Malaysia: Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol
This tiny 70-year-old dessert stall is a Penang icon of sorts. Started just after WWII, it's famous for ONE item: chendol, a delicious Malaysian dessert of shaved ice with squiggly little green "chendol" noodles, red beans, coconut milk & brown sugar syrup. Thousands of Malaysian establishments all over the world offer this dessert - but this little stall must be one of the best in the world, of not THE No. 1!
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol
Lebuh Keng Kwee, Penang
Best in Penang, yes!! Best in Malaysia - No, No!! My original hometown, Malacca, has the No. 1 cendol in Malaysia. Go & try Nyonya Makko restaurant in Tmn Melaka Raya. To die for. Truly!
Another famous place is Donald & Lily's in Heeren St. But they are more inconsistent. If you need to go there, go before 12 noon when the crowds come. Avoid weekends if possible - the tourist hordes!
One tip - DON'T ever go to Tan Kim Hock for their supposedly famous durian cendol. They used to be realy good, but have gone down the drain of overcommercialism. Too sweet, not fresh coconut milk, not even good quality gula Melaka being used anymore. And totally no service at all! You pay first at a cashier in the supermarket section of Tan Kim Hock, then you bring the receipt & queue yourself at a small counter in a dimly-lit hall next door for the cendol. The tables are filthy and sticky. Out-of-towners still go to Tan Kim Hock because of its old reputation. I say, forget it! It's a tourist trap, and a blight to the good name of Malacca.
Thanks for the heads-up on "best chendol in Malaysia", your opinion was also shared by EatingAsia. I tried Donald & Lily's chendol on 2 May, during a whirlwind eating tour of Malacca, but found that it's not in the same league as Penang Road's.
I need to go back to Nyonya Makko for their chendol the next time I hit Malacca. I first patronised Nyonya Makko in 1989, but don't think their chendol was as famous then. But I still remembered their fantastic babi pongteh dish though, as if it was yesterday - can't believe it's been 20 years!
Havent tried Cendol in Penang Road but have to say that I have just got back from trip to Malacca and I tried Nyonya Makko's Cendol and it was A MAZ ING!!! best cendol i have ever had. Have to confess I then went on later that same day to have the Durian Cendol at a place called Lao Quin Ice cafe (not sure if thats the same as Tan Kim Hock)? anyway it was still nice but not in the same league as Nyonya Makko - wish I could find cendol in New Zealand!!
re: food fascist
Wah, now I wish I'm in Melaka!
If you had visited Tan Kim Hock, you'd have been able to buy some high-grade, pure Gula Melaka to bring home. They come in air-sealed bags & are basically cylindrical tubes of compacted brown coconut sugar. They last forever. Not sure if NZ customs/quarantine officers will allow you to bring them back to Auckland.
To use Gula Melaka, you melt them in a bit of water till you get a syrupy consistency. It's sooo much richer than molasses or treacle. Gula Melaka is what gave Nyonya Makko's chendol its superior flavour. You can also drizzle Gula Melaka over ice-cream or any other desserts of your choice.
Late reply here - ky you have rightly pointed out that I prefer the cendol at Makko in Melaka. Make that 'did prefer' -- a couple wks ago I ate the cendol at May King restaurant in Penang and it blue both Makko and Penang Road cendol out of the water. Fantastic quality gula Melaka and perfect 'pasta'. Unfortunately I have no idea where it was (a local took me, and it was dark) but it's probably googlable. While you're there have the baby octopus and jellyfish kerabu (exquisite) and the stir-fried youtiaow, pork, mushroom, and celery dish (which reminded me of my mother's Thanksgiving turkey stuffing). Cheers!
You meant May Garden Cantonese restaurant at 70 Penang Road? It's been featured by NY Times before as a must-visit seafood place in Penang. (I think May King is that famous "loh mee" place in Kuala Lumpur).
BTW, my favourite restaurant in Penang at the moment is Old House Cafe, an atmospheric 6-month-old restaurant on Kimberley Street. You can arrange for a special "private dining" menu, cooked by the owner-proprietor, Dato' Tan (who owns an import-export company). When he's not running his company or golfing, the millionaire-chef is a real cooking enthusiast and can whip up the best sharksfin soup on the island. Try his Cantonese-style pomfret; braised sea-cucumber; Hokkien fried noodles; etc. Unforgettable!
Not sure if I should start a new thread on this, but here's goes. I did a whirlwind visit - fly into Penang on Sat, dine at Old House Cafe that evening, and fly back to S'pore on Sun thang last weekend.
Hey, Old House Cafe is really, and I do mean really good - by Penang restaurant standards. Owner-chef, Dato' Tan, is a cooking enthusiast. Not sure if he's self-taught. He owns a row of shophouses further down Kimberley St which sells precious Chinese artifacts, porcelainware etc.
I normally come to Kimberley St for 3 things:
(1) the old faithful, Goh Huat Seng, for Teochew cuisine;
(2) the world's best koay chiap (with duckmeat, gizzards/liver, hardboiled egg etc)
(3) the hot, greasy fried koayteow stall near the corner of Kimberley St and Rope Walk (now called Jalan Pintal Tali)
Oh, and maybe also that ancient dessert stall which sells longan & lotus seed soups since, oh, after World War II? (or was it World War I, according to a Penang friend). Anyway, it's been there forever & ever.
Now, there's a new destination - Old House Cafe. The dishes were all individually cooked by Dato' Tan (his chefs took a back seat) and we decide to let him decide what he wants to serve us. Wow, the food was exquisite:
- Crabmeat balls and seafood salad, almost as good as those from my favorite Taechew restaurants in Bangkok's Yaowarat district!
- Fishmaw soup with sharksfin, the stock redolent of Jinghua ham & intense chicken stock. This is the best soup in Penang!!
- whole steamed giant pomfret - extraordinarily fresh. But then, Penang's an island & with a thriving fishing community
- braised sea cucumber sprinkled with dried scallops, accompanied by crisp broccoli parboiled in tasty stock (and perhaps enough MSG to make me want to jog back to Singapore). It was the best sea cucumber I'd ever tasted. BTW, the first time I'd ever eaten sea cucumber was also on Kimberley St - at Goh Huat Seng restaurant a few doors away ... back in 1969 :-)
- braised pak choy (Chinese white cabbage) with giant dried oysters, dried scallops, shitake mushrooms. Very tasty & mushy - the way the Teochews like it.
- stir-fried noodles with pork & seafood: springy egg noodles flavored with enough lard to give sumo wrestlers cardiac arrest. But it sure tasted great!
- ended with a simple chilled sweet longan dessert.
Is it worth the flight all the way from Singapore to Penang for? Maybe. But a definite yes if you count the fact that you can walk out the door, and end up in hawker food nirvana, Kimberley St ,afterwards.