Bee Hwa Cafe

Special thanks to Bee Hwa Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Bee Hwa Cafe (镁华茶室), also known as Kedai Kopi Bee Hwa, is a popular kopitiam (coffee shop) in George Town. The shop is situated at Dickens Street (Lebuh Dickens), just across the street from the Penang Police Headquarters.
Bee Hwa Cafe has been operating for more than 20 years. Unlike similar shops of its era, Bee Hwa Cafe is remarkably clean and well ventilated. In case the main dining area is full, customers can be seated at the adjacent shop.
Bee Hwa Cafe serves a variety of hawker dishes that Penangites are familiar with. The shop owner does most cooking on her own. For meats, she uses chicken (from halal suppliers) and seafood only. Most notably, Bee Hwa Cafe does not serve pork, beef nor alcoholic beverages. This explains why the shop attracts customers from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Perhaps the most iconic street food of Penang is Char Koay Teow (RM6.00). This local favorite uses a flat rice noodle called "koay teow". The noodle is stir-fried with prawns, cockles, fish balls, crab sticks, eggs, bean sprouts, garlic chives and chili paste. Char Koay Teow is best enjoyed when the dish is steaming hot from the wok.
Sang Mee (RM7.00) is prepared by dressing crispy egg noodle with a thick sauce. The dish also contains chicken, prawns, fish balls, crab sticks, eggs and yau mak lettuce. The unique combination of crispy noodle and savory sauce makes Sang Mee very appealing.
Nasi Goreng (RM6.00), or Fried Rice, is one of Malaysians' favorite comfort foods. Cooked rice is fried with prawns, fish balls, crab sticks and eggs in a wok, and then garnished with yau mak lettuce, spring onions and fried shallots. If you prefer to spice things up, adding chili paste should do the trick.
Hokkien Mee (RM6.00) is known as Prawn Mee outside Penang. This is because the flavorful broth is derived from shrimps. The broth is typically served with yellow noodle or bihun (rice vermicelli); I recommend a combination of both noodles. Other ingredients in Hokkien Mee are prawns, fish balls, crab sticks, fishcakes, hard-boiled eggs, water spinach and sambal (chili paste).
Penang's version of Curry Mee (RM6.00) uses a white, creamy broth. It typically comes with prawns, cuttlefish, crab sticks, hard-boiled eggs, tofu puffs and mint leaves. Chili paste can be added to make the broth spicier. Like the previous dish, most locals prefer to combine yellow noodle and bihun.
If you prefer something with milder flavors, Koay Teow Th'ng (RM6.00) is probably the best choice. The dish is essentially flat rice noodle in clear broth. Other ingredients of Koay Teow Th'ng are chicken, prawns, fish balls, crab sticks, fishcakes and yau mak lettuce. A sprinkle of spring onions enhances the soup's aroma.
Toasted Bread (RM2.20) is a popular breakfast dish in any kopitiam. The sandwiches are basically toasted slices of white bread spread with butter and kaya (coconut jam). As for Boiled Eggs (RM2.60), feel free to add pepper and soy sauce to suit your taste.
Bee Hwa Cafe serves a variety of hot and cold drinks too. For instance, Kopi Susu (RM1.90) is local black coffee sweetened with condensed milk. Meanwhile, Teh Ais (RM1.90) is sweet Ceylon milk tea topped with ice.
Bee Hwa Cafe is well received among locals, which is always a good sign. Over the years, the kopitiam has been seeing a steady increase in out-of-state visitors and foreign tourists. Nevertheless, Bee Hwa Cafe maintains a personal touch with all customers and keeps food prices very affordable.
Name: Bee Hwa Cafe (镁华茶室)
Address: 10, Lebuh Dickens, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-263-6092
Business hours: 7:00am-3:00pm, closed on Sundays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/beehwacafe
Coordinates: 5.41890 N, 100.33094 E
Directions: Bee Hwa Cafe is located at Dickens Street (Lebuh Dickens), a one-way road next to the Penang Police Headquarters. Street parking is available along this road.

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