Thursday, August 15, 2013

[Beware: Many delicious dishes ahead. Please prepare yourself with a box of tissues]

Penang is a renown island of food. Famous for it's char kuih teow and laksa, I will show you exactly that, plus more mouth-watering pictures to make you wish you had stuffed yourself in one of my suitcases on flight to this hawker style street food central - 

I'm not lying when I say street food

A drinks menu

In most Chinese dimsums, you will often see marinated-until-red chicken feet served in bamboo steamers, but Penang doesn't do that. Here they slow cook them in this delicious sauce until the feet literally melts apart in your mouth and the bones separate from the skin and cartilage naturally.

Congees and noodle soups with a variety of duck or pork (your choice) innards are so immensely flavourful you wonder what they feed their animals here. 

But while you're in Penang you'll want to eat seafood more than land-animals because it's right by the sea! Order yourself a plate of see hum (click) at a food court (at night of course) and don't bother dipping these in the chili sauce: you've got to savour them, their saltwater taste and everything because their fresh from the sea taste isn't something you get often anywhere else.

Say it with me: 'see hum'

You'll see plenty of fruit stalls all around Malaysia. Some precut the fruit, pack them in little plastic bags sealed with a bamboo skewer. Some, like this one, lay out all the fresh fruit and let you pick which ones you'd like to eat. They are then cut and arranged on a bed of ice and served to your table. 

Poh Piah - It's like a spring roll but not deep fried. Healthier but not at all flavour sacrificing. Watermelon juice in the back.

Deep fried everything. But the chicken skin was what I was after.

Kalamansi lime with dried salted plum - must try!

Deep fried dough fritters dipped in warm soy milk are a great start to your meal

No, not a dessert but a pre-dinner 'drink' made of shaved ice, syrup, red beans, grass jelly, corn, nata de coco, ice cream. I love Malaysia

Oyster omlette unlike anywhere you've eaten it

Penang Laksa

 Char Kuih Teow. You have not been in Penang unless you've eaten the way Penang makes it, with the mandatory fistful of see hum that is thrown into the wok during cooking

Balitongs / Escargots. The only way to eat them is to suck the meat out of the larger hole with your mouth. Takes practice - had to order two plates to master the art of eating these. They are also extremely spicy and your mouth may feel numb for a while.

Just leave the empty shells on the table

They call it 'La La' you may call it clams. Spicy, mouth numbing. 

The next morning you might like some Chinese style comfort food around here:

Everyone including the owner is waiting for the rest of the roasted meats to arrive...

On a metal buggy pulled by a small motorbike

He cuts all the meat lightning speed fast

Soup made of innards

Roast duck

Char siew

While driving to your next (possibly food-related destination), you will pass by many roadside food stalls selling noodles (or mee as the locals say), refreshing drinks, but most notably, durian. I will be making a post dedicated to Malaysians durians eventually, because they do deserve their own post.

There are so many types of durian here

Durians from Malaysia are often said to be superior in flavour compared to those from several other countries

Oh yes and I will not let you off my post until you get a glimpse of the famous Penang Assam Laksa that Anthony Bourdain had (he's my foodie crush).

Oh but on your way there, you may pass by a food court that has a stall which is very famous for:

 The 3-person team works extremely fast to take orders, compile your bowl of noodles, and find your table to serve you

Noodles are fresh-made (none of that dried then soak in water stuff), the broth no doubt from the duck, and topped with the typical deep fried garlic and shallots you top with noodles in Malaysia, alongside chili, I'm afraid all my describing has gone to vain unless you try this for yourself.

And now, back en route towards the laksa, we will stop by a temple called Kek Lok Si:

Alright I hear you, enough with these landscape photos and get on with the highly anticipated food already!

So I was actually so excited when I saw this place because I didn't know it would be the place Anthony Bourdain ate at. I smiled a lot and jumped around and my camera naturally snapped away.

There's many people so you may have to find a seat at the food court across the street (where the laksa servers will find you there when you point across the street upon placing your order).

Unforgettable. Once I've tried this Penang laksa, I can't say I've had a more memorable taste anywhere else. For RM4.00, that translates to a soul-fulfilling bowl of not-just-any-noodle-soup for just over CDN$1!

Cendol is the norm here

Shaved ice, red bean, 'cendol' jelly, coconut sugar

"Mom, take a commemorative picture of me here in the place where I've eaten the best laksa ever please"



 Never be hungry during a car ride by stopping at conveniently and frequently located food stalls.

Sapodilla: a deliciously sweet soft fruit. Read about it here

My all time favourite jackfruit

The smell of meat is killing me. The best I can do while the post wisdom teeth extraction is still in its way of my regular diet? Glorified scrambled eggs made with bacon fat, chives, parmesan and diced mushrooms.


Next stop on my Malaysia tour for you: Ipoh