Penang Top Five: Samuel Cheong

Updated: 26 Aug 2013

Known to some for his comforting, amiable flavours with a touch of sophistication as Abbey Road Bistro’s chef and to others as the man with the girl tattoo on his left arm, Sam’s a born and bred Penangite. In fact, he has lived in Butterworth most of his life and here he reveals to Su Aziz a few places with lovely local food he favours besides his own, of course!

Luan Fong Coffee Shop
This is a shop that’s hidden way back on Lorong Bagan Luar in Butterworth. They basically serve Hainanese style food such as soft boiled telur kampong (free range eggs) or telur Bandar (regular eggs) with a variety of toasts and a must-try is definitely their local black coffee. Also, not forgetting their homemade brown kaya on toast and their signature beef noodles. If bread is not your thing, choose the homemade nasi lemak available and if you’re there on Saturday and Sunday, don’t miss out on the nasi lemak with huge shrimps.

Piping hot, soupy beef noodles

Toon Leong Coffee Shop
Located in the heart of George Town, at the corner of Transfer Road and Argyll Road to be exact, lies this old coffee shop. They pride themselves as the 'Starbucks' of the 60's with their self-roasted and prepared homemade coffee powder. While the various operators within the coffee shop serve coffee, eggs and toasts, there’s also Deen Nasi Kandar and his catfish curry. Mornings will see stalls selling curry mee, wantan mee and the usual breakfast favourites here.

Ah Boyd Chicken Rice
One of my favourite staple food is chicken rice. The one I like most is from a place located right in the middle of Sin Tat Garden in Butterworth. It’s tucked into a side lane and Boyd's chicken rice is to me, one of the smoothest steamed chicken I’ve ever eaten. It’s also famous for its sai-toh fish ball soup and steamed lettuce and beansprouts served with meat floss.

Succulent chicken rice with blanched beansprouts

Sri Siam Curry Fish Head
One of the most popular Malaysian Thai economy rice in Butterworth, this one is in Chai Leng Park in Butterworth. They have more than 40 Malaysian and Thai dishes here. What not to miss is their curry fish head. It’s cooked with fresh coconut milk on the spot. There are also head of fresh red snapper, stuffed squids, assam prawns, braised lamb curry, mango kerabu and quite a variety of Pan-Asian dishes. By the way, their sambal belacan's a real killer!

Abbey Road Bistro

This place has become my creative home where I can explore and create innovative western cuisine with a hint at an Oriental flavour that has earned favours not only from the local diners but also those from outstation and foreigners. I’d like to think our selection of wines, cocktails and beers pairs well with the food and of course, our service and cosy ambience round it all up into a pleasant dining experience.