Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 December Holiday - Penang Food Trail

Recently we went for our almost yearly trip back to Penang, this time with my friend SH and her family, so we were able to spend more time eating and exploring Penang instead of spending most of the time visiting our relatives.  When we finally made the air tickets and hotel bookings, we decided to have a "Eat till You Drop" Penang Holiday.  Our last visit to Penang was in November 2011 where we had a great time with friends & relatives, you can read about it here.  This time we are determined to spend more time eating the local delicacies then shopping.

Our 3D2N holiday started on 20 December 2013 and feasting started on the same day too!  We had a late lunch at Astons Specialities in Terminal 1 where both DinoPapa and me had Ribeye Steak while DinoBoy have his favourite Fish & Chips.  I love my side of pasta salad which it goes well with the soft and tender steak.  I must admit, I was extremely attracted by the Mac & Cheese side on DinoBoy's plate that I took the photo of it instead the fish.  Frankly, the Mac & Cheese tasted better then the fish.

Late lunch at Astons Specialities

We arrived at Penang around 4.30pm, by the time we reached hotel and checked into our room it was almost 6pm, we put down our luggage and headed out to find some food.  DinoPapa wanted to go to the famous food street but after walking for some time we can't find it.  We backtracked and found ourselves at Penang Times Square.  It looks relatively new with only a handful of shops operating on the 1st floor, we took the escalator to the 2nd floor and it was the same.  We saw the food court and headed there only to find more then half of the stalls either closed or empty.  We thought it was a new shopping mall but was shocked to learn that it has been around since 2011.  Business has been very bad over there.  We choose from the limited food stall and paid for some over priced fried rice, sliced fish hor fan, hokkien mee etc that tasted so-so.  Anyway we were too tired to venture more so this will do, for now.

Besides the spelling errors on the wall, most of the food stated on it were not found in the food court

After finishing our food and feeling unsatisfied with the food we had earlier, DinoPapa is determined to find that food street that he originally wanted to go so we left DinoBoy with SH (he was more then happy as he can play with kor kor R) and we ventured around.  DinoPapa asked directions from a car park uncle and we headed off for a short walk to the food street.  Luckily the boys were not with us as the street is pretty busy with crowds queuing up in front of the mobile stalls. people sitting around at the limited tables & chairs  along the road waiting for their food to be served.  Among these hustling, we have to be mindful of the road as there will be cars and motorcycles constantly going up and down the narrow road.  We quickly ordered our takeaways and headed back to the hotel where we feasted and our bellies are finally very happy and satisfied.

Now, assam laksa is a MUST TRY dish when you are in Penang and we bought a packet for SH since she has a craving of it.  So far we have not tasted any assam laksa in Singapore that is really tasty.  For the authentic assam laksa there must be pieces of tuna (not shredded or mashed pieces of tuna as we usually find in Singapore), pineapple, onion, shredded cucumber, red cut chilli, prawn paste, some veggie and the assam sour taste in the broth.  

I love oyster omelet but those sold in Singapore are over priced with only 5-6 pieces of small oysters.  I couldn't resist this dish when I saw it and immediately told DinoPapa excitedly that "I want THAT!"  As you can see from the photo, there are at least 7 oysters visible, there are some more inside the omelet. YUM-MEE~

Lor Bak is DinoPapa's favourite dish, it is something like our ngoh hiang but instead of minced meat it is wrapped with pieces of meat.  I am not a fan of it but by the look of his face it is really delicious.  The lor bak is served with fried prawn fritters, fried beancurd, century eggs etc.
We had Oyster Omelette, Penang Asam Laksa & Lor Bak

The next morning, we wanted to have something light and head off to have find some local breakfast.  We came upon Leong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant 龙记港式点心 and had the most delicious dim sum~ (there goes our "light" breakfast plan).  Leong Kee definitely is the place to go for really good dim sum which we can never find it in Singapore. Not only that their ingredients are fresh, they are generous with the fillings too!  I love their carts with the huge bamboo steamer filled to the rim with small plates of food.  

I love chee cheong fan but I only took a small piece coz I was too full to take in more.  Incidentally, this is the first time DinoBoy tried dim sum and he seems to have taken a liking to chee cheong fan.  Perhaps its because he saw kor kor R enjoying this plain looking food and decides that it is tasty too.  I strongly suggest that you try a little bit of every thing and take your time to savour the food.  We saw their big kong bak pau and have to give it a miss though we were was salivating when we saw it.  The pau is big and you can see the big piece of kong bak (pork belly) peeping out from the inside of the pau.  I am very sure the pau will be soft and kong bak will be tender and juicy.  Oh boy!  Now I really regret not having it!

Since our last visit in 2011, Bali Hai is on top of our MUST VISIT List. They have a wide variety of fresh sea catches and are pocket friendly too!  And really, if it swims, Bali Hai will have it, I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with their food.  We only ordered 5 dishes as there were 4 adults and 2 boys (too few adults to order a feast for fear of not able to finish the food), we licked clean our plates leaving only the chilli crab sauce.

There is a reservation option in their website, it's best to reserve a table if you want to give it a try.  We were there around 5.20pm and there were only a few tables occupied.  The crowd started to come in fast and furious at around 6.30pm, luckily by then we were about to leave the restaurant.

Seafood Fried Rice, Stir-fried venison, Fried noodle, Claypot tofu with veggie & Spicy Sweet Chili Crabs

"If it Swims We have it"
Fresh seafood!

Lobsters, scallops & prawns from Bali Hai

I don't even know the name of some of the catches here!

Guess what?  At 8.30pm  while DinoBoy is with SH & her family we were at Kimberley Street buying supper from the various stalls.  We blame it on our early dinner, but since this is a Gastronomy Holiday it's only right that we should stuff ourselves with food.  After eating the fried kuey teow a couple of times we strongly suggest that you request for duck's egg instead of the usual chicken egg to be used on your plate of fried kuey teow even though it costs slightly more.  The duck's egg gives a unique flavour to the dish and makes it tastier.  

I saw a stall selling duck meat kuey chap and couldn't resist it.  When I was enjoying this back in the hotel I thought I would only find duck meat inside but instead there are also pieces of pig's intestines, pigs blood, pig's ear, an egg, pork belly and pig stomach.  DE-LI-CIOUS~  Plus the kuey are not the usual ones sold in our food court, its thicker and has a QQ texture, something like our lou shu fen or short rice noodle but flatten out.  

My advise - you have to consume the food while its hot otherwise it will not taste as good.  We have to wait for the hotel's room service to bring a few plates and bowl up to our room, by the time the food is already warm though still tasty.

Fried Carrot Cake (Penang style), Lor Bak, Kuey Chap and Fried Kuey Teow

We had an early start on our last day in Penang as we want to visit the snake temple.  We went back to New Lane and sat down in Sin Yip Nam Cafe for some local breakfast.  Here we had chee cheong fun in another style, this one is served with sweet sauce and prawn paste.  According to SH, the prawn paste is too sweet and its an acquired taste, you either love it or hate it.  So if you are trying this, do remember to sample the prawn paste first before mixing it with the chee cheong fun.

The hokkien mee is something similar to our prawn noodles but its cooked with spicy broth.  Our bowl of hokkien mee comes with 2 fish balls, some slices of fish cakes, some small prawns, bean sprouts and 1/4 of an egg.

Look at their toast!  Its even bigger and thicker then ours!  

Chee Cheong Fun, Lor Mee, Hokkien Mee and Toasts

We met up with a relative later that day who brought us visit some other relatives and we had our lunch at Kafe Mandarin.  We were here 2 years ago and according to the relative some of the stalls have since changed owner, some selling not so tasty food.  Lucky for us, this relative are familiar with the stalls there and ordered all the yummy food.

This is the first time I tried the curry mee and I like it a lot.  Its different from the curry noodle you find in Singapore that is usually served with curry gravy and yellow noodles with chicken pieces, instead it is served in spicy broth with tau pok, cuttlefish, cockles, prawns and some other ingredients which I have forgotten.  

This relative also ordered a cold dish which I forgot to ask her the name of the dish.  It has fried beancurd covered in some sauce that is a little bit sweet, I thought I tasted peanuts or yellow bean but could be sure.  I don't even know what is that white topping, so if you know the dish please let me know.

Do note that Kafe Mandarin runs 24 hours and each stall has 2 owners operating at 2 different timing, most likely selling different food too.  At 4pm daily, they will "change shift" and the stall owner operating earlier will close the stall by taking down their stall signage and the other stall owner will put up his stall signage to start his day.  So don't be surprise if you see can't find a particular stall you patronized earlier that day, come back again before 4pm the next day.

Hokkien Mee, some cold dish, Wanton Noodle - Dry, Wanton Noodle - Soup & Curry Mee

We went for the Penang Street Art walk and tasted some desserts; the ice ball and ice kachang, both much welcomed on a hot hot day.   Look at their ice kachang~ it has crushed peanuts on it~

So while the adults pigged out were enjoying our delectable sinful supper, the 2 boys were enjoying themselves in the room with us too!

The food portion are small as compared to those served in Singapore but the prices are reasonable.  I like this as this allows me to order many different types of food and eat them at the same time.  This is especially good when you are visiting as a tourist, you will want to sample as many local food as you can at one meal. 

This has really been a EAT EAT EAT Gastronomy Holiday, I think I must have put on a kilo or two over the 3 days of non stop eating.  I am already looking forward to our next Penang trip at the end of 2014.

Astons Specialities
80 Airport Boulevard
Viewing Mall Central Level 3 #03-18
Changi Airport Terminal 1
Singapore 819642
Tel: 6542 4709
Operating Hours: 10.30am - 11pm (Opens Daily)

Leong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant 龙记港式点心
61 Kimberley Street (junction with Rope Walk)
George Town
Penang 10100
Tel: +6016-4550386

Bali Hai Seafood
90, 90A, 90B, 90C & 90D
Persiaran Gurney Georgetown
Penang 10250
Phone : +604-228 8272 / 228 1272
Fax : +604-228 8273
Mobile : + 6016-520 3024
Email :
Business Hours : Open Daily
GPS Coordinates : 5.433535, 100.315351

Sin Yin Nam Cafe
Lorong Baru (New Lane)
Off Macalister Road
10040 Pulau Pinang

Mandarin Cafe
Lorong Delima 5
Green Lane
Penang 11600

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This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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  1. Thank you Jennifer for tasty track, it reminds me when I visit Malaysia and already miss tasty food :)

    1. Malaysia have a lot of tasty local food, a same dish will have a unique different when you eat it at different state. That's what I love about Malaysia.

  2. I have actually read a lot of your blog posts in the last hour. I really enjoy what you are doing here. (And as a writer of fantasy novels, I'm enjoying looking at different aspects of that when you go through them in blog post). And truly, I love world-culture building

    1. Hi Emma, thanks for dropping by =) and the nice compliments. I am glad that you enjoyed reading my posts. I haven't got much time to blog recently but will be back to the blogging sphere soon!