Having a reputation as a food paradise, be it haute cuisine, or cuisine bourgeoise (hawker fare), Penang offers a heady and exotic mix of delicious cuisine to choose from. In a word, Penang food is both famous and fabulous. When people mention Penang ...
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|Written by Administrator II|
|Thursday, 01 September 2011 02:48|
Article and Photos by HELEN ONG
If you want a typical old-fashioned hawker chiew jang khar scenario, then head for Air Itam where, stretching from the Reservoir Garden kopitiam opposite the Public Bank building and continuing right through to the corner of Jalan Air Putih (White Water) Road, some 65 stalls lines both sides of the inner service road. You can order from any stall and eat in one of the four kopitiams or alfresco at the many tables which are placed outside.
There are so many stalls that it’s safe to say that whatever you wish to eat – within reason, of course, although if you fancy Balkan you just might find it there – it is probably available. From local Penang favourites: O Chien (Oyster Omelette), Economy Rice, Roti Canai, Char Kuey Teow and Kuey Teow T’ng; Chee Cheong Fun and Char Kuey Kak, Chai T’au Kuey and Assam Laksa to name but a few, to international cuisines. There’s satay, western, pizza and even Japanese. It’s hot, noisy and merry, but where to start?
“Everything here is quite good,” claims Tan Boon Huat, Chairman of the Persatuan Penjaja Tempat Air Putih, “so you don’t have to worry. There will be something here to suit every taste. Many of our stalls have been here for over 40 years, and some are second generation hawkers who have taken over from their parents or uncles.” He runs one of the two Char Hor Fun stalls, situated across the road from the Keat Seng Kopitiam. “
Opposite the Reservoir Garden Kopitiam (aka Or Hwa Hooi in Hokkien),Ah Hwa parks fries her home-made Chai T’hau Kueh (Radish Cake) and Sesame Balls filled with either crushed peanuts or tau sar. Her husband Ah Kuey sells Hokkien Mee from the same van. A bit further up, Ah Lai’s Curry Mee is served with plenty of chilli-fried squid.
You’ll find local desserts like Ais Kacang including a new “Red Bean Ice Blended”.
The Air Itam/Air Putih hawker stalls are open every day from about 5pm to 1am, although individual stalls will shut once every two weeks. The entire place shuts down once a year on the eve and first day of Chinese New Year.
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