Penang Kitchen

The folks in the east sure have it good. Not only are they being inundated with some of the best hawker fare in the city, bah kut teh, wanton mee, prawn noodles and chicken rice from various reputable establishments, they now have authentic Penang food too, the lucky bastards. 

The second outlet from the people behind the popular Penang Kitchen at Coronation Plaza in Bukit Timah, Penang Kitchen at Tanjong Katong is basically an offshoot from the first one and about a half year old. 

The vibe here is simple—not much thought has been put into the décor, tables and chairs (evocative of your typical neighborhood café); well, not much thought is needed if the focus is on the food, which is pretty darn good.

Although we didn’t try the staple Penang assam laksa here, we really liked the other signature dishes like the char kway teow ($7.90), Hokkien prawn noodle soup ($7.90) and lor bak ($7.50 for two strips). The prawn noodle soup was perfect—the soup base, simmered for hours with prawn shells and loads of chili, boasts just the right amount of prawn essence—just the way the Penang folks love it. Ditto the char kway teow, which is reminiscent of the one found in Penang—although we wish that pork lard was used in their version here to bring out its flavor. The lor bak fared slightly less well—again we wish that more fatty pork bits were used in the stuffing for this deep-fried dish as opposed to just lean meat, to up its sin factor (and yes, the flavor).

We also liked our side of Penang fruit rojak ($7.50). They were generous with the fresh tropical fruits used, and matched with original prawn paste imported from Penang, this is one of the best rojaks we’ve had in ages.

The only thing that sets the establishment back is the competition around the area and its slightly above average price points. But if you’re craving Penang food and cannot afford a plane ticket to the foodie paradise—this is the next best thing.