Hainanese Delights serves up nostalgic cuisine of the colonial British era
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.
A mouth-watering paella set lunch at Hola by Javu
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).
TE AmOR Bakery & Confectionery – delightful pastries, bread loaves and buns
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.
Viet Garden offers an extensive pork-free Vietnamese menu
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.
The Baking Garage offers a great loaf for the table
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).
Neighbourwood – intriguingly inventive in serving European cuisine with an Asian twist
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.
Banh Mi Kitchen – serving up authentic Vietnamese bánh mì and more
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.
The colourful bubur cha cha and pengat – almost similar yet different
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.
My unforgettable birthday dinner at The Tamarra
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!
Un Poco Loco, a Spanish locale to go crazy about
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.