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17 Jul 2013

Chee Cheong Fun @Macalister Lane, Penang

Penang [檳城] • 17 JULY 2013
Have you tried Macalister Lane famous Chee Cheong Fun? I have numerous plates of Chee Cheong Fun since I were just a kid here and until now, the aunty is still selling it in the exact same place. To your surprise, I met a person who was taking away packs and packs of Chee Cheong Fun to Singapore. What makes it so nice anyway? Well, this Chee Cheong Fun Stall serves the plates with shrimp paste, sesame seeds, sweet sauce, and rice noodle rolls where the paste, sauce, and chilies can be optional as you order. 

This stall with 56 years of history, more than half of a century who started their business since 1955 can be found outside Seow Fong Lye Coffee Shop located in Macalister Lane off the Burma Road. Why not try taste of this plate of Chee Cheong Fun yourself instead in a lovely weekend morning with your family? 

Some people called it kway teow's except that it is softer, whither and much smoother. The preparation is also unique unlike the famous char kway teow or kway teow soup which is deep fried or drenched in soup. The Penang version of "fun" is served with large spoonful of sweet and savory source.

In Penang, the dishes can be found everywhere with each stall has its own secret recipe, in which they claim better than others. If you prefer spicy stuff, chee cheong fun can be optionally spiced up with a dollop of piquant chili paste.

For chee cheong fun lovers, you'll notice that Penang version of steamed rice noodle has a quite different persona unlike in K.L where it is served with "yong tau fu" or in Taiping where it is often comes with yam cakes. And it is not like the Hong Kong version either, which is steamed with meat (beef, prawn or pork) and served with a plain, sweetened soya source.

The preparation is very simple. First, it is cut whilst still rolled up and coated with delicious source which goes over it. Then comes that special little extra which is the favorite among Penangites -- The "hey ko" (or prawn paste) which is dribbled over the top like a thick black ribbon. The whole preparation is then finished off with compulsory sprinkling of aromatic friend shallots and sesame seeds on top.

For some, it's a bit of strange taste at first, but the smells can linger on as the extra ingredient that adds the musty, fishy flavor which makes the famous Penang dish so unique. There is something very satisfying about slurping up this tasty and fulfilling dish which is branded as Penang very own "fast food"
As a popular dish for breakfast and being sold in market and stalls all over the place, it has many people drools over it. You can also see people eating the dish over at lunch, dinner or even supper.

As like any other famous Penang food, great chee cheong fun can be found in almost every nook and cranny of Penang with each Penangites has his or her favorite, be it the tasty source or the soft texture of the steamed rice. There is a stall in Batu Lanchang market that serves a very delicious chee cheong fun. The owner has been selling it for over 10 years and built a large and loyal clientele that comes regularly. The secret comes from a freshly prepared hey ko and tasty source.

The steamed noodles are indeed smooth and silky with the secret sauce apparently still taste as delicious as it was even it were over half a century old and run by over two generation. People who came to eat here sometimes come from as far as Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Singapore and Hong Kong. Some even order few hundreds rolls to take home. Of course, the source is separated and all they need to do is to refrigerate it, and when they want to eat, steaming it hot again.
So... If you haven't tried out Penang very own version of the dish, I guess it's about time to do so. 


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