Penang - "Keo Thau" Hokkien Mee, Beach Street
Oh, those Hokkiens and their noodles (or, as we call it in Singapore/Malaysia, "mee"). This post is about Penang Hokkien Mee. First things first, one *needs* to be aware that Hokkien Mee in Penang is different from Hokkien Mee in Singapore, which is also different from Hokkien Mee in Kuala Lumpur. Penang's Hokkien Mee is a noodle soup dish: fat yellow noodles in a strong pork-prawn broth, tinged red with chillis. It's usually served garnished with tiny de-shelled shrimps, pork slivers, hard-boiled egg, blanched beansprouts and water spinach, and sprinkled with golden-fried crisp shallots, with a dollop of chilli paste for the extra heat. In Singapore, we called that dish simply Prawn Mee - the best versions can be found along Hokkien Street (where else?) in Singapore's Chinatown.
What *we* call Hokkien Mee in Singapore is a stir-fried mix of yellow noodles and thick rice noodles in a pork-prawn stock, together with thinly-sliced pork belly slices, shrimps and scrambled egg. The whole concoction is stir-fried till the noodles have absorbed all the stock, and which is then served topped with shallots, a dollop of minced chillis and a squeeze of lime.
In Kuala Lumpur, Hokkien Mee is a dark, lard-heavy stir-fry of fat noodles with pork, squid, prawns and lardons. Dark from the use of thick, black soy sauce, rendered slightly salty from the addition of roasted flatfish, the slick, glistening noodles are served with a dollop of "samabal belachan".
Back to the Penang stall which my fellow Chowhound, penang_rojak, brought me to this morning. This well-regarded Bridge Street Hokkien Mee stall claims to have been around for 50 year, though penang_rojak, a typical Penang old hand, quipped to the stall-owner/chef that he remembered that the current spot was a soysauce factory. The owner/chef admitted he's only been at this location for 6 years, but used to operate just up the street. The current location is by Anson Bridge which spanned Prangin Canal, near Salt Fish Lane (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891300).
The rendition here has a more subtle flavour, and came replete with ingredients: pork-ribs, shrimps, pig's intestines, springy pork ball, fish ball, fish cake and hard-boiled egg. The obligatory beansprouts provided a sweet crunch. The noodles were soft - the Hokkiens are *not* into al dente. Delicious combination - one of the best Penang Hokkien Mee I'd ever had.
Bridge Street ("Keo Thau") Hokkien Mee
533 Beach Street
Tel: +6016- 457 4232