Mouth-watering in Malaysia


In my research, I came across this about Malaysian food (FYI, one RM – 33 cents US):

Penang cuisine

  • Mee Sotong – Hameed’s spicy Mee Rebus, noodles served with a fishy, spicy sauce made with chilli and cuttle fish, has been at the Kota Selera Hawker Center in Padang Kota Lama (Fort Cornwallis) for nearly 30 years.
  • Assam Laksa – A far cry from the sweet, coconutty Singapore version, this noodle soup comes with sour broth flavored with tamarind (assam) with pureed fish, fruits, veggies and a generous helping of chili mixed in. Watch out, the combination is powerful and will have the uninitiated breathing fire!
  • Penang Char Koay Teow – The definitive version of the ubiquitous stir-fried flat rice noodles, tossed with bean sprouts, cockles, and anything else the chef has handy. Eggs are additional and cockles can be opt out, if preferred by the customer. Some say the best Char Koay Teow can be found at Lorong Selamat but it costs at least RM5 per plate and that only if you have the patience of a saint to wait for it. Another choice is Ah Leng Char Koay Teow and the Char Koay Teow in Bukit Emas Restaurant, Seberang Perai.
  • Penang Nasi Kandar – White rice (nasi) with anything else that you want with it! Usually served with fried chicken, fried fish, prawns, squid, hardboiled eggs, various vegetables, and a curry (which is poured onto the rice). Be careful though! Taking too many of the ‘side dishes’ can be quite expensive. Can be found at various places around Georgetown.
  • Hokkien Mee – Two types of noodles in prawn and pork soup with slices of pork, prawns, hard boiled egg, vegetable, beans sprout and sprinkling of deep fried shallots.
  • Koay Teow Th’ng – Flat rice noodles (Koay Teow) in clear chicken soup (Th’ng) with slices of chicken, pork and fish cake. Garnish with chopped spring onions. Some places have duck meat and other organ meats as extras. Some say the shops in Hutton Lane and a couple of shops opposite Tandoori House are a good choices for this dish.
  • Lobak, or Lorbak – Minced pork wrapped in tofu skin – Very famous in Penang, Lorbak is similar to sausage (Lor means a kind of sauce whereas bak means meat in Hokkien). You can choose the accompanying servings of prawn fritters, tofu, fish cakes, Taiwan sausages, century egg (preserved duck egg, unique taste and texture. Usually eaten with pickled young ginger) and others. Locals dip Lorbak in sweet sauce and chilli sauce. Can be found in rather consistent quality all over Penang.
  • Penang Sar Hor Fun – A local dish with koay teow (flat rice cakes) in a delicious broth of beaten eggs and seafood bits. Goes best with pickled green chillies.
  • Seafood – As you might expect on an island, seafood is abundant. Head for the fishing village of Teluk Bahang in the north, or go to Batu Maung / Teluk Kumbar in the south for fresh fare at local prices. You can also get good seafood at Batu Ferringhi beach.
  • Or Chen (Oyster Omelette) – This is a popular dish available in multiple locations all around Georgetown. The food center at Gurney Drive is a tourist-friendly place to get an oyster omelette. It is next to the Gurney Plaza shopping center and a stone’s throw away from G Hotel. Expect to queue for 10 to 15 minutes; the price ranges from RM 8 to RM 16 depending on the portion you are ordering.
  • Pasembor (Indian mixed fruits) – Despite its name, this dish does not contain any fruit. Basically it is cucumber plus your chosen ingredients covered in spicy peanut sauce. You can choose to add squid, sausage, tofu, local crackers, crabs, potato, eggs, and fish cake, among other possibilities. Prices range from RM 5 to RM 20, depending on the ingredients you want on your pasembor.
  • Lor Mee (Noodles) – A bowl of yellow noodles in sticky brown colored sauce. Unique to this part of Malaysia and a must try, lor mee can be found on the road called “Lebuh Presgrave” in town. There is a little link house converted to a restaurant that serves them. Also available in other hawker centers. Depending on the cook, it may or may not contain innards such as intestines, stomach, and liver. You can ask them first and if they do serve innards, you may request a serving without them. Lor mee are commonly served with shreds of chicken breast and some pork slices. Prices range from RM 3 to RM 6.
  • Satay (Malay: sate) – the famous meat-on-a-stick, is a traditional Malay food typically made from marinated meat – chicken, mutton or beef, skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over hot charcoals. A fresh salad of cucumbers & onions are served together with a spicy-sweet peanut dipping sauce for dipping.

Traditional foods

  • Nutmeg, products – In traditional medicine, nutmeg oil or balm were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems. Preserved nutmeg strips either in dry or wet form are used as the snack by locals.
  • Traditional biscuits such as Tambun Pnea, Beh Teh Sor, Heong Pneah, Pong Pneah, Tau Sar Pneah and etc.

Desserts include:

  • Kaya, (a type of jam) – A mixture of eggs and cocount milk to be spread over anything you want. According to some, the best kaya is at a little coffee shop at the end of Madras Lane. To impress the locals, order some kaya toast and dip it in some half-boiled egg.
  • Coconut tart – If you have eaten egg tart before then instead of the egg put in some coconut and voila! You get coconut tart and definitely the best is at Cintra Lane.
  • Cendol – A mixture of blended ice with big mushy red beans with gula melaka (brown sugar) thrown in. This will satisfy anyone even if it is raining. Cendol can be found anywhere but the best is at Penang Road.
  • Durian Fruit – Penang’s durian is unique in the world. Best way to eat is at the stall. They open the durian for you. You pay what you eat. The medium durian will cost RM8-15. You don’t have to worry about buying rotten durians. Stalls are usually located by the roadside next to durian plantations.

And wash it all down with some…

  • Teh Tarik (literally, Pulled Tea) – This sweet tea-with-milk drink is “pulled” by the vendor, that is, the drink is poured into the serving cup from a can/pot that is moved from near the cup to a considerable height above it. This is repeated until frothy. (Like most Malaysian drinks, it’s very sweet, but you can ask for “less sweet” (or “kurang manis” in Malay) – and it won’t be quite so sweet.) Enjoy at any Mamak (Indian Muslim) stall or restaurant along Penang Road in the evening, chit chat with friends, while watching the culture of Penangites.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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