Eng Loh is a very popular local Penang breakfast spot near George Town’s old Beach Street banking/trading district. Located on Church Street (near the Pinang Peranakan Mansion), it was established post-WW II in the 1940s by Lim Peng Kuan, whose son, Lim Kee Wan, took over the running of Eng Loh for many decades until it changed hands to the current proprietors in 2011.
Eng Loh’s claim-to-fame, besides food from the various hawker stalls lining its periphery, are the house-made toasts (which come with various choice of toppings ranging from butter-and-kaya to tuna-mayonnaise), and pseudo-Western, Malayan kopitiam/coffeeshop fare like eggs, sausages (tinned frankfurters) and baked beans.
These days, Eng Loh’s toasted “Bengali” bread (thick-cut local white bread) with butter and garlic is extremely popular, and touted by local Penangites as the best in town - that is, if you want dragon breath-inducing garlic toast for breakfast:
A popular stall there offers Teochew/Chaozhou steamed “chai kuih” (steamed dumplings filled with savoury jicama), “kuchai kuih” (chives dumplings), and “orh kuih” (savoury pudding-like yam cakes, topped with dried shrimps & chopped scallions).
The Penang “char koay teow” stall there produces a surprisingly excellent version, and priced at half of those at the famous Lorong Selamat spots (Heng Huat kopitiam and Low Eng Hoo kopitiam), although sans the humongous prawns (which I thought was superfluous anyway).
Another popular option there is the “koay teow th’ng” (flat rice noodles or “koay teow” in a light savoury soup) stall - one of Penang’s must-try Teochew-originated street-food staple. The stall here offered a “dry” version of the said dish, so you get “koay teow” tossed in a delicious soysauce-lard-onion/garlic oil dressing, topped with shredded chicken, lardons & strips of chicken blood pudding, accompanied by a side-bowl of soup with Teochew fish balls. In typical Penang-style, a dollop of spicy chilli paste is provided on the soup spoon accompanying the noodles - to be stirred in depending on your personal preference, or tossed away somewhere if you prefer a non-chilli-spiked plate of noodles. Very substantial breakfast option:
One of my all-time favourite Penang street fare (and there are many) is the Penang white curry mee (extremely different from other curry mee versions in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and elsewhere). The Penang version has a mix of yellow Hokkien wheat noodles & thin beehoon rice noodles in savoury-slightly salty, thin coconut milk broth, topped with shrimps, cubes of pig’s blood pudding, cuttlefish, taupok (tofu puffs), beansprouts and sprigs of fresh mint leaves, served with the obligatory spoonful of piquant, tongue-numbing chilli paste.
The version at Eng Loh did not have pig’s blood - not sure if it wasn’t part of their offering, or they did not have it at this particular morning. The flavours were ultra-spicy but, IMHO, did not have the requisite flavours and aroma I’d associate with good Penang curry mee.
Overall , a pretty good selection of breakfast options, and worth checking out if one is in the banking district and nearby Little India area.
Eng Loh Coffee Shop
48 Church Street (Lebuh Gereja)
Operating hours: 8am-3pm daily, except Sundays