Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hameed Pata Mee Sotong – Fiery treat

No. 6, Kota Selera, Padang Kota Lama, 10200, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

This is a long-overdue first post on good eats from my home town of Penang.

I always thought the first post on Penang food would be about char koay teow, but it turns out this post will be about a very special mamak mee goreng instead.

Did I say ‘special’? I meant ‘spicy’. Really spicy.

Hameed’s is a unique mee goreng stall located at the food court next to Fort Cornwallis.

I got a sense that this stall is special as I approached the decrepit-looking food court. Only two stalls are still operating in it. And there’s a long line of people patiently queueing to order from one of them: Hameed’s.

Though Hameed cooks his mee goreng quite fast, cranking them out by the wokful, the wait can be fairly long because each person in the queue is likely to order multiple plates or packets.

As the line inches forward, I had time to observe on the hugely contrasting scene behind the counter, where Hameed’s assistants scurry about at a breakneck pace, furiously chopping ingredients and plating noodles.

Then I get to the front of the line and nervously ask whether it’s okay to get mine without taugeh. Surprise, surprise, instead of yelling at me and telling me to get lost, they accomodate my request. Primadonna hawker he certainly isn’t.

My noodles cooked, an assistant ladled a generous helping of sambal sotong on top and hand me my plateful of fiery-red deliciousness. Maybe they don’t yell because all their anger and aggression has been channeled into the noodles.

No time to think about that – it’s time to eat! A squeeze of lime and a quick mix, and now for some fire-eating fun!

The sambal sotong has a nice amount of heat, and an overall flavour that’s actually quite complex. The noodles are firm and tasty, with good amounts of cubed potatoes, fritters, fried shallots and various other ingredients. Mixed together, it makes for a very good plate of mee goreng that packs a great deal more kick than any other one I’ve had.

I love spicy food and have a fairly high eat tolerance, so to me it wasn’t all that spicy. But I’ve seen people turn red and sweat buckets eating this so be careful when eating this if you can’t take spicy food. Maybe have a glass of teh ais ready.

Or, if tea gives you insomnia like it does to Lady Fartsalot... a nice, refreshing glass of coconut water.

Speaking of drinks, the other stall operating at the food court is a drinks stall right next to Hameed. It’s doing really well thanks to people desperately needing something to put out the fires that Hameed started in their mouths. A lot of people recommend a coconut shake (actually, it’s coconut water and flesh with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top) from this stall to cool the heat of the mee sotong. Sounds interesting, but since I don’t like floats, I never tried it.

I normally don’t bother with drinks, though. More room for a second plateful of mee sotong!

This is the stall, just to make sure you go to the right one.

Snack-sized review
Unique mamak mee goreng stall with very spicy sambal sotong on top. Mix well and enjoy a delicious mee goreng that’s unlike any other, with a real powerful kick. Be prepared to queue.

Hours: Noon to 8pm. Closed on Sundays.
Price: RM4 for a regular plateful of mee sotong. RM6 for extra sotong. I prefer the balance of flavours of the regular mee sotong, somehow.
Variations: They also serve a mee rebus version with the sambal sotong. Or regular mee goreng and mee rebus… but why would anyone go to Hameed’s and bother with those?
Location: I would like to point out that the correct food court is next to Fort Cornwallis. There is another, newer one at the other end of the Penang Esplanade. Don’t go to that one.

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