Can you believe I am still finding hawker stall foods that I haven’t tried before? Hokkien Mee, available with Prawn and without, is one of my new favorite dishes from the hawker stalls. It is extremely tasty without having to burn ones face of with spice.
Hokkien Mee is a noodle dish that swims happily in a beef or fish broth. The noodle is supposed to be consistent from stall to stall. It’s supposed to be a combination of egg noodles and rice noodles (bihun). The rest of the dish is really up to the vendor. There might be a hard boiled egg, or some bean sprouts. There might be bits of meat. I don’t think there’s going to be any weird cuts, like liver or heart, like in Loh Mee. At least I haven’t had any yet.
As you can see in the picture above, the chili sauce (sambal) is served in the little spoon and can be left out if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.
There are lists on the internet for where to find the best Hokkien Mee in Penang. I haven’t had a stand out best one anywhere yet. I think it’s one of those dishes that everyone seems to get right.
Now recently, the Penang Chief Minister proposed a law to make it illegal for foreigners to cook at any Penang food stalls. This really saddens me, especially reading the comments that people make online about foreign workers. The bulk of the negative comments turn into racial slurs against Bangladeshis, Burmese or Indonesian migrant workers. It’s so sad.
The reason for the proposal is to “preserve” the taste of Penang. To make it a legacy and a heritage, unadulterated by outsiders. I think that this doesn’t require legislation. If the particular hawker stall does not taste the same (or better) than your memory of Penang food, stop eating there. They will go out of business when they can’t sell their food. Let the public vote for the legacy they want, not the legislators.
You could also use the internet for more productive means than cutting down foreigners. Let’s be an example, and post in the comments (or on the Living in Penang Facebook group) where to find the best Penang Hokkien Mee.