Archive for the ‘Tidbits and Snacks’ 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.

 

SAMOSA

What it is: Savoury samosa & curry puffs are popular deep-fried snacks sold mainly at Indian and Malay street food stalls. They’re made out of dough cut into small pieces and stuffed with a savoury spicy filling. Fillings might vary slightly but most vendors have the vegetarian version filled with essentially spicy curry paste, potatoes and onions. The meaty version with chicken meat is also available. Samosas are normally triangular-shaped while curry puffs are crescent-shaped and tapered at the ends to keep the filling intact.

Flavour Guide on Penang Hawker Food - Samosa

Deep-fried samosas make the perfect snack

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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

Batang Rojak which is also known as chiam-chiam often draws crowds for its skewers of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. This relatively cheap eat comes with a variety of seasonal fruits which includes young mangoes, jambu air, pineapples, guavas, star fruit, papaya, Chinese water chestnuts and umbras.

Skewers of fruity goodness in Penang by what2seeonline.com

Preparing the fruits and vegetables

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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

If you are looking for good pineapple cakes, you cannot pass up visiting Gartien. Located on Lorong Macalister in Penang, Gartien is possibly one of the most well-known pineapple cake makers.

Gartien version of pineapple cake is rolled up in a rectangular pillow of buttery crumbly dough encasing a ball of tangy pineapple filling. Each piece is individually packed in Japanese washi paper to preserve its freshness.

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BY CK Lam

Operating since 1974 and managed now by the third generation, the fruit stall sited under a big tree in front of Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Seberang Perai Utara offers fresh cut fruits and vegetables on sticks. These refreshing fruit sticks are more commonly known as ‘batang rojak’ or ‘chiam-chiam’.

Just pick and choose from the 15 to 16 varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The selection includes young mangoes, jambu air,  pineapples, guavas, star fruits, umbras, cuttle fish, hard boiled quail eggs and deep-fried fish balls. Vegetable lovers will appreciate the fresh choices of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and turnips. Pineapple and guava are the crowd pleasers and one particular favorite bite is the cuttle fish.

Batang Rojak Cucuk – Fruit On Sticks by what2seeonline.com

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BY CK Lam

Many dessert outlets are sprouting across Penang Island and one popular one is Hui Lau Shan. This Hong Kong’s dessert chain journeyed to Penang with its first location in Gurney Plaza. The healthy dessert outlet has since been attracting stream of customers.

The attraction at Hui Lau Shan (HLS) is mango and its menu offers a whole wide range of selections of this tropical fruit. According to senior manager Yvonne Tan, the outlet is using two varieties of quality mango. One is the golden water lily mango from Thailand and the other from Philippines. Each variety is slightly different in flavor, with the sweetness of Thai mangoes for the ice blended and aromatic Philippines mango for topping.

At the food review, we are offered many tempting sweet desserts and not to mention some savory ones.

Fruitties Combo Series
The Fresh Fruitties Sweetie Ball with Double Juices (RM14.90) is an eye-appealing colourful dish. One can choose from a selection of juices which include watermelon, coconut, honeydew melon, mango, papaya and cantaloupe with a fragrant smell.

This dessert is presented with watermelon and mango juice together with glutinous rice balls. The natural sweetness of both the juices was delicious eaten with the chewy glutinous rice balls and the fruit balls.

Hui Lau Shan @Gurney Plaza, Penang offers mangolicious fun by what2seeonline.com

Juicy fruits – strawberry, kiwi, mango, honey dew, cantaloupe and watermelon

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BY CK Lam

Golden Crust, a kiosk with its core of freshly baked hand made gourmet pies, tarts & quiches opened recently in Gurney Plaza. There is a range of fillings and crust including crust pastry and puff pastry. I was overwhelmed by the selections on the menu.

The cottage pie is rich, with a filling of meatiness, green peas, corn, carrots, blend of fresh herbs and a layer of creamy mashed potatoes. The combination of flavors are well-balanced. It is well received by customers, especially for those who like the smooth texture potato with light gravy.

Golden Crust @Gurney Plaza - Gourmet Pies, Tarts & Quiches by what2seeonline.com

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* This article was published in the New Straits Times (Life & Times) on 15th June 2011.

Chulia Street in Penang is not only known for its many budget hotels but also for inexpensive meals. It’s a popular dining destination with locals and tourists alike. At night, a section of the road is lined with stalls selling a good mix of street food. Do not make your choice immediately. Take your time and have a closer look at what’s on offer.

Worthy of mention are curry mee and wantan noodles. Springy wantan noodles are served with slices of char xiu (barbecued pork) and wantan (dumplings). For the curry mee, medium-sized fish ball is added to the standard ingredients of coconut milk, cockles, blood jelly, cuttlefish and tau pok (fried tofu). The slightly sweet coconut milk is flavoured with a blend of aromatic spices. Expect a queue as the curry mee is popular.

Chulia Street Hawker Food by CK Lam  of what2seeonline.com

Chulia Street curry mee

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The Spaniards started it, the Aussies are enjoying it and so did myself. It was a day full of fun and food in my Perth holiday. After half a day of shopping in Fremantle, I met a few of my relatives and headed down to Chocolateria San Churro on Freo’s cafe strip.

Chocolateria San Churro in Fremantle, Perth by what2seeonline.com

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