One of the more well-known dishes in Bukit Mertajam has to be steamed cup rice. This simple, wholesome and tasty dish is childhood food for many Penangites especially in Bukit Mertajam.

If you go around the Jalan Pasar and Jalan Danby area right in the middle of this small town, you are bound to find a “cup rice” stall.

The name of the dish is derived from the small aluminum bowl in which the rice is steamed in. The preparation of this dish is simple. A recipe being pass down to generations and easily you could find few stalls along this area. 

These rice dishes are individually steamed in small tin bowls. If you like soft and slightly sticky steamed white rice, this is the place to get your fill of it.

The portion is incredibly large, more than a normal plate of rice, and best of all, it is served drenched in a thick savoury gravy. The tin bowl of rice  in small aluminum bowl is turn over on a plate and served upside down with the shape of the bowl completely intact and topped with strips of succulent roast chicken and roast pork.

Then comes the one ingredient that makes the whole concoction special — a ladle of thick, starchy brown gravy poured generously over the meat and rice mixture. Allow the rice to absorb all the goodness of the braising sauce. The emptied tin bowl is then used as soup bowl to serve up clear chicken soup.

Digging into the soggy medley of rice, meat and sticky gravy is a satisfying experience, what I’d call the ultimate comfort food; almost like a non-spicy version of nasi banjir.

If you prefer to add another dimension of flavour to it, remember to eat it with the accompanying pickled cili padi for a burst of sour heat.

The next time you are in Bukit Mertajam, do try out their steamed cup rice specialty.

BM Cup Rice Restaurant @ Jalan Danby, Bukit Mertajam (7am -9pm)

Hung Steam Cup rice @ Jalan Teh Cheoik Sah, Bukit Mertajam (10am-8:30pm)