I was searching for ideas on what to do for lunch. I then did what I did last night. I followed the crowd.
I noticed a Chinese restaurant outside the hotel which looked quite crowded at noon. I headed there for lunch. It was less crowded then. But which self respecting Chinaman eats lunch at 3.30 PM?
I entered and saw counters within the restaurant. One had Curry Mee written on it. Another had Assam Laksa written on it. I wanted to try both while I was at Penang. There were a group of Chinese ladies eating at a table by the counters. They asked me what I wanted. One of them jumped and left her noodle soup the moment she heard me say 'Curry Mee'. Turned out that she was manning the counter.
The dish was ready in a jiffy. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far and the best dish that I have had at Penang. Curry Mee means curry noodles. It is a light pinkish broth made with coconut milk. The flavour is very delicate. It gently destresses your palate leaving you very relaxed. It is slightly sweet, has a mild ting of sourness to it. A mix of flavours coming together for a very evolved taste experience. It wins you over with its subtlety making you fall in love with it. The curry had a mix of glass and regular noodles which blended very well with the spices, which included an Indian clove too. Pieces of fresh and juicy prawns, tiny deshelled robust clams, octopus (Paul?), sponge like tofu and pliant fish balls were all part of this celestial orchestra. Everything was so fresh that it seemed like Mother Nature had put it together for me. If there is a dish which symbolises the spell Malaysia has on me then it would be the Curry Mee.
The giggly ladies didn't have much faith in my ability to use chopsticks and gave me a fork. I am proud to say that I used chopsticks for the first time in my life. I had all the solid parts – noodles, meats, vegetables – with the chopsticks and the soup with the soup spoon. Just as I had seen Bourdain do recently. I was might pleased with myself.
The ladies soon packed up. The counters closed. It was almost as if they were waiting to feed me and pamper me before calling it a day.
I had the Curry Mee with a Chinese Hot Tea. The order for drinks was taken by a chubby Chinese grandpa who loved being photographed unlike the shy women. The heavenly soup and the tea cost me all of 3.50 Ringitt or Rs 50.