BY CK Lam
Chee Cheong Fun is a dish of hand cut steamed flat rice noodle rolls without any filling. This little bites is a popular snack in Penang as it is simply tasty, filling and the price is reasonably cheap. The taste suits both the old and the young.
There are many Chee Cheong Fun stalls around town, the taste and texture may vary from each outlet. The rice noodles are mostly sourced from the supplier, some with springy texture while others slightly chewy. It all comes drizzled with the three basic sauces – sweet sauce (tee cheou), shrimp paste (hae ko) and chili sauce along with a dash of oil and toasted sesame seeds.
Having it drenched in the shrimp paste is Penang’s specialty. You can choose to have all the sauces or request for less sauce depending on your preference. I tend to enjoy mine with all the sauces except the sweet sauce.
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New Lane is truly a street food center in Penang and the place is jam packed with many hawker food stalls and food hunters. Tables are set up in the open, even occupying part of a parking lot of an office complex. The lane is accessible from Macalister Road and Dato Kramat Road. You have to bring a big appetite as there are many delicious goodies at this place.
There are a few stalls that I usually patronized. I love the Grill Chicken located in the Sin Yin Nam coffee shop. The chicken wings and drumsticks are simply delicious. The aroma is so seductive that could drive you insane.
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A few bloggers and myself had a late breakfast of dim sum on a Sunday at the invitation of Criz Lai at Fun Tea Garden. The group of us met up at the shop which is located opposite Pizza Hut, Prangin Mall. The huge varieties of dim sum and the presence of everyone makes this a joyful gathering. It was really nice meeting all of them. Many thanks to Criz for arranging it!
Since I had such a late breakfast, I skip lunch and ended having some hawker food with my hubby around teatime. We went to patronized the stalls opposite Traders Hotel (formerly Shangri-La Hotel) in Magazine Road, Penang which offers delicious and cheap Penang food. The stalls are neatly line up on this lane beside Kimnovak which specializes in school uniform and accessories! I use to patronized the shop for my son’s uniforms, but have missed out on the eateries then.
There was a Curry Mee stall and to my delight, they do serve Curry Chee Cheong Fun (CCF) as well! From the mint leaves to the cubes of coagulated pig’s blood, cuttlefish, taufoo bok and cockles, it was goodness CCF all the way. This version is totally different from the Chicken CCF in Cintra Street.
Besides CCF, we had some fried beehoon. Every strand of beehoon is coated with black soy sauce and fried to taste. I like the beehoon which is quite spongy and QQ. Hubby had a second helping of this delicious noodle.
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For some of the best of Penang’s hawker food and snacks, pay a visit to Cintra Street – a bustling street located in the heart of George Town, Penang. Entrance to this one way street is via Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong. Its located in the same vicinity as KOMTAR and Prangin Mall. You will be able to find many varieties of foods and snacks, from dawn to dusk.
As you stroll along this narrow street, you will find the famed Yau Char Kuai stall on your left. They used to run the stall on the ground floor of the People’s Park flats just behind this street. However, I reckon they moved out to the main road so that its more accessible to the public. Its available from late morning till night. They even supply it to other hawkers as well, especially to those selling porridge, bak kut teh and tong-sui.
Amazingly, the Yau Char Kuai (sometimes known as You Tiu) maintains its crisp nature even after a few hours. Definitely the makings of a good teatime, served with a cup of kopi-o kau.
The culinary journey continues! Wen Chang Hainan Chicken Rice shop; located just right opposite, sells traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice. Roast chicken, white chicken and loh bak are just part of its items. Other than chili sauce, they do have the grinded ginger which is a nice complement to go with white chicken.
This stall was previously located a stone’s throw away from the Dumpling shop (read below) and has since made it big; relocating to this shop of their own.
Right beside the chicken rice shop is Ng Kee Cake Shop. This bakery shop sells a wide selection of freshly baked Cantonese biscuits and snacks. They also accept orders of the biscuits for special occasion – birthdays and weddings. I do drop in once in a while to treat myself to a box of pepper biscuit. The biscuit is crunchy with nuts, sesame seed and pepper powder.
A few doors down the bakery shop, you will come across the all time favourite Dim Sum shop, De Tai Tong Cafe. Dim Sum is served during breakfast and dinner, while there is an ala-carte menu for lunch. For noodle lovers, do try out their noodle – Yee Foo Meen, Char Hor Fan and Hong Toh Meen.
Opposite the dim sum cafe is a small stall selling pancake and steam rice cake. It may look modest and simple, but I reckon this stall sells the best Ham Chim Pang & Pak Tong Goe in Penang. Among the few varieties of Ham Chim Pang ranging from sweet tau sar, with five spice powder and with glutinous rice.
Just look at the amount of five spice powder which gives it a slightly salty taste. Been having it for years now, and still enjoying it every time.
If you happen to be in town earlier in the evening, you can buy it directly from their shop which is just located behind De Tai Tong Dim Sum cafe. Of course its always fresher when its just out of the frying pan.
Across the junction of Cintra/Campbell, you will see the popular Dumpling shop – Cintra Food Corner on your left. This place is famous for its bak chang, tau chang, yam cakes and red bean tong-sui boiled with dried Mandarin peel. Environment is much better now since it has shifted into this shop as compared to its earlier trading days by the roadside.
Two doors away from the ‘chang’ shop is the Curry Chee Cheong Fun stall. You get to savour this curry version with tender pieces of chicken (only drumstick) and soft potato for RM3.50. The spicy flavors of the curry chicken makes this a delicious meal. You are allowed to bring the CCF and consume it in the ‘chang’ shop
Spoilt for choices? Me too! Which food are you going to have, the next time you visit Cintra Street? No matter which, Happy Eating!
Updated on 14/10/2010 : There are two more food outlets just opposite the CCF – the chu char at Sun Yoon Kee Restaurant and the neighbouring chicken and fish porridge.