Friday, 2 April 2010
Singapore – Penang Place Restaurant, 6 International Business Park (off Boon Lay Way) #01-05 Atrium Singapore 609918
When we were in Singapore, our friends were lovely enough to bring us to Penang Place Restaurant. Not usually knowing where something is in London, having been through many maps and to actual locations many times, I’ll spare you the directions, and instead, ask that you use Google Maps to take you there.
Previous trips to Singapore didn’t impress me much food-wise, but this trip changed all that, beginning with this restaurant. Popular at lunchtimes and weekends (apparently you can’t get a table without a reservation), there were quite a few tables occupied even during the weeknight that we were there for our dinner.
Featuring Penang food as its star of the show, this restaurant is a buffet-style place with lots of space around the food counter for people (indecisive ones like me) to stand around and ponder. I counted about 30 types of different items in the buffet line, each one looking more tempting than the one before, so if you’re gonna try them all, go small.
The satay was immense, like, really good. Each bite of meat was perfectly grilled; slightly crispy edges, tender centre, and well-flavoured. I especially enjoyed the cucumber and onion dipped in the peanut sauce.
Lobak – which is made with chicken here as this is a halal restaurant. I’m not sure how they do it, but this was perhaps one of the best lobaks I’ve had. Tender pieces of chicken meat wrapped in foo chuk (beancurd skin), and then deep-fried. I can almost taste it again, just trying to describe it.
The char kuay teow also was pork-free, but was so so good that I wouldn’t have known that it was any different to the ones we have in Malaysia. It’s all about the wok.
There’s also self-serve assam laksa, so portion control is recommended.
Really liked the belacan-fried chicken. Crispy skin, and tender chicken inside. Each piece managed to maintain its crispiness despite being in the buffet counter, which suggests that they constantly refill or change the supply of chicken to keep it fresh.
Nasi lemak (self-serve, meaning I got to remove the bits I don’t like, and have lots of the stuff I do, woo hooo!). The bits I like, as can be seen from above – the rice, the chicken curry, the rendang, and lots more curry sauce! The bits I usually remove from my nasi lemak are the ikan bilis (anchovies) and the smaller little garnishing because they just take up space which could be used for more curry sauce.
Lots more spring roll, lobak and seaweed-wrapped bits of meaty deliciousness.
In a few posts back, I asked if anyone knew what this was. This is what we call Pulut Tai Tai. Glutinous rice which is made blue by using the natural blue food colour obtained from the Bunga Telang (Blue Pea flower). This is a traditional Nyonya kueh (kueh means cake) and the texture of most kueh is chewy, in this case, chewy glutinous rice.
It was served and kept hot in the wooden steaming tray seen above, which meant that every piece of this lovely delicate blue rice was warm and so very nice! One of my favourites in the buffet line.
The rice by itself doesn’t taste of much, so this is eaten with kaya, a coconut-based jam.
The rojak counter made alot of people very happy.
Yau yee ung choy (sotong kangkung) is one of those dishes found in hawker centres in Malaysia. The sotong (or squid), is boiled and cut into strips. Kangkung (morning glory) is also boiled, and then the two items are served up with a nice belacan-based sauce.
While most people waited till the end of the meal to have dessert, I was alternating between savoury and sweet. All things in moderation and balance, as they say. The black jelly was the herbal gui ling gou which was really, deliciously soft. Served with honey, this slightly bitter herbal jelly was absolutely refreshing to end (or alternate) the meal with. The yellow pudding was mango pudding. Again, lovely texture (wobbly) with a nice, strong mango taste.
Would I recommend this? Most definitely so. This is one buffet restaurant which doesn’t skimp on quality, as every dish tasted really fresh and hot off the stove. If you’re in Singapore and feel like having some authentic Penang food, this place serves Penang food which tastes more authentic than lots of other places I’ve eaten at in Malaysia. Top marks to the lobak and satay which were superb.
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