A trip of Euphoria down to Penang!
I have the divine secret to travel the whole world in the best and inexpensive way which I am about to unfold to my readers.
What did you guys, think of? Website links for coupon codes and travel credits? Keep dreaming!!
On a serious note, I would surely give those if I had any. However, you won't be disappointed on the journey I would be taking you all, right to the heart of Penang. But, wait!!!
Not in Malaysia, but in the state which is home to our very own Chi-Town/The Windy City, Illinois!!!!
This is Penang Malaysian Cuisine. Situated in Arlington Heights between Des Plaines and Schaumburg, this restaurant is the go-to grub for the authentic Malaysian you can lay your hands on.
I happened to visit this place for dinner on a weekday and it was reasonably packed. They had a huge parking lot and the restaurant is quite big as well. The interiors were calm and comforting, rest assured to experience a perfect Malaysian meal.
They also have few Chinese specialities but, meh!!
Ordered all the traditional dishes in a Malaysian perspective and started my wait.
The first appetizer made its way.
The famed Roti Canai. The roti which is basically an Indian flat bread folded expertly in the shape of a cone, is an appetizer that would surely endorse a vivid picture of authenticity for a Malaysian local looking out for some traditional food here in the States. Served along with a bowl of creamy Chicken & Potato Curry, this was the best pole position I could hold on for today's race (meal).
The roti was not in the seven worlds, greasy and was airy and soft which is the texture in my outlook. But hands down, this has to be the best chicken and potato stew combination I have ever had. It was a slowly cooked stew with potatoes and the meat is added to it eventually. The fat from the chicken gets locked into the potato as it softens and creates a creamy texture which is worth dying for.
I couldn't resist but order an improvised version of it. Again!
This is Roti Telur. Anything for the curry, right?
So, this version of the roti comes stuffed with onions and bell peppers along with egg which entails the lip smacking curry as well. The roti was more heavy and is less pillowy due to the stuffing of the veggies and the savoriness of the egg, tasty nevertheless. I was in for the curry, anyways!
Was Penang Spicy Chicken. Vibrant colors make your way in this authentic version of Malaysian cuisine. The onions and peppers are a regular in all the curries, but the spicy brown sauce along with dried shrimp is an idiosyncratic quotient in respect to this dish. Dried red chillies and lemongrass increase the flavor along with some secret spices which makes this dish more tangible by tasting them firsthand. It is spicy and quite dainty!
I ordered the Mee Siam. Noodles always make their way when its anything minutely related to an Asian cuisine and I am a sucker for them as well! So, why not??
These stir fried noodles come with an eclectic mix of chicken, tofu and peanuts. All of this is then mixed with a spicy bean sauce made in house by the restaurant which they state is true to the cuisine. Well, I tried it and I should say this noodles are not soggy and carried a firmer texture. The thigh meat of chicken was used making it softer along with tofu which is the same. So, I would have expected the protein influence to be diverse in consistency. But, the taste was spot on. They give you a wedge of lime which I greedily squeezed all over. It's a dish worth ordering, at least to get a taste of the hot yet sweet bean sauce!
Comes the Fried Red Snapper w/Curry Sauce. They keep coming up with these tantalizing dishes and I am sure you will keep wanting for more. This red snapper was a specialty at this restaurant and you get to choose the type of sauce, where I went with Curry Sauce among the four available. The price is based on the market catch on that particular day and it was around 35 bucks for this beauty of a dish.
The curry sauce has a lot going on as you could see in the image. There are eggplants, green chilies, okra and curry leaves. The stew is also infused with tamarind sauce which makes it even more sour and sweet at the same time. The snapper is deep fried before being placed in this stew. I fell in love with the soup textured curry sauce. It tasted surreal with the combination of the okra which was crunchy and the roasted eggplant for the creaminess and spice from chilies, all made it worthwhile even before I got to the Snapper!
The Snapper was fried! I mean literally, very much! I could literally feel the crispy skin although it was immersed in the stew for quite some time. I dig right into it and took a heavy chunk of the flesh. Something unexplainable happened. The greasy skin on the top totally hoodwinked me with the fresh and soft meat underneath it. And, when combined with the stew, it just gets better. Don't miss this specialty when you want to splurge on seafood!
I accompanied the Snapper with,
Nasi Goreng. Yum, Did I mention I was a sucker for noodles earlier?
Well, I googled my symptoms and "decided" that I have Decidophobia. Yes, it does exist! A person who cant make up his decisions. So, yeah I go bonkers for fried rice as well.
Coming to the dish which is a Malaysian street delicacy, it is shrimp fried rice mixed with Sambal sauce. The sauce is made of chillies, shrimp paste, garlic and lime from the many other. Topped with cucumbers and thinly sliced hard-boiled eggs, this dish is ready to be devoured.
Loved the fried rice. The quantity of shrimp was adequate and they were medium sized. It took in the flavor of the sambal and was quite juicy. The carrots and scrambled eggs added to this fried rice completed the sweet and savory component to the fiery sauce. The hard boiled eggs mellowed down the spice which was exactly I wished for. Accompanying it along with the Snapper made it rewarding.
Finally for the sweet tooths,
Presenting the Mango w/Sticky Rice. Not a traditional Malaysian dessert but still has its roots in all the Southeast Asian countries. The Malaysian version has a Durian instead of Mango but this place doesn't serve them which contrived me to go with the former.
A ripe mango placed over a layer of sticky rice and garnished with fresh mint leaves and a sprinkle of powdered sugar is what this dish is all about.
Went for it and was not disappointed. The mango was ripe but I would have preferred it riper. The sticky rice is cooked by steaming and is then sweetened with coconut milk and sugar. The creamy fluids around the rice is the same mixture and is really exquisite. Would order this, no questions asked!
Rummaging for an authentic Malaysian dinner in Chicago? Look no further than Penang Malaysian Cuisine. You won't find yourself in discontent!
1720 W Algonquin Rd Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Value For Money: 7/10