I don’t want to do my Canto Pop Part 2 today. I want to do it tomorrow, because tomorrow is Saturday, and I can spend more time indulging in good songs while writing. So today I’ll talk about food again.
Sometimes it is very depressing for people from KL to work in Penang. This is mainly due to the stubbornness of Penang people when it comes to food. Whenever any “outside” Malaysian food franchise attempts to set up shop in this little island, it is very hard for them to garner the necessary amount of support, and they will go bust within a few months or a year. After awhile, not many people from the south of Penang are even bothered to try. As a result, whenever we crave for a taste of our hometown, more often than not, the only solution is to retreat into a corner and cry like a little baby.
Face To Face 面对面 is one of the newer franchises trying to break this trend. Their specialty is the Pan Mee. When they announced their grand opening, the little boy within me rejoiced with all my might. I have a deeper affinity with this franchise than most eateries. This is because I was already a patron when they originally started as a single shop in Jalan Genting Kelang, Setapak. It was one of our favorite lunch spot as TARCians (TAR College students).
For the international readers, Pan Mee means flat noodles. They are sort of like, the pasta of Malaysia. The dough is hand kneaded, and made of flour, egg and water (not sure of the composition). Then they can be either torn into pieces by hand, much like the traditional pasta making ways, or rolled into a specialized machine to create strands of noodles.
Back then, they were cheap. Of course nowadays, as a franchise, the prices have increased. But the taste is still there. I love them to the bits, probably more because of the KL factor and nostalgia factor than because of super awesome taste factor.
Whenever I am not cooking, this is another of my regular hot spot for having my meals. The week when my guest was here, this was one of the places I took her for dinner. This is as authentic a Malaysian food as you can get. Even Wikipedia tells us, Pan Mee is a Malaysian Chinese cuisine, and originated from Malaysia.
Don’t ask me whether this is authentic Sarawak or not, I didn’t even know there is such a dish called Sarawak Bihun. I always thought Sarawak is only famous for kolo mee or kampua mee. But I like this dish, so I’m not bothered about authenticity.
They do sell kolo mee too, but I tried it once and will not try it again. It does not taste authentic. They used dark soy sauce for it.
[EDIT: A friend set me straight on the kolo mee’s authenticity in FB after I published this, thanks 😉 :]
Ribena (grape juice concentrate) mixed with tinned lychee together and the accompanying syrup. Sinfully sweet but super awesome! Of course, I don’t drink this every time I come here. It will be a sure fire way to diabetes! I have this like, once every 5 visits, or once a month.
I know I know, it is bloody expensive for a hawker food level of dish. But I miss the taste of my hometown, and I am desperate. So screw it!
Location? In the same cluster of shops as the pork noodles. Alternatively, you can go try them at their original shop in Setapak, KL. Or their various other branches. Click here for all their locations, addresses and maps.
I am not sure how long they can last. I think they are as of now, doing barely adequate business, but if I have to judge based on their promotion’s success, I don’t feel hopeful. They have a daily thing called [The 100th customer of the day eats for free] and the photos of the customers are posted on their FB page. That 100th customer always happen at night. Even assuming that they rake in an average of RM 40 per customer (they count 1 bill as 1 customer, 3 people dining together is considered 1 customer too), that would place them with a revenue of maybe RM 5000 per day, which is NOT a great deal as restaurants go.
If I am the restaurant owner, I would not pin too much hope on a restaurant business of such figures. Hopefully the real owner would not think like me, or I would soon end up having to cry in my little corner again…