I could still remember my first time having the Char Koay Teow at Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa opposite the Pulau Tikus police station. It was particularly memorable due to the non-existant parking space (near to market) and the coffee shop was unusually stuffy with little ventilation. And of course, the Char Koay Teow is kind of special too, as it comes with squids and you have the option of ‘upgrading’ it to a duck egg version for extra 50 cents.
Instead of relying on the seafood sweetness achieved by using huge prawns, Sin Hwa’s Char Koay Teow is red hot, which focuses more on wok hei and spiciness – the oomph factor. And not to mention cheaper too compared to those selling at a crazy price of RM7-RM10 per plate.
Apom Manis is a common food in Penang originating from India that resembles crepes, popular for breakfast or just snacking. One of the oldest apom manis stall in Penang that is still operating can be found at Solok Moulmein in Pulau Tikus. It all started back in 1920 and the family-run business has been operating at Swee Kong Coffee Shop every morning faitfully for the past 80 years.
The current owner, Mr.Ravi inherited the trade from his father and currently, he is assisted by his cousin (in pic) and brother since. And do you know that their apom manis is so delicious that the Sultan of Pahang actually flies them into his Majesty’s palace once a month? Doing what else other than becoming his Majesty’s personal apom manis cook!
Besides the apom manis’ tastiness, one of the reasons to visit this stall is to witness the preparation process. The apom manis here are still made according to centuries-old tradition, using charcoal stove and clay pots instead of gas heated steel pots. You simply won’t see this sight anywhere else in Penang, or even Malaysia.
And although sturdy looking, these custom made to order clay pots could only last at most for 6 months when the moisture in the clay expands so much it ultimately cracks the pot.