Archive for the ‘Hainanese Cuisine’ Category


Built in 1929, Loke Thye Kee Restaurant down on Burma Road, Penang boasted a ship design in memory of its original waterfront location in Weld Quay. During its heyday, the restaurant was famous for its traditional Hainanese cuisine besides widely regarded as the place for matchmaking, weddings ceremonies as well as birthdays celebrations.

The historical place acquired by its current owners underwent a restoration programme and was restored to its former glory in late 2012.

Today, the refreshed Loke Thye Kee houses a number of restaurants: Kopitiam, Loke Thye Kee Restaurant and The Bridge Grill. Guests can enjoy pork-free Hainanese, Malaysian and Western delights at these pork free and Halal outlets certified by JAKIM.

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Photo via LTK

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The Beach Corner Restaurant located in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, has a food menu full of Hainanese favourites.

Nothing beats starting off the meal with their signature Choon Pheah (spring roll). The crispy spring roll is deep-fried golden brown and choked full with yam bean, carrot, cabbage, mushroom, meat, prawns and chives. The best way to eat the Choon Pheah is by adding in some Worchester sauce spiced up with rings of red and small chili padi.

Hainanese Cuisine at Beach Corner in Batu Ferringhi, Penang by

Hainanese Cuisine at Beach Corner in Batu Ferringhi, Penang by

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Just a very mention of Curry Mee and most Malaysians will be gleefully thinking about the delicious hawker food staple that has satisfied the nation for years. The dish itself is unique to Malaysia, with its combination of yellow noodles and vermicelli with the spicy coconut milk laden soup. Commonly, the soup would be spiced up with additional chilli paste, and topped with dried tofu pok (tau pok), prawns and cuttlefish.

There are several variations of curry mee in Malaysia; however this is the most telling Penang version. What differentiate Penang Curry Mee from the others are the ingredients used; besides the aforementioned there is also additional pig’s coagulated blood cubes and bloody cockles. Even though society in general is moving towards a healthier palate, most believe that Penang’s Curry Mee will not taste as good without them.

Throughout the island there are numerous stalls offering this mouth-watering curry mee, with each of them offering its own version of soup and ingredients. The soup varies from a reddish coconut based broth to a lighter pale color, affectionately known to locals as White Curry Mee.

White Curry Mee & Hainanese Chicken at Hot Bowl, Penang by

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BY C K Lam

Tropical Spice Garden recently sees the book launching and cooking demo by Dr Ong Jin Teong at the al-fresco style Pavilion next to the cooking school. The event highlighted Dr Ong’s culinary biography Penang Heritage Food, a collection of recipes for the classic and forgotten dishes of Penang.

Penang Heritage Food also sheds light on the different cultural influences that has made Penang’s fusion cuisine a unique national heritage. Dishes with Malay, Hokkien, Indian, Thai and Hainanese influences are included.

Penang Heritage Food Book Launch by

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By CK Lam

Spending your weekend in Penang? Do check out this 24-hour guide to eating on the island non-stop, written by me for TimeOut Penang 2012. Hope everyone have a great time indulging  in all the flavourful food, rich in spices and herbs from the many restaurants and hawker stalls in Penang.

6am – 7am: Special Famous Roti Canai
56 Jalan Transfer
Open daily, 6.30am-1pm, 3.30pm-7pm

Soak in the slow pace of life in Penang with breakfast at this road side stall, which is famous for its crispy roti canai. There are several varieties of curries to complement the roti canai – mutton, beef, chicken, fish and dhall. The place is usually packed with customers waiting for a table.

Roti Canai by CK Lam for TimeOut Penang 2012

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Fancy some Hainanese cuisine in Penang? Chances are the choices are not aplenty as Hainanese cooks are few to come by and the younger generation is not keen on learning the trade.

But you can make your way to Yeng Keng Cafe & Bar in Yeng Keng Hotel, a heritage boutique hotel on Chulia Street at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town. In addition to Western cuisine, Yeng Keng Café & Bar came out with a selection of classic Hainanese dishes.

Yeng Keng Hotel, Chulia Street Penang by

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Yut Kee Restaurant, located in Jalan Dang Wangi Kuala Lumpur, is an old school Hainanese restaurant that has been operating since 1928. The place offering traditional kopitiam fare and variety of Hainanese food is a hit with locals and foreigners alike.

Hainanese Cuisine Kopitiam Style at Yut Kee Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

Breakfast fare

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Business is usually bustling at the Hainanese Chicken Rice stall in Kheng Pin Cafe located in the junction of Sri Bahari Road and Penang Road. This stall run by a couple is one of the places with a good rendition of chicken rice in town. The poached chicken is deliciously prepared, a firm smooth skin with a layer of gelatin underneath and tender juicy meat.

Sri Bahari Hainanese Chicken Rice new outlet in Lorong Selamat

A meaty plate of chicken

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During the weekend I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with friends in the newly opened Hainanese Delights Restaurant in Penang. This place is located in the low rise 1926 Heritage Hotel on Burma Road, and emerges as the newest addition to the number of Hainanese restaurant in town. This restaurant is operated by a Hainanese, while the food is cooked by a Hainanese chef too. The menu of this restaurant brings a selection of Hainanese specialties and some western-style dishes.

Macaroni Pie at Hainanese Delights Restaurant in 1926 Heritage Hotel Penang

The nostalgic Hainanese cuisine, Macaroni Pie…

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Sin Kheng Aun Restaurant situated in Chulia Lane is one of the prominent Hainanese restaurants in Penang. This restaurant is very popular with the locals and tourists for its Hainanese food and also local dishes. Specialist of this restaurant includes the Curry Gulai Tumis, Kerabu Prawns, Hainanese Pork/Chicken Chop and many other selections of dishes.

My family have tried most of the dishes here as we have patronized this restaurant countless of time over the years. Their unique Haninese Pork Chop is a favorite and comes deep fried with an egg coating and paired with onions, peas and quarters of fried potatoes. The meat has a crispy exterior and goes well with the slightly thick delicious gravy.


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There are several variations of beef noodles in Penang with the all time favorite beef ball noodles and the Hakka beef ball noodles.

This time the focus is on the Ngau Larm Mee stall (Chinese style braised beef brisket noodle) at Sai Lam, an old coffee shop at the corner of Chulia Street and Carnarvon Street. This delicious braised beef can be served with variation of noodles: springy thin or the broad wanton noodles or better still with hor fun.  Whatever the choice is, it comes with generous portion of flavorful beef pieces.

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Dry Ngau Larm Mee with broad noodles

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We visited Hai Onn, a Hainanese restaurant located in a shoplot along Burmah Road, Penang. This restaurant has been around for many years and is one of the few old style traditional Hainanese restaurant around Georgetown. Inside the shop are several hawker stalls, with one selling  koay teow soup, which is a favourite Penang hawker food. From noon onwards, this place operates as a restaurant.

They have a few signature dishes including the Hainanese Pork Chop and Chicken Chop.  Their version is done differently from those sold nowadays. I like the delicious flavor of the starchy potato gravy which goes well with toast bread.


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