On our first day in Penang, we dropped by the hawker stalls at Gurney Drive for some chow. It has been around since time immemorial – I think it was already there when I first visited Penang in December, 1973. It was very nice then…but sadly, times have changed.

When I last dropped by, there was this hassle over where to sit. They would not be happy if only one person orders from the stall and the rest from elsewhere…and they will quite openly show their displeasure. A friend told me to sit at a table belonging to a drinks stall as everybody would be ordering drinks from that same one and this time around, older and wiser, that was exactly what I did. My missus, however, made the mistake of pulling a stool from the next table and presto! The owner appeared instantly, making a scene.  Good grief! If we had initially intended to order from his stall, that kind of reception would definitely make us change our minds.

If the food was really good and something to die for, I guess such disgusting behaviour would be excusable but it was at best…just edible. My missus had the wantan mee

Gurney Drive wantan mee

…and the sui kow

Gurney Drive sui kow

for RM7.00. My daughter had the kway teow th’ng (RM3.00)…

Gurney Drive kwayteow th'ng

…which she liked.

I ordered the or chian (oyster omelette), RM12.00, for us to share…

Gurney Drive or chian

…and it was all egg and flour, the oysters hardly visible. The worst part was that I was the first to order – just when they were setting up the stall and when I saw the old lady serving the people at the next table who came later than us (and the hubby was still in the queue that was getting longer by the minute), I had to go and ask and get my order myself.

I also ordered this lobak (RM13.00) as well…

Gurney Drive lobak

…and it was over-fried and…as I have said earlier, at best…just edible.

The Red Garden at Penang Road (somewhere opposite Cititel Penang) is definitely a much nicerplace to go to. The people are nicer, the place is cleaner and a lot more presentable and the food is a whole lot better. It was only because we had been in Gurney Plaza the whole day and it was very convenient to drop by this miserable place and eat something before we went back to the hotel, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered going there.

And as anyone can see, the things there are by no means cheap either. All things considered, I would definitely not be in a hurry to go back there again.

Author: suituapui

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

30 thoughts on “Overrated…”

  1. Not all hawker stall in Penang is nice… 😦 I find some places in KL have better things to offer.

    SP is no different. My dad says the satay in SP is like rubber… no matter where he goes in SP, the stay would taste like rubber… while in KL, the satay is a whole lot nicer.

    Satay, I like Kajang’s the best…but so far…unless some kind soul offers to take me there. 😉

      1. LOL…Mandy offered liao… there’s a branch of Satay kajang near my house… but dono nice or not… never go before… prefer the tepi jalan punya. LOL!

  2. The oysters kinda paiseh meeting people from Sibu probably hiding behind the egg and under the flour. The KTT looks nice but I would go for nothing but curry mee first thing first haha..Wow Penang food quite pricey nowadays..Either the price has gone up or its the usual for tourist spot to ‘potong’ the throat..tQ

    I’m not a fan of curry mee…but there are a number of things that I like in Penang.

    1. 😦 They’re sucking blood these days. Sigh… not like what it used to be.

      I remember I loved the place…way back in 1973 but it’s not the same anymore. 😦

      1. 😦 I was in Penang in 1998-2002… but looks like it’s not the same as that time too…even my ex schoolmates tells me that the food is overrated there… and must go to those places that people rarely go oni can get nice and cheap food. The rest… terribly commercialized…

  3. You see when you come to Penang, you must see her Mario Puzo,,, that’s me lah,, the God Father of the land of Pearl of the Orient………. i will take you to those “road less traveled” hawkers stalls, you shall be putting your hands up shouting like,,,”for one more day” i shall be in Penang again with the escort of the God Father..hahahahahahha.

    seriously, i don’t frequent and i won’t frequent those famous stalls,unless my friends insisted,,,,,,trust me if you want good laksa, i take you to one place selling for 2.30 and loads of chili padi and fish top up,, now don’t i get salivating hahahahahah?

    Yes, for one more day – Tuesday…we’ll be around, so are you free? Give me a tinkle… 😉

  4. I also don’t like over fried foods. That omelet looks good, makes me hungry for dinner!

    There were supposed to be oysters in them…but there were hardly any that could be seen… Perhaps we should have brought along a magnifying glass or a microscope…

  5. I heard Pulau Tikus’s hawker food are nicer than Gurney’s drive, you can probably google and look for the recommended spread of food!(provided you are still in Penang)!

    If you like oyster omelet, you have to travel to Klang’s seafood restaurants, which I reckon it’s much nicer! Last year we ordered ‘penang rozak’ in Gurney drive, was daunting too… so tough to chew on!=_=

    I think Annie-Q was there last night – I’ve never been there. I’ve been to a lot of other places with a lot of nice people and nice food…and Gurney Drive isn’t one of them. Watch out for my posts – coming soon… Food, food…and more food! LOL!!! 😀

  6. We didnt have oyster at Gurney drive. We had at a corner kopitiam. I forgot the name. Have to ask hubi. That one full of oyster.

    I see the sui kow doesnt look that nice geh. Skin thick. Got a lot of ingredient in it ka?

    These stalls owner really shouldnt shout at ppl like that. Just say nicely enough la.

    Yalor, so rude! I might want to eat what they sell…but after that kind of “welcome”, I certainly wouldn’t want to do that anymore. I suppose I’m not ang moh…so they look down on people like me. Or chian at corner kopitiam? A very dirty one? Maybe that was the one Eugene took me to the last time I was in Penang. That one’s very nice. The sui kow was ok, edible…nothing great! 😦

  7. If stay in Evergreen, then walking distance to this gurney.. actually quite far if u ask me… but good exercise esp after the makan… yes, i also agree with you…the hawkers there are like rivals now… fighting for customers.. not a good image for tourists!

    Ya…the wrong end of Gurney Drive. I never have a good impression of the place and its people and the food. Only went there as we were in the vicinity.

  8. yup. totally agreed. The food at Gurney Drive is not as good as before and the price are tourist price.

    Really not worth the effort of going there…and the hassle of eating there. 😦

  9. Wonder if this ‘territorial’ area applies to all hawker centre / street food in Penang? Hhmm…

    As far as I know, at Red Garden (Penang Road), you are free to sit anywhere you like and the people are a lot friendlier and the food very much better.

  10. Gurney Drive is overrated. other towns in Malaysia have better hawker food nowadays. i believe there are other hawker centres in Penang which serves better food and better atmosphere. i think better buy a guide book on hawker food and recommended places before going for some foodie adventure. Cheers!

    Precisely – by 5 something, the place already so crowded…but the food just wasn’t great. We only went there because we were at Gurney Plaza next door, so it was convenient for us to eat there before going back to the hotel. We wouldn’t have bothered to go there otherwise… 😦

  11. Never been to Penang before and don’t have any desire to go there anytime soon after reading this. Nothing worse than rude food vendors. As you say, the food better be heavenly with that kind of attitude.

  12. Wonder why people in E.Msia like to waste money in the peninsula, grow fat for nothing?
    I think in Sarawak/Sabah, we can have better places and better food and the money spent is so much worthwhile!

    I’ve edited your comment. I hope this is what you mean.

    As for eating over at the peninsula, there are things that we cannot get – not in Sibu, at least…or at best, some pale imitations… Our kway teow, even uncooked, is definitely not as nice as Penang’s or Ipoh’s kway teow or hor fun and we can’t get or chian (oyster omelette) in Sibu. Even the ones in Kuching are cooked differently – both are nice…or it may depend on a matter of individual taste. Like if anyone wants the best authentic Sarawak laksa, kolo mee or kampua and kompia, they would just have to go over to Sarawak – unless they have kind souls like me bringing some over to distribute….

  13. Penang’s kyaw teow th’ng is good, i like. I am not a fans of or chien. Two days in a row we are having CKT!!!

    Wait till i got time to blog about my Penang trip. hahahhaha

    Oh dear… I think we had that once only…everything just once. Not enough time to eat everything… LOL!!!

  14. i had o chien at the New Lane, and the o are all berry huge juicy and succulent! 😀

    when i was at the Gurney Drive, my frend recommended the sotong bakar which i think is special and i actually likey it 😀

    My friend, Eugene,took me to one place – dunno where… That one’s the best! Sotong bakar…we can get in Sibu, buy by the kilo from the kampung people…like for Chinese New Year

  15. I was there last year. I knew from the start the food there is overated, expensive and service from the majority of the stalls sucks. But we still went there out of convenience, like you said. Felt sort of “cheated”, huh.

    What I cannot understand is the fact that the place is so very crowded. I wonder if all those people actually think that the food there is nice…or they’re first-timers or from out of town…or like us, only there because of the convenience.

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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