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Interview With Way Premium Foods – Malaysia

Interview With Way Premium Foods * Product Samples From Way Premium FoodsWay Premium Foods Premium Scallop Noodles *

I was contacted by a fellow from Malaysia about his company’s new line of noodle products. I never miss a chance to try new things from Malaysia, and so we are. Let’s start this Meet The Manufacturer by learning about Way Sauce Sdn Bhd’s Premium Foods line from Benson Tan, Director of Business Development.

THE RAMEN RATER> Can you start by telling me a little bit about the history of Way – how did you start?

WAY FOOD> Mrs Tan the founder and my mother is a fantastic cook. Has hosted dinner parties for decades and always to rave reviews. 15 years ago, opened a small restaurant featuring recipes which were passed down to her and she perfected over years. It was very well received and ever since she has wanted to produce and sell the pastes that are core to all the recipes. 5 years ago after finding a suitable location, a factory was set up and the rest is history!

TRR> For my readers who aren’t familiar with your product lines, can you tell a little about them?

WAY FOOD> We initially started with a set of pre mixed pastes focused around the Nyonya flavours that formed the basis of the founder’s forte. Expanding on these, we started to incorporate more local flavours and then regional South East Asian flavours. The latest line is our Hawker Fare range of instant noodles which are all-natural and authentic in taste. This just launched 4 months ago.

TRR> I hear you have a new premium product line. Can you tell my readers about it and why is it special?

WAY FOOD> We have a few lines of products now. The premium line consists of 3 types of XO Sauce, which originates from Hong Kong. This is WAY’s personal interpretation of XO sauce and while they share the same base, there are 3 variants:- XO Value which consists of scallops and dried shrimp, XO Original which is a pure scallop version, and finally the XO Masterpiece which uses only 100% Hokkaido Scallops and even has a whole XL sized Hokkaido Scallop floating right at the top!

TRR> Do you produce products other than instant noodles?

WAY FOOD> Our Noodle range is our homage to the diverse and award winning hawker fare that is so synonymous with Malaysia and our cuisine. It was only launched a few short months ago.
We initially started with producing pre-mixed pastes/sauces such as chicken curry sauce, sambal sauce, chilli crab sauce and even briyani sauce just to name a few. Currently our total number of SKUs is around 30.

TRR> How do you noodle products differ from those by other manufacturers?

WAY FOOD> As with all our retail products, we pride ourselves on authenticity of taste/flavours coupled with all natural ingredients. Our noodle range maintains these high standards and contains absolutely ZERO artificial additives, preservatives or MSG.

TRR> Can your products be purchased outside of Malaysia?

WAY FOOD> Yes indeed. We currently are available in Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, China, Netherlands and Germany.

TRR> Where do you make your noodles?

WAY FOOD> Our noodles are produced in Malaysia.

TRR> What was your first product?

WAY FOOD> Our first line of products consisted of 5 flavours in 200g bottle format and the flavours were Sambal Sauce, Sambal Spicy Sauce, Turmeric Vegetarian Sauce, Turmeric Garlic Sauce and Chilli Crab Sauce. The Turmeric V and Turmeric Garlic Sauce were and are still unique with no other product like it in the market! They remain bestsellers to this day!

TRR> People are concerned with health more than ever. Instant noodles are generally higher in sodium. How can one balance the enjoyment of instant noodles and their health in your opinion?

WAY FOOD> Convenience is playing an increasingly larger role today when it comes to food choices and we recognized that instant noodles are here to stay. This is why we decided to tackle this segment by offering a completely all-natural solution for those who are indeed more health conscious but without compromising on the taste factor.
With respect to the sodium level, even in this regard we are ensuring that it isn’t excessive. In broad terms, WAY noodles contain roughly 1/3 of the sodium of most typical instant noodles available in the market. Having said that, a balanced diet is always key but if you enjoy noodles (which we all do) then why not opt for a healthier version such as WAY noodles and not worry about compromising on your enjoyment!

TRR> Are you involved in the local community/charity?

WAY FOOD> We work very closely with an NGO called Food Aid Organisation here in Malaysia. They are involved in foodbanking and more details of their work can be seen at http://www.foodaidfoundation.org/ . We have also done various other charity and CSR initiatives such as https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2015/10/15/shopping-treat-for-ppr-folk-100-families-from-kota-damansara-get-chance-to-shop-with-rm200-coupons/

TRR> How many packs of instant noodles do you produce annually?

WAY FOOD> Currently as we have only just launched 4 months ago, the production is still small but we are seeing phenomenal growth and interest in various international markets. We expect this new line to help grow WAY brand overseas at a much quicker pace.

TRR> Have you ever thought about varieties like macaroni and cheese or pizza flavored instant noodles?

WAY FOOD> Currently our forte and expertise centres around Malaysian and Nyonya flavours. We do do R&D for large corporations who request different, more Western flavours so definitely never say never. For example, we have just finished three new flavours for Food Service:- Malaysian Pesto Sauce, Malaysian Paella Sauce and Malaysian Pasta Sauce. These may form the foundation of a new range of noodles in the near future so keep a look out!

TRR> Which is your personal favorite variety of WAY noodles and what (if anything) do you add to them?

WAY FOOD> Being from Penang originally, my favourite is the WAY Authentic Penang Prawn Mee (Or Hokkien Mee as its affectionately and more commonly known to locals in Penang). I used to make a trip back ( a 4 hour drive) just to have a good bowl once a year or once every 18 months but now that we’ve produced it I can have it in the comfort of my own home anytime I wish! As per how it is served originally, I just add a few prawns, a few stalks of morning glory, some beansprouts and half a boiled egg with a small garnish of fried shallots to top it off. Perfect.

TRR> To most in the USA, Malaysia sounds like a very exotic place – can you tell us a little about daily life there?

WAY FOOD> For Malaysians, food is life. Our daily life really does revolve around food and eating. Good food is abundantly found at all times of day (although not necessarily the healthiest hahah). It would not be uncommon to have 4 or 5 meals interspersed throughout the day and because we are a multiracial country, it is very normal for those meals to comprise 3 different cuisines and cultures (namely Chinese, Indian and Malay) and also a fusion of any or all of the above.
Penang especially is very well known for the hawker fare but each of the 13 states has their own charm and cuisine.
As anyone who ever comes to Malaysia will find out, our national dish Nasi Lemak is a MUST.

TRR> Why the name Way?

WAY FOOD> The reason for the name WAY is two-fold. First of all it is a family endeavor and the name is a part of me and my siblings actual names. The second reason is that Way (the homonym as well as the actual word we use for the brand in chinese) means taste. It falls back to how we believe that taste is paramount and that cannot be achieved if we cut corners in terms of ingredients and process.

TRR> Are there any new products on the way from WAY? Can you give my readers a ‘sneak peek?’

WAY FOOD> As I mentioned a little earlier, our 3 new flavours of Malaysian Pesto, Malaysian Paella and Malaysian Pasta Sauce which we developed specifically for our Japanese food service market have received very good feedback after initial testing. We are also coming up with a range of hotpot/steamboat base soup pastes. So watch this space!!!

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn more about your company! I and my readers thank you very much!

#2050: MyKuali Penang Red Tom Yum Goong Noodle Authentic Taste

Here’s the second of three cup versions of MyKuali’s line I got a while back – this time it’s the tom yum! Really excited to check it out – so without further ado, let’s get started!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains shrimp. To prepare, add in all sachets and boiling water to fill line. Let steep 4-5 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge)..

The noodle block.

The powder soup base.

Light and fluffy powder.

The paste sachet.

Has a really great tom yum scent.

The vegetables sachet.

Looks like mostly spring onion.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Dodo fish ball, Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts and coriander. The noodles have a very light chew and a different mouthfeel. While I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this new style of noodle in the White Curry cup, this works very nicely with the tom yum. The broth is a tour de force of strong flavors – spicy, lemongrass pucker and a really nice balance of shrimp and vegetable taste. Beautiful! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.  EAN bar code 9555655005692.

MyKuali Penang Tom Yum Noodle (4 Pack)

MyKuali Penang Red Tom Yum Goong was #1 on the top ten in 2015!

#1500: MyKuali Penang Red Tom Yum Goong Noodle

Wow – 1,500 reviews! 1,500 different varieties of instant noodles! What’s even more crazy is that I don’t even feel like I’ve scratched the surface of the world of instant noodles; there are always new varieties coming out, and I think there’s never going to be a day when I’ve tried every variety. Which is a good thing because I really enjoy reviewing these things! Today’s review is a special one. I usually try to pick one that’s a little more interesting than others – and this one is very unique. Usually, companies either send me samples, readers donate varieties I’ve not tried, or I just go to a store and buy them. This is one of the first ones I’ve received directly from a company – literally handed to me. Not only that, I brought it all the way back here from Penang, Malaysia! That’s a long way! I think it was more than 16,000 miles round trip! I’d like to thank everyone who has supported and enjoyed The Ramen Rater throughout the years – without your support and readership, well, it’d be pretty quiet around here! Anyways, let’s check out this new Tom Yum variety from MyKuali! On with number 1,500!!!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains crustaceans. To prepare, add noodles to 350ml boiling water for 3 minutes. Add sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

The powder seasoning sachet.

Has a seafood scent.

The heart of MyKuali’s varieties: the paste sachet.

Smells like tom yum to me!

 

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added red chilli paddi, fried fishball, prawns, lime and coriander. The noodles are just as always – nice gauge that has a great chewiness and quantity – just right. The broth – wow. It definitely has that full on flavor I experienced in Langkawi. The broth is not only strong but it’s got a thickness to it, and has that kind of aroma and consistency of a broth that’s been stewing all day long. Strong spicy heat, lemongrass and shrimp notes play throughout. This is spectacular; hands down best tom yum instant noodle I’ve ever had – and I’ve had quite a few.  5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 9555655005227.

MyKuali Penang Tom Yum Noodle (4 Pack)

Check it out! This is the famed MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle! You can find it on amazon now!

Here’s a radio interview I did way back in 2011 – I know it’s only 3 years, but when I did this interview I’d only reviewed a little over 300 varieties. It’s kind of weird to listen to!

The Ramen Rater’s Trip to Malaysia: Day 6 – Farewell, Penang

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

Well folks, this is it. The last day we were in Malaysia. With a heavy heart and fond memories, here it is. By the way – during the times traveling around in the van – a great portion of our stay – they always has this radio station on. Check it out!

A look out the window of our hotel room on our last day in Penang.

The little free mini bar always had neat little treats inside. This is one of those international Kit Kat bars. To be honest, it does taste different – chocolate here seems a lot tastier.

A Coke can commemorating the World Cup.

We got all ready and waited a couple minutes in the lobby for Annie and her parents who took us out to breakfast!

Maxim Dim Sum Restaurant in Georgetown. I had always thought of dim sum as a lunchtime thing, but people here in Penang take their dim sum at breakfast time.

A really big place, very open and airy.

A great idea; dim sum creates a LOT of little dishes to clean!

Big – and packed to the gills for breakfast.

Little pork buns.

Think this was a rice noodle dish.

These were like little dark skinned potstickers – very moist.

Ladyfinger with pork.

Egg yolk buns.

I remember these were sweet and good as well.

Crispy outside, nice chewy innards.

Buns with chocolate pudding like filling.

Little custard tarts.

We took this tea with our big meal.

A dry crispy outside with a prawn filling.

A chewy fried flat with a filling.

I think these were tofu – had a kind of smoky taste.

Little pieces with a slivered almond coating and sweet paste filling.

The buns at top had a red bean paste filling and the below was filled with custard.

Just completely demolished! One thing I found great – I asked if they had one of our favorites here – honey walnut prawns. They had never heard of it, which makes me think it’s an invention just for dim sum in the United States. It’s fried prawns with a honey and mayonnaise sauce and glazed walnuts.

After that big meal they wanted me to try one last Hokkien Prawn Mee! We checked out Granny’s Hokkien Mee. Far be it for me to say no to a last taste of one of Penang’s famous flavors.

When you order at a lot of restaurants, you pick up an order chit and fill it out and give it to the server (click image to enlarge).

A combination of duck and pork.

The final bowl of Hokkien Mee.

Going to miss Penang so much! Our next stop was Penang International Airport, where we said our goodbyes to Annie and their parents. everyone was so kind here! She even sent us off with some of the new MyKuali tom Yum noodle and a couple bags of fresh chilli paddi! Thank you for everything!

We checked in and got through security. We had a little time to kill, so looked around a bit.

Excuse me; what?

Saw this first on our way to Langkawi and had asked Thomas about it. He explained it’s a cup of corn with butter and salt. I told him how in the US we have corn on the cob. I got the feeling that he thought that was really odd!

Here’s the plane for our first hop to Kuala Lumpur.

When we applied for our passports a few months ago, the lady at the passport place asked where we were going. She said she’d be scared to fly on Malaysian Airlines. That sentiment was echoed by lots of people I told to about the trip – they’d say ‘oh wow that exciting – wait, what airline are you flying?’ I’m going to say quite clearly here – I wasn’t worried at all. It was a short hop to Kuala Lumpur (like 55 minutes) and just like any other airline, they don’t want anything bad to happen. We hopped on and had a great flight – probably the softest landing of any of the 8 flights we had during the entire trip. I’d fly them again any day! Especially since that would mean we were on our way to or from Malaysia!

We got to Kuala Lumpur and much like Singapore, it was a lot of walking all over the place. We had to transfer our luggage from Malaysia Airlines to EVA, go through security and stuff and figure out where what was. This shot is of us when we were up in the air on our EVA flight from KL to Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport.

The flight took about 4 hours or so, and the next part of our trip would be the only rough spot really.

Time for a bite to eat at Taoyuan. We had a three hour layover until our next flight, which would be a 10 hour bender to Seattle. It had been a long day already and departure was at 11pm. Since we had the time, we walked around and looked for instant noodles. Turns out if we were in the domestic terminal, there was a 7-11 that would’ve had some, but here there weren’t any to be found. I asked the guy at the Burger King.

Got some little pork buns to chow down.

Some milk tea sounded good too.

She looks like us – waiting for a flight.

Poor Kit – we were absolutely exhausted.

I’m guessing the characters are phonetic? First and third must be like a ko sound?

Much like Mello Yello.

Out one of the windows we could see the Hello Kitty plane!

Checking boarding passes before we got to wait in another area to board.

Kit noticed this guy staring at us, then I noticed it too. He just kept staring… And staring… And staring! If this is you, you could’ve taken a picture and it would’ve lasted longer – I did!

This is after the hell. This was the worst flight I’ve ever experienced. It was really hot and there was no air conditioning. The worst part was that there was the most violent turbulence I’ve ever dealt with. If I hadn’t had my belt on, I definitely would’ve flown out of my seat. After we returned, we found out there had been a typhoon over Japan at around the same time. We were at around 40,000ft, but it was right around the time we were crossing over Japan. I thought I was gonna puke. I’m really glad though that it all happened at the tail end of the trip – way better than at the beginning! Anyways, this pic of after all of that and we were about to have the second meal, about an hour or two before landing.

Not a lot to do on an airplane but look at the little navigation screen slowly update your journey and watch movies. I thought I’d review the in-flight meal: Pork Porridge!

Here’s some marinated carrot with some chicken.

Not just any butter – butter from New Zealand!

The little biscuit thing actually wasn’t too bad.

Pork porridge!

Fish floss! It’s like powdered fish that’s been sugared.

Pork porridge with fish floss. Pretty good.

Apple, pineapple and honeydew. In flight meals from EVA were pretty dang good. We got two meals during the flight. The food on all the flights were actually decent – and included.

Our flight from Taipei left at 11pm on October 4th. Our flight arrived in Seattle – and arrived at 7pm on October 4th. The flight took 10 hours. Really a strange thing for our brains to deal with. United States Customs was pretty slow but went well. Since we’d brought back food (instant noodles, chocolate and fresh chilli paddi), we got shunted to a different lane for xray. The Department of Agriculture agent had a look through everything. She was pretty nice and we chatted about instant noodles a bit. She said they were probably one of the most common things to be coming through for inspection! Another agent came up and has a look and she mentioned to him how I have a website where I review instant noodles. ‘Oh yeah? What’s it called?’ he asked. I showed him my t-shirt and said ‘it’s The Ramen Rater!’ ‘I was on the just yesterday! We get a TON of instant noodles through here!’ Wow – so people from Customs are looking at the blog. Pretty cool! They pulled three instants that had chicken in them and let the rest go. Now we were home which was weird. What a trip!

Some things I noticed on my trip: here, our roads are huge – really wide and lots of them. In Malaysia, they streets are more narrow. We only saw maybe two cars that had been in accidents during the whole trip and here we see cars on the side of the road due to accidents at least once a day. There’s so much more room and not a million motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic; why do we hit each other so much?

I think the most stark difference between the US and Malaysia was how people come together. Here in the USA, we call ourselves the great melting pot. Well, everyone seems segregated – these people live here, these people live here etc. In Malaysia, it truly felt like everyone lived, worked and played together quite harmoniously. I think we could learn a lot from how things worked in this aspect from Malaysia.

(Click image to enlarge) In closing, I would like to say this trip really changed my perceptions of the world. Before this, the farthest I’d been from home was the east coast and Canada. At the beginning, I mentioned I felt like Frodo (or was it Samwise) in Lord Of The Rings when he said ‘this is the farthest I’ve ever been from the Shire.’ On returning, I feel kind of like Frodo looked when having a drink at the bar with his mates; glad to be home but forever changed by the experience. It was just amazing; all preconception of how it would be there was different than what it was. I definitely have caught the bug – the travel bug. I want to explore and see it all; especially in Asia. I also dearly wish to return to Penang someday and experience the tastes we were able to experience there again. I want to thank everyone at Sky Resources/Sky Thomas Food Industries Sdn Bhd for the warm welcome and for this experience. I also want to especially thank Annie and Thomas Tang and their parents – you made us feel so welcome and your kindness and smiles warmed our hearts – thank you and we hope to see you again!

It’s been just over a week now since we’ve been home. The whole jet lag thing is some real stuff – I think we’re just on the tail end of readjusting to everything.

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Malaysia: Day 4 – The Isle Of Langkawi

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

Another day of adventure! Today, we flew to Langkawi and tried some of the local foods and had a great time – check it out! I should also mention – pictures in these posts are by myself, my wife Kit and our friend Thomas Tang of Sky Thomas Food Industries Sdn Bhd.

woke up today feeling really good – feels like I’m finally shaking off the time variance and acclimating to the climate. We went down to the buffet at the Eastin Penang and had some breakfast.

Some nice little noshes. I met a fellow named Eric who has been the Food & Beverage Manager at the Eastin Penang. He said he’d read about me in the newspaper! We chatted for a few about the food in Penang and he recommended places to go. As I said before, everyone here is very passionate about the local food – really cool.

We returned to our room to freshen up a bit before our big day.

I thought I’d take a picture of the carpet. I’m kind of weird like that.

When we first got into the room, I was curious: was there one of those hotel Bibles in the drawers? I figured probably not. I found this little sign and found it confusing; maybe pointing to the fire extinguisher? I decided it needed a little more investigation. I looked up the word kiblat on my phone and it translated to ‘direction.’ Then it hit me – instead of those Bibles they have in the drawer in the United States, here they have a sign showing the direction for prayer. While the Malaysian constitution ensures freedom of religion, Islam is considered the state religion.

A look out our window. Today we’re flying to Langkawi! Off to the airport!

The western companies that find their to such exotic places just astounds me. This is in the airport in Penang.

Here are Kit and Thomas while we wait to board out flight.

Our plane.

I was kind of confused here; there’s an image of a woman on both of these. I found out that there are prayer rooms at the airport. After thinking about it, It kind of surprises me that they didn’t have these in the Seattle airport.

Waiting to board the plane. This was the first time I’d ever walked up a flight of stairs to a plane – I thought only the President got to do that!

About to take off!

Here’s a little of the message from the pilot before takeoff.

The in-flight food looks pretty good! Gonna be a really quick flight though.

Here’s us landing in Langkawi. Talk about a quick flight – got up to around 8000 feet then started our descent – I think the flight took around 40 minutes.

Heading to retrieve out luggage.

We pulled over to figure out the directions and I snapped this shot out the window. I think this qualifies as a tropical paradise!

We stayed at the Resorts World Langkawi.

Here’s the lobby area.

Durian is a fruit that stinks – and I mean STINKS. At least that’s what I’m told. People really like it a lot, but that’s once you get past the smell.

We had a seat on the boardwalk by the water for a few minutes.

Lots of small boats. You can even take a little cuise.

Neat architecture here.

This place is really nice!

We went and had a bit to relax in our room and then headed back down to go and find some Thai food!

The elevator was full of mirrors – I thought that was a lot of fun.

A chandelier that reminded me of Edward Gorey pen and ink drawings.

We were truly fascinated by this weird chair.

For as square and boxy it was, it was actually kind of comfortable.

Thomas wanted to take us to a different place, but it was closed so we went to Thai House.

In Malaysia, they don’t have diet Coke – it’s Coca Cola Light.

I thought this was fascinating; the little breakfast places around Washington have all sorts of cooking tools on the walls – looks like they do that here, too!

Let’s get down to lunch. Here’s some delightful pineapple fried rice.

Some serious Tom Yum soup.

The broth was extremely strong!

Tasty lemon chicken.

Beef green curry – wonderful!

This is sambal. Sambal is made from chillies (usually chilli paddi) and other fresh ingredients and it great with pretty much everything. If you’re a sriracha fan, this is like a chunky version and beats the sriracha with the chicken on the bottle hands down.

This fish was really good – very moist and crunchy at the same time.

Thai fried rice – this one was spicy.

Yet another table laid to waste in our wake!

Thomas settling the bill at the counter. What’s interesting about this photo are the pictures on the wall. I noticed these in the hotel too. These are members of the government and I believe the royal family. Malaysia is a Constitutional Monarchy.

Next we headed to a store in a mall that’s in the same building as that PappaRich. Langkawi is a tax-free place. I had mentioned before that I had never heard of Carlsberg beer – lots of signs everywhere mentioning it in front of restaurants and hawker stalls all over Malaysia. Well, we went in to a shop and got some gifts and snacks and Thomas found me a can of Carlsberg to try. At the checkout he hands it to me and says – here you go – give it a try! I kind of laughed and said yeah right – he looked confused. Then I asked – you mean right here? To the joyous reply yeah – why not? Yep – you can have an open container anywhere you want in Malaysia. Just buy a beer and walk around with it. So I pounded a Carlsberg at the checkout and it was pretty nasty stuff, but a great experience.

A flower next to the resort. Kit saw a monkey sitting on a sign on the way back there too!

One neat thing was that they give you bread at the reosrt to feed the fish.

A little later we had some appetizers. This is satay.

Onions rings and breaded bell pepper.

A little dessert for Kit.

Thomas and I had a ton of beers – we challenged each other to dry up the bar! I think he drank all their Corona! I had quite a few glasses of Tiger beer – that stuff is really good. Was a great night talking about the differences between the US and Malaysia, noodles, TF and everything else. One crazy thing that happened was I went to use the restroom at one point and came back maybe one minute later – and it had started raining – and by raining I mean raining. Hard. Did I mention this place is tropical?

When we arrived at the resort, Kit noticed a neat little lizard on the wall in the hallway! On the way back to our rooms, me and Thomas tried catching it – waaaaay too fast for us after so many beers. Was a really great time! Really was bummed at this point; our trip was already getting close to done; tomorrow being our last full day.

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!

Top Ten 2014 Re-Review: MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle

Last June, I’d never heard of Penang, nor really had tried many varieties of Malaysian instant noodles for that matter. I had no clue what to expect and was absolutely elated with this one – my core interest in reviewing instant noodles is that I want to try new things every day. This was definitely something new to me. Let’s look inside the package and see why it’s on the 2014 top ten list!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains crustaceans. To prepare, boil 380ml water and cook noodle block for 3 minutes. Add in contents of sachets, mix well and enjoy!

The noodle block.

The seasoning powder sachet.

Has a nice seafood scent.

The paste sachet.

Wow – such a strong and bright curry scent!

The non-dairy creamer sachet.

A very light powder.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added mint, prawn flavor fish balls, sweet onion, tofu puff and Chinese long bean. The noodles are excellent – perfect gauge and chew. Quantity was just right, too. The broth is a luxuriant escapade for the palate – a strong curry with ferocious heat. Definitely not thin either – it’s quite hearty. It’s so neat – I’ve reviewed so many different instant noodles and the industry never fails to come up with something new and revolutionary that makes the taste buds sing! Fantastic stuff! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 9555655005197.

MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle (8 Packs)

A news story mentioning how these noodles placed in The Ramen Rater’s Ten Spiciest Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013!