I need to remember one thing - the famous Presgrave Street Hokkien mee stall is NOT open on Thursdays. Ditto the famous “lor bak” stall (formerly from Ho Ping/Kampung Malabar) right next to it.
However, there are other options this evening, and here are what we had.
Oh chien (oyster omelette) - “oh chien” is a Hokkien/Fujianese-style oyster omelette. Similar excellent renditions, with minor localised variations, can be found in many places in this region with sizable Hokkien populations - Penang and Malacca in Malaysia, Singapore, Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Bangkok in Thailand, Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia.
I absolutely love the Taiwanese rendition, but I miss the hot chili sauce (which is usually served with “oh chien” in Singapore/Malaysia) which the Tainwanese are not too fond of.
Tau kwa chien (fried tofu) - this was offered by the “oh chien” stall as well. I love tofu in any form or dish, and this simple pan-fried version, served with a chili dip, hits all the right spots fot me.
Sar hor fun - a popular Cantonese stir-fried/braised noodle dish, this is the famous Penang variant of wat tan hor fun. I love the Penang version to bits - it has the lightest “sweet” taste which undercuts the saltiness of the sauce. The Hokkien influence in Penang probably sees the use of pork/chicken/pig’s liver/pig’s intestines alongside seafood items like shrimps, fish and squid, to achieve the complex, multi-layered flavours that I simply adored in this dish.
Yee fu mein - the other noodles dish, this one utilising the roasted-then-rehydrated noodle, given the same treatment/cooking procedure as for the sar hor fun, i.e. the noodle is first fried with lard, soysauce and a bit of sesame oil then set aside. The meats/seafood and kai-lan vegetable are then stir-fried with garlic, and the chicken/pork stock added, before being thickened with beaten egg and a cornstarch slurry. The whole braised meats/seafood sauce are then poured over the noodles and served immediately.
Char koay teow - the Penang Teochew classic of stir-fried flat rice noodles with shrimps, Chinese waxed sausages, chives, beansprouts, cockles and egg, flavoured with good soy sauce, fish sauce and chili paste.
One of the more “non-touristy” spots left in George Town’s old centre after New Lane (Lorong Baru) and Kimberley Street (Lebuh Kimberley) started attracting the tourist hordes.
Presgrave Street Hawker Centre
67D, Lebuh Presgrave (Presgrave Street)
10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 4pm to 11pm daily