When I first heard of the comical name Fatty Loh (大肥罗), it was because my colleagues said that it is one of the must-visit shops for chicken rice enthusiasts. His name resounds throughout my colleagues, and by chance I managed to visit the shop in a sunny afternoon when I drove past the street. And what do you know, if you read its logo carefully, it does say "Penang's Most Famous Chicken Rice".
Chicken rice may not be any extraordinary dish for Malaysians, but it is not easy to find a decent one anywhere. With stalls sprouting anywhere a shop is located like mushrooms after the rain, the dish is enough to satisfy one's belly but not one's taste buds. For this shop, they serve enough to satisfy both.
The venue itself is actually a combination of 2 heritage shophouses, with one of them air-conditioned to ward off the average Malaysian heat. A few tables lined the corridor to increase the number of people that can be seated. The interior of the shop is nothing to boast about as it is only scarcely decorated, but it does give one a sense of the life led by the Penangans in the early 20th century.
Although the shop was named with the term "chicken rice", other dishes are available as well. The usual Chinese cooked dishes and a variety of soups are all within the choice offered by the waitress, so if you would like to get other dishes to serve along with the meaty dishes ordered from the stall outside, the kitchen is more than happy to serve your appetite for more. Well, both the stall outside and the kitchen inside are owned by the same owner anyway...
The shop is visible on the right when one enters Nagore Street, a place known for the heritage shops housing hidden treasures for the food hunters.
The Rice, the Meat and the Sauce
Although I often ordered chicken rice or its other meaty cousins (like barbecued pork or roast pork), I am not usually satisfied with the quality. While I am not enough of a food expert to advice on food recipe, I do look for certain qualities in my chicken rice: the rice, the meat and the sauce.
The rice here is fluffy and fragrant. It parts easily when you dive your spoon in, exactly the kind of rice that I like, unlike some rice which I experienced in the past that is quite sticky and gave me the impression of digging through gluey starch. I am not familiar with how the rice is cooked or prepared, but "oily rice" (油饭) is the usual rice to go with for chicken rice. It is different from the bland white rice, as this tanned rice is in itself flavored and nice to be consumed even without the aid of other dishes or sauce. If you are interested in the way it is prepared, this may be a good reference: Wikipedia on hainanese chicken rice
The array of dishes which we ordered for a simple lunch. It is not obvious from the picture on the quality of rice, and one needs to dig in to truly appreciate it.
Of course, a chicken rice would not be complete without the chicken... For the unfamiliar, a chicken rice stall also sells a few other different kinds of meat. The usual choice will include roasted or steamed chicken, roasted duck, roasted pork and barbecued pork; some offers Chinese sausages as well, but not all do.
A dish of roasted chicken, and another with a mixture of roasted pork and barbecued pork. The roasted pork is especially tasty, with a very crunchy skin.
I was served with the winged portion of the roasted chicken, so I could not get a good taste of it, with not much meat on the dish. On the other hand, the barbecued pork and roasted pork are very good. The barbecued pork does not have the usual charred taste to it, and the roasted pork has a crunchy skin. These may not sound very extraordinary, but I am sad to point out that something as simple as this is not usually encountered in the usual stalls in a neighbourhood.
The dish of pork mixture is not served with any sauce, but the chicken was served with a sauce mixture that I believe includes soy sauce and the usual sauce that was served with chicken rice. There is nothing much to say about this, but again this is not what you can always get from the average stall. An additional thing to note on is the vegetable served along with each dish. The onion stalks and sliced cucumbers are fresh, especially for the latter which do not taste soury at all, which is quite rare for me. I dislike the sliced cucumbers from the usual stalls mostly because most of them serve soury cucumbers that are not fresh at all.
All in all, there are 3 things that I am quite satisfied with: the rice, the pork mixture and the side vegetables that were served. The rest are nothing to scream about, but again, the point here is that the average stall is so dissatisfying that makes this shop an above average choice in my mind. The price though is a bit extraordinary - the chicken rice (that's chicken + rice) is RM5.00 and the pork mixture with rice is RM9.00. The meat in the dish is much more than the average stall, so I guess I am not complaining on the price, but do be prepared not to be surprised by the price though.
Suitable for: usual lunch and dinner
Website: Fatty Loh facebook
Address: 77 & 79 Nagore Road, Nagore Place, 10050 Penang (behind Royal Hotel)
Operating hours: (Wed - Mon) 9.30a.m. - 9.00p.m.
Parking: Parking is available along the street, but can be quite packed sometimes; New World Park is just around the corner, one can park there as well
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