Chee Cheong Fun
A few days ago a friend and I were driving around SS2 looking for a place for tea break and noticed a new establishment called Hainan Tea (previously Leo’s Cafe). We took a quick glance at the menu and found some interesting stuff so we decided to give it a try. Plus, the outlet looked pretty cool and cozy.
Although it’s still kinda refreshing albeit weird to see Chee Cheong Fun sold in kopitiam, it is not something new for Hainanese ones. You would have probably seen it before at Hainan Tea Station in Lowyat Plaza.
The Hainan Cheong Fun @ RM3.50 had an appetizing golden-brown appearance largely attributed to the mix of sweet sauce and peanut butter. Honestly I was very skeptical about the taste at first but surprisingly (and luckily) it turned out to be quite OK. Don’t expect silky, openable rice rolls though because they were tightly sealed and lumpy.
Hainan Tea with gula melaka @ RM4.80 (recommended) and Hainan Cham @ RM3.90.
Besides the peanut butter Chee Cheong Fun at Island Glades, another one not only famous in Penang and throughout Malaysia but even in the overseas is the pushcart Chee Cheong Fun stall outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe at Macalister Lane.
Started since 1955, it has a history of more than half a century with customers coming to take away from as far as Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Like many other successful business owners, the husband and wife team of this Chee Cheong Fun stall had a humble beginning. Their recipe of success is continuous improvisation of their rice rolls and prawn paste through customer feedbacks.
Contrary to popular beliefs that their silky rice rolls (‘fun’) are self-made, they are in fact produced by a small factory which also caters to the Chee Cheong Fun sellers island-wide. In order to ensure their rice rolls are able to stand out among the rest, their ingredients are bought and mixed by themselves before being fed into the machine. Because of this, their rice rolls had to be specially produced last. Their unique recipe is also pivotal to the rice rolls’ silky smooth texture, a more translucent appearance and can stay fresh without being refrigerated for up to 24 hours!
A small portion of Chee Cheong Fun (2 rolls) cost RM1.70 while 3 rolls cost RM2.50 and they can be ordered in either ‘opened’ or ‘closed’ form. ‘Closed’ means the rice rolls will be served in its original form – rolled up, firm and intact.
If ordered ‘opened’ the rice rolls would have its ‘opening’ peeled off by hand then loosened into a koay teow like shape, making them easier to coat with the prawn paste. Usually, a mixture of ‘opened’ and ‘closed’ rice rolls would be given. Shown here is the wife, Madam Lim Mei Fong gently opening the rice rolls.
Just when I thought I am a failed Penangite for having not tasted inarguably the most famous Chee Cheong Fun in the island, I was wrong all the while lol. The Chee Cheong Fun stall I am referring is the one at Genting Cafe nearby Green Lane at Island Glades, where they ingeniously mix the ‘heh ko’ (dark prawn paste) with peanut butter for that special tantalizing touch.
Apparently, I had it once a few years back when I was at the island looking for my new job’s location. And we had our lunch at Genting Cafe shortly after that. In that super noobish post I wrote four years ago I only mentioned the Curry Mee (which in fact was quite the awesome by the way) but nothing about the Chee Cheong Fun.