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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joo Hooi Cafe @ Penang

I went for the Penang Marathon last year and had a chance to explore the food heaven in Penang, and of course the main mission is to find the best famous Laksa in town. KL people call Laksa as Assam Laksa and Curry as Curry Laksa, not sure why.

My parents brought me to Penang since I'm kid and the taste of the delicious Laksa still linger around my mind after such a long time. Ipoh also do have some nice Laksa around, but still the Penang Laksa give me the deepest impression. Where is the best Laksa in Penang? I think no one will argue that if it's not the Laksa serves in Joo Hooi Cafe. There are different opinions, but no one will argue it's not good. Let's see.

Joo Hooi Cafe occupied the corner shoplot at the cross road of Lebuh Keng Kwee and Jalan Penang. It's not easy to miss it as you will see a big crowd of people surrounding the small store beside the road.

The name of the shop? Penang Road Laksa. Either name, people recognise and will know how to direct you. That bowl of laksa is what you want to bring home. They doesn't seems to be very busy, true, because they serves very fast!

A good nice bowl of Penang Laksa with a spoon of delicious shrimp paste. A simple way to identify if the Laksa is good, check out if they give you the shrimp paste. If they mixed it up before serving you, it's probably not a good shop. The serving is relatively small, and it won't fit your normal lunch portion nicely and it's ok, consider they only charge you RM3 for each bowl. I like it, not like those Char Kuey Teow fellow that starting to charge outrageous price for a plate.

Come into ingredients, some people don't like it because the ingredients alone will easily match up amount of noodles they put in, but that's how Laksa suppose to be eaten. Ingredients includes lemongrass, onion, mint leaf, pineapple slice, chilli, galangal, and of course the mackarel as well. When it's all mixed together, it's really nice especially the great sour laksa soup. Take it as snack between meals, you won't be full anyway.

A view of the cafe and it's really packed with small tables & small chairs. Those little partition at the side is what you will see in those old cafe like 50 years ago. Incredible good experience. Anything on the wall is also easily older than you. The place is surprisingly well ventilated but with a good laksa bowl, you will sweat nevertheless.

For visiting the Joo Hooi Cafe, there is no way you will miss the special Cendol served beside the cafe. It's so good that crowd will start to pack up and you will be attracted to it to find out what's the big deal there.

It's called the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul, a really long name. However, don't mistaken it as the other stall as along the Lebuh Kwee Keng, there are two chendul stalls just right opposite each other. I heard that their are rivals and the one beside the Joo Hooi Cafe is much better, I'm not risking it as I couldn't wallop two bowl of Chenduls.

A small road side stall but have 4-5 people working serving Chendul and Ais Kacang to the customer. They are working really fast and lots of people will normally order and eat beside the stall. When the crowd build up, it can be really messy and you will have problem getting near to the stall without getting a few drip of Chendul. Crazy, so advice is to get into Joo Hooi Cafe, order a good bowl of Laksa and order the Chendul in the cafe instead. Enjoy your Chendul there and leave. It's allow!

The famous Chendul that people talking about. I personally don't think there is a big deal with their Chendul. There is a special taste on their Chendul, which they added something into it giving a different taste, but I'm not sure what is it. If you are not sensitive, then you probably won't notice it. I think it's Teochew taste =) Anyway this bowl will cost you RM1.70 and there are better Chendul out there like the one in Klang. I will blog about it when got chance. Anyhow it's a good bowl of ice to cool you down after a hefty laksa.

Conclusion, this place has been drawing crowd since it's open 60+ years ago and no reason for them to stop and no reason for you not to visit them. It's one of the best, if not best, no doubt. It's one of my must visit whenever I'm in Penang. Cheap & good food is always my best friend =)

Joo Hooi Cafe
475 Penang Road
Opening time: 12.00pm to 5.30pm (closed on wednesday)
Location Coordinate: N5 25.027 E100 19.835


aunheng said...


KVINLIM said...

yo what? let's go coming saturday =)

asknomster said...

Went there last weekend. Always enjoy the bowl of asam laksa! I have linked this post to . You can continue linking ur other food post @ . Hope to see you soon! =)

Anonymous said...

Just to share, the bowl you order to bring into the cafe is different from the actual famous cendol (as they use Blue bowl). I notice this as I saw the serving girl head to the other stall to bring the cendol into the cafe. ;) Just tot you like to know this... Personally, I prefer the orange bowl to the blue.

KVINLIM said...

chuletz, i got the orange bowl if you notice. and I'm having it in the cafe. maybe you order from another person.

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