Kuala Lumpur - Simply Penang at the Sunway Pyramid
I normally only write about good restaurants, but I made an exception this time as Simply Penang, at the Egyptian-themed Sunway Pyramid mall, was absolutely horrendous, and I thought any prospective diner should know about it, so they won't go away having a wrong impression of how Penang cuisine should taste like!
What I tried today:
- Penang Char Koay teow - it was soggy and more resembled Myanmar/Burmese-style fried rice noodles than Penang's famous version, with its umami lard-flavored taste and well-fried (over high heat) texture. Avoid the one here!
- Nasi lemak with curried chicken - this dish also came with crisp anchovies (ikan bilis), ground-nuts, sambal, and half a boiled egg. The accompanying curry sauce was tepid and watery - the worst I'd tried *anywhere* in Malaysia!! The nasi lemak was also soggy and lacked any pandanus scent. It was almost flavrorless, instead of having the requisite salty-coconutty taste. Ugh!!
- Penang Lor Bak platter - the menu showed a luscious-looking plate of golden-fried morsels, with *two* sauces: spicy chilli sauce, and the brown-gooey 5-spice-scented sauce with egg ribbons - typical accompaniments for dipping. What we were served were limp, greasy chicken lor bak rolls (poorly-marinated), small cubes of tofu which were cold, and hard-greasy "shrimp" fritters which had more flour & grease than anything else. And ONE sauce dip - the chilli one.
Why would ANYONE open a Penang-style restaurant, and not bother to serve proper Penang food? It's a complete travesty!!
LG1-41 Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Sad to read. The lor bak is the one that - from pictures alone - strike me as really bad. Even the old Penang Restaurant in Chicago Chinatown (it burnt down) served an excellent lor bak, which on visual appeal, characteristics and variety was miles ahead of the one shown in your photo. (It tasted pretty good too)
What is the clientele at this place like? Locals, tourists (in-country/foreign), or??
I think negative reviews are just as useful as positive ones. You have posted some here on this board and elsewhere - please do continue to do so. As you say, it is useful for others to read about the defects of a place (at least according to the taste of the reporting diner) as it is to read about good places!
The clientele in there (rather sparse at lunch- timei - I should have taken that as a "red fkag") s largely local, with a sprinkling of Arabs, since it's summer holiday season now, when Arabs flock to KL in droves. BTW, the Star newspaper yesterday mentioned that KL has an Arab population of 200,000, with 200 Arab restaurants catering to them. No wonder there are so many black-clad women in full face-covering hijab dining in there, and 99% of the restaurants in the mall are pork-free or halal.
I think only the Chinese restaurants there like Dragon-i (Shanghainese) or Fong Lye (Taiwanese) are non-halal.
Speaking of Nasi Kandar, P_R, *where* in Penang would you consider as serving the best Nasi Kandar? I saw Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations: Penang, where he dined at Line Clear Nasi Kandar, near Chowrasta Market off Penang Rd - but I'd tried that and it wasn't blow-your-mind stuff.
Another old favorite was Kassim Nasi Kandar, opposite Gama supermarket, which was written about by the Wall Street Journal and also Asiaweek, as far back as the 1980s, but its popularity seemed to have waned somewhat in the last couple of decades.
One place I'd really want to try is the Nasi Kandar stall in front of the Masjid Kapitan Kling, but someone told me that the stall has different operators for the day shift & night shift.
I'd tried Kayu and Pelita before, but these are chains and some of their outlets in KL were pretty average.