Ang Hoay Lor is perhaps Penang’s oldest Hokkien/Fujianese restaurant, founded just after the end of World War II, it’s now been purveying Hokkien food originating from Hui’an (in Quanzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China), the home county of the Ang family which started the eatery, for more than seven decades now.
Today, the owner-chef, Ang Peng Hwa, is the 3rd-generation of the Ang family to run the restaurant, reproducing the dishes which made Ang Hoay Lor a must-visit even for foreign visitors from Taiwan or China to Penang. Ang Hoay Lor had to move from its original location where Jen Hotel (once the Shangri-la Penang) on Magazine Road to its current location on Jalan Gurdwara back in 1985.
However, we were at its branch on the grounds of the State Chinese Association of Penang building on Perak Road for lunch.
Our lunch consisted of:
"Bak kee th’ng" (Pork strips in tapioca flour, cooked in a vegetable soup)
This is one of Ang Hoay Lor’s signature dishes, and one which I can never quite appreciate - the slippery, slimy tapioca flour coating on the pork strips is an acquired taste.
"Tau-kwa cha sua-nah" (Tofu stir-fried with leeks and shrimps)
"Hae kean" (Prawn fritters)
"Oh mee" (Oyster noodles)
This is my favourite dish at Ang Hoay Lor - yellow Hokkien noodles, lightly stir-fried with deliciously sweet, tiny local oysters, shrimps, pork and gai lan greens. Black vinegar is provided at the side, to be added as desired to give the dish a sourish tang for added flavour.
"Oh chien"(Oyster omelette)
Hokkien-style oyster omelette always incorporates a tapioca flour slurry added during the frying process, which results in the egg omelette having slimy, stretchy bits which Hokkien diners like. The edges of the oyster omelette with also be fried till crisped & golden-brown.
Overall, Ang Hoay Lor’s Hokkien dishes are rather heavy & stodgy, the very anti-thesis of Penang’s famed hawker food which are usually lighter, with an emphasis on freshness in its ingredients. One is reminded here that, although the majority of Penang’s populace are Hokkien-Chinese, Penang’s hawker food is traditionally dominated by Teochew-Chinese, whose cuisine is much lighter compared to the Hokkiens, Hakkas and even the Cantonese.
Ang Hoay Lor
State Chinese Association Building
13 Perak Road, 10150 George Town, Penang
Tel: +6016 5552306
Opening hours: 12noon - 4pm daily, except Wednesday