Kafe Heng Huat Char Kuey Teow @ Lorong Selamat

As they say, “The best way to know Penang is through its food.” You see, food is synonymous with the state of Penang where one is expected to find an abundance of delicious fares. In fact, Penang was voted by CNNGo as one of the “Asia’s 10 Greatest Street Food Cities”. Some even claimed that there is no way one can ever taste an authentic plate of Char Koay Teow without making a trip there. Hence, it was a matter of time for me to get re-acquainted with this island and start my gastronomical adventure. The last time when I travelled to Penang was about five years ago. Fond memories of delicious Asam Laksa still lives vividly in my mind. However, I was keen to explore more food during my trip last week and did some bit of research before landing myself in this food haven.

Upon arriving at Penang, I was unlucky to learn that the two shops which I wanted to eat were closed after braving the heavy traffic jam on a mid-Sunday afternoon. But by a twist of fate, I came across this Char Koay Teow stall operating in front of Kafe Heng Huat along Lorong Selamat while driving around aimlessly in the town. Little did I know that this stall is legendary as far as Penang Char Koay Teow is concern. Mind you, I was aiming to eat at the one at Jalan Siam which I was told is the best around. Still, the number of customers flocking this coffee shop was convincing enough for me to check it out. That is when I learnt two important lessons when it comes to eating at Penang. First, you have to be really patient to wait for a seat. And I mean really patient. It took around 30 minutes of waiting time standing next to an occupied table before I could get my seat after the customers left. The second thing I learnt was never ever expect air-conditioning, comfortable eating ambiance. If you want good food, be prepared to sweat it out under the blazing heat during mid-day. After securing the seat with a heavy breath of relief, I ordered a big plate of Char Koay Teow. It took another good 20 minutes before my long awaited plate of Char Koay Teow arrived.

First thing I noticed was a generous portion of fresh giant prawns resting on the noodles. Okay, so that justifies the higher-than-usual price tag of RM 9.00.

The aroma was unmistakably inviting with a charred bits of burnt eggs and noodles indicating that the plate was fried with intense heat. I noticed that the owner replenishing the charcoal under the wok as her hands worked tirelessly to cater the swelling number of customers that day.

The secret behind a good plate of Char Koay Teow is the heat of the wok. The higher the heat, the tastier the noodle. Certainly the ‘Wok Hei’ was ample and the noodles tasted very good. It was oily but when a plate of Char Koay Teow tasted so good, you tend to forget about everything else.

After finishing my plate of Char Koay Teow, I was convinced that I came to the right place. The prawns were very fresh. Same goes for the cockles too. This is the best Char Koay Teow that I have tasted so far, period.

A bit of research reveals that the auntie who operates this stall has been whipping up the ever fragrant Char Koay Teow for more than 40 years and has garnered a bunch of loyal supporters. In fact, she has also earned quite a fair bit of reputation for telling off a customer who complained that her Char Koay Teow was too expensive two years ago.

Still, that didn’t deter food lovers from flocking her stall on that day when I had this plate of heavenly stir fried noodle.

Kafe Heng Huat
No. 108, Lorong Selamat
10400 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 016-269 2222

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