Buddha knows that it can be difficult to get good hawker food at not-too-ridiculous prices in PJ. Of course there are corner kopitiams galore, but not all their food are tasty. Sometimes the emphasis on availability compromises the quality, especially when you have non-locals doing the cooking. Sorry if I’m biased, but I firmly believe that there is no way a Vietnamese/ Cambodian/ Burmese etc can cook great tasting local food. Edible and acceptable perhaps, but it won’t be anywhere near to what and how some of us know it.
That was why one of my favourite restaurants was Lorong Seratus Tahun in SS2. Lorong Seratus Tahun is a famous lane in Penang where one could get your favourite Penang fare. I’ve never been there, but it’s quite well-known. Granted, the LST in SS2 may have lifted the namesake for popularity purposes, but they have good tasting food. Lots of people go there for the curry mee and proclaim it to be delicious. I don’t know since I’m not a fan of curry mee. But I loved their char kuey teow, which I think is the closest to what Penang has to offer in PJ. Other food items in LST SS2 that I’ve tried were pretty delicious as well.
Lorong Seratus Tahun SS2 underwent a renovation, probably wanted a facelift to bring in more customers. Fair enough. Last week we decided to go there for lunch post-renovation. It was not bad, though it resembles any Old Town franchise. New tables, new chairs, new uniforms and a new menu with uninspiring copy, some lifted off Wikipedia (I checked). New prices as well, up by RM1.50 – RM2.00 depending on what you want. We knew what we wanted and placed our orders quickly.
While waiting for the food, we re-examined the menu. To our horror, the cover of the menu says, “PORK FREE”.
You “CAN” have pork-free Penang Chinese food. You can call it whatever you want actually, it will just be an oxymoron. Coming from someone who consumes pork, have been to Penang and consumed Penang fare, it will not taste anywhere remotely the same as Penang Chinese food. You can also make nasi lemak by immersing the rice with soy milk instead of santan. You can have char siew rice with vegetarian char siew. Whatever floats your boat, right?
But changing from pork-friendly to pork-free in the same restaurant selling the same food items? The char kuey teow I ordered was not nice at all. By removing the lard and lap cheong (Chinese sausage), they also added in extra chilli (when I didn’t ask for it to be spicier) which made it quite difficult to eat. It was also slightly wet, about 75% away from being kuey teow basah. It also costed RM7+.
I am just expressing my shock and disappointment here. As I said, LST SS2 used to be one of my favourite restaurants. Perhaps they will have a huge boost of clientèle after the renovation – good for them but this customer’s out of the picture.
Also blogged: KY