Penang, Malaysia, is an excitingly diverse city, crammed with the juxtaposition of locals, expats and travellers, who are usually drawn to the rustic and delicious hawker fare. Whether it comes on a plate, skewered on sticks or in a bowl, street food is immensely popular in Penang.
Yet, it is not every day that we get the luxury of filling our tummies with Penang-style fried char kway teow and the likes in Singapore—or can we?
Situated along Tanjong Katong Road lies Penang Bagus, a humble eatery that serves up authentic Penang hawker fare and desserts. Apart from it being an air-conditioned and fully-furnished restaurant and not your typical street-side hawker stall, the experience of savouring these Penang classics will no doubt give you a sense of being in Penang itself.
Penang Bagus features a decent selection of dishes comprising mostly of the popular dishes in Penang. What really intrigued us was their dessert—they have an interesting selection of desserts made in the style of a Korean bingsu but using ingredients and flavourings unique to Penang such as chendol and durian.
Out of all of Penang’s countless street food dishes, few require more skill and technique than a plate of Char Koay Teow. Simply presented, it takes a lot more than just fresh ingredients and kway teow to whip this up perfectly.
We were utterly surprised that the Penang Char Koay Teow (S$6) here came close enough to the ones in Penang. It was well fried without being too oily and we liked that the prawns still had a nice crunch to them.
Sweet, tangy and spicy—these are three crucial components that a proper Penang-style laksa should have. With a smorgasbord of thick white rice noodles and various ingredients steeped within a tamarind-flavoured soup base, there really is no reason why anyone should dislike this all-time Malaysian favourite.
The Penang Assam Laksa (S$6) served here was average. We felt that the soup base fulfilled the criteria of spicy and tangy, however, it lacked sweetness and it was severely under-salted. That aside, the noodles were soft and springy and the fresh ingredients added a nice brightness to the dish. This would have been an easy favourite of ours if only it was better seasoned.
Their Penang Prawn Mee (S$6) was aromatic and flavourful, with a hint of sweetness as well as spiciness which gave the dish a nice kick. However, similar to the laksa, we felt that it was a tad lacking in seasoning.
If you are not picky, then Penang Bagus is a restaurant worth visiting for a quick fix of Penang fare.
232 Tanjong Katong Road
Tel: +65 6384 6833
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Paya Lebar