Penang food never used to appeal to me even though my mum is a native Penangite. It was only until my recent trip to her hometown earlier this year did I start to appreciate the intense flavors of classic dishes like Assam Laksa, Penang Prawn Mee, Char Kway Teow, and others.
I had a craving for Penang Fruit Rojak last night so I suggested to Pari a place which I ate several years ago, Penang Kitchen, next to Coronation Plaza, along Bukit Timah Road.
The place is a small, casual eatery and the menu is pretty much what you would expect for a Penang Restaurant.
We ordered the Assam Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Fruit Rojak, Almond Drink to share, and a Gula Melaka dessert to round things off.
The Fruit Rojak was the first to arrive and with the proper ingredients (prawn paste, peanuts, fresh fruit and cucumber), it shouldn’t be too difficult to make this at home.
Still, it managed to satisfy my craving, though it cost a rather princely $7.80 for a small plate.
The Assam Laksa was a little different from what I expect. The portion was huge, and the Laksa gravy full of chopped sardines, though the flavor in itself was a little different from the typical Penang Laksa.
The Char Kway Teow was fried well, and had the “wok hei” taste, though if there were cockles it would have been perfect. I’m pretty certain cockles don’t form part of traditional Penang Fried Kway Teow though, so the local version still wins for me.
We ended the meal with a bowl of Gula Melaka sago, though it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.
In all, we spent around $33 for the meal.
It’s not easy to find good and authentic Penang food, and the best I have eaten so far is at Jason’s Penang Cuisine, located in ABC Hawker Centre (though the owners have a slight attitude problem). Penang Kitchen does its best to offer authentic Penang fare, albeit at a cost. However, the quality doesn’t separate itself much from Jason’s, and the price is a tad too expensive for me to consider coming again.
5 Coronation Road, #01-05 Coronation Arcade, 437066