Thursday, November 4, 2010

Penang eats (that I ate while in Penang!)

A delicious lunch for just RM4.90 (~ US$1.59)

Greetings again from Hong Kong! "But of course", I hear you say, dear reader -- only the truth of the matter is that I only just got back to the Big Lychee a few hours ago after a little more than a week's stay in the food(ie) paradise that is Penang.

The main purpose was to attend my brother's mega wedding dinner (which included/was preceded by a traditional Chinese tea ceremony along with more informal cocktails). What with my having been under the weather lately, I also felt obliged to make time (more or less a whole day, all in all) to go for a general medical check up. (Since my home state has become a major regional center of medical tourism, this arrangement ended up working pretty well for me.) But as the photo at the top of this blog entry shows, I also definitely wasn't going to miss out on making the rounds of my favorite Penang eateries while back there!

As has become a ritual of sorts, my mother was there to meet me at the airport and took me straight to the Perak Lane stall that is famous for its fish head bee hoon (but whose pork balls and kidneys are what I like to have with my white rice noodles). And over the weekend (since they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays -- albeit from 7am to 7pm on each of those days), I went to patronise my favorite Malay assam laksa stall at Shamrock Beach even though it now is sadly minus its founder, the late Makcik Putih (who passed away in February of last year).

Other foods that I cannot miss on visits back to Penang -- and definitely didn't this time around -- include the Hokkien Mee from Kwai Lock Coffee Shop, the seafood (crabs, of course, but much, much more!) at Crab Village and Majestic Rojak (which really is, well, majestic!). And I also ended up having suckling pig -- thanks to my family playing hosts to guests who came from England, New Zealand, Singapore and elsewhere for my brother's wedding but all seemed to pine for that particular dish (which is not native to Penang but which is done very well at May Garden).

Additionally, for the first time in years, I went to the Malay food stall in Tanjung Tokong that was introduced to me by the powerhouse husband-wife pair of Lubbis and Khoo Salma some years back to get myself some delicious home cooked goodness -- and for a mega bargain price. And for those who can't see what I got for RM4.90 (i.e., around HK$12.33), here's detailing that it was curry fish roe (yum!), a slice of sour as well as spicy curry pineapple (more yum!!), fried chicken liver and kidneys (I know... not for everybody but mega yum to me!!!) and a fresh vegetable mix of cut kacang botol, onions and bits of red chili peppers (for added oomph!) on top of a fairly substantial portion of fluffy white rice.

And should there be any doubt: yes, I'm salivating upon recalling that wonderful lunch feast... and am already making plans to go back to that stall for more the next time I return to Penang... ;b


Anonymous said...

Don't tease us with your cheap and delicious lunch options! I don't think I've ever had kacang botol before. Is it similar to okra?

YTSL said...

Hi duriandave --

That'll teach you to visit Malaysia but not Penang as you did earlier this year! ;b

Re kacang botol: it lacks the at times -- for want of a better description -- oozy slime-feel of okra that makes that vegetable great for such as gumbos. Instead, it's crunchier and also can be eaten raw (with a dip of prawn paste or sambal (pounded chilli paste).

sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

Such great food. You're making me jealous. And such inexpensive prices. The big crabs in Hokkaido were very expensive. We had lots of good seafood but it seems very plain in comparison with your Penang dishes.

mister bijou said...

Brought back memories of staying in a clean and cheap Chinese hotel at the top end of Chulia Street from where I ventured out to eat some great Malay and Indian dishes at food stalls and cheap cafes. Wonderful!

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Yes, the cost of food in Penang is really low compared to most other places in the world. But remember: this is street (or, at best, dai pai dong stall) food we're talking about.

Also, I'll bet re your having had lots of good seafood in Japan but yeah, Malaysians generally do like their food with small spice than the Japanese. ;b

Hi mister bijou --

Sounds like you had a great time in Penang! Hope you also had some Penang Chinese food while there as it's quite different from Hong Kong's! :)