[Pork-free] Will you queue for two hours for a bowl of fruit rojak? Operating for more than 40 years, Hock Seng Rojak on Maccalum Street in Penang has a strong loyal following.
Known for its unique maltose prawn paste, 20 or more customers can be seen queuing up at this stall hours before it opens.
As each rojak bowl is painstakingly made to order – it is not unusual for customers to wait up to 2 hours for this bowl of fruit rojak.
Hock Seng Rojak in Penang
Hock Seng Rojak is a family-run stall that operates in front of the Maccalum Street Apartments in Penang.
For the uninitiated, rojak is a type of Malaysian salad where cut fruits, vegetables, and crackers are mixed with prawn paste, chilli, lime, and crushed peanuts.
While there are many different versions of rojak (which has its roots in Java, after all) – Hock Seng’s rojak definitely differs from others due to the addition of maltose to its paste – which gives it a thick consistency and rich sweetness.
Hock Seng Rojak – go at night for a shorter waiting time
As mentioned, Hock Seng Rojak is very popular.
Operating from 3 pm-8 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), people can be seen queuing at the spot before the stall is opened for the day.
We were told that the queue dwindles from 7 pm onwards – so, we made our way to the stall at around 7.15 pm on a Sunday evening.
We started queuing at the end of the line where the road bends, and received our rojak at 8pm.
Hock Seng Rojak – in three sizes
Hock Seng Rojak can be enjoyed in three sizes – small (RM8), medium (RM11), or big (RM15). As we’ve already queued for 45 minutes – it only made sense to order the largest bowl as our reward.
You can also opt to purchase the rojak sauce for home – priced at RM12.
Friendly uncle and aunties
It was quite amazing to watch the aunties and uncle (who were very friendly btw) assemble the bowl.
First, the cut fruits and vegetables are placed into the bowl, before being topped with cuttlefish and crispy youtiao.
Finally, an older aunty will swirl the thick and sticky molasse paste onto the bowl, and the rojak is finished with crispy bits of dried shrimp and peanuts.
Fresh fruits under thick paste
In our large bowl, we found guava, jicama, cucumber, ripe mango, cuttlefish, and youtiao. All of these goodies are buried beneath a thick heap of maltose prawn paste.
We’re not fans
While we enjoyed the fresh fruits such as ripe mango and jicama – we ultimately found the paste too thick and cloyingly sweet for us.
We like our fruit rojak with a prominent he ko (prawn paste) flavour and lots of thin crispy crackers. Hence, we are not really in favour of this rojak – albeit it was a unique offering.
We did like the freshness of fruits and hints of chilli, nuts and dried shrimp to temper the sweetness.
Overall, this stall may have its loyal fans but we won’t be one of them. Thankfully, we only queued 45 minutes for this.
If you fancy rojak on the (very) sweet side – this stall might be worth a visit, but we advise coming at night for a shorter queuing time. As for us, this will be our last visit.
Hock Seng Rojak
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Hours: 3pm-8pm Daily (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Phone: 016-477 2472.
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