Thai cuisine at Bukit Genting Hill Leisure Park and Restaurant
As long as the meal is not meant to take centre stage, I highly recommend a trip up to Bukit Genting. Here, one can enjoy al fresco dining with amazing views of the Straits of Malacca and the South Channel. Surrounded by forested hills, the breathtaking vistas of the rustic village of Balik Pulau below come complete with paddy fields. The view at sunset when the sun dips into the ocean is even more spectacular!
On route to Balik Pulau along Jalan Teluk Kumbar, a signboard at a junction indicates the presence of a hilltop restaurant, the Bukit Genting Hill Restaurant and Leisure Park, specialising in Thai cuisine. The narrow winding road in and out of the restaurant is a slight challenge. Bukit Genting is perched on the crest of the hillock.
Certain areas of the grounds show signs of neglect while others are well maintained. The Leisure Park must have once looked splendid. Come evening, when the decorative lights are lit, the ambience of the surrounding grounds improves. Remember to scout out good spots to snap lovely photos of your visit.
Food-wise, its menu focuses mainly on Thai food with a touch of Asian dishes.
Let us start with drinks. My recommendation includes freshly squeezed nutmeg (popular in Balik Pulau), passion fruit or ambra juices as well as the thirst-quenching coconut.
To begin your meal, try the crunchy belacan chicken wings or crispy spring rolls. Enjoy them while they piping hot.
I love steamed clams in a spicy lime sauce. This has to be one of the best ways to cook fresh clams. The delicate balance of flavours in this dish is key to its success.
Also, consider a dish from the selection of kerabu or salads to whet your appetite. Som Tum Mamuang, the Thai green mango salad would be a winning choice. If you like your salad fiery hot like me, sound this out to the waiter when you place your order. Add on a bowl of thick, creamy green curry to smother your rice.
For noodles, go for the stir-friend tang hoon (glass noodles) with prawns. This is one of my daughter's favourites as it is a non-spicy dish.
If you skipped the steamed clams, you could opt for the steamed sea bass with the same spicy lime sauce. If you have ordered the clams, then for the fish, sample Pla Sam Rot, a must-have, deep-fried fish topped with a distinct Thai three-flavoured sauce. The fish is super-crispy on the outside yet beautifully tender on the inside.
For vegetables, there is a variety that you could choose from including crispy deep-fried kang kong (water spinach) and stir-fried kailan (Chinese broccoli).
Seafood tom yam, otak-otak, butter prawns and the list goes on and on. Remember, the recipe for a good meal is to have a variety of dishes of different flavours and textures that complement each other well.
Do make reservations to avoid disappointment, especially on weekends. The friendly owners and staff will do their best to provide efficient service.
Since Bukit Genting is a private orchard as you would have noticed on your drive up, you will be able to savour durians, rambutans and other fruits when they are in season.
Written and photographed by Adrian Cheah
© All rights reserved
1 August 2020
Bukit Genting Hill Leisure Park and Restaurant
Lot 569, Bukit Penara 7, 11000 Balik Pulau, Penang
T: +6016 492 8778
Opens daily: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm