There are a few hotspots in the Pulau Tikus area at breakfast time - one is Cathay Coffeeshop at Kuching Lane (junction with Burmah Road) with its rich collection of good hawker stalls. Another is the junction of Moulmein Close (Solok Moulmein) and Burmah Road, which is flanked on each side by Swee Kong Coffeeshop (famous for its Hokkien mee and Indian apom stalls, among others) and Foodyard 77 on the other (very good for curry mee & drumstick mee suah soup stalls, among others).
A few doors away from Swee Kong is Sin Hwa Coffeeshop, famous for its char koay teow & also Penang assam laksa stalls.
Across the road will be Seng Lee coffeeshop at the corner of Bangkok Lane & Burmah Road, where the famous Bangkok Lane mee goreng operates.
Further down Moulmein Close, at the junction of Jalan Pasar is another kopitiam, Sin Hup Aun, which also has a collection of hawker stalls, including the legendary Jones Road Mee Goreng.
Amidst all these rich pickings (besides Jin Ho Nasi Lemak shop and Li Er Nyonya kueh shop), one can also opt for breakfast at the Pulau Tikus Market Food Centre. We decided to come to this food centre this morning.
- Char koay kak - stir-fried radish cake with eggs, salted radish and beansprouts.
- Curry Mee - the version here eschewed pig’s blood, which is one of the de rigeur ingredients for Penang-style curry mee, but retains the trademark aromatic smell & rich, coconut milk-infused flavours of Penang white curry mee.
- Wantan noodles - the rendition here is pretty standard: Malaysian-style with wantan noodles dressed in lard, dark & light soysauces, sesame oil & other condiments. Quite peppery and perhaps one of the dishes I’d not in a hurry to order on any return visit here.
- Selection of pan-fried Teochew kway. The types here - with yam, mung bean and jicama filling, are pretty different from those one gets in Singapore or Bangkok. I miss my fave “p’ng kway”, with glutinous rice-dried shrimp-peanut filling, common in Singapore but (strangely) practically non-existent in Malaysia.
- Lam Mee (or birthday noodles) - rather bland version here. Avoid.
- Dry Koay Teow - this dish was a revelation! Soft koay teow noodles, garnished with fishballs, slivers of fishcakes and Teochew-style braised shredded duck-meat. Best-tasting dish I had in the food centre. I’d come back just for this dish.
Pulau Tikus Food Centre can be packed at breakfast, but people tend to eat & run, so turnover is pretty quick. If all tables areoccupied, just wait 5 minutes or so.
Pulau Tikus Market & Food Centre
Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus,
10350 Penang, Malaysia
Opening hours: 7am to lunch-time, daily.