Penang is a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown that had been on my list to try for several years. I finally checked this one off my list a couple of nights ago, and was sorry I hadn’t tried it much sooner. The food was delicious; it was the first time I’d tried Malaysian food and it seemed to have influences of Thai, Indian, and Chinese. The restaurant was relatively crowded on a Thursday night, but we were able to walk in around 8:30 and get a table for two. They were also able to accommodate our unusually large order and moved us to a larger table so that everything would fit!
We started with two appetizers, the roti and a combination plate. The roti was much lighter than I expected, and made me feel a little bit better about the amount of food on the way. It was a piece of fried bread like a thinner, crispier naan, and came with a side of curry sauce for dipping. The sauce had a piece of bone-in chicken in it for flavor, and tasted similar to Indian tika masala sauce. The combo appetizer included fried pork rolls in tofu skin wrappers, fried tofu pieces, and shrimp pancakes with hoisin and sweet chili sauces. This dish reminded me of Chinese dim sum (one of my favorites) and was definitely more filling than the roti.
We also ordered two entrees, the Buddhist Yam Pot with Chicken and the Teow Chow style striped bass. The Buddhist yam pot included mixed vegetables and cashew chicken, all served in a bowl of fried mashed taro. I love taro and really enjoyed this dish, but it could have used just a touch more sauce. The bass was steamed whole and came with salted cabbage, pork, and bean curd. It also had a few jalapenos under the skin, which gave it a little kick but did not make the dish overwhelmingly spicy.
Overall, this was a great meal and I really enjoyed every dish. Usually one thing stands out as a favorite, but everything was so good I would have hard time choosing. I’m excited to go back, and will add Penang to my rotation of regular Chinatown spots.