Another famous food in Bukit Mertajam 大山脚 is the Malay Char Koay Teow, or also known as Koay Teow Goreng Basah. This is the first Malay food in my food blog so you can be rest assured of its tastiness. Bukit Mertajam is the place where this variant of char koay teow originated. It is so well received that many have taken the opportunity to setup their own char koay teow stalls in Penang.
Abang Is’ Malay Char Koay Teow’s ingredients include thin flat rice noodles (koay teow), beansprouts (taugeh), egg, lots of cockles (si ham) and huge sized fresh prawns. I have to admit the presentation is not that great. It will give the first timers a “oh my god, can this be eaten?” feeling. But trust me it is really good because I was one of the skeptics lol.
I remembered a story my friend (if you are reading this, you know who you are) told me where he brought his cousin from KL to try this kueh teow basah. At first his cousin thought it would be the regular Penang or KL char koay teow. So, he had this priceless OMG look on his face when the koay teow arrived.. But after he took the first mouthful, there’s no stopping for him. And he kept saying “wah, not bad wor”. Haha, that’s funny.
Usually when people talk about char koay teow in Penang, they will relate it with the Chinese. So, when I was told its a Malay version and basah (wet) some more, I didn’t even consider to try, like my friend’s cousin. But after listening to many good reviews about it even from my friends I decided to try it before leaving for Cyberjaya. Else, there won’t be any chance of reviewing it in the next few years to come.
The many cockles and prawns are the biggest contributor to the koay teow’s tastiness. From the looks it may seem like it should taste sourish like tomato sauce, because of the gravy’s color. But in fact it’s sweet. Sweet here doesn’t mean sugar that type of sweet, it’s more of the seafood’s sweetness. A usual plate costs RM3 and comes with 4 big prawns! The special one @ RM5 like the one I had has more koay teow, an extra fried egg and 5 prawns. It is so good I even finished all the gravy!
This stall used to be a small push cart manned by two guys only. The good business has helped it to grow into a small restaurant and now hires a few people to do the cooking. Opposite the restaurant would be Bukit Mertajam’s post office, it’s pink. Can you see it? Using the post office would be the easiest way to find this place. Or you can also look beside the old court house next to Telekom Malaysia.
Another stall I went is located in front of Courts Mammoth opposite AIA building, their koay teow is not bad too. The only difference I noticed is the thicker gravy. So, it’s up to your personal preferences.
Although the business is not as good as Abang Is’, it has managed to build up its own loyal customers.
Because of the dark photo, this is another one I took away from the same stall as above. Just to show its original color. I bought it for my sister and mother who were both curious about it. And if you didn’t know, Ah Xian from AEC came to Bukit Mertajam not long ago to promote this. Take a look at his review too if you can understand Chinese.
GPS Coordinates: N5 21.891 E100 27.574