Swee Kong Coffeeshop at the corner of Moulmein Close and Burma Road is one of the best-known traditional coffeeshops in Penang, and certainly the best one in Pulau Tikus, which is also famous for its popular morning market and plethora of good eats.
The best-known stall at Swee Kong is the Lean Huat Hokkien prawn noodle stall, but you need to come here well before 8.30am to be assured of a bowl of their steaming hot noodles. Permanent crowd there, so jostle in and shout your order. The amount of soup given is notoriously paltry compared to other Hokkien noodle stalls around town, but that merely adds to Lean Huat’s infamous reputation. Penangites refer to it as “the Hokkien mee opposite the police station”.
One other stall worth checking out there is the one making Indian sweet appams (crepes) using claypots. Ravindran Supramaniam and his wife, Kanchanana Devi Kalimuthu, currently run this 40-year-old stall, churning out delicious, moist, coconut-rich sweet crepes on charcoal stoves. I first tried their crepes at the 2015 World Street Food Congress in Singapore, but the crepes tasted so much better on their home turf:
Other breakfast options at Swee Kong include Penang “char mee suah”, a variant on the “char koay teow”, using very thin rice noodles (mee suah) instead of flat rice noodles (koay teow). “Char mee suah” is also traditionally served with a dollop of sambal belacan on the side, which this stall faithfully adhered to.
The Indian mee goreng/mee rebus stall is fairly new - perhaps half a year old - run by Mohammed Nazir bin Rawther, who used to be the assistant to Mahboob Zakaria, who runs the legendary 80-plus years-old Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng stall just across the road. I guess the master and the apprentice parted ways. We tried the mee rebus here.
The “sar hor fun” stall churns out a respectable version of the dish - the "hor fun noodles have a deliciously-smoky wok-seared aroma, but the accompanying meat-seafood gravy was blander than expected.
Kedai Kopi Swee Kong
Corner of Jalan Burma & Solok Moulmein
Pulau Tikus, 10450 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Operating hours: 6am to 8pm daily, except Thursday (most popular stalls only operate till lunch)