Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Taste of Penang Buffet @ Sentosa

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Do you know that Sentosa is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year? To commermorate the ruby anniversary, a series of events, activities and treats have been lined up to recollect 40 fabulous years as Singapore's iconic playground.

Among one of these events, Sentosa will be holding its very first Penang buffet by the sea from 10 to 20 May 2012. The island's interim car park Taste of Asia, Level 2 which is facing the sea will be transformed into "streets of Penang" with a rustic ambience, complete with irresistible array of Penang favourites (most of which are cooked a la minute).

Specially invited from Penang, 54-year-old Chef Qua Hun Siam will helm the wok at Taste of Penang @ Sentosa and bring family heirloom recipes, such as Char Mui (Fried Porridge), Char Hum (Fried Cockles) and Lor Bak. Chef Qua is no stranger to the Singapore food scene having helmed the wok at various Penang buffets that were held at Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Orchid Country Club and Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore.

There is even MORE excitment in the air! Sentosa is expected to receive its 150th millionth guest this year between May and June. You could be one of the lucky 150 millionth guest to walk away with a bundle of treats worth close to $10,000. These include attraction tickets, hotel stays, dining vouchers and the new Ipad!

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Rojak 4/5

Rojak for a different? Chef Qua's fruit rojak is rather unique and spicy. The fresh ingredients were cut into chunky size and coated with the spicy special sauce from Chef Qua's recipe. I thought it was quite a thoughtful dish as the juiciness of the fruits can help to smoothen the spiciness on the palate.

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Char Mui (Fried Porridge) 4.8/5

This is my first time having Char Mui (Fried Porridge). I didn't even know such a dish exist! It was so "Sedap" (meaning delicious in Malay). It is a BEST TRY. Maybe Malaysia Tourism should consider labelling it as one of their uniquely iconic Malaysian dishes. The smooth and silky porridge was cooked with constant stirring in the wok to avoid being burnt. Simple ingredients such as shrimps, roast pork and spring onions were added. A dark sauce that tastes like the Malaysian Hokkien Mee gravy gave the porridge the dark colouring and delightful flavour. It was so good that everyone was asking for second serving.

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Penang Char Kway Teow 4.2/5

The delicious Penang Char Kway Teow has that elusive Wok Hei and savoury flavour. The noodles were smooth and infused with the umami flavour of the prawns.

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Fellow blogger Jacob tried cooking a plate himself and we can taste the distinct different in flavour and texture of the noodles.

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Penang Assam Laksa 4/5

How can Penang Buffet not have Penang Assam Laksa? After all Penang Assam Laksa is ranked number 7 in CNN World 50's Most Delicious Foods. The Assam Laksa used wider and less springy rice noodles, exactly the type that is used back in Penang. Chef Qua told us he specially brought these noodles all the way from Penang so to ensure everything is authentic.

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Char Hum (Fried Cockles) with sweet sauce  4/5

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Char Hum (Fried Cockles) with spicy sauce 4.8/5 

The Penang buffet spread will also includes Char Hum (Fried Cockles). The Char Hum will have a sweet version as well as a spicy version. The sweet version is fried in a special sweet sauce and topped with peanuts. I prefer the spicy version, the cockles were fried in pork lard and curry leaves giving it a very fragrant aroma.

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Lor Bak 4.2/5

Another signature Penang cuisine is the Lor Bak that has some similarity to Ngoh Hiang. One distinct difference is Lor Bak uses chunky marinated meat in their fillings while Ngoh Hiang usually used minced meat. The Lor Bak prepared by Chef Qua's team had a nice light balanced flavour wrapped in crispy thin soybean sheets. So confident in their Lor Bak that they have ditched the dipping sauce.

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Nasi Kandar 4/5

Supporting the team from Chef Qua's kitchen for the Penang feast is a team of chefs from Sentosa Central kitchen. They have specially made a study trip to Penang and brought back the local Penang flavours.

Nasi Kandar is a popular Northern Malaysian dish which originated from Penang. The rice is served in a variety of curries and side dishes. On the plate, there were steamed rice topped with 3 type of curries, cabbage with mustard seeds, long beans, fried chicken, egg and a piece of fried fish cake stuff (didn't manage to get the name).

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Ayam Masak Merah 4.2/5

Cooked in tomato soup and coconut milk, the Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce or Ayam Masak Merah has a rich flavour. The balance of sweet and sour flavours with the creamy texture coating the juicy and tender chicken was a beautiful dish. I actually thought it resembled the Butter Chicken Curry.

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Ayam Masak Kicap 4.2/5

The sweet ginger soy sauce chicken or Ayam Masak Kicap was very lovely and it goes very well with the rice. A good change after all heat.

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Ayam Lemak 4.2/5

Another very delightful chicken curry dish is the Ayam Lemak. The chicken was prepared in a spicy coconut milk gravy topped with slices of red chilli. Lemon grass was also used to give it a little zest in flavours.

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Sotong Sambal 4/5

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Udang Sambal 4/5

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Sambal Fish 4.5/5

I am sure every cents from your wallet will be worth as the Penang feast also comes with hot samba girls ... oppps I mean sambal seafood. Swimming in the hot sambal gravy are fresh Sambal Sotong, Sambal Prawn and Sambal Fish. The hot and spicy seafood will make your taste buds "sambal" dancing through the night.

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Chendol 4/5

For dessert, the popular Chendol will be available. Patrons can have fun making their own chendol dessert. I always remembered my meeting with Chef Philip Chia whereby he told us how to make a good gula melaka and it should not have a bitter after taste. I specially tasted the gula melaka and it was good.

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Coconut with Jelly 4.2/5

For quenching your thirst. You can purchase the refreshing Coconut with Jelly at $2. This is not part of the buffet spread though. Besides the coconut juice and meat, there is also jelly in it!

With Mother's Day just around the corner. It would also be the perfect time to bring her to Sentosa and indulge in the Penang feast. The ticket includes complimentary parking as well as complimentary entry into Images of Singapore. Wait not as there is an early bird discount of 20% too!. Oh! You will also have a perfect view of the fireworks from the Song of the Sea performance. while dining at the beach.


Taste of Penang @ Sentosa
Date: 10 to 20 May 2012
Time: 6pm - 11pm (Mon-Thu), 4pm - 11pm (Fri-Sun)
Venue: Taste of Asia, Level 2 (Near Beach Station)
Price: $42.90 ++ per adult, $19.90++ per child (5 to 11 years old)
- Usual island admission charges apply
- Includes complimentary parking and complimentary entry into Images of Singapore
- Early Bird Discount, 20% off for reservations by 3 May 2012 (or capped at 400 pax)
- Discounts apply for Islander members and credit card holders
Reservation: Call 6279 1767 or email carla_cardona@sentosa.co.sg

Getting There:
1) Sentosa Express - Board at Vivocity 3rd floor, drop off at Beach Station
2) Drive-in - Park at Beach Car Park (Blue Zone)
3) Taxi - Alight at Beach Station

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