Lemaklicious

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!

Moi, comforting rice-based porridge to warm the soul

congee, moi © Adrian Cheah

If the truth be known, a bowl of piping-hot plain white moi (congee in Hokkien) is unpretentious and is as bland as ever. Yet through the millennia, it has become a comfort food that has no equal. Moi has become the food of love, health and of the home for millions. At times, I marvel at how food this simple can be elevated to taste so deliciously divine.

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The Tamarra takes off this Ramadhan

Tamarra © Adrian Cheah

The Tamarra is the latest addition to Shad Kamarulzaman's string of restaurants which include Irama Dining, Sutera and Lagenda Cafe. Not resting on his laurels, he brings yet another inspiring dining destination to Penang, this time serving modern Malay gastronomy. However, for the month of Ramadhan, The Tamarra is proud to present "Senandung Rasa by the Sea".

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The Maker – offering eye-candy temptations of sweet treats and pastries

The Maker © Adrian Cheah

The Maker, located along upper Beach Street in George Town, first opened its doors to the public in March 2020. It offers fabulous-looking desserts and pastries from shortcakes to croissants and from tarts to breads. It is a heaven for those who relish sweet treats. There is a display glass counter that flaunts lovely beauties unapologetically. Let us dive in and take a closer look at some of The Maker's popular desserts.

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Delightful bowl-shaped appam at Singgah Sebentar

appam © Adrian Cheah

The appam (also known as palappam) or apom (in Penang) is an Indian pancake made with a fermented rice flour and coconut milk batter. The contrast of textures in this dish is alluring. The pancake - with a crispy fringe and is with a spongy, soft fluffy rice cake centre – exudes a distinct yeasty aroma. The crispy fringe reminds me of kuih kapit.

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Penang ban chien kuih, filled with grounded peanuts, creamed corn and more

ban chang kuih © Adrian Cheah

Ban chien kuih, a popular street snack in Penang is easily available throughout the state. In Hokkien, ban chien kuih 慢煎粿 (or ban cien koay, ban chean kueh, ban chang kuih or ban jian kway) literally means "slow-fried cake".

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Penang's famous Kim Leng Loh Mee – a magical, gloopy bowl of wonder

Kim Leng Loh Mee © Adrian Cheah

The constant stream of customers to Kim Leng Loh Mee in Perak Road indicates its popularity among locals. Located at Joo Huat Restaurant, this famous lor mee stall is only a stone's throw away from the bustling Perak Road morning market.

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Hachiban Izakaya, more than just a typical Japanese pub

Hachiban Izakaya © Adrian Cheah

Located at Jalan Kelawai, Hachiban Izakaya serves more than just sake and pub grub. "Hachiban" means "No. 8" and "Izakaya" stands for a casual venue to chill out after work for drinks, similar to that of an Irish pub or a Spanish tapas bar.

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The good ol' classic taste of Penang's Hokkien mee

Hokkien mee © Adrian Cheah

In 1989, Mr Lim Chong Beng, the only son in the family, took over the family Hokkien mee business from his parents when they were too old to carry on. A bowl was then selling for a mere 80 cents.

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A sensationally divine 6-course dinner at Salsas Penang

Salsas Penang © Adrian Cheah

Right off the bat, I have to tell you that I am going to be biased. David Kaw is a close friend of the family for ages and we are all huge fans of his culinary creations. Too many birthday dinners, wedding anniversaries and special occasions have been celebrated at Salsas Penang. And every time, David has taken great care of us making each event memorable.

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EMILY Darling Cafe bakes delectable pastries and indulgent desserts

EMILY Darling Cafe © Adrian Cheah

A fortunate stroke of serendipity can lead one down an unfamiliar path to new beginnings. Little did Danny Yeong, aformer optician and Marcus Tan, a graphic designer, realise that by joining a sourdough baking class in March 2021 by Old Man Teh in Kuala Lumpur would lead them to the opening of EMILY Darling Cafe three months later.

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Sutera Restaurant's oriental offerings take flight

Sutera Restaurant © Adrian Cheah

When you witness the beginning of a new venture, it is with optimism. Success will follow suit if everything is organised well and executed to the best of one's abilities.

The launch of Sutera Restaurant holds great potential with a winning menu, scrumptious offerings and eye-arresting presentations. The conducive dining deco even has a beautiful mural of a larger-than-life peacock perch on a branch overlooking its diners.

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Edible masterpieces at La Vie en Rose Pâtisserie 

La Vie En Rose Pâtisserie © Adrian Cheah

If the name of this pâtisserie sounds familiar, you must have recognised it from Édith Piaf's signature rendition of La Vie en Rose in 1947. This popular song has been covered by a plethora of different celebrities throughout the decades. Although it literally means "life in pink", it is often interpreted as "life in rosy hues", "life through rose-coloured glasses" or "life in happy hues".

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A luxurious omakase dinner at Maple Palace

Maple Palace © Adrian Cheah

Dining at Maple Palace has always been a satisfying experience. The elegant 6-course omakase dinner celebrating my 54th birthday was such a delightful encounter. Lavished with priced ingredients, the flavours of the scrumptious feast were top-notch!

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An irresistible dim sum encounter at Bao Teck Tea House

Bao Teck Tea House © Adrian Cheah

Dim sum ("touch the heart" in Chinese) refers to an array of dainty bite-size snacks enjoyed all over the world, especially among the Chinese communities. In Penang, dim sum is available for breakfast, lunch and even dinner from push-cart vendors, coffee shops, tea houses, restaurants and fine-dining establishments. Although the price difference can vary dramatically, there are many options for one to enjoy dim sum according to one's budget.

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Le Petit Four Patisserie serving little wonders of pleasure

Le Petit Four Patisserie © Adrian Cheah

When I was in France, I was bowled over by the pâtisseries, offering delicate beauties that were truly culinary works of art. Sipping a creamy cup of cappuccino while savouring a freshly baked croissant or a slice of the rich, decedent opera cake was indeed a heavenly experience.

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Roti canai, good for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper and any time in between

roti canai © Adrian Cheah

Yes, this is how popular roti canai is in Penang, available all day long at almost every street corner. This simple flatbread is adored by both young and old, men and women of all races in the country.

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Inventive roti canai sarang burung in Balik Pulau

Roti Canai Sarang Burung © Adrian Cheah

Being a popular dish among Penangites and Malaysians at large, roti canai or roti paratha is a flaky, moreish flatbread enjoyed any time of the day. Made with flour, water, salt, a little sugar and fat, the mixture is kneaded into a dough and allowed to rest. It is then divided and rolled into palm-size balls. The rested dough ball is stretched; held at a corner, it is then flung in the air onto the oiled work surface twice or thrice, stretching it paper thin before folding to obtain a layered texture.

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Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant – the friendly gastropub at Straits Quay, Penang

Healy Mac’s © Adrian Cheah

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant has a winning formula with a successful chain of gastropubs in Malaysia (one in Penang, one in Ipoh and four in Kuala Lumpur), Indonesia, Spain and Ireland. Having to do more than the luck of the Irish, it is hard graft, dedication and desire for constant improvement that the owner Liam Healy and his team have managed to establish an authentic Irish identity for his gastropubs since 2009.

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Savouring mouth-watering Chinese dishes at Jia Shi Restaurant (formerly at Song River)

Jia Shi Restaurant © Adrian Cheah

It is vital for a restaurant to have popular signature dishes loved by many. This is an important factor in establishing a long and lasting clientele that will continue its patronage.

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Da Shu Xia Seafood House – sumptuous and fresh seafood in Penang

Da Shu Xia Seafood House © Adrian Cheah

Penangites just want it all – fresh seafood, delicious flavours, beautiful presentations, a cosy ambiance, great service and above all, cheap prices!

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