Mr Lim Nan Sheng, 48, the current stall-owner, had taken over the business from his father, the well-known Mr Lim Teong Lai at this “oh chien” (oyster omelette) this stall inside Seng Thor Coffeeshop on the corner of Carnarvon Street and Kimberley Street, which was started in the 1930s by his grandfather. It’s now nearly 90-years-old.
Its rendition is greasier than those at other places, but at least Mr Lim now uses vegetable oil instead of lard, as was the case previously.
It takes a while to prepare Hokkien-style “oh chien”, where the eggs were beaten, then fried with a slurry/paste made from tapioca starch and water. Scallions were also added, plus the owner/chef’s own blend of seasoning. It takes a while for the egg-tapioca starch mixture to cook - the constantly stir-fried concoction would achieve a crisped, golden-brown “cakey” texture when it’s finally cooked - crisp on the outside, fairly moist but greasy inside. Local “baby oysters” are used, and added right towards the end, lightly sauteed in oil.
For me, the accompanying chilli sauce with lime juice and minced garlic is a must for the oyster omelette. Not really my preferred “oh chien” in town, though it’s one of the best-known.
The oysters used for “oh chien” in Penang are local mini-oysters, which yielded sweet, firm flesh, suitable for frying:
Seng Thor Coffeeshop
160, Lebuh Carnarvon
10100 George Town
Tel: +60 4-261 3285
Opening hours: Coffeeshop operates 7.30am-5pm daily, but oyster omelette stall only opens towards lunch-time.