Whenever feeling like good Asian food, we head to Philadelphia’s Chinatown where the possibilities are endless. From dim sum to Korean BBQ there is a range of choices to choose from. With friends in town this week, we decided to try Malaysian. Friends had just returned from a two year backpacking journey in Asia including Malaysia and were keen to relive the Malaysian food experience in Philadelphia.
There are several Malaysian food restaurants in Chinatown but we chose to go to Penang given the more modern and industrial look of the restaurant. Yes, decor does lure us in sometimes. the restaurant was packed on a Wednesday night which is always a good sign of good food to come. And so we left it to our backpacking friends to choose from the endless list of options.
As always, the meal started off with two orders of the Roti Canai: delicious crispy layers of bread served alongside a bowl of fragrant yellow chicken potato curry. This dish proved to me my favorite of the evening. I will be going back just to have their Roti Canai.
Next came an order of the Aby Oyster omelet, a large plate of omelet with generous layers of baby oysters. It was pretty delicious. I’ve never had eggs and oysters together before and have to say that it is a great mix.
The Penang Poh Piah, a favorite amongst our Malaysian food specialists lived up to their standards. What was it? A steamed spring roll stuffed with jicama, fried tofu, egg and bean sprouts covered in a sweet sauce. I personally was not a big fan of the spongy roll, yet everyone else at the table really enjoyed it.
Two orders of noodle dishes made their way to our table. The first was the Mee Siam, a rice vermicelli stir-fry with tofu, shrimp and bean sprouts in a thai chili sauce, grounded peanuts and sliced hard boiled eggs on top. One word: delicious. The Chow Kueh Teow was recommended by our server as the second noodle dish. It consisted of stir fried flat rice noodles with fresh shrimp, bean sprouts, eggs in a soy and chili paste sauce.
Yes, there was more. In fairness, we were a party of 5…all hungry…all big foodies. The next two dishes were my favorites (besides the Roti Canai). The Nasi Lemak was so delicious filled with bursting flavors. A dish consisting of coconut rice served with curried chicken and hard boiled eggs. The soupy Curry mee with Young Tau Foo was a spicy and aromatic blend of lemon grass coconut curry broth with vegetables, tofu, minced shrimp and fish. If you love soups, this dish should not be missed.
Dinner at Penang was cheap, delicious and different. After dining here, Malaysian food has been added to my list of favorite foods.