Penang Kitchen, together with Thai Noodle House and Curry Wok, round off the trio of eateries along Coronation Arcade that have fast become our go-to for cheap and good food. We takeaway our dinners from the restaurants here at least twice a week. While parking may be virtually non-existent, surprisingly, it doesn't quite deter us from the fabulous food here. You can count on eating like a king for under $15 per person.
As with Thai Noodle House and Curry Wok, Penang Kitchen is similarly a no-frills, no-fuss eatery. Generic plastic furniture, harsh florescent lighting, with pictures of their signature dishes plastered all over their melamine wall tiles, are to be expected of the decor here. Although most Penangites would dispute the authenticity of the Penang cuisine served here, it is admittedly more-than-decent. The fare here is generally hearty and comforting. Especially in light of the fact that the food here is so affordable.
One of their more popular signatures, the Penang Sampler ($13), comprised a duo of Penang Lor Bak and Belachan Chicken Wings. The fried beancurd skin rolls stuffed with sinfully fatty pork belly was flavoursome without being oily. The fried chicken wings, thoroughly marinated with shrimp paste and tumeric and cumin and other aromatics for full-on flavour, was no less addictive. We've been known to takeaway this appetizer platter as late-night snacks.
The Seafood Egg Fuyong ($8.50) was more like a very flattened pancake than a fluffy omelette, stuffed with prawns, eggs, spring onions and onions. Not particularly memorable.
I liked the Stir Fried Baby Kailan with Garlic ($8.30), simple and tasty with a garlicky accent, topped with fried shallots for a roasted sweetness.
The Penang Assam Laksa ($8.30) was a little unexpected. The heavy use of belachan made for a pungent finish, and it was enlivened with tangy pineapples, spicy cut chilli padi and peppery basil.
The Penang Char Kway Teow ($8.30) was deceptively spicy. This left us sniffling a bit. Good wok hei, with plentiful eggs and beansprouts for a refreshing crunch.
The Nasi Goreng Kampong Penang ($8.90) equally spicy, but its robust peppery heat is more of a slow burning one that hits you in the gut. The rice was well fried, with a rounded, full-bodied flavour. The piquant achar was a nice counter-balance.
I haven't had this cze char staple in a while and this was a really good induction back to one of my favourite childhood suppers. The Seafood Hor Fan ($8.80) was packed with fat slices of batang fish, bouncy prawns, cut crabsticks, meaty pork and greens. The silky sheets of flat rice noodles were nicely imbued with wok hei and slathered in a velvety egg drop oyster gravy. A minor grouse would be the less than sparkling fresh fish, but in general, this was a pretty good rendition of our classic local carb dish indeed.
The Chendol ($2.50) needed a tablespoonful more of that smoky sweet gula melaka for more impact. And the green jelly was lacking in that soft, slightly chewy texture. That said, it was a relatively alright dessert. Icy and refreshing.
5 Coronation Road
Coronation Arcade #01-05
Tel: 6466 6193
Open Thursdays to Tuesdays from 11am to 3pm for lunch; 4pm to 9pm for dinner