Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / mom

While many Penang hawker dishes such as char kuih teow, hokkien mee, and laksa are famous all over Malaysia, wantan mee is always a bit of an odd ball. Being a traditional Cantonese dish in a predominately Hokkien area, wantan mee was sort of adopted by the islanders.

the wantan mee stall at kedai kopi seng thor
the wantan mee stall at kedai kopi seng thor

Like languages and culture, food that is separated geographically from its place of origin usually evolve and adapt to the local taste. This is evident in the case of wantan mee in Penang as well.

sambal goes very well with wantan mee
sambal goes very well with wantan mee

A prime example is the wantan mee at Seng Thor kopitiam at Carnarvon street. The dry version comes with both deep fried and boiled wantan, vegetable, charsiu (bbq pork), and the all important Penang style sambal belacan.

While the chasiu isn’t nearly as good as those you usually find in Klang Valley (for some reasons charsiu in Penang is usually dyed and not nearly as flavorful), I like the extra dimensions offered by deep fried wantan, and of course, the sambal belacan makes a huge difference, pretty much transformed the entire dish like how chili pan mee is different from normal pan mee.

If you love sambal and food in general, you should try wantan mee here (and many other stalls in Penang).

of course, you shouldn't miss the best ochien in town
of course, you shouldn’t miss the best ochien in town

Of course, if you are already in this kopitiam, don’t forget to order the fried oyster omelet here. One of the bests ever.

map to the best fried oyster in Penang

Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
160, Lebuh Carnarvon,
10100 Georgetown, Penang
GPS5.415495, 100.33468

Wan Than Mee at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor

My siblings are all like me when it comes to food, super adventurous, and always looking out for new and delicious food to try. Last weekends when I went back to Penang for “cheng beng” (tomb sweeping day), my brother brought me and mom to East Coast BBQ at Sungai Pinang food court for some awesome BBQ seafood.

East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court, Penang
East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court, Penang

The difference between East Coast BBQ and the other 10,000 other Chinese ikan bakar places is the sheer variety of seafood they offer. Instead of just the usual stingray, lala, and a few different fish species, they have at least a dozen different types of fish, 4-5 different shellfish, prawns, cuttle fish, corn, long beans, brinjal, and even Shishamo (Japanese “pregnant” fish)

BBQ scallops, egg plant, and long beans
BBQ scallops, egg plant, and long beans

What we really came here for though, is their scallops. For the three of us we picked half a dozen pretty big size scallops (RM 6 each) to be freshly BBQ’ed.  Topped with plenty of garlic and other granish and perfectly grilled, they were fantastic! Anyone who loves scallops will definitely not be disappointed.

BBQ Brinjal (RM 8.50) is another one of their speciality. The eggplant is split into half and topped with finely chopped garlic and garnish not unlike the one used on the scallop and then grilled till soft. While the “toppings” are the same, the flavor comes out completely different and proved to be another winning dish. I love it.

BBQ long beans (RM 6 each) was a little simpler and seemed to have only curry powder/paprika on them. Very mildly spicy, but otherwise not entirely too interesting.

fried lala, sotong bakar (bbq cuttle fish)
fried lala, sotong bakar (bbq cuttle fish)

We also ordered a big portion of fried lala (RM 36), but it turned out to be a disappointment. My favorite lala of all time is probably the one at Alisan at PJ SS4, and while the seafood here is fresh and juicy, the sauce of the lala was one dimensional (in this case, powderish feeling curry) and we ended up not finishing this dish.

Grilled cuttle fish (RM 19, by weight) did turn out to be another well executed dish. The cuttle fish was crispy on the outside and juicy within, mom loves it and so did we. The accompanying sauce perfected the dish.

Mom, KY, and younger brother Win Sern
Mom, KY, and younger brother Win Sern

If you’re looking for some reasonably priced grilled seafood in Penang, this is definitely one of the places to check out. My brother said that from what he heard, their grilled fish isn’t particularly special, so if grilled fish is what you really look for, I’d suggest going to Song River at Gurney Drive instead.

map to Sungai Pinang food court

East Coast BBQ
Sungai Pinang Food Court
Jalan Sungai Pinang
Georgetown 11500 Penang
GPS: 5.400029, 100.325711
Tel04-281 0943
Hours: dinner and supper

One of my favorite comfort hawker dishes in Penang is the kuih teow th’ng, or kuih teow soup. This simple dish is prevalent on the island, but isn’t exactly popular at all in Klang Valley, most likely due to its similarity with pork noodle and fish ball/ fish meat noodle places.

So whenever I’m back in Penang, I usually try to sneak in a couple bowls of yummy kuih teow soup.

the kuih teow soup that used to be at Pitt Street, now at Lebuh Carnarvon
the kuih teow soup that used to be at Pitt Street, now at Lebuh Carnarvon

One of my favorite places that offers a good bowl of kuih teow soup was the stall at by Armenian and Pitt Street, and in fact I’ve written about the place more than 6 years ago in this entry, which is due for an update anyway.

The same stall has since moved to Lebuh Carnarvon, a stone’s throw away in the opposite direction of the famous (and probably the best) fried oyster omelete at Seng Thor kopitiam on the same road.

simple, light, and delicious kuih teow soup
simple, light, and delicious kuih teow soup

Over the Chinese New Year break, we stopped by there for a light lunch. For the four of us, we ordered kuih teow soup with extra “meat sheet” for everyone, and an extra bowl of fish ball soup to share. I’d have added intestines and other innards but unfortunately they’d ran out of those goodies by the time we were there.

The fish ball here is home made with eel (鳗鱼) as the major ingredient, which results in a unique softer texture and exquisite taste that is quite different from your run off the mill smooth wolf herring fish ball (西刀鱼)

we ordered extra fish balls and absolutely finished everything
we ordered extra fish balls and absolutely finished everything

We really enjoyed the extra “meat sheet” as well. It’s made of pork and carries a slightly salty but savory taste to it, a bit like a flattened smooth meat ball for the lack of a better description. The kuih teow soup also comes with fried garlic oil, lard, and duck meat. For only a few ringgit per pax including drinks, we were well satisfied with lunch.

Parking can be a bit of a hassle when you dine here, but nothing a bit of patience won’t resolve.

map to Pitt Street kuih teow th'ng at Lebuh Carnavon

Pitt Street Kuih Teow Soup
183, Carnarvon Street,
10100 Penang
GPS5.414863, 100.334439
Tel: 017-479 3208

Pitt Street Kuih Teow Soup

My siblings and me share the same passion when it comes to food – we want to eat everything and anything that is delicious, and usually would travel to illogical distances just for this purpose.

Over the last CNY holidays, we paid a visit to my younger brother who works at Sungai Petani as a houseman and he brought us to this little hidden gem that is Mae Salong Thai Restaurant for dinner. Most of us are tomyam fanatics, so the destination suits us very well.

Mae Salong at Sungai Petani
Mae Salong at Sungai Petani, crazy decoration

Mae Salong resides in an unimpressive part of Sungai Petani, which is a pretty unimpressive town in a state that isn’t known to be impressive. The restaurant however, is anything but.

Nestle in the kampung is a structure that could easily confuse diners as a set for fantasy movie. There’s hanging bridge, a huge koi pond with a two level dining area that is half submerged, and even a massive water wheel and fountain and the center. Oh, it is also some sort of a mini zoo as well.

All these fancy decoration proved to be useful when we had to kill time waiting for table on the Saturday evening when we were there. (booking highly advisable)

the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby's nice!
the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby’s nice!

After securing a seat, we were given some Thai tidbits as some sort of appetizer, and they come in the form of dried anchovies with curry leaves, peanuts, and dried chili padi. That thing was quite awesome, and you could actually buy them at Thailand in packets, beats potato chips anytime. 😀

We made our orders with the friendly Thai lady, and asked for desserts to be served first since we knew it was gonna take a while before food is ready. The red ruby (RM 2.50) was delicious, with the right amount of santan, fresh nangka, and that chestnut in tapioca.  Yummy.

We ordered  honey dates with sugar cane drinks (RM 12 for all) to quench our thirst, and was happy that they come in big bottles instead of individual cups.

thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak
thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak

Our first dish that came was the the Thai style lala (RM 15), though the shellfish wasn’t exactly big in size, the taste more than make up for it. There’s chili, green onion and garlic all mixed up with the lala soaked in spicy sourish broth that’s kept warm with a small fire under. The soup itself was very very delicious.

Mantis prawn (RM 15) is deep fried with salted egg yolk, another dish that never disappoint. Again you find chili padi in the mix, spicy, savory, with the hint of saltiness, love it.

Thai otak-otak (RM 15) was perhaps the only thing that was a bit disappointed. It was packed with seafood, but somehow the otak otak paste wasn’t exactly up to the level of standard I was expecting. Not a bad dish per se, but nothing special.

steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam
steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam

Of course, no Thai meal is complete without an order of tomyam (RM 20). The seafood tomyam is hot, flavoful, and absolutely packed with ingredients – prawns, fish, squid, and more lala in addition to tomato, chili, and other ingredients that make up a proper bowl of tomyam soup. We enjoyed this a lot.

We also had a fish to go with all the other seafood dishes, the steamed siakap (RM RM 27) was the most expensive dish we ordered. It was fresh and does taste very good, the soup made me suspect that it is a cross between the lala and tomyam, and hence didn’t make a very good combination to the other dishes we oredered. It was however, a quality dish nonetheless.

Last but not least, there’s omelete (RM 8) that again, has a hint of seafood in it – very tiny baby prawns, the same size that you find in cincalok. It brought back some childhood memories when we’d catch them in the sea, good times. The omelete was pretty decent as well.

mom, sister, brother, haze, niece - happies!
mom, sister, brother, haze, niece – happies!

By the time we are done and headed back to Penang, it was already some 11pm, but that was after a very good dinner that only cost less than RM 140 for the 6 of us. If you find yourself anywhere within 50 or even 100 km from Sungai Petani, give this place a try, but do call and book your table if it’s on weekends.

direction map to Mae Salong

Mae Salong Restaurant
199-E, Kampung Bakar Bata,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS: 5.62594863, 100.46545
Tel: 016-424 6842

Asam laksa and curry mee are just two of Penang’s signature hawker dishes. You can find them almost anywhere on the island, and most of the time they would be of pretty decent qualities.

Here is another place you could try if you find yourself on the Pearl of Orient – at Mount Erskine hawker center.

my niece is an asam laksa addict, just like Haze
my niece is an asam laksa addict, just like Haze

The hawker center is situated at the end of Mt. Erskine road, the road most famous for having plenty of graves (hence super congested during cheng beng weekends). Here you will find a dozen or so hawker stalls offering everything from char kuih teow, kuih teow soup, mee goreng, curry mee, asam laksa, oyster porridge, mixed rice, and so on.

penang asam laksa from Mt. Erskine hawker center
Penang asam laksa from Mt. Erskine hawker center

The laksa here is manned by two white haired aunties who certainly knows to keep things the traditional way. The laksa is laden with plenty of vegetable, chili, fish broth, prawn paste, and of course, topped with ginger flower (bungan kantan). It tastes as good as any, and passed my niece’s taste test.

A bowl costs RM 3.50 (but that was over Chinese new year, normal price was RM 3.00 I think)

Penang curry mee, this one with yummy fish ball too
Penang curry mee, this one with yummy fish ball too

When I’m there, I almost always order the curry mee (previous blog post from 2006). Other than the usual ingredients of cockles, prawns, coagulated blood, and tofu, they also throw in a couple home made fish balls into it.

While fish balls is a nice touch that gives the curry mee an extra dimension, the real deal here is their soup and chili paste. Fresh coconut milk based soup (the reason it appears white) with that aroma and kick from the slightly charred chili. Super yum! RM 4 or so. Try it!

map of Mount Eskin, Penang
here’s how you get to mount eskin in Penang

Jalan Mt. Erskine,
Tg. Tokong, Penang
GPS: 5.450560, 100.302064
Operating Hours: 11am to 4pm 

Nyonya laksa