In a bid to eat across the best Michelin restaurants in the world, I tend to forget that the simple stuff always seem to prevail and are arguably more satisfying (although there are always exceptions to the rule e.g. Heston Blumenthal’s BFG dessert). Local Malaysian street food is excellent, as some folks might attest to, and the paragon of it would probably be the great state of Penang. With that, it’s time for a much overdue visit.
We arrived at the surprisingly modest Bayan Lepas airport, which was not much bigger than Miri’s albeit infinitely more busy. After picking up our rental car, we went on our way to check in into our hotel in Georgetown. A local friend slash food guide picked us up, and we naturally went straight for a much needed pre-dinner snack.
Pro tip: Always look for local friends slash food guides who know the various nooks and crannies in the city to explore. Another recommendation would be the Simply Enak food experiences, who seem to know their stuff and the best dishes that the city has to offer.
888 Lebuh Presgrave Hokkien Mee
Location: A, 67, Lebuh Presgrave, 10300 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia (Off Lebuh McNair). Google Maps.
Now, I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of prawn noodles (or Hokkien Mee as known in Penang), but this truly changed my mind. It’s simple, without any unnecessary trimmings, and laden with a good dose of sliced pork and crispy roast pork (siew yoke/sio bah). The broth itself was flavourful, and the chilli sauce added a nice kick to the dish. Crowds were also minimal as we came during the off-peak period at 5:00 PM. Definitely one of my favourite Hokkien mee’s thus far. And did I mention there’s Roast Pork? Nuff said.
Next, onward with our epicurean quest to eat copious amounts of food! Dinner is next, and our lovely guide brought us for dinner at the very decent Sunshine Bay seafood restaurant.
Sunshine Bay Seafood Restaurant
Location: Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. Google Maps
We drove approximately 30-40 min to arrive at a run-of-the-mill looking seafood restaurant in the Tanjung Bungah area. Traffic was certainly piling up, and we weren’t looking forward to the drive back to Georgetown, which was insanely packed for Christmas. Gotta say that Malaysians aren’t too fussed about driving long distances and fighting through traffic and crowds just for good food. Crazy buggers, which of course include yours truly.
Aside from the servers wearing saucy looking Christmas hats with tiger prints, I reckon the food overall was pretty good. Some highlights include the Guinness chicken, Bittergourd omelet, and the lovely and savoury Kam Heong crab.
Another satisfying meal. Now, we’re off to fend against the insane Penang drivers and to recuperate for the next day of hedonistic culinary pleasures. The Asam laksa speaks to us and beckons us to consume it.