Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snacking around Penang - Apom Balik, Pandan Coconut, Seafood Popiah, Pasembur & Fried Snacks

Uncle Guan is super happy after we buy loads of apom balik (pix taken by Lyrical Lemongrass from the car)

In Penang, after a hefty meal, you will find room in the tummy for their delectable goodies and refreshing drinks. Usually found at the roadside, you buy them on the go and eat them in the car, like this apom balik stall along Jalan Burma. Run by this friendly fella (seems his brother also runs a similar stall nearby and they have never spoken since due to a family feud), the pancakes here are so incredibly good, one is never enough.

gorgeous pancake - melts in the mouth

Made from rice flour, corn flour grated coconut, coconut milk, sugar and eggs, they're so soft and fluffy that you will finish them in a second. I especially love the soft and aromatic sliced bananas and crunchy corn bits found within the pancake.

don't mess with me ok??

Even though Penang is not as hot compared to Kuala Lumpur since it is surrounded by water, you can still feel the heat especially when we were driving around in the afternoon. The best part of this trip we had a guide in the form of a Le Cordon Bleu master chef, hence we got to know the nooks and crannies of the island with his help like this simple unassuming place.

1. a splash of colour among the green coconuts, 2. drink up for a refreshing time, 3. slurrrrrp!, 4. using our eco-friendly spoons

Located opposite a car workshop and at a side lane, you wouldn't dream of looking for is this coconut trading place. Not hard to spot once you are on this lane (just see the mounds of coconuts in the shop!), they sell this particular variety known as pandan coconut that yields sweet water completely au naturel.

thank you

As and when you order your drink, the "parang-maestro" who carries this sharp parang will prep up the coconut to chop the top and stick a straw inside it for you to drink. His cutting skills is amazing, as within a few seconds, your coconut is ready. Once you finish, how do you get to the young and sweet coconut flesh? Hand it back to him and he'll chop it into two. They don't use spoons here, instead they'll chop you a small sliver of the coconut on the side that allows you to scoop out the flesh. Somehow, eating off a "coconut husk" spoon makes it a little special and of course, super eco-friendly.

1. the crowd, 2. brilliant orange pasembur, 3. I love the red fans here

Once we finish, time to make a beeline to the ever busy and popular Padang Brown stalls. Located just next to the tennis court (Penang seems to love that sport as I saw quite a few courts around town), you hear the sound of balls being whacked around just before you enter this food court. There's two areas of stalls around Padang Brown (both also sell popiah but different versions), one here and the other nearer to the Esso Station.

juicy seafood popiah filled with crabmeat - the must-have for afternoon snacks

Packed with people, it can get a little hard to find a seat among the old style metal chairs and tables. Here you get all kinds of food - lok lok, char kuey teow, pasembor, coconut water and what we came for, the famous seafood popiah.

1. One is never enough, 2. uncle in full concentration while cutting, 3. wrapping those parcels, 4. metal chairs we never see in KL anymore.

Definitely the busiest stall around, you will find a crowd of people standing in front of the stall waiting for their popiah to be packed back. Run by Ong Leng Hin, you find him behind the stall wrapping the popiahs. Each popiah is placed on the plate, which he generously fills with shredded yambean, Chinese lettuce, chopped taukua and the secret ingredient that makes it unique - fresh crabmeat. Once filled, he wraps the popiah up and transfers it to a long wooden cutting board to slice them into pieces. It seems if you really want to up your popiah to the ultimate seafood version, you can also ask him to add extra mantis prawn meat inside. The popiah is a little watery but delicious with the juicy filling and sweet crabmeat within. However be prepared to wait, as the queue can be terribly long. We also order the pasembur from the stall next to the popiah man while waiting. A kind of salad - this one was filled with shredded cucumbers, turnip, prawn fritters, beancurd, beansprouts drizzled over with a sweet but slightly spicy orange sauce. Mix it up just like yee sang and this can fill the tummy while waiting for the popiah.

gooey and sticky kuih bakul sandwiched between sweet potato and yam

Last but not least was a stall I have very fond memories along Tanjung Bungah that sells fried snacks - goreng pisang and the sweet potato, yam and gooey kuih bakul. Long ago when I did a trip with family, we'll eat everywhere in town but in the afternoons, we'll drive back to the hotel for a swim (need to workout all that calories consumed) and drop by this stall for a delicious afternoon snack. Somehow it always tasted nicer, especially when we ate it right next to the swimming pool. This time round, we didn't get any of their goreng pisang but was well satisfied with the fried sweet potato, yam and kuih bakul (very gooey and sticky) instead. For more pictures on the snacks, see my
Flickr set.

Apom Balik Stall before SRJK (C) Union
Jalan Burma

Open:9am-9pm. Closed on Sundays

Anba Coconut Trading
Aboo Sitee Lane (Off Jln Burma)

Open:10am-7pm. Closed on Sundays.

Seafood Popiah Stall No. 17
Padang Brown Stalls

Open: 2-7pm. Closed on Thursdays. (pasembur is from the stall next door)

Penang Tanjung Bungah Goreng Pisang stall
Near the bus station along Tanjung Bungah on the way to Batu Ferringhi

Open: 12 noon to 6pm.

*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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"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

you are quick!!!!

CathJ said...

wowww....the uncle soo cute lahhhh hihihihi...

J2Kfm said...

fantastic crawl. though I feel that penang's popiah is generally wetter than its counterparts elsewhere.

oh, and the coconut jelly @ Jln Dato Keramat is best at beating the heat, anytime. the Penang bloggers have covered it endlessly.

boo_licious said...

Joe - trying to finish them up quickly, so many pixs.

Cath - yeah, he was so sweet to give that pose.

J2kfm - yeah, that popiah here is different. Nope, didn't get to try that jelly as our friend brought us here instead, since this is more old school.

email2me said...

The popiah opposite the other side of the padang also is good and legendary. Mamak style.

boo_licious said...

email2me - yup, that is what I heard too but we didn't make it over there.

dDonkey said...

Uncle Guan's apoms are the best!!! :D

boo_licious said...

I totally agree with you dDonkey! One is never enuf.

sc said...

ooo, the coconut place is still there! cooling drink indeed with all the heat and heaty stuff that's eaten :) apom looks great too!

daphne said...

nice! I see you like your chili in your popiah! miss all these food! argh..and drooling despite being sick now!

boo_licious said...

sc - not only refreshing but very interesting to watch how they chop up the coconuts in lightning speed.

daphne - poor thing, get well soon and make a trip to Penang to enjoy all these goodies.

eiling lim said...

wow the apom balik with bananas looked good and LOL@the uncle! haha..

foodbin said...

the banana apom are real awesome!!

Julian Si said...


Love the metal chairs, red fan, and "dont mess with me" photo ... But the UNCLE GUAN one is simply the best!

Cheers from the desert ...

Bangsar-bAbE said...

I love Uncle Guan's apom...the last time I went last year, I ate 21 pieces in one seating!!

New Kid on the Blog said...

didn't know you were here in Penang, otherwise, would have meet up with you. :)

Rebecca Saw said...

miss those Apom! Jz cant find in KL horr?

qwazymonkey said...

if there's two dishes I love from Penang, it's gotta be Chee Cheong Fun and Apom (crispy kosong ones or banana also can!). Oh wait, there's Hokkien Noodles, Mee Mamak, and also Popiah. To some extend CKT too. Ok, ok I'm confused now.

Rarebeet said...

Mmmmmmm I love that Apom Balik stall. Lurveleeee! Reading your posts on Penang is making me wonder how Penangites stay slim with all that tempting goodies...

irresistible said...

Yup!! the banana ones are the best!!
Didn't know about the padang seafood popiah though...
hmm... must try once i'm back there.

Ciki said...

gorgeous shots la boo:) man's face says a thousand words. he has obviously 'lived'.

Little Inbox said...

Uncle Guan is cute! Hehe...

thule a.k.a leo said...

someone said that you are persistent... a good trait :) lol!

KY said...

love the mini apom balik, i used to have them on almost daily basis!

boo_licious said...

eiling - must eat in Penang! ask KY to take u there.

foodbin - sniff! I want some now!! How I wish I lived in Penang.

Jules, the desert king! - Penang is definitely the best in terms of friendly people and hawker food.

Bangsar-babe - wow, but then I think I can do that too, as each one is so soft, fluffy and aromatic.

New Kid on the Blog - sorry, whirlwind trip, just 48 hours and very last minute plans that kept changing on the spur of the moment.

Munkey dearest - sounded like yr BFF's list until it started expanding and expanding. Nvr mind, we do a trip with you the next time and you can eat all those.

Paps - yeah, I can imagine how I will be eating 2 brekkies everyday if I was living there since the food is so yummylicious. Maybe that is why I saw so many tennis courts around town???

irrestible - that one is quite a classic place. Really long wait though, we had to chase the people twice before our order came.

Ciki - not my shot, LL took that since she was at the other side of the car. Just at the spur of the moment, Uncle gave us that one in the million grin and she captured it on my camera. That is why she's the Queen of DSLR.

Little Inbox - yeah, such a sweetie and someone I don't mind seeing every day for his yummy apom.

leo - LOL, persistent to get what I want in penang!

KY - I think if I live there, it would be a daily thing for me too.

Extreme Power said...

Whoa... ho chiak indeed. Yummy. Nice pictures. Keep up with the good work.

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