Hey, good lookin’…

I’ve mentioned these two coffee shops already in an earlier post – Kafe Kheng Pin and Kafe 78 at the t-junction along Penang Road, just about 100 metres up the road from Cititel Penang where I was staying. Based on these two alone, I can vouch for the truth in what my Penang friends keep telling me – that the food is best in those coffee shops that do not look too good.

Take, for example, these wantan noodles that I had at the not-very-attractive Kafe Kheng Pin…

Wantan noodles

It was definitely a lot nicer that what I had at the other coffee shop the first day I arrived. The braised Shitake mushroom was really out of this world but unfortunately, they only gave that little slice of it. Incidentally, I find that Penang wantan noodles are different from KL’s. I’ve eaten the noodles in the federal capital a few times but I did not like them there. Can anybody confirm this? Is there a difference?

I also had the wantan soup…

Penang wantan soup

…but I did not like it that much as there was a lot of sesame oil added and generally I don’t really fancy the smell of the oil, especially when added to clear soup. My daughter had the wantan noodles, the soup version at Kafe 78, and she could not finish it…

Penang wantan noodles - soup

…and that, of course, spoke volumes about how “good” it was. I had the Hokkien prawn noodles at Kafe 78…

Penang Hokkien prawn noodles 1

…and also at Kafe Kheng Pin…

Penang prawn noodles 2

I think you can tell the difference by just looking at the photos. I also tried the curry mee at Kafe 78…

Penang curry mee 2

…and this was what it looked like after adding in the chilli paste…

Penang curry mee 2

I was quite put off by this very strong smell of either torch ginger (bunga kantan) or serai (lemon grass) and was unable to finish it. During my stay in Penang, somehow I was not adventurous enough to try the Penang assam laksa. I think I will just stay in my comfort zone and stick loyally to our very own Sarawak laksa.

I did try the lor mee at Kafe Kheng Pin…

Penang lor mee

…but it was not as nice as the Hailam version that Eugene took me to try. These were something like what we have at many stalls here in Sibu which I do not fancy because they are kind of sweet and gooey.

But according to what I heard, there are two main attractions at Kafe Kheng Pin. One would be the chicken rice stall which opens only for lunch. I went and had one look and I walked away. The other one is beyond all doubt, the lor bak stall…

Penang lor bak stall

It is so popular that if you go there around lunchtime, you will have difficulty trying to get a place to sit. Besides, you may not be able to choose what you want as everything would have been sold out and the man would be frantically frying away…and you will just have to eat whatever he has fried. Beggars can’t be choosers. We went there for breakfast, so it was not so crowded and I ordered a plate for my daughter and me to try…

Penang lor bak 1

It was all right, I guess…and a bit nicer than what we had at the Red Garden hawker centre…

Penang lor bak 2

…where the things are a bit over-fried and hard. The best is still Peterson’s at Satok in Kuching though strictly speaking, it isn’t really lor bak – just fried hay pnia (prawn fritters), fried tau kua (tofu cakes), fried sweet potatoes and stuff. I love the chilli sauce with the generous sprinkling of ground peanuts.

Personally, I would say that the best things to eat at Kafe Kheng Pin would be the Penang char kway teow. As a matter of fact, I think this one was the best I had in Penang – also fried over a charcoal fire and using duck’s eggs – RM4.00 a plate.

Penang char kway teow

The kway teow th’ng from another stall there is also worth having and they also have a porridge stall that isn’t too bad. The porridge stall also sells nasi lemak at RM1.20 a packet…

Penang nasi lemak 1

…which isn’t too bad and definitely cheaper than what we can get at the kampung stalls here in Sibu…

Penang nasi lemak 2

It certainly seems to be very popular and I saw a lot of people eating it.

All in all, anything in this murky-looking coffee shop is nicer than what they have at Kafe 78 across the road. However, do take note that there is a sign here that says…

Coffee shop sign

“A 40 Cents Fees Will Be Levy On Any Patron Who Occupied The Table Without Ordering Any Drinks” [sic]. It seems that this rule applies regardless whether you are eating the things from the stalls in the coffee shop or not, and good grief! I would expect a much better command of English from folks in Penang…but it certainly looks like it’s more or less the same anywhere in the country. Sigh!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

19 thoughts on “Hey, good lookin’…”

  1. Chop! Chop! Chop! Muahahahaha 😀

    I was first in yours too! Fair and square…except that in yours, sometimes my comments disappear! Dunno why! So damn frustrating! Tsk! Tsk!!! LOL!!!

  2. Just 100 metres away from your hotel. No wonder. ha 😀 Yeah! I agree too, some foods are indeed the best in those coffee shops that do not look too good.

    The curry mee looks so nice. Arrghh…you are making me hungry. Ok. Gtg now. Have to work. 😀

    I didn’t like the curry mee. Tasted like tom yam minus the sourish taste! I don’t think I’ll ever wanna eat that again.

  3. hello..good morning STP.. what shall i eat this morning… after looking at the pics, i think i settle for something clear, fish balls with ching tong.. among those, i prefer the char koay teow anytime… i miss that!

    Ya…I like fish balls in clear soup too. You people over there can eat all those anytime you want. Now that I’m back…I’ve to be happy with what we have here till I get the chance to go over again – but of course, some of our local delights are pretty nice too!

  4. Wow! You tried EVERY stall in the coffee shop.

    Except the chicken rice! It did not look very appetising and…was kinda red with a whole lot of blood. Eyew…I didn’t want to eat that regardless how good people claimed it to be…

  5. u know ar.. that chicken rice stall… everytime i go, sure finish already! and that’s 12 pm + only. ish…

    Somehow the chicken did not look palatable – sort of medium rare! I didn’t think I wanted to eat that…so we went elsewhere.

  6. Good day STP.. oh my.. the good camera creates clearer food shots.. now u got so many food shots in one post.. *drool*drool* wait, have to find a bowl to put in front of my pc~

    Now don’t you wish I had stuck to my hp camera? At least, the photos did not make you suffer like this… Bwahahahahaha!!!!

  7. That’s a lot of food. ooh la la … look at the Hokkien Prawn noodles. I’m salivating!

    The one at the murky-looking coffee shop was really nice, much nicer than what I had in Kuching not too long ago where the prawn flavour in the soup was a bit too strong for my liking.

  8. dun be fooled by looks .. ha ha ha. 1.20 for the nasi lemak is okay la. there are places where they sell very little for rm1 also. not worth the rm1

    Here, it’s RM1.50…and we do not get that much! That was why I thought this was quite cheap…and it tasted pretty good too.

  9. curry mee is nice..its my replacement of sarawak laksa here..lol

    Naw!!! Nowhere near!…But as I said, beggars can’t be choosers! LOL!!! Hey! You haven’t been around for so long…and I forgot you’re in Penang. Otherwise, I could have emailed you and probably we could get to meet… Well, next time perhaps.

  10. Wantan mee? different? hmm.. from the pic it looks exactly the same as the one I have at jalan Alor for breakfast…. so can’t see much of a difference there.. except the shredded chickens… but they are several Wantan Mee stalls in KL that serves all types from Mushrooms type, to purely char siew to shredded chicken types.. (which of course all comes with the obligatory wantan)

    They said the texture of the noodles different…and in KL more black sauce sampai the noodles swimming in it, and more oily. I didn’t like KL’s…not even the ones at the Noodle House but Melissa loved it there!

  11. Those are chili sambal in the spoons for both bowls of hokkien prawn mee in your photos above, does not look like prawn/shrimp paste (hay kor – black and smooth) to me.

    It does, doesn’t it?

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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