Suanne and I don’t normally return to the “crime scene”.
Once we write about a restaurant, we hardly go back for a second visit. There are simply too many other restaurants out there for us to visit and write about. What more, all you readers out there has this insatiable appetite for more new posts on restaurants.
But this time I am gonna make an exception. We re-visited Penang Delight with Ron and Nancy again to try dishes we missed the first time we were here.
You see, we were very “mm-gum-yuen” from our previous visit (see post here). We were there on the first day of business and the restaurant was completely overwhelmed with the reception they had. Almost everything we wanted to order on their menu, they ran out of it.
Assam Laksa –> sorry!
Pan Mee –> sorry!
Penang Char Koay Teow –> sorry!
Bah Kut Teh –> sorry!
Loh Mein –> sorry!
So yeah, our heart is so “mm-song” already. You know the feeling right? It is like unrequited love.
Something like that.
Oh … for those of you who wants to know what the words “mm-gum-yuen” mean, well, there is no good translation for it. Maybe there is but I can’t find a good English word for it. It is something like feeling unsatisfied but not in a negative way. It is more like unsatisfied in an emo way.
Something like that.
So we made a vow to return to Penang Delight. That list of dishes they ran out of the first day of business rose to the top of our bucket list. In Malaysia, we have a Manglish expression for it.
“Die-die also must eat!”
So, yeah-lah … we all die-die also must eat. We die-die also must go back.
This time round, it was my turn to make the reservation. Some more, Ron and Nancy made me call Penang Delight to make sure they have all the dishes we missed the last time. So, I called them … twice! I need to make sure.
I wanted to call twice because the first time I called them, they sounded very busy and did not want to chat.
Ben: Assam Laksa got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Pan Mee got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Penang Char Koay Teow got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Wha about Bah Kut Teh, got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got
Ben: Loh Mein? Got or not?
Penang Delight: Got-got-got … everything also got.
I did not trust them and so I called the second time a day later just to see if they will give me the same “got-got-got” answer.
Wah-lau! Got style!
I was totally surprised to see the sign above when we got there. Although I did not tell them that I am Ben of chowtimes when I made the reservation, I think they were expecting this Ben. I think they were monitoring the comments made on the Penang Delight post where I did mention we are going.
Just in case that maybe Penang Delight might be mentioning names on every table that is reserved. Nope. All the other reserved tables have the normal “Reserved” sign. Ah … this table is special, you reckon? LOL!
Yeah, Penang Delight did realize that it was “chowtimes” who brought them quite a number of referrals.
And this makes me worried a bit because I realize that when I say “it’s nice”, the word nice gets magnified a bit. I better be more careful with what I say! Better still, ignore what I say on this blog and just be entertained by the stories. Deal?
Wah-lau! Got free snack some more!
As we were getting settled, the manager came over and gave us some Heong Peah which I once blogged about. He said his friend from Malaysia brought some over and wanted us to have it.
These stuff is precious. It is something we can’t get here. Super flaky and will disintegrate on the first bite. There is a technique to eat it but I’ll explain next time.
There was a long string of discussion on Pan Mee on the first Penang Delight post (which BTW generated a whopping 133 comments). So, the first order of business that day has got to be the Pan Mee.
The Penang Pan Mee is $9. I can’t believe it had been a long time since I had this and have forgotten about this dish. The strange thing is all the Malaysian restaurants had failed to offer this even though it is not a difficult dish to make.
My mum makes this at home a lot. She uses the “mit” (tearing) method which is by far the best way to make the doughy “noodles”. However, the “mit” type is labourious to make. So, most restaurants will make it using …
manual rollers to roll the dough onto sheets before cutting it up.
Too bad … Penang Delight’s Pan Mee is the ones made with rollers.
The ingredients are simple and is pretty standard in all the pan mee versions. It has to have shredded black fungus and minced pork cooked in broth (usually chicken).
It also must have shallots. Yeah, Malaysians love deep fried shallots. Makes the food very “heong” (fragrant) as they say.
Overall, the Pan Mee was OK … can pass. But I had better.
But the most important ingredient is the anchovies … not just any anchovies. Only the Malaysian type of anchovies will do for the Pan Mee. Sorry to say this but all the countless types of anchovies in Chinese stalls are rubbish.
Just last weekend, we stumbled on a shop in Chinatown that has the sign that says “Nanyang Anchovies” (Nanyang is China’s ancient name for South East Asia). It looked and smell the closest to the ones from Malaysia but not quite the same. So we bought it to try at home. We had it for dinner tonight. And the verdict is … rubbish.
The anchovies in Penang Delight tasted better. But they are too tiny. And too broken too, like they are of lower grade ones.
Let me tell you. If restaurants will just get a few kilos of the real deal into Vancouver and make dishes like nasi lemak and pan mee, it will be a hit. Why, you can even deep fried it as snack … goes very well with beer.
There is a historical town in Malaysia called Melaka that is famous for the dish above. The town of Melaka was the center of power during the days when the Portuguese and the Spanish colonized the area before the English took over.
So what is it?
It is nothing but chicken rice shaped pressed into balls. It is just a novelty but Melaka is famous for serving Hainanese Chicken Rice this way. Yeah, I remember when I was young we always stop by that famous restaurant for it. Weird.
So you get six balls of rice along with the Hainanese Chicken above.
The Malaysian version comes with sweet soy sauce which I like. The sweet sauce is great “jup” with the rice. Don’t waste the “jup” here. It is not salty and you must drizzle it on the rice. Very nice.
The Chicken Rice Ball (6 balls and the chicken) is $10. It was not bad but I was hoping to have it all to myself. Sharing it four-ways leaves too little for satisfaction. 🙁
And … I wished they “jum” (cut) the chicken into bigger pieces.
We also had Bah Kut Teh ($11) and this is popularly also known as BKT.
If you had never had BKT before, you should. It is traditional herbal soup with pork rib, mushroom, vegetable, garlic and deep fried tofu.
It is a popular dish where it is eaten 24 hours. You can have it for breakfast, for dinner or even middle of the night suppers. Yeah, my dad and I goes out at 2AM for night suppers often, and always for BKT (read about my late night adventures here). This is a Chinese Malaysian dish. Malays will NOT touch this. You know why? Because this is all pork.
BKT is usually sold in restaurants that serves nothing but BKT. So, I am wondering if a BKT restaurant will work in Vancouver. I think it could.
Suanne makes great BKT, you know that. I was telling her to start a BKT restaurant. What do you think? There was once she made BKT for me to bring for the office pot luck. It was a hit.
Anyway, the BKT came served in a clay pot … bubbling hot … smelling good too. The herbs used include include ýuk juk, star anise, and goji berry. Oh very important too is the garlic … whole bulb of garlic (which you don’t eat but for flavouring).
Their broth is the clear type. Penang Delight realized that chili in dark soy was missing, a very important condiment and brought it later.
Since we tackled this dish last, the pot got a bit colder. The nice thing was that Penang Delight brought it back to the kitchen to have it reheated for us.
We also had Penang Char Koey Teow ($9). This is like the stir fried flat noodles you get in most HK Style Cafes … except that it is like a million times better.
This is also a Chinese Malaysian dish. The Malays have their Mee Goreng and the Chinese have their Char Koay Teow. Char Koay Teow is usually made with flat noodles but sometimes people prefer it made also with yellow noodles.
Sorry about breaking the protocol in the picture above. For once, I forgot take pictures of the food before digging in.
This is quite OK. This can rank among the top Char Koay Teow in this part of the world. It could do with a bit more wok hei.
But there is something sorely lacking here. I keep on telling people … if someone add this one ingredient into char koay teow (or even laksa), half of the Malaysians in Vancouver will go berserk. They will have sleepless nights thinking about it. They get panic attack at the mere mention of the name.
Let me tell you some more … that if any restaurant introduces this, they will instantly be crowned as the king of laksa and king of char koay teow overnight.
So, what is this ingredient I am talking about? Anyone?
I wanted Nancy and Ron to try the Malaysian style toast. It is called Kaya & Butter Toast ($4) and it came with a hot drink. Kaya and Butter Toast is more popularly referred to as yin-yeong and is sold in kopitiam (coffee shops).
So what do you think about this Ron? Nancy?
Here, I have a post on this breakfast which I had in Malaysia a few years ago. What you should look at is the half-boiled egg.
For dessert we had Bubur Cha Cha ($3.50). This is sago, sweet potatoes, taro, black eye peas in coconut milk. Not my type of thing really.
Oh, I got a story to tell you about Bubur Cha Cha.
In Malaysia, when we get to secondary school, we get streamed into courses that we are pretty much stuck with for the rest of the remaining school days. The boys will get to do either commerce or industrial arts. The smarter boys gets exercise their brains to study commerce while the others, well, lets say that they get to use their hands. I was in commerce stream and we boys in commerce streams get jealous that the other boys get to make bookends and copper tooling. It was so cool.
As for the girls, they get streamed into commerce or home science. One of the subjects is cooking and guess what they make in school – Bubur Cha Cha!
Oh yeah … sweet! So if a girl likes you, you get a Bubur Cha Cha treat. Hmmm … now that I think of it, I never got any. I wonder why.
The Malay Kueh was $4. It came with 3 pieces. It is steamed cake with Gula Melaka. Yup, it is nice.
We had more goodies – kiddie goodies! This one is free from the manager given to us as a Christmas gift. LOL! It was just some giant pocky stick.
The manager handed us their visitor book which we gladly signed.
Oh … that is the answer to the secret ingredient question I had above. There you go!
The prices are quite expensive to tell the truth. I know I am just saying this from the standpoint that many of these food are really cheap in Malaysia. But in the context of a dinner in Vancouver, $14 per person is quite OK.
OK. I am “gum-yuen” already. I can let go now. What about you, Nancy and Ron? You guys “gum-yuen” too? Happy with the food?