Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Goerge Town - Belacan Fried Chicken and Hai Koay Teow Soup

Doing my research on George Town, I'd read that Kimberly Street was *the* food street. While that may have once been the case, it now is fairly subdued - with more active street food areas in other parts of the city. Still, there was good food to be found there, and one evening we stopped in to try a few things.

First we got some fried chicken from the "Belacan Fried Chicken" stand. "Belacan" means "shrimp paste" - not sure if that was supposed to indicate a flavoring for the chicken? I didn't taste shrimp, but the seasoning was super good, and the chicken was moist and piping hot out of the fryer.

Right across the street, Hai Koay Teow Soup was doing brisk business.

We snagged one of the last free tables and put an order in. Looking around there were lots of others sitting waiting for food. They meticulously put out bowl after bowl and we were finally rewarded with ours.

Well worth the wait. Full of goodies. Rice noodles, fish balls, fish cakes, pork slices, liver slices, minced pork...

Great bowl of noodles.

George Town - Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul

We passed this alley a number of times before stopping in, noticing the two cendol stands across from each other. Doing a bit of research, it turns out one of them is quite famous - you can even tell from their name: Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul.

On a hot afternoon, we finally stopped in to try it. We got ours "less sweet", and that was perfect for us.

You can customize cendol in various ways, but the default version here is coconut milk and ice, sweetened with palm sugar - with the additions of pandan-flavored rice "noodles" and some red beans.

The stall also has a cool mural on the wall behind it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

George Town - Air Itam Food Court Laksa Bisu

One morning, we traveled the short distance from George Town proper to the suburb of Air Itam.

Our primary destination was the Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple.

But after doing some sightseeing, we stopped into the local hawker market for some lunch. The place was bustling and full of good looking food.

We hadn't yet had asam laksa, so we took the opportunity to try some here.

This laksa has fish base with a slight sourness from tamarind, fairly large round rice noodles, and is run through with thinly-sliced vegetables and herbs.

Refreshing on a hot (34C!) day - particularly with the addition of a big coconut to drink from.

The other food in the court looked very good as well. The stall next to us was putting out nice-looking roti canai, and a gentleman sitting next to us sang the praises of the koay teow ting (fish ball noodle soup).

George Town - Nasi Melayu Kak Ema

This is a familiar sight all across Malaysia - banana-leaf wrapped cones pre-made and ready to be purchased to take away.

Nasi Melayu Kak Ema was tucked along the side of a street we frequently took when walking to and from our hotel. Needing something for breakfast one morning, we stopped in.

The contents of these parcels are almost always very similar to this:

Nasi lemak with sambal, ikan bilis, and a bit of hard-cooked egg.

We could eat this on a regular basis - and it's no wonder that many Malaysians do.

We also got some sweets to go.

The green ones were pandan-flavored, both with sweet fillings. The other had custard inside.

George Town - Wan Tan Mee and Apom on Chulia Street

We'd really enjoyed our first visit to Chulia Street, so we came back another night.

This time we got a plate of wonton mee. Simple, savory, delicious.

Looking for something fresh, we ordered some spring rolls from a passing vendor. Not very good - you can't win them all.

We had better luck with the apom vendor.

Apom (more commonly known as "apam") are little, light pancakes made of a coconut-flavored batter.

Often they are filled, but these were just plain. Warm and lightly sweet. A bit crispy on the outside. A perfect little snack to end the meal.

George Town - Restoran Nasi Padang Minang

We'd had a lot of the "nasi" variations so far on this trip, but we'd yet to try nasi padang (named after Padang, in West Sumatra).

This place was serve yourself from a large buffet of dishes. They had lots of good looking fish, so we concentrated on that.

Including their speciality, which was this fried fish with a ton of shallot. The shallots were actally the highlight on this dish - smokey and a bit sweet, we used them as a nice condiment for the rest of our meal.

The smaller fish were, as you would expect, a bit of labor of love to separate flesh from bone, but worth the effort.

In addition to the fish, we got some veg and this big chunk of tofu, which had a really nice texture. The various sauces were all delicous.

Overally, a really tasty lunch in a friendly setting.

George Town - Pitt Street Koay Teow Soup

Koay Teow Soup seems to be a bit of a George Town thing. We love all sorts of noodle soups, so it was a must try for us.

When we arrived at Pitt Street Koay Teow Soup, there was a line snaking out the front of the place, with a couple of guys working hard slinging bowls of soup.

Koay teow soup is of those those "more interesting that it looks" dishes. Clean and simple in its presentation, the bowl packed a lot of flavor. Tasty broth, nicely cooked koay teow noodles (wide rice noodles), with lovely soft-yet-springy fish balls and juicy slices of pork.

The atmosphere was very active, with servers bustling around calling out to each other. Not a place for a relaxing lunch, but perfect for what we were looking for.

George Town - Chulia Street and Bee Hoon Cafe

Wandering around on our first night in George Town, Penang, we stumbled across the hawker section of Chulia Street.

This guy was working hard at his wok, turning out nice looking plates of noodles.

Simple, but very good.

Having spent most of our time in Kuala Lumpur in the more Muslim sections of town, we were very happy to be able to purchase beer on the street here.

Keeping with the simplicity theme, we stopped a few blocks away at Bee Hoon Cafe (which is actually a hawker center) for a bit more to eat - this time a plate of fried rice.

Sometimes some simple food and a few beers is the perfect recipe for a good evening.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Kuala Lumpur - Restoran Bunn Choon

Given the significant Chinese demographic of Kuala Lumpur, we decided that getting dim sum here was a pretty good bet, so one morning we had a meal at Restoran Bunn Choon.

The place stretched up over multiple floors of small dining areas and was packed, but we only had about a 15-minute wait to get a table.

We always take an opportunity to get some greenery, so we ordered some long beans - very well seasoned and delicious.

Some little shrimp dumplings with super-thin skins and an intensly shrimpy filling.

Sherry rarely passes up a chance to order chicken feet. These ones were great - nice and soft with a savory and slightly five-spice sauce.

Some pork ribs that were just ok, but the bits of some sort of sweet potato or winter squash that came with them were surprisingly tasty.

Bean curd stuffed with a pork mixture. Generous tasty filling, and the bean curd skin gave a nice texture.

Dumplings with the same sort of pork mixture, but with a chili oil sauce.

Overall, a very enjoyable meal. We availed ourselves of the "biscuit" counter on the main floor.

They wrapped things up in a pretty box (that's how you can tell that you overpaid for them...)

The egg tart was ok, but decidedly below average.

The lotus bun with salted egg wasn't a favorite. The lotus paste didn't have much flavor, and the egg yolk didn't add a lot.

The third was a coconut pastry which we really liked. Fluffy, with nice coconut flavor and shredded coconut texture.