I was in Penang for a collaboration my company has with Kwong Wah
Yit Poh recently. We stayed for a night at The Wembley @ St Giles and indulged
in the famous island food scene. We flew in slightly before lunch so we headed
straight to eat. Sam mentioned there was a rice vermicelli noodle served on top
of steamed fish in Gurney Drive so we hunted for the restaurant.
This is har cheong fried chicken wings. It’s chicken wings dipped in prawn paste before deep frying. It’s crunchy and savory and came piping hot. Delicious!
This is their signature bee hoon steamed fish. It’s important to note that this isn’t a noodle dish. It’s a steamed fish dish, but they pile rice vermicelli on top before serving. I have no idea why they do that – probably for added texture. It’s good though – the noodles go well with the coriander-sugar-soy sauce mixture for the fish.
There’s also an obligatory plate of vegetables.
There’s also house style tofu with mushrooms on top, which was delicious.
However, the outstanding dish for lunch is this claypot pork ribs with yam and burnt garlic. The gravy strapped my ass on a jetpack and launched me straight to Flavortown at Mach 1. 🚀 Fuiyoh! 😱 It was lip smacking good! I loved the smoky burnt whole garlic cloves. The tender, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs was succulent and combines well with the slightly chewy texture of the sliced yam. Insanely delicious!
We headed to Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol after lunch for some cooling cendol…
…and a plate of rojak to share.
The cendol is good but they’ve open so many branches throughout
Malaysia that eating at the original has lost some of its lustre. The operation
is very commercialized nowadays.
Dinner that night was at Da Shu Xia Seafood House. They have a spread of fresh seafood you can choose from. I’ve eaten here many years ago as well and they’re quite good.
This is butter prawns. They’re deep fried to golden perfection – crispy and hot.
We also ordered a tom yam soup in a coconut that tasted yummy. The thick broth was more like gravy and goes very well with rice.
Of course, there’s the obligatory vegetable dish. I believe this is potato leaves.
This is steamed fish Teochew style with tomatoes, tofu and
This is sweet chilli crab! The crab had a super hard shell and I got splattered on my face while trying to crack open the shell. I love the thick, starchy sauce.
We also had an order of clams (lala). This was the item I ate the most of since it was just in front of me. Haha.
It’s a satisfying dinner! We headed to The Bund. This is a hidden bar e.g. speakeasy design where the front façade is locked and you need to access the drinking hole through an obscure side entrance.
The ambience inside is nice and chill.
There are also two decent singers performing. I got them to sing a
Chinese song that’s been stuck in my head recently. Haha.
I’m heading to Penang again tomorrow so I thought I better post about the delicious meals I had during my previous trip there last month. This was a whirlwind work trip where I only had 10 hours on the island state. We headed straight for lunch at Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen after arriving at the airport.
Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen is a private kitchen setup where you need
to reserve the tables and order the dishes in advance. I believe the chef is
from China. The food here is really good. I was impressed. Our business
partners pre-ordered the dishes and we occupied 2 tables. We were the only ones
at the restaurant.
The pork rib soup was mild tasting and almost refreshing. It’s served in a claypot and tasted like something my maternal grandmother would cook. It’s less intensely flavoured but goes very well with the strong-tasting dishes that followed. Rice was also served in a steel pot.
I really liked their asam fish. The sour and sweet notes are very appetizing. They also have shredded raw green mango on top to add a crunchy dimension. The fish is reasonably fatty too, which is a good thing. Lean fish doesn’t taste very nice in these dishes. You need good omega oils to add mouthfeel and taste.
Next up was kiam chye pork with prawn. This is salted vegetables stir-fried with pork and topped with peeled prawns. The gravy looks sinister but doesn’t really taste as intense as it looks. This is a milder tasting dish, but still good. The salted vegetables are not just one dimensionally salty, but sourish.
You can’t eat in Penang without running into the perennial Hokkien favorite tau yu bak. Pig trotters are cooked with soy sauce to make this slightly sweet and savory dish. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. Chef Wang’s version was pretty good too.
I found their belacan fried chicken to be an unusual twist to fried chicken. I hear it’s pretty common in Penang to marinate fried chicken in belacan before frying though. It tastes really good this way! The salty and prawn-y belacan elevates this dish to new levels. The chicken was fried well too, and the meat was juicy and tender. It’s served with chilli sauce.
The deep-fried whole prawns in oyster sauce was really delicious too! The shells of the crispy prawns were fried long enough to be eaten. I love the head butter inside these babies too. One of the best dishes of the meal.
A dish of homemade tofu rounded up the meal. This was quite mild tasting and inoffensive to balance out the stronger flavors of the other dishes. It works well.
The morbidly obese waitress also brought out a dish of tong sui for dessert. This was a concoction of taro and sago pearls in a sweet syrup. It was decent but savory dishes are this establishments strong suit.
We had a presentation and meeting with our media partners before
we had to fly back to KL.
Before that, our Penang branch manager brought us to Super Tanker to indulge in some hawker food.
I ordered a very dismal bowl of asam laksa. It tasted dilute and tepid. I was surprised I could find such a terrible implementation of asam laksa in Penang. I had to force myself to finish the bowl.
Luckily the char kueh tiaw I ordered was excellent. Smoky and delicious, this was a really good example of how Penang does CKT right.
Sam also ordered some o chien (oyster omelette) to share. This was really good as well. I like the Penang style of mok mok (soggy) o chien better than our Sarawak crispy o chien.
I managed to tapau some chai kueh for Mandy too.
It’s actually more for me, since I like eating chai kueh. Haha.
We also got some apam balik to eat on the way to the car. The apam at Super Tanker is remarkable too! Crispy, hot and delicious! We had to rush to the airport and nearly missed our flight due to the traffic jam in Penang. We made it though. I’ll be going again in a few hours!
I was in Penang for a business trip last week. 🏝️ It’s the
land of food so I made sure to properly plan my meals so I could maximize the
amount of delicious hawker food I could indulge in during my short time on the
island. I made a list of the must eat foods within close proximity to Cititel
Penang (the hotel I was staying at) and walked to most places so I could work
up an appetite.
The first meal I had was at Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company. ☕ I had a work lunch meeting here so I took a Grab straight from Penang Airport. This is a converted warehouse that serves primarily coffee (and gelato) as well as a selection of hot food. I went for the Macallum’s Coffee Spaghetti (RM 23) and an iced latte.
The coffee spaghetti was made with creamy coffee sauce and chorizo
pork sausage. 🍝 It tasted surprisingly good. I
originally expected this to be more of a novelty dish but it was rich and
delicious, with an aftertaste of roasted coffee beans and pepper. The latte was
excellent too! Our business associates picked up the bill – thanks for lunch!
I checked in the hotel after lunch and worked for a while before heading out for some char kueh tiaw. I wanted to eat at the esteemed New Siam Road Char Kueh Tiaw. 🍳 This is probably Penang’s most well-regarded CKT, better than the tourist-overrun Lorong Selamat CKT. There was a sizable queue even at 4 pm in the afternoon.
I waited about 20 minutes for my plate of CKT. You need to queue
up before you can get seated. They don’t take orders and deliver to the table.
Check out the huge industrial blower they have going! 🔥 This is
still made on an old school charcoal stove and the blower supplies the wind to
keep the heat high.
I love the CKT here at Siam Road. It’s easily the best CKT I’ve
eaten in Penang, which makes it the best CKT in the world. The wok hei flavors
come through really well, providing a smoky aroma that goes perfectly with the
charred lap cheong (Chinese sausage), soft cockles, and crunchy beans sprouts. 💨 It’s
exceedingly delicious! 10/10.
I could still eat after that so I went to Sup Hameed beside my hotel for a snack. I’ve eaten the sup torpedo here 10 years ago. That’s bull penis soup. 🐂🍆 I remember enjoying the gristly and gelatinous bovine dick. I wanted to try something different this time so I ordered their famous Sup Kambing (Goat Soup).
All their soups use the same base, it’s just the protein that’s
different. You can see the different cuts of meats and organs they have on the
soup prep station. 🍖
This is what their goat soup (RM 7.30) looks like. 🐐 People usually eat it with thickly sliced bread (RM 0.80). Their bread has a charred, bitter edge that goes very well with savory soup dishes. There’s not a lot of goat here though, but I didn’t expect much due to the price. It’s mostly bones with a bit of meat sticking on them. Not a bad snack though!
I had to rest for a while after all that food. The next destination was a good 4 hours later at night. I’ve heard of a place called Moody Cow Café which serves slices of cake priced RM 42 and above. 😱 I thought that was a shockingly expensive price tag for just a slice of cake! I was very intrigued. I had to go and see what they’re about.
Moody Cow Café is one of those Instagrammable cafes with a
beautiful interior and seating arrangements. 📷 I love
their vintage high-backed chairs and quiet environment. It is very dark inside
though. I think that’s why they’re named moody – the temperamental lighting is
a conscious ambiance cue.
I ordered their flagship Cempedak Madness (RM 42) cake. 🍰 They have several different premium ones, including a chocolate rum concoction but the owner recommended this as their bestseller. The RM 42 slice was generous, tall and thick. It’s made with tons of real cempedak fruit. It’s an extremely rich cake with lots of butter and cream and tropical fruit and I had to struggle to finish the slice.
The cake slices here are definitely meant for sharing. It’s too
cloying for a single person to eat. 💀 I did enjoy the Cempedak Madness cake
though. I know I’ll have enjoyed it more if I were hungry. It’s very expensive
but worth a try if only for the sticker shock kudos you’ll get from social
Nasi Kandar Beratur is another Penang institution that I wanted to try. This place is famous for opening at 10 pm at night! 🌙 I went at 11 pm and there was a queue coming out the front. Luckily it moved quite fast. It’s popular among the locals for some late night noms.
They have a selection of freshly cooked dishes to pair with rice.
I opted for a fried chicken leg, which I hear is a must have. I also added on
prawn curry and sotong (squid) curry as well as a personal bag of papadom. 🍛
My meal cost RM 22.50. 💸 The fried chicken leg is very small, likely from a free range kampung chicken. I wasn’t too impressed by it. The squid and prawns were decent but nothing special. I prefer the dishes at Nasi Kandar Line Clear. I’m glad I tried this though.
I went to Kheng Pin Café the next morning for some Penang lorbak. 🍢 This is a very famous stall that’s right beside my hotel. It’s run by a friendly husband-and-wife duo. They’re really busy in the mornings – every table I saw had a plate of lorbak.
The lorbak is freshly deep fried before being delivered piping hot
to you. I opted for a selection with everything plus century egg for RM 8. 🦆
This the second-best meal I had in Penang this trip, after the
Siam Road CKT. The prawn fritters are particularly delicious and I love the
ngor hiang too. 🍤 It goes very well with their house
chili and lu dipping sauce. 10/10.
92 Armenian Bird’s Nest Delicacy is a café specializing in all things bird’s nest. 🐦 Mandy made a special request to tapau their bird’s nest egg tarts so I walked here after my lorbak breakfast to order some egg tarts.
This café has the best packaging I’ve seen. They lovingly bundle
up the 2 egg tarts I ordered into a fine, red box and put that into a high-quality
custom paper bag. The egg tarts are attached securely via custom holders and
there’s a nook that fits a small vial of bird’s nest beside them. Very
The egg tarts are priced at RM 9 each. 🥚 You
drizzle the bird’s nest soup over the egg tarts before you eat them. I wouldn’t
say they’re very delicious but they’re not bad and the packaging is superb.
Next meal was herbal duck drumstick mee sua. 🍜 My Penang colleague picked me up and we wanted to go to a popular hawker center for lunch but he couldn’t find parking. It was close to our next meeting so I told him we can just eat anywhere there’s parking. It was pretty good – a nice, blander change to my heavily seasoned normal meals.
The next time I could eat was after work commitments, when I
popped into a roadside durian stall to indulge in a durian. The durian seller
said he only has 1 local durian and the others are from Thailand. 🇹🇭
I was told this is Ang Bak Kia – a local Penang breed. 😋 However, I’m not so sure as the Penang durian season is yet to start. This is likely a Thai durian.
It was RM 22 for this Ang Bak Kia durian. It satisfied by durian
craving but I have serious doubts about the provenance of said durian. 🤔
I was in the Air Itam area for work but unfortunately the famous Air Itam Laksa was closed on that day. The local favorite Bisu Laksa @ Air Itam Market was also closing by the time I finished with work so I couldn’t eat there either. 🤫 I ended up patronizing a random CKT shop and had CKT with duck egg. It’s not as good as Siam Road, but sufficient to tide me over till my next trip.
I forced myself to scarf down one last meal before I flew back to KL. It was at a lor mee / prawn mee stall at Air Itam Market. After seeing my hesitation in deciding, the seller suggested mixing the two soup bases together. Big mistake. The unholy marriage tasted quite appalling. I didn’t enjoy it at all. 🤮
Before booking my Grab to the airport, I stopped by a local bakery down the road called Sin Ka Onn. The shop was the perfect place to wait and I’ve heard good things about their store made kaya. 🥥 I also grabbed a half-loaf of soft, pillowy bread to pair with the spread.
I thought that half loaf would be too much for the two of us.
Wrong! I only ate two pieces before Mandy inhaled the rest! She really enjoyed