Last week my dad and I went to get a snack at Penang, the Malaysian restaurant located in the same shopping center as Shuseki and Hue Thai. Malaysian cuisine is the result of the convergence of many cultures, including those of China, India, Eurasia, and Nyonya, as well as the indigenous people of Borneo. The country's unique historical heritage has thus resulted in producing an exotic cuisine heavily laden with aromatic herbs, roots, and spices.
I had eaten at Penang a couple of times prior to this visit and everything was pretty good. I most enjoyed the roti canai ($3.50) and kang kung ($9.95) so that is what we ordered, in addition to chicken and beef satay skewers ($6.95). The roti canai (pictured above) is a fry bread served with a beef and potato curry dipping sauce. I love the presentation of what is essentially a pancake formed into a pillow, because as you make your first tear, a burst of steam emerges from within and fills your nostrils with fragrant goodness. The curry dipping sauce is flavored well from the beef and myriad of spices, which combine to give it a sweet (but not sugary) taste. The value is terrific to boot. To balance out the fried roti canai, a vegetable is recommended. I love the kang kung, an Asian green that looks like like long strands of tubular baby spinach. Here you can order it with spicy shrimp paste or dried shrimp, but I love it simply sauteed with garlic. It's a nice change from the standard vegetables on most American menus. I know it seems kind of pricey for a vegetable, but you do get a large portion and sadly eating healthily often costs more. My recommendation would be to go during lunch hours, Monday through Friday, to take advantage of their specials, which include kang kung for half the price as well as numerous other items from their lengthy menu. The satay here aren't as good as they should be, considering the fact they are a Malaysian specialty and recommended dish at Penang. They are charred nicely and have a good, caramelized flavor, but the meats aren't of great quality. The chicken satays are made from thigh meat (a tender yet fatty cut) that was somewhat dried out from the cooking in this case,, and the beef was a bit tough, so I don't think I'll be ordering this again. I will say the peanut sauce was tasty, but a touch on the oily side.
If you haven't tried Malaysian food this is a great place to have your first experience, so grab hold of their neon orange chopsticks and enjoy!
Today's dish ratings:
Roti Canai: 9
Kang Kung: 8
Restaurant Rating: 6.5
Would I go back? YES, BUT I'LL COME BACK FOR THE LUNCH SPECIALS.