A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.


Monthly Archives: March 2012



Ah Chye

Posted at 1pm on 3/1/12 | read on
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The dish I was probably looking the most forward to eating in Malaysia is rojak, a type of fruit salad with a thick, intense dressing that practically screams Southeast Asia. I didn’t come across any in KL, but from previous trips to Penang, I knew that I needed to head for Georgetown’s busy Gurney Driver hawker market:

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There, Ah Chye, a lauded and busy stall, does the Penang version of the dish, which I’ve been told is particular about the inclusion of rose apples (the tiny pink kind known in Thai as mamiaw) and squid. Ah Chye’s rojak also has crunchy guava, jicama and cucumber, bits of crispy deep-fried dough, sweet mangoes and tart chunks of pineapple. These disparate ingredients come together with the help of a virtually mud-thick sweet/fishy/sour/spicy dressing made from shrimp paste and sugar (Ah Chye’s dressing is so popular, it’s available in take-away tubs). And as if there wasn’t already enough going on, the dish is garnished with ground peanuts and sesame.

Excellent, but I want more. Penangites/Georgetownians: Where do you like to get your rojak on?

Ah Chye
Gurney Drive Hakwer Stalls, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Dinner


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Posted at 6am on 3/2/12 | read on
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My afternoon snack was better than yours: lor bak and nutmeg juice, Penang.

My afternoon snack was better than yours: lor bak and nutmeg juice, Penang.

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Posted at 6am on 3/2/12 | read on
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Years later, we meet again: sup kambing (goat soup), Sup Hameed, Penang.

Years later, we meet again: sup kambing (goat soup), Sup Hameed, Penang.

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Posted at 6am on 3/2/12 | read on
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Coffee shop dude, Georgetown, Penang.

Coffee shop dude, Georgetown, Penang.

Duck koay chiap

Posted at 7am on 3/2/12 | read on
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I’ve spent the last few nights in a hotel on Lebuh Kimberley. I wasn’t previously too familiar with this corner of Georgetown, but it’s turned out to be a great place to stay, as there’s a lot of interesting stuff to eat just steps from my door: Goh Huat Seng, an old-school Chinese restaurant next door, comes recommended by Bee and is virtually full every night; there’s a busy morning market one block away; there’s a promising-looking char kuay teow vendor just down the block; and next door to my hotel, a busy and allegedly renowned vendor selling duck koay chiap.

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I was tipped off to the latter dish via a recommendation from food writer CK Lam in the guidebook I’m updating. But upon reading it, I did a double take, because in Thailand — at least as far as I’m aware — kuay jap, as the Thai version is known, is made exclusively with pork (for more on the Thai version, go here).

The dish is prepared by friendly and rather portly family:

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and appears to be very popular, with the open-air shophouse ‘dining room’ full of diners virtually every time I’ve walked by.

I expected the dish to be sweet — duck dishes in Thailand usually are — but it was predominately rich and meaty, with a slight peppery spiciness that reminded me of the Thai version, and just a hint of ‘sweet’ spice (cinnamon, star anise, clove, etc.). I asked for a ‘mixed’ bowl, which included duck intestines and other offal, eggs, tender duck meat and a generous amount of duck fat. Like the Thai version, the dish was served with wide rice noodles that resemble tiny carpet rolls; as illustrated in CK Lam’s blog, the noodles are still made by the proprietor himself. Unlike Thai kuay jap, a bowl is served with spicy/sour dipping sauce made from fresh chilies.

I’d be curious to learn more about this dish: Is it Hokkien in origin? Teochew? Do Chinese-Malaysians do a pork version?

Duck Koay Chiap
Lebuh Kimberley, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Dinner


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Posted at 7am on 3/3/12 | read on
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Some dark-ass coffee, Georgetown:

Some dark-ass coffee, Georgetown.

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Posted at 7am on 3/3/12 | read on
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Breakfast in Georgetown: thin rice noodles and Chinese pork curry.

Breakfast in Georgetown: thin rice noodles and Chinese pork curry.

Sup Hameed

Posted at 3pm on 3/5/12 | read on
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By day, Sup Hameed is a rather bleak nasi kandar restaurant (more on this type of Malaysian restaurant later). Come night, they set out tables and a cart with several huge pots of sup — rich, meat-based Malaysian soups.

My favourite is sup kambing, goat soup (pictured above), but Hameed’s oxtail soup is also good. They also do a quail version, in which the whole birds are added to a bowl of broth. Regardless of the protein, other than some subtle dried spices, a bit of turmeric and a pinch of deep-fried crispy shallots, the predominate flavour here is meat. This contrasts with the Thai version of the dish — the nearest equivalent being the Thai-Muslim sup haang wua, oxtail soup — which is generally mouth-puckeringly sour, most likely the result of the Thai desire to pack every flavour possible into a dish.

The dish is served on its own or with a couple slices of white bread. If you need more flavours, try Sup Hamid’s teh halia, ginger tea: it’s sweet enough to be dessert.

Sup Hameed
48 Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Dinner


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Posted at 1pm on 3/6/12 | read on
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Lunch part one: mee goreng

Lunch part one: mee goreng

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Posted at 1pm on 3/6/12 | read on
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Lunch part two: really good oyster omelet.

Lunch part two: really good oyster omelet.