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Tag / balik pulau

It’s pretty much a truce that Penang offers one of the best hawker foods anywhere, you almost plan up a whole weeks’ itinerary filled with different hawker foods and never have to visit the same place twice. The problem is, what if you only have a day?

Well, to make your life simpler, here’s 5 different places you could visit in a single day to sample some of the best from Penang. Food portions on the island is usually not too big, so 5 meals a day is just about right for anyone with a normal appetite. For extra credit, you can always fit in another couple meals in between.

Ah Hai kuih teow soup at Kim Lee kopitiam
Ah Hai kuih teow soup at Kim Lee kopitiam

Breakfast starts at Kim Lee kopitiam. Ah Hai’s kuih teow soup starts at around 7:30 am and would operate around 3pm. The kuih teow soup here offers bouncy home made fish ball, delicious fish cake, slices of duck meat, and most importantly, coagulated duck blood, as the original recipe calls for.

This place has been in existence for some 60 years, and still offers one of the best kuih teow th’ng there is on the island.

Ah Hai kuih teow soup | Kedai Makanan Kim Lee, Lorong Macalister, Penang | 7:30 am to 3 pm

yep, these prawns are massive!
char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat – Ah Leng’s

For lunch, we continue keep our focus on kuih teow, but this time the fried version – the all important Penang char kuih teow.

While the two stalls at Lorong Selamat gets all the glitz and glamour, I find Ah Leng char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat a more than worthy alternative. The fried kuih teow here has the customary huge prawns, lard, chives, duck egg, and for extras – mantis prawns (for RM 11 per plate). Pure ecstasy for those who loves this signature Penang dish.

Ah Leng char kuih teow | Kafe Khoon Hiang, 358 Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang | 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, closed on Thursdays

famous Balik Pulau laksa near the market
famous Balik Pulau laksa near the market

From Dato’ Keramat, drive up to Ayer Itam and through Payer Terubong to where the best laksa is found at Nang Guang kopitiam, Balik Pulau.

The asam laksa here comes in two different varieties, the usual asam style, and the richer lemak style, which is closer to the traditional Nyonya recipe. Neither would disappoint even the harshest laksa critics. The soup is flavorful and packed with fish meat, even the prawn paste has an extra kick to it.

If you’re to pack some for the journey back to Klang Valley (or anywhere else), they do it rather professionally with soup, prawn paste, and main ingredients all packed separately.

Balik Pulau Laksa | Nan Guang kopitiam, 67, Jalan Balik Pulau, 11000, Balik Pulau, Penang | Hours: morning to late lunch

mixed pork porridge at New Lane
mixed pork porridge at New Lane

In the evening, make your way back from Balik Pulau to the city center and stop by New Lane for something that isn’t readily associated with Penang – mixed pork porridge.

This is another stall that has been in business for decades and is still going strong as ever. A bowl of mixed pork porridge comes with delicious crispy intestine, pork tongue, slices of char siu, some spring onion, and pepper. Pretty simple list of ingredients, but one that tickles just the right spots on the tongue.

Pork Intestine Porridge (Chee Cheong Chock) | New Lane, Georgetown, Penang | Hours: from 6 pm till midnight

Green House hokkien mee and loh mee at Jalan Burma
Green House hokkien mee and loh mee at Jalan Burma

For supper, head up just a few hundred meters to the East of New Lane  to find the original Green House prawn mee stall at Jalan Burma.

This prawn mee and loh mee stall offers many ingredients you don’t typically find – home made fish ball, meat ball, sausage, pork skin, chicken feet, instine, and more can be added as extras to the prawn mee/loh mee for extra kicks. By default, they come with pork slices, prawns, hard boiled egg, fried shallots, and chili paste.

Green House hokkien mee | Jalan Burma, Georgetown, Penang (Opposite Chew Thean Yeang Aquarium) | Hours: dinner till late

Of course, I’ve missed out many other hawker stalls that are “must tries”, but if you have only 24 hours to go, this list should not disappoint. Happy eating!

When it comes to Penang food, laksa is always one of the first dishes to be mentioned (especially by girls, I don’t know why), and when it comes to laksa for many Penangites, the best laksa on the island is this little stall located all the way at the other side of the island at Balik Pulau’s Nan Guang kopitiam.

some say this is the holy grail of all asam laksa
some say this is the holy grail of all asam laksa

This place too has been around for a while, my first visit there was when I was a little boy probably close to 25-30 years ago. Going to Balik Pulau from my grandma’s place at weld quay was a pretty long journey then, before the relatively recent improved road system, but it did not deter my aunts & grandma then.

When you want your laksa, you find a way.

two "normal" asam laksa, and one "lemak" version
two “normal” asam laksa, and one “lemak” version

On our last visit back to Penang for Tim & Audrey’s wedding, we took the opportunity to take an hour’s drive (traffic…) to Balik Pulau for some laksa goodness.

While it wasn’t RM 0.80 a bowl anymore (they are RM 3.00 per bowl now), the laksa still tasted as good as it was. Other than the “standard” asam laksa with plenty of vegetable, cucumber, mint, and fish meat laden asam soup, they also serve a different variant – the “lemak” laksa.

The laksa lemak tastes closer to Nyonya laksa, with added santan (coconut milk) in the fish-based gravy to give it a richer taste that is slightly less sourish than asam version. It was a little different, and I really liked it.

Cheesie, Haze, Li Ling, Michael, and I, we drove almost an hour for this
Cheesie, Haze, Li Ling, Michael, and I, we drove almost an hour for this

When you go to Penang, always try to make sure laksa is your last meal, and bring a cooler too. That way you can buy some to go for later consumption in KL (or wherever you’re from), and they make excellent gifts too (my braces dentist was overjoyed). Soup, vege+noodle, and the prawn paste is always separated for tapao too, very convenient.

map to asam laksa at Balik Pulau

Address:
Nan Guang kopitiam
67, Jalan Balik Pulau,
11000, Balik Pulau, Penang
GPS: 5.351844, 100.235845
Tel: 012-428 6235

Laksa at Nan Guang kopitiam