[Penang, Malaysia] Breakfast at Kuantan Road Ah Ban Curry Noodles/关丹律阿万

Tan Teong Ban aka Ah Ban, 47, is the second-generation of the family which sells their Penang-style white curry noodles in Kuantan Road, Terengganu Road, Genting Cafe (Island Glades) and the Shark foodcourt in Penang, and Sun Sea Kopitiam at Overseas Union Garden in Kuala Lumpur. This stall at Kuantan Road is their most famous outlet and only opens in the morning Tue-Sun.

Ah Ban’s curry noodles (or “mee”, as it’s called locally) has a very tasty savoury, coconut-enriched curry soup, with a spoonful of very aromatic chilli paste provided. Yellow “Hokkien mee” (yellow wheat noodles), “bee hoon” (thin rice noodles) and crunchy-fresh beansprouts form the base of his curry mee, garnished with freshly-boiled cockles, a single de-shelled shrimp, tofu puffs and cubes of pig’s blood.
Ah Ban’s cuttlefish is soft and of superior quality to those I’d tried in other top curry mee spots around Georgetown (Lorong Seratus Tahun, Siam Ee in Ayer Itam, Island Park Café, etc.) and his pig’s blood cubes are firmer in texture.

Ah Ban’s curry mee stall is located at the junction of Dato’ Keramat Road and Kuantan Road, outside Timesway kopitiam, and operates in the mornings. He usually sells out by 11am, so try and come way before then. Closed every Monday.

Bustling Kuantan Road in the morning, with hawker stalls lining the road outside Kuantan Road wet market. The two Nyonya stalls (one selling kuehs and the other selling nasi ulam, kerabu beehoon & nasi kunyit) are particularly good, with very authentic offerings.

Address
Timesway Restaurant
177, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 6am to 2pm daily

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Sunday brunch today - a bowl of curry noodles from Kuantan Road Curry Mee’s branch at the Shark Food Court on Burmah Road.

My dining partner got her brunch fix from the “Western Breakfast” stall’s ham/pork sausage/egg set.

We also dropped by FamilyMart’s latest outlet on Burmah Road up the road for some sandwiches and cakes for later. With the COVID movement control procedures still in place, the deli-mart still controls the number of customers it lets into the store at any one time. But we only needed to wait for 5 minutes to get in:

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Familymart is ubiquitous in Taiwan. I even bought craft beers from them. But generally I just love checking out all the stuff they have there. Convenience stores in Asia are amazing.

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It’s weird, but FamilyMart in Malaysia became known for their … oden! So, at all its branches stretching from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, there are long queues just for oden, and every FamilyMart outlet will have separate cash counters for Oden and Non-oden purchases! What gives?

Despite a rather full breakfast, my partner decided that she’ll get herself a bowl of oden - just because we were there! And in Malaysia, the most popular oden option is to choose Thai tom yum broth.

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All this is very popular in Korea as street food. You can also order them as sides with noodle soup or whatever you are eating. Threaded on skewers. I don’t remember the dark sauce in Korea.

Oh, it’s the same here - the oden items are displayed in skewers.

The “dark sauce” is actually the spicy “tom yum” broth, a favourite options for the oden at FamilyMart’s outlets in Malaysia. It’s so tongue-scaldingly spicy, I wondered how anyone could enjoy it! But it’s a crowd-pleaser and best-seller here!

A lot of the skewers are fish paste based

With my noodle soup


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With gochujang. I don’t think Koreans want anything else. Exept gochujang is not spicy to me so I probably like tom yum broth.

I’m supposed to go to Korea again this christmas-new year. :sob:

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Those looked so good. Now, you’re making me miss Korea and its street food.

I still remembered my very first trip to Seoul back in 2000 - nothing thrilled me more than to explore the “secrets” ensconced in each pojangmacha lining Taehaeran-no in Gangnam where my company’s Seoul office was located (just 10 minutes’ walk away from COEX).
P.S. - Back in 2000, the K-pop and K-drama craze which inundated Asia had not started yet, so my Singaporean colleagues who were with me weren’t too keen to explore those places. So different nowadays, where trendy Korean eateries in Singapore are practically all over the place!

I realised that 90% of Korean cooking relies on one of these two sauces: gochujang or doenjang! :joy:

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Told Koreans and Japanese I spread natto and doenjang on bread they double over laughing. :astonished: :scream:

Speaking of Korea, I want to go there for a 6 month stay to learn the basics of the language, and of course to eat. It’s possible. I need to find affordable lodging, a language course that fits me best. Though, not in the capital. Too big. I really like Busan. I came across plenty of expats who speak the language.

Over the weekend I was going through photos of the trip to Korea and felt so sad I had to stop.

Not into drama of any kind but even I know Kpop :blush: But only like Blackpink. Koreans take music videos and dance choreography to another level.

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I’d love to try those on toasts, too. :grin:

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How strange, no lines at the Family Marts in KL…

FamilyMart here is such a pale shadow of Japan, but still glad to have it. Oden is good. Although I don’t understand how the locals here can eat Oden outside in 92 degree heat! :slight_smile:

There were lines initially at the first FamilyMarts in KL, but that back in Nov-Dec 2016. When the first branch opened in Wisma Lim Foo Yong on Jalan Raja Chulan (11 Nov 2016), it was practically inundated and, on the first few days, the store had to barricade its doors and also close early, as they could not contend with the crowd.

My first experience with FamilyMart in KL was on 5 Dec at its Mid-Valley Megamall outlet - it had just opened 2 days earlier, so there was this long queue outside its door. I instinctively joined in to see what the fuss was about. Had to queue for about 20 minutes, but I spent only 5 minutes in the store, as it was small-ish, and did not have anything really exciting.

Greater KL (Klang Valley) area has about 100 FamilyMart outlets by now, so you won’t see the lines like Penang, which has only 2 outlets on the island (both just a few weeks old), and 1 more on the mainland part of the state. I think FamilyMart plans for 50 or more outlets in Penang eventually. I think the initial curiousity which brought in the crowds will dissipate soon.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold