MANY Singaporeans can’t get enough of Penang Food.
Penang, the small island on the north east coast of Malaysia is one of Asia’s gourmet food capitals, especially for hawker food. For almost 25 years, York Hotel has specially flown in a team of the best Penang Hawkers three times a years for the gastronomic pleaure of Singaporeans. Recently, I was there to makan!You see each time they are here I always make a beeline there to indulge in the most super yummy hawker fare. Another reason is to see my good friend, Chef Lim who is the “King of Lor Bak”. What is Lor Bak, you may ask. It is simply a most splendid lean piece of pork rolled up in crispy deep fried bean curd skin with two dipping sauces. One is made from egg and cornflour and the other is a special chilli sauce. Served with crunchy cucumber and other delights like prawn fritters and sweet potato fritters, I adore it.
Every time I enjoy Lor Bak, I fondly remember my father who loved this dish too. Years ago, when the late father of Chef Lim was cooking, we would go there to a remote Kopi Tiam in Kampong Malabar to enjoy Lor Bak. Singapore’s Ngoh Hiang is but a poor cousin to Penang’s Lor Bak.
Lor Bak King in action!
Oh Chien or oyster omelette is another smoking hot Yummy. It is made with eggs and lots of plump melt-in-the-mouth oysters, which makes it a dish is to bomb Gaddafi for! I am always amused by the sign before the Oyster Omelette section which is a gentle reminder to the “Eow Kui” diners.
It reads: “Like all great dishes this popular treat is best savoured in moderation to avoid any discomfort”. On a related note, the legendary Lothario, Casanova ate 144 oysters every night before embarking on his romantic escapades!
Captivating Koay Teow!
Linguine-like tender rice noodles with lots of chili, aromatic scallions and crunchy prawns and tender-middle pork skin crackling (sinful but so yummy!) are to be relished with soothing ice cold barley water.
Awesome Assam Laksa
This savoury, spicy and sour dish with fat ‘Bigoli” like noodles and fish gravy with lashings of cucumber julienne and fresh pineaplpe plus torch ginger slices and lashings of Haar Kow (black richly flavoured and pungent prawn paste) is a favorite with ladies, my sister among them. It will make your taste buds dance the a go go! Nice with some red wine. This Laksa is totally different from the Singapore Laksa which is referred to in Penang as “Curry Mai Fun”.
Ice Kachang with chewy atap chee, Gulka Melaka spiked Chendol with green pandan flavoured whichity grub shaped bites and irresistable ueber-crunchy Ban Chan Kueh. The peanut flavoured treat has a glossy shiny skin that is only 2mm thick!
Hedy of The New Paper liked the Chendol!
The best thing about the Penang Hawker Fare at York Hotel is that the dishes are all freshly cooked ‘a la minute”to order so that they are piping hot and super-delicious! I can’t wait till they return in September so I can get my Penang food “fix”!
Life is too short to eat bad food and drink poor wines!
21 Mount Elizabeth
Hours: Lunch 12 noon to 2.30pm
Dinner 6.30pm to 10pm
Ambience 3.5 * Cuisine **** Service 3.5*