Thursday, June 13, 2013

Road Trip

It's been a while since I last blogged. So many things have cropped up - work, family, etc etc. Finally, we are having a short holiday with our family or families. And where to? Penang! Yes, it's Mr G's hometown or homeland, whatever you call it.

I believe many people who think or even say the word Penang would definitely link it to food. Yes, so do I :) I guess many Penangites will now smack their lips with glee at that thought.

Before we even broach that topic, let's have a brief introduction of Penang. It is otherwise known as Pulau Pinang in Malay. Similarly, like Singapore which is known to be 'Lion City', Penang is known as 'The Pearl of the Orient'.  Its heart or rather, capital is Georgetown which is a place where if you were to visit Penang, that would be the likely place you would stay, walk about or even eat at.

When you think of Penang, you might probably think of Penang bridge at the very first instant. If you are unaware, Penang is declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site which also literally means that it is a place with special cultural and/or physical significance. (Disclaimer: to many of us, there are places that has such significances as well so do not be mistaken that I'm saying Penang supercedes them but rather, I'm just stating what it determined by UNESCO.)

Without further ado, I'm bringing your attention back to the yummies in Penang! WARNING: if you are hungry already, I believe the pictures that follow will make you even more hungry than ever! :)

First of all, presenting what I always eat first or at least it's a die-die must eat (slang) for me whenever I go to Penang to visit the inlaws. Please see the picture below. 

For those of you who have never seen or even heard of this dish, it's known as Pasembur. Pasembur is a Malaysian Indian dish that consists of julienned cucumber, potatoes, fried beancurd, julienned turnip, plump beansprouts, prawn fritters, fried seafood and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce. In other parts of Malaysia, I do believe it's known as Mamak Rojak or otherwise, indian rojak (rojak means a mixture of things or food). This dish is very refreshing with the crunchy cucumber, turnip and beansprouts. 

And the next 'contender' is the curry mee. This curry gravy is more watery and unlike its counterparts, together with vegetables like beansprouts, kangkong and tau pok, it makes a delicious noodle dish.

Next up, we had wanton mee. I wish I had taken a closer picture of the noodles used for wanton mee. It's hard to really describe how the texture of the noodles feel in your mouth but it is definitely unlike any other wanton mee in Singapore. I have never tasted noodles like this in Singapore. It's bouncy, springy but yet not soft to the point that it's going mushy. I like!!

If you are a fan of beef kuey teow soup, you might like this one. For some odd reason, beef in Malaysia is so much cheaper than Singapore but yet tastier.
Can you already see that we have ordered ours and the uncle is making it with pride? :):) I love the nostalgic feel of such old coffeeshops.

What could be more perfect than a saucer of homemade chilli with fried bits of garlic to go with the piping hot beef kuay teow soup?

Yes, exhibiting our main star!! I believe this is the teochew style where they have loads and loads of parsley in the soup as its condiments together with more fried garlic!! In the soup, you'll have beef tripe, beef balls, sliced beef, innards and what have you. After this bowl of warm soup, you will be simply satisfied.

If you see the picture below, you'll probably see that the kuay teow used in the soup is ultra thin. Honestly, I don't believe I've seen this type of kuay teow in Singapore, not even in the wet markets around. If you have, do let me know ;)

What you see in the picture above is what they call, hokkien mee. Do note that this type of hokkien mee is different from Singapore's stir fried hokkien mee which is semi-wet with prawns and pork. This is the same version of what we call prawn mee aka hae-mee. From the look of the soup, you can tell that it's very flavourful. The broth is cooked with prawn shells, pork bones for a long time to ensure that all the juices are extracted to form that deep brown colour in the broth. Yummy!!

Below is a version of Penang char kuey teow which is fried with duck egg. Traditionally, char kuey teow was fried with duck egg but for health reasons, many places fry it with chicken egg. Trust me, if you have yet to try the version with duck egg, you should still try it because it does taste a lot better. Beware of the calories though.

Then again, although this wasn't the version from the famous sisters' char kuey teow, I'm already satisfied with it :)

Whilst on the way for our morning breakfast, we caught sight of this. Honestly, I have never seen this from my side of the world before. I believe the last I really saw this was in Hong Kong and even then, it's not as nostalgic as this one. You just slot in the coins for the period you estimate to park your car.

And could you actually figure out what they are so amused with?

I think I was more fixed on going for our breakfast - dim sum!! We went to this haunt that we had been going since we discovered this the last time we were back in Penang - Tho Yuen. It was good and cheap and nostalgic too :)

You would probably see chee cheong fun and the plate on the right shows chicken feet which is an acquired taste for us Chinese. But guess what? I love it!! The collagen and soft chewy parts of the feet makes it so yums.

Ahem, can you see how fast that big BAO 'moves'? Put 2 or 3 of the big BAOs we have in Singapore, that is the real size so go figure.

After all the savouries (many of which I didn't take pictures since they were gone as swift as the wind), I was craving for something sweet :) Yes, their egg tarts!! This reminded me of the Honolulu egg tart I had in Hong Kong although some would beg to differ with the Chris Patten's favourite version. I'm good with this one.

Now the next picture is priceless!! Mum enjoying her favourite ice kachang in the sweltering hot weather :):)

Have you had enough of the food just yet? If not, these will be the last few (for now).

They call this the deep fried tofu with sweet dipping sauce.

 And they call this lemon-ginger steamed clams. For me, I'm not a big fan of clams, not mainly because I don't eat them but mainly because it is not the first thing in my mind when I think of seafood. But this is GOOD!

The final guest is my favourite - sweet and sour chilli crabs!!

This quite sum up the whole feasting trip! Ok, not! It was the first time the family came over together where the parents were here more than 30 years ago and so many things have changed.

Now it's back to reality again :( I'm slowly getting adjusted back to the fast-paced life in Singapore once more.

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