When I arrived at Guerney Drive Hawker Centre, I was a bit under-awed. I’d been told to get there in the late afternoon, but it was the late afternoon and it was empty. The heavy afternoon downpour didn’t help. An empty hawker center is kind of depressing.
But I pulled up a stool and ordered a bowl of asam laksa (first picture), a Penang speciality that is vastly different from its coconut-milk based brethren (which I love) from places such as Singapore and Thailand. But wow. I was blown away. Such a unique sour-spicy taste, with little bits of fish (I think macarel) in the soup as well as the same shallots used in Bali cooking and chewy rice noodles. A very strong smell as well. But I loved it and will eat some more of it before I leave this town.
In the short time it took me to finish up my asam laksa, the place was coming alive with more people trickling in and more stalls opening. It’s a huge hawker center, and I just wish I had been hungry enough to try more dishes. But I did leave room for dessert.
Cendol/cendul served with shaved ice, red kidney beans, coconut milk and sweet gula melaka syrup. I wrote more about cendol when I went to Melaka last year… it’s really delicious and one of my favourite out of the range of icy Asian desserts because its not offensively sweet.