Thursday, May 31, 2012

Penang: What We Ate

Penang is famous for its food. In fact, a lot of tourists go there primarily for that reason (Asian tourists, mostly: the lengths to which Western 'foodies' will go pale in comparison to your typical food-obsessed Singaporean). Since B loves food (and eating is by far his favorite thing to do on vacation), deciding where and what to eat was a very important part of the trip.
R having breakfast: mangoes, papaya, kiwi, dragonfruit and chicken sausage
Penang did not disappoint. We ate at our hotel's (excellent) restaurant the first night, and at the buffet of ridiculous excess for our breakfasts.
My breakfast: eggs, scones, English muffin with jam, sushi, spring roll, baked beans, pandan rice, orange juice and coffee
B's second helping: homemade bread, brie, mushrooms, shaomai, sausage and tomato
Our other meals were:
--Friday lunch: at a local Indian restaurant. B had poori (puffy whole wheat bread) with chana masala (garbanzos in spicy sauce); I had masala dosa (potato curry mush in a sourdough-flavored pancake) and vegetable biryani (a rice dish). I had lime juice (though R drank most of it), B had a mango lassi. We also ordered some samosas. (This was a ridiculous amount of food, especially because all the main courses came with curry side dishes, but 1. it was really cheap and 2. I love over-ordering because I am greedy).

R at Edelweiss: it's in a 150-year-old building
and decorated with local antiques like these Nonya tiffin baskets
--Saturday lunch: at Edelweiss Cafe, which serves German Swiss food. I ate a huge amount of delicious sausage, spaetzle and sauerkraut (B was boring and ordered a large salad and soup: he overate at breakfast).
R dislikes lettuce: she loves sausage though!
My lunch (I already had started eating before I remembered to take a photo)
We also got beer (B) and cocktails (me). As alcohol is really expensive in Singapore, whenever I am on vacation I now want to drink! The pitfalls of prohibition...
Cocktail #1: I had two this size, hehehe
--Saturday teatime: at a little juice bar. They served a huge variety of fresh fruit juices, all of which promised various health and mental benefits. B went with dragonfruit and kiwi (his favorite), I had apple, lime and guava.
R gulping down B's drink: she likes it too
My drink: supposedly good for the skin
All the health benefits were listed
--Saturday mini-dinner: R ate Indian hawker food: carrot halwa (this was a big hit) and mushroom roti prata. We saved the remnants for a later midnight snack.

--Saturday dinner: R stayed at home sleeping (we hired a babysitter through the hotel) while B and I went out to dinner at the CRC Restaurant. This was a very traditional Chinese restaurant, meaning a huge, brilliantly lit hall full of tables seating eight (the lucky number in China) covered in white tablecloths, fish tanks in the front with live fish, efficient yet surly waiters in dinner jackets, and packed full to the brim with loudly chatting, copiously eating family groups out for the weekly family dinner, from grandma to infant. It was strange being there because it was like being transported back to Taiwan or China (or the Richmond in San Francisco). A large birthday party for a family matriarch was going on, complete with speeches, which was interesting to see. Of course the food was amazing (Chinese people don't play around) and I had the best pork ribs ever. We also ate stir fried green beans, braised tofu, chicken, and spring rolls.
Waiting for the food
--Sunday lunch: at a hole-in-the-wall chicken rice hawker stall/restaurant. All they served was chicken rice (chicken boiled in chicken stock, with rice cooked with chicken stock, and a bowl of chicken stock on the side), but it was delicious. R was happy here as she loves chicken rice.
R eating her chicken rice
--Sunday teatime: We stopped at a coffeehouse serving coffee roasted and prepared in the special local style. Both B and I had coffee; B and R split chocolate pudding and blueberry cheesecake. The coffee was good; judging by little R's reaction, so were the desserts.
Coffee (B's is the one with milk)
R all covered in chocolate pudding
--Sunday dinner: at a Taiwanese restaurant, which is always exciting for us as we miss the food there. We got green tea, bubble tea (tea is a huge thing in Taiwan) and kiwi juice (R drank pretty much all of this), vegetables, Pork Sauce Rice, fish ball soup, dumplings, and beef soup with noodles and dumplings. This last was so good that I ordered another bowl once I finished the first. Mmmm...
Green tea with all its accouterments (the Taiwanese are serious about tea drinking)
My bubble tea (so no milk): R ate almost all my boba though :(
She drank pretty much the whole thing
Beef noodle soup: SO GOOD!!
Some of the other food
Penang certainly lives up to its reputation!


  1. Looks delicious! Any chance you tried an ais kacang? (like an ice dessert??) My husband loved those. They sounded weird to me, though- I guess they are sweet but have corn and stuff in them.

    1. We didn't any there but Singapore has them too, so I have tried them before. What's really good is iced cendol: shaved ice topped with coconut cream, palm sugar, cendol (gelatinous green jelly), and usually attap seeds (taste like grapes). I love it!

  2. That looks amazing! I love unusual food!