I first heard about Yeng Keng last year when it hosted a big dinner for the annual Peranakan convention, whence Babas & Nyonyas from Malacca, Penang, Phuket & Singapore converged together at the host city for a pow-wow. I missed that convention as I was travelling on business then, but I heard quite a bit about the Hainanese cuisine served there.
This time, I was back in Georgetown with my cousin from Melbourne who's visiting Malaysia/Singapore for the first time in decades. He's 2 years older than I, and we pretty much have the same tastes when it comes to things culinary - important when you're Chowhounding. Anyway, it was pure serendipity when my cousin's former classmates (local Penangites) from his university days back in Melbourne decided to host us for lunch at Yeng Keng. More importantly, one of them had pre-ordered Yeng Keng's specialties: the macaroni pie and the chicken pie, which needed 4 hours' advance booking.
These pies were nice, but didn't quite hit the spot for me - the fillings were too bland & uninteresting.
However, what really impressed both my cousin & I were the Nyonya "choon pneah" (spring rolls) and "Inche Kabin" (spiced, fried chicken). They were mind-blowingly delicious!!
Dessert was "Bombe Alaska", which I simply adored. Yeng Keng's version was 100% retro, down to its Neapolitain ice-cream filling & rum-moistened sponge cake. Superb! It knocked Shashlik Singapore's version for dead.
Yeng Keng Cafe & Bar
Yeng Keng Hotel
362 Chulia Street
Tel: +604-262 2177