Saturday, June 16, 2018

Penang Place Buffet (Meat From Halal Sources) - Good Quality Food at Less than S$30 Per Person for Weekday Lunch @ Suntec City Mall West Wing [Singapore]

My first visit to Penang Place was when it was still located at Fusionopolis and on both times; they were for official departmental lunches. I love the food there and despite having the intention to bring my family one day, it never did materialize and before i knew it, it had closed for good.

Nothing's lost though as Penang Place had re-opened at a way more centralized venue (Suntec City Mall) and while i procrastinated on visiting its new outlet; a friend's sister passed me two buffet vouchers which kind of 'forced' me to go as there's a validity date!

I took time-off from work on a Friday and was right on time! My partner-in-crime shall be my dearest mom who is a great cook herself! The good thing about eating out with my mom is that she likes to have her dinner early and we often have the whole place to ourselves, as in the case at Penang Place.

Featuring the same wooden tables and chairs found at Fusionopolis, there were touches of class with the hanging chandeliers. There were two separate dining sections with the one we were in hidden from the shoppers' view.

A jar of ice-cold plain water was placed on our table! You can choose to order other drinks (at extra cost) but i am good with just good, old healthy water.

It's hard deciding how to conceptualize this post and i guess it might be better to show what's available in the buffet first to whet your appetite. Do note that there are usually about 30 dishes and what you see today is not a full menu. 

Like this pot of chilli chicken de sri mutiara - essentially, 'fried chicken in special sweet chilli sauce'! As with any buffet, take just one and try; if it is something that eventually tastes good, take another one later! Don't be greedy and take a lot as it would not only deprive others from trying it, you might not even like it!

Make your own kueh pie tee! Now, i never like making my own as i tend to not follow the ratio and might even eliminate a few ingredients thinking they might not make a difference.

Mains with first two photos showing both ends of the line; you can find curry chicken, beef rendang, curry sotong, vegetables, assam prawns and nasi lemak rice (with the accompanying sambal chilli, peanuts etc). 

Most popular dish in the entire Penang Place has to be their Penang Char Kway Teow! At the moment when we stepped in, all food were ready with exception of this popularity number 1 dish.

Here it is! I had tried the so called authentic char kway teow back when i visited Penang in 2016 and honestly, i still prefer the one from Penang Place!

Live stations for penang hokkien mee (soup based) and jiu hu eng chai (cuttlefish with water spinach); nope, not a big fan for both dishes.

Another self-service station; this time for the assam laksa!

Crispy spring roll, variety of lobak, salted egg custard bun, prawn / chicken siew mai and chicken satay! Hint: grab the chicken satay first as they run out pretty fast.

Another self-serviced kiosk - for Penang mixed fruit rojak! Despite the instructions, i pretty much failed in whipping up a decent plate of fruit rojak. Think mom would do a better job than i. 

My favourite section; desserts! 

There were your usual salads like garden and mesclun salad plus local versions like mango kerabu (mango salad) and acar (pickled vegetables with peanuts and sesame seeds)! Do also try the century eggs if you have never tried it before; you either like or hate it, like durians! 

Loving most of the nyonya kuehs; kueh lapis, kueh kosui (palm sugar rice cake), pulut tai tai (steamed glutinous rice that's eaten with kaya) and kueh salat (steamed glutinous rice with pandan custard top). Missing from the above picture are two pots of hot soupy desserts; pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge) and red bean longan soup.

Make your own chendol or ice kacang! 
Okay, at least i managed to pull off something decent from this. 

Last stop - the fridge that's had fruits (watermelon, oranges, apples, honeydew) and others like mango pudding, gui ling gao (herbal jelly) and agar agar (old school jelly).

Now that i am done with showcasing the variety of food you could expect at Penang Place, it's time to present to you what my mom and i had in the 90 minutes we were there! 

Starting with the soup based mains which my mom likes; penang hokkien mee and assam laksa! Former had a flavourful broth while the latter had an addictive sourness that's super shiok! However, let's not waste our stomach space on carbohydrates! 

Not bad salted egg custard bun (grey dough), prawn siew mai (green dough skin) and chicken siew mai (chicken dough skin). Take caution with the salted egg custard bun as the hot, delicious content would burst out if you are not careful. 

My failed rojak; my fault for being too generous with the prawn paste which kind of made the fruits overwhelming tasting. 

I often feel that satays sold in restaurants were lacking in standard and couldn't even be compared to what we had in the hawker centres. These at Penang Place were meaty and juicy and definitely comparable to those from the good hawker stalls! 

Herbal duck soup was like one of the best-tasting soup i had with a herbal sweetness that's light on the palate! I would have drunk the entire pot in my younger, growing days but give my age, and (full stomach), it's still a marvel i managed three bowls.

Mains which included the spicy, wok-heo infused char kway teow! If you can't take spiciness, inform the server as i understand they could specially fry a non-spicy one for you. Chilli chicken de sri mutiara was like the southeast Asian version of 4Fingers while the assam prawns had a sweet tinge that's totally not the assam i was expecting. Curry chicken (not in picture) was tender and submerged in a rich, coconut-milk gravy that's not spicy in my opinion. 

Popiah was crispy with generous filling; would have enjoyed it as a snack (with my favourite kimball thai chilli sauce) if not for the so many food on display that i had to fit into my stomach. That's the issue with buffet; there's nothing as too much except for the lack of tummy space!  

Pulut hitam - for mom as i never like this dessert. To be fair for those who enjoy this southeast Asian dessert as much as my mom, she took a liking for it.

My decent chendol! Obviously not as good as Jin Jin power chendol or the cendol melaka at Changi Village but good enough to fix a craving.

Fruit platter with agar agar! Okay, maybe not a platter but at that point, we knew it would be a waste of food if we took too much! Honeydew were sweet and the agar agar tasted like the type sold in fruit stalls.

How could i forget about the nyonya kueh? They were exceptionally nice and i regretted not starting on them earlier! The only one i didn't quite like is the kueh talam (right side with white top, green bottom).

Red bean longan soup - preferring green bean over red bean soup, i am surprised i am totally bowled over by Penang Place red bean longan soup which was rich in flavour, balanced in sweetness and a lingering longan aftertaste. 

Second helping was needed.

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Location
3 Temasek Boulevard Suntec City Mall, 
West Wing (below Convention Center),
#02-314/315/316, Singapore 038983

Website

Pricing
Weekend Dinner - S$30.90
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Additional Information
No pork and no lard and even though it is not a halal restaurant, all the meat are from halal sources. Guess it has something to do with the alcoholic drinks that were available for ordering.

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