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Apr 13, 2009 08:24 AM

Penang: Edgecumbe Road Indian-Muslim Stalls

Two Indian-Muslim food stalls, owned by cousins & standing side-by-side at the Kompleks Makanan Persiaran Gurney (KPMG), a smallish food court facing the picturesque Gurney Drive seaside boulevard, offer some of the best Indian street food in Penang.

First, Edgecumbe Road Pasembor: that's what they call Indian rojak in Penang - pasembor. But there, the similarity ends between Singapore-style Indian rojak and Penang-style pasembor. Whilst Singapore-style Indian rojak is ultra-spicy, ultra-red (with liberal lashings of food coloring), Penang pasembor sauce got its orange-ish coloring from chilli spices, tomatoes, and peanuts. Edgecumbe Road Pasembor offers delicious crisp prawn fritters, boiled potatoes, chillied squid, fishcakes, sausages, hardboiled eggs, crispy squid, beancurd, shredded cucumbers, julienned turnips and parboiled beansprouts, all drenched in their incredibly delicious tomato-chilli sauce. I've never tasted Indian rojak this good in my entire life!! So many flavours (sweet, spicy, sour, salty) and textures blended & mixed almost too perfectly in each mouthful. It was sheer deliciousness.

Next door is the Edgecumbe Road Mee Goreng, an Indian-Muslim-style fried noodle dish with fish roe, chillied squid, deep-fried beef lung, prawn fritters, scalloped potatoes, fish cake, eggs & beansprouts, with generous lashings of an addictive spicy chilli-tomato sauce. The "mee goreng" /fried noodles was very good but not really the best I've tasted in Penang - that honour goes to Hameed Mee Sotong at the 18th-century Fort Cornwallis, about 10 minutes drive eastwards towards the Esplanade in the heart of old Georgetown.

Edgecumbe Road Mee Goreng
Persiaran Gurney, Penang

Edgecumbe Road Pasembor
Persiaran Gurney, Penang

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  1. Actually, one also needs to try the Chinese-style equivalent of Indian pasembor, which in Penang is called "cheh hu". The ingredients are pretty similar to Indian rojak: crisp prawn fritters/"cucur udang", hard taukua, hard-boiled egg, another type of crispy fritter which locals call "niau chu chee" (mouse fritters - referring to the shape, no mouse used!), and matchstick-shaped shredded bangkwang (Chinese yambean) and cucumber.The sweet tomato-flavoured sauce is thickened using soft-boiled sweet potato which is blended & pureed with the spices - no peanuts used unlike Indian pasembor sauce.

    You can find a good Penang "cheh hu" stall in Gurney Drive hawker centre (near Sunrise Tower end). Also got one outside Island Glades' Genting coffeeshop in the afternoons. Penang "cheh hu" (means "raw fish" in the local Penang Hokkien dialect) is a forerunner of the modern-day "yee sung" which is so popular during Chinese New Year.

    2 Replies
    1. re: penang_rojak

      penang_rojak - I finally got to try the Island Glades version during one of my trips a while back. Now, I think I preferred the milder, sweeter and more subtle-tasting "Chinese pasembor" to the spicier, more assertive Indian-Muslim ones!

      1. re: klyeoh

        Yes, Island Glades' stall outside Genting coffee shop. Another good one is at Padang Brown, where you can also try very good Penang popiah which I think is the best on the island by far.

        Another popular offering at Padang Brown is the yong tau hu stall which has been popular since sixties.