Monday, March 05, 2007

Impiana's Tona Bean has Dishes as good as you get in Penang

IT'S nothing like what I had in Penang.” Uttered with a note of disdain, or perhaps a little wistfully, that is one of the most common remarks concerning food, made by Penangites who are living away from their home state

To many, Penang hawker fare is so distinctively delicious that it is irreplaceable.

The popularity of Penang delicacies has spawned many eateries that claim to offer authentic Penang fare. However, not many of them have succeeded in meeting the stringent standards set by critical Penang folks.

If the hankering for Penang food sets in anytime this month, try what Tonka Bean Cafe.Deli, Impiana KLCC Hotel has whipped up.

Authentically Penang: Chefs Deva (left) and Azharuddin showing the spread of Penang delights they have prepared for the buffet.
The hotel is highlighting the delights of one particular state every month in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It started with Perak last month.

Chefs Deva Pathy, 50, and Azharuddin Mohd Isa, 37, prepare the spread. Though both are from Kuala Lumpur, they worked in established hotels on the island about 10 years ago, and hence the flavours of Penang food, as well as the recipes, are familiar to them

“I think it's the ingredients and the traditional cooking methods that make Penang food so outstanding,” said Azharuddin.

“There's no short cut when it comes to cooking Penang food; you can't cheat,” he added.

“The hawkers pay painstaking attention in preparing the food. For instance, the Char Kuey Teow seller would add a special sambal, which is made of grated dried shrimps, when stir-frying the noodles. The dish looks simple, but there's so much more to it,” Deva added.

Azharuddin said even though Kuala Lumpur had a vibrant culinary scene offering a plethora of modern fusion delights, there would always be a demand for Penang food as discerning diners yearned for the traditional, authentic flavours.

Both sweet and savoury: Chicken in Soy Sauce.
Perennial favourites like Nasi Kandar, Nasi Briyani, Pasembor (Indian Muslim rojak), Lobak (meat rolls), Lamb Prata (mutton and pancake) and Penang Kurma (a mild meat curry) are highlighted in the spread.

“Just like the Char Kuey Teow seller would add the special sambal to make the fried noodles tasty, we add grated cashew nut into our kurma to make it rich and thick,” Deva revealed.

Percik Duck, an alternative to Percik Chicken, is a must-try. The thinly sliced duck with its flavourful skin reminds one of a fine dining experience.

The Penang gastronomic journey would not be complete without the creamy Sago Gula Melaka or the refreshing Ais Kacang, which promise diners a sweet finale to their meal.

The buffet is available daily for lunch from noon to 2.30pm at RM48++, and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm at RM50++, throughout March.

  • TONKA BEAN CAFE DELI, Impiana KLCC Hotel and Spa, 13, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2147 1111) Business hours: 24-hour.

  • Source : STAR
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