Thanks to bloggers Ken and Ann who brought me around, I managed to taste some of the very best food Penang had to offer. Our first stop was at Joo Hooi Cafe at Penang Road to taste the famous Penang Laksa and Cendol. Read about it HERE.
Right after that, they brought me to Cecil Street Market Hawker Centre for some good local Penang hawker fare!
Located at Cecil Street within the Seven Street Precinct (a triangular piece of land immediately south of Prangin Canal), the hawker centre is probably one of the biggest hawker centres in George Town. It actually faces mostly McNair Street despite it being known as Cecil Street Market Hawker Centre.
This is its name in the local Malay language - Pusat Penjaja Lebuh Cecil.
Interestingly, the Hokkien word for Cecil Street is Chit Tiao Lor (means 7th road) so the name of this hawker centre in Hokkien is Chit Tiao Lor Ban San (七条路巴刹).
It was about 3pm I think - way past lunch time - so there were not many people in the hawker centre, which was of course, a good thing. Never like crowds!!
We sat in front of this Pasembur stall. And of course, we ordered a plate of Pasembur.
My plate of Pasembur. OK, actually should be OUR plate of Pasembur. It was shared amongst the three of us.
In case you have never heard of Pasembur, well, it's actually a popular spicy salad dish that is made up of shredded cucumber, Chinese turnips, bean curds, potatoes, bean sprouts, prawn fritters, flour-batter fritters, and sliced boiled eggs topped up with sweet potato gravy.
This Pasembur was nice, but I could not find anything really special with it.
Next, I was recommended the Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng stall.
If you are not familiar with koay teow th'ng, it's actually a soup dish comprising flat rice noodles cooked in clear broth and topped with slices of chicken meat, fish balls, and fish cakes. Minced pork are often added in as well. It is also garnished with garlic bits, fried pork fat and scallions.
Of course the one we ordered have duck meat in it. And it's served with a condiment of sliced green chili in soy-vinegar.
I like this bowl of Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng. Not sure if it's the best in Penang though, but it was yummy! Oh by the way, this bowl was all mine - no sharing allowed. LOL!
Besides the pasembur and koay teow th'ng, Ken and Ann also ordered the Char Koay Teow and Popiah for all to share.
Our plate of Penang Char Koay Teow. Oily and sinful, but perhaps heavenly to some!
Not sure what is a Char Koay Teow? If you are a Malaysian, you have no excuse, but if you are not, I shall leave you to google about it because if I were to explain about every single food in this post, my blog will look more like a Wikipedia. Haha!
This was certainly not the best char koay teow I have tasted in Penang. I managed to try another one the next day which was much better - will blog about that char koay teow in a future post!
Our plate of Penang Popiah.
This Popiah was delicious. Nice, but probably a little wet. Are all Penang popiah like this? Curious to know what are the ingredients inside? Google it! :)
Ann also bought some desserts. But I was more interested in the onde onde. I was craving for this sweet potato balls which was covered with grated coconut. Unfortunately, it was not good! No gula melaka (palm sugar) oozing out of the balls at all when I took a bite - what a disappointment!
Overall, the food at Cecil Street Market Hawker Centre was not bad. I think it's way better and much more authentic than say, Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, which I felt was too commercialised and aimed exclusively at tourists.
So was that the end of my food hunt? Of course not! I did not travel all the way to Penang just to try a few hawker food. So, where did we go next? That's for you to find out, so stay tuned! :)