Hwa Lam coffee shop or fondly called by the local as ‘kopitiam’ was introduced by my colleague for great taste of Starched Vermicelli Soup (Mee Suah Koh). It is a famous place to get tantalizing Fujian specialties. Among the popular ones are Starched Pork Strips Soup (Bak Kee), Starched Vermicelli Soup (Mee Suah Koh), Fried Starched Noodles (Char Loh Mee) and Fried Flat Noodles (Sar Hor Fan).
Located along the bustling Carnavon Street, Hwa Lam is a single storey corner coffee shop next to Fountain Cafe. There are ample parking places in evening at the entrance of Yeoh Kongsi, situated next to Fountain Cafe.
If you love cooking with vinegar, the anchor stall at Hwa Lam is just perfect for you. A word of warning, the menu displayed is only in Chinese. So if you can’t read Chinese, just ask the friendly bunch of assistants. They are more than happy to help us. The good thing here is there is no hard and fuss rule to divide which stalls you can order from. Even if you sit at Fountain Cafe, the dishes from Hwa Lam can be served to you. The same goes vice versa.
Being the first time here, I was surprised with relatively a huge portion of Starched Vermicelli Soup (Mee Suah Koh) served for one person. It looks tempting, mimicking an imitated shark fin soup served during Chinese wedding reception. Plain at first look but as you stir and scoup, there are strips of fish, some prawns and cabbage. The gravy is made thick with eggs and starch.
Another famous speciality here is Fried Loh Mee. The common Loh Mee elsewhere is served with thick sauce after scalding the yellow noodles. However, the fried starched noodles or ‘Fried Loh Mee’ is obviously fried in special vinegar with prawns, fish strips and cabbages.
For a typical Chinese, soup is always good to be served hot. Starched pork strips or ‘Bak Kee’ is simply perfect if you expect a warm yet light protein meal in the evening. Besides pork, vegetables can be requested to be added to fill up our gastronomical temptation.
These dishes are indeed special and hardly available elsewhere in Penang. Serving hot, they are always great for your dinner in town!
Hwa Lam Coffee Shop
266 Carnavon Street
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Business hours: 6pm – 12am (Close on Tuesday)
Location: Courtesy by Google Map, please click and zoom in: Hwa Lam Kopitiam