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Penang in Harvard Sq.--Pearl Tea and more


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Penang in Harvard Sq.--Pearl Tea and more

ErstwhileEditor | Jul 22, 2003 03:40 PM

This may be the first of a few posts by me, since I have not been posting for a while. There is a post I want to make re Zoe's, but I am not sure whether I should make it. We'll see. Anyway...

Today my daughter and I went to Penang in Harvard Sq. While I agree with the previous posters who have said that the Chinatown branch is better, the Harvard Sq. one is easier for us to get to, and my daughter does like going to Harvard Sq.

I usually have the Chow Kueh Teow, but I was not in the mood for noodles today, so I tried the Mango Chicken lunch special. My daughter had the sweet and sour chicken that was apparently recently added to that menu. We shared the obligatory Roti Canai, and we also got pearl tea, which we were excited to see on the back of the menu.

The Roti Canai was delicious, per usual, although the curry sauce seemed to be a bit less smooth-tasting than it had been before. Nonetheless, we could easily have both eaten an order of this instead of splitting one. (And I still want to know why this chicken curry tastes so much better than the chicken curry that you order as an entree!) The mango chicken was quite nice (if one is in the mood for such)--lots of sweet mango, some bell pepper, and plenty of chicken that was perfectly cooked. The sauce was sweet, although not cloying, and a bit spicy, which suited my mood just fine. My daughter did not think the sweet and sour chicken was the best she had ever eaten, but it also was not the worst. She did, however, opine that the batter should have been more cooked. I could somewhat echo that sentiment when it came to my freebie appetizer. I decided to try the Taro Udang/Shrimp. I guess I was envisioning the taro layer as being like the taro dim sum items. Instead, there was a very thin browned coating, and then the rest of the thick layer of taro was the texture of mashed potato. Its blandness totally overwhelmed the shrimp.

I have saved the bad news for last. The pearl tea. By now my daughter and I have had A LOT of pearl tea, so I guess we can judge it. I ordered jasmine tea, and my daughtered Thai iced tea. First, they were in slush form. I honestly don't remember whether the menu said that; it may have. The jasmine tea tasted downright nasty. Not at all sweet or floral, it actually tasted more like very strong strong green tea (maybe made from a powder?). It looked like there was milk or something in it too, although that was not obvious from the menu. I could not drink it. My daughter's Thai tea was almost as nasty tasting. When the waitress asked if everything was fine, I said I didn't care for the tea. She offered to bring something else, and I said if I could get a juice with pearls in it, that would be okay, but I would not get any other tea. She discouraged me from getting the lime juice, saying it would be too sour. In retrospect, I have consumed a lot of sour apple tea, and it has been fine, and the lime juice isn't very sour anyway. Oh well. I should say that while the pearls were not great, they were also not the worst we have had. (That rank is reserved for Yangtze River in Lexington, whose pearls were TOTALLY soft....)

So, are there any other places in Harvard Sq. that sell pearl tea now? DECENT pearl tea?


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