Penang Top Five: Dave Looi
Dave Looi, although Singapore-born, has been living in Penang and cooking at Suffolk House since middle of 2012. It’s been said that his kind of energy is the sort you should ‘siphon into little bottles and sell at some holistic flea market’. Dave’s Michelin-starred training and slew of influences while staying true to the basics shaped his cooking style and he has worked in New York City, Parrot Cay of Turks and Caicos Island, Florida and Taipei. Today, he lays his chef’s hat in Penang and happily shares with us his favourite places to eat on the island.
1. Beef Noodle Soup at Lam Ah Coffee Shop
The stall is located within Lam Ah Coffee Shop on the corner of Beach Street and Chulia Street. Despite the hot tropical weather of the island, the steaming hot beef soup that drowns out flat, rice noodles or kuay teow and lean pieces of beef seems to make a perfect lunch. You can either order a big or small bowl and they close by 4pm.
Toh Soon Cafe
2. Toh Soon Cafe
This café is located on a small, back lane in Campbell Street. They use the traditional way of toasting bread. The pieces of bread without crusts on are toasted on charcoal to make the perfect roti bakar. I occasionally start my day here – a nostalgic moment, reminiscing my Hainanese roots over a cup of Hainan teh si or milky tea.
3. Japanese Corner at Viva food court
This humble stall serves excellent Japanese food. Located within Viva food court on Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Japanese Corner was a surprise find. They open only for dinner and stay open till late. I sometimes grab my dinner here after work. The proprietors, Saiful and Linda, are a husband and wife team. Saiful used to be a chef in a well-established Japanese restaurant here in Penang. His passion for food is mind-blowing and running the stall is a family affair.
4. Suffolk House
From the veranda, the porch area, the kitchen , the ballroom, the restaurant dining area, the wait staff, the many guests that I serve and many of whom I became close friends with, the garden, the huge trees surrounding the property, I love them all. This is the place where I share my culinary skill and food, and gives me the opportunity to live in Penang!
Ong Swee Hoe stall
5. Ong Swee Hoe's duck & chicken drumstick mee suah
This hawker center is located along Jalan Sungai Pinang, right in front of the Honda car showroom. The popular duck drumstick is often sold out by 10.30am. Chicken, duck meat are pork ribs are the other options offered here. I am a herbal soup lover and they double boil their soup. The bowl of noodles comes with tender duck meat and nicely textured mee suah soaked in the rich herbal soup base along with wolfberries and some angelica sinensis.