We may have stuffed ourselves till we were green in the face, but Penang still held a few tasty treats that we just had to try before we left.
For instance the hawker stalls at Sungei Pinang, just in front of the Honda dealership. I’d been there 5 years ago, and the blurred memory of what to me was an unbeatable bowl rich, spicy Curry Noodles (or ‘karri mee’ as it’s lovingly called) and a solid Herbal Duck Mee Sua, made returning a must.
Sadly, in the clarity of the present, what I had remembered as kick-ass curry noodles had somehow lost its magic for me. The soup seemed thinner and not as ‘lemak’ as before. To make up for my disappointment, I took comfort in the duck mee sua.
Delicate skeins of rice noodles quickly cooked – so that they are still firm to the bite – in a rich herby broth of ‘gei zi’ (wolfberries) and ‘dong guai’ (the root of the Angelica sinensis, which is a member of the celery family). Beats any duck mee sua I’ve had in Singapore…
Besides the mee sua and ‘kari mee’ there was also a stall selling fried fish bee hoon. It was too garlicky for my taste, although my friend Chiang said it reminded him of the bee hoon his mother used to make – which he liked – and well familiar, childhood tastes are what make up comfort food – so I guess it was good for him. The upside for me was the freshly battered and fried fish and prawns.
Truly a last meal to remember…not least because the sun was blazing it’s way up and through the little shelter and drowning us all in pools of our own perspiration!
I don’t usually have a sweet tooth, but just had to leave you with a sweet helping of ‘dessert’:
“San se nai cha” or Three colour milk tea is served with a thick layer of gula melaka (semi-liquid, dense, dark locally produced palm sugar), and packs a powerful punch in the mornings.
We were there during the Mid-autumn Mooncake festival and had the opportunity to try home-made yam mooncakes – with the flaky pastry. These had a creamy yam filling that was not too sweet; and a light flaky crust that was still warm from the oven. Heaven! Price: $S1 per piece….what a treat!