Restaurants & Bars Boston Area

Penang run-down

eatinjeff | | Dec 20, 2012 06:28 PM

Penang is one of the better Asian restaurants in Boston, I think.

Here's a run-down of some things I've gotten there, along with the grade they earned once safe inside my gullet:

Curry Mee with Young Tau Foo
Grade: A
One of the most surreal, outrageous and compelling things one can eat in Boston. It's a fragrant curry-broth soup with two kinds of noodles, big dog-ear flaps of fried tofu skin, fish-paste stuffed inside bitter gourd slices, fish-paste stuffed inside eggplant, some random bobbing fish balls, green onion, fish-paste stuffed inside some other sort of vegetable and... and.... Dude, I actually have no idea what this dish is, but I've now eaten it hundreds of times and it's a part of me. A very special part of me.

Assam Ikan Bilis
Grade: B
It's best not to stare at this dish for too long. It's a zillion tiny anchovies in a very tangy tamarind-onion sauce. Good to share, but I doubt you'll want more than five or six bites because the tiny fish are very chewy and the jaw quickly tires of them.

Satay Bean Curd (appetizer)
Grade: B
Unremarkable but refreshing and inoffensive. Good for mild-tempered conservative types and young teenagers.

Chow Kueh Teow
Grade: A
One of the best noodle dishes in Chinatown. Smoky and rich; tastes like the noodles themselves were mesquite-grilled.

Ipoh Bean Sprouts (appetizer)
Grade: B+
A very pleasant appetizer for the man who just can't get enough bean sprouts (did you not know he existed?)

Achat (appetizer)
Grade: C+
Turmeric-covered vegetable pickles; I think there's a good reason I've forgotten these, but I can't quite remember it.

Penang Pad Thai
Grade: B+
This is a boring choice at a place full of gutsy options, but it's undeniably a fine version.

Indian Mee Goreng
Grade: B+
Full of flavor, but a little "ketchupy" for my taste.

Mee Siam
Grade: B+

Seafood Scrambled Egg Chow Fun
Grade: B+
Slightly smoky chow fun noodles drenched in a warming, soupy egg broth with some shrimp and squid lazing about. Gross in its way, but deeply comforting, especially in the winter.

Clay Pot Pearl Noodle\
Grade: B+
Similar to the above, but with thinner noodles.

Asam Laksa
Grade: A-
PUNGENT. Try it at your own risk, but at least once in your lifetime. The waiters will try to warm you away from it. But be bold, my friend.

Prawn Mee
Grade: A
A marvelously rich shrimp broth with two kinds of noodles. One of the top soups in this town, for my money.

Seafood Tomyam with Rice Noodles
Grade: B-
Skimpy on the seafood and a touch too sour, but I've never liked this soup anywhere so I'm not a good judge of it.

House Special Fried Nasi Lemak
Grade: A-
Mild, light, subtle and clean-tasting, without the slightest hint of greasiness. A new frontier for the greaseball genre of fried rice.

Shrimp with String Beans Malaysian Style
Grade: A
The most perfectly-cooked string beans; the most perfectly smoky shrimp; the most addictive dried shrimp-paste "sauce".... For the sake of all who live, just eat this my friend.

Shrimp with Lady Fingers Malaysian Style
Grade: A
The same as they above, but with okra instead of string beans.

Penang House Special Squid
Grade: A-
Tangy and pungent. It's squid in a sauce similar to the Assam Ikan Bilis sauce. Not very filling, but unusual!

Sambal Shrimp
Grade: B+
Shrimp in tangy sauce with onions; same basic genre as the House Special Squid but not quite as good. Too many onions.

Fried Ice Cream
Grade: B-
Breading a bit too thick; ice cream all melted inside. Why taunt us!!?

Grade: A
A dada dessert: kidney beans, corn, wiggly stuff, chewy stuff, shaved ice, coconut sauce, more wiggly stuff, whatever just get it.

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