penang hawker fare, york hotel
Hanging out at home on this Sunday taking care of life things (starting on my taxes, calling the credit card company) and, of course, catching up on the blog. Yesterday was epic in terms of Singapore eating. I went to the Penang Hawker Fare at the York Hotel with Pui and Nags. For SGD28++ you can gorge yourself on some of the goodies that Penang has to offer.
Read the rest of this post if you want to learn about the peanut pancake that changed my life.
We heard that the Penang Hawker Fare sometimes boasts long wait times for tables so we arrived super early for brunch on Saturday. Frankly, we arrived too early. The Fare has been going on since 1986 and I think it might have lost its lustre or something because while adequately busy there was not a long queue to speak of to get seated. The counter opens at 11:45am and the food starts getting served at noon so time things appropriately.
We picked a seat on the ‘upper’ part of the floor because 1) we didnt want to smell like food and 2) the lighting was better. See the short line (and empty table) at noon?
There are stations lined up around the floor each clearly labeled with the dish that is being served. With every visit you can grab a maximum of two small plates.
We started off by splitting up to collect a few plates. I took one for the team and lined up for the char kway teow. It was the only line at the fare I think because it was taking awhile to get the wok adequately fired up. No matter, I can wait.
In the meantime, Nags and Pui had brought a few dishes to the table. This is cuttlefish and kangkong. Big slivers of cuttlefish, boiled kangkong, spicy and sweet sauce, and crushed peanuts. None of us were big on cuttlefish so this was just ok.
A plate of fried stuffs called lor bak. There was tofu, sweet potato, bean curd, battered shrimp with a sweet, tangy, slightly spicy sauce on top. Surprisingly, not greasy. We wanted to go for seconds but were too full to commit.
The prawn mee was delicious. I think I finished this bowl on my own. What makes this good is the broth. Very prawny. Bonus points for the little fried pork bits that taste like chicharon. I imagine in Penang the auntie actually uses real prawns instead of the weanie frozen ones that were prevalent in most of the dishes.
Duck porridge. Snooze.
Betcha can’t guess what this is…
Laksa! Penang laksa apparently does not look like Singaporean laksa at all. Instead of the coconut milk and curry flavors you have a sour fish soup. Hard to understand huh? In any case, it was still very nice. The fish paste (the brown stuff) gives it a nice heartiness and the green mango adds some sour and some crunch (Nags said it was green mango, I think it might be young guava which we use in the Philippines to make things sour). You can’t see it here but the noodles for this are slightly thick.
Credit to Nags and Pui for being so patient with me coming back from the char kway teow line. They didn’t start eating until I got there even though they were plenty hungry!
The char kway teow did not disappoint. It was made by the older uncle he obviously knows what he’s doing. Lots of green onion and bean sprouts, gently scrambled egg, perfectly cooked noodles and not too oily at all. Nothing like a good plate of char kway teow to start off a Saturday. We went back for seconds.
We left some room for a very tasty oyster omelette. The coriander makes it such a nice combo. This omelette is more eggy than oystery which is the way I like it. I also liked that it wasn’t too bogged down with the rice flour that they sometimes add to these. No weird stretchy bits.
I think this uncle and his pans should move to Singapore.
Then he could make these soft, fluffy pancakes that have coconut in the batter and are filled with soft bananas and sugar. Yuuuum.
More importantly he could make these peanut pancakes that I love so so so much. Thin like crepes but crispy with ground peanuts, a syrup of gula melaka, and butter on the inside. I spent last night searching for places in Singapore that served these and came up empty handed. Boooooooo.
I could really use one of these for breakfast this morning.
The Penang Hawker Fare runs until March 28 and visits Singapore several times a year. The York Hotel is easily accessible from Orchard Rd. It’s just behind the Goodwood Hotel and Far East Plaza. Make a visit and start with those darn pancakes.