Archive for the ‘Street Food’ Category

BY CK Lam

Penang is a hawker paradise with a huge variety of interesting street food stalls offering plenty of good and reasonably priced Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine. I revel in the delights of hawker food, sold throughout the market area, neighbourhood stalls and the narrow back alleys of Penang.

Some of the stalls offer sitting areas while others have none, so you may have to eat while standing up – a bit of a challenge. However, it’s an even bigger challenge to decipher what goes into each dish and just where those flavours dancing on your palate stem from. This is where I can help.

 Teochew Cendol

What it is: Teochew Cendol is definitely the most popular dessert in Penang. The dessert is made of finely shaved ice, boiled red beans, aromatic palm sugar or gula Melaka, creamy coconut milk and the queen ingredient is the soft green bean flour noodles flavoured by fragrant pandan juice called cendol.

Flavour Guide on Penang Hawker Food: Cendol

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BY CK Lam

The Cecil Street Market Food Court in Penang has wafting aromas of food emanating from its rows of hawker stalls. You can find just about any hawker food in the large food court, commonly known as “chit teow lor ban san” (7th road market), named after the well-known market located right beside it. The last few years saw the upgrading of this food court that gave it its more polished eating environment, but the price and serving portion remain reasonable.

A firm favourite is the koay teow thng from Lum Lai, flat rice noodle served in a bowl of clear and flavourful soup. Toppings include pieces of fish cakes, springy fish balls, blood jelly and shredded duck meat. Add-ons, such as a whole duck drumstick, its liver or gizzard, are also available.

Penang Hawker Food at Cecil Street Market Food Court, Penang by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

Among the many desserts in Penang, the cendol really stands out with its flavor and texture. This sweet Indian dessert is about having the right combination of ingredients and it is served ice cold.

BM Best Cendol with Pulut by what2seeonline.com

Cendol with Pulut

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BY CK Lam

On the busy Jalan Danby in Bukit Mertajam is a stall that has been attracting customers with its serving of “cup rice” for lunch. This simple, wholesome and tasty dish is childhood food for many Penangites.

BM Steamed Cup Rice by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

For a light meal when in Penang, head over to Yik Kheng Kee coffee shop on Kimberley Street in Penang. The owners, Ong Khye Jim (full blooded Hainanese) and his wife have been selling this unique humble stir-fried noodle dish for over three decades!

The preparation of the noodle has since changed. He used to fry the noodle over charcoal fire, but now uses gas fire to cater the demand of his impatient customers. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop regulars from keep coming back. The place is especially packed during lunch hour.

Hailam Char Noodle at Yik Kheng Kee Coffeeshop, Penang by what2seeonline.com

An earlier photo of Yik Kheng Kee, started by Ong’s grandfather

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BY CK Lam

Street food in Penang is simply irresistible with multitude delightful culinary choices. Food stalls are set up by the road side while others are located in food courts.

But food courts are gaining popularity in recent years, unlike in Singapore, where fancy food courts dot the island. Locals find them convenient, with all their favourite hawker food under one roof and its cleaner environment.

By far the largest food court for Penang is the New World Park Food Court. In total, there are twenty over stalls serving a good mix of Penang’s street food.

Unlike any food court or hawker centre, this food court is design with exceptionally high roof for ventilation. The sitting area is brightly lit both from the natural light and the overhead spot lights. The stalls are well ventilated so much so that the smoke from the cooking does not travel into the dining area. The washing of plates and cutlery is carried out in a centralised wash area to ensure cleanness.

Like any food court, there are some stalls that are particularly popular as compared to others. One such stall is curry noodle. The lady owner is generous with the topping of mint leaves which gives the stock and noodle a green and fresh taste. The stock is not overwhelmed with thick coconut milk but rather on the lighter side. The appealing homemade curry paste has a strong spice aroma.

Penang Hawker Food at New World Park Food Court by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

The up-and-coming World Street Food Congress (WSFC) organised by Makansutra will take place on 31st May till 9th June 2013. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, the ten-day festival held at the F1 Pit Building and Paddock (1 Republic Boulevard) is not too be missed by all foodies and aficionados.

K.F. Seetoh, founder of Makansutra and TV host of The Food Surprise! on TLC Asia, unveiled the details of the WSFC at a press conference held last February at the Spice Market in New York City which comprises three main prongs:

- World Street Food Jamboree
- World Street Food Dialogue
- World Street Food Awards

The World Street Food Jamboree (31 May to 9 June) is a mega street food feast whereby around 40 of the world’s best street food masters gather and showcase their products. Visitors get to learn culinary cultures and enjoy new taste of hand-picked street foods from Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, Mexico, Malaysia, Denmark, China and Singapore.

Keep an eye on the many exciting offerings, such as Pisang Roa (smoked fish sambal) and Kerak Telor (crispy glutinous rice frittata) from Indonesia, Banh Da Tom Hai Phong (prawn and fish red rice noodle) and Banh Khot (seafood rice cake) from Vietnam, Shrimps & Grits from United States and Bao Luo Fen from China. Not to be missed is the popular Penang Assam Laksa from Malaysia. This spicy-sour fish base soup noodle was voted No. 7 under CNNGo International Food Survey as “foods worth traveling the world to gorge on”.

Among the showcase stalls at the jamboree are Meyers Kokken by Claus Meyer (co-owner of NOMA, Denmark) and Lion City from Vietnam. Visitors can expect roasted Pork Sandwich and Seafood Teppanyaki (Singapore style).

World Street Food Jamboree Feast, Singapore by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

Hawker food features prominently in the culinary culture in the state of Penang. Across the industry there are always places that constantly make headlines while others tend to be excellent but underrated, and the New Cathay Coffee Shop is classified as the latter.

Located along Lorong Kuching right off the ever bustling Burmah Road, this coffee shop is one of the decent places to sample a plethora of Penang’s street hawker fare. A favorite mostly with the locals, it begins to fill up as early as 7.30 in the morning and is absolutely packed during the peak hours of ten in the morning right through two in the afternoon.

For those opting for a lighter snack, the apom manis (Indian style pan cake) stall right beside the shop is an excellent alternative. Interestingly, the owner still maintains the tradition of using charcoal stoves and clay pots.

Hawker Food at Cathay Coffee Shop, Pulau Tikus by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

Chin Ho Plaza in Penang Times Square was the site of The Battle of Penang Hawker Masters 2012 competition finale, where 18 shortlisted hawkers compete in dishing out the best Penang hawker dishes. The event organised by Ivory Properties Group Bhd for the second year was packed with a crowd of 500 food lovers who came and watched the participants in action.

The competition comprising six categories, saw three participants from each category showcasing their skills. The six categories were Hokkien mee, curry mee, nasi lemak, char koay teow, pasembur and rojak, prepared with Khalis santan sawit, Carotino red palm oil and minyak Cap Buruh.

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Rojak

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Char Koay Teow

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Nasi Lemak

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BY CK Lam

In Penang there are many alleys and walking down a right one gives the opportunity of finding delicious street food. Located in a short alley on Hutton Lane, Penang is a cosy stall that wowed customers with its simple breakfast menu and nasi dalca.

We popped into the stall owned by M.M. Abdul Jaafar which has been operating before 1957.

Nasi dalca & charcoal toasted Bengali bread in Hutton Lane Penang by what2seeonline.com

Abdul Jaafar serving the breakfast crowd

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BY CK Lam

Penang is bursting with restaurants and hawker food stalls but some of the most outstanding are those in inner George Town, particularly along Kimberley Street. It is where the crowds go for a variety of flavours and indulgences.

The area is overwhelming with hawker delights. With most stalls and eateries beginning operation at night, just a walk up and down this historical street will bring you face to face with some of the best hawker food! Enjoy such fare as koay chiap, economy fried beehoon, char kway teow, sweet boiled Chinese desserts, lok-lok and kway teow th’ng.

Street food crawl at Kimberley Street, Penang by what2seeonline.com

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I had time to catch up with Taiwanese personality and celebrity Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻) during his recent trip to Penang, the island of delicious food. Popularly known as “Ah Hong”, he is now Penang Food Ambassador for Taiwan, since he was appointed by Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development and Culture, YB Danny Law Heng Kiang.

Chef Chen Hong - Penang Food Ambassador for Taiwan

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