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Penninsula on Eat Street

JimGrinsfelder Jan 28, 2012 04:44 AM

Wow! Based on my first visit, last night... this place is great. Fantastic. Amazing. Some of the best, if not the best, Chinese food in the Twin Cities.

It's Malaysian. At night, they have a parking lot across the street. They have a semi-open kitchen. The food and service were really really good. The dishes are interesting. Not your sesame chicken and cream cheese wontons found in so many Minnesota chinese restaurants.

We had wonton soup w/BBQ pork & noodles. The pork and noodles come on the side with instructions from server that they are to be eaten separately. That was confusing, but tasty. The wontons were delicious. So was the broth.

Chinese broccoli with salted fish was delish. The green curry beef was tasty. The beef satay was too.

I'll definitely go back. There's so much interesting food on that menu.

  1. a
    alpa chino Jul 31, 2012 01:54 PM

    I went to Peninsula a couple times and I was impressed with certain things. The first time, I tried the roti canai, beef rendang, and chicken satay.

    The roti canai was pretty good, the chicken curry that accompanied it was very good.

    The beef rendang was horrible. The beef was all gristle. And they use dark meat chicken for the satay, which didn't taste all that great.

    My next visit, I tried the singapore fried noodles which were fantastic. I was surprised to find how much indian flavor there was in malaysian food.

    1. m
      misterpatrick Feb 3, 2012 11:16 AM

      The menu is really hit and miss, but the hits are generally really good. What others have said here pretty much. Tofu is always really, really nice. The tofu hot pot is excellent as is the golden spicy tofu. The kway teow is also good but many of the noodle dishes miss the mark. Their roti is also fantastic.

      I'd also mention the laksa which is a spicy citrusy noodle soup with bits of mackerel. Really delicious and unique. That alone is a fantastic lunch.

      5 Replies
      1. re: misterpatrick
        JimGrinsfelder Jun 19, 2012 04:35 AM

        We went for Father's day. We all loved the Spicy Golden Tofu. The Roti was terrific. The Beef Satay was wonderful for the first skewer, but the 2nd skewer was a bit much.

        The Wonton + Noodle soup was meh. Some in our party praised its' subtlety but I thought it was just bland.

        The pork + pineapple was sweet and sour sauce, pineapple chunks and rather tender slices of pork that had NOT been deep-fried and breaded and the glorious bright red mess was served in 1/2 a pineapple. Fun, not a bad execution, but ultimately not a good use of pork or pineapple, IMO.

        Can't wait to go back and try some more stuff off their menu.

        1. re: JimGrinsfelder
          fretan Jun 19, 2012 03:50 PM

          Glad you still enjoy the Peninsula. My partner and I have been going there for years, but not in the last 6 months -- so many other menus to chow through! Other dishes we have loved are:
          1. Golden crab balls
          2. Shrimp puffs
          3. and like veryone else, the Roti cani
          We often tell each other that we are just going to have two appetizers and share a vegetable or tofu dish, but we are usually seduced the the entrees and order more than we should.
          Among the entrees we have eaten and liked (and no doubt I have forgotten many, many others) are:
          4. Curry lamb shank -- I highly recommend it
          5. Spicy golden shoft shell crab -- yummy
          6. Walnut jumb shrimp
          7. Coconut butter jumbo shrimp -- addictive
          8. Peninsula jumbo shrimp with belcan
          Regardless of what the staff recommends, we have forged ahead & eaten several of the belcan dishes -- those are the dishes the waitstaff discourage westerners from ordering b/c they think we won't like it and that the smell will offend others at our table. We tried it when I had a b'day party there several years ago and one of my friends asked to have a taste of a dish with the belcan. The chefs obliged, my friend passed it around and most of us it thought it was quite good and several ordered belcan dishes. Nobody at the table who didn't order belcan mentioned a thing about the smell. So if you are a fairly adventurous eater and like shellfish, try one of the belcan dishes. If you tell the waitstaff that you have had it before, they won't try to dissuade you.
          My partner often orders a curry or noodle dish and has had the beef redang ion occasion. I honestly can't remember if he complained about any of these dishes. If he has, we still keep going back, again and again.

          1. re: fretan
            Ummm Jul 30, 2012 08:46 PM

            What is belcan? Tried googling but no luck.

            1. re: Ummm
              robe0341 Jul 31, 2012 07:44 AM

              Belacan is a fermented, ground shrimp paste.


              1. re: robe0341
                Ummm Jul 31, 2012 03:54 PM

                Thanks! I like ground shrimp paste, just didn't know it by that name.

      2. m
        Maggie19 Feb 2, 2012 01:25 PM

        Golden Spareribs were excellent for an app...

        1. r
          robe0341 Jan 30, 2012 07:28 AM

          I agree with soupkitten. The menu is huge and there are plenty of clunkers on it.

          As many have said, the Roti Canai is very tasty. Their Kway Teow is one of my favorites and their Spicy Golden Tofu is amazing. Every time I go I want to try some of their other house made tofus, but I just can't stop by self from ordering the Spicy Golden Tofu.

          But I wasn't a fan of their Chicken Rice. There aren't many (any?) places to get Chicken Rice in the Twin Cities, so if you need to get your fix, it could hit the spot, but it was nowhere close to the stuff you get in Singapore. I was also not impressed by their Beef Rendang. It's nothing like the stuff I've eaten in Indonesia.

          1. s
            soupkitten Jan 28, 2012 12:29 PM

            i really like penninsula in my "rotation," and overall it gets a thumbs-up-- but it has a vast menu w quite a few clunkers on it. i've had quite bad food there and now tend to order over-carefully.

            as others have said the roti canai is excellent, bonus that it is cheap and rather spectacular to watch the huge roti being formed and cooked to order in the front of the open kitchen.

            the house-made tofu at peninsula is a delectable highlight. queen's tofu (not vegetarian) is a fave of mine.

            the service is usually friendly but unpredictable-to-bad. one experience there, our server was a student at the local art school, and hilariously tmi. i loved it, but reflected that it could be a turnoff for some folks.

            5 Replies
            1. re: soupkitten
              bob s Jan 28, 2012 01:42 PM

              Agreed. I've found a few clunkers as well - one or two noodle dishes if I recall correctly - so I don't stray too far from the things I know I like.

              1. re: bob s
                bob s Jul 31, 2012 08:48 AM

                Just had takeout from Peninsula a few days ago - and I can add Beef Chow Fun to the list of meh noodle dishes. We also ordered the achat salad, which was pretty good - especially on a warm summer day, the golden spare ribs (pretty good but not excellent) and the roti canai which was as good as ever.

              2. re: soupkitten
                JimGrinsfelder Jan 28, 2012 08:34 PM

                The Queen's Tofu looked good. Ditto for the Hainanese chicken. Next time.

                The beef rendang looked good too. Didn't get to it this time. The only thing we had that was so-so was the black-rice pudding.

                Our server, a very friendly guy who did NOT grow up speaking english, steered us gently away from Sambal Udang (shrimp in dried-shrimp based paste) because the flavor is very strongly aged fish. After I understood him, I was thankful because,w hile I would have been interested in tasting a tablespoon or so, just to see, I do not generally like dried shrimp flavor.

                1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                  Ummm Jan 29, 2012 03:46 PM

                  I'd be interested to see how the Hainanese chicken is!

                  I like dried shrimp, but I agree it's not for everyone.

                2. re: soupkitten
                  clepro Jan 31, 2012 03:13 PM

                  I have the same take on penninsula. After some unpleasant meals, I'm careful with my order, and usually go for a tofu (especially Spicy Golden ) and roti canai. In general, I've found that if I stay away from the beef dishes, I have a good shot at happiness. I've liked the char kway teow and ginger scallion steamed fish. Am thinking that next time in I'll steel myself away from my tried and true tofus and try some of their duck. Or maybe the spicy lemon grass squid.

                3. bob s Jan 28, 2012 09:26 AM

                  Glad you had a good experience there. They've been variable over the past few years. Never bad exactly, but just so-so occasionally. They're still rotation though.

                  +1 on the Spicy Golden Tofu and the Roti Canai, which are two of my favorites there as well. I also like the Achat and the Curry Tofu Hot Pot.

                  1. g
                    gildeddawn Jan 28, 2012 08:10 AM

                    The Hainanese Chicken Rice, Beef Rendang, and Roti Canai should be on your list for next time, too. The first is very mild-flavored, but nice and light and gingery, and the second is a heavy braise with a rich spice paste...delicious. Roti Canai is a crispy crepe-like pancake with chicken curry.

                    I used to live in Singapore, and these guys do it right.

                    1. ibew292 Jan 28, 2012 05:58 AM

                      I happy to hear that they are back in the game. I love their Spicy Golden Tofu.

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