Koay Teow Soup
Years ago I blogged about a delicious Koay Teow Soup stall at Pitt Street Penang that uses local eels to make the fish balls. At that time, they were only renting a stall space in a coffee shop. But not long after that they were forced to move out due to conflicts with the coffee shop’s owner. What seemed like a sad turn of events turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as their business improved tremendously after they relocated to their very own shoplot.
The fish balls are somewhat different from what you would normally have in Klang Valley, where the latter is usually firm and bouncy. Here, they are made to taste softer so if you are expecting the same you will be disappointed. It is still nice nonetheless, just different style in terms of texture. If you are wondering, all the fish balls they serve here are hand-made by the son. Before their business expanded to the current state they used to make the fish balls from scratch.
Kimberly Street (Lebuh Kimberly) is one of the best spots in Penang to enjoy hawker food in the evening. In this street alone there are four ‘Kings’ of food, a title given to the hawkers by some TV show. The Four Heavenly Kings (yeah, same title as that 4 singers in Hong Kong in the 90s) are: Char Koay Teow stall in front of Sin Guat Keong Coffee Shop, Sky Emperor Koay Teow Soup, Koay Chap and the Chinese Dessert shop.
This round, Sky Emperor Koay Teow Soup stall is the one being featured. The nicely stacked braised whole chicken thighs and wings would definitely catch your attention when you walk pass this stall, something that you won’t see in other Koay Teow Soup stalls. It’s pretty obvious these are also their specialties, much better than their Koay Teow, which I find to be above average at best.
Any given person would give these scrumptious drumsticks another look.
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.
Contrary to the many good feedbacks about Restaurant Lin’s 7th Village Koay Teow Soup, I found it to be average tasting at best. I was back to Penang not long ago and decided to explore more Butterworth food. After researching for a while, I found this Koay Teow Soup to be one of the highly recommended food around. Seems to be true if judging on the morning crowd alone.
The main reason I thought it was average was because I couldn’t find anything outstanding about the noodle soup at all. The soup was bland with skimpy ingredients. And, perhaps more importantly, the minced meat that was so crucial in making or breaking Koay Teow Soup was quite tasteless and tough. Click here to continue reading >