Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Apong Manis Ah Guan

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.—Brillat-Savarin

When the bf and I come home to Penang, we never fail to visit our favorite apong manis stall located next to Union School on Burmah Road. Mr Uan or Ah Guan has been selling his famous apong manis there for as long as I can remember.

We are attracted to the stall and the man behind it because of the consistently delicious coconut flavored, soft ‘pancakes’. The pancakes are cooked using a combination of grilling and steaming method where the fragrant coconut batter is poured into little round shallow pans which grills the outside of the pancake and then when it is partially cooked, Ah Guan closed the cover and allows steam to finish cooking the batter. He then adds slices of ripe banana and a large dollop of creamed corn and the deftly folds the pancake in half. This creates a sweet golden brown pancake with a soft center filled with flavorful gooey bananas and corn.

Ah Guan does the cooking with panache and his cheerful personality makes a visit to his apong manis stall a real delight. He flashes his warm smile at you as soon as you approach the stall and he never fails to charm his customers.

However, I must warn you that there is always a wait for his popular delicacy and so if you are in a hurry or are impatient, this is not the place to go. Ah Guan lets you know that there is a wait right as you approach and he marks the length of the wait by how many pieces of apong manis that is on back order. When I went there last week, I was 30 pieces of apong manis behind. The wait is quite pleasant as he chats away happily with you as he prepares your order. There is another apong manis stall along that stretch of hawker stall but it is always bereft of customers while Ah Guan’s stall is always popular with the crowd, despite the waiting time.

Each piece is priced at RM 0.30 and most people usually order 10-15 pieces. I had ordered 30 pieces and had to wait a little longer than usual. During our chat, Ah Guan told me that he was a former Free School Boy and was English educated. I found this to be rather interesting as most Chinese hawkers are Chinese educated and can barely speak English. This makes Ah Guan a great interview subject when non-Hokkien speaking TV crews, some coming from as far as Singapore and Hong Kong feature him on their food programs.

I left his stall with 30 aromatic pieces of pancakes. By the time I got to the car, there were only 28 pieces left. Nuff said.

Apong Manis Ah Guan
The stretch of hawker stalls just before Union School on Burmah Road.
Just look for the crowd.


vkeong said...

I have yet to try his apong.. one day la lol. Many have recommended this stall

The god-sister said...

Jealous! Jealous, jealous, jealous.


Although I'm not so sure about the creamed corn part.

I love the regular apong - larger, but thinner, and crisper on the edges. The husband loves the ban chan kuei - or what he calls peanut butter pancakes. Go track down some of those!

Misery said...

great pics! Are those taken with your brand new spanking cam?

I'm back in Oz *boo hoo*.