If you are in Penang looking for Loh Bak, one of the places I would recommend you to try is at Kheng Pin Cafe. The coffee shop is located at the junction of Jalan Sri Bahari and Penang road. The owner and cook, whom I affectionately address as Uncle Lau is a friendly and chirpy man. Although his Loh Bak is delicious, what I like the most are his deep fried squid and prawn fritters, which are prepared upon order only to ensure freshness.
I asked Uncle Lau to prepare a person’s mixed portion for me, it was only a few bucks.
The dipping sauces are his own recipe and you could taste the difference all right. Like I said earlier, the deep fried squid is a winner here simply for tasting fresh with the desired doneness – not undercooked nor overcooked to a rubbery texture.
Uncle Lau used to be hiatus for a few months throughout the year to be at Singapore. Reason being he was invited and flown to the republic to dish out his famous Loh Bak at various hotels’ Penang Street Food Buffet. Sometimes some other hawkers would follow along too, like Ah Leng from Ah Leng Char Koay Teow. Now, you could expect him to be around all the time because he has decided not to do it anymore. Good news for us I guess.
When asked about the secret to his Loh Bak’s deliciousness, he responded by saying that freshness is the key. True, because that’s what I could taste from his Loh Bak. Plus, he has a fridge to store the Loh Bak and seafood when there are no orders coming in to retain their freshness. To prepare his signature prawn fritters, he used a species of shrimps called “Kuan Yin Shrimps” (directly translated from Mandarin) which he gets on a daily basis.
He also sells raw Loh Bak to those who would want to prepare it at home. It is particularly popular during festive seasons like the Chinese New Year and people would usually pre-order from him. Despite being made without preservatives, the Loh Bak could still be stored in the freezer for a few days while retaining the frehness and flavor. But it is always recommended to consume them as soon as possible.
The other goodies that Uncle Lau has at his Loh Bak stall. Feel free to pick your own, or get a personal recommendation from him if you are unsure of what to order.
Whether you call it Ngo Hiang or Loh Bak, this is definitely a must-try here. You won’t find this taste anywhere outside Penang. Highly recommended.
Kheng Pin Cafe
80, Penang Road,
GPS Co-ordinates: N05 25.019 E100 19.486
Opens from 6.30am till finish