We've been in Malaysia for a few days now, but we're still reeling from the amazing food onslaught that was Penang. We arrived in the mid afternoon, when Georgetown is hot and sleepy. I was eager to get out and eat, but not unreasonably, a lot of the street food focuses on actual mealtimes, rather than being ready to feed foreigners at random moments of the day. So, we pootled around looking at the city's truly gorgeous shophouse architecture until Mr Lemur called time on our mad dogs and Englishmen perambulations and we went back to our hotel for a siesta. (Our hotel, by the way, was the fantastic Campbell House, about which more later. Seriously, if you go to Georgetown, you should really stay there.) Anyway, we didn't quite have our bearings yet in terms of navigating the city, so we didn't want to stray far for dinner. I had a long list of food ideas, but the only one very close to our hotel was the wonderfully named Sky Emperor Chicken Feet Kway Teow Soup on Lebuh Kimberley. Come on, how could you not want to eat at something called Sky Emperor Chicken Feet?
The stall was easily found, one of a handful of hawker carts around the corner of Kimberley and Cintra. I bought one plate of chicken feet and a bowl of chicken soup for the slightly more squeamish Mr Lemur. Honestly, I'm very lucky to have married a man who doesn't balk at weird food down alleys. I cut him some slack on the feet.
The chicken feet were a thing of great beauty. Ok, kind of abject beauty, but still. The stall is famous for its soy braise, and you can supposedly get less challenging chicken parts in the same braise, though I didn't look too hard for those. Now, I know lots of people can't get behind chicken feet. Let's face, it a small part of me was cackling as we took these pictures to imagine the horror on the face of veggie Lemur pal the Geek Goddess. (She enjoys it, really…) But once you get past their appearance, these extremities were sweet and deeply savoury, with all the depth of flavour a chicken can provide merged with umami soy. Plus, of course, the melt-in-the-mouth gelatinous texture that comes with feet. Mr Lemur allowed that they were delicious, but he could only manage a couple, so I snarfed down most of the plate.
They also sold us a bowl of these chicken noodles, which were very pleasing. These people know their chicken.
Also busy was the man selling char kway teow, so we had to have a bowl of that. It smelled delicious, of course, with roasty scents emerging from that giant wok. Just one bowl, though, because we were still nursing our Singapore food hangover.
This is where the Singapore vs Penang food battle begins, I guess. The chicken feet were easily the equal of anything we ate down South, but there's no direct competition there. With the char kway teow, though, we have a basis for comparison. Aaand…the judges were mixed. Mr Lemur preferred this one, deeming it more complex in flavour and yet somehow lighter. I preferred Chomp Chomp's darker version, which was more charred, and with what I'm guessing to be the siren song of the blood cockle.
Still, the night belonged to the Sky Emperor Chicken Feet. It was the perfect introduction to the eating frenzy that lay ahead.