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Picks of Penang Discover what the island has to offer





22 The awesome cake table

THE PLEASURE Graffiti Tiramisu

Mention Penang and one immediately thinks of the food the is including up and coming ones that feature a modern twists, a Penang has even become more pleasurable as boutique hotel modern amenities for a memorable stay. Explore Georgetown b which sets you on a path of discovery of its treasures.

Astaka Taman Tun Sardon

China House

Gelugor, Penang 153-155, Beach Street, George Town. Tel:04-2637299

153-155, Beach Street, George Town. Tel:04-2637299

Opened by Narelle McMurtrie, an Australian, this converted 120-metre long space houses a restaurant, bar, art gallery, bookshop and even a theatre for performances. She divides her time between Penang and her interests in Langkawi where she runs the Bon Ton resort and an animal shelter. McMurtrie also runs a nearby boutique hotel known as The Straits Collection. The restaurant’s draw is a sweet one – the stunning selection of homeChee cheong fun

made cakes, muffins, pies and quiches, all laid out on a table. It’ll be hard to choose an item, as everything tastes delicious. Leave room for their luscious homemade ice creams in all kinds of flavours including a delicious salted caramel ice cream. The restaurant also serves all-day breakfast and a brunch for lazy Sundays. You can also order sandwiches for lunch and mezze (small bites) together with main courses for dinner. Air batu campur

Head here for two Malay specialty items only found in this popular food court located next to the Gelugor market. Look for serabai, a light yeast raised pancake made from glutinous rice flour that is sold by the Serabai Istimewa stall, run by third generation owner Jamaliah Hassan. The spongy cake is delicious eaten dipped in thick sweet kaya. Two varieties is found at the stall - a white one and a brown sugar version. Also look for Sari Rasa to taste their Nasi Lemuni, rice cooked with a local herb known as black lemuni or Indian wild pepper leaves. The herb gives the rice

New World Park Food Court

a black coloured tinge aroma. Pick from a va ries and sambal at the the rice. You can also there, rice served with Serabai

Gulai Tumis

Swatow Lane, George Town

Previously located on the footways of Swatow Lane, this food court built in 2008 now offers street food in a clean and comfortable manner with ample parking. The complex houses over 28 stalls that offer all kinds of street food from asam laksa to even Western items like pizza. For those short on time, this place is an ideal onestop place to try Penang’s delights. Good eats here include

Char kuey teow infused with mantis prawn oil

the char kuey teow, steamed yam cake and the aromatic Penang styled chee cheong fun with its prawn paste sauce. Chase the heat away with the signature Air Batu Campur. The sweet concoction of shaved ice flavoured with sweet syrups and evaporated milk, is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and comes with grass jelly cubes, cream corn, atap chee and red beans.

Kimberley Street Char Kuey Teow

Stall outside Kedai Kopi Sin Guat Keong Crossroads of Kimberley and Chulia Street. Open from 6pm onwards.

This night-time stall is run by second generation owner, Lean Joo Sean. The stall owner prefries a batch of kuey teow with light soy sauce. Upon order, he re-fries the noodles, over a hot charcoal fire together with mantis prawns, cockles, prawns, spring onions, egg and bean sprouts. His plate of char kway teow tends to be a little wetter than other stalls, but is delicious as it is fried with mantis prawn infused oil.

Suffolk House Restaurant

Suffolk House, 250, Jalan Air Itam, Penang. Tel:04-2283930

Fry it up

Formerly Sir Francis Light’s home, this beautifully restored mansion now houses a restaurant on its vast grounds. One of the best ways to enjoy this heritage house with its lush green grounds is to drop by for afternoon tea. You can partake on flaky scones with a variety of homemade jams like pineapple rosemary or tomato. In addition, cucumber and egg sandwiches, cake and biscuits are also served. Our favourite is the flaky chicken pie. A variety of Ronnefeldt teas are also available with the afternoon tea set. Service is also attentive.




Belacan Chicken


sland has to offer. It’s a rich mix of street food and restaurants trend locals are beginning to appreciate. In addition, staying in ls sprout up in the World Heritage Site. These hotels marry with by foot or bicycle, for the painted murals in a fun treasure hunt,

Nasi lemuni

e and an appetizing ariety of cooked cure stall to accompany o order Nasi Kacang h a dhal.

Tek Sen Restaurant 18-20 Carnavon Street, George Town. Tel:012-4939424 Previously a tai chow stall, Tek Sen has now relocated to spacious surroundings across the road. This place is often packed with diners, who come here for their addictive caramelized double fried pork belly with chillies. Take a cue from the regulars and also order the delicious and crispy belacan deep fried chicken, which will give KFC a run for their money. Avoid the asam fish, as it is served with a disappointing one-dimensional sour tasting broth.

Double fried pork belly

Siam Road Char Kuey Teow

Char kuey teow worth the wait

Stall at the Siam Road, Georgetown. From 3pm onwards

This char kuey teow stall located at the end of Siam Road is well worth its long wait. Helmed by an old uncle, you

Nonya Breeze

Frying with one hand

50, Lorong Abu Siti, George Town. Tel: 04-2279646

This place is the go-to place for home cooked Nonya flavours. The owner cum chef Rosie Yew stays true to her heritage by using recipes passed down to her from many generations. For ultimate comfort, the Hong bak Nasi Ulam

Inche Kabin

or slow cooked pork belly is soft and yielding. And to perk up the appetites, opt for gulai tumis, fish cooked in a thick spicy and tangy soup. Skip your utensils and get down and dirty with the inche kabin or deep fried chicken. It is done the proper way here, double fried till it becomes crispy with a dip made from Lea & Perrins Worchester sauce. A must-order is the fragrant nasi ulam. There is an unmistakable touch of alchemy with each fluffy turmeric infused rice grain that is full of the aromas from the toasted belachan (toasted shrimp paste) powder, grated toasted coconut, salted fish, dried prawns and finely chopped herbs such as the citrus kaffir lime leaves and daun kadok (betel nut leaf). The restaurant also has a branch at Straits Quay that is popular among mall visitors but locals prefer this outlet. Tea spread

Sin Kheang Aun 2, Lebuh Chulia, Georgetown. Tel:04-2614786

This evergreen favourite serves Hainanese food. Regulars know the must-eat is the gulai tumis tow kay or pomfret cooked in asam curry. The fish is served with a watery tamarind broth topped with finely chopped torch ginger flower and chillies. Douse your rice liberally with this mildly spicy and sourish sauce, as the restaurant offers to top it up as your portions

Gulai tumis tow kay


Asam fried prawns

dwindle. This dish is often kept hot on the stove throughout the day. One unique way the regulars enjoy this particular dish, is to accompany it with fried salted fish. As the curry is lightly seasoned, the salted fish complements it beautifully when combined with piping hot rice. Other good eats here include the fried rice, lorbak and asam fried prawns.


can see him frying the noodles in his makeshift stall vigorously with one hand as he controls the charcoal fire with his other hand. Order from his son and walk towards the corner coffee shop, Kedai Kopi Hock Ban Hin to sit and endure the long wait for your noodles. The char kway teow is fragrant with the lard used, with no oil traces. The noodles are fried with ingredients such as prawns, lap cheong slices, egg, bean sprouts and cockles.


Crave Editor

This Friday, it’s all about eating out from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. Penang has always been a favourite destination and nowadays I find it even more exciting with its new places popping up. While Siam Road’s char kuey teow is not new but it’s definitely a must-eat since the old uncle frying the noodles may be retiring soon. In Kuala Lumpur, we review Gyuniku Signature. Since I discovered this place, it’s my to-go-place to eat comfort food finished with a bowl of its cool cendol. So far, everyone I’ve recommended love this place too. We also try Vegipai Cafe in Taman Desa for its huge variety of vegetarian food. Happy eating! Email me at for any queries.

Rajan Gopal Senior Manager, Direct & Classifieds Direct line: 03 74951282



Sauteed pepper beef brisket and tendon

Mixed beef noodles


Taman TUN DR ISMAIL is fast emerging as a dining hub with numerous restaurants popping up. One such place worthy of a drive to the suburb is Gyuniku Signature. Despite its Japanese sounding name (gyuniku means beef in Japanese), the halal certified restaurant serves local styled beef soup noodles and occasional Penang treats. The restaurant is also an offshoot of the original Gyuniku in Desa Sri Hartamas. With this new outlet, the owners decided to go for a vintage look with antiques and childhood toys, including some salvaged from their grandmother’s home. The place also has an unfinished look with exposed brick walls and furniture made from reclaimed timber that is painted and partially stripped. Keeping to the retro theme, appetisers and desserts are served on old school enamel bowls and plates. Bovine lovers will relish the Mixed beef kway teow soup special (RM16). It is one large bowl of comfort with a delicious broth made by slowly boiling beef bones, radish, carrot, onion and garlic. Your order will come with an assortment of homemade beef balls, fresh beef slices, beef brisket, beef shank, tendon, ox tongue and tripe. You can also pick and choose the different parts or make your own special beef noodle. They also offer a Beef rice soup (RM10), the same soup with a bowl of rice, just like home. Remember to also ask for their appetising home-

Chicken lorbak

made chilli sauce with a mild kick and a slight tangy taste. For more home-styled dishes, try the Sauteed peppered beef brisket and tendon rice (RM13). The mildly peppery dish comes with a fried egg, tender beef brisket with the soft tendons. As you wait for your meal, nibble on the delicious Penang chicken lorbak (RM12) with its crispy soybean skin and tender chicken filling. Unlike the typical lorbak served with the thick brown sauce, this version comes with vegetable pickles. Similarly, the Popiah (RM5) is the genuine deal with its soft flour skin and tender yambean filling. You can also bulk up your popiah with beef or chicken for RM6 per piece. Look also for their Asam laksa, a special dish offered on occasion. The thick tangy broth is best enjoyed with rice. The place also serves chicken and lamb dishes, some sautéed or served in a claypot. You can also enjoy the beef served with wantan noodles. From 12 to 3pm, the restaurant also serves their set lunch specials. Some dishes are plucked from the menu, while there will be new items such as asam laksa, mee jawa or minced chicken koay teow th’ng. Prices range from RM12 to RM18. The value for money special is served with a starter, drink and

Cream caramel pudding

I WAS looking forward to the Penang Asam laksa (RM8.90) at Vegipai Café in Taman Desa, after being told how delicious it was. As promised, it had the requisite Nonya nuances — hot, sour and fragrant. You could

White Fungus Beancurd Soup

also taste the “shrimp paste” and find a soy substitute for the fish in the bowl of laksa. Unlike other vegetarian places that focus solely on Chinese food, this 4-year old cafe offers a large variety of local, Western and Chinese fare. This has endeared it to vegetarians of all cultures, who enjoy its vast choices such as Vegipai garden pizza, Shanghai spicy ramen, or fried carrot cake. The con-

Fried Shark’s Fin

Inside Vegipai

temporary decorated café also tries to stick to more natural ingredients such as soy and seaweed for most of their menu, with a small portion using mock meats made from gluten. It also caters to the stronger tastes of occasional vegetarian diners who prefer more pungent curries and tamarind based broths, while long time vegetarians who have cleaner palates can choose their lighter seasoned dishes. Since I discovered this place, I’ve been back a few times. One of the items, I enjoyed so much for my first visit, was the Cedar shoot fried rice (RM9.90). The dish is skillfully prepared with the rice grains separate and not oily, with a hint of the high heat from the wok. The dark salted leaves of the Chinese cedar or Xiang Chun gives the rice an appetising onion-like flavour. The shoots are a popular ingredient in Taiwan and China, where it is eaten for its high levels of vitamins and anti-oxidants. The dish also included chopped long beans, mushrooms, carrots, soy meat and cabbage. For those who miss meat, try

Mua chi

dessert. nuts. Even the Cream caraE n d mel pudding (RM4.50) is deliyour meal cious with a rich egg custard. with a sugar high as the Gyuniku Signature, 109G, Cendol draw here is the Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman sweet treats, which Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. tempt us to return again and Tel:03-77338828. Open: 12pm again. Chase the heat with a to 9pm. Closed on Mondays. bowl of Cendol (RM4.50) with its Vintage decor freshly squeezed coconut milk and fragrant palm sugar or gula Melaka. That smoky aromatic gula Melaka syrup is also used in their sago pudding (RM4.50) and a classic Penang dessert, Tee Nya kuih (RM4.50). Relive memories with the Mua Chi (RM4.50), glutinous rice flour cakes tossed in coarsely ground peanuts. This version is served slightly warm and is addictive with the fragrant pea-



Cedar Shoot Fried Rice

the delicious Honey char siu (RM15). Fashioned from mock meat, it tastes like the real deal with its sweet marinade, burnt edges and even fatty parts! Similarly, the Asam pedas fish (RM15) uses slices of soy topped with seaweed to mimic fish slices. We enjoyed this spicy dish’s sour taste lightly tempered with sweetness from the pineapple and a citrus lift from sliced bunga kantan. There were also tomatoes, ladies fingers and eggplant. It was so good! Shark’s fin in a vegetarian restaurant is certainly environmental-friendly, since it is made from agar-agar. The Fried shark’s fin (RM18) is similar to the kwai fah chee dish, a popular Chinese banquet dish in the 1960s, with various textures from vegetables like beansprouts, green capsicum, slivers of wood ear fungus and egg. The café also serves soups, such as the naturally sweet tasting White fungus bean curd soup (RM8). This is served with pieces of smooth tofu, enoki mushrooms, crunchy snow fungus and finished with

Crave pays for all its meals and all its reviews are conducted anonymously.

Honey Char Siu


beaten egg. Even better was the heat from the Radish pepper soup (RM8) balanced out with the sweetness derived from radish, carrot, baby corn and wolfberries or kei chee. Pounded dried mushroom stems replaced the meat in it. Even the Popiah (RM4.90) gets a makeover – traditional shredded yambean is replaced with sweet soft carrot and radish sticks while savoury crisps

replaced dried prawns. The only dish that was fell flat for us was the Sarawak Laksa (RM9.90) that tasted hot and sour rather than the traditional peppery taste. Vegipai Cafe, 37A Jalan Desa Bakti, Taman Desa, Off Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. Tel 03-7982 8184. Open daily: 11am to 9.30pm.

Crave 19 April 2013  

Crave, The Malay Mail, Penang, Siam Road, Kimberley Road, Char Kuey Teow, Nonya Breeze, Nasi Ulam, Inche Kabin, Serabai, Gelugor, Nasi Lemun...