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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Hawkers

When I was growing up in Penang, I remember there was a period of time where we’d head go grandm’s over the weekends and more often than not, having Hokkien Char for breakfast at the old shack right outside Weld Quay. That was how I developed a taste for this particular dish.

Ai Jiak Penang Food, PJ Seapark
Ai Jiak Penang Food, PJ Seapark

Hokkien Char (福建炒) simply meant Hokkien style fried noodle in Penang. While sharing almost similar name as Hokkien Mee in KL, the two dishes are quite different from each other.

While KL’s favorite comes with thick, fat noodle drench in very dark sauce, Penang’s style is quite a lot lighter and usually done with yellow noodle and meehun. Additionally, the Hokkien Char sambal is often a lot hotter and less mushy.

Back to Ai Jiak Penang Food restaurant.

I’ve actually heard about this place when it was situated in the old location at the Chung Ling Alumni Association in Jalan Utara, KL (fun fact, I am from the same school), the restaurant has since moved to Seapark, directly opposite Public Bank.

The restaurant offers a few Penang classic dishes to go with rice, such as asam fish head, curry chicken, pineapple curry prawns, pork trotter vinegar, sambal petai prawns, and so forth.

Additionally, they also offer single serving dishes such as asam laksa, chee cheong fun, herbal chicken meesuah,  and what I came here for – Hokkien char!

Penang style "Hokkien Char"
Penang style “Hokkien Char”

So is their Hokkien Char any good?

The answer is a resounding yes! To be perfectly honest, if you didn’t grow up having Hokkien Char, it may not be a dish that speaks to you, but if you love spicy sambal and a dish of fried noodle that’s not overly strong or starchy, you may want to give this a try.

ai jiak penang food map

ai jiak menu (1) ai jiak menu (2)

Address:
Ai Jiak Penang Food
9, Jalan 21/12, Sea Park,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS:
Tel: +6 011 2778 8428

Last week I went back up to Penang for a bit and managed to meet up with Evon for a late afternoon “tea time” noms. The lady suggested prawn mee at Lebuh Presgrave, I am always happy to get some prawn mee in the system, so why not?

888 Hokkien Mee at Lebuh Presgrave (or 3rd road)
888 Hokkien Mee at Lebuh Presgrave (or 3rd road)

Lebuh Presgrave is also known as “3rd road” in Hokkien or Mandarin, as it is the 3rd road from Jalan Magazine, which was considered as the “first road”. This in fact goes down all the way to 7th road, but that sort of details aren’t exactly important.

The Prawn Mee (known as Hokkien mee in Penang), is locally referred to as the 888 Hokkien Mee. Essentially a house converted coffee shop with the anchor tenant being this big hokkien mee & loh mee stall.

Operation starts at 4:30 pm, and there’s usually quite a healthy line in front of the stall. It goes like this – line up, order, get your food, pay, eat.

prawn mee, loh mee, or mixed loh + prawn soup?
prawn mee, loh mee, or mixed loh + prawn soup?

Like many food stalls in Penang, in addition to standard bowl of prawn mee or loh mee, there’s also a list of different optional ingredients you can add. We had ours with intestine and roast pork, in addition to the usual sliced pork, prawns, noodle, egg, bean sprout, fried shallots, and even lard.

I was going to have pork ribs as well, but at that time it wasn’t ready yet (see video), bummer. There’s also apparently pork skin from time to time.

hello Evon!
hello Evon, and hello lard!

The verdict? Well, it isn’t famous and popular for nothing. The soup was on point (I had mixed broth), and everything was “just right”. Those bits of lard certainly also contribute to the overall taste. It was that wholesome feeling that I remember from childhood, would definitely go back again.

888 hokkien mee map

Yam Rice is something of a specialty that’s often forgotten when it comes to Penang food, for one, it is not exactly a famous dish from the island, but rather on the mainland. Additionally, it is also a little bit difficult to call it a “hawker food” as this is more of a full blown meal best had for lunch or even dinner.

But alas, for those who loves pork, yam, or both, this is definitely a must-try if you find yourself by the lesser known half sister of Penang island – mainland Penang.

Chai Leng Park yam rice at Chip Heng kopitiam
Chai Leng Park yam rice at Chip Heng kopitiam

When it comes to yam rice, the go to place is Chai Leng Park at Seberang Jaya, a stone’s throw away from the infamous Penang Megamall, once the biggest shopping complex in Penang, and I believe the first to have had an ice skating rink in Northern area.

In fact, there is more than one shop offering yam rice in Chai Leng Park, each serving its own customer base. My mom’s favorite is the one at Chip Heng kopitiam, so that’s where we went.

My last visit here was over 20 years ago with my late dad, a quick lunch detoured from buying tractor parts at a shop around the area. There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia for me. Things at Sebarang Jaya does seem to change little after all these years.

yam rice, mix pork soup, tofu & egg, braised pork trotter
yam rice, mix pork soup, tofu & egg, braised pork trotter

For mom and I (later joined by an uncle), we ordered a big bowl of mixed pork soup, a side of braised tofu and egg, and a tiny bowl of braised trotter for lunch. These were of course, accompanied by their famous yam rice.

The soup has a sourish undertone brought on by those salted vegetable, with generous amount of perfectly cooked pork parts – including kidney, pork slices, pork ball, liver, and even coagulated blood. A dash of chopped cilantro completes the dish, and it’s as wholesome and would only be made better with a rainy, cold weather.

price list above
price list above

Those braised dishes did not disappoint either, I thought the trotter could be just a tad more tender but perhaps I was too used to the ways Klang bak kut teh is prepared.

Over all it was definitely a lovely lunch, 3 pax, and just a tad under RM 30.00.

P/S: there’s a BM Yam Rice at Publika that’s pretty decent too.

chai leng park yam rice map

Address:
Chip Heng Kopitiam
45, Lebuh Kurau 1,
Taman Chai Leng,
13700 Perai, Pulau Pinang
GPS: 5.384447, 100.390979
Tel: 04-390 0136

Restoran Mei Keng is one of my routine Sunday pre-futsal breakfast stops, located just off Jalan 222, the restaurant occupies the other corner lot on the same row of shop lots that also houses the more famous Ahwa Hokkien Mee (night)

Mei Keng kopitiam, off Jalan 222
Mei Keng kopitiam, off Jalan 222

I’ve decided to give the Teow Chew Fishball noodle stall a try. My reasoning was simple, if they are confident enough to deep fried that big bunch of fish paste, it must be at least decent.

Like most places, you get to choose from a variety of noodle, my pick was kuih teow, but you also have options of yee mee, yellow noodle, meehun, mee suah and such.

The bowl came with a piece of seaweed, 3 fish balls, as well as 3-4 pieces of fish cake. There’s also lettuce, some pepper, and garlic oil, and a side of cili padi as condiment. While the soup itself was rather subtle, I thought the fish ball and fishcake were really good, bouncy and flavorful without being overpowering, they claim that it’s made with giant garupa meat, and I think the quality shows.

fish ball noodle, with fish cake & seaweed too
fish ball noodle, with fish cake & seaweed too

Satisfying breakfast indeed, would not hesitate to order again.

map to Mei Keng kopitiam

Address:
Mei Keng kopitiam
42, Jalan 14/48,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.097563, 101.629334

Ngau Hor, or Cantonese style fried beef noodle, isn’t exactly a dish that is offered in many places. Truth be told, I can’t say that I’ve tried many ngau hor in my life, but if you ask me which one I’ll have right now, this version at New Apollos kopitiam will be my take.

New Apollos at USJ 4
New Apollos at USJ 4

New Apollos is a busy kopitiam this part of Subang, with perhaps over a dozen different stalls operating within. The ngau hor stall offers Kong Fu Chau, Sang Har Mee (river prawn noodle), and also venison, in addition to beef noodle (I should try them).

For RM 11, you get a big plate of Cantonese style hor fun with generous helpings of super tender beef coated with starch, its flavor perfectly balanced as well. If you love this dish, you’d enjoy this version.

ngau hor (beef noodle), perfectly executed
ngau hor (beef noodle), perfectly executed

Kuih Teow Soup is also good here, along with the rather unique offering of paus, check out the New Apollos tag.

map to New Apollos kopitiam, USJ 4

Address:
Restaurant New Apollos
2, Jln USJ4/6B
Subang Jaya
GPS3.051770, 101.576209
HoursLunch and Breakfast, Closed on Tuesdays