Monday, December 27, 2010
Back to Penang: Hoikken mee twice for lunch
I was about to write a potentially very boring post about how much I love Hokkien mee in Penang, and then I realized that I already wrote that post last March. I'm here for the holidays and harboring fantasies about moving here and spending the rest of my life doing nothing but eating hawker food. George Town is one of the best food cities I've ever been to. Last time I visited I didn't quite appreciate how easily I can communicate here, but after five months in Cambodia I've come to be very grateful when I meet bilingual locals that I can have actual conversations with. The vibrant (and vaguely hygienic) street food scene is made even better by the fact that every street food stand has a sign stating exactly what they sell.
My local food ambassador, Mr. Oon, loves Hokkien mee. Just out of the hospital he tells me that he nearly died, possibly from not having Hoikkien mee for a month. He said his doctor has just given him a clean bill of health and that he's now allowed to eat as much Hokkien mee as he wants (but he still shouldn't drink the soup, too much cholesterol). Of course he can't help but have a few spoonfuls every time. Too delicious, lah.
Today for our four hour lunch we started with the soupy Hokkien mee (above) and finished with Hokkien char mee from a different place with the same plates (below).
I've nothing to say about Hokkien mee that hasn't been said before, but I love that Mr. Oon loves it and made me eat it twice for lunch today. He's also twisted my arm into going for an even better version tomorrow morning.
My favorite part about Penang is that hawker-stalking is a full time job. I don't need to bother sightseeing--I spent all day trolling the streets George Town looking for hawkers on my list of recommendations, buttonholing locals trying to suss out the best curry mee, and walking past the koay teow th'ing place again, hoping they will finally be open. Who needs beaches when you can do this?