Even if you have been to Penang many times and have gone on various food crawls of all the great food places on the Island, there are still bound to be a few places you might have missed. One such place for me was Wai Kei Cafe . They have the best Char Siew in Penang - and probably in the whole of Malaysia.
Wai Kei is a corner kopitiam on Chulia Street. You can't miss it (even though I must have walked passed it tens of times before and never noticed the Char Siew) as the shop is painted green - and there is always a long line waiting for the Char Siew.
You can order the typical set - which comes with a plate of greens, a soup, rice and mixed char siew and roast pork. The roast pork is nothing special - but the char siew is something else. Smokey, slightly sweet and the perfect balance of fatty and lean meat - it melts in the mouth. The most amazing part is the crust on the char siew - it has an unusual texture - a bit like tiny sugar crystals which bursts with flavour in the mouth. I believe it is caramelized honey that is giving it this unique texture and flavour.
We liked the char siew so much we had to order a second plate. Luckily they still had some - for right after our 2nd order they ran out !
Eating here reminds me of the famous noodle shop in Kuching where you have to wait around 1 hour for your order. The wait here is not as long - around 30 to 45 min, and the service is a lot friendlier. The young man taking the orders has an amazing memory - without writing anything down he can remember and deliver all the orders correctly. After this first taste of the best char siew ever, Wai Kee will be a must visit for our future Penang trips.