Hainan Lor Mee Opposite Penang Kuan Yin Teng Temple
Find out why local Penangites love a solid breakfast of gooey Hainanese Lor Mee near the Goddess of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Teng). This carb-laden delicious meal is the iconic pit stop for worshippers at the Taoist temple in Penang.
I feel strangely hungrier in the vicinity of Hai Beng Coffee Shop. Hai Beng Coffee Shop is known locally as Kuan Yin Teng Lor Mee. The corner coffee shop is situated beside the 200-year old Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street, Penang.
This coffee shop started the business in 1957.
Penangite love the taste of this “Korcha Bi” Lor Mee
“Korcha Bi” means the classic taste of food. This is a cherished institution by the senior Penangites. Most will pooh-pooh new street food stalls and not even bother trying any other except for the original shop.
For some families, it’s the third generation chefs cooking the same authentic Hainanese Lor Mee recipes and serving third generation customers.
How to Order Lor Mee like a Boss or Local?
The locals seem to know the shop owners by name. You may be perplexed to hear shop owners and customers greet each other as “Boss” in English or even Hokkien or Mandarin.
The ensuing conversation may go something like this.
A customer walks in and hold-ups 2 fingers and say, “Boss, big one ah.” This means 2 big bowls.
The hawker may nod, or even reply, “Ok Boss.”
This is an endearing Penang trait.
What is Hainan Lor Mee?
Lor mee is a Chinese-inspired yellow noodle dish served in thick starchy gravy very popular with the Hokkiens and Hainanese people in Malaysia and Singapore.
The noodles, Mee are blanched with hot water to heat it through.
The Gooey Starchy Gravy is the Lor!
The deep dark, rich, soy scented thick starchy gravy is not very appetizing to first-timers. The thick starch has a slimy texture and is made with corn-starch, spices and thin streams or ribbons of egg whites.
For flavoring, the gravy has a heady fragrant mix of Penang special five-fragrant spices (ngo hiang).
The fragrance of fried shallots fills the entire shop of the famous Lor Mee stall. You either love it or hate it!
What’s inside a bowl of Lor Mee?
Some customers prefer rice vermicelli instead of yellow noodles. Others may opt for a mix of both.
What’s the taste like?
I love the taste of the thick gravy. The dish is pungent with lashing of lard oil, chili paste, and vinegared garlic taste. The ingredients for topping are braised pork bacon, pork slices, braised ducks eggs, pig’s intestines, and even braised pork skin!
Hai Beng Coffee Shop is the Ultimate Pit Stop of Worshippers
This is a ritual for most worshippers who pray at the Goddess of Mercy Temple. The devotees will drop in to have a bowl of Lor Mee noodle with a cup of kopi O.
What ingredients do I recommend for Lor Mee?
For my brunch, I like my Lor Mee with just yellow noodle, lots of Bean Sprout (Taugeh) and two braised ducks’ egg with sliced lean braised pork. I like extra gravy, lots of fresh vinegared garlic and a splash of homemade chili sauce.
My family will order Lor Mee with extra chewy Pork Skin and other choice ingredients and pay a bit more for additional ingredients. The best toppings are the juicy Lard Crackling (Bak Ewe Pok).
I will have a hot kopi C with my meal. There is a selection of fruit juice and local drinks to try. There’s Nutmeg drink, Pat Poh drink (eight treasures herbal tea), and Keat Poh drink (honey-lime).
In the Lor Mee Shop, a strange phenomenon happens when all is well and eating, slurping away.
No one talks much. Perhaps it’s to prevent that wonderful, flavourful gravy from spilling over lips and chins and dripping over tabletops and handbags.
Or possibly it’s just too delicious to waste time nattering when in the throes of pleasure.
Hai Beng Coffee Shop | 32, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Thursday to Tuesday 9 am–5 pm | Wednesday Closed
There is another Hai Beng Coffee Shop t in Pulau Tikus. The Lor Mee is sold for breakfast and lunch.
Hai Beng Coffee Shop | 3, Jalan Jones, 10250 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Friday to Tuesday 8 am–11 pm | Thursday Closed