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Ka Bee Cafe, Penang

Ka Bee Cafe, Penang

Ka Bee Café in Weld Quay, Penang is said to serve one of the best tom yam noodles in Penang Island, a claim that got me excited and eager to pay them a visit. The shoplot is small and basic, but it is what they offer on the menu that matters – piping hot bowls of noodles and rice porridge, customizable according to one’s preference.


Old school coffeeshop


Deep fried items — mantis prawns and fried fish pieces

English isn’t spoken much here; you have to rely mostly on Hokkien or Mandarin, both I happen to be hopeless at. But perseverance gets me somewhere and in this case, it yielded me piping hot bowls of tom yam and fish noodles. The former was really good stuff – spicy, sour and relatively thick, with a good aroma from the kaffir leaves.


Tom yam noodles with deep fried mantis prawns and fried fish pieces


Instant noodles, cooked just right

I added fried fish pieces, deep fried mantis prawns, fish balls and pork balls into the tom yam. You get a few choices of noodles such as vermicelli, yellow noodles, kuay teow and instant noodles – the instant noodles seemed to be a crowd favourite and rightly so. This was cooked just right so the texture was still springy.


Fish noodle soup


Fresh fish slices

The fish noodle soup was also good stuff, where the broth was sweet from the stock and fish slices. I liked how they add deep fried garlic and oil, as this gave the dish a lovely aroma and flavour. The couple at the next table had a bowl of rice porridge which looked and smelt terrific, so I ordered one to try.


Rice porridge


With minced pork and fish slices for extra flavour

For this, I asked for minced pork and fish slices and it turned out to be a good choice. Both rif and I aren’t fans of porridge but Ka Bee’s version was delicious from the addition of meat, fish and fried garlic bits. I wouldn’t mind having this again and maybe, with some large prawns for more oomph.


Made to order

The bill wasn’t cheap though – the tomyam noodles came up to RM11.50 per bowl while the other two items were priced at RM9 each. That said, it was a good lunch and one I wouldn’t mind having when I’m in Penang again. :)

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Ambiance: 5.5/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 7.5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: I found the noodles pretty good, especially the tomyam. Give this a try when you’re at Weld Quay, but be prepared to fork out a sum if you opt for premium items.

Ka Bee Café
9A, Seh Chiew Jetty,
Weld Quay, George Town,
Business hours: 11am-2.30pm, 5pm-10.30pm
(close Sunday)

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Chuan Lee Restaurant, Petaling Jaya

Chuan Lee Restaurant, Petaling Jaya

Chuan Lee Restaurant in Petaling Jaya has a good variety of hawker stalls that operate during the day. Come night time, the place serves “tai chow” dishes, which I have yet to try. rif and I have always been a fan of hawker food and to us, discovering a new hawker spot proves more pleasurable that checking out the latest café scenes in town.


Lunch crowd

On a Sunday afternoon, Chuan Lee was packed with customers so do expect to share a table with strangers during peak hours. The lady we shared a table with was chatty and engaging, warning us about the “very grumpy” char kuay teow uncle at the corner of the coffeeshop.


Char Kuay Teow

He was indeed, rather grumpy. But that didn’t stop me from placing an order because the man at the next table looked very happy with his plate of char kuay teow. Plus, it smelt terrific from where I was seated.


Good stuff

True enough, the noodles were good stuff. Slightly wettish compared to the usual Penang style char kuay teow, this had a strong dose of wok hei and the seasoning was well distributed. I also liked that he was generous with the prawns. If you’re willing to look past the uncle’s grumpy nature, you will be rewarded with a plate like mine.


Pork noodles

Like the char kuay teow stall, the pork noodle stall had a good stream of customers so we ordered one to try. It was pretty decent but I wasn’t as bowled over about this as I was with the char kuay teow. The soup was clear but flavourful enough to satisfy a pork lover’s need for a porcine broth.


Flavourful broth

I did however wish it was sweeter and murkier. Just a preference, I reckon, for rif found this quite alright. The man sharing a table with us ordered one with extra “liu” and it looked much better (not to mention more decadent) than mine.


Shredded chicken and prawn noodles

We also ordered the shredded chicken and prawn noodles, better known as “kai si hor fun” by many. This was nothing to shout about – the broth lacked sweetness and aroma, which didn’t add much flavour to the rice noodles.


I found the broth lacking

The chee cheong fun stall and nasi lemak stall was also pretty popular among customers so that warrants a revisit sometime in the near future. But I’m definitely having the char kuay teow again. Note that the coffeeshop can be pretty stuffy during the day so do dress accordingly.

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Ambiance: 5.5/10
Price: 6/10
Food: 6/10 (non halal)
Verdict: While I wasn’t as impressed with the pork noodles and kai si hor fun, the char kuay teow is pretty good stuff. Try it!

Chuan Lee Restaurant
5, Jalan Bukit 11/2,
Seksyen 11, 46200
Petaling Jaya,

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Golden Kim Wah, Damansara Kim

Golden Kim Wah, Damansara Kim

I’ve been huge fan of Robert Char Kuay Teow ever since I first tried it in 2007. That was in Say Huat Coffeeshop, Section 17 and it has become my regular char kuay teow spot ever since. rif and I were around the neighbourhood when we saw another Robert Char Kuay Teow stall at Restoran Golden Kim Wah in Damansara Kim.


Most popular stall at Golden Kim Wah

We knew immediately that this was going to be our lunch venue. The queue is long during peak hours and once you place an order, you’re given a number to place on your table. Waiting time averages between 15 minutes to half an hour, depending on the crowd. We got our char kuay teow after half an hour.


The man in action

From the article displayed at the stall, I learnt that the guy manning Robert Char Kuay Teow is actually Robert’s brother in-law, Ah Chu. Robert himself is based in Golden Kim Wah, and I guess I was lucky that he did the cooking that afternoon. The char kuay teow looked delicious, served on a banana leaf and with slivers of lap cheong, cockles and pork lard bits.


Robert Char Kuay Teow at Golden Kim Wah


Lap cheong slices are a must in char kuay teow

Tastewise, I found this fairly decent but I still prefer the one from Say Huat. The latter has a better char flavour and the lap cheong slices are crispier. Not sure if it’s due to the large crowd, but this one didn’t have enough wok hei so it wasn’t as aromatic as I liked it to be. That said, Robert was pretty generous with the lap cheong and cockles, so those added flavour to the noodles.


Curry Laksa


Moderately thick, spicy and rich broth

While waiting for the char kuay teow, we tried the pork ball noodles and also the curry laksa – both seemed quite popular with the lunch crowd at Golden Kim Wah. I thought the curry laksa was not too bad. The broth was adequately thick and rich with enough spiciness to tickle the tastebuds. It came with tender pieces of tofu puffs, curry chicken and cockles.


Pork Ball Noodles (dry)

I didn’t care much for the pork ball noodles though. The dry version lacked flavour and had to be eaten with chopped cili padi and soy sauce. I did like the liver sausage it came with – savoury, slightly pungent and very addictive. Good thing they gave me two large slices.


Savoury mince with liver sausage

All in, I thought lunch was pretty good. While I would still go back to Say Huat or Frankie for my char kuay teow fix, it’s good to discover new places every now and then.

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Ambiance: 5.5/10
Price: 6.5/10
Food: 6/10 (non halal)
Verdict: While the char kuay teow is decent, I would still go back to Robert at Say Huat. Good variety of stalls though.


Golden Kim Wah

Restoran Golden Kimwah
Jalan SS20/11,
47400 Petaling Jaya,

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