Travel and Food – makes a great combination. And, Penang is well known for that. Almost everyone in Penang eat out. They seldom cook. Why should they? Eating places are littered almost in every streets and corners – from street hawker stalls to “kopitiam” (Penang style coffee shops) to restaurants. Some older generation still cook and shop at wet market. Some have “Ah Sum” (servant) who specialise in cooking for the family.
Back in Penang, my mum still cook for the family – my sister, and my brother and his daughter who occasionally drops in for either lunch or dinner. Mum has always cooked for the family since she married dad. She is a traditional housewife. Every time I went home to visit her, she will cooked at least one meal for me. Her cooking is simple and modest. And, yet very tasty and healthy. She works with only one sauce pan and one portable gas burner. Her kitchen is tiny. It takes someone with years of experience in a domestic kitchen to be able to execute such beautiful heartwarming dishes for the family.
In my recent trip home to Penang, I had the pleasure of standing next to mum. Chatting with her while she was cooking the dishes. There was no sense of rush, stress or panic in mum’s cooking. It was calm and gentle – just like her. I could not believe she is able to cook in such small kitchen with a bench space of 2 feet wide by 1 feet deep, 1 saucepan and 1 burner. I told her that I can’t cook in that condition and remain calm like her. It was truly amazing to watch her cook.
Mum prepared and cooked us four dishes – her signature dish “Ayam Goreng” (fried chicken), Stuffed Tomato Omelette, Stir Fry Cauliflower and Celery with Fresh Market Prawns and Teochew Style Steamed Pomfret.