Sunday, December 30, 2018

Penang Chiak Ho Liao : mamak Mee Goreng

The stall is started in March 2018 by John and Fran, a couple, to introduce the well-loved Penang hawker fare to Singapore.  "Chiak Ho Liao" is in Hokkien, it literally means "eat good food".  They strive to create every dish as close as possible to the ones offered back in Penang to preserve the authenticity of these dishes as indicated on their Facebook page. There are 3 types of comfort dishes serve on the menu, the Chee Cheong Fun, Banana Leaf Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak. These are the usual favorites that Penangnites love to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their main ingredients are imported from Penang and it is cooked to order. Most of their customers are from Penang and attested its authenticity, calling it a taste of home away from home. 

I decided to try the Banana Leaf Mee Goreng. I was there at about 11 am and there was just another customer before me. Fran, the friendly lady boss asked, "You want it with or without sotong?" and I replied, "With Sotong." The difference in price is $0.50, without sotong is $3.50 and with sotong is $4.00. She also asked, "How spicy do you want it to be? medium or spicier?" I answered, "I do not know how spicy is the chilli. I am able to take spiciness though." She said, "I will give it slightly spicier. Do you want to add anything else?" And, I replied, "Chicken drumstick." I waited there for it to be ready. Fran started stir-frying it and it was done in about 5 minutes. When handed the plate of noodles to me, she said, "Please bring back the fork and spoon, throw it into the blue bin after you finished eating."

This Penang style Mee Goreng is different from the local style Mee Goreng, it is a common dish to be found in almost every part of Penang, usually prepared by Mamak, a term used by Indian-Muslims which means Uncle. It was moist though did not taste as spicy as expected to be but there was a spicy, lingering aftertaste. As it was mentioned on their Facebook page that the sotong is specially imported from Penang. It is not the fresh sotong but the dried cuttlefish that is used to cook Sambal Sotong Kering, a common dish in Penang before serving on top of those reddish noodles for an added flavor and texture. It consists of yellow noodles with bean sprouts, potatoes, tau kwa stir-fried in the mixture of tomato ketchup, chilli paste and dark soya sauce then garnished with shredded lettuce and grounded peanuts together with a lime. Though it might not be as good as that famous Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane in Penang, there was a certain similarity. This is likely to be the only Penang style Mee Goreng in Singapore.

The fried chicken is marinated overnight with 12 different herbs and spices as mentioned on their Facebook page. It was then fried well to perfection. It did not have a thick coat of batter but it still tasted crispy with a hint of lemongrass. 

The couple is passionate about their dishes and it is cooked with heart. I am likely to come back for their Chee Cheong Fun and Nasi Lemak. 

335 Smith Street #02-182 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

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