Mee goreng champions

PENANG, the much-acclaimed food haven of Malaysia, is also a paradise for halal food – if you know where to find it. Among the most popular halal fare is mee goreng (fried noodles).

This Indian Muslim-style mee goreng or formerly known as mee goreng mamak comprises yellow noodles fried with boiled potatoes, bean sprouts and squid, fried tofu and garnished with cucur udang (prawn fritters) and browned onions.

Usually, sambal is added to give it a kick. Depending on the method of preparation, the resulting noodles can be soggy or dry, with a variety of tantalising textures from the ingredients.

Mee goreng can be found in many places, and stall owners battle among themselves everyday to win more customers and more business.

Edgecumbe Road Famous Mee Goreng

In the 1960s, Padang Brown, straddling Jalan Burmah and Jalan Datuk Keramat, was a hive of nightly activity with the clang of woks and the aroma of smells drifting from tureens.

That was the original business spot of Haji Kamaluddin Muhamad Ibrahim, another “Iron Chef’ of mee goreng. Later, when the popularity of Padang Brown waned due to a change in traffic flow, he moved to Edgecumbe Road. He fine-tuned his recipe further and garnered more fans.

When Kompleks Makanan Persiaran Gurney was set up by Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang in the early 1900s, Haji Kamaluddin was among the first stalls to move in.

Today, the “Edgecumbe Road Famous Mee Goreng” attracts an impressive crowd of lunch-time customers. Its mee goreng is spicy and extremely rich in flavour. Opening hours are from 8am to 7.30pm. It closes on Fridays.

Kafeteria Larut

Arguably the best mee goreng is found in Kafeteria Larut on Jalan Larut. Started in the 1940s, the stall did a roaring business at Northam Road before shifting to its present location. It is presently run by the founder’s son, Shah Jehan, and his two brothers. A word of warning to those who don’t eat beef: Apart from the usual ingredients, the mee goreng here also contains slices of tender beef which are often mistaken for squid. This gives a stunning contrast in texture to the noodles. However, you can ask for beef to be excluded.

The noodles are fried just right, not too soft or dry, and has enough sauces to give it a zing. Apart from mee goreng, Shah Jehan also serves mee rebus with a thick gravy. Opening hours are from noon to 6pm and it’s closed on Fridays.

To get to Kafeteria Larut, drive along Jalan Burma and park at Penang Plaza. A five-minute stroll from the back entrance of the plaza will bring you to Kafeteria Larut. Alternatively, one can come from Sultan Ahmad Shah and proceed to Jalan Larut where the most convenient parking is at the Sheraton Hotel.

Jones Road Famous Mee Goreng

Another excellent mee goreng stall is in Sin Hup Aun Coffee Shop at the junction of Solok Moulmein and Jalan Pasar. Stall owner Liakat Ali, 46, says: “The stall was started by my uncle in Jones Road 40 years ago. Then my father took over the business. Five years ago, when I took over the stall, I shifted here. I have not changed my uncle’s recipe. Eat here once and you will come back again.”

Liakat Ali’s mee goreng is spicier and soggier than that of Shah Jehan’s. The secret lies in his sambal while Shah Jehan’s tour de force is in his frying technique. Liakat Ali has not changed the name of his stall and it’s still known as “Jones Road Famous Mee Goreng”. It’s opens from 7am to 7pm, and closes every Tuesday.

Parking at Sin Hup Aun Coffee Shop is quite easy as there is an open field near the Pulau Tikus Wet Market. Visitors from outstation may find it easier to park at Bellisa Row on Jalan Burma, cross the the road and take a five-minute walk to the coffee shop.