BY CK Lam
With its multiracial culture, Penang is a melting pot for lip-smacking cuisine. One great example would be the Mamak Mee Goreng, which some label as a “to-die-for” meal of its own. Mee Goreng served in Penang is slightly different from the rest of the nation. Apart from the usual ingredients such as bean sprouts, boiled potatoes, shrimp cake, egg and tofu, dried cuttlefish is also used, which makes Penang Mee Goreng stands out from the rest.
Just the mention of Mee Goreng and most locals will point you to the heart of Pulau Tikus, Penang. The Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng is legendary and people from all walks of life have been patronising this place for decades.
This stall, located in Seng Lee Café along Bangkok Lane, is operated by Mahboob Zakaria and his family. Mahboob’s family has been serving up fantastic Mee Goreng for approximately 80 years! The business has been passed down over several generations, and today Mahboob is the main cook behind the wok.
Aside from his excellent noodles, Mahboob is equally famous for his business acumen; he is a very friendly person and even speaks Hokkien dialect like a native Penangite!
Watching Mahboob working the wok is an art of its own – one hand frantically tossing and stir-frying the noodles and ingredients, while his other hand skillfully grips the wok and rotating it constantly in a circular manner!
Mahboob with his helper
When served to the table, the Mee Goreng emits steam like a Puffing Billy. Just before eating, squeeze in some lime juice and mix it all up! It makes a whole world of a difference, especially for this particular Mee Goreng. The noodle is relatively moist, bursting with aroma and a slight tinge of smokiness from the heated wok.
Taste wise, the noodles possess all the flavors to tingle the taste buds – sweet, sour and spicy. Made from prawn stock and mashed sweet potatoes, the gravy furnishes the noodles with sweetness while the chili tomato paste contributes to the hints of sourness and spiciness. On top of that, the Mee Goreng draws blossoming flavor from the dried cuttlefish. These two are the main contributors to the tastiness of the dish.
Mee Goreng – RM5
According to Mahboob, the secret for serving up a fantastic plate of noodles is the method of preparation and frying. Besides Mee Goreng, Mahboob dishes out Mee Rebus too. Click here for the google Map Location.
Seng Lee Café
270 Jalan Burma
Business Hours: Morning till late afternoon
Closed on Mondays
* This is a reproduction of my article published in Makansutra