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Aug 5, 2012 10:29 AM

Penang cuisine...anyone know?!

My boyfriend just finished watching our fave food show, No Reservations. This ep was filmed in Penang, and while it is a malaysian area, the food seemed more like a really awesome fusion of asian/indian flavors and wasn't anything that I've ever seen at my favorite local malaysian spots (which, here in NYC, actually exist!)
I immediately took to the web to try to find either a Penang spot in the NYC area (no dice, so it seems) or some recipes and everything seems to lean heavily towards the generic panang curry. We found some recipes that are probably authentic but require insane ingredients that we would never be able to find, even here in NYC.

Does anyone have any experience with Penang cuisine?! Any tips for cooking or a restaurant (basically anywhere within half a days travel from the states, we're going to be planning an international trip soon) or just any basic feedback on these amazing looking dishes? I would LOVE to find a cooking class or something similar, but it seems like a serious niche... however, he and I are generally not crazed by food shows as we've both eaten some great international food in our time, but this stuff specifically looks just amazing.


(as an aside, as soon as we finished the episode the first thing out of my mouth was "omg I need to post this on chowhound." I'm officially an addict!)

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  1. One starting point for recipes might be Bee Yinn Low's site

    She's also on facebook

    I have her Chinese cookbook, but know zilch about Malaysian cuisine and so don't know if this will be helpful.

    1. You might look up Copeland Marks’ “The Exotic Kitchens of Malaysia” in a used book from The scope is national, but there are some Penang dishes as well. There’s a large ethnic Chinese population in the city, but it’s very multicultural overall, as you note. Personally, in that region, I’ve found Indonesian food to be absolutely the most fascinating. But it’s pretty much unknown in North America. See Sri Owen’s books on that cuisine.

      1. Penang is well known for it's own style of Nyona cooking. Nyona food is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisines, and different cities have different specific styles and range of dishes -- the nyona food in Singapore isn't the same as that in Penang. We're blessed with an outstanding Penang styled Nyona place in London (Sedap - lots of raves on the UK/Ireland board). The chefs there were very famous and well loved when they were cooking in Singapore.

        Penang style Nyona, like many other south east asian cuisines involving various dishes eaten with rice, is best eaten in a bigger group, so that one gets to try a range of dishes that cover different spectra of spices and contrasts of dry dishes and curries. There are some overlaps with Padang styled Indonesian and Malay dishes.


          mphonline will ship to you in the US:

          (Exchange rate today: 1.00 MYR = 0.322736 USD) (MYD = RM)

          A recipe from the above book for Inche Kabin:

          Comments relating to that "Penang" episode of NR:

          The last year's worth on CH:

          Restaurants in the NYC area that offer some "Penang cuisine" dishes:

          The "Malaysian" restaurants in NYC, including Nyonya (part of the Penang group of restaurants) should also offer a dish or two...
          But note caveats about whether any of it is good or not - see, e.g.: and the subthread extending above and below it.

          If you're planning an international trip then certainly London, UK is within a half-day's travel of the US :-) and Sedap and Bugis Street Brasserie (and maybe Rasa Sayang) are there. Consult klyeoh's and limster's posts on the UK board.