Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng vs Sin Hwa Char Koay Teow @ Jalan Burmah, PenangJune 24, 2010 | 22,631 views
Since we are already on a roll here, almost consecutive posts on noodles (Beef Noodles, Siamese Laksa, Laksa Pak Ngah, Mee Hailam & Mee Goreng) throughout the month of June, let’s top them all off with a duel between two of the MOST prominent noodles stalls in all of Penang; situated within a stone’s throw from each other.
BANGKOK LANE MEE GORENG @ SENG LEE COFFEE SHOP
SIN HWA CHAR KOAY TEOW (CKT) – THE FAMOUS CKT OPPOSITE OF PULAU TIKUS POLICE STATION
Yup, both in Penang, and both on Jalan Burmah. Albeit the Bangkok Lane’s Mee Goreng is usually recognized as THE indomitable “Indian Mee Goreng of Bangkok Lane“, for the sole reason that the stall faces the lane (Lorong Bangkok) rather than the main road. And on the opposite side of the road we have Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa that houses a single stall selling Char Koay Teow for breakfast-lunch-tea break (?) and has been on the radar of “CKT-aficionados” who make their annual pilgrimages to Penang for their fix ……
A plate of piping hot Mee Goreng with lots of chewy, toothsome cuttlefish, potatoes, eggs, bean sprouts and moistened with lots of their signature reddish sweet potato gravy + chili sauce + tomato sauce
Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng is legendary. People from all walks of life and from everywhere patronize this mecca of Mee Goreng since more than half a century ago. In fact, Mahboob’s incomparable brand of Mee Goreng has been around since 80 years ago! (That’s almost as long as Bismillah’s Jurassic-era Roti Canai!!)
The ingredient that separates this and the other imitators? The CUTTLEFISH (sotong). And of course, their own concoction of gravy.
I prefer my Mee Goreng dry and brimming with the aroma from all the frying; with a slight tinge of smokiness from the heated wok. But Bangkok Lane’s version is moist, with ladles of the terrifyingly blood-red gravies scooped onto the wok and fried with much ease. After all, 80 years of handling the wok can either mean two things: Flawless, skillfully cooked masterpiece, OR …..a lop-sided, extra muscular right arm. 🙂
Jokes aside, you should see how he or his group of ‘sous chef‘ (hehe, term used loosely ...) handle the wok. With one hand frantically tossing, stir-frying and ladling the sauces/ingredients into the wok, the other hand would be consistently gripping the handle of the wok and turning the wok in a clockwise/anti-clockwise manner. Interesting .. maybe this is another one of their secrets to creating an end-product that’s worshipped and much-relished.
The shop needs NO signboard, really. Just look for where the crowd gather, especially on weekends and public holidays. Or seek for Lorong Bangkok (Bangkok Lane) … which connects Burmah Road to Kelawai Road. (Address and Map to come at the end of this post)
A hearty plate of Char Koay Teow with the RIGHT level of spiciness, fried with much ‘wok hei’ (heat of the wok; licked by the flames …. but a wait of about a good 10 minutes or so), and plump, succulent prawns and cockles to complete the ensemble.
About a 100metres away is this barely-there coffee shop named Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa, more popularly known as the famous Char Koay Teow opposite of Pulau Tikus police station. Of course, all this while I was stupid enough to think that Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock was the one mentioned in the papers and food guides. (Though credits given where they’re due, the CKT at that shop was not too shabby either).
You can browse at the prices and say your prayers for a plate of extras and everything won’t cost you anything near to the amount charged by the goggled ladies of Lorong Selamat.
Let me share my Penang Char Koay Teow experiences with you, dear readers.
I studied in Penang for a few years, and from there I honed my food-hunting skills. And since I had no love for Assam Laksa (long story, but a little repulsive … hence let’s drop this matter), and not as fond of Prawn Mee (or Hokkien Mee as it’s known on the island), Char Koay Teow (CKT) WAS the most sought after Penang hawker fare that I went up and down, left and right in search of ….. while I was still learning the curves (and hellacious bents/one-way streets/congested roads of Penang).
I marvelled and drooled at the sight of aromatic, sinful and fried-with-perfection CKT from Lorong Selamat, Macalister Road, Penang Road, Pulau Tikus market, Kimberley Street, Ah Leng‘s, and many more. But repeated visits to the same places revealed that the quality either was inconsistent or deteriorated.
And then …. when all hope seemed to be lost, I finally succumbed and gave Sin Hwa a try. The shop may not look like your exact tourist haunt. Simple coffee shop with minimal decor, and no snaking queues in front of the premise, you’d be forgiven for flicking this off as just another random coffee shop. If not for the various write-ups in the media about this place.
And yes … I finally found my favourite Char Koay Teow in Penang all over again !!!
For close to 40 years, Sin Hwa Coffee Shop’s CKT has been wowing the crowd, especially the locals. Not as glitzy as say, the Lorong Selamat’s exorbitantly-priced version, or Sister’s on Macalister Road. But one mouthful of the expertly -fried Char Koay Teow (the second generation now) revealed the secrets within. Fried with lard, with ample and proportionate amounts of prawns, squids, cockles, bean sprouts and Chinese chives, as well as a choice of either chicken or duck egg (opt for the latter, at only 50 cents extra), I tucked into my plate with no breaks in between. No small talks, no incessant photography sessions. I certainly did not want my CKT to get cold and spoiled the pleasant feast.
And there you have it, two of the many good eats on Jalan Burmah in Penang. Damn, thinking about these make me crave uncontrollably. Now I await the next “invasion” ….. 🙂
BANGKOK LANE MEE GORENG @ SENG LEE COFFEE SHOP
270, Jalan Burmah,
Telephone : 6016-485 7859
Business hours : 8.00am – 6.30pm.
Closed on Mondays.
CHAR KOAY TEOW @ KEDAI KOPI SIN HWA
329, Jalan Burmah (opposite Pulau Tikus police station)
Telephone : 604-228 0140, 6017-426 0903, 6012-439 6114 (Ah May)
Business hours : 8.30am – 5.00pm
Closed on Thursdays.
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP that leads to BOTH the places mentioned in this post.