Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beng Chin Garden - Penang, Malaysia

A Surprisingly Near-Perfect Coffee Shop
After touring the nearby Kek Lok Si temple we were ready to chow. We picked this coffee shop at the bottom of the hill almost at random. In these parts a "coffee shop" is a collection of street vendors selling various foodstuffs as well as coffee. We weren't expecting too much but were pleasantly surprised, especially with the Char Kway Teow, literally "wok-fried rice-cake strips." It's so-called for the flat rice noodles that are fried at a high heat with lard, soy sauce, chili, shrimp paste, tamarind juice, prawns, cockles, bean sprouts and chives. It was smoky and slightly spicy and absolutely delicious. Best meal of the day, hands down.

The curry mee came with mint leaves, perhaps a nod to Thailand, whose southern border is no more than 50 miles away. I liked this, though not as much as the Char Kway Teow.

It came dotted with cubes of gelatinous pigs blood. I'm glad the ladies told me what it was. I'm reasonably daring but I side-stepped this like a real chump. Sorry, not risking my remaining two weeks of vacation.

The barbecued pork was decent. The ladies enjoyed this more than I did. Tender enough, just not quite as fatty and salty as I wanted it to be.

The only letdown was the Won Ton Mee. I was the first to take a bite and I pushed it away, not entirely confident that my opinion would be shared. I was happy to find that I'd judged correctly. The char siew was off and the noodles were too tough. Not good at all.

The ice coffee was rich and delicious. I had two. In the aftermath, all that remained was the won ton mee.

The Char Kway Teow auntie, with her back turned, was the winner. If you visit Kek Lok Si check this spot out.

Jalan Pasar

Penang, Malaysia

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2 comments:

  1. You forgot to mention kway teow soup... that was yummy too. Kway teow was smooth and soup was tasty. I wish my friend gave me more than just one spoon to try.

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  2. @Puffin - by the time that dish arrived I was in a full post-digestion coma. Didn't even snap a photo of it.

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