Lemaklicious © Adrian Cheah

Lemaklicious illustrates my passion for good food. "Lemak" is a Malay word that means more than just "fat" or "rich in taste". It can be used in any context, always bring with it a luxurious feeling of creamy and rich indulgence that is equally satisfying and rewarding. Hence, it is most fitting that I fuse "lemak" with "licious" (from delicious) to sum up my love affair with food.

I grew up in Penang, surrounded by a large Peranakan family, so it is no wonder that I became passionate about food. The food we ate was very traditional – delicious Nyonya recipes based on fresh ingredients. Over the years, I recreated the taste of home or other delicious dishes which I have tasted around the world. I came to learn that preparing food is not just about the recipe itself but also its ingredients and awareness for choosing each element to create a dish. Enjoy and indulge!

Senandung Rasa by the Sea at The Tamarra – a Ramadan feast for all

The Tamarra © Adrian Cheah

"Senandung Rasa by the Sea" at The Tamarra returns this Ramadan for an indulgent celebration filled with a lavish spread of modern Malay gastronomic delights. For an experience unlike any other, get ready to explore hearty yet nostalgic flavours of the Malay archipelago. Highlights from the extensive buffet spread include Kambing Golek (spit-roasted lamb), Nasi Kerabu Udang Lagenda (mixed herbal rice) and Gulai Ketam Nenas Tok Ma (flower crab curry) as well as live action stalls and a spread of over 100 items, not to mention a colourful ensemble of tempting desserts.

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Hainanese Delights serves up nostalgic cuisine of the colonial British era

Hainanese Delights © Adrian Cheah

In the 1920s, the Hainanese were among the last Chinese immigrants to arrive in Penang. Since other dialect groups had already established control over most trades, the late comers ended up as cooks and houseboys (domestic helpers) in British homes and establishments. The Hainanese cooks were taught on-the-job how to prepare British dishes and were also introduced to local ingredients and spices. They eventually evolved their cooking repertoire, infusing their creations with local flavours to suit the taste buds of Penangites and the colonial British. Thus, Hainanese cuisine in Penang, and at large, in Malaysia and Singapore, is unique in its own way and cannot be found elsewhere, not even in Hainan Island.

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A mouth-watering paella set lunch at Hola by Javu

Hola by Javu © Adrian Cheah

Hola by Javu established in November 2021 is a tapas bistro located at Tanjung Point, a stone's throw from the Chinese Swimming Club. The elegant spacious interior overlooking the tranquil beachfront of Tanjung Tokong is ideal for one to enjoy some Spanish treats. On a visit, my daughter and I shared the scrumptious paella set lunch, a true value for money priced at only RM59 nett (available only on weekdays from 11 am – 5 pm).

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TE AmOR Bakery & Confectionery – delightful pastries, bread loaves and buns

TE AmOR Bakery © Adrian Cheah

Mr James Loh bakes with passion. With no baking experience except raw enthusiasm, James honed his skills in the field of baking through first-hand experiences. He worked at various bakeries in Penang, six to be exact, before venturing out on his own. He established TE AmOR Bakery & Confectionery in June 2015 at a shop along Anson Road before relocating to 63, Gat Lebuh Chulia in December 2020.

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Viet Garden offers an extensive pork-free Vietnamese menu

Viet Garden © Adrian Cheah

Penang is lucky to have a string of good Vietnamese restaurants offering scrumptious signature dishes. Vietnamese cooking draws on the influences of Chinese, Thai, Indian and French cuisines to create irresistible combinations of delicate flavours, fresh ingredients and fabulous textures. Viet Garden, located at Kimberley Street, is one such destination in Penang to enjoy authentic Vietnamese delights.

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The Baking Garage offers a great loaf for the table

The Baking Garage © Adrian Cheah

It is such a joy listening to the sound of a butter knife spreading butter onto a warm crispy toast. Tasting the salted butter melting on the bread is something so basic yet remarkably rewarding. Its crispy, comforting bite is heavenly. But hold on – not just any toast: it has to be a thick artisan sourdough slice from The Baking Garage (TBG).

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Neighbourwood – intriguingly inventive in serving European cuisine with an Asian twist

Neighbourwood © Adrian Cheah

When the MICHELIN Guide Kuala Lumpur and Penang 2023 was launched, Neighbourwood was listed as one of the Bib Gourmand establishments, along with 16 others in Penang. Located a stone's throw away from the iconic Minor Basilica of St. Anne in Bukit Mertajam, Neighbourwood serves delectable European dishes with an Asian flare including char-grilled choices.

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Banh Mi Kitchen – serving up authentic Vietnamese bánh mì and more

Banh Mi Kitchen © Adrian Cheah

As the name of the restaurant highlights, Banh Mi Kitchen focuses mainly on offering the iconic Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches. Freshly baked baguettes, spread with pâté and margarine, are packed with a selection of stuffings (including ham, barbecue pork, roasted chicken, meat balls, prawns, fish, eggs or pork floss), topped with cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cilantro and fiery chilli peppers for an extra kick.

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The colourful bubur cha cha and pengat – almost similar yet different

bubur cha cha and pengat © Adrian Cheah

In Malay, “bubur” means “porridge”. As "cha cha" is a homophonic with the Hokkien "che che" (meaning "abundance"), it is a dish synonymous with unity and happiness in abundance. Although there are various theories, there is no one definitive consensus on its origin or what the name of the dish actually means.

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My unforgettable birthday dinner at The Tamarra

The Tamarra © Adrian Cheah

I turned 55 this year, travelled 55 times around the sun, clocking a distance of 8,228 million kilometres. Although moving at breakneck speed of 1,670 kilometres per hour through space, my precious life on earth seems to crawl at a much slower pace.

I look up at the night starry sky and marvel at the millions of miles I have travelled across the universe. I close my eyes and look within and marvel as well at more than half a century of wisdom and experience I have encountered. I am truly blessed!

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Un Poco Loco, a Spanish locale to go crazy about

Un Poco Loco © Adrian Cheah

Un Poco Loco is more than just a tapas bar as there are some items on the menu that offer a more hearty meal. Located at City Junction in Tanjung Tokong, it is the brainchild of the team behind the one Michelin star Restaurant Au Jardin. Un Poco Loco is headed by Chef Yan You (executive chef) and Chef Alex (chef de cuisine). The menu is curated by Chef Kim Hock.

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Richard Rivalee brings you delicious pork-free Nyonya cuisine

Richard Rivalee Nyonya Cuisine © Adrian Cheah

I truly believe that if one desires to live a purpose driven life, one has to wear one's heart on one's sleeve and allow passion to fuel the journey. One such brave man I know is Richard Rivalee, always smiling and bubbling with gaiety.

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A lavish "Christmas Buffet by the Sea" at The Tamarra

Christmas Buffet by the Sea at The Tamarra © Adrian Cheah

It is the season to eat, drink and be merry among family and friends. With Christmas right around the corner, now is the perfect time to make your Christmas reservations. If you are planning to head out for a memorable Christmas dinner, look no further. "Christmas Buffet by the Sea" at The Tamarra offers truly mouth-watering selections of Christmas dishes such beef Wellington, traditional roasts, spit-roasted lamb, freshly-tossed pasta and an assortment of cheeses. Furthermore there are action stalls and a dessert corner with plenty of festive desserts including cendol ice cream, gingerbread cookies and more. Oh, what a jolly good feast!

If you book before 12 December 2022, you will be able to enjoy the early bird offer.

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Boey Chong Kee Restaurant – serving no-frills Cantonese-style cooking

Boey Chong Kee Restaurant © Adrian Cheah

Although the signboard on the right of the restaurant reads "Beoy...", it was a typo error Mr Boey Chong, owner of the restaurant must have missed when he commissioned it in the 1960s. “Kee” stands for 记 which means shop in Chinese. Serving classic no-frills Cantonese-style cooking, this quaint restaurant is located at one of the shop lots on the ground floor at People's Court off Lebuh Cintra/Campbell. Till today, it is still very much a family business and is run by Mr Boey’s granddaughters, the Chan sisters.

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Passion Heart Café – where love is an important ingredient

Passion Heart Café © Adrian Cheah

Where would you go in Penang to buy a birthday cake or to enjoy a delicious slice? Although choices are aplenty, I would frequent just a handful of cake houses here in Penang. Among them is Passion Heart Café, located at 23, Jalan A.S. Mansoor, off Jalan Transfer.

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Comforting ark bak (duck meat) koay teow th'ng

koay teow th'ng © Adrian Cheah

Loh Kei Duck Meat Koay Teow Th’ng is located at the side wing of the State Chinese (Penang) Association's (SCPA) in Perak Road. The other wing is occupied by Ang Hoay Loh Restaurant.

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Mouth-watering 3-course set meals at Lumiére Restaurant

Lumiére Restaurant © Adrian Cheah

Lumiére Restaurant is a cozy, passion-led, innovative dining establishment in the heart of George Town (on the same street as the famous Teochew cendol stall off Penang Road). Led by a husband and wife team, Chef Jackson Yee and general manager Eunice, the restaurant focuses on quality ingredients, fresh flavours and eye-arresting presentations.

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Muah chee – truly irresistible moist and elastic humble-looking morsels

muah chee © Adrian Cheah

Muah chee, a traditional dish made of glutinous rice dough that stretches like elastic bread dough, is moist, soft and pillowy. The bite-size pieces are coated generously with a powdery mix of toasted crushed peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and granulated sugar. Prior to serving, some fried shallots (optional) could be added along with a sprinkling of white, or black sesame seeds.

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The delicious 4-course set lunch at Le Venue

Le Venue © Adrian Cheah

My friends and I had a wonderful birthday celebration for Dorothy Wang at Le Venue. The hearty four courses in the set lunch were all elegantly plated, rendering a visual feast whetting the appetite. As always, Chef Petr Fehér's creations using quality ingredients were truly scrumptious. Let us take a closer look at each course.

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Scrumptiously healthy breakfast offerings at EMILY Darling Cafe

EMILY Darling Cafe © Adrian Cheah

EMILY Darling Cafe starts operations at 8:00 am. It was only a natural progression that the cafe added some breakfast options to its list of tempting pastries and cakes. I was there that Saturday morning, 21 May 2022, the first morning that three breakfast offerings were made available. Staying at E&O Hotel that weekend, I had a pleasant stroll along Penang Road to the cafe.

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