One of the lesser known dishes in Penang is “hokkein char“, or literally, Hokkien Fried noodle. It is a dish found on most hawker centers and probably most of the bigger kopitiam, but unlike the more glamorous Pennag dishes like char kuih teow, curry mee or prawn mee that is famous everywhere, I’ve yet to find a proper hokkien char stalls in Klang Valley.
Hokkien Char & Char Hor Fun, Anson Road wet market
This blog post is about a Hokkien Char stall located at Anson Road wet market in Penang. It is not a particularly well known stall, in fact, it is absolutely average. In fact, I ended up trying this only because I was waiting for the immensely popular kuih teow soup at the same place (a must-try for kuih teow soup fans)
It is presented as how Hokkien Char should be, and tasted how it should taste, just the way I like it.
Penang hokkein char, where can I get one in KL?
The anatomy of Hokkien Char is simple. There’s yellow noodle and mee hun, prawns, vegetable (choi sam usually), and pork slices fried with some sort of brown sauce, then topped with char siu and fried shallot. Most importantly, it is served with Penang style sambal balacan that’s positively spicy and foul smelling. Sometimes you get an odd fish ball or fish cakes thrown in as well.
The combination just works, and to me, a far superior rendition of fried noodle than KL’s “Hokkien Mee” with it’s overloaded dark soya sauce.
If you’re in Penang, give it a try!
muar chee, this one right outside Ayer Itam wet market
Oh, also, don’t forget to try some Muar Chee as well. They’re absolutely fantastic and usually don’t cost more than RM 2 or so. If you like Kampachi’s signature peanut mochi, you will absolutely enjoy this.
Just less than 5 kilometres away from KLCC is a time capsule that is Ayer Panas, a suburb that seems to be trapped in time, oblivious to the rapid development of Kuala Lumpur. It is also a place where I stop by in the morning to enjoy traditional hawker fair from time to time.
Here are three of the most popular hawker stalls within the Ayer Panas wet market worth checking out.
very delicious home-made wantan at this stall
The wantan mee stall here serves unpretentious wantan mee in either soup or dry version, all for only RM 4 per bowl. Seating area is rather premium, but thankfully most customers here order them to-go.
only RM 4 for this delicious plate of wantan mee
The home-made wantan here is one of my favorites, with soft, thin skin wrapping that flavourful minced pork. The dark sauce used here too does not overpower the noodle which is springy and delicious.
the pork noodle stall is one of the busiest around here
The pork noodle stall is one of the busiest hawker stalls in the whole wet market, offering pork noodle, yee mee, fish ball noodle, loh mee, and mee suah with quite a choice of porky ingredients. You can mix and match the type of soup & ingredients to your liking.
dry version with Vit’s noodle and a side of soup
For dry version, I like Vit’s noodle that is served with a side of soup packed with fish ball, meatball, minced pork ball, liver, intestine, and even some fuchuk. The combination is a bit like dry instant indomie on steroid, for the lack of a better comparison.
soup version of pork noodle is plenty delicious as well
Traditional soup-based pork noodle starts at RM 4.60 here are packed with the above mentioned ingredients as well. For the carb of choice, you can choose from kuih teow, yellow noodle, meehun, yee mee, Vit’s, or mee suah.
the yong tau foo stall has been in operation for some 30-40 years
The third hawker offering worth checking out is the yong tau foo stall that has been operating for at least some 40 years. The man behind the stall is in his 70s, and still has a pair of quick hands offering his craft.
RM 0.70 per piece, simple yet tasty
There aren’t a huge variety of yong tau foo here, just a couple type sof tofu, a few variations of fish balls, fuchuk, and chee cheong fun. The home-made fish ball here though was one of the bests I’ve tried, springy and flavorful, so be sure to grab a few extras if you’re here. Each piece costs RM 0.70.
Address: Pasar Ayer Panas Jalan Ayer Keroh Taman Ayer Panas, 43000 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.189279,101.718704 Hours: breakfast and brunch
A few weeks ago my breakfast adventure brought me back to the little hidden enclave by DUKE highway that is Kampung Ayer Panas’s wet market. Ever since I discovered the pork noodle place at Wenl Senh kopitiam, I’ve been wanting to check out the wet market, so I did.
the wantan mee stall at Ayer Panas wet market
I arrived there at around 7 in the morning, with activities at the market just about to pick up. The food court is located at the back part of the market, after scanning for a little bit, I decided to give the wantan mee stall a try.
When in doubt, choose the busiest stall/shop.
wantan soup, char siu, and a side of pickled green chili
Seating area is a bit of a premium around here, it seems like they never thought anyone would actually dine in when the architect drew up this place. You can sit right in front of the stall, or a few smallish tables scattered around the area. I was instructed to sit next to another stall that’s on holiday.
My plate of wantan mee came within minutes, and it was proper. The noodle properly moist, the charsiu, while not the best I’ve had, was quite savory and held its own. What I really like though, is the home made wantan that was served separately in a small bowl of soup. It was very flavorful and succulent, I think I can easily devour another 20 wantan if presented.
this traditional breakfast only costs RM 4 around here
The best thing about this place? It only costs RM 4 for that plate of classic breakfast. Order the same thing in Petaling Jaya or KL and you’ll be likely to part with RM 5 or RM 5.50.
I shall check out more places around here.
Address: Pasar Ayer Panas Jalan Ayer Keroh Taman Ayer Panas, 43000 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.189279,101.718704
I first learned about the Dato’ Keramat ikan bakar from my Malay colleagues when they tapao some all the way to KLCC for lunch. Fast forward a couple years later, I finally managed to convinced one of my colleagues to follow me there for a quick meal.
Mat Teh ikan bakar at Dato’ Keramat
After a bit of searching and asking about at the market, we finally located Mat Teh Ikan Bakar, with the stall situated within the Dato’ Keramat wet market, facing the parking area.
We immediately knew that we were at the right place, the place was packed, and on the grill was at least 30 pieces of grilled fish in the process of cooking, all neatly wrapped in banana leaves for that extra flavor.
huge slab of ikan pari, soup, and ulam
For this trip, I ordered a piece of ikan pari (stringray), which also comes with a generous amount of ulam (Malay style salad) with sambal, soup, and a plate of steamed rice.
The fish was thick and huge, it was probably meant for two person, which also explained why it cost something like RM 14-16 (but definitely worth it). The cooking method utilizing banana leaf ensures that it was plenty juicy and flavorful, and with those accompanying sambal, I was more than satisfied.
the place is very busy, and with good reasons
Mat Teh stall also offers some pretty good juices, I had a glass of mango juice which complimented the meal very well.
This is definitely a place I want to go again, but this time I’ll make sure to share the fish with someone else, Shabana can’t be just an observer drinking teh ais again.
shabana – my partner in crime
If you’re in town looking for some good ikan bakar, this is one place to check out. Getting there is as easy as taking the LRT and getting off at Dato’ Keramat station.
Address: Mat Teh Ikan Bakar Dato’ Keramat Wet Market Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT Jalan Dato’ Keramat GPS: 3.166079, 101.730992 Tel: 016-336 2123
A few weeks ago I had a couple hours and a hungry stomach to kill before a futsal session at Ampang Sports Planet. Since Dato’ Keramat is sort of a half way point between where I was and where I need to be, I thought I’d explore the area a little bit and see what I can feed myself.
Malay roti canai/roti arab stall at Dato’ Keramat market
My initial plan was to have the ikan bakar (grilled fish) for dinner, unfortunately at almost 6pm in the evening, the stall has already closed for business (even though it says until 6:30pm).
Walking about the market and around the area, I spotted this roti telur/roti arab stall by the makeshift food court/restaurant opposite the LRT station .
the roti is a quite unique, puffed up and slightly sweet
After a brief description by the friendly waitress on what exactly this roti arab is about, I ordered a portion to load up some carb before exercise. Like roti canai, you can have it with curry, and I think it will also go very well with some condensed milk.
The ingredients of roti arab is pretty similar to normal bread, with the addition of butter on top of yeast, flour, and some sugar. The dough is then pan fried instead of baked.
I think it tastes great with some fish curry
I find myself enjoying roti arab quite a bit. It is easy to eat, almost like in between roti canai and normal bread. Dip it wet with fish curry and viola, instant carb loading that cost less than RM 3 including a glass of teh-o-ais. Perfect afternoon in-between meals.