Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Malaysia Food Blog - Bali-bali Cafe - curry mee

Location: Sungai Dua (near USM), Penang Isle

Being from Ipoh, the taste and ingredients of curry mee in Penang, and even the way it is served, is definitely a new for me. As it was voted as the number 5 must-eat hawker food when one visits Penang (Visit Penang website), you can hardly find a spot which does not have a stall dedicated to this spicy dish. When a new curry mee stall was set up in the food spot I frequented, I thought: just another curry mee...

What surprised me was that, for a stall so ordinary and so less mentioned (try Google it...), it does serve with an extraordinary taste. In my years in Penang, I sampled numerous curry mees and this is still one of my favourite.

Unlike curry mee in other states, the Penang version is usually served with pale white curry soup, earning its namesake "white curry mee", accompanied with reddish chili paste in a spoon. Most outlanders will find this unusual and requests for another spoon, and leave the chili paste filled spoon aside, which of course leaves the curry bland and tasteless... Most white curry mee soups are coconut-milk based, hence the pale color, and chili paste is added to give the spicy taste, so practically you are not savouring curry mee without adding in the latter.

A bowl of curry mee, served in pale white curry, accompanied with chili paste. Please add the latter in for taste, instead of putting it aside...

I believe the overlooked stall in Bali-bali cafe is a godsend for Sungai Dua residents; at least it is for me. The bowl is just spicy enough for the not-so-brave, but the main reason I find it special is that it contains a slight sweet taste, a sensation I rarely encounter from curry mee. The sweetness is subtle, and I believe the main contributor is the cockle, as it is similar to that familiar taste from seafood stock. Fish balls, prawns, coagulated pig's blood and tau pok all contribute as the main ingredients, along with mint leaves to bring out the flavour.

The bowl comes in either normal portion or large portion, costing RM3.00 and RM3.50 respectively, which is comparable with curry mee from other stalls on the isle. The hawker center is located nearby Sungai Dua Tesco Extra, and can be approached either from the direction of Sungai Nibong bus center or from N-park.

Suitable for:            usual lunch and dinner
Cost:                             affordable

Contact:                     none
Address:                     nearby Sungai Dua Tesco Extra
Operating hours:  started operating at 11 a.m., usually sold out around 8 - 9 p.m.
Parking:                     Parking is around the area, but is usually quite packed

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