This humble dish is never short with history as it was founded during the Tang Dynasty of China by Hui people and has travelled beyond boundaries and notched up additional ingredients and flavours.
A good bowl of beef soup is the perfect antidote for days when you need a nice nourishing bowl of fragrant noodle soup.
Unlike the Taiwanese-style beef noodle soup that is thick and rich, the few beef soup noodle stalls here in Penang serve up clear beef soup with koay teow or flat rice noodles.
The speciality about the soup is in the preparation where it’s been simmered for many hours and just a hint of spices and herbs to balance out the strong beef flavour. The end result is a bowl of clean, clear broth that is not oily and has a pleasant beef flavour to it without being too gamey or strong.
Usually, the noodles are served in the soup but you can opt for it to be served in a separate bowl so that it is not soggy from being soaked in the soup.
The noodles are served blanched, dry and topped with a generous helping of crunchy shallots that will add some bite to the meal.
Usually bean sprouts are added to the soup along with the noodles but if you order the noodles separately, they will serve the beansprouts with the noodles, adding more texture to the dish.
There are also choices for those who do not like koay teow as you can also order the plain yellow noodles or simply rice.
The bowl of beef soup usually comes with thin slices of tender beef and beef balls, while you can also opt to add more ingredients like tripe, tendon and bone marrow. The beef balls are usually made by the hawkers, some have a coarse springy texture while some are smoother but all are bouncy and give another layer of texture to the dish.
Chopped lettuce and coriander bring some greens to the dish while enhancing the soup with its fresh crisp taste. The balmy bowl is accompanied with chopped chillies or chilli concoction for a dose of some kick to the flavourful dish.
Beef soup koay teow is usually available for lunch or dinner and though not as common as other hawker dishes, the few stalls in Penang offering this fare serve up wonderful bowls of beefy goodness.
Here are some of the hawker stalls to try out in Penang:
Sri Weld Food Court @ Beach Street (10.30am-4pm)
2828 Café @ Perak Road (10.30am-3pm)
Cafe ST Loo @ Carnavon Street (10am-9pm)
Sin Yin Nam Cafe @ New Lane (4pm-11pm)