Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Penang Malaysian Cuisine

Ever since moving to the USA, I've been struggling to find decent Malaysian cuisine. Coming from Melbourne, Australia, we have so many choices for cheap, cheerful and quality south-east Asian food that the dearth of anything that isn't generically just 'Asian' is somewhat depressing.

Luckily, after moving to the Chicago area, a friend introduced us to Penang Malaysian Cuisine.

The menu still reads slightly like a mish-mash of various cuisines, but given that Malaysian cuisine really is from a melting pot of different cultures I can forgive that. The dishes themselves also have the punch you'd expect, with customisable levels of spiciness to suit your taste.

I didn't take any photos from my first visit, but for the record the roti was perfectly oily and flaky. The wonton-mee was decent with plenty of juicy wontons and a mass of egg noodles in a heart-warming soup and was certainly better than any I've had recently, although not quite as satisfying as one from a street-side noodle shop in Hong Kong.

On my return visit however, we explored the menu a little more and were certainly rewarded for our efforts.

The highlight was the Curry Lamb Shank.

Curry Lamb Shank
A lamb shank cooked slowly in a coconut broth until it was melt-off the bone tender, the flavours of the dish were vibrant and absolutely spot on. The spiciness could have been greater for a chilli-lover like myself, but it was rich and satisfying.

Equally satisfying, although not 'quite' as impressive was the Curry Mee.

Curry Mee
The cooler weather really has brought out my noodle soup cravings, and what better way to warm up than with a slightly spicy and coconut-ty curry mee. Once again, with a generous amount of chicken and prawn, this was a delicious dish. 

After the richness of the first two dishes, we attempted to balance things out with an order of Clay Pot Seafood and Tofu.

Claypot Seafood & Tofu
My only annoyance at this dish were that the pieces of tofu we too large compared to the other elements of the dish. Otherwise it was a reasonably seasoned with a dash of soy sauce, made with ingredients that were fresh enough (although obviously not straight from the farmer's market or sea) and healthy enough to assuage the guilt. 

Overall we had a great time at Penang Malaysian Cuisine. The decor is nothing to rave about, but the servers are friendly and the food comes out quickly. For the price and especially for the food, it really is a great local restaurant. I'm definitely coming back again anytime the craving for authentic(ish) Malaysian food hits.

Penang Malaysian Cuisine
1720 W Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Mon-Thu 11am-3pm, 430pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm

Penang on Urbanspoon