Yet another "legendary" place in Penang, I had to visit the old lady who's been churning out bowls for decades.
The food is delicious, it takes a few sips to get used to the intense flavour, but when you do you'll be addicted.
Not technically a broth-laden bounty of goodness, but noodles-egg-meat -spring onions is enough in my book.
Wrestling with an insane line of locals gathering at their watering-hole, I stood patiently until it was my turn, ordered the spicy version and sat down to feast. Truly truly exceptional. This had a severe chilli kick to it that I adored, the noodles were "al dente" and the mixture with the broken egg yolk was rich, flavoursome and luxurious. I can see why the locals slurp this up.
The promise of Malaysian-ramen wafted through the computer screen. Pan Mee? With bacon? And egg? Sign me up. I followed the grab driver all the way to this small shopfront, walked in, people turned and looked at me in that odd "what the hell is he doing here" way, ordered, sat down and sipped on my ice-coffee.
Of all the bowls of late this wasn't the best, or the worst. The broth was decent, but definitely encouraged greater respect after dumping some chilli paste in. The noodles were pretty standard, the "bacon" was a salty addition and the egg held a deep Chinese spice marinade which was quite delicious.
Overall not a meal that you should smash down the doors to enjoy, but definitely worth trying if you have the time and stomach space.
Physically hindered by a buggered ankle, I spent a couple days longer than planned in Ipoh. As soon as it was on the mend I booked a bus ticket to the small town of Taiping, barely an hour away. Due diligence lead me to the 7 Villages Noodle House to try their famous Kuay Tiao.
It was raining (duh!), so I caught a cab. Settled in at the front outdoor section where I could watch the rain dropping like plump drunk flies. A super bowl of noodle soup was placed down before me. To my utter joy they had a delicous ginger-chili sauce on the table to kick things up a notch. This was a cross between a beef noodle soup and a chicken Pho, slippery noodles, consomme style clear broth, fish balls and a few chunks of shredded chicken thrown in for shits and giggles.
With belly full and smile intact (temporarily) I walked out into the rain and waited for my return cab under the sky instead of shelter.
My feet are a venerable fuck-fest when it comes to problems with my achilles, soles of the feet, arches, anything that goes really. It's been a real bone of contention (pun intended) for quite a few years now, and sometimes leaves me almost immobile which is fine if you have someone to fend for you, but quite problematic when you travel alone. Today the ankle struck!
I managed to hobble down the stairs at the hotel, slide into a taxi, head to a cafe to quell the caffeine pangs. Then set about searching for food within immediate vicinity. Lo and behold! A ramen spot, 25 meters away! I had to do it, for medical reasons.
Mad Ramen was visited, a bowl of black garlic tonkotsu broth ordered, green tea swilled, locale peered at. Bowl came, photos were taken, spoons dipped in, smiles returned to faces, pain momentarily forgotten, and the dance of the firm noodles took centre stage for a few hushed moments.
It's not every day I have a smoked duck ramen. Sitting alone in my hotel room in Ipoh feeling listless and full of regret, I scoured the internet for places to eat. This popped up on quite a few blogs with glowing reviews. 4.5 km away? Grab taxi! No problem. I managed to get there just before closing so I could eat in complete solitude, extra point already!
The noodles were soba, but solid. The broth was delicious and deep. The duck was pink and wonderfully smoked. The egg was quite good.
I am honestly shocked to find such high quality ramen in a small city in Malaysia, but as the past has taught me... discount nowhere or no-one!
The eternal search for perfection means you have to take a few for the team. Today, thankfully, was not one of those days.
I despise shopping malls more than then idea of hell or purgatory. In fact, if either of those concepts existed they probably are shopping malls with no exits. Today I was forced into Pavillion with it's rows of designer goods, horny shoppers gushing at the sight of a handbag, husbands dragged along swearing under their breaths at the potential carnage their mastercard will endure, kids screaming and protesting on escalators turning the entire cathedral of shit into a ringing tinnitus dagger. Thankfully there were no kids at the ramen spot.
I dug in my heels and ordered their signature bowl (with an egg). Shio Ramen is not something I order too frequently, but if its done right it can be delicious. This bowl was a touch on the bland side, though the pork, noodles and egg were all spot on. It was one of those experiences where the more you eat the more bored your palate gets instead of continuing to want to attack from different angles.
I paid and left, and hurried to the exit, and spilled out on open streets with more families with more screaming kids and idiots on their cellphone heading straight for collisions unless YOU move out of the way..... the future of the world is over. We are doomed.
Battling against the sweltering heat, pearls of sweat peeling off tanning skin, walking down dark alleyways until Madras Lane opens up like an oasis offering treats for the soul. Find the stall with the green bowls, order a curry laksa, pay the old lady grinning soul, occupy a chair of further intense heatspots, try to remain conscious whilst slurping down delicious broth and noodles and cockles and beans and all sorts of other hidden goodnesses. Wipe away sweat collecting above brow, replace sunglasses in victory proclamation, push plastic stool back into previous position, walk out into furnace and pray the AC was left on in the hotel room, buy a can of cold coffee and press it against your veins in a form of cooling repentance.
Gargantuan hopes of another ramen gem are chased with gusto. Grab Taxi's summoned, whisked off past blurred architecture, vapid skies bereft of rain, transcendental bowing trees. Ramen bowl purchased, interiors examined with judgemental eyes, broth sipped, spoon reset, noodles tamed and tempered, pork attacked with incisors but hastily dropped back into murky pond of tasteless soup. Disappointment. Utter wreckless display of japanese engineering. Sadness becomes me. I flitter off into regret.
The quest to find a decent bowl of ramen in every country on earth.