If you’re someone who’s in Kota Kinabalu having a craving for proper Penang hawker food, I have good news for you. Jin Siang kopitiam at Luyang happens to serve a pretty competent bowl of Penang style prawn mee, with another hidden option!
Jin Siang Prawn Mee at Luyang, Sabah
Jin Siang is located at Luyang Commercial Centre, about 5 kilometers away from KK town center in, well, where else but Luyang? Parking isn’t usually a difficult affair, but I believe you do have to pay for it.
I was actually last there about 3 years back when covid wasn’t in our lexicon, traveling was only restricted by your wallet, and face mask is associated with the likes of batman & spider-man. How I wish we’re transported back to that life again… but I digress.
Penang Prawn Mee and Fried Prawn Mee
I tried the Penang prawn mee here and thought it was a pretty competent recreation of what they serve in Penang. The soup was fragrant, and all the ingredients checked out. The sambal was perhaps an area that could be improved a bit but overall it should certainly satisfy anyone’s cravings, being over 1,700 km away from the island of origin.
my KK food buddy
My dining buddy Yann May opted for something more special instead – fried prawn mee! I am not sure if you can even find this in Penang (or KL). It was as you would expect, prawn mee with all the same ingredients but fried, I thought it was interesting and a good change of pace, though personally may not be something I would order.
Jin Siang also has char kuih teow on their menu, we did not try it. If you’re in Kota Kinabalu thinking of Penang hawker dishes, this is a place to check out.
While durian is the king of fruit, and we are well familiar with the different type of avocados, many of us may not be aware of the little hidden gem from the smallest state in Malaysia when it comes to tropical fruits – the harum manis mangoes from Perlis.
Harum Manis Mango from Perlis
Haram Manis, or Harumanis, literally translate to aromatic & sweet, which also perfectly describe the characteristics of these mangoes in its simplest form. The mango has a distinctive shape, quite round, plum, and have a small pointed rear.
The fruit is meaty with a rather thin seed in the middle, almost devoid of those pesky fibers, making it very smooth, silky, and even milky in texture. It also tastes very sweet with almost no hint of sourness typical of normal mangoes, yet carries a strong mango fragrance that rewards the senses in every bite. It is simply the best mango I’ve ever tried.
usually sold in 3kg boxes
With such accolades & relative small production (only one season per year) from the smallest state in Malaysia, these fruits don’t come cheap. They’re usually sold around RM 100 for a lot of 3kg (2021 price), which you can expect about 5-6 fruits.
The box itself stated the time/date of harvest, with the expected date for best consumption as well. Follow that, or wait until you can smell the aroma beaming out from the fruits itself before cutting them up, you won’t regret.
I had this box shipped to me by my brother who works in Perlis, awesome fruit gift! Thanks bro! Nowadays you can get them from many online retailers shipped basically to anywhere in Malaysia.
What are some of your favorite local fruits that are less “popular”?
Earlier in the year, I went to one of Port Klang’s more famous non bak kut teh places and had myself some very satisfying Hainanense food at Cathay Hailam Kopitiam, and it was then I was informed that there is another very similar hidden jam offering similar experience right by Klang town (shorter by 15-20 mins distance wise) by the name of Laoyang Klang Coffee.
Laoyang Klang Coffee, Jalan Kapar near Klang Town Center
Laoyang is located at the end of Jalan Kapar close to Klang town, a stone’s throw away opposite from the famous New Boston restaurant that serves some of the best steamed lala in all of Klang Valley.
We went to Laoyang on a Saturday morning after a run (when dine in was allowed during this pandemic.. gah). Got a parking spot right outside the restaurant itself since this part of town isn’t usually terribly busy, especially on a weekend when surrounding shops are closed for business.
The restaurant has a very simple set up, a bit of hipster vibe, but one on a budget. Then again, we’re here to eat and not really hanging out.
toast bread with kaya & butter
The menu is a two page affair but with enough choices to satisfy most people (see below). Here you’ll find the classics such as Hainan mee, pork chop, chicken chop, and various types of nasi lemak. There’s also a few types of charcoal toasted bread and a choice of beverage not dissimilar from the usual kopitiam offerings.
For the two of us, we started off with toast bread with kaya & butter (RM 3.50). Crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, sweet, aromatic kaya, and butter that could be perhaps a little bit bigger in portion, but it was good, especially with their excellent kopi-c that I ordered.
nasi lemak and coffee
The nasi lemak kosong we had turned out to be a revelation. While you can order it with fried chicken, ayam masak merah, or even sambal ayam, if that’s what fancies you.
The rice was fragrant, but what I really love was their sambal. Finally, a super spicy version that is not overly sweet, in fact, not sweet at all. I will come back here just for their nasi lemak for sure.
classic Hainanese chicken chop
Of course, we also tried their classic Hainanese chicken chop. While I find the version at Cathay perhaps a little bit more special, this one held its own, it had all the necessary ingredient and tasted the way it should, which was a mixture of sweetness with umami taste that lets you know it is just a little bit sinful, but in a good way.
Last weekend after a morning hike at Taman Tugu (best jungle trail in the city), we decided to stop over in KL for breakfast prior to my afternoon futsal session. Initial plan was ICC Pudu but alas, the place was way too packed, and this is when I recalled I’ve always wanted to check out San Peng prawn mee, which coincidentally is just a few minutes away from Pudu.
San Peng Prawn Mee stall, KL
San Peng Prawn Mee is located in a make-shift semi alfresco “shop” right in the middle of Jalan San Peng (hence the name), the old school stall has been around for a long time, and is among the rare one that is fully operated by locals (family probably?).
Over here prawn mee and lam mee are their two most popular dishes, but they also offer kai si hor fun, fish ball soup, and various other combination you can think of.
Since this was our first time here, we decided to try the two dishes on the trademark.
The old lady who took our order had a very convincing sales tactic, which led to us ordering both dishes with extra prawns (RM 25 each). And as it turns out, it’s not a bad idea if you have enough cash, the prawns were huge, fresh, and absolutely delicious.
Prawn Mee & Lam Mee with extra prawns
The prawn mee is slightly different from the more famous Penang version. While both soup base involves prawn shells, chicken instead of pork is used in this interpretation. Apart from that, there’s also kangkung, fried shallots, smaller (normal size) prawns, mee + meehun, and chunks of perfectly poached chicken.
The soup was slightly lighter but packed with sweetness from prawn. I also like the fact that the big prawns have it’s head (the best part) attached, while the shell is otherwise removed from the body.
these prawns are fresh and super delicious
The lam mee is similarly delicious and came with similar ingredients except for the use of thick noodle that’s not entirely unlike udon and a thicker soup base. Personally I prefer how loh mee, but this version is pretty good too.
This is just the two most popular dishes here, I’m going to go back again and try some of their other dishes (and side dishes & extra ingredients). If you’re a fan of prawn mee, this version should be one to try out as well.
Despite having lived in Klang Valley for some 2 decades now.. the lure of proper Penang hawker dishes is always something that I can’t escape from. Over the years I’ve found quite a good selection of decent Penang style hawker dishes this part of the country, but they’re not “even”, some dishes are harder to find than others.
One such trickier dish is Penang style Loh Mee, which is distinctly different from the KL version, and I’m happy to add one to the list, with this candidate from Restoran Weng Soon in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam.
Weng Soon Kopitiam, Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam
Before we start, the difference between KL loh mee & Penang loh mee, while can be difficult to spot with a single glance, is actually quite substantial.
The KL loh mee uses a much thicker version of noodle, often without option for meehun. Additionally, the KL version will spot a very different type of chili paste, if provided at all. Bean sprout & fried shallots are also only available in the dish from North.
Back to Weng Soon (or Weng Soon Tek) kopitiam in Taman Sri Muda. I was introduced to this spot by one of my Instagram connections who has been frequenting it for years.
The restaurant is a pretty unassuming kopitiam not unlike any other, perhaps only with the number of slseepy cats & dogs. The stall itself serves both prawn mee and loh mee, owned by a guy from Penang with a helper.
Penang style Prawn Mee & Loh Mee
What you get here is a very “average” bowl of Penang style loh mee or prawn mee, if you’re in Penang. Translation – since we’re in Klang Valley, that makes it a very good find and one that satisfy my cravings properly. The important ingredients are all there – prawns, mee, meehun, pork slices, 1/4 hard boiled egg, fried shallots, bean sprouts. The loh mee also comes with vinegar + finely chopped raw garlic.
To be fair, the sambal could use a bit of improvement, but I’m nitpicking. I’m going back to have more.