The Daily Roar

Stewed Duck Noodles and Duck Congee

Good food knows no bounds. One example is a stall owner now turned shop owner.
My mother first introduced me to this stall while I was still staying on the mainland. This dish is called “lor ack” in Hokkien or broiled duck stew and a specialty for the Chinese Teo Chew clan. Let me shed some light on my family line. China is a big country and when my Chinese forefathers came and settled in Malaysia, these early settlers came from different parts of China. My mother’s side is from Canton (Kwangtung) and she speaks Cantonese. My father’s family is from the Teo Chew clan and I remember speaking Teo Chew with my paternal grandmother.

Stewed duck is whole duck boiled in blue ginger and sugar, mixed with dark soya sauce for a couple of hours. The meat and intestines are boiled together in the stew. This is to make the meat tender and soft. Duck meat is served either with congee, noodles, or “koay chiap,” a type of rice cake. This dish alone has many other side condiments like stewed duck gizzards and liver, pork intestine, hard boiled eggs, fried bean curd or taukua, and even pork belly.

This particular hawker stall was located in a coffee shop in Carnarvon Street, Penang. The stall owner serves stewed duck and duck noodle soup or koay teow th’ng in Hokkien. We had duck noodle soup and I remember then that business was brisk in the morning. I did not visit this stall again until one day, my mother told me that the stall operator had moved out and was no longer at Carnarvon Street. Surprised, I asked her if she knew where the stall owner moved to.

She said, “113 Malay Street, just off Carnarvon Street. They bought a shop there.”
I was now really surprised. I wanted to see the shop for myself. We hopped into the car and went along Prangin Street. We passed Carnarvon Street at the intersection and went down a little bit more and turned left into Fish Lane and then another left into Malay Street. Gone are the days when we could drive directly into a street or road. Penang has a lot of one way streets now and I have to get used to it these days. I understand why the city traffic police have to implement one-way streets. Penang streets are narrow and it is difficult to accommodate heavy two-way traffic.
We found the shop. Mother said the shop number is 113 and true enough, a sign board displayed at the front of the shop said “113.” We couldn’t miss it. It was the only shop at the end of the block with stewed duck displayed on the stall.


There was reflection when I took the photo of the stewed ducks.
The interior of the shop says it all.

Malay Street has many shops and houses built before I was born. The street has other businesses like a frozen food distributor, a stationery shop, but only one coffee shop selling stewed duck. As far back as I can remember Malay Street used to flood when heavy rains came but now, I seldom hear about this.

The wall signage tells you the shop number “113” The serving time on the wall clearly informs customers what a customer can order. I found this to be true. I can only get congee and “koay chiap” from 11.30am onwards. However, I can get the side dishes or appetizers when the stall owner puts the items on display.

These are the dishes that were served when I placed my order for duck congee. I didn’t order koay chiap because I wanted congee that day.

Stewed duck congee or porridge.

Side dish: a plate with hard-boiled egg, fried bean curd or taukua, and intestines to eat with congee or koay chiap or noodles in stew, accompanied with chilli sauce.

On a different day, I had duck koay teow th’ng at the top left, a plate of duck skin (I’m not sure) with bean sprouts in light soya sauce, topped with garlic oil, and a plate of stewed pork intestines. You can always ask what they serve and order a plate of each. Sometimes, when I don’t know what to order, I just point to the dish at the other table where another customer is eating and the lady or stall owner nods and it is served!

This is another photo of koay teow th’ng served at 113 Malay Street, Penang.
I enjoy my meal each time I frequent this shop. Stewed duck is soft and the flavor is so rich in each of the items. I am a repeat customer because I enjoy the food. This shop has a continuous stream of customers and I’m happy that I can still find a table because customers just come for the food and after having their hunger satiated, they don’t hang around. Of course, don’t forget to have a cup of “kopi-o” (local black coffee) to go with your meal. A meal, as above with two side dishes, costs only Ringgit Malaysia 15.


/// Written by Irene Tan, Malaysia

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