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Penang Food: Curry Mee (Noodles) in George Town

Food Tour, Malaysian Food, Penang Food, PenangHeritage on a PlateComment

Hello, friends! We’re back again this month with more delicious Penang food for you. This time, let’s look at the spicy, quirky and creamy Penang curry mee!

Curry mee is usually a breakfast, brunch or lunch meal although there are some vendors who offer it in the evenings. There’s just something about waking up to that beautiful, fragrant aroma and convening around small plastic table for a steaming hot bowl of spicy broth and noodles on a weekend morning.

I think that octopus is waving at you

I think that octopus is waving at you

There are many variations to curry mee in Penang, and you’ll find quite a few different styles depending on the location, time and vendor. What they tend to have in common is a curry base featuring copious amounts of coconut milk. Fragrant chili paste and oils, and usually some type of seafood make up the rest of the notes in the flavour. Penangites usually order it with a mix of egg noodles and vermicelli in the same bowl, but you can also get it with either one.

Penang food is pretty legendary at this point and every vendor, restaurant and food stall wants to stand out from their competition. Many vendors make their own signature in-house oils and paste, the recipes are kept an utmost secret. Shrimp, cockles, fragrant tofu, bean sprouts and mint leaves often make an appearance in curry mee and some Chinese vendors will included cubes of coagulated pork blood. You can always ask for a bowl without, if that’s not your thing.

You’ll find a variety of styles of curry mee - from the super spicy, to the more sweet and coconut milk-creamy. You can find vegetarian and halal versions as well. Personally, we like the seafood flavours with medium spice, and plenty of mint.

Think we got enough chili?

Think we got enough chili?

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try some of the curry mee styles outside of George Town. On some parts of the island but especially on “the mainland“ heading north, you’ll find different interpretations of this dish. The broth is often thicker, sweeter and creamier. Instead of seafood, you’ll get chicken and long beans. Definitely different, but just as good.

So when you visit Penang, make sure to be on the lookout for some curry mee. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some delicious noodles to enjoy!

If this post hasn’t sated your noodle hunger, check out These 3 Types of Penang Noodles

Penang Food: Try This Chinese Teochew Restaurant in George Town

Penang Food, Malaysian Food, Heritage and CultureDanny MahesComment

Hello, friends! We’re back with more delicious ideas for what to eat in Penang. Although the street food here is popular, Penang is also home to many traditional and modern restaurants serving tasty meals. So, if you’re wondering what to do on a lazy afternoon, here’s a local restaurant worth checking out:

A Teochew Style Lunch on Lebuh Melayu, George Town

If you’re wandering down Lebuh Melayu in the afternoon, you might see a pair of heavy wooden doors that look ornate and festive. Decorated with red lanterns and cloth, it seems ready to spring out at you. But tiptoe inside and the vibe is just the opposite. Cool air punctuated with fresh greenery and large splashes of sunlight fill this place. You’ve entered Chao Xuan Restaurant, a place that prides itself in its Straits Chinese identity.

Lotus Root Soup - light, nutty and perfectly punctuated with the flavour of spring onions. It made for a really great appetiser.

Lotus Root Soup - light, nutty and perfectly punctuated with the flavour of spring onions. It made for a really great appetiser.

The Straits Chinese are traders, migrants and refugees who’ve made the Straits of Malacca their home. Coming from various ethno-linguistic and geographic backgrounds in China, they’ve adopted local customs and beliefs - creating a unique and fascinating sense of shared identity. It’s important to remember that there is a vast diversity of customs, traditions and food associated with this community, and Chao Xuan is one expressions of that diversity.

This place gets mixed reviews, in large part because of their philosophy of preparing and serving Teochew-style food that is as close as possible to the style and flavours they consider authentic. Penang food can be very bold and intense, and the more subtle flavours at play here is not to everyone’s taste. But we loved it!

Braised duck - the flavour of the duck was front and centre, with the sauce providing a great accent to the taste. Eaten with the stickier rice served here, it was very satisfying (and filling!)

Braised duck - the flavour of the duck was front and centre, with the sauce providing a great accent to the taste. Eaten with the stickier rice served here, it was very satisfying (and filling!)

We ordered a simple but satisfying meal for two, but there’s lots of options to explore at this place. Their menu mostly sticks to their theme of traditional (or as close to traditional) Teochew flavours, with the occasional flourish of spicy sambal or fried snack inspired by Malay or Nyonya cooking. If you’re thinking about what to do in Penang for lunch, and you’d like a break from the flavours of local street food, this is a good place for a change of flavours. We’re very interested to visit again and try more of what they offer. And of course when we do you’ll hear about it

Tofu in soy sauce - light and flavorful, it worked very well as a snack on the side

Tofu in soy sauce - light and flavorful, it worked very well as a snack on the side

When you’re ready for more Penang street food, check out these Three Types of Penang Noodles