Spice up your life
Never tried lobak? It’s a dish much loved in Penang, and central to any celebration or festival by Straits Chinese. These Malaysian five spice rolls combine tenderised pork mince with the crunch of water chestnuts, all wrapped up in a beancurd sheet and deep fried to a crisp. They’re one of the house specialties at Penang Cuisine, easily missed in its hidden corner within a modest commercial complex in Epping. And yet this compact 30-seater has a non-stop flow of students, families and couples huddled over steaming bowls of curry laksa, digging into plates of mee goreng fried noodles or squabbling over the last satay chicken skewer.
Just like the hawker outlets of its namesake, the food here celebrates the cheap and the cheerful in equal measure. Patrons are more than happy to swap out fancy decor and stylised plating for budget-friendly homestyle cooking with generous portions. Penang fried kway teow ($13.90), for example, is a mammoth serve of slippery flat rice noodles with prawns, fishcake and Chinese lup cheong sausage. It’s all doused in soy and wok-fried over intense heat so you get little charred bits of goodness.
Har mee prawn noodle soup ($14.90) is all about the broth, a rich and satisfying stock made from prawn heads. Slurp up two kinds of noodles with slices of pork, fishcake, whole prawns, water spinach and boiled egg. If you order the Assam seafood ($18.90) make sure you get a serve of plain boiled rice. You’ll need it to soak up that tangy and spicy tomato and tamarind sauce, jam-packed with prawns, fish fillets and calamari.
Don’t leave without having dessert. Cendol is a Penang favourite, a mountain of shaved ice heaped over green pea flour jelly noodles, sweetened red beans and lashings of caramelly gula melaka palm sugar syrup.
If you time your visit right you might hit one of the rotating weekend specials, that include Hainan chicken, assam laksa (mackerel and tamarind noodle soup) and mee rebus (egg noodles in a curry-like gravy).
|Venue name:||Penang Cuisine|
Genesis Commercial Building
Shop 32, 74-76 Rawson Street
|Opening hours:||Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9pm; Tue 11.30am-2.30pm; Fri, Sat 11.30am-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10pm|