fish mousse

Penang cuisine

Penang cuisine is the cuisine of the multicultural society of Penang, Malaysia. Most of these cuisine are sold at road-side stalls, known as "hawker food". Among the most famous Penang dishes are:

  • Penang Laksa (Malay: Laksa Pulau Pinang), a dish of thick round rice noodles in a spicy and sour tamarind-based fish soup.

If you are in the city, the stall at Lorong Selamat off Macalister Road is a premium choice.

For years, the market- place in Ayer Itam, next door to the famed Kek Lok Si Temple, has been the place locals congregate to enjoy their feast of beef and other meat.=. Another famous place to go is Gurney Drive where visitors will be spoilt for choice.

  • Tari Burger - Penang is also famous for its local style burger which is usually served by burger stalls by the roadside. This type of burger is quite different from a normal western burger which is served by fast food chains such as McDonald's. The roadside stall's burger is way cheaper and can be customized to satisfy one's taste. The most famous burger stall in Penang was Tari Cafe but now shunned due to being overpriced. The best burger that you could find in Penang currently is served by a burger stall beside the Pos Malaysia office in Jelutong.
  • Lor Bak - Marinated minced pork, then roll in thin soybean sheets and then deep fried. Usually served with small bowl of Loh (a thick broth thickened with corn starch and beaten eggs) & chili sauce.
  • Ching pu leang thang shui or Ching Pu Leang Dessert (Chinese: 清補涼糖水) - Ching pu leang thang shui means a cooling and rejuvenating dessert. Most people simply call it ching pu leang. It is a type of healthy dessert consisting of sweet potatoes, red beans, jelly, white fungus, sago, atapchi, longan, ginkgo, winter melon, rambutan and many more. The soup of the ching pu leang is made from longan and sugar. There is a very famous stall in Penang that sells ching pu leang called Mat Toh Yau (whose name means complete, because the stall sells many high quality ingredients of ching pu leang), opposite Jelutong Market. There is also a branch of Mat Toh Yau at Terengganu Road. There are many stalls copying or trying to be better than Mat Toh Yau since it is very popular in Penang. Mat Toh Yau even has branches in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Its Penang branches sell the dessert only at night and the Kuala Lumpur branches sell the dessert in the morning and afternoon at some places, and at night at most night markets.
  • 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. Chinese hawkers serve a variant of satay made from pork. A fresh salad of cucumbers & onions are served together with a spicy-sweet peanut dipping sauce for dipping. Ketupat, a Malay rice cake, is sometimes served together with satay.
  • Ikan Bakar - is a general term meaning grilled or barbecued fish. A popular local fish for grilling is Ikan Kembong (Mackerel Fish). The fish is usually marinated in spices, coconut milk, sometimes stuffed with sambal, then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals.
  • Otak-otak - fresh fish fillets are blended with light spices, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and other aromatic herbs, into a sort of fish mousse. The fish mousse is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled. It is stated that the dish originated from Johor.
  • Nasi Kandar - an Indian-Muslim (Mamak) dish of mixed rice with an assortment of meat and seafood curries, the secret of which is in the mix of curries. Among the most well-known is a place called Line Clear, off Penang Road.
  • Mee Goreng Mamak - also a cuisine of Mamak origin,fresh yellow egg noodles are stir fried with mutton or lamb, vegetables, tomato ketchup and spices, giving this fried noodle dish a distinctly unique Indian flavor.
  • Mee Rebus - a rich gravy made out of sweet potatoes, is ladled over fresh yellow egg noodles and bean sprouts. It is garnished with cooked squid, prawn fritters, boiled egg and fried shallots. A squeeze of a fresh local lime before serving.
  • Char kway teow (Chinese: 炒粿条) - fried flat rice noodles with seafood. (A stall at a corner along Chulia Street which uses distinctive narrower noodles than other vendors.)
  • Hokkien Mee' or 'Hae Mee (Chinese: 福建面 in Penang, 虾面 in Kuala Lumpur) - rice and egg noodles, served together with hard boiled eggs, small prawns, meat slices, bean sprouts and kangkung (water spinach) in a spicy prawn & pig bone (Chinese: 肉骨) stock. The signature stall operates at Burmah Road/ Lorong Selamat with branch opposite Padang Brown along Perak Road. One stall at Macalister Road is famous for using small mantis prawns.
  • Loh Mee - rice and egg noodles in broth thickened with corn starch and beaten eggs, served with eggs (some feature duck eggs), meat slices and bean sprouts. The noteworthy stall is located next to the Goddess of Mercy Temple, with branches in Jones Road and Pulau Tikus.
  • Koay Teow Th'ng (Chinese: 粿条汤) - fresh flat rice noodles are served in a clear soup broth, topped with fish balls, slices of pork, chicken, golden brown garlic bits and chopped scallions. A condiment of sliced fresh red chilies in soy-vinegar usually accompanies the dish.
  • Chee Cheong Fun (Chinese: 猪肠粉) - usually eaten as breakfast, flat sheets made from rice flour, sometimes with some dried shrimp embedded, is steamed soft then cut up and topped with sweeten sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, thick black prawn paste and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
  • Wan Than Mee (Chinese: 云吞面) - also known as Tok-tok Mee from the sound of knocking bamboo sticks made by the vendors in former times to draw attention to their food, of a dish of egg noodles and wontons with sliced barbecued pork and vegetables. It is served either dry with soya sauce and sesame oil, or in a clear pork stock. In Penang, many spellings exist for "Wonton", some examples being "Wan Thun", "Wan Tan", "One Ton", and so on. (Cantonese as: 馄饨面), Penang Wan Than Mee or Tok-tok Mee is also a spin off from Hong Kong, but Hong Kong style is served with dumplings (馄饨) or either with sliced barbecued pork (叉烧).
  • Ice kachang (Malay: Ais Kacang) - sweet red beans, seaweed jelly, barley pearls, sweet corn and fruits are covered with shaved ice, then laced with rose syrup, brown sugar syrup and sweetened condensed milk.
  • Cendol - a dessert with green noodles in coconut milk, brown sugar and shaved ice. There's a very famous stall along the busy street of Penang Road near the "spider" pedestrian bridge leading to KOMTAR. Another not so famous 'cendol' stall is located just opposite to it.
  • Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad tossed in a special sauce. Simply labeled Rojak Sauce, the sauce is made from a thick black prawn paste. This is combined with palm sugar, tamarind paste and other ingredients. Pineapple, apple, guava, green mango, jicama and cucumber are tossed in this sauce with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds.
  • Lok-lok is a variant of the steamboat/hotpot meal, except that the food served is skewered and the skewered food is dipped into a hot boiling pot of water to be cooked. This is then dipped into a variety of sauces provided for you. A wide selection of food is served, ranging from seafood and meats to vegetables. The food is eaten off the skewer.

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