Penang - Mama's Nyonya Cuisine: One of the top three Nyonya restaurants in town
This smallish restaurant, with a capacity of around 40 covers indoors and another 20 outside (it's warm & humid in Penang!) serves some of the most authentic-tasting (if toned-down) traditional Penang-Nyonya cuisine.
What we had this evening:
- Kueh pie-tee: freshly-prepared stir-fried grated radish with shrimps/pork. Very tasty version here and definitely the best I'd had in Penang.
- Stir-fried "romi" fern-leaves with dried shrimp-sambal: spicy assertive dish, though I'd have preferred it spicier and more belachan" (fermented shrimp paste). I think Mama's toned the flavors down to suit Chinese diners.
- Penang fish achar - deep-fried whole mullet pickled in fresh turmeric, ginger, garlic, red chilis, vinegar and sugar. Quite a respectable version here.
- Fish-head gulai tumis - garoupa head used here. The flavors here were milder than I'd have preferred, though the "bunga kantan" (torch ginger), tamarind and chili content had been drastically toned down. Mama's seemed to have all the correct ingredients used in their cooking, but made the tastes blander than home-cooked versions one would get in Peranakan Baba-Nyonya households.
- Inche kabin: very freshly-prepared fried chicken, and deliciously moist. The spice-coconut mikl marinade taste did not come through, however. But still, the best I'd had in a Penang restaurant. The chicken pieces were served topped with crisp fish crackers.
- Lor bak: perfect taste and texture.
- Choon pneah (deep-fried spring rolls). Very fresjly-prepared and served a la minute. Could use more pork or shrimps in the filling though.
- Otak-otak: too mild for my taste. But it has very fresh fish fillets used and the silky-smooth custard was delicious.
- "Bee koh moy" (Malay: "pulot hitam") - the best I'd had in a restaurant anywhere in Malaysia or Singapore! Real, home-cooked flavors came through.
- "Bubur cha-cha": not sweet enough. Could do with "gula Melaka" instead of just white sugar.
Overall, definitely the best Peranakan Nyonya cuisine I'd had in Penang for a while.
Mama's Nyonya Cuisine
31-D, Abu Siti Lane