A kitchen that is unlike any commercial kitchen I have seen. A 2-gas burners on a stainless steel cooking bench and a fold-up round table as the cook preparation bench. There is a stainless sink cum bench space barely big enough to put a few trays and a tiny sink with a tap. A fridge that reminded me of my mum's old fridge. The horrid apple green of a 1970s Toshiba fridge. Although the entire setup is simple and uninteresting, the place is functional for a quick and cheap bite.
My sister called the cook, "Uncle". This is the custom of the Penang people. We were thought to respect the elders from a very young age. Anyone that is older than you is referred to as "Uncle" for a man or "Aunty" for a woman. And, if you are paying someone to work for you. You are usually addressed as "Boss" or "Mister" or "Miss" followed by the family name.
When my sister said to me that she was going to take me to eat at an Uncle's place and that the food is simple but home cooked. She said, "it's like eating at someone's home". When we got there, it wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting more. I wasn't expecting to eat at a place, where looking below adjacent to Uncle's stall is a man working on a pile of shoes and stuffs strewn all over the large table with piles of more stuffs stacked behind him almost 6 shelves high. The entire place looks so dysfunctional. Strangely enough, it worked for me. I found the place oddly interesting. A place that I would not have walked in if I have walked past it.
I picked my own food. I chose a rice congee cooked with sweet potatoes and 3 other dishes - a Chinese steamed egg minced pork, a stir fried pork with ginger and a Chinese preserved vegetables. These dishes went well with the congee. It is like my sister said, "a real home cooked meal". Simple, tasty and unpretentious. Nothing fancy. And, I could taste the ingredients like the way it should have been cooked. And, it was cheap. All for $6 Malaysian Ringgit, which is $2 Aussie Dollar.
I departed Uncle's place by thanking him and told him that it was just like eating at home. It was indeed a wonderful experience at the most unassuming and humble little place in Penang.
Insight Penang blogs about travel and food, sharing with anyone who enjoys traveling to other destinations, taking photographs, meeting people, experiencing new cultures and traditions, enjoying cooking and trying other cuisines.