Started the day with breakfast at Toh Soon Café (多春茶室), a small coffee shop in a backalley at Lebuh Campbell. This coffee shop is famous for its bread slices that are toasted using an old charcoal stove. This place is popular with locals and tourists alike – all tables were taken up throughout the time we were having breakfast there. In fact some customers had to wait for a table.
We ordered 2 sets of toast with 2 half boiled eggs and 2 cups of Hainan coffee. While waiting for our order, we tried a packet of nasi lemak (steamed coconut rice). It contained the usual sambal ikan bilis with a small piece of egg.
We also couldn’t resist the temptation of the curry puff (RM1.50). With curried potato filling and a piece of egg, it completed our menu for a hearty breakfast!
Finally, our order for the signature toast arrived. Honestly I couldn’t taste anything unique and I felt they were a bit stingy with the homemade kaya (creamy egg jam with coconut milk) and butter spread. But I like the Hainan coffee here – it’s aromatic, thick but not too strong and it complemented the toast well.
Another eatery I wanted to try is the famed Air Itam Market assam laksa. This stall is located at the Air Itam market at Jalan Pasar, at the foot of Kek Lok Si Temple. I was bracing for bad traffic and packed crowd at the stall but surprise surprise……………traffic was not too bad and we managed to find a parking space a short distance from the market. There was no crowd too. It might be due to the wet weather.
Our order was served up in just a few minutes. The assam laksa soup base is darker due to the prawn paste that has already been mixed into the soup. I also think that the soup is thicker here as compared to the assam laksa in Joo Hooi Café as it has a more generous amount of flaked mackerel (ikan kembung).
We also bought some muah chee (steamed glutinous rice coated with roasted peanut, sesame seed and sugar/麻芝) from a stall nearby. The muah chee was freshly made and it was still warm and, best of all, it was coated with a generous amount of roasted peanut. A packet cost RM3.00.
Another must eat when one is in Penang is of course Hokkien mee (or prawn noodles) and for this trip, we tried out the stall in Old Green House Restaurant (老青屋). This is another popular place amongst Penangites.
The Hokkien mee stall in this kopitiam only operates in the evening. Another feature here is one can 加料 or order extra ingredients such as roast pork, meat balls, Chinese sausage, shrimps and etc to go with the bowl of prawn noodles. A bowl of noodles with a few slices of roast pork cost RM6.00.
While waiting for the Hokkien mee, we ordered loh bak. It was only so so and this plate cost RM10.00.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by this pushcart on Jalan Burma to tarpau (takeaway) char koay kak (fried radish cake). It is located near SJK Union school. The char koay kak had enough ‘wok hei’ but it was a little too oily.
On the final day in Penang, we went to Seng Thor Coffee Shop (成都旅社), Lebuh Carnarvon for loh mee. The gravy was just right in its thickness and starchiness. It is topped with pork slices, hard boiled egg and some fried shallots.
We also tried the koay teow t’ng but I find it a bit bland. It could be because it is cooked one bowl at a time and there were not enough ingredients to sweeten the soup base.
For lunch, my target was to try out the Tiger char keow teow (老虎炒粿條) in Ping Hooi Coffee Shop (槟园茶室) also located at Lebuh Carnarvon. We ordered a plate to be fried with duck egg. The taste and the aroma of the char keow teow was good, in fact I felt it was better than the one we had at Sin Guat Keong.
The wan tan mee though was just average.
My intention was also to sample the duck drumstick noodle and loh bak in this coffee shop but the loh bak stall was closed. As we were leaving, I noticed a notice board outside the coffee shop that the duck drumstick noodle has moved to a shop at Lebuh Melayu. Oh well, this calls for another trip to Penang :).