EE Beng is comprised of two side by side eateries, one a sit down air con restaurant and the other a hawker style joint, and dishes up a massive selection of vegan friendly fare. The latter works on a serve yourself and pay for what you've dished up basis, and it doesn't seem to matter how much I piled on my plate; I was never able to spend more than £2. Open at 7am, I visited daily during my time in Penang, because when I'm away I'm one of those annoying people who is up at the crack of dawn. This is partly because I have to justify a 3 hour afternoon nap somehow.
The eatery serves as a combination buffet, shop, and takeaway, with everything from hot food and noodle dishes (mee) to kueh (snack and dessert foods) and limited grocery items. I cannot stress how extensive the selection is.
The grocery section may be small, but EE Beng still manages to pack in a couple of shelves of noodles, pastes, seasonings, and teas (the mushroom seasoning is worth a purchase).
There were too many items for even me to try, but I certainly did my best to eat as much as possible. For you guys. Yeah, that's it.
The selection of mock meat products was impressive and typical of Chinese interpretations, including lots of wrapped/coiled yuba (soy milk skin) in various gravies, as well as yuba drumsticks. Nori wrapped faux fish will satiate seafood fans and the behemothic chunks of fried tofu are perfect for those who abstain from mock meats. I enjoyed raw vegetable salads, steamed favourites (hello broccoli), and vegan otak otak (faux fish with spices in banana leaf), among other dishes.
I found the menu at the sit down A/C restaurant to be very cheese heavy (especially in Asia), but there were plenty of other options. The menu was full of pictures, helpful when it comes to making decisions. I wish all of life came with pictures.
I enjoyed a bowl of assam laksa, a sour soup that's usually fish based, alongside a more than decent pot of mint and rose jasmine tea.
I must admit that despite its reputation as a foodie wonderland, I was not blown away by Penang in that regard. The laksa at EE Beng was the first dish I tried that really impressed me – a hefty flavour profile with spicy-tangy rich broth full of fresh vegetables, pineapple, mint, and noodles. Something to talk about. Hell, I even ate the cucumber (the cause of all the ills in this world).
If you're seeking quality eats and value for money at a vegan restaurant in Penang, be sure to visit EE Beng. They're open nice and early, which is ideal if you're like me and up at the crack of dawn so you can visit all the street cats before it gets too hot and they go into a lethargic daytime coma just out of my reach.