Ask most foodies which state in Malaysia has the best food, and most will mention Penang. This Northerly State is a mix of old and new with English settler influences clearly noticeable as heritage roads named after famous figures who landed on the island. In fact, my dad told me that the older generation Lee’s came from Bishop Street. Food is gorgeous here, with my trip of 4 days to Penang mainly revolving about overindulging in what the internet claims to be the best of the best of Penang eating. So how do these “highly recommended” places that got the internet buzzing, fare? Reaching late in the evening, I headed out to Kimberley Street located in the earlier parts of Penang to find that while most places were relatively quiet on the street, a small section was full of activity. The place is the area surrounding Sin Guat Keong Coffee Shop on Kimberley Street.
Sin Guat Keong Coffee Shop
86 Lebuh Kimberley, Georgetown,
10100 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Open from : Morning but the stalls reviewed below only opens in the night
While the place is filled with hawkers, one hawker that was noticeably more busy than the rest was the man cooking up Fried Kuey Teow. With his stall emanating a fragrant which is from the by-product of oil used to fry mantis prawns, my stomach was growling!
No quick shutter speed will catch this man in calm moments. His orders are never ending! We had two orders of Penang Fried Kuey Teow that night, a simple one without mantis prawns (RM3.60) and another one with the lot (RM6.60). Hype or not? I reckon not. This old school fry up has got to be the finest of my trip. Its “wok-hei” or stir-fry flavour was plenty. This is something I definitely miss eating when I am in Australia as the fried noodles often come out oily but in terms of fragrance, nowhere near the final product achieved in Malaysia. At this stall, the chef puts in a small slice of squid which gives the noodle an extra layer of flavour which was pleasant though the squid itself was not nice @@! What I did not find impressive though, was the additional mantis prawn which close to double the price of the noodles. The mantis prawns were good flavoursome protein, but for a simple dish of noodles, I preferred it to be less complicated. The normal prawns were definitely fresh and good enough.
Another popular eat in the area was the braised chicken feet and innards in a rich soy with a bowl of noodles. This was just a few stalls away from the Char Kuey Teow hawker. I am not sure what this translates to but taken from Vkeong’s Food blog it is called Sky Emperor Chicken Feet Kuey Teow Soup.
While innards and chicken feet is strange in Australia, it is a delicacy back home. With the feet cooked till super soft and tender, I can understand why locals come in droves.Chicken feet combination with soy eggs and innards (RM10). While I am no big fan of innards, mom and dad reckon that the ones here did not stink which is definitely a positive feedback. The chicken feet for me were deliciously soft and the sauce was rich though it lacked a stickiness that I am more familiar with. Eggs were braised in soy but I could not find the saltiness it needed. Dad reckons this is a typical Penang style of preparing chicken feet where it had a subtle sweetness than a salty sauce. But fret not, it came with a small saucer of cut chilli and soy. It went nicely together! For those who dislike both innards and chicken feet, there is also an option for soy chicken wings and thigh which looked absolutely delicious too!
The Kuey Teow soup that came with it was nice and dad preferred this over the chicken feet. Crispy garlic oil with finely diced scallions gave this soup a delightful fragrant. But I understand the pairing of braised chicken feet and the Kuey Teow soup. They were meant to compliment each other though the chicken feet did not taste all that great.
As we were about to go back to the hotel, a motorcycle pulled up with the sign “famous” Yong Tau Fu. Feeling overly enthusiastic and confident about my stomach space, I decided to order a plate to share. While I did not find it special, the Yong Tau Fu were of decent quality and his garnish of fried garlic was generous. I guess back in KL we have high quality Yong Tau Fu in Ampang!
Keep a look out for Part 2 of my Penang trip! ;)