18 November 2014

B-Kyu tour of Penang - Toon Leong Kopi, Toh Soon Cafe and the mighty International Hotel

Another day in Georgetown, starting with cafes in for fish ball soup, roti kaya and soft eggs, a walk through the fast renovating old town and the best nasi padang outside of Sumatra.

Staying just near Jalan Transfer in Georgetown gives you a chance to walk through the morning food stalls selling curries and roti. Long tables and chairs are lined up along the road so you can perch along the edge and watch the morning show.

Tempted as we were, those tempting blue chairs would have to wait for another time.

Breakfast this morning is at the Toon Leong Coffee Shop, a real old time meeting place with people just sitting, chatting or actually sitting and writing in those old fashioned things called paper diaries. 

The nasi kandar stall in one corner is the busiest, but we are up for something a little lighter.

We go for a newer stall, only open for a few months. Hubby goes to the market at 6.30 to get the fish for the stock and toppings. The broth is cooked for an hour so the soup is ready by about 7.30.

One lady operates this stall from 7.30 to about 2.30, every day. We chatted about the weather in Penang, there had been no rain for three months, even the water coming out of the taps was warm. Everyone was waiting for the end of the dry season.

It's still cool enough to walk back over to the old town.

We had walked past this cafe a few times, attracted by the bright green walls, the cramped seats and the simple sign 'Medicated Tea'.

The Toh Soon Cafe is nestled in an alley off Campbell St, shut in by large shutters that raise up to open the stall.

There's wax paper packets of nasi lemak on the table, which is lucky as the service is a little slow and we wait a while for our order.

A picture of breakfast perfection, peanuts, anchovies and half an egg piled into a pretty, spicy mound. It's the essence of a big plate of nasi lemak condensed down into one small little packet.

The rest of the order comes, roti (toast) with kaya jam and a super soft egg for dunking. Breakfast bliss.

The shop makes use of the alleyway, sheltered from the sun and rain.

Space is maximised, everything has a place.

We walk down Muntri, so many old shop houses and lots of conversions taking place, mostly as hotels.

Waiting for a fare down near Five Terraces.

Just around the corner from Five Terraces this fellow comes out to say hello.

The meeting a new friend happy dance.

Back to work.

Hipster cafe? No need for renovation.

You wouldn't want it to come first, would you?

Down near Armenian was this poster for MH370. Sentiment was still very high and hope alive.

Waiting for a scratch, this post will do in the meantime.

There's endless shops as we walk along, wonton mee, loh mee, char kway teow for sale.

We've walked around all morning, just waiting for the next eating opportunity. It's a date at the International Hotel for lunch.

The food at the International Hotel is served in large steel pots, an incredible array of colours, smells and spice levels.

Serve yourself on a single plate or take a number of small plates. There's plenty of fresh vegetables, raw and cooked. Salted duck eggs hide in the corner for a salty eggy hit.

The range of curries is astounding and outstanding.

The food is Sumatran style nasi padang, as opposed to more of the Indian influenced Malay or nasi kandar styles.

This is all we felt we could fit in, it was so difficult not to get more; plates of cooked greens, possibly cassava or potato leaves in a light coconut sauce, awesome fried onion stuffed fish, green beans and soft cooked eggplant in a chilli sambal or belado style sauce, tempeh and green capsicum or green chilli and a generous serve of rice. 

Once you've made all your selections, grab the guy at the till to tally up and fill out your chit.

Deep fried fish stuffed with sweet cooked onions and deep fried. The onions on the outside spill out and over, they form a crisp garnish for your rice. You have to be fast to grab these, as soon as they are fried they are snaffled.

The unfried onions inside are soft and sweet, a contrast to the super crisp outer fish.

There's a mix of punters here; an older hippie couple filling their plates with veggies, businessmen, well dressed ladies and solo diners. We even heard another Aussie voice in the background.

The International Hotel is at the corner of Jalan A.S. Mansoor and Transfer Road.

We love Penang.

1 comment:

  1. I would have so much trouble just choosing, I'd want a bite of everything!!!



Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).