Monday, November 8, 2010

Breakfast Technicolour while we wait

Been a little over a drab, dismal week since Ollie left Penang. And with his departure goes the immediate catalyst for me to head back to the island as often as the opportunity presents itself. It isn't entirely a warranted bias, considering the multiple other wonders each Penang trip packs in.

Tends to start off a little like this - we hit the highway by 5AM, he, eager as a beaver on acid and I, bleary-eyed and most certainly hungover. Engage in sardonic pre-dawn banter until we reach Penang, the sight of the ocean from the bridge crossing to the island drawing a sigh of brief contentment and a moment of silence.

And then, it's time for breakfast.

Ugly commercial monoliths juxtaposed with the agreeable facade of old Penang

This particular morning, he convinces me that I simply must try the famous Pitt Street Koay Teow Th'ng, relocated to Carnavon Street. I argue that I've never seen koay teow th'ng as food fit for the hale and hearty. But he wins this round.

There is something to be said about food this pale and uninviting in colour, but delivers the warmth and nourishment deemed necessary for rehabilitation WITHOUT tasting like it came from the hospital's cooking quarters. The fish balls are high-spirited characters, springing upon every dip and bite.

Requisite condiment of bird's eye chillies and chopped garlic swimming in soy sauce

OK, I couldn't get past the paleness of koay teow th'ng and sent him running for neighbourly atonement in the form of Penang Hokkien Mee from Kafe Ping Hooi down the road. Fire-engine red crustacean-laced broth screams "Welcome back!!!" like no other. The accompanying tender pork ribs are a legitimate rival to Hong Kong Street's version across the road.

The resident pastry vendor within Pitt St. koay teow th'ng's coffee shop also showcases a few tricks up their sleeves, one of which being the Coconut Tart. Crumbly, candied golden Penang charm.

The potent taste of old Penang deliver the dark, solemn crucial wake-up call to begin another colourful weekend from the island treasure chest.

So while Ollie packs on the year-end warm duds to counter the bitterly cold winter in the Kansai region of Japan, we await his return, drumming our grey fingers on the tabletop serving the sunny, vibrant spirit of Penang.

Famous Pitt St Koay Teow Th'ng
93 Carnavon Street
10300 Penang

Kafe Ping Hooi
Corner Carnavon Street & Lebuh Melayu
10300 Penang


J said...

Mmmm hokkien mee with pork ribs! :) :) Sounds like great soul food.

Sean said...

reading entries like this make me remorseful about how i spent my three years at usm! we stuck closely to shopping mall eateries, fast food joints, and tried-and-tested mamak stalls. but i bet that if i'd known about that hokkien mee with pork ribs & egg, u'd have sighted me there at least once a week after tutorials! :D

Ciki said...

yum yum! nice wor.. summor hor.. 2mro i got ipoh post:P ( i love penang kwey teow theng and har mee. not crazy bout the CCF nor the assam laksa;) )

Pureglutton said...

I need a bowl of Pg Hokkien Mee now - so hungry, looking at that bowl of yours!

Kenny Mah said...

May Ollie return soon from Kansai for cold mornings warmed up with koay teow th'ng and Penang Hokkien mee... with you. :)

worldwindows said...

With friends going, going, gone in different fashions food may just be my motivation.

Kongnichiiwa said...

Like a Depeche Mode song - "Pleasures Little Treasure"

minchow said...

J, never fails to hit the spot! It's always on top of my list to hit as soon as we cross the toll!

Sean, I caught on really slow too. Spent my formative years on the island and yet somehow, a lot of good stuff escaped me then. Discovered so much more since I left, and have to resort to the stolen weekends here, public holidays there to sort myself out. Been thinking about moving back to Penang... or well, at least spending more time here.

Ciki, a food trip to Ipoh is so so overdue! I think I was last in Ipoh 10 years ago?! What a disgusting revelation!

Pureglutton, I bet you could make it at home! You know, alongside the angkoos and the carrot cake! I want in on the invite list when that happens please pretty please!

minchow said...

LFB, just having a chat with Mom earlier - it doesn't look like Ollie will make it back before mid of next year so the only solution is... we'll have to make a trip to Japan ourselves! Yay!!

Worldwindows, I dare say food is my one and only constant motivator while everything else passes in and out.

Brother B, true! Depeche Mode aptly shadows my state of mind when in Penang.

Kenny Mah said...

Dearest Minchow,

May you and all your loved ones have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with love and joy...

Hugs from Devil & Kenny :)

Babe_KL said...

Wishing you and your family a splendid year ahead with good tidings coming your way. Happy New Year!