Tag Archives: Hokkien Prawn Mee

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Malaysia: Day 3 – Prawn-slaught!

Day 1 * Day 2Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

Feasting on Penang’s succulent culinary treasures continues, with a lot of prawn-tasticness! Here is the United States, we often call them shrimp, but looks like everywhere else, they’re prawns. Did you know that the translation of the Chinese word for lobster is ‘dragon prawn?’ Well, now you do. I for one will be calling them prawns from now on. Let’s check out day three!

We started the day with a few interviews in the lounge at the Eastin Penang with a few newspapers. Pictured are the folks from The Star, Malaysia’s most-read English newspaper. I also interviewed with Guang Ming Daily, Kwong Wah News and Sinchew. Those links go to the  stories they published.

Today was about our little friend the prawn. Our first stop was at a little restaurant.

Well-worn floors: the battle scars of well fed diners.

The first bowl of Hokkien Prawn Mee for the day.

Note two two types of noodles – regular gauge and bihun. It’s been hard; since we go to so many places, I can’t eat the whole bowl! Nice prawn broth with pork highlights.

We cut through a side alley to our next destination. I’ve always really liked alleys; they’re always overlooked. Businesses spend so much time on their fronts, but the alleys show the wear of time so beautifully.

Thomas leads us to our next destination – more mee!

After last night’s festivities, I have to admit a bit of a hangover. Penang’s heat and humidity cut a little by these oscillating fans.

Thomas returning after ordering our next bowl of Hokkien Prawn Mee to sample.

This was my favorite bowl of Hokkien Prawn Mee of the whole trip – just wonderful stuff.

These big propane tanks are the lifeblood of the hawker. See the one on the far right? Basically, they’re lit and that cylinder on top is where you would set your wok. Amazing how these simple contraptions are the source of heat for so many of the amazing delicacies of Penang.

This is a banana pancake – fluffy and full of bananas. What’s nice is that it wasn’t as sweet as I would have expected. Thomas informed me that extremely sugary isn’t the way over here.

Back through the alley to the van to go to our next stop.

There’s a morning market we drove by which was very busy.

Cooking is going on 24/7 in Penang. Everywhere.

The last Hokkien Prawn Mee of the day.

Another really neat looking floor.

One of my favorite things about Hokkien Prawn Mee are the fried shallots that garnish the bowl.

You know what this is? Here we have pork rinds which are fried pork skin. They go a bit further here – this is fried pork belly – I would say those who love bacon really need to take note of this!

Stone Pot White Curry Mee!

Next we went to the mall and peeked around a bit. Then we went out for dim sum at Canton-I. We started with some boiled peanuts.

During my trip to Penang, I’ve really wanted to try everything I can – especially things I normally might not. This congee is supplemented with these little crunchy bits on the lower left: fried pork intestine. How are they? Well, they’re crunchy and reminiscent of pork rinds. They went really well with the congee, which is kind of like a porridge.

The little char siu buns were so good! The filling wasn’t dry like the ones I’ve had so many times in the United States, but very moist and featured an almost gravy like sauce.

Had to try these little piggy buns! But what’s inside them?

The paste inside is a mix of peanut butter and other things. The other bun had a red bean paste.

This roast duck was very moist – liked it quite a bit. Really nice to have tried duck a couple ways – I really hadn’t tried it before this trip.

One of my wife’s faves is this stuffed wide noodle. We also had the standards – pork bun, prawn ball and shumai.

These little buns were filled with a runny egg mix which was sweet.

Here’s another great change from Chinese food in the states. You know the appetizer with cold pork, sesame seeds, hot mustard and ketchup? Here’s what is SHOULD look like! That pork was just perfect. At the center is an aged salted duck egg.

An iced sweet melon dessert with honeydew balls.

Now this one is a mango dessert, but the little balls aren’t mango. For ages, I’ve seen these ‘glutinous rice balls’ at the Asia grocery stores around me in the US and never knew what they were. Well, that’s what these are. They’re chewy and were pretty good in this. Imagine taffy consistency marshmallow and you’re pretty close to what this was like.

All done. On the way to our next to-do, I took this shot of the KFC in the mall. KFC, McDonald’s Burger King, Subway and Pizza Hut are all over the place here. Difference is that here you can get tom yum pizza at Pizza Hut.

Next stop was a ferry to Butterworth. Lots of motorbikes loading on!

Why this commercial? Living in Anacortes, Washington growing up, we were so close to Canada that we got Canadian TV commercials. This was one I thought was fascinating. Malacca. Sounds really cool. One of those words that just stuck in my head and just seemed cool. What is Malacca?

The Strait of Malacca. Riding the ferry across was a really great moment of this trip for me. Penang is an island, connected to the minland by a bridge. It also has ferry service. Fishing is an important industry. These are all parallels to where I grew up. Anacortes is on fidalgo Island, next to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Fishing is a big deal too. It’s connected to the mainland by a bridge (much shorter than the 7km Penang Bridge) and ferries can be taken to the islands. We’ve experienced so many things that are so different from where I consider home, but this seemed to me like a moment where everything came together in a really personal way for me that is hard to describe.

Here we are at the front of the ferry.

A ferry returning to the side we started off on.

Okay dude who requested pics of noodle aisles in Malaysia – here you go! This is the Econsave supermarket at Chain Ferry, Butterworth.

Lots of instant noodles! We ended up finding about 30 different varieties to bring back. One thing I really wanted to do is get a ton of Malaysian instant noodles so in the near future, I can do a The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Malaysian Instant Noodles Of All Time list. I’ve reviewed 44 varieties and would like to have reviewed about 70 before doing a top ten.

Finally, it’s time for dinner – and this place was probably one of the most unique places I’ve dined in my life. It’s called Floating Seafood Paradise.

Why is this place so unique? Well, there are big fishtanks and big holding ponds where fresh seafood are raised. You want fresh seafood? It does not get any fresher than this. Not only that, everything is connected together – you dine while floating on the water.

These large shelled snail-like sea creature were really big and interesting – I don’t remember what they’re called, but delicious would be a description.

These are Mantis Prawns. They’re absolutely enormous! I have checked them out on YouTube in the past. They eat clams and other shellfish. They have the ability to flick their flicking thing at the speed of a bullet and smash the shell of their prey open!

This guy looks like a small shark!

The meal starts with a little appetizer of chickpeas.

Thirsty? Coconut milk – straight out of a coconut.

Cockles.

Can’t remember what kind of fish this was but it was delightful – crunchy fins were really nice.

Breaded clams. Starting to think now that maybe clams are called cockles here.

Fresh cooked Mantis Prawn. Seriously – that’ a lot of prawn meat! We also had some fresh crab. Thomas said I should try the crab roe – of everything I tried on the trip, I would say that was the one thing I wasn’t really keen on; very ‘of the sea’ kind of taste. The crabs came with wooden clubs to crack open the shells. The claw meat was especially succulent.

I’m pretty sure this is the sea cucumber and duck. The sea cucumber reminded me of what Jell-o gelatin would be like if it was overdone – yeah, like ultra-dense Jell-o. Wasn’t keen on it alone, but along with a bite of the duck and the sauce it was out of this world.

Finally, a bana leaf with a lovely offering of Chilli Crab. It has such a sweet and spicy kind of flavor that was just plain nice. Another great day of trying the food of Malaysia. I must say that I’m finding the fact that pretty much everything is served family style really lends itself to a communal meal setting. Nobody hovering over their food here – everyone shares their opinions of it and it’s a great experience. More on the trip tomorrow with day four!

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Malaysia: Day 2 – Factory & Hawker 101

Day 1 * Day 2Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

I was planning on doing a post each day consecutively, mirroring the prior week when I was actually in Malaysia, but I hit a snag yesterday. I’d always heard of this thing called ‘jet lag’ and now I can tell you, it’s real. Shifting from timezones and different days really messed us up! We woke up at 2pm yesterday! Haven’t slept in like that since I was a punk kid! Well, we went to sleep at a realistic Pacific time zone time last night and so this morning I’m doing day two! This is a long post folks! Here we go!

After a good night of sleep, we emerged from our room at partake of the buffet breakfast downstairs.

Here’s my wife having breakfast with me. This hotel is really neat; the little hexagons everywhere are pretty nifty!

Our hosts Annie & Thomas said maybe have a light breakfast as we’d be going all over the place today and trying all sorts of different foods that Penang has to offer. Clockwise starting with the noodles: wok fried Maggi Mee, a piece of shumai, chicken rice, a hash brown, beef slice and in the center cheese sausages.

They had neat little desserts too!

Alright – time to take on the day!

The view from our room this morning.

Our first stop is the factory where MyKuali is produced. On the way, we got to see the big billboard on the Penang Bridge!

Here’s the factory! The first thing we did was sit down with CEO Mr. Tan and his wife. He brewed delicious cups of tea as we discussed my first impressions of Malaysia and chatted about the role of the instant noodle in the world. It was really great to meet them both.

Then we went into a conference room and I was greeted by applause – wasn’t expecting that! The people who work here asked me some questions about my experiences reviewing instant noodles and my thoughts on Malaysia so far. I brought a couple gifts for them – one was a book about my hometown of Anacortes, Washington showing historic photos of the fishing industry there. The other is being held by the woman in the picture . When I first reviewed their MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle, I loved it and it was very spicy and so it easily made the 2013 Top Ten Spiciest list. That caused a lot of attention in Malaysia and really got popular quickly. So what’s in the frame? It’s the package from the noodles I reviewed. I save the packaging from every instant I review and thought they’d like it and they did!

Next we toured the factory. Look at all the boxes of noodles! They were ready to be shipped all over.

Here’s where they put the noodles and sachet into packs and box them up. I couldn’t take any more pics inside. Trade secrets are a big thing in the instant noodle industry, where there is such extreme secrecy. We got to see the room where they make the paste – what a smell! Wonderful! I can say it’s a really fascinating place – also extremely clean.

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Here we are in front of one of the MyKuali delivery trucks!

Next stop: Old Town White Coffee in Auto City. These are quite common here – never one too far away. Kind of like Starbucks – but then again they do have Starbucks here in Malaysia everywhere as well!

A comfy little place.

Okay so on the left is the white coffee, on the right black coffee. They’re very sweet and the white has milk, the black no milk. It’s also iced which was nice in the heat of the day.

We had a couple things here – nasi lemak, toast with a sweet spread inside and these – little curry pockets which were really tasty.

Back on the road to our next destination. Took a lot of pictures along the way – here’s a couple enjoying breakfast.

Colorful menus abound as well as the constant sound of motorbikes.

Next stop was Hot Bowl Nyonya Delights. There are many ethnic groups in Malaysia and two of them are Malay and Mandarin. Nyonya cuisine is a fusion of the two.

This is it folks – serious white curry noodles here! All sorts of ways to have it – with fish ball, congealed duck blood, cockles, squid, tofu puff – in any combination you like!

We started by trying a boiled chicken dish and well as a pork leg soup (not pictured).

Here’s the white curry mee – such excellent stuff!

Love how the broth looks once the paste is stirred in. Ome of the reasons I was invited to Penang was to taste the real-deal local fare and compare it to MyKuali’s products. The MyKuali is spot on – really quite amazing.

Off to another place to try new food! No, not McDonald’s – although this palatial McDonald’s was quite fascinating to see on the way!

Next stop was Ghani Penang Famous Pasambur/Rojak. Here’s Thomas schooling me on what rojak is and how it works here.

You grab a plate and pick a few varieties of these different fish cakes. Then they slice them up, add some different things and you get…

This amazing concoction. I am now a huge fan of this stuff – a sweet and spicy sauce with all sorts of chewy goodness!

Here’s a plate of mi goreng!

This is a plate of mi rebus. While mi goreng doesn’t have a sauce or broth, mi regus does. It translates to ‘wet noodles.’

Traveling to our next tasting! Here’s a pic of the streetcorner shop. Lots of these carlsberg beer signs everywhere – never had heard of it until I came here. By the way – kopi means coffee.

I didn’t catch the name of this place. We tried the chendul.

Chendul is a shave ice dessert with lots of different topping options.

Coconut milk, shaved ice and red bean with other toppings.

It is so great here – Thomas just keeps running to different vendors all day and bringing back foods – ‘try this!’ he would say. This is a Cantonese dry noodle dish. Those little green sliced chillies at the top are chilli paddi, dumpling to the left too.

This is Oyster Omelette. I’ve never been a big fan of oysters, and if I’m just eating an oyster, I’m still not. However, with the egg and that sauce it was just perfect.

Here we have Asam Laksa. I was told some people like it, some don’t. I’m one of the folks who like it – a lot. The broth is almost like a tomato kind of thing, but it’s flavored with sardine, tamarind paste, shrimp paste and chilli paddi as well. They were surprised how I really liked those little spicy chillies in there.

Finally, a neat little confection. I don’t remember exactly what it was called. It was like a really light taffy with crumbled peanut all over it. really good.

Next stop was Fort Cornwallis. Malaysia has a lot of British things going on as the British had a stake there for quite a while. The fort was built by the British East India Company way way back.

It originally had a moat around it and has lots of cannons! Very neat place.

Coconut tree! Wow – never have seen one of these up close before!

Back to our room at the Eastin hotel for some rest before going out for dinner.

We came to a big food court area – tons of hawkers!

Here’s a hawker preparing food – smelled really good!

 

An eggplant dish with a couple Chinese Long Bean skewers.

 

Cockles – slightly chewy and really flavorful.

Can’t remember exactly what this one was – once the Tiger beer started flowing and the toasting began, it started to become a jumble! . I’m bummed as I didn’t get a picture of one of my favorites from the whole trip – stingray! It was barbecued and has this curry coating which was just excellent – slightly crunchy and very moist fishmeat.

Look at this enormous prawn! Prawns are everywhere in Penang and of all sizes.

Something from the days of British influence – Chicken Chop. Basically, it’s a breaded chicken breast with a brown sauce. French fries! Whoa!

Tom Yum soup.

Crispy duck.

Everyone here is so passionate about their opinions on food – here’s our new friend Jackie teaching us about differences in Penang foods.

This place was just a paradise of different foods!

One of the many tables we all laid waste to during our Penang tour!

The last tastes of the evening. This is Hokkien Prawn Mee. It’s adorned with pork and tofu and fishballs. Just wonderful. We also tried some drinks – I tried a barley beverage which was really good. After this we went back to our hotel. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever tried so many different foods in one day before! Wow!

Thomas insisted we find a place to have some Hokkien Prawn Mee before the dn of the evening, so we hunted and found this one.