Tunglang’s New Year choice: Penang chendol


Blog reader Tunglang kicks off the new year with the first of his choice of Penang Street Food in 2013. And no big surprise there as it goes to one of the icons of Penang.


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  1. Anil

    How about kick starting another street food talk before the year is up?

    I just came back from Bali.
    The Ubud’s Babi Guling (roasted pig) is simply irresistible.

  2. http://justagrainofsalt.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/how-i-loved-the-pearl-of-the-orient-penang-island-part-one/

    HowI Loved Penang Food

    Penang is a state of Malaysia. We stayed on Penang Island, or Pulau Pinang. There is quite a mix of culture there due to the high level of diversity the country possesses, which in turn presents a wide array of languages, religion, and most importantly, food!

    The boyfriend and I stayed mostly in Georgetown, a popular spot for tourists to stay. We stayed at a nice budget hotel called Chulia Heritage Hotel. Our room was small but nice and clean, and the service friendly with fluent English speakers for visitors. The prices for rooms are very low in comparison to our standards here. I also booked our stay through a site called Tingo, which lowers the price of hotels and hostels if other sites do the same. I ended up getting about 37 USD refunded in my bank account after returning from our trip. For a six day stay, I paid 160 USD total. All in all we got quite a deal on our lodging!

    • Hello tourists.
      On your next trip to old world charm part of Penang island, do try to explore the ambient streets of inner city George Town, slowly & take in the diversity of architectural wonders, colourful languages, friendly people & of course the heavenly street food served by Ori-Maestros, Penang’s street food sifus who mastered their world famous recipes.
      Try walk along Lebuh Kimberley, Lebuh Chulia & Lorong Kampung Malabar. And if you can go further, try Jalan Macalister & Lorong Baru. Smell the air of irresistible cuisine, eat what you can’t resist on the spot & I guarantee you will stay here a bit longer, increase your budget further & most probably be a die-hard Tham Chiak Kui (Penang staunch street food lovers for life).

      Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to coming cold winter sleepless nights salivating over irresistible & served hot Penang heavenly street food!
      Kopi-O is a favourite coffee drink of the locals & is only served authentic ‘kau, kau’ in old world charm ‘kopitiams’ (ambient coffee shops).

  3. Since it is almost 6 months since Anil talked about Penang food, maybe this Youtube video of Mindy Woods (top 4 contestant Masterchef Australia season 4) can help generate new discussion on Penang food.


    Mindy returns to the place that ignited her passion for food as a child, Penang Malaysia. Her father was once posted in Butterworth as a cook. Joined by her Mum and Dad Mindy explores local food markets, little India and enjoys a hair raising Trishaw ride through the city streets of Penang.

  4. May I put it as Class Coefficient widening in Penang island?
    The richie getting richer, the richie-wannabes struggling to be (rich) & the poor & going to be poor living with less options including decently priced street hawker food.
    The Cosmopolitan Penang tide of irreversibility will soon wash away whatever remnants of Penang’s cheap & good living standard, no thanks to the craze for unsustainable & “speculative” development on an island that Mr Tatoo of Fantasy Island would love to welcome the richie: The plane, the plane!!!
    I fear the Cosmopolitan Napoleans will soon enforce the obsessive SingLand policies of clearing the streets of hawker stalls with a frenzied myopia of overt-slippery-cleanliness of even the tarred lorong & jalan at the expense of Penangites’ favourite & heavenly street hawker food. The much debated issue of traffic jam may be the catalyst for such frenzy act of excuses.
    Cheers Kopi-O kay kau.

      • To give way to more Protons, MyVis, Lamborghini, BMWs, Humvees.
        Oh, not to forget the Mat Rempits paid for certain ‘noisy, rowdy occasions’.
        That’s the way of the cosmopolitan style of city planning.
        The benefit of such KL planning is creating more Tham Chiak Kuis (from KL) coming to Penang for heavenly street hawker food even if it takes a 3 hr ride to the island.
        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau.

    • OriMaestro Chendol Tan sold off the soul of serving the general poorer public by setting up stalls with increased menu pricing at Prangin Mall ????

      Surprised tunglang fails to note the trend ?

      • tunglang now in dilemma now that Guan Eng reportedly to face off with Teng Chang Yeow at Padang Kota GE13.
        Chang Yeow promised Penangite a Hawker Museum whichn is too tempting to tunglang’s vision.
        However, many believe tunglang will see a bigger picture before he cast his sacred vote.
        With or without Chang Yeow, Penang hawkers continue to operate (of course not illegally by road side obstructing traffic eg at Esplanade).

      • Tunglang in a dilemma???
        Who is borrowing whose street food museum idea as a political mirage carrot?

        With or without whoever is going to lead Penang post GE13, Penang Street Food Museum is already online on a poor man’s budget on http://tunglang99.blogspot.com & https://www.facebook.com/tung.lang.1
        No need to bend backward to a Cosmopolitan flavour ala SingLand of showcasing soul-less, plastic, borrowed/concocted/repackaged street food culture & history instead of presenting Penang’s authentic street hawker food with heritage values & timeless, living impressions.

        Think long term for Penang’s famed food tourism & its envied assets of global competitive edge & of course the Ori-Maestros who truly deserve the overdue recognition.
        Eating street hawker cuisine fried hot with political innuendos or ‘5-year chilli’ promises with make one vomit with tears. Have you eaten Teochew Chendol with a snake oil salesman licking with a green snake tongue?

        I can still sleep well with sweet dreams after a cuppa of home brewed Kopi-O kau kau.
        Btw, I still see (with my acute sixth sense) the expensively renovated Penang State Museum @ Macalister Road under-used & echoing with ghosts of Cheng Beng. Maybe I should recommend it to Paranormal Zone to come investigate. Li Kim, are you game for it?

        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to Penang’s heavenly street hawker food of fame, envy (of SingLand) & irresistibility still @ affordably sane prices (if you know where to crawl & find).

      • Sean, FYI, Teochew Chendol is now @ All Seasons Place, Farlim.
        Ori-Maestro Tan is serving both Tham Chiak Kuis of Lebuh Keng Kwee as well as the richie & famous Bing Chooi diners at premier lifestyle waterholes. You still expect him to charge low yet operate expensively @ these places to be seen doodling latest mini iPads?
        At least, Ori-Maestro Tan is not like the Red China Beret Char Koay Teow [email protected] Lorong Selamat who readily charges SingLand standard prices for an insanely simple Fried Koay Teow with half-naked prawns that is hard to swallow for thrifty but sane Penangites!

  5. Tunglang, this is most unfair. Why is it that the stall opposite did not get number one place instead? I have tried both stalls and I still like the opposite one. To my observation, TeoChew is successful not because the food is better. I have seen it happen — I sit there eating my chendol (yes, you get to sit as well in the opposite stall) and then first-timers come along — look at both, give a shrug and just follow the crowd — wah, Tunglang, I didn’t know you were also one who just follow the crowd!

    • Before the crowd, I was already a customer of this Teochew Chendol in the 1970s.
      Read up (past 2011 articles in anilnetto.com) what I meant by “Ori-Maestros” of Penang Street Hawker Food with cultural, food, economic & ambience heritage which carry greater significance & influences to the development of Penang street hawker food. Not every hawker wannabe can qualify as an Ori-Maestro worth recognition in a museum.
      But I am not limiting to just one Ori-Maestro to one type of hawker food.
      I leave the choice of (solely judging on) taste good to other food connoisseurs.
      Cheers Kopi-O kau kau.

      • i think penang street food need to improve hygience in food preparation to draw foreign tourists.

  6. Singapore comedian Ah Nan who pased away yesterday at age 52 on heart attack promoting Penang Char Kuey Teow here:

  7. Zuan: “Anthony Bourdain only show eating unhygienic street food for show on TV.”

    Would a high profile Emmy Award-winning TV culinary & cultural adventure (dare to die eating other’s food) traveling chef do just that to gain global fame & trust from discerning gastronomic Europeans, Australians & Americans? What logic are you spewing out of your sin khek (blurr-blurr) brain of 60s Balik Pulau hills.

    We should be thankful to “dare to die” adventurous chef / sifu Anthony accompanied by “got taste” food writer Helen Ong for doing us a service not paid a single cent by Penang state gomen which much prefers a ‘Si Lai’s popularity-show’ Hong Kee chef who doesn’t come back again for more of our street hawker food.
    As for your production house friend, go ask him if he ever miss his native food while on overseas assignment (ever), also don’t forget to ask for his snippets (proof) of uncleanliness of street hawker food, if censored for fear of not being paid by Anthony for a ‘dirty’ job. Altruism to job of passion is badly misinterpreted by his warped one-track sense of one taste, or no taste.

    Anyway, you don’t to eat slippery-clean but coldish-raw Sushi all day when you are out in cold Japan! Unless you want to spew it out in Mt Fuji.

    Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to “dare to die eating Penang street hawker food” chef / sifu Anthony Bourdain & Madam Helen Ong of “Great Dining In Penang”.

    • Anthony Bourdain had health concern when he noticed the cats prowling on top of the walls so near the food stand when he was tucking in the nasi kandar in a not-so-clean lane in Penang.

  8. Tunglang should travel beyond cuti cuti Malaysia to realise that equally good Penang food is now easily available outside Penang. Singapore is a good example.

      • Were you a hawker before? Have you oiled & burnt your hands before?
        I surmise you ain’t one to experience much to comment sensibly or retrospectively.
        I have tasted the hard life of a hawker in my teens in the 60’s & 70’s. I prepared the secret recipes (of Madras Lane Hokkien Mee) & I knew what was good street hawker food & what drew the Tham Chiak Kuis to the house stall (without a need of slippery food court of wannabes). And I studied the tourists’ comments of what ticks since the 90’s as part of my ad agency’s strategic marketing research & ad campaign for cultural tourism in Penang. And I worked with courageous & visionary Madam Kee of Gerakan for the Visit Penang Year 1999 campaign.

        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau.

    • I think the consumer behavior has changed as far as eating food is concerned. Tunglang’s view may no longer hold true among the new generation, but his opinion will certainly bring memories to the retirees of today, and could be preserved in the food museum, assuming it could be set up.

      • tunglang need to be aware that even cost conscious backpackers rarely at that Keng Kwee road chendol. WHY ? simply because they are very concerned of health issue. The used plastic bowls are simply thrown into 2 pails of water (one with detergent and the other plain water) as washing process. The locals can stomach this but not majority of visiting foreign tourists.
        Don’t believe go and check it out,
        Consumer patterns shift with time.

      • Anthony Bourdain can stomach our STREET hawker food year after year. Go ask him now.
        Unless he’s prepared to stain his reputation worldwide.

        Consumer patterns shift with time (even at Lebuh Keng Kwee)?
        Go stand in the sun as early as 11am & count the number of Tham Chiak Kuis, among them well heeled foreigners.

        Cost conscious? Our Ringgit is so ‘cheap’ than the 1990s even those backpackers (on unemployment benefits) esp. the Scandinavians can live for years in Chulia Street savoring every street hawker food if they wanted to. Already in the 1990s, foreign tourists gave rave reviews of Penang street food & put it among the heritage factors unique to their experiences, some akin to Paris street side dining.


      • My choice of Penang street food cuisine is not focused exclusively for young generation consumers with a taste (falsely assumed as 100% representative of this consumer segment in Penang) for lifestyle cafe style dining ala Papa Rich. This will defeat my purpose of X-plore, Relive & Conserve what is uniquely authentic to Penang street food culture that can last for generations, not the fleeting culture of shifting dining trends & unauthentic recipes that won’t sell Penang street food branding distinctively, competitively & globally.
        The other purpose is to give recognition to our Ori-Maestros, who don’t bastardize their secret recipes that create desires in order to placate the tastes of slippery diners of trends, whom I leave to the popular culture genre proponents of cosmopolitan lifestyle dining.

        All the more for a street food museum to fulfill a purpose (conserving our living street food heritage) & build a lasting legacy we can be proud of to stomach.

        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau.

      • Anthony Bourdain only show eating unhygienic street food for show on TV. He save his stomach for gourment meals in 5-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants after shooting. Do not be fooled by him from a few seconds of tucking in street food.

        My friend worked for the production house that assisted filming of Bourdain’s Penang visit. He told me this fact.

      • Well, even most Penangites don’t eat street food all the time. Only when they eat out. The rest of the time it’s usually healthier home-cooked food, right?

    • May be Ori-Maestro Tan can open a ‘Wooi Koon’ (Chinese martial art house) to teach other Ori-Maestros the finer art of street hawker food marketing in Penang.

      Cheers to bold & daring private initiatives with my brand of One-Inch Punch© Kopi-O kau kau.
      There are similarities of Penang food sifus to gung fu, its most famous international icon being – Li Xiao Long (李小龍) the founder of Jeet Kune Do.
      It’s about hard work, humbleness, creativity, originality & tenacity of practice. It’s about upholding principles in the face of challenges. And it’s about leaving a lasting legacy to thor tay (disciples) to further the art of self preservation & culture.
      Sifu Ip Man stands tall. If he were to be a street hawker in China, he would still be very famous for his art of Chinese One-Inch Punch cuisine.
      Did you see many of these sifus unmistakably wear the white Pagoda singlets or round collar tees, a symbol of deceptive simplicity without the pyro-bling-bling of LA Darth Vader.
      Enjoy: Wing Chun, Ip Man

  9. Wow Tunglang, you just make me cannot tahan. Another dent $$$ in my pocket. Just passed by and bought 1 packet laksa, 2 packet cendol and 2 packets ice kacang even though weather so cold.

    • Yang, orang Eskimo lu beh ta-han liao, who the Tham Chiak Kui passing by Lebuh Keng Kwee eh ta-han meh?
      Many orang KL will envy your enjoyment of cold Teochew Chendol & hot Laksa even in cold weather.
      This coming Chinese New Year, the weather will get hotter, and Ori-Meastro Tan Chong Kim will be smiling from ear lobe to ear lobe!!!
      He’s smart for not having any table, chairs & shade at his stall. so more & more beh ta-han Tham Chiak Kuis can crowd tightly around his stall while savoring his cuisine under the sun. This has the ‘instant’ effect of making some still more thirsty for a 2nd round.
      Lou Chiu Pai (old brand) brain got manyak untung akai!

  10. Chendol as snack food ok.
    However, for more nutrients Penang street food I recommend Soya Bean drinks as Chendol too sweet (diabetes) with high cholestrol coconut milk (heart attack) if we consume it too often.

  11. I am now working in singapore. I do not miss Penang food as such food is now easily available in Singapore e.g. the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ kopitiam in Jurong Point Shopping Mall . The food taste as good but cleaner and much more hygienic.

    • Oon, I cry for you with my “Good Morning” mini China towel b’cos you no longer taste ‘authentic heavenly cuisine’ many are willing to postpone their ‘due date’ to come here to savor Penang’s irresistible street hawker food.
      I also pity the SingLand gomen for trying very hard to recreate old world charm ambience of China town & kopitiams reminiscing of Pulo Panang with hawker signages shouting Penang brand names.

      • don’t ever weep for us abroad who can savour authentic (yes, they are the descendants of penang ori-maestro who have migrated with secretly guarded recipes!) in Singapore ! Thanks goodness the prime ingredients can be sourced from Malaysia easily. We don’t mind paying extra as the exchange rate of 2.53x makes the Penang street food in Singapore as heavenly !!!

        My friends in New York can also savour Penang food like Chendol at Loud (Michelin star rating – go check it out) and those in London can enjoy it at Rasa Sayang. I think the food like Penangites know no boundaries 🙂

        An Aussie i know is now scouting around in Penang corners to tempt the remaining ori-maestro to part with their secret recipes. Not sure this is good news to expand the fame of Penang brand name.

      • Oon Wee Chin: “An Aussie i know is now scouting around in Penang corners to tempt the remaining ori-maestro to part with their secret recipes. Not sure this is good news to expand the fame of Penang brand name.”
        You got a point here. Fame attracts the enterprising looking to make profits from the fame & fortune. That is the power of branding (of Penang’s street food cuisine which was initially by word of mouth).
        But one thing (or fact of gastronomy) is this: the authentic heavenly tastes of cuisine goes with the original Ori-Maestros. The ‘tho tay’ (apprentices) will never achieve the same level of excellence as his sifu Ori-Maestro.
        Thank Goodness, we still have some Ori-Maestros like Ori-Maestro Tan Chong Kim staying put in Penang. All the more for a street food museum to appreciate the sifus & motivate them to further the cause of our street food tourism industry of fame & fortune for Penangites.
        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau + Teochew Chendol + healthy sunshine.

      • I agreed with the views of Oon Wee Chin. As a Penangite working in Singapore, I can get good Penang food easily in Singapore as many Penangites (including the decendants of the ori-maestros hawkers) have migrated here. So tunglang should come to Singapore to see for himself.

  12. this chendol boss called himself CEO according to Taiwan food program iWalker (see link below).

    Thanks to tunglang the Jabatan HASIL (Income Tax) folks will stake out near the stall to count number of bowls of Chendol sold and check if the boss declare his income accordingly.

    • Ah Pek, make money while the sun shines hot & good for thirsty appetite for Teochew Chendol in Lebuh Keng Kwee waterhole of the Tham Chiak Kuis.
      Businessmen don’t worry about Inland Revenue counting at their backs, but are more than happy for free advertising & www fame that ring the cash register (no chasing hutang, no worrying credit terms).
      Give this Ori-Maestro due credit for hard work & paying his share of taxes.

  13. This is my sincere appreciation of Penang’s Ori-Maestros (the same for 60’s Hokkien Mee poster posted earlier).

    This also is to start the ball rolling within my resources & financial constraint with an ‘affordable & downloadable’ digital street food museum cum poster albeit the uncertainty of a physical 3-senses street food museum coming to reality in Penang.

    My Appreciation Choice is (clearly) based on 3 criteria: heavenly taste, affordability & heritage ambience.
    Few of today’s hawkers have these 3-combi that captures the unique street food culture imagination & makan-makan desires of diehard Tham Chiak Kuis, both locals & foreigners. And brought global fame & http://www.accolades to Pulo Panang since the 1970s. Much less of wannabes serving (if any) original recipes that can truly stand the test of time & subjective gastronomical taste. How many actually have a legacy of more than 50 years of authentic recipes? How many (if any beyond Lebuh Keng Kwee) have Tham Chiak Kuis standing in the hot sun savoring in delights(!) their cuisine? Ask good food culture writers & discerning globe trotting food aficionados like that American who loves to go back to that New Lane food haven year after year. Appreciation of Ori-Maestros’ contribution goes beyond mere satisfying our over gastric-juiced stomachs.
    Lest we treat our timeless food culture heritage like cosmopolitan faddish food commodities.

    This is no Ringgit-paid advertising (by any living Ori-Maestro I vouched) but my own blood, sweat & passion endeavor for showcasing living, authentic, old world charm heritage still ‘brewing alive’ in pockets of heritage George Town (go see my blog of passions sans advertisement – http://tunglang99.blogspot.com/).
    When I shot these photos with a DMC-LZ8 Panasonic camera on a sunny Saturday morning of April 7, 2012, I was not ‘belanja-ed’ a bowl of Teochew Chendol, though my Tham Chiak Kui spirit shown up discernibly at the stall. In fact I had to get photo permission from prudent Ori-Maestro Tan Chong Kim for this street food museum proposal to MPPP. Other Ori-Maestros like this Bangkok Lane Goreng Mee’s obliged to ‘belanja’ me a sumptuous free meal with XXL sotong + egg-topped ‘keh liao’ but I insisted to pay in full in appreciation of his heavenly cuisine that won my million dancing taste buds. And I made known to them that nothing’s confirmed of this food museum proposal yet, so “don’t ‘belanja’ me now”.

    I leave it (with a free choice conviction) to ‘discerning’ Tham Chiak Kuis to vouch their own street hawker food passions in the streets of innercity George Town or even in Balik Pulau market.

    This is just my speck of legacy: Tunglang’s Penang Street Food Museum of blood, sweat & passion in appreciation of Penang’s Ori-Maestros.

    Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to all Tham Chiak Kuis of Irresistible Penang Makan-Makan.

      • agreed 100% with sunnyooi.
        this Keng Kwee chendol to me is over-rated. Due to fast turnover, the quality not preserved (the ice melts fast to liquid & its chendol now is a drink not thicky ice).
        Furthermore, i don’t like standing drinking chendol and ask to give way to incoming vehicles !

        My choice is Teochew Chendol at Komtar Walk. For 50 sen more per bowl I can sit in comfort enjoying thick ice chendol. However, i respect tunglang’s decision to stand under hot sun for his beloved chendol.

      • Ku pai e jit lang cho, suhu ka ki choot chiu, an chua pun ho chiak.
        (Once upon a time, Ori-Maestro solo-dishing out his cuisine himself. Definite 101% heavenly beyond comparing now).
        Now, CEO has to QC his production & managing his staff / apprentices to satisfy many loyal Tham Chiak Kuis. He got a reputation to take care of.

  14. Tung Lang. I know you like food and hawker fares but its not fair to try advertise for someone else. isn`t it. To be less biased at least show some others chendol hawkers and let us compare.

    • Keng Kwee special branch at Prangin Mall now selling Chendol at RM3.80 a bowl (was RM2.50). New World Park’s Chendol only RM2.80 a bowl.

      This Tan ori-maestro has learned kimgarish’s squeeky clean image and starrybuckish’s mat salleh pricing ????

      tunglang better advise Tan CEO of Keng Kwee not to overcharge poor locals, pls.

      • Chendol CEO Tan now learn to cater for different classes of Penangites now that Genie Coeeficient is widening ?
        Rich folks who can afford million ringgit condo shall enjoy his Chendol at more exclusive RM3.90 pricing at Prangin Mall while ordinary folks like us continue to stand by the road side of Keng Kwee to savour RM2 Chendol ?
        This is alarming and sooner there will be Class 1 & Class 2 Penang Char Kway Teow now that we have Starbuck vs tradional kopitiam kopi-o ????


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