Epicurean Adventures on the island of Penang, Malaysia
Mee means noodle in the language of Malaysia...
And a gazillion varieties are found all over the peninsula... not to mention surrounding islands.. and the rest of SE Asia!
Despite philosophical ideology, it is a fact that not all noodles are created equally. Much like the people I've met during the course of my life... some are soft, some are hard and crunchy, some are yellow, some are brown, some are thin, some are fat, some are spicy.. I like some of them.. and others I don't care too much for.
Some noodles are dry, some have a brown sauce. Some have a clear soup. Some are made from wheat while others are made from rice.
One thing is for sure.. no matter size, color or state of being... all noodles have the right to be enjoyed and eaten while having their individuality preserved, honored and respected.
I believe in equal opportunity!
And after all... it's best to enjoy noodles at a stall on the street that would never pass US Health inspection in a million years with an ice cold beer... or lukewarm beer.. or any beer for that matter!
Next time you're in Penang... head to Gurney street.. the most famousest of all hawkers centers on the island... made more famouser by Anthony Bourdain and his culinary escapades on Discovery channel!
You'll see countless hawkers.. with infinite variety of aromas, flavors, colors and popping noises!
One of the most famous is Kuey Teow.. which is most often spelled differently at every stall you go to!
It is a broad noodle... with a rich brown sauce... and fried with various and sundry things plucked from the ocean.
Laksa is one of my favorites!
A yellow noodle.. with a sourish sauce made from tamarind, hot chilies, and various marine organisms!
In the top of the photo you can see rojak.. a mixture of raw fruits and veggies topped with peanut sauce.. and to the right you see top hats.. crispy shells stuffed with cabbage, carrots and a spicy sauce!
Top hats up close... in case you wanted to a better view!
Yee Mee is also one of my favorites! A brown crispy noodle that's fried until golden.. Cantonese Style in the way I like it... which means it's topped with a rich gravy full of eggs, pork and various gilled critters!
But it's not always about noodles.. of course, there's a heap of other good stuff to be stuffed down yer gullet!
Satay is another of my many favorites! It's basically meat poked on a stick... grilled and served up with peanut sauce! That's good eatin'!
And if you're from Georgia, USA or any other redneck trailerville.. you'll appreciate the variety of deep fried goods.. although... mama never made fried tofu when we was little!
And lest you forget you're in Asia... well, the variety of shelled critters, critters sans exoskeleton.. and other stuff we'd use for fish bait back home are displayed... and ready to be sampled.... with a spicy sauce and a cold beer, of course!
But only if you're the adventurous sort!
In case you get a hankerin' for tripe or chittlin's.. well, Malaysia's got that too... you can get all sorts of pig parts in the predominantly Chinese island of Penang... even though Malaysia is a Muslim country.. they got pork!
And no trip would be complete without a little fish ball soup, a century egg or two... and McTuckey Fried Chicken!
It's enough to make a good ole country boy feel like he's in hawg heaven!
And if you ever figure out what a convolvulus is... please let me know!
It sounds kinda erotic...
- Matt Salleh