To add a twist to our series on Penang, the number one place on earth for food (my opinion), I thought I’d take as step away from street food and write up some higher class dining establishments.
Our good friend Dave Ray, photographer and expat living in Penang shared with me his top three restaurants for when he wants to take his wife Julie out for a fancy date night. These are the opinions of one guy. If you have a restaurant you’d like to invite Dave, myself and our wives, we’d be more than willing to give you a fair shake.
Today I want to write about a dish that I haven’t found on any list of foods to try in Penang. It’s a shame because it’s truly a Penang specialty and even though the name sounds Thai, I’m told that you can’t get it in Thailand. That dish is Tom Yam Fried Rice.
I announced on social media the news, and now I’m posting it on the blog. Lonely Planet announced that Penang is the #1 food destination. They join CNN travel in stating what we all, those of us who live in Penang, agree as being obvious. Penang does indeed have the best street food. In honor of this announcement I’m putting out this list of my previous posts about the street food I’ve enjoyed in the past. I’ll write up a few more in the coming week and I’ll finish with my own list of foods you should not miss when you come to Penang. Read more…
Since having a baby, I haven’t had much opportunity to get out and explore Penang as much as I use to. Today, I had to get some documents notarized and run a few other errands and so I found myself out for lunch. A great day for an adventure. I stopped at a corner kopi tiam type place, with several food stalls. There was wan tan mee, hokkien prawn mee, but I saw something I never tried before. And so my Loh Mee adventure began. Read more…
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There is a beach access parking lot next to the Lone Pine Hotel across from the Petronas and MacDonald’s in Batu Ferringhi. As you walk toward the beach from the car park you will find several shops selling beach toys, swimwear, tshirts and hats. After that, there’s a little food court of three sellers and one of them is Tai San Guan. This place has the hands-down best char kway teow in Batu Ferringhi, and we’ve tried quite a few. Read more…
My family, well really, my kids, are on a quest to find the best pizza in Penang. So far the winners are Bella Marino and Long Beach food court. We’ve also been to Viva Italia, BBQ Nights, Sunset Bistro, and probably a lot of other places that I am not remembering. Pizza’s on everyone’s menu, but that doesn’t mean it is good. So we’re trying to separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak.
Recently we wanted to try out a place we saw on the street. Pizza and Kebab Corner in Batu Ferringhi. There was not enough seating for my family so we took a delivery menu to try again another time.
Delivery is free with a minimum order of RM 25 ($8). Small pizzas cost RM 15 and large costs RM 30, so hitting that minimum was no sweat. Kebab meals are RM 10 and have a few choices, which I didn’t get clarified over the phone. Needless to say, I got the normal Shwarma (made popular by the post credit scene in the Avengers movie — don’t google it unless you enjoy watching people not eating).
So our order: 2 large pizzas and a Chicken Kebab Shwarma, total RM 70.
I would order this again. It had a good flavor, and the right amount of spice. The chicken was not dry, and the veggies (cucumber and tomato) were fresh. The pita was soft and fresh, not chewy, just right. No complaints from me. My wife took a bite and declared it a touch too spicy.
We got a Hawaiian pizza and a Pepperoni pizza. We were slightly confused because the Hawaiian was just pineapple on a pizza, no meat. The menu did say that the place was Halal so we weren’t expecting ham. Other places in Batu Ferringhi use chicken in their Hawaiian pizzas.
The Pepperoni must be some kind of spiced beef salami. It wasn’t bad, although it seemed a little inconsistent in the spice. Some pieces were extremely spicy. Some pieces were bland.
The crust was fine, normal. Probably made with the same recipe as their pita bread. They seemed very conservative with the sauce, I could have used a little more tomato sauce on my pizza. The cheese was a good quality cheese, nothing remarkable, but not the processed type cheese we have gotten elsewhere.
This pizza did not top the list. It was acceptable, and delivery is definitely a bonus in its favor.
You can find them on the main Jalan Batu Ferringhi, opposite the beach side, just west of the D’Ferringhi Hotel. Or you can call them +60-16 464-4409
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I’ve been going to Khaleel Restaurant in Batu Ferringhi for about as long as we’ve been living in Penang. There was a span we were going there at least thrice a week. We’ve tapered back a little since then, but we still enjoy going there for a snack or a meal every once in a while. Read more…
Khaleel Restaurant is a good place to go to get Roti Canai and Dosai. What can we say about Roti Canai? You can’t live in Penang and not have tried Roti Canai. It is a cheap and easy breakfast. It’s buttery and layered like a croissant, but has a good chew to it as well like a piece of bread. Here’s a video of it being made at Khaleel.
Dosai is a different kind of pancake. The dough is made of rice flour. Beware though, not all dosai are gluten free. Our friend Julie, who is very sensitive to gluten is able to eat the dosai at the Batu Ferringhi Khaleel Restaurant, but not at other places (like Sri Ananada Bahwan in Tanjung Bungah). Here’s a video of dosai being made.
Both these breads can be made with fillings: egg, cheese, onion, and any combination of those . For the sweet-toothed, there is sweetened condensed milk (Roti susu), Milo powder, and kaya, the coconut/pandan spread that is indigenous to Malaysia. Besides these there is also Roti Tissue (tisu) that is rolled out thin and grilled with honey on it, so that it is crispy and sweet. Khaleel also is popular for Roti Pisang which has bananas and ice cream.
For some reason Roti and Dosai are not an “all-day” food. They stop making it at 11am and don’t start again until 6pm. Early in our time living in Penang, we made the mistake of asking for it at 3pm. We got a look like we were from another planet, asking for roti when it wasn’t the appointed hour! We’ve never gotten a clear reason why Roti and Dosai are not available in the mid-day hours, but we’ve rolled with it.
I’ve written about the water situation in Penang in the past. Water from the tap or faucet is supposed to be clean enough to drink. That’s what they say anyway. I won’t drink it unfiltered though. I’ve got this water filter right outside where the water comes into the house. I have to change the filter every month, and here’s some photographs to show you how necessary the filter is.
Update 09 June 2014: They finally painted over the sign for Viva Italia. It is now Maroush Indian and Arabian cuisine. The bad reviews in the comments apply to this restaurant even under the new name.
UPDATE 21 April 2014: A comment added below details how things have changed at Viva Italia since this review went up. They had a horrible experience.
For some time, we’ve been meaning to check out the new Viva Italia restaurant in Batu Ferringhi across from Long Beach Food Court. The claim is that they serve Italian and Mexican food. Our first two attempts at going there for lunch were a bust, because they were closed. We finally decided to try again for dinner and sat down at a table outside by the street to enjoy dinner along Jalan Batu Ferringhi.
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