There is an abundant supply of great food in Georgetown, I intentionally missed sights around town and on the island so I have more reason to come back to Penang. The added benefit being the future opportunity to eat more fantastic food.
Truth be told I didn’t eat any meals in restaurants while in Penang, the closest I came to was eating in a few of the local joints serving a very limited number of dishes. They are pretty basic, with easy cleaning painted concrete floors, the drinks menu are posters on the walls, the tables and chairs are plastic and robust. The feeling in these places is cheap, cheerful and efficient, the servers and service may be gruff, but the smile doesn’t leave your face until the last mouthful is gone.
Roast Haianese chicken rice – Everybody loves Haianese chicken rice, and they should, it is delicious! It is a fairly simple meal with simple clean flavours that all enhance each other. The Haianese chicken is usually poached, seeing the roasted option I was happy to try. The juicy and tender chicken is served boneless and chopped, with a soy broth moistening the meat, bowls of steamed rice, some poaching liquor, some chilli sauce, slices of cucumber and red onion accompany the dish.
Penang speciality: Penang Assam Laksa – This tart and tangy fish soup is not for people who don’t like strong flavours, the thick chewy rice noodles is garnished with spring onion, chili and sprouts. Covered with a piping hot broth soured with tamarind, tanged with chilli and flecked with flakes of fish really delivers a flavour wallop. The additional prawn paste and extra chilli push this soup into flavour overdrive. There is a version I prefer toned down with coconut milk.
Roti Canai – I love Roti Canai, found in Mamak stalls and restaurants throughout Asia, I think of them as a thin elastic pancake influenced by the Indian paratha flatbread. Usually served with dahl or some curried liquor. The wafer thin pastry is often stuffed while it cooks and results in a crisp and gooey pastry, I love them stuffed with Banana, or served as a Roti Canai Bom, that is stuffed with sweetened condensed milk as it fries on a concave pancake skillet. So crisp, gooey and delicious.