Thursday, May 09, 2013

Penang Malaysian Cuisine, Boston, United States

Whenever I was away from home for more than one week, I would start to miss the local cuisine. Once, I remembered missing the taste of Hainanese Chicken Rice. It was disheartening that the place that I stayed did not have a proper kitchen. I started searching for restaurants that served Singapore or Malaysian food. Malaysian food was quite similar to the Singaporean food. It was better than nothing.

I found Burbur Cha Cha Restaurant. Although this restaurant served good food, I think Penang Malaysian Restaurant was the best. A restaurant located in Chinatown was easily accessible via the T lines - Chinatown or Downtown Crossing. The interior was a Malaysian-inspired "wooden hut" design to feel of the ambiance of a Malay village. The restaurant was always crowded. You may expect to wait for seats.

When I came to the restaurant for the first time, I was surprised of the high quality of food and the similarity of local flavour. I felt as if I was home in Singapore.

Overall, I had a wonderful dining experience and had been one of my regular joints since.

For a change, we ordered Duck noodles soup. The duck meat was tough to taste and the soup base was too salty. However, the egg noodles were very well cooked in al dente style. We could not finish the dish. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Belachan Sayur was vegetables sauteed in classic shrimp paste. It was a spicy dish that was popular among many Asians. I ordered for Kang Kong (Water Spinach) to be cooked in the paste. The vegetables were perfectly cooked as this type of vegetable turns dark green very easily. With the right heat and skills, I loved this dish and could not stop eating it with steamed rice. Marvelicious! (Food Rating: 4/5)

The Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) was another local dish that you must try. Cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves, the rice was fragrant and delicious. The side dishes - sambal ikan bilis (chilli anchovies), pickled vegetables, hard boiled eggs and meat curry complemented the rice very well. The meat curry was tender. The chillis were spicy. What more could I ask for. (Food Rating: 4.5/5)

Hainanese Chicken Rice was the popular dish in Singapore. When I saw it in the menu, I ordered it without thinking. I missed the local food a lot. When the food arrived, the rice cooked in chicken broth and garlic was fragrant. I was already salivating. Then, the chicken meat was tender. The only set back was the chicken had fats. If you were health conscious, just remove the fats and chicken skin. Now that I have shared about the chicken and rice, the chilli dip was also important. Dipping the chicken in the chilli and eating with the fragrant rice were heavenly. The chilli dipping sauce was made up of chilli, garlic, ginger and limes. (Food rating: 4/5)

Roti Canai or Roti Prata (in Singapore) was crispy and doughly Indian-style pancakes served with curry sauce. Different cultures have different variations of Roti Canai/ Roti Prata. Malaysians called it was Roti Canai. Roti means bread in Hindi, Urdu and Malay. Canai would derive either from the word Chennai, Channa (a dish made of boiled chick peas)  or canai (in malay) as rolled out dough. The dough was mostly made up of fat (ghee), water and flour. When it was pan-fried, it was crispy in the outside and soft in the inside. Dipped with the curry sauce complemented the flat bread tremendously. (Food rating: 4/5)

Satay - Marinated chicken or beef slowly grilled and served with spicy peanut sauce. The origins of Satay was unclear. Malaysia and Thailand had similar dishes with similar tastes. The chicken was perfectly cooked.  Even if you did not dip with the peanut sauce, the marinated chicken could be eaten on its own. The peanut sauce was superb too. The sauce was crunchy, not creamy. Delicious!! (Food Rating: 4/5)

After a hearty meal, we must always end with a sweet tone. We ordered the ABC which made up of shaved ice, red beans, corn, palm seeds, jelly. The dessert was then drizzled with rose syrup and milk. It was delicious, but a little too sweet to my taste. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

By default, I assumed that the Wanton Noodles would mean dry egg noodles with Wanton soup. When the food arrived, it was wanton soup. The noodles were perfectly cooked in al dente style. However the soup was a little too salty. I could not finish the dish. For those who are used to eating bland food, you may find it too salty. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Address: 685 Washington Street, MA 02111
Pricing: USD: $
Rating: 3/5

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