Ask yourself, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Penang”? I bet it was FOOD! The streets of Penang City are renowned for offering iconic dishes that result from a diverse mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures!
So what are you waiting for? Gather your friends, because Sky 22 at Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena will be bringing the best street food that Penang has to offer right to your doorstep! Specially curated by Penang native and Executive Chef John Chye, this savoury and scrumptious weekend buffet will be available every Friday evening to Sunday afternoon from 5th July to 1st September of 2019!
The highlight of the Penang Street Fare buffet is the DIY Nasi Lemak Station! Instead of using conventional ingredients such as Chicken Wings or Otah, Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena will be introducing an elevated and more lavish version of Nasi Lemak!
Delectable mains to be accompanied with fragrant coconut rice include Lobster Sambal and Anchovies, Beef Brisket, Lemongrass and Turmeric Chicken, Curry Mud Crab, Otak-Otak, and Spicy Prawns with Pineapples and Achar!
While at the Penang Street Fare’s Grand Premiere, I had the privilege of feasting on their delectable Lobster which was fleshy and fresh! Garnished with a flavourful Sambal chilli sauce, I never expected to taste the exquisite crustacean together with traditional spices and herbs from Penang!
While the Beef Brisket Rendang was tender and succulent such that I could feel the individual layers of meat falling apart in my mouth, the Lemongrass & Turmeric Chicken had charred bits that were extra crispy! With all these savoury delights at the table, the buffet’s cucumbers were also refreshing and juicy, serving as excellent palate cleansers!
If you’re keen on trying something which deviates from the conventional chilli or black pepper crabs served in Singapore, the Curry Mud Crab served at the Penang Street Fare exudes a peculiarly pleasant aroma. This is a result of a combination of both sweet and savoury spices, which leaves the curry infused crab with an intense and earthly fragrance!
The Penang Street Fare also offers a vast array of delights spanning staples such as Penang Char Kway Teow, Penang Seafood Carrot Cake, Hokkien Prawn Noodle Soup, Lor Bak (5-spice pork roll wrapped in beancurd skin), Braised Pork Belly, and Chef John’s signature Penang Laksa!
One of my favourites was the Hokkien Prawn Noodle Soup! The aroma from the huge prawns beckoned me the moment the dish was placed on the table. I knew instantly that it was cooked with the freshest ingredients! You can also take charge of the ingredients to create your own personalized bowl of Hokkien Prawn Noodles!
The bowl I ordered consisted of an interesting mix of thick yellow noodles and thin white bee hoon, which I felt, gave the overall dish vibrance and added texture. The meat from the giant slab of pork rib which I added was also astonishingly tender and succulent. It was cooked to perfection as the entire piece of meat simply fell off the bone when I attempted to peel it off! All the more, they had really thick fishcakes making it super satisfying to bite into and chew!
The other dish that caught my attention was the Penang Laksa! What really appealed to me about it was the robust and refreshing tanginess of its broth! The flavour originates from the asam paste that is cooked into the broth, giving the dish a moderately spicy taste of tamarind and fresh ground spices!
I also loved the traditional version of Penang’s Oyster Omelette! Starch is mixed into the batter while whipping up the omelette. This gives the eggs a thick and soft consistency which goes well with the large, juicy oysters!
Some people may be inclined to skip the oysters while eating this dish for fear of its strong seafood taste, but the oysters used were fresh and bouncy. Hence, they blended well with the soft eggs! Worth a try for all the oyster amateurs out there!
If you’re a fan of curry, brace yourself! Another palate enticing dish is Nasi Kandar, a popular staple recipe originating from Penang. Steamed rice of your choice (Biryani Rice, Turmeric Rice, Tomato Rice) will be served with a variety of different curry flavours, namely Ayam Masak Lemak (Chicken Curry), Fish Curry, and Prawn Curry with a variety of tasty side fares!
The tantalising buffet also features a Lok-Lok station! Penangites call these ingredients on skewers Lok-Lok, which literally translates to “dip dip”, referring to skewered food being dipped in a pot of boiling water. I got especially excited when I laid my eyes on the variety of Lok-Lok skewers available! One of the must eat street foods in Penang.
The lok-lok station consist of fish balls, meatballs, cuttlefish, fish cake, assorted sausages, clams, sea snails, vegetables, bean curd, and century eggs! There are also three sauces which you may dip your skewers into for additional flavour – sweet sauce, hoisin sauce, and chilli dip!
I tried each skewer individually before dipping them into the respective sauces. The hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat. It has an intense, almost cloyingly sweet flavour, and for those of you that love your food with a spicy twist, the chilli sauce is the perfect dip! Out of all the skewers, I loved the Fish Balls the most because they were super soft and exceptionally huge!!! Be sure to be on the lookout for the Lok-Lok station!
The Penang Rojak Station is another aspect of the Penang Street Fare that I found intriguing! The Rojak served here differs from the conventional Indian or Chinese Rojak you usually find at Singapore Hawker Centres!
This Penang style Rojak has a range of ingredients you may choose to either add or omit to create your perfect plate of Rojak! Ingredients provided are cuttlefish, fresh cucumbers, jambu (wax apple), green apples, pineapples, Chinese crullers, and a spicy prawn paste! The station also provides Tau Pok instead of You Tiao, which I felt was equally or even more crispy! And although the cuttlefish slices were a little tough, they offered an interesting variation in texture and flavour!
Another dish I found fascinating was the Ju Hoo Char (Braised Cuttlefish with Sweet Radish! It is a popular Peranakan side dish served during festivals such as Chinese New Year, and it consists of thin threads of stir-fried radishes, mushrooms, and cuttlefish!
Ju Hoo Char is usually wrapped with fresh lettuce leaves and consumed with Tee Cheo (sweet sauce) and/ or chilli sauce! Nonetheless, it goes great with rice too! Do you know what this dish reminded me of? Popiah! It tastes surprisingly familiar to the popular local spring roll I’ve had since young, except that the conventional Popiah’s nuttiness is being replaced by the slightly crunchy and crispy shreds of cuttlefish in the Ju Hoo Char!
If you’re looking to satisfy the desires of your sweet tooth, end your gastronomic adventure by indulging in a spread of traditional sweet treats! For desserts, there will be crispy Apom Manis (Sweet Indian Crepes), freshly fried Pisang Goreng (Banana Fritters), Bubur Cha-Cha, Tau Suan, Apom Balik (Chinese Peanut Pancake), and other desserts to choose from!
My personal favourite would be the Michael Jackson in a shot glass! It consists of Soya Bean, Grass Jelly, and Longan. A small serving of nostalgia to rekindle some childhood memories!
There will also be a free-flow of traditional drinks such as Teh Tarik (Pulled Milk Tea), Syrup Bandung (Rose Syrup with Milk), Lemongrass, Grass Jelly, Milo Dinosaur, Teh Peng, and many more!
I always knew that the streets of Penang were famous for their Peranakan dishes but I had never been so readily exposed to the entire variety in the comfort of a buffet setting! Save on the hassle of travelling to Penang, because Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena will be bringing the best of Penang to you!
$56++ per adult, $28++ per child aged 6 to 12 years
Inclusive of coffee and tea. Child aged 5 and below dines for free.
Add $38++ per person for free-flow prosecco, house pour red & white wines and beer!
For reservations: +65 6378 2040 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 99 Irrawaddy Rd, Singapore 329568
Phone: 6250 0303
Opening Hours: 12pm to 230pm (Saturday and Sunday), 6pm to 10pm (Friday and Saturday)
This post was brought to you by Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena.
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