Wanton Mee is common the world over where there are Chinese communities. Primarily done best by the Chinese of the Cantonese dialect group, non-Penangites often scoff at the supposedly inferior quality of this dish found in George Town ; due to this city’s predominantly inhabitants of the Hokkien dialect group. One ingredient wanton mee connoisseurs takes issue with (and we agree!) is the less flavoursome charsiew on Penang’s version. But, like many dishes, wanton mee in Penang has a character of its own. Our wanton mee tends to have a darker sauce compared to its Hong Kong cousin and many traditional stalls often offers both sambal belacan and pickled green chillis for garnishing. Wanton mee, strangely, is a favourite street food for many a Penangite. Our favourites:
1) Road side stall at the junction of Lebuh Melayu & lorong Toh Aka.(opens 12.30am to 4pm Mondays to Thursdays only.The delicious wanton mee here negates the discomfort of having to eat the dish on pop-up tables on the kaki lima ! Ask for extra pork scratchings and you’d be in wanton mee heaven! (Footnote: These days,even their Mondays to Thursdays opening is not definite – there is talk that this couple is taking it easier now and may call it a day soon).
2) Duck egg noodle Wanton mee . 167 Lebuh Carnarvon (8am to 2pm) – This stall uses a duck eggs for their noodles and it’s one of the few (in Penang) that serves wanton mee with great tasting charsiew. One can also get a curry version of their noodles here although this is not our favourite.
3) Corner Kopitiam on Lebuh Kimberley & Lebuh Carnarvon ( 8am to 4pm. Clsoed on Wednesday) – This stall has an ‘old-fashioned’ flavour of wanton mee . Garnish your bowl of mee with fragrant sambal belacan and pork scratchings; add a friendly vendor and you will visit time & again to partake in his scrumptious wanton mee!
4) Hong Kee. 37, Lebuh Campbell ( Daily 101m to 10pm) – Also known as bamboo wanton mee on account of the noodles being kneaded by a bamboo pole. Diners can view the noodles being made. The dish here is served with Hong Kong style wantons.