Let me get this straight - there is only one type of Penang Hokkien mee: rice noodles and egg noodles topped with meat garnishing, a boiled egg, bean sprouts and kangkung served in a prawn soup base. None of that stir fried noodles and just because the noodle is yellow, it doesn't automatically make that dish Hokkien noodles.
One of the best Hokkien mee in Penang is the 888 Hokkien Mee at Presgrave Street or better known as Sah Tiau Lor (3rd Road). It has been so popular that they opened a second franchise at Bayan Baru, opposite Sunshine Square.
Business is brisk even though finding parking there is a complete nightmare, especially during rush hour traffic. They start selling from 5.30pm until midnight, making it a popular haunt for late nighters looking for a hot, steaming bowl of noodles and are closed on Thursdays.
The soup is fantabulous! Sweet and rich with a heavy prawn-pork base, you can opt to top up with extras such as fish balls, siew bak and even pork ribs for a more filling meal.
The Balik Pulau assam laksa is a hidden gem tucked away in a little, nondescript coffee shop. Look closer a little and you'll notice all the tables are full of customers eating with great gusto bowlfuls of the delicious noodles.
For a laksa fan like me, this has to be the holy grail of laksas! Again, when I say assam laksa, I mean rice noodles soaked in a strong, tamarind-spiked fish soup garnished with fresh pineapple, cucumber, onions, lettuce, mint and banana flowers.
What makes this stall extra special is that in addition to assam laksa, it also offers the lesser known siam laksa which is creamier with coconut milk added. It is sweeter and milder. Since I couldn't decide between the two equally yummy choices, I just saved the hassle by eating two bowls ;)