I visited Malaysia for the first time in December last year, spending three days in Penang and three days in Kuala Lumpur (with a day in Seremban, visiting K’s family). I was really looking forward to trying all the different foods, especially after some great experiences with a buffet at the Grace Hotel, and a cooking class with Jackie M.
I found on my trip that I really enjoyed the do-it-yourself routine of a lot of Malaysian street food. I learnt to look out for any stalls marked ‘nasi kampur’, knowing that I’d be guaranteed a delicious motley of a meal where I would have hand-picked every grain of rice, curry, meat or vegetable that appeared on my plate.
One of the better nasi kampur places we went to on our holiday was Line Clear off Penang Road in Georgetown. It is quite a famous Indian-style eatery down an alleyway – so famously good that K’s father made a special point of printing out directions for us before we went overseas, as he wanted to make sure that we would try the food there.
I couldn’t precisely tell you what we ended up getting at Line Clear – there was a mutton in curry which melted off the bone, a fried chicken with beautiful spicy batter, a spicy yellow rice, and more. All the dishes were delicious, and the restaurant was clearly a favourite with the locals. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any roti on the day we went, so we ended up going up the street for our roti fix!
Line Clear is located off Penang Road in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Off Penang Road in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, there is a small cart selling iced desserts. Staffed by about five women, you will be able to recognise the cart by the long line of locals queuing up for a bowl of cendol or ais kacang, and the crowds standing around slurping their cold dessert from small blue plastic bowls.
K and I ordered a cendol and an ais kacang to share. I’ve mentioned before how I’ve grown to love these desserts, and the ones made by this little streetside cart business proved why it’s such a crowd pleaser.
Both were perfectly refreshing for the hot and muggy weather in Penang. There was plenty of ice, and it wasn’t too sweet, ensuring that you’re not left with a cloying taste in your mouth. And the locals certainly agreed, with a non-stop line of people lining up for their dessert fix.
Keep an eye out for a cart with the sign “Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul – Ice Kacang”, somewhere near the corner of Jalan Penang and Lebuh Tamil. And a word to the wise – don’t get sucked in by the second-rate cendol cart that sets up shop opposite, as it makes its trade from the spillover business of the first cart!
NB: I wish I had a better photo to share, but as I mentioned, my phone was stolen on holiday! I retrieved this photo from my Twitter account.
By the time you read this, I’ll be on holiday! I’m going away to parts of Asia for four weeks. K and I are spending a week in Malaysia (Penang, Kuala Lumpur and K’s family’s hometown of Seremban), a week in Hong Kong and Macau, and two weeks in Vietnam, travelling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh.
I’m really looking forward to the trip – not only the chance to see both K and my respective extended families, but also just to see some countries I’ve not been to before, like Vietnam. I’m also looking forward to the great street food I’m going to have the opportunity to try!
Malaysian food has recently started becoming more popular in Australia in recent years (due in part to events like the Flavours of Malaysia buffet, and spokespeople like Jackie M), but I hear actual Malaysian street food in Penang is much better. I’m also looking forward to the Portugese-inspired food in Macau, and doing a cooking class in Hoi An in Vietnam – a city famed for its markets.
On a fancier note, we even have an overnight stopover in Singapore that is long enough for us to go to Waku Ghin for dinner, with a menu designed and created by Tetsuya Wakuda himself. It will be our one crazy night in Singapore with a superb gourmet meal.
I look forward to sharing all my food adventures with everyone in January when I return! Until then, please look through the archives and enjoy some of my old entries.