Penang, Malaysia: Our Last Meal in Penang and Some Nyonya Kuih

by gigi on September 5, 2011

It was our last full day in Penang and Jenkins and I decided to go check out the Gurney Drive Hawker Stalls. We were nearby looking for some souvenirs to take home and also stopped by one of the fish spas in the mall so we were starting to get hungry. It was getting to be close to dinner time so many of the stalls at Gurney Drive had opened but nothing looked too appealing and it had also started to rain. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge problem but all the covered seats were taken so Jenkins and I just decided to pick up some nyonya kuih and head somewhere else for dinner.

While we were waiting for the bus to take us back to the city centre, Jenkins and I munched on the nyonya kuih we picked up. Nyonya kuih basically refers to a variety of coconut milk or pandan-based Peranakan desserts available in Malaysia. I wasn’t sure what I was ordering so I just asked the vendor to select some tasty ones for me. Smile Tastewise, many of them seem to be quite similar since they are made with coconut milk and pandan leaves but my favourite was the square coconut milk cube in the bottom left corner, which had some crunchy gula (palm sugar) filling. I also liked the green “crepe”, which was filled with shredded coconut and gula. It wasn’t too sweet, which I liked but Jenkins noted that these kuih weren’t his favourite due to its soft texture.


It was pretty late by the time Jenkins and I dropped off our stuff at our hotel and wandered back out to look for a suitable dinner place. We passed by quite a few places and ended up at Kedai Kopi Tien Lai, which I believe was right on Jalan Macalister. It was pretty busy so we figured it would be a good place to have our last dinner in Malaysia. Smile


We sat down and Jenkins ordered some fresh watermelon juice and I had an iced barley drink.


First, we had to order our Malaysian staple, char kway teow. This was one of the best, if not the best version we had during our trip. It was a little greasy, as this dish often was but it was packed full of delicious ingredients, like conch, prawns, and eggs. What really made this dish so standout was the little bits of deep fried pork cracklings which added a great roasty richness to the dish. Jenkins and I enjoyed it so much that we ordered a second serving near the end of our meal. Smile


We also ordered a bowl of hokkien mee. The version in Penang is soup based while the Singapore version is a fried noodle dish. We ordered this dish spicy and not only was the soup spicy, we also had a huge spoonful of chilli sauce (pictured in the top right corner below). This version was made with rice noodles, hard boiled eggs, prawns, and some fish cakes. As I’ve mentioned before, I doubt it ever gets cold in Penang but this would have made a great winter meal. Smile


We also had satay from a couple of vendors. First came an assortment of chicken satay, spicy chicken satay, and pork intestine. The pork intestine was a little odd tasting and seemed a bit mushy. I was glad I only ordered one. Jenkins liked the tangy spiciness of the spicy chicken satay (pictured below on the left) but I wasn’t a huge fan. I definitely preferred the classic chicken satay instead. The skewers were nicely seasoned and as usual, I liked dipping it in copious amounts of peanut sauce.


We also noticed another satay vendor serving up a more modern looking version of satay so we decided to try that out as well. We had a choice of different sauces to go with our satay but we decided to stick with the peanut sauce. It was our last evening and we wanted to stick with what we knew was good. Smile The peanut sauce was piled on top of the satay rather than provided as a separate dip. I didn’t like this satay as much as the previous version because they only used breast meat instead of the usual dark meat. As a result, the satay was on the dry side and did not have as much flavour.


Jenkins and I definitely ended our last night in Malaysia with a bang. We were stuffed and satisfied that we had a chance to try all our favourite dishes one last time before we left. Smile


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