I was first brought to Padang Brown Hawker Centre back in the 1960s by my father - during one of the Penang holidays when old British-Malayan civil servants meet up and exchange war stories over glorious Penang hawker food. Those were the days.
Incredulous as this may sound - they were actually also complaining about deterioration of hawker food tastes even then! One of my Dad's best friend, an old Scotsman (like David Brown, after whom Padang Brown was named) was bemoaning that the Indian pasembor did not taste as good as those from 1950s! :-D
Yeah, sure. But I'm glad to report that the hawker food I had at Padang Brown today was at least as good, if not actually better than those I had at Padang Brown in the past four decades or so. Food stalls still clustered in two arching rows around an obelisk built in the memory of David Brown(1778–1825), an early adventurer/planter and, at one time, the largest landowner in Penang.
What we had:
- Yong tau fu: Penang's version included my all-time fave item - pig's blood!!! We can't get these in Singapore nowadays as the Ministry of Nanny-ing the People thinks present-day Singaporeans' digestive system cannot accomodate pig's blood ;-)
- Popiah: Come here for the quintessential Penang-style popiah, with lots of fresh crabmeat in the filling, and drenched with the savory gravy from the boiled turnips and pork/shrimps. Best I'd ever had!
- Penang "char koay teow" - another fantastic version here and, at RM3.50, a fraction of the cost of the famous, ultra-snooty Lorong Selamat's one.
- Penang curry mee - um, not as good as those from other places. Skip this one here in Pedang Brown.
- Fresh coconut water - served chilled, topped with coconut flesh.
It's good to be "home" :-)
Padang Brown Hawker Centre
Anson Road, Perak Road & Dato' Keramat Road