I guess some of you have seen my previous blog on Hennessy X.O appreciation grows in Penang happening last year happen on May 2011 at Suffolk House Penang (click here for previous write up). Early this month, we were the lucky few bloggers to be selected to follow the young Chef Michael Han to Penang for food trail.
We were all just excited about the food trail as on the plane, some of them were saying, I want Chendol, Laksa, and . . . . those food names just got blurt out by many of them.
We purposely did not take any breakfast as we prepare to follow suit food hunting with the chef.
and I could not even remember when was the last time, that I did follow a tour or onboard a bus with a tour guide. It makes me felt that I am like a tourist, with the guide explaning and telling us the history of Penang. Learn quite a lot of new stuff on the way. As we look on our itinerary, I am happy all those food area are my favorite locations.
First stop of food trail at 10am, we stop by at Penang road, at Joo Hooi Cafe for Asam Laksa.
this laksa stall was chosen as it is around 40 years old, starting from parents then now the son is taking over. Penang Laksa well known to many tourist that its a food that must not miss if you set into Penang, that is also voted as one of the best street food listed at number 7 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.
All of us getting ready as our arrival create a huge curiosity to many customers inside the coffee shop. Most of them stare and commented, and then stare again as we came in a huge group with cameras, including Penang reporters and cameraman.
Asam Laksa is know along with its sourish fish base soup that Asam is the malay word for tamarind that use to give the stock its sour flavor.
One of the main ingredient that is used is made with ikan kembung know as mackeral fish. Penang Laksa is different in flavour as it include lemongrass, galangal and chilli. For garnishing on top, serve along with mint, pineapples slices, thinly sliced onion, shirmp paste, and torch ginger flower.
Then it is serve along smooth texture of rice vermicelli
Chef Michael is definately not a stranger in this local scene street food as he grown up with a nanny that is from Penang. Chef enjoying his bowl of laksa. . .
So does me. 🙂
Then after the meal, he went over to learn Penang Style laksa preparation by the stall owner, as checking out the broth and he is impress on the process as this laksa stall prepare by going through 2 types of soup.
Early in the morning, we were already yam seng all the way with Hennessy X.O and the uncle is so joyful
Uncle were so happy as get to know that a famous young chef dropping by his stall. Very nice and talkertive too.
As before we head out, we were adventurous trying to think what the chef have in mind, then we pair X.O into our laksa. Turn out to be, not bad. If it were cook into it, I think would taste more kick eh!
Next stop, New World Park, Lee Brothers famous Ice Kacang.
Along with Pai Tee also known as Top Hat.
Anna with her weird expressions!
chef is enjoying both Ice Kacang and Pai tee
Pai Tee, outer layer of pai tee is cripsy, then filled with chinese turnip and topped with fried shallots, diced carrots, fried egg and peanuts. For me I always eat it in one big mouth. 😀
3rd stop is one of my all time favourite Nasi Kandar, never fail to come here whenever I am back Penang but this would be the first time I dine here in the afternoon. This place need not any further introduction as now it is pretty well know to many locals and even tourist.
Many people would have hard time finding this place as it is actually hidden one of a small alley that tuck in between these 2 pre-war house.
Usually in the afternoon the crowd here is crazy and gets even worst if its a long weekend with tourist pouring in. . .as I only often come here for supper. . 😀
I just realise that many family crowd did order their Curry fish head and the fish head is seriously huge!
This round this is what we have for lunch . .
Fried chicken is a must have!
And I prefer my version of nasi kandar is with kuah banjir (lots of curry gravy)
Wilson enjoying his meal as turn our to be one of his favourite spot too.
This is what happen if you come after 12pm during long weekend. You can see its line grow and make a long L shape after that. One of the reason people love this stall because of its spicy curry gravy and the spices that they cook along.
4th stop is at Kafe Khoon Hiang at Dato Keramat for Ah Leng Char Koey Teow. Apparently, there are places which is available that, in the afternoon in this coffee shop, is the son that fried it and during night, is his dad that are frying at Jalan Zoo, Ayer Itam area. I have heard so much about Ah Leng CKT and never once drop by and here am I to get the opportunity to try one of the stall.
Look at the huge prawn that were added in
One thing I notice on the frying style is that he added in ‘ti chio’ (sweet Sauce) and this is the first time I come across Char Koey Teow added that in.
Then chef were thought to fry on Ah Leng Char Koey Teow version.
Guess who is next tyring to cook. Anna. Wonder who will eat her cooking version.
Tadaaa, here is the Char Koey Teow with the texture and colour of it, definately looks good!
As the char Koey teow were fried up and serve, most of them cant wait to get a bite of it as it smells fragrant and top with juicy prawns.
Before that, cheers again as we were drinking as early as 10am from the first stop, and of course we have to skip at Nasi Kandar area.
Ah Leng Char Koey Teow cook along with prawn mantis too. Best of all, it did not stop there as we went adventurous again we we infuse the CKT along with Hennessy X.O and it turns out to be superbly good. More fragrant and stronger in taste. After our own mixture, the CKT were gone in seconds. As another plate was serve, we did the same thing again and other food bloggers just came and attack.
Chef enjoying this CKT a whole plate by himself.
Final stop would be at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor that is famous for its fried oyster. This is one of the shop that I grew up along to dine there most of the time when I was a kid as this fried oyster is stall is my grandmother’s favourite stall. We called it ‘O-chein’. She would eat at least 3-4 times aweek or would follow my grandpa to sit in the coffee shop while he is reading his newspaper.
Seng Thor Fried Oyster Ommelete is one of the stalls that you must try if you love this dish. Just that you must have the patience to wait, as it can easily take up your waiting time from 30 mins to an hour.
First he will put his own mixture of ingredient with a thin layer at the bottom to cook along then top with 2 eggs. Then he will repeat this process couple of times and chef is amaze of the version of Fried Oyster Ommelet in Penang as they have never seen this version of cooking which is totally different from the ones they had in Singapore.
As when Chef Michael saw how he pour the whole pot of oil to cook along, he was stun for a while and imagine how greasy the food will be.
After the base is cook, he will separate it at the side and cook another layer.
this is how it is while cooking along that soak into near full pot of oil
With huge fire frying along like that, I just cant wait to have a big bite on this fried oyster.
While waiting for our lovely fried oyster, I get a chance to take picture with the chef himself and understand further on how he actually end up being a chef.
Upon request need to take a weird picture, so this is how it end up . .hehe
Jeng Jeng Jeng, after 35 minutes of waiting, here is our plate of oyster that its sprinkle along with lots of mini oyster. It cook with alot of oil yet it does not taste greasy as it is.
And this plate turns out to be one of Chef Micheal’s favorite. To make it even more flavourful, must not miss to dip along with chili sauce.
And we try again to infuse with Hennessy X.O. Turns out to be CKT still the winner among all. I guess if the oyster were soak into Hennessy and cook then, it would taste awesome (in my own imagination)
Then we head back to hotel for a short break then head for an interview session with him. During the interview session, one good thing to know that he have high expectation for Penang food as he grown up to have one of the best food from his Nanny.
chef mention that Penang food would pair very well with Hennessy X.O as the food in the island is robust in taste. Then further understand him that he is actually from Law background that did not practise law but his instead pursued his dreams to become a chefs. Then by following his passion he kick off his career in a fine dining restaurant Au Jardin before moving on to stints at The Fat Duck, L’Enclume and Anthony’s in England, Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.
With his hard work and dedication to excellence that had made him being nominated for the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Rising Chef of the Year’ in 2010 and 2011, with FiftyThree, his restaurant that opens its door at year 2009 and nominated as ‘Best Restaurant’ in 2011. Notably, FiftyThree was featured as one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘Regional Spotlight –Singapore’, and on CNNgo.com’s Best Eats 2010 as Singapore’s Best Gourmet Restaurant of 2010. The awards doesnt stop there as FiftyThree also won the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2012, with Michael garnering the title of ‘Rising Chef of the Year’.
Here are the interview video capture by Wilson. Thanks you~
However, after this preview of food trail, I am very curious what Chef Michael will prepare for us at next session in Penang within the chapel of St. Joseph’s Novitiate from September 26th to 28th 2012. His cooking style or background are more European cooking which using less oil and fresh ingredients. I just cant wait what is the dish that he is going to come out with this challenge that being put upfront, that by deconstructing Penang local delicacies to make a fine dine. Looking forward for end of this month for the special dining.
and wheee. . got feature in The Star, Metro north section