Five Hokkien Mee to Try
Also known as Har meen or prawn mee, its scorching spicy prawn broth with noodles, beansprouts, shrimps and boiled egg is not only a favoured breakfast but also enjoyed as a ‘winter’ warmer, Kitty Kaye discovers.
1. Seng Lee Cafe
It seems every favourite Penang food can be found in this one little lane, condensed into a corner coffee shop. Lined by pretty, heritage terrace houses, it’s located just off Burmah Road. At its corner, facing the little florist swamped with overgrown plants is the coffee shop that has one of the island’s most popular Hokkien mee. Only serving up to lunchtime, the standard bowl of merely RM3 consists of a mix of yellow (egg) mee and meehun (rice noodles), bean sprouts, a few blanched shrimps and 2-3 slices of hard-boiled egg drowned in piping hot lightly spicy prawn broth.
2. Lebuh Armenian
The fact that it’s located on the corner of two famous streets in George Town’s heritage area is a plus but the aunty manning the Hokkien stall within a coffee shop is really sweet and makes a mean bowl of Hokkien mee. Quick as a flash she will have your order in front of you in less than five minutes after you’ve ordered. Opting for her RM3.50 bowl will tame a tummy’s morning rumble. Her broth is a little more delicate in flavour and she’s generous with the deep fried sliced shallots and sambal accompaniment too. Yes, spicy!
Coffee shop in Lebuh Armenian
3. Lebuh Carnarvon
Along this road there must be at least four Hokkien mee stalls. And you don’t need a discerning palate to be able to differentiate one from the other. There’s a uniformity about this dish due to its very light flavours and the one distinct difference would be in terms of the broth’s sweetness that stems predominantly from boiled prawn shells. Therefore, to narrow down, the stall on the corner of Carnarvon and Campbell streets, manned by an amiable old man, seems to favour slightly more than the rest on his street. Also, the stall closest to the traffic lights towards the shopping malls offers the most inexpensive one at RM2.70 for a small bowl that’s a terrific snack size.
4. Third Street or Sa Tiao Lor
Well, today, it’s more commonly known as Lebuh Presgrave, located behind Traders Hotel on Jalan Magazine. We’ve been told if we didn’t include this one, this write up will lose its credibility! Luckily, the prawn mee from the stall on this street stands up to all the hype. In fact, it stands out due to the tender pieces of pork knuckle meat that tops up the bowl. This is one of the places offering this dish during dinner hours since it only opens after 5pm.
Penang Spicy Prawn Noodles from Spice Market Cafe
5. Spice Market Café
This all day dining eatery at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang five star resort and spa offers a gourmet and pork-free version of the popular hawker dish. Descriptively called Penang Spicy Prawn Noodles on their menu, a bowl is RM36++ but it comes with a few large unshelled prawns, chicken strips, bean sprouts, hard-boiled egg, blanched kangkong and noodles that bathe in spicy prawn broth. A generous sprinkle of deep-fried sliced shallots completes the scrumptious experience.