Sunday September 2, 2012
Thumbs up for Penang hawker fare
By JEREMY TAN
GEORGE TOWN: Singapore's celebrity chef Michael Han has given the thumbs up to Penang street food.
He said Penang street food tasted and looked better than that in Singapore.
Han said this after sampling assam laksa, ais kacang, nasi kandar, char koay teow and oh chien (fried oyster omelette) during a whirlwind eating tour.
His remarks came after an international online food survey had placed Singaporen street food ahead of Penang's.
Hong Kong celebrity chef So Sze-wong was also caught dissing Malaysian food recently.
She reportedly said: “I feel that Malaysian food is especially difficult to eat.”
According to Han, while Singapore street food has more variety, the hawker food in Penang tastes better.
“Here (in Penang), the flavours are stronger and more robust. For example, in your assam laksa, the prawn paste stands out.
“My favourite has to be oh chien as its smokiness comes through.”
Earlier, he spent five hours touring some of the places acknowledged for serving the best local hawker fare.
He visited a roadside stall along Penang Road for assam laksa and ate nasi kandar.
Han then went to the New World Park hawker centre for its ais kacang and spicy pie tee.
He was driven to Datuk Keramat Road for char koay teow before heading to the junction of Kimberly and Carnarvon Streets here for oh chien.
Han was in Penang to “de-construct” elements of local cuisine ahead of the Hennessy X.O. Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2012 event at St Jo in Gurney Paragon later this month.
The event would see selected chefs give “re-interpreted” street food here as well as pair them with Hennessy signature's XO cognac.
“It is a complex cognac with multiple layers of flavours. It goes well with Penang cuisine,” said Karen Ong, who is the marketing director of Moet Hennessy Diageo (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd which is organising the event.
When pressed about what to expect at the invitation-only event, Han said it would be a surprise.
“I was pretty inspired with what I tasted today. I will come out with something special.”