Thursday, May 22, 2008

Penang's famous Bangkok Lane mee

all images by Johan Nasir

Updated - new photos added 25/05/08
While in
Penang for the World Music Festival, Johan, Farrell, Craig and myself went a hunting for good food. Among the places we tried were the Line Clear Nasi Kandar after a late night at Audees Pub listening to our friend Major John Sam croon.

The delicious creamy curries at Sri Ananda's

scrumptious fried popiah and laksa at Air Itam

We also tried the Sri Ananda’s Curry House where they served good creamy northern Indian curries and the famous Laksa stall at the Air Itam market, among others.

However the place that took the cake was the Mamak fried mee stall in a Chinese coffeshop at Bangkok Lane. Known to the locals as Bangkok Lane Mee (like Duh!) this place was closed by the time we reached there at 5:30pm the first day, forcing us to make a return visit.

What sets Bangkok Lane fried mee apart from its competitors is its secret sauce made from a reduction of squid. That and the two-man operation to fry the mee provides quite a spectacle for the waiting customers.

Waiting because many savvy Penangites “ta pau” the mee home instead of waiting in line like us poor sods, leading to the mamaks running this place to be frying non-stop.

In a huge kuali, up to eight portions of mee are fried at any one time by the cook, and instead of mixing the mee and the condiments with the ladle, he actually spins the wok around while frying! Quite a show, especially for newcomers.

The stall owner carefully dishes out his precious secret sauce in precise portions while the cook is merrily frying away. Apparently no one else is allowed to even touch the huge pot of secret sauce.

So was the mee worth the trip or was it just pure showmanship that sells so many plates of it everyday? The verdict from all four of us concur that it was probably the best meal we had in Penang, its weird orangey colour notwithstanding.

Brave Farrell decided to buck the trend and go for the mee rebus, which turned out to be equally delicious, so naturally we ordered more like the good little gluts that we were.

You can wipe that smirk off your face now, Johan. Yes you were right. Heavy sigh…



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