We step out of the car and scan around for seats at the always-crowded Old Green House on Burma Road in Penang.
As we make our way past the hawker stalls, we are planning what to eat here: Hokkien mee (or prawn mee in other states), loh mee, bah kut teh and a variety of dumplings.
The Hokkien mee arrives mere minutes after we put in our orders and we tuck in greedily, savouring the intoxicating aroma, the generous serving of prawns, the soft bihun and the flavourful soup.
We are lost in food heaven until someone unceremoniously pipes up: “I can’t believe we are eating all these food! Didn’t we just have dinner less than 30 minutes ago?”
We look up for a moment, stunned and amazed by our own capacity and greed.
How can we forget the delicious “Tiger Char Kuey Teow” – named after the seller – we devoured at the Ping Hooi Cafe on Carnavon Street? The sweet taste of the succulent prawns still lingers on our tastebuds, and the memory of enjoying the fried kuey teow – each plate fried individually – is still vivid in our minds. We also remember the plate of wantan mee that we shared and picked apart there, trying to tell what made it so yummy – the springy noodles, the sweet black sauce, or maybe the tasty slices of char siew.
So why in the world are we stuffing ourselves silly with more food when the fried kuey teow and wantan mee have barely found their way through our digestive systems?
We are on Tiger Beer’s Tiger Bites quest, that’s why. Lashed by the wild cat’s tail, is it a surprise that we developed an insatiable, ferocious appetite? When you are on the hunt, you go at it with … erm, dogged determination, right?
“I think it is safe to say that street food is a big part of Malaysian culture, whether in the big cities or smaller towns. We all have our favourite spots but there are so much more out there yet to be discovered,” says Tiger Beer marketing manager Jessie Chuah, who has taken us on this trip to induct us into the new initiative.
“We are certain this campaign will appeal to all food lovers. We urge foodies to embark on a Tiger Bites food hunt to uncage street flavours and share it with fellow Malaysians.”
The new campaign aims to “uncage” the street food havens throughout Malaysia and Tiger Beer got the ball rolling with an 18-car convoy on a two-day street food trail from Selangor – via Perak – to Penang for a full-on gastronomic romp.
The first stop was Ipoh’s Woh Heng Coffee Shop, for a tasty plate of dry curry noodles. Located on Clare Street, the curry noodles is often overlooked by patrons who stop by the Ipoh town mainly for the “bean sprout chicken” dishes served at nearby restaurants. The aromatic curry with shredded chicken and cockles is served with lime juice on the side and packs a real mean punch.
After the filling lunch, we head for our hotel in Penang, but not before making a quick “drive-thru” at Apong Guan on Burma Road. Some of us were dozing on the long ride and got woken up by the soft and fluffy apongs filled with sweet corn and banana slices thrust in our faces. What a great way to be welcome to the food haven, we thought, as we munched happily on the apong and wondered what other yummy surprises lie ahead.
That’s how we arrive at dinner and supper back-to-back on the first night. But no one is complaining – because our mouths are too stuffed, you see.
Before we fall into bed in a food coma, we are told not to worry about breakfast the next day ….
At 9.30am, the doorbell rings.
In comes the room service attendant bearing a breakfast tray filled with traditional kaya and butter toast, soft-boiled eggs, roti canai, dim sum, fried radish cake and coffee. I sigh in bliss – this is what heaven must feel like.
Breakfast in bed has to be the best way to spend a lazy Saturday morning and nobody would actually leave the room if not for the reason that we have to get back to reality. But not before having lunch of kway teow thn’g at Pitt Street.
One bowl of noodles is definitely not enough here and people are too occupied cleaning up their own dish to notice you helping yourself to another one. So why stop at two when you can have three?
The journey up North comes to an end as we make our way back to Selangor, and throughout the four-hour ride, we reminisce about the good times and food we have had in the last two days. The final stop is an absolute surprise to me – the Flying Wantan Mee at Sea Park, Petaling Jaya.
It is a surprise because I pass by this area often, and never once thought of eating at the wantan mee stall parked at the side wall of the market.
My mind is changed the moment I see the seller sending the noodles “flying” two stories-high in the air before catching it deftly with the strainer, and transferring it to the plate – only good wantan mee can soar this high into space surely.
In fact, my mind is further made up after tasting the wantan mee which honestly, is a hidden gem in this part of town. The char siew is nicely charred, sweet and sticky, and the noodles have that toothsome bite and are well cooked and seasoned.
If Tiger Beer’s aim is to uncover the best-kept food secrets across Malaysia via Tiger Bites, then it is already off to a great start.
Now, they are inviting you to create your own food trail via the Tiger Bites campaign, where all you need to do is eat good street food and tell others where to find them via social media sites. The best food trail creator is set to win prizes from Tiger Beer. Contest ends on Oct 4. For more information on Tiger Bites, visit www.tigerbites.com.my.