While char kuih teow, laksa, and cendol gets all the attention in Penang, one of the must-eats for me is actually the humble old apong. Specifically, the stalls offering these tiny apong that have been operating at Jalan Burma right outside Union Primary School for decades.
Apong Guan, Penang
There are only two of such stalls on the island as far as I know, both offering very mini sized apong made with plenty of eggs, flour, ripe banana, corn, and some other secret ingredients (I think the guy will sell you the recipe for a handsome fee).
I’ve wrote about Apong Chooi back in 2011, so now let’s look at Apong Guan, arguably the more “famous” of the two.
Each Apong now goes for RM 0.60, up from RM 0.35 8 years back, and seven for RM 1.00 maybe two and a half decades back when I first got my motorbike license.
Apong Guan will usually have a small crowd surrounding the stall on weekends, an exercise in patient in these hot climate to be sure. The reward though is definitely worth it. The apong is sweet from the ripe banana & corn, savory from its egg, and perfect in every way. I suggest you order enough to lasts the afternoon, and eat them while hot!
RM 0.60 each for this goodness, must-eat if you’re in Penang
Apong Guan has been in operation for some 50 years, with no heir apparent in sight, so if you’re longing for something uniquely Penang, this is a stall not to be missed.
A couple weeks ago, Suan made me wake up at 6 in the morning on weekends, just because she needed a trail walking buddy to go to Chilling Falls (we went many years ago). She’s a friend for over two decades, I had no choice but to comply.
fried pan mee in all its glory
So we made our ways from PJ to Hulu Selangor way too early on a Sunday morning, and stopped by Rasa (yes, it’s a real town) for a pretty unique type of breakfast – Fried Pan Mee at Happy Like Coffee House.
Rasa is a pretty small town, and being situated less than 30 mins from Chilling Falls makes it a perfect destination for pre-hike stopover. The town area is plenty small and you won’t miss the time capsule of a kopitiam.
So, how’s the fried pan mee?
It is almost exactly like how you would imagine. Literally pan mee, but fried, with plenty of the same type of vege you’d find in normal soup version of pan mee. The portion here is way too big but makes for good carbo-loading pre-exercise routine. I was impartial to the taste, but Suan loves it.
Happy Like Coffee House, Rasa, Hulu Selangor
If you’re heading to Chilling Falls or any of the hiking trials nearby Hulu Selangor, this would be a worthy stopover.
bonus pic of me freezing my ass off at Chilling Falls
Address: Restoran Happy Like Coffee House Taman Rasa Jaya, 44200 Rasa, Selangor GPS: 3.496102, 101.632591
Pork noodle must be one of the most popular non-halal soup based hawker dish in Klang Valley. It’s in almost every single multi-hawker kopitiam. After all, what’s not to like about a bowl of flavorful soup with all the porky goodness and your favorite choice of noodle?
Ten Noodle, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, PJ
When it comes to this dish, many people will gravitates towards the like of Kean Fatt SS3, Ah Or, Win Heng Seng, OUG’s version. While they’re all very good, there’re often some “flaws” – either in wait time, parking, or lack of certain ingredients.
Well, here’s where TEN Noodle steps in.
The modus operandi seems simple here – be efficient, priced competitively, and give people plenty of what they want.
When you get to TEN Noodle, you’ll be handed a sheet of ordering paper – ticks several boxes – choice of noodle, wet/dry, ingredients, snacks, and beverages. Food is then served rather swiftly, which is always a good thing.
dry mee suah with mixed pork
Mine was dry mee suah with mixed pork and additional pork kidney and bitter gourd. The result was this huge bowl of ingredients loaded with everything I wanted!
To be fair, taste wise it was .. decent, perhaps 80-90% up there if compared to some of the others mentioned above, but they more than make up for it via value and experience.
my favorite innards – kidney!
So yes, if I’m at Kota Damansara looking for pork noodle, this is definitely in my list.
While the breath of Japanese cuisine kept advancing in Malaysia, there’s a segment of this food that alienate majority of the population here in Malaysia. See, you can find sushi, sashimi, and yakotiri that are suitable for most everyone to consume for the most part, but when it comes to proper Japanese ramen, the pork free or halal version proved to be a bit of a challenge to locate.
Kagura Chicken Ramen is hailed from Tokyo with the name of Seimenka Kaguraya, and even back in Tokyo, the recipe has always been pork-free and lard-free. Rare but still pretty popular at the same time.
There’s a selection of different soup base and ingredients, ranging from RM 12.88+ to a maximum of RM 22.88+. When it comes to proper Japanese ramen at these type of set up, I’d say they’re very competitively priced.
While the base is chicken, there’s a choice of shoyu, miso, and “rich” soup. They also serve gyoza, fried rice, and a limited choice of tempura (menu below)
Kagura Chicken Ramen
So how do they taste like?
We tried the “rich” and shoyu ramen together with their dumplings, and I gotta say that the soup base rivals the pork based ramen, with a slightly less greasy note. They also did a good job with the chicken base chasiu, but I do feel that the texture of pork chasiu is still superior. Overall though, this is a more than decent version of ramen that certainly did not make me regret having it for sure.
The dumpling though was sort of average, I guess perhaps it’s the lack of fatty bits that failed to bring it to my expectation.
fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?
Skip the dumpling unless you are way too hungry, otherwise, this ramen is fit for anyone who loves ramen, even if you’re not specifically avoiding pork for whatever reason.
Before we start, I have a confession. I must admit that of the various ASEAN countries I’ve visited (all except Laos & Cambodia), Filipino food is ranked pretty low on the index of cuisine that gets me excited.
That being said, it is always important to keep an open mind, so when my Kota Kinabalu makan buddy suggested that we try Tambayan at Kainang Filipino for dinner, I thought, why not? Maybe 5th time is the charm.
After that initial time, I’ve since returned to the place twice, I’m sort of a convert.
Tortang Talong, Pinakbet, Pork Adobo
Tambayan at Kainang Filipino is located at Api Api Centre, a commercial area at the capital city of Sabah just a short walk away from Marriott & Prominade hotel. The restaurant itself isn’t particularly fancy and usually not overly crowded.
The menu (check the pics below) is pretty extensive for a restaurant this size, there are set meals, noodle, pasta, single rice dish, as well as various cook-to-order dishes separated into different categories of pork, soup, beef, vegetable, seafood, and so on.
dinner for two on different visits
Over the different visits, I’ve tried their pork adobo (RM 12.80), sinigang shrimp (a sour soup, RM 12.80), lechon kawali (crispy pork loin RM 10.80), pinakbet (mixed vege, RM 8.80), ampalaya con carne (stirfry bitter gourd, RM 8.80), and tortang talong (eggplant omelette RM 8.80).
The adobo were quite flavorful, with the sauce carrying a bit of sourish taste that was also rather savory, vege dishes comes with a strong dose of fish sauce and are generally quite well cooked, I enjoyed them quite a bit.
As for crispy pork, I do feel that this is less crunchy and perhaps does not carry that sodium goodness compared to our Chinese siu yok.
However, the dish that I ended up always ordering is that awesome eggplant omelette. It is basically just your basic purple colored eggplant sliced open and have a fried egg engulfing the whole thing, wouldn’t have expected it to taste so good!
with my KK makan buddy
So if you’re at KK and have an open mind to trying out food that’s of lesser popularity in Malaysia, head to Tambayan at Kainang Filipino. You may like it, you may not, but it’ll be a different gastronomical journey nonetheless.
Address: Tambayan At Kainang Filipino Block 3, Ground Floor, Api-api Centre, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.975185, 116.070327 Tel: 016-818 2008 Hours: 12.00 pm – 12.00 am