Friday, 1 April 2011

Noodles in Penang, Malaysia

Penang was, at times, a struggle. There were so many dishes to try and almost not enough meal times to fit them in. Relatives of the friend I was travelling with were perfect hosts; they stuffed us full of delicious dishes at any opportunity and in two afternoons, we slipped off to have second, third and fourth lunches before coming home, greeted by a table groaning with curries and rice.

After a quick curry, we headed straight for Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Dozens of food stalls all in one place were perfect for our snacking need. Chee cheung fun, above, were slippery buggers.

Prawn mee were 'so prawny it's almost as if it's not real'. I liked the mixture of egg noodles and thin vermicelli rice noodles. Three or four other dishes later, I faded into a sweaty mess and retreated to a nearby McDonald's for air conditioning and to groan in a lady-like fashion.

Elsewhere, on Jalan MacAllister we encountered another cluster of food stalls. A char kway kak dish, made with thicker chunks of rice cake was full of the smoky flavour the Chinese so praise, 'wok hei' - the breath of the wok. Crisp pieces of pork fat were interspersed in the bean sprouts.

Roast pork and wonton noodles were ordered with the broth separate; my friend prefers his noodle dishes dry - imagine! Pickled chillis added piquancy, the noodles were springy.

My friend pointed at a little white pot and asked what it was, when the lady added it to our Hokkien mee (above). "Pork fat. Lard." No wonder they were so moreish.

Curry mee were mild in curry flavour, but underneath the innocent surface lurked wibbly, wobbly chunks of pig's blood, tofu-like in texture. Tiny little cockles swam about in the broth, while spongy tofu puffs soaked up goodness. This was one of the more challenging dishes (apparently - I have no problems with blood) and also a favourite.

We ate in classier joints too (i.e. ones with a roof). This place did only char kway teow and Asam laksa, a sour and spicy noodle soup made with fish and a speciality of Penang.

Nothing was over £1 per dish. Everything was utterly delicious. I doubt we even touched upon the surface of noodlism in our 3 days in Penang.

16 comments:

Chris said...

It all looks fantastic, and whose is the awesome tiger T-shirt?

Cook in a Curry said...

Love places like these. Food ic cheap as chips but sooo delicious! The photos look amazing.

tehbus said...

I love Penang. I love Malaysia. I am yearning that chee cheung fun.

Mr Noodles said...

I'm so envious. I'd be eating 6-7 times a day with all of these different kinds of noodle.

I hope there's more noodle action from the rest of your trip.

Helen said...

JELS!! That's Nabeel's t-shirt I assume Pople, and what a beaut it is.

Pavel said...

It all looks so GOOD! Intrigued by the pigs blood, I wonder how they get it so it doesn't set firm?

Dangerous Variable said...

You are back at hometown. Oh how I missed it from London. So hungry now :s

Andrew said...

Loved Penang when I stayed there - oh so many years ago - those pictures brought it all back; though I guess it has changed hugely over the years...

Sharmila said...

Oh, this looks like food heaven. Never made it to Malaysia, and desperate to do so. Looking forward to your other posts about your travels!

Gin and Crumpets said...

Seasoned with lad. Excellent.

An American in London said...

Lol. Love that you went into a McD's for the air conditioning. That sounds perfect.

With hawker food this delish, why go to any place with a roof, really? :)

Christine said...

Everything looks absolutely delicious. You're making me miss my hometown (Penang!!) so terribly... Thanks for sharing such lovely photos though :)

Joshua said...

You covered a lot of the famous Penang dishes there. Too few renditions of them available here.

Peter said...

Good God! I haven't been to Penang for more than 20 years. Going again is an absolute must. I must say your lensmanship has improved with the Nex.

Terd said...

Love Malaysia and I agree it's a mare trying to fit all the food in when you're there.

Next time I may have to eat and then throw it up, then eat another dish, like the Romans did.

mycookinghut said...

Looking at all the food you had made me really hungry! I miss Malaysian food! Being so far from home, I sometimes just have to make at home!