Friday, September 16, 2005

Char Kway Teow Boycott!!

There are no pictures as I forgot the camera and I'm blogging from Penang now. It was around 4pm and we were feeling peckish, so off to Lorong Selamat we went for some lobak which was blogged about in the last Penang post.

From the start, we ought to have known that that was an ill-fated meal.

First, there was no fish slices left at the lobak stall. So all we had was 2 rolls of lobak and a prawn fritter.

Secondly, the coffee shop would not take "No drinks" for an answer and insisted that we order drinks as we were sitting at their tables. WTF??!! Pardon my french :p We ended up ordering a "liong char" that was so watered down it might as well just be sugar water coloured brown.

And then, the last straw came.

While we there, the smell of char kway teow from the famous lady who fries it in front of the coffee shop selling ice kacang wafted over to where we were sitting. My companion decided the smell was too good to resist and proceeded to place an order.

A little background on this famous or rather infamous lady and char kway teow stall is relevant here. Her char kway teow happens to be one of the most expensive in Penang but was fairly nicely fried as it had the nice slightly burnt flavour that all char kway teow needs. And then, she introduced a system whereby if you wanted to eat the noodles, you'd have to queue in the hot sun next to the stall, and depending on whether you were eating in or taking away, you were given a pair of chopsticks (depending on how many plates you wanted) or a pair of disposable chopsticks respectively. Due to this degrading system, we boycotted this stall for the longest time.

This system must have failed for they are now back to delivering the plates of noodles to the customers. Taking heart from this, we placed the order.

When it came, we were surprised that the lady asked for RM5 although on the stall, it states a minimum price of RM4.50. There were 3 big prawns but that's pretty standard fare here in Penang.

Then, the noodle itself looked poorly fried. The noodles were pale and did not look appetizing at all! But the worst was yet to come. Taking a mouthful, my companion nearly spat it out for it tasted BURNT!! As in literally "Oh-i-forgot-to-keep-an-eye-on-it-and-now-its-burnt" burnt. I took a mouthful to test and true enough, it was burnt.

To add insult to the injury, it was tasteless. A very very poor imitation of a char kway teow I might add. Nevertheless, having paid RM5, we forced it down our throats.

Now, across the road from this lady is a wizened little old man selling the same char kway teow. We had seen him a few times but never tried it as the lady was more famous. However, today, we decided that we simply HAD to try his. And so we did.

His char kway teow, although not as tasty as the lady's usually is, definitely was better fried, it looked appetizing and tasted so much better than eating charcoal! Best of all, his cost RM4.50 just as he had stated on his price list! Oh and the old man speaks perfect English and is very friendly. He said he had been selling char kway teow at that very spot for 25 years now and I wish him 25 more to come!!

Tip to all:
Avoid the lady selling char kway teow in Lorong Selamat Penang. You would probably regret paying the high prices for what is, at best, mediocre char kway teow and at worst, burnt noodles.

Alternatively, opt for the old man across the road. Noodles are well fried and tasty enough though it can be a bit spicy for those who aren't used to spiciness.

Taste or infamy - The choice is yours.

1 comment:

fooDcrazEE said...

well, she's too famous to give a sh*t to her customers. Typical Malaysian biz ppl.

However, not all the famous food places around taste good. True dat it depends on ur taste bud but most r too bz to care abt their customers. the attitude of take it or leave it will always be there.

hm......