I've always been pretty fascinated by Penang Nyonya food - its Thai-influenced flavours set its repertoire of dishes (e.g. inche kabin, perut ikan, curry kapitan) apart from Singapore and Malacca Nyonya food, which is more Indonesian-influenced (e.g. ayam buah keluak, babi pongteh, itik sioh). It's virtually impossible to get Penang Nyonya food in Singapore or Malacca, but a few places in Kuala Lumpur do offer them - the best being Sri Nyonya (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884314) and, to lesser success, Nyonya Roots (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880479).
My curiousity was piqued this afternoon when we came across Penang Nyonya Food, a largish, empty restaurant in the Sri Petaling neighbourhood which is always busy and bustling at lunch-time. Perusing the menu, we realised that most of the dishes were Chinese, with only a page of Penang Nyonya dishes.
- Penang "lor bak": these deep-fried meat rolls wrapped in beansheets are a common Penang staple, though it's more Hokkien-Chinese than Nyonya. Not particularly outstanding. No cucumber slices accompanying the meat rolls.
- Penang Nyonya "otak-otak": dry-ish version here and not as tasty or souffle-like like those one finds in Penang.
- Braised egg noodles with chicken and mushrooms (Chinese): the noodles were springy and tasty, but the braised sauce was "meh".
- Yam ring with kung pao chicken (Chinese): very tasty - the yam ring was not the best I'd tasted in KL, but better than most renditions we find in Singapore. KL restos are *very* good with retro Chinese dishes from the 60s & 70s, compared with their Singaporean counterparts,
- Nyonya steamed tilapia "gulai tumis": perfect flavours - best dish we had, the fish was very fresh and the small okra were a delight. Pity torch-ginger wasn't used here - otherwise it would have been perfect.
Overall - "okay" spot to lunch at only *if* you happen to be in the neighbourhood - but definitely not worth a detour.
Penang Nyonya Food
22-24, Jalan Radin Tengah
57000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2785 1945
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