We’ve made some good decisions during this trip, like skipping Ipoh to make more time for Penang. With that, we were able to take a much needed rest before...
...waking up to a plate of wanton mee at Sai Lam. The first thing I noticed was the absence of dark soy sauce in the dry-tossed version. Replacement came in form of a light stew infused with sweet juice of the beef that topped the springy wanton mee. To have that much of brisket and tendon for a fraction of the price of some well-known beef institutions deserves a mention. Tenderly good too, I must say. A dash of pepper gave the subtle taste a zing.
We couldn’t help but be attracted to the luscious build of the wantons. Skills are required in ensuring that each piece of skin is filled with a generous spoonful of minced fatty pork without breaking. As we frantically took pictures of the wantons, the elderly wrapper asked if we were tourists and immediately switched to speaking in Cantonese upon knowing that we were from KL. She further explained that they try to speak a few dialects to accommodate their customers from all over the country and beyond. That's cool. Combined with the charm of an old kopitiam, Sai Lam definitely deserves that place in the Lonely Planet guide.
There were 2 opposing rows of stalls at the Padang Brown Hawker Centre. One side was practically deserted while the other was in full swing, with tables and chairs spilling beyond the shelters. I wonder if geomancy has got anything to do with it. Back at the busy row, the attraction was the popiah stall. What’s interesting was the inclusion of crab meat in the filling which obviously added some umami-ness to the popiah. It came wetter than our usual type at home and apparently, it’s a signature that gives it a good body and taste. The wait was long but was much appreciated as our stomachs were still busy digesting the copious amount of duck meat we had for breakfast.
Into the late afternoon hours, the hawker centre was still buzzing with throngs of weekend faces, all eager to indulge in some solid, local fare. This atmospheric sight alone deserves a slot in any Penang guide.
Sai Lam Coffee Shop
Corner of Chulia Street and Carnarvon Street
Padang Brown Hawker Centre
The junction of Perak Road and Anson Road