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.
Curry mee, a noodle soup, a sort of curry mixture. That sounds like a safe choice and a nice comforting dinner with a splash of local cuisine. Well, yes and no because curry mee is not entirely as the name suggests.
Curry mee is, essentially a Penang variation on the rich curry laksa, one of the most well known meals in all of Malaysia.
Curry mee varies in a few ways, for example the broth tends to be much thinner with a less creamy texture. One addition less commonplace in laksa is the addition of coagulated blood cubes, with the rich irony taste you should expect (much like a black pudding, for example) but with a jelly like texture. It’s a delicious addition to a rich soup and offsets the curry and (like laksa) cockles.
Like a Laksa other ingredients include prawns and light plump tofu pieces.
It’s a really delicious, wholesome and not too spicy soup which should tick all of those adventurous boxes of experiences and tastes when travelling – The use of cockles and blood jelly are probably unconventional to your tastebuds but they are delicious in the context and shouldn’t put you off trying this. The fresh mint scattered on the top is another great addition and further adds to the layers of flavour.
If you’re heading to Penang, check out my food post about all the great things you should eat and try in this magnificent city.
Phrases worth knowing
Penang’s a pretty mulitcultural place and English will generally be spoken by almost everyone. But often a few Malay words are useful, although sometimes a grasp of Hindi, Hokkien or Cantonese would be advantageous.
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
berapa harga – how much?
tidak pedas – no chilli
bungkus – Take away
Tidak – No
Ya – yes
Maaf – sorry
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