Penang, Malaysia - Murtabaks from Hameediyah Indian-Muslim Restaurant
After 103 years, Hameediyah still serves the best murtabaks (chicken, beef or vegetable-filled Indian-Muslim pancakes) in Penang.
We lunched there today, and ordered:
- the chicken murtabak, which came with a small side-dish of chicken curry, and onion-chilli pickles. This was the BEST murtabak I'd ever tasted in my various trips to Penang!
- the saffron-tinged chicken briyani, which was fluffy & non-oily - just the way I liked it. I'd preferred Islamic Restaurant's briyani in Singapore for the very same reason. But Hameediyah's briyani was even more fragrant, scented with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon & other aromatic spices. It's good to have on its own, but Hameediyah offers a mind-boggling array of chicken, beef, mutton, fish, prawn, squid or vegetarian curries to choose from, besides the obligatory tandoori items (a fairly recent addition to the century-old Southern Indian restaurant);
- the best amongst its many curries must be the creamy, pale-colored mutton khurma, scented with cardamom, star anise & a variety of spices. We ordered a large piece of mutton on the bone, replete with delicious marrow.
- I also particularly liked the potato & eggplant curry that came gratis with each order of the chicken briyani.
The food at Hameediyah was fabulous. The only drawback - the older part of the restaurant, whilst more atmospheric, was rather messy & the dirty tables (uncleaned since the previous customers left) were definitely a turn-off. Many customers chose the newer air-conditioned wing for more comfort. But, all in all, Hameediyah's definitely a must-not-miss dining icon in Penang, especially for curry lovers :-)
164-A Campbell Street
There's another restaurant on Lebuh Leith if I remember correctly ... Sup Hamseed. The best soup on the island. Slow-cooked vats of mutton, beef or chicken ... perfectly seasoned, light and void of grease. Order a roti and go to town. Best at around 5am when the soup's been cooking all night. Tried a bunch of different versions of this in KL to no avail. Great, great place.
Definitely very affordable piece of Penang gastronomic history - where else can you get a cup of coffee for US 30 cents, or a chicken curry for US$1? The other old Indian-Muslim eating establishment in Penang is 70-plus Dawood Restaurant in Queen Street. Very piquant curries.