Tua Pui Curry Mee is run by 58-year-old hawker, Kang Ewe Sin, who inherited the business started by his grandfather in Weld Quay back in the 1950s. Mr Kang has been learning the ropes from his father since 1967 when he was a boy of 7! Tua Pui Curry Mee moved to its current location on Kimberley Street just over 6 years ago.
Penang-style curried noodles is one of my favourite noodle dishes of all time. The dish is a blend of yellow Hokkien wheat noodles and white “beehoon” rice noodles, beansprouts, cuttlefish, tofu puffs (“tau pok”), pig’s blood cubes, and cockles. In Penang, it’s called “curry mee” - “mee” being the Hokkien/Minnan word for noodles. Most curry mee hawkers in Penang will also garnish the dish with a sprig of fresh mint leaves before serving.
Tua Pui Curry Mee is unique in Penang in that Mr Kang also offers a variety of curried dishes as add-ons, including curried chicken and squid.
I ordered mine with add-ons of curried chicken and chicken livers.
My breakfast companion (yes, we have this dish for breakfast - nothing wakes one up like a bowl of curried noodles. ) chose curried chicken feet as an add-on. Personally, I absolutely adore Cantonese-style soy-braised chicken feet, but I somehow couldn’t get myself to stomach curried chicken feet. Don’t ask me why.
Overall, I really loved Tua Pui Curry Mee’s rendition of the curried noodle dish. The curry gravy here, whilst staying true to the traditional Penang-style curry mee of being pretty liquid, enriched with the addition of watered down coconut milk (never coconut crème) is very aromatic, with a complex blend of spices which is never too spicy nor sharp.
There was an oil painting on the wall of the current premises showing the stall’s original location in Weld Quay. Interestingly, it was done by well-known Lithuanian painter, Ernest Zacharevic, who’s better-known for his street murals in Penang. There was a tiff between the artist and Mr Kang a few years ago when the latter touched up the painting without Zacharevic’s knowledge. Rather tickled me - I’d have liked to see the original. Really reminded me of Cecilia Giménez’s “Ecce Homo” controversy.
But for the curried noodles, this place is a definite keeper. One of the very best in Penang, if not the best.
Tua Pui Curry Mee (大肥咖哩面)
23, Lebuh Kimberley
10100 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 8am-5pm daily, except Wed.