Malay street food : Mee sotong / mee goreng Mamak (spicy Mamak squid noodles)


After grazing our way through some other areas of Malaysia we made our way up to Georgetown, Penang (or Pinang), lauded as the food capital of Asia, street food mecca, whatever. We had high hopes. 

Penang is world famous for having a cultural melting pot of Indian, Chinese and Malay population who all contributed to the culinary landscape.
Penang did not disappoint, in fact it was probably better than expected – One thing; if you’re planning on eating like it’s your last week alive don’t visit during the lunar new year festivities.


Mee sotong is one of those things where you’re happy to discover it, by accident. I mean, we had only a handful of days planned in Penang (although, we stayed for over a week) and I had a list as long as my arm of hawker dishes I wanted to seek out and try. For some reason, I didn’t include mee sotong and only ended up trying it when one of my ‘first choices’ were closed for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Mee sotong it seems, it more of a mamak dish, and the Indians and Malays are happy to keep pumping out deliciousness whilst the chinese community close up their shops and enjoy the celebrations.

It’s a real simple, firey one pot dish of mamak style mee goreng, flashed fried with the addition of wet, sweet, super spicy squid, or sotong. The sambal sauce turns the whole dish a deep red colour and a little bit of crunch from a type of fritter and some crispy onions  gives it a nice textural variety. If you’re afraid of chilli, stay away from this one.

Deep red, spicy mee sotong

Deep red, spicy mee sotong

The Malay blogging community seem to be real fans of Hameeds near to Fort Cornwallis, which is worth a visit itself. We visited Sri Weld foodcourt on Lebuh Pantai which houses around twenty or more hawker stalls – everything we tried was, like (almost) everything in Penang excellent.

Phrases worth knowing 

Satu – One
Dua – Two
Tiga – Three
Hello  – Hello
Apa kabar – are you well/ how are you?
salamat pagi – good morning
Salamt tingal – goodbye
sila (see luh) – please
Terima kasih –  Thank you (people will often respond with ‘sama sama’ which means’ you’re welcome)
berapa harga – how much?
tidak pedas – no chilli
bungkus – Take away
Tidak – No
Ya – yes
Maaf – sorry


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