In less than 130 days, Paul and I will finally take that much-wanted and much-needed vacation that the both of us have been looking forward to since late last year. While planning for this trip, it was actually a choice between going up north and getting in touch with our roots or to go back to Singapore and to visit Malaysia for the first time.
It seems like the 3 days that we spent in Singapore were not enough for the both of us that we decided to go back and to spend more days to explore the island and later on to hop over to Malaysia to continue our Southeast Asian adventure!
Of course, no trip would be complete without enjoying the local cuisines and this is one thing that I am truly looking forward to. Chatting with fellow bloggers and food experts, majority assured me that I will surely enjoy Malaysian food as it is said to be even better than Singapore. Hearing this brought visions of Char Kuay Teow, Roti Canai with curry sauce, Chili or Creamy Crabs and a lot more! Since then, I have been counting the days left and boy, I can't wait!
It must be fate that I was invited by a fellow blogger to try out the dishes over at Penang Hill. I've seen this restaurant for a couple of years already but I later found out that they have changed management and the look and style is now more upbeat than before. This, I told myself, will give me a glimpse of what to expect in Malaysia!
Malaysian cuisine is interesting. I love the play of colors and their courageous use of spices. Nothing beats smelling the aroma of the dish before taking a bite. You can say, it is a feast for the senses.
Allow me to share with you some of my Penang Hill favorites:
Hainanese Chicken Rice (Php. 185). My mom would tell us before that no trip to Singapore would be complete without having their Hainanese Chicken Rice. My sister and I took her word for it and made sure to have this not once but at least a dozen times over our two-week long visit. I love the salty Hainanese Rice that's cooked with special chicken oil. It's definitely one thing you should all indulge on at least once in a while. I'm glad that more and more Malay-Singaporean restaurants are already offering this here. No need to fly off to Singapore or Malaysia whenever we crave for a plate. Penang Hill's version was pretty good. While I would have liked my chicken to be more tender, I enjoyed the rice and the three dips that's really a must for me to have in every order.
Here's Penang Hill's version of our well-loved pork liempo, the Grilled Thai Pork Belly (Php. 220) has a good amount of lean meat and is topped with refreshing strips of cucumber. I enjoyed this juicy piece of meat that it's pretty tasty even without any sauce to accompany it.
Let me share with you my love story with Beef Rendang...
It was during a lunch meeting with a possible business partner (PBP) when I was introduced to my first bowl of Beef Rendang. You see, even before we opened the menu, PBP kept on saying that he's craving for beef rendang and ordering one bowl of that and a cup of rice is enough to make him happy throughout the meal. I got really intrigued by it that I ended up also ordering a bowl of Beef Rendang for myself. Taking one slice of the tender beef, I immediately understood his sentiments. I love the thick sauce that's mixed with coconut cream, it's like curry minus the spicy flavor. I love the comforting feeling it gave that I've been hooked to Beef Rendang since then.
Imagine my glee when we were also served with Beef Rendang (Php. 260) over at Penang Hill! I think I must have finished off at least half of the beef on the bowl since it was peacefully sitting in front of me.
As they say, no trip to Singapore and Malaysia would be complete without trying their crabs! Likewise, no trip to Penang Hill would ever be complete and satisfying without having a plate of their Salt and Pepper Crabs (Php.120/100g)!
Here's a secret: I rarely eat shelled seafoods outside as I do not like going through the hassle of getting my hands dirty and oily. If ever, I would rather struggle to take out the crab meat by using my utensils. Which, as we know, is not really the best way to enjoy these types of seafood.
Well, for the first time, I gave in to my OC self and used my hands to enjoy a juicy piece of salt and pepper crab claw! It's a good thing, the crab was served with partially cracked shells so just a little force is needed to reveal the delicious crab meat!
Lastly, this drink is perfect this summer season. After listening to Rowena's raves, Michelle and I gave in and ordered a glass of Penang Cooler (Php. 70) for ourselves. This is not your ordinary cucumber shake as it's mixed with calamansi juice giving it that citrus-y refreshing taste! Rowena's right, it sure was a delicious drink and I will definitely be ordering this again on my next visit.
Penang Hill is located at the 6th floor (The Ledge) of the Shangri-la Mall. Call them at 910-2530.