My Favorite Penang Eatery

Chuah’s Thai Food. Doesn’t this look absolutely amazing?  It is. I’m here most days for lunch, which typically costs 6rm (or about $1.50). Yeah, what’s not to love. I’ll outline my five favorite dishes just for the heck of it.

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5. Sweet Pork – When you aren’t feeling spicy, this sweet pork with a dark, flavorful sauce is terrific.

4. Green Curry – Soupy based green curry with chicken, beans, chilies, is SO flavorful that you will scoop up every last drop.

3. Long Bean & Pork – a terrific dish with perfectly stir-fried long beans, chilies, lime leaves, crispy pork, and a luscious yellow thick curry sauce

2 Minced Meat w/Egg –  we are turning up the heat on this one. The spiciest dish on the menu if you DARE eat all of the tiny chopped bird’s eye chilies which are added to this minced pork, oyster sauce, and incredible Thai basil. Add a fried egg, put over rice, and, oh my, let your taste buds explode. You will need a drink handy.

1 Padprik Chicken – The top of the heap in flavor and lusciousness! Chicken, red onion, chilies, and Thai basil are the four ingredients. Cooked with an amazing sauce which includes Tom Yum paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and chicken broth.

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Honorable Mention: Cashew Chicken – she cooks it with the same padprik chicken base without the basil or peppers – served with green onions and cashews – tasty!

Whenever I do leave Penang, I will miss this place incredibly. I’m afraid to tell you where it is, because it might get even more crowded than usual. And hey, I don’t like to wait for my food. But okay, it’s in Tanjung Bungah, Permai, opposite Tenby School.

I want a restaurant which does what I can’t

I live in Asia. Penang, Malaysia to be precise. My tropical, island home is blessed with some of the best Asian food in the planet. The street food is cheap and plentiful and simply amazing. I’m learning to replicate some of the dishes at home, but still they real-deal is always better. No matter how many times I make the Thai padprik chicken in my own kitchen, it still isn’t as good as the one my Thai lady at the food stalls whips up in about a minute over a steaming hot wok.

Western food in Penang is another thing altogether. The best western food in Penang is at my house. If you want real pizza, come on over. Real American food, I’ll whip it up for you. Mexican – oh yes, I’ll have your taste-buds tantalizing. The western restaurants which try to replicate the western flavors fall severely short.

I had a friend who would never buy in a restaurant that which he could make better at home. That makes a lot of sense.

So that’s my new creed – I want a restaurant which does what I can’t.

I met one the other day called Kebaya of the Seven Terraces boutique hotel in Georgetown. I’ll have to do a proper review of the place sometime soon since I just went there for the first time. But I walked away not just impressed, floored really. The flavors, quality, presentation, and service were impeccable. Truly some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life.

But the one dish that got me thinking about this post was their special of the day: smoked beef in red curry. I know how to make beef. I know how to grill a good steak. But one bite of the beef and I knew that they had secrets which I didn’t know. The smoky charcoal flavor permeated every fiber of that beef, unlike any I have ever tasted. Coupled with the phenomenal red curry sauce, it was a dish that could have made me weep if I weren’t so happy.

Those geniuses in the kitchen know a bunch of royal secrets which made my experience truly something to be treasured.

And that’s why I like the local hawker Asian food as well. They have their know-how, methods, and ingredients which make their flavors and experience unique.

This is what a restaurant experience should be like. Hey cooks, chefs, and restaurateurs, make me something that I can’t make at home, and then you’ll surely have me as a longtime customer.

Kudos to Kebaya. The best restaurant in Penang.