[Penang, Malaysia] ST Loo Beef Noodles & Mr Gan Oyster Omelette at Carnarvon Street

Loo Seow Theng (better known by her moniker, ST Loo) who purveys perhaps the best beef noodles in Penang, has moved from her long-time location at the corner of Beach St and Chulia St to her current location at OO White Coffee Café along Carnarvon Street (near the entrance to the Teoh Clan Association).

ST Loo’s beef noodles, replete with beef balls, sliced beef, tripe and tendon, are absolutely scrumptious and still tasted every bit a good as the time when her father ruled the roost as “Acheen Street beef noodles” which Penangites will remember from the 1960s.

One can also opt for the “koay teow” version, very popular and reminiscent of Vietnamese pho.

One of Ms Loo’s long-time fellow stallholder from Lam Ah Coffeeshop, Mr Gan Teik Seong, 55, who churns out some really exquisite crispy oyster omelette, has also relocated to OO White Coffee Café. Still one of the best in town.

Another stall worth noting at OO White Coffee Café is the well-known 30 year-old Happy Garden Hainanese food stall from Batu Ferringhi. It offers a selection of Hainanese favourites: chicken chop, deep-fried spring rolls and “roti babi” (a deep-fried sandwich containing shredded vegetables and meat).

Roti babi. Despite its reputation, even among local Penangites in the know, I find the roti babi here lacked the subtle fragrance and flavours I associate with this iconic Penang-Hainanese-Nyonya dish from the past. I couldn’t detect any 5-spice. nor were the accompanying Worcestershire sauce able to add to the otherwise bland-ish flavours of the rendition here.

Roti Babi & Spring roll:

OO White Coffee itself is owned by the Goh family, headed by Mr. Goh Hock Eam, 54, his wife, Madam Chin Poh Tin, 53, and managed by their 23-year-old son, Lacosz Goh Han Pheng, who came up with the concept for the OO White Coffee chain.

We liked their cafe concept, where they combined their excellent white coffee (and other beverages) with really tasty hawker fare, made possible by tie-ups with genuinely good hawkers. So one gets good tasting food, unlike many other cafes around town which provided sub-standard tasting stuff.

OO White Coffee Café
262 & 264, Lebuh Carnarvon
10100 George Town (Next to Teoh’s Clan Ancestry House).


Thanks for the report- what’s the difference between the regular and the koay teow version of the noodle?

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Usually, the Hokkiens (Fujianese) prefer the yellow Hokkien noodles - quite similar renditions to the beef noodle spots one finds in Taiwan, which is also heavily Hokkien like Penang.

The flat white rice noodles called “koay teow” by the Penang-Hokkiens and Teochews are similar to the noodles used in Vietnamese pho, or what the Bangkok Chinese (mainly Taechiu or Teochew) call “kuay tiau”. The Cantonese call this type of noodle “hor fun”, but is essentially the same thing. Different taste (“koay teow” is milder) and texture ("it’s also smoother and finer). So, basically , you can try both versions and see which one suits you better. In Penang, street food produced by the Teochews (second-largest dialect group after the majority Hokkiens) will use “koay teow”, e.g. the famous Penang “char koay teow” and the Penang “koay teow th’ng” soup for instance.

Why are they yellow in colour if Hokkien noodles are also made of rice? Because of the egg?

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Traditionally, the yellow hue would come from the eggs used to make the noodles. But small amounts of yellow food dye have been added to get the deeper & more vibrant yellow (or “golden”) hue these days.