Malay street food : Loh mee (hokkien noodles in gravy)


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.

Loh mee sits comfortably in Penang – a dish of chinese origin in a town famed for its streetfood culture. To describe it simply, Loh mee is yellow egg noodles in a thickened gravy.

It’s commonly eaten for breakfast in kopitiams and hawker stall foodcourts.

Historically, it’s a dish of Hokkien, Chinese (Fujian) heritage, The noodles are thick and yellow, mixed with an emulsified gravy sauce which has been thickened (like a lot of chinese soups or gravy’s) with corn starch. The flavours are quite subtle and on the face of it you can be forgiven for wondering ‘what the heck have I ordered?’ when a bowl of snotty brown soup arrives with some noodles floating about it the gluey liquid.


Loh mee noodles

Loh mee noodles

Give it a try, I must admit it, having ticked it off my impressively long Penang streetfood wishlist I never got a chance to head back as I was drawn to the appeal of more attractive breakfast soups such as wantan mee and koay teow t’hng for their lighter flavours and lingering appeal on the tastebuds. I was more than happy to indulge in a slightly heavier, more robust noodle breakfast with hearty chunks of roast pork, flecks of egg and hints of spice and minced garlic in the sauce.

Next time Penang, I promise to give you another try.

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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2 thoughts on “Malay street food : Loh mee (hokkien noodles in gravy)

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