Kek Seng Kopitiam – Still Cheap and Good!

The iconic Kek Seng kopitiam is definitely no stranger to local Penangites. Having been in business since the early 1900s, Kek Seng kopitiam has consistently served cheap and good food.

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It’s been years since I last visited Kek Seng. It used to be my grandfather’s favourite eating place. And I remember that I hated going there because it was really hot and packed! Little did I realize at that young age, that I was being brought to one of the best places to eat in Penang!

Over the years, we somehow have forgotten or overlooked this old gem which still stands proud today. I suspect that the kopitiam still looks exactly like it did when it first opened its doors. It hasn’t been renovated much or given a new coat of paint. It may even turn off some people who prefer dining at newer, cooler and cleaner places. But there was definitely something nostalgic about Kek Seng as I stepped into it on a recent overcast afternoon.

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The Asam Laksa immediately caught my eye. Although this may not be one of the more famous stalls, the laksa definitely packs a punch! Chockfull of fish and served with lots of ‘he ko’. Heaven!

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Everything at Kek Seng seemed to appeal to me that day. And so I went on an ordering spree. Pie Tee (Top Hats) was next. Crispy pastry cups filled with vegetables (turnips) and topped with shredded egg. A truly unique snack!

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Oh oh and of course who can forget Kek Seng’s star item – their home made durian ice cream!! Best eaten with the Ice Kacang topped with their signature jelly. Very refreshing on a hot day.

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I was on a roll now, so we ordered ‘lor bak’ (fried pork rolls) ,  ‘he chee’ (prawn fritters) and a piece of fried beancurd (I love beancurds!). Comes served with a chilli dip and a starchy ‘lor’ dip.  Yet another great snack!

ks5Just outside Kek Seng Kopitiam is the Char Koay Teow and Mee Jawa stalls. The Char Koay Teow here tastes good too! Lots of ‘lap cheong’ (Chinese sausages) to flavor the dish. I still prefer Ah Leng’s, but Kek Seng’s Char Koay Teow is a different style of preparing the dish which also sits very well with me.

By this time, I was too stuffed to try the Mee Jawa and the chicken rice, which if memory serves me well, should also be good!

I am glad to find that the food in Kek Seng kopitiam is still as good. And definitely affordable! Expect to pay about RM2.50-RM3 for the noodle dishes. Its no wonder that Kek Seng has managed to stand the test of time!

With more development and modern shiny new places coming up, something in me desperately holds onto memories and tastes of my younger years. In future, I would love to take my grandchildren to places filled with nostalgia just like how my grandfather took me to Kek Seng. And I would chuckle to myself when they complain about how hot and ugly the place is. Here’s to many many more years of Kek Seng!

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22 Comments

  1. I LOVE Kek Seng! I started going there with my grandpa when I was 4, and have been going there ever since. I don’t normally eat ice kacang, but this is one ice kacang I never miss 😉

    Thanks for talking about Kek Seng. It brings back a lot of great memories 🙂

    Tine´s last blog post..Fire Weather Shocker Ahead

  2. email2me – oh yeah! who can forget sipping tea from the plate! 🙂 i never did that though, cos my parents didn’t let me drink coffee or tea when i was young!

    allie – oh kek seng has chocolate and corn ice cream? lol never knew that cos i’ve only had the durian one! 🙂 did you like the laksa?

    tine – since you were 4?? wow!! very cool. this place definitely holds a lot of memories.

  3. thenomadGourmand – oh yeah! i read that article too..so keng man…ice kacang flown by air. never second guess the power of penang food! lol

    new kid on the blog – wow you ordered a few dozens?? cool! lol! to me the lor bak is still good 🙂

    550ml jar of faith – you are so right. it does make penang home. im glad a rediscovered this place once again. 🙂

  4. Last time, the 3 main attractions were Koay Teow Th’ng, Laksa and Ice Kacang.

    But it has since lost my patronage after they increased prices and reduce portion size. My belly don’t get that satisfaction anymore. The jelly is not the same as it was 10 years ago. And the ice cream is also different now. The Koay Teow Th’ng stall has also changed owner.

    Jason Wong´s last blog post..Hainanese at Nan Yang Chinese Cuisine, Penang

  5. Lingzie, mind telling me where is this Kek Seng Kopitiam located? You didn’t list it out.

  6. hi Felix, you’re right! i missed out on the location. thanks for reminding me. Kek Seng is located at Penang Road. If you’re coming from Macalister Road, it will merge into Penang Road when you turn left. Kek Seng is further down on your left. Hope this helps 🙂

  7. Hi Lingzie,

    I am new to your food blog, but i really find it very informative, thanks for the hard work, I will keep on supporting you on everything you post.

    By the way, may I know where is this Kek Seng kopotiam? Any address? The lobak and he ji really turn me on, would like to give it a try when I am back to Penang this CNY…

    Regards,
    Shuner

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