Toast is for losers

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food-11I could have had as much free toast as I wanted at my hostel for breakfast here in Penang. But I did not come here for toast! So I went out looking for a breakfast curry mee (… and found one, as you can see above).

If you’re one of those people who only eats Western food for breakfast, then I suggest you go over to Eating Asia and read this post.  I used to be like that too, but I’ve definitely changed since moving to Asia and have happily eaten bubur ayam, bubur Bali, nasi goreng and other treats for breakfast, among many other things.

This morning I trekked out and found one of the city’s famous and distinctive coffee shops.  The cafes, which are on nearly every street corner and then some, are anchored by the beverage provider and then food stalls fill any gaps around the tables.

I ended up at Joo Hooi Cafe, pictured, on Penang Road, just past the Chowrasta Market.  The small cafe was crammed with makeshift tables, plastic chairs, tiny wooden booths for two (that must have originated from the 1970s at the latest) and three food stands.  It was not crammed full with locals, but was sufficiently busy to tempt me to go inside.

When I can’t decide what to eat or drink, I take a look at whoever seems to be most comfortably a regular in the place and then order exactly what they are having.  This guy was my target:


So just like him, I ordered a thick black sweet ice Malaysian coffee, called kopi o-peng (I’m slowly getting used to the different names for Malaysian coffee) and a bowl of curry mee, served up by this lovely vendor:


The kopi set me back MR 1.10 ($0.35 Australian) and the noodles MR 3.00.  The kopi o-peng was thick, gooey strong and ice cold, but you could really taste the coffee.  You couldn’t make this drink without using a quality roast either, because the sugar doesn’t disguise the coffee, it only serves to punctuate it.  It was delicious and just what I needed to wake up.  As for the curry mee, the small bowl had a flavourful soup, market fresh aromatic leaves, light fried tofu and slightly chewy in a good way noodles that tasted homemade.  It was a very nice way to start the day.

food-8It even looks better than toast.

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