Lok-Lok – Communal cooking pot?

They call it satay celup in Melaka where they use spciy peanut sauce to cook. We Penangites call it lok-lok and use boiling water. We have lok-lok push-carts and also lok-lok on the table.


Lok-lok is a little bit like steamboat except that we don’t drink the soup. Can I call this a communal cooking pot where every Tom, Dick and Harry dunk their foods into the pot to be cooked?


Well, of course, this is rather hygenic, depending on how strong your tummy is. You have one big pot of boiling water in the middle of the table. And a big varieties of food on skewers for your selection. Choose what you fancy eating, dunk them into the boiling water. Cooking time depends on the kind of food.


You are given several types of sauces to dip your food in. There are peanut sauce, super hot green chillies, garlic and red chillies and sweet sauce. There is one rule – you cannot dip your food into the cooking pot twice, i.e. to avoid contamination. So, if you are unsure if your stick of fishball or jelly fish is cooked, just ask the stall owner. 🙂 Don’t take a bite and dip it back into the water. Ewwsss…


The range of different types of food is too huge to list them out here. But roughly, these are the few types :

Century eggs with pickled young ginger like the above pic, cockles, squids, more shellfishes, jelly fish, green vege, tofu, meat balls, prawns (only available from bigger stalls), parts of the oink-oink like kidney, liver and stomach, a myriad of fishballs and other types of balls and some other unknown-floating-objects. The cost per sticks depend on the type of food and can be mere 40 cents to RM1+.

It is very interesting to sit down al-fresco with a bunch of friends for lok-lok. But do it only on breezy days because the heat from the cooking gas coupled with the spicy hot chillies and the burning sun will make it an unbearable experience. I don’t quite like sitting down for lok-lok so I can’t recommend any good stalls in Penang. The above pictures are taken from the Padang Brown hawker stalls. They have another section with Malay, halal satay celup too.

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