Fun used to be at too.
Later when Hong Leong bank purchased and turned the coffee shop into their branch, they shifted to the five-foot way just across the street. But continuous summons issued by the local council forced Ah Hai to move again five years ago, this time to Kim Lee – his current location.
Ah Hai’s Koay Teow Theng is still done according to the old recipe he inherited from his father and it still produces the same traditional flavor. While pork bones have always been used as the main ingredient to season the broth, chicken or duck can be included to improve the taste. But here both chicken and duck are used by Ah Hai, which makes the soup deliciously sweet despite its clear appearance.
A normal bowl costs only RM2.50 with toppings including mixed slices of chicken and duck meat, two fish balls then garnished with garlic bits for the extra aroma. The koay teow is exceptionally smooth and not clumped together like a ball of string too, which was great for me to slurp it up lol.
Whole chicken and duck can be seen next to his stall, carved into thin slices to be used for the topping.
To date, Ah Hai has been selling Koay Teow Theng for 60 years and his dedication to his profession is really worth respecting. Even more when he is the one and only person running the stall. This means the tasks of ingredients prepping, cooking, taking orders, delivering food and washing all fall on his shoulders. Aside being impressed, I can’t help but also feel pity for him for having to work so hard at his age.
Anyway I think many people out there already know about this Koay Teow Th’ng due to its long history. But for those who haven’t heard nor tried before just like me previously, do give it a try before Ah Hai decides to retire one day. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
Koay Teow Theng 阿海粿條汤
Kedai Makanan Kim Lee (behind Hong Leong Bank Jalan Burma)
Lorong Macalister, Penang
GPS Coordinates: N5 25.033 E100 19.746
Open daily from 7.30am to 3pm. Days off not fixed