(If you have missed out on Part 1 of the Penang food adventure, click here to catch up on what we were eating during the first few days.)
Inche Kabin is the name of a Penang-style fried chicken which is neither breaded nor battered, but just marinated and deep fried until it reaches the texture and crispness of the fried chicken that we are used to. While having dinner with the Tiger and his extended family at Restoran 747, I got to try this signature dish.
The top layer of the chicken had a crisp exceeding the quality of most fried chicken I’ve ever had. And since there is no obstruction of thick batter and breading, you get to the meat and the flavour almost immediately – the outer layer of spices and sauce complement and mix well with the succulent texture of the white meat underneath.
From what I was told, there were two rival Ice Kacang and Chendol stalls which have been direct rivals at Macalister Road for the longest time. And it seemed rather apt to label their competition as tense – especially since they are just positioned opposite of one another.
We got Ice Kacang from the Teochew Chendol stall – one that the Tiger and his family have been going to for years. After having my first bite, it’s not difficult to see why – chock full of ingredients, the mix of textures and sweet syrups meld nicely in your mouth, while keeping their distinct tastes.
Beef Kway Teow Soup
Across the Penang Fire Station sits a beef kway teow soup stall which the Tiger swears by for a long time. With smooth, kway teow rice noodles and succulent strips of beef, the entire dish was brought together beautifully with the all-encompassing broth. A great mixture of beef broth, herbs, garlic, and spices, it provided a great depth of flavour – the perfect base canvas to a simple delicacy.
More than 20 cafes opened over the span of the last five years in Penang. During our visit there, we managed to visit two of them – The Mugshot Café and China House.
Since its opening in the early 2000s, China House has expanded and is now as big as two shophouses with their backs facing each other. Serving hot meals, desserts, and drinks in different areas of the place, each section was specifically themed. We were a relatively large group, and they seated us in a whimsical section, where it was a communal table with loads of sunlight and quirky decorations.
We were there for dessert, and the selection was almost heavenly. With different flavours of cakes, milkshakes, and desserts, you will be spoilt for choice. I had a salted caramel cheesecake, while the Tiger’s parents got a towering slice of tiramisu.
Soft and melt-in-your-mouth, the salted caramel cheesecake was a burst of rich sweetness, leaving the slightest hint of saltiness at the end of the aftertaste. The smooth, creamy filling blended well with the crumbly, butter base. Definitely worth a try and you can find out more about them here.
Mugshot was a place the Tiger wanted to go from the start. When we finally got there, I could see why.
Located along Chulia Street, The Mugshot Café serves homemade bagels and yoghurt, and is a collective with the Rainforest Bakery and a few other smaller shops that serve freshly-squeezed juices, food truck burgers, and desserts. Limited as their food menu is, I absolutely loved the simplicity of this café.
Each table came with a jar of brown sugar, which gave you a cheesecake-like taste for every cream-cheese-filled, wood-fire-heated bagel. The bagel with bacon and egg was a great favourite of mine as well – an awesome savoury breakfast bagel to fill you up for the day. After all that, top everything up with their fresh yoghurt, thick but light, with fresh fruit and local syrups (Gula Melaka, Honey etc…) to end your brunches on a high note. Find out more about them here.
Of course, this was not all we ate, just some of the key highlights I felt should be covering this time. We also had great Tambun biscuits, Pong piah, and this amazing Youtiao which managed to stay crispy even though they were just sitting in the plastic bag for 4 hours.
And the Tiger and I both agree that one would probably discover something better or different just by walking through popular places like Chulia or Armenian Street.