My wife and my in-laws are probably going to disagree with me. After the lost-count number of visits that I have made to this charming laid-back town, I have to say that in general, the street foods in Sungei Petani are not great in spite of its proximity to Penang. Except perhaps two. Both, coincidentally are fish noodles.
Along Jalan Kampung Baru in the middle of Sungei Petani town, is a coffee shop named Sin Her Pian (新河邊 - New River Side). Indeed the shop is beside a water way. But I wouldn't call it a river. Perhaps a stream. If I was less generous, I would even call it a big dirty longkang (drain).
A better landmark of this shop is that it is directly opposite the d'Vista Hotel.
In the extension of this corner shop is a fish noodle stall. It is opened only in the morning. At night, the coffee shop is kind of a mini hawker centre. But the fish noodle is not available then.
It is very popular, especially during weekends. When you get there you do not approach them to make your orders. You just find a table and settle down. When it is your turn, the boss lady would come to your table to take your orders. She remembers everything you want - no pen, no paper.
The food is prepared by this boss man. He does so in individual pots over blazing stoves. He is super efficient. The food arrives within minutes of your order.
The fish noodle is delicious. Th soup is clear and flavourful. It is not at all like the fish head noodles we have in the Klang Valley. Here the soup is without hum choy (咸菜- salted vegetable) and without tomato. Thus the soup is not at all sourish. The fish is super fresh. It is cooked with some sawi (菜心- chou sum). You taste the freshness of the fish and the clear sweetness of the soup. It is a wonderful combination.
Most times, I go for the fresh fish. But you could also ask for the fried fish or the combination of both. The boss man is very generous with the serving of fish - a very sizeable portion.
They also serve porridge. Fish porridge of course. But I do not like the look of the broth. More like rice in the fish soup.
Across town, it the northern end of Sungei Petani is a large hawker centre. It is known as Eupe Food Court.
It is a very popular makan place. They are many food stalls in this place offering a big variety of makan makan. The place is clean and conducive.
In the corner of the food court is this curry noodle stall. It is simple named Mee Kari.
This is the place where many local residents are willing to wait a long time for their fix of a good bowl of curry noodles. There is a always a long queue. When I took this shot, I was number 14 in the queue. It took me more than half an hour to reach the front. The queue actually can move quite fast if not for people who order large numbers of tar paus (打包- takeaways).
This busy man is really quite a friendly fellow. When you get to the front, you make your order. He makes your bowl of noodles in a jiffy. He has a couple of ladies to assist him.
He has newspaper cuttings to attest to his popularity.
You have a choice of meat (curry pork ribs) or fresh fish to go with your noodles. I usually go for the fish. The curry is northern (Penang) style - clear gravy with minimum santan (coconut milk). For spiciness and colour, they give you a chilli paste. They normally give you a spoonful, but you can help yourself to as much as you wish.
The curry is superb. The pale listless colour of the curry belies it true flavour. It is really very good. I am a curry mee lover and I have tasted curry mee in a lot of places. This is definitely one of the better ones. The fish is very fresh and generous in portion. Fish is not a common accompaniment for curry mee. This one works very well.
Street food in Sungei Petani is still relatively cheap. The bowls of noodles with all the fresh fish was just RM5.00 each. For the same price, we cannot expect this in the Klang Valley. These 2 stalls are real good value for money.