Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prawn Paste Chee Cheong Fun @ Pushcart Outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe, Macallister Lane, Penang

snake or just ultra thick prawn paste?

Visiting Penang is always very treacherous.....for the stomach of course! Often whirlwind trips, all you seem to do on the gem of an island is eat, eat, eat and eat more! Last weekend, we definitely did justice to that, as we basically ate our way around the island - Pulau Tikus, Macallister Lane, Carnarvon Street, Chulia Street, Tanjung Bungah and the list goes on. High on the must-eat list was the prawn paste chee cheong fun unique to this part of the world, by request of Lyrical Lemongrass who "hearts" this item.

my one in the million shot - suspended sesame seeds in the air

Our pursuit for the best led us to Pulau Tikus - trying the night market (it was our first stop when we arrived in Penang island, even before we checked in our hotel!!) and the morning corner coffeeshops. Somehow these didn't hit the mark and luckily, we had a certain teeny weeny Penang birdie who led us to the infamous Macallister Lane pushcart.

the artistic and silky smooth chee cheong fun

Run by Lee Fook Loon since 1955, this place is a classic (other friends also referred me to this place saying it is a must-eat when they return to Penang their hometown). Their pushcart is located just in front of the stall, so just sit down at the shop, order your coffee and wait for your chee cheong fun. While waiting also get a plate of char kuih kark from the pushcart nearby - silky smooth carrot cakes fried to perfection.

1. delicate fingers unroll the paper thin rice flour rolls, 2. shake your booty, 3. chop chop chop, before they go into a small bowl, 4. the long rolls of bliss all kept in old oil cans

It is fascinating to watch how much work goes into one plate of chee cheong fun and how the family has gotten their processes down pat to counter the busy demand. Long rolls of chee cheong fun are placed in recycled oil cans resembling white snakes. The old uncle will sprinkle a little oil and slowly unroll these rice flour rolls to prevent them breaking on a stainless steel board. Once unrolled, he chops them into thick pieces and places them in a small stainless steel bowl. This is then transferred to the middle part of the cart where it is covered. I suspect that keeps it warm.

1. the ever busy push cart, 2. another picture of the gorgeous chee cheong fun, 3. savouring slowly

While uncle is preparing the rolls, his wife is whipping up her concoction of sauces - a dash of sweet sauce and a drizzle of the ultra thick prawn paste sauce. She works fast and like an artist, drizzling it from above rather than plonking it on the plate. It seems they make their own sauces while the chee cheong fun is supplied to them. Once that concoction is done, the cut up chee cheong fun is placed on top, given a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds and sent over.

1. sepia tones bathe the pulau tikus night chee cheong fun, 2. uncle sells during daytime at Pulau Tikus, 3. more prawn paste chee cheong fun

What makes the difference here is the texture of the chee cheong fun - silky smooth and almost melt in the mouth. Moreover the sauce is tasty and a little sweet, making it addictive. Not the best thing to eat with a white shirt but who cares for a few brown splatters, especially if you're eating such sublime stuff that the lady has perfected for almost 50 years. For more pictures, see my
Flickr set.

Pushcart outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe
94C, Macallister Lane

(Non halal. Open from 7.30am-12.30pm. Contact Madam Lim Mei Fong at 012-4575238 or Chee How at 016-4525948. They seem to be also related to the other famous chee cheong fun stall at Jalan Kuala Kangsar, at Soon Yuen Cafe.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

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Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Looks like your persistence paid off....gorgeous shots, if I may say so! You're really making me miss my Penang CCF, girl. Shall we go again? :-)

eiling lim said...

oooh nice CCF. But I think the Anson CCF is ze best served with just soya sauce and lots of sesame seeds.

Paranoid Android said...

The smelly, sweet prawn paste based sauce on CCF! I miss that. Had some at a kedai kopi in Klang but it was not pungent enough. Now I'm drooling again.

Chefspiration said...

Oh wow...you've got me hungry for some of that!mmm...

J2Kfm said...

yeahloh! this was the one we missed. we went at about 10 or 11am. then the lady said ... wait for 30 mins (or more), but NOT SURE still got supplies or not ... alamak. ended up with something else. the char koay also rather famous.

minchow said...

Pure poetry Boo! I don't think the humble he-koh CCF has ever looked this seductive... and the sesame seeds have come alive! My Penang roots throb...

KY said...

love those chee cheong fun, and great shots!

sc said...

gosh, the first pic really captures the essence! CCF is still best with prawn paste..pungent, but good!

Sean said...

whoa, since 1955?! she doesn't look THAT old! :D
that first pic is brilliant!

thule a.k.a leo said...

I'm drooling just by looking at the chee cheong fun :) fortunately, I had Anson Chee Cheong Fun last weekend... hahaha!
But with prawn paste?? That's definitely new...

worldwindows said...

The Penang authentic CCF with the redoubtable prawn paste. I spied the CCF rolls in the kerosene tin. My really traditional!

Jason said...

That's a very thick prawn paste!!

CK Lam said...

Great shots from this CCF stall. I am dropping by there tomorrow for my plate.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i dont think i was savouring it slowly...rather i slurped it rather quickly!!

yes..ccf rocks..if it was as smooth as this and the sauce was as pungent..

foodbin said...

the Indon server missed my order the last time i was there!

Rebecca Saw said...

ahh..missing Penang alrei..

spanker said...

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Do you dare?

HairyBerry said...

great shots, boo! yeah, agree that the ccf at malcallister lane was really smooth.

i saw "kuala kangsar". another road trip? :)

boo_licious said...

LL - yeah, we shld but think it needs to be a longer trip. Damn hectic for 48 hours.

eiling - I do love Anson's version also. One shld do a CCF around Msia since there's so many yummy varieties.

Paranoid Android - nearest in pungency for me has been the Paramount Garden's O&S stall. That's where I get my fix.

Alexandra - time to make a trip to Penang???

j2kfm - we went bright & early hence we got lucky.

550ml - wow, getting very lyrical abt Penang but I can understd why with such wonderful food and I must admit everyone was very nice when we invaded them with our DSLRs.

Thxs KY!

sc - yes, the thicker and more pungent pls!

Sean - maybe second generation?

Leo - must try if u love stronger flavours.

worldwindows - yes, they love to recycle those tins don't they? Spied a few all around Penang.

Jason - yummiest ever.

Hope u enjoy it CK Lam. Lucky you to be living in hawker food paradise.

Joe - hahaha, well at least u stopped long enough for me to snap that pix of u.

foodbin - oh no! that's bad.

thenomadgourmand - sigh, so am I!

thxs spanker for that tip.

Nic - am always game for another trip, can never get tired of Penang. Such great people and food there.

email2me said...

This CCF stall is a must visit when you are nearby KOMTAR.

Sushers said...

macallister lane definitely has the best chee cheong fun in Penang. i've been going there ever since stroller days

fatboybakes said...

bow bow bow, you are worthy of your empress of blogging moniker. that pic of the woman putting on the sauce is AMAZING!!!!!

boo_licious said...

email2me - I can imagine there's more CCF stalls as Penang has so many nooks and crannies. How I wish we had the time to discover them.

delirious86 - wow, yeah the person who asked us to visit this place also ate here since young. Seems 3 generations of customers have patronised this place.

fbb - aiks, me no empress, me peon only and auntie obviously does this all the time for her prawn paste sauce...she didn't blink an eyelid while drizzling her sauce. Reckon she has seen loads of DSLRs much bigger and canggih than my baby camera.

Ciki said...

where's my comment? i swear i left it 4 days ago!?! chis!!!

anyway, i said that the 1st two shots were amazing. the chee mah practically jumps out of the page at you - i swear can SMELL chee mah i tell ya!

the ladies prawn paste looks so perfect, one would think a little girl colored it with a brown crayon. gorgeous!

Foong Yee said...

That's my favorite penang CCF shop in penang. I sure go there for breakfast when i'm in penang and I'll tapao back the CCF back to KL till the shop owner recognise me. hahaha

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