Sunday, December 20, 2015

Penang - peanut cake at Pulau Tikus market

There is just too much good food at the Pulau Tikus market. There were 2 street vendors there selling peanut cakes, one that prepares all kinds with additional ingredients such as sweet corn and bananas while the other prepares just 2 varieties. I love the peanut one that comes with brown sugar as it has a fragrant caramel taste. These stalls have their regular customers and one just casually drove up in his sports car and asked for his usual 5 that come with brown sugar ! 

Penang fried fritters - Pulau Tikus market

I love fritters - bananas, sweet potatoes, tapioca, cempedek but I've yet to see one that has niangao sandwiched between sweet potato and tapioca. What a brilliant idea ! Niangao is a glutinous rice steam cake mainly eaten during Chinese New Year and it is my favorite sweet item during this special time of the year. To be able to have my favorite niangao in December with two different types of fritters was really tempting. The eight fritters that were already sitting there were already reserved by a customer but the street vendor said he could make me a new batch. This also gave me a chance to see how it was done. A toothpick was used to hold the sweet potato, niangao and tapioca together so that it wouldn't fall apart when it is coated with batter. The toothpick is then removed before it is placed in the hot oil. The fritter is drained of its excess oil and then coated with batter one more time before it is fried again. Double crispy and triple delicious ! 

Penang putu mayam - Pulau Tikus Market

 Penang is like Singapore in the 70s where street food is delicious and ubiquitous ! The Pulau Tikus market had some interesting street vendors such as Uncle Joe whose wife makes putu mayam from an interesting contraption . It was fascinating to see oodles of rice flour oozing down onto the top of a bamboo basket placed above a steamer. A brilliant visual way of steaming that draws in the crowd. I am sure it wouldn't be the same if the putu mayam was placed in a typical steamer with the lid closed. Putu mayam originates from South India and the Indian immigrants that came to Singapore years ago brought this with them. It is mainly eaten for breakfast with grated coconut and brown sugar. These days, you can still get putu mayam in Singapore but most of them are commercially made in factories and wrapped in plastic. It is definitely not the same as freshly steamed putu mayam. Uncle Joe also serves putu piring, little steamed rice flour cakes which contains brown sugar or gula melaka and eaten with grated coconut. Personally I preferred their putu mayam as the best putu piring I've tasted is found in Geylang Serai in Singapore. It all comes down to the softness and fluffiness of the rice flour when it comes down to a good putu piring