Web Site: http://www.penangcuisine.com
200 Route 10 West, East Hanover NJ
334 N. Main Street, Lodi, NJ
Malaysian food is one of my favorite cuisines of Asia. There are only a few Malaysian restaurants in New Jersey, and virtually all of them are owned by the Penang Restaurant Group, which operates five locations, two of which are in Northern New Jersey. Penang also has branches in New York, Maryland, as well as in the Raleigh/RTP area, although I haven’t been to any of the others.
Malaysian food is a melting pot cuisine of sorts, in that it incorporates elements of Native Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines. However, it should be noted that most of the Malaysian restaurants in the United States are owned by Chinese Malaysians, which come from several distinct ethnic sub-groups. The Chinese represent the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia, approximately 23 percent of the population.
Many Chinese Malaysians have emigrated to the United States due to the fact that they are subject to persecution and quotas (such as not being able to enter institutes of higher education). As with any group of immigrants, some of these people open restaurants. Penang is one of those businesses owned by Chinese Malaysians, so the cuisine is highly representative of those groups, which include the Cantonese, Fujian, Teochew and Hakka peoples, among others.
Here’s the dining room in the East Hanover location. It has kind of a “EPCOT Malaysia” look to it, with bamboo decorative accents and such. I happen to really like this location because it’s in the same shopping center as Kam Man Food, which is a HUGE Chinese supermarket with lots of fantastic Asian produce and everything you could possibly need to cook just about any kind of Asian cuisine.
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This is Penang’s String Beans, which is sauteed with pickled vegetables as well as small dried shrimp.
Shrimp Puffs Wrapped with Bacon.
“Szechuan Bean Curd” which is sort of a Malaysian Chinese take on Ma Po Tofu.
Penang particularly excels at its noodle dishes. This one has shrimp and squid in it.
This is a sauteed squid dish, of which I forgot the name.
Thai Basil Beef
Ipoh bean sprouts. Simple, and yet delicious.
Here’s the Lodi location, which we visited recently on Valentine’s day. The Lodi branch has more of a New York trendy restaurant feel, and also has a full liquor license.
I love these cast iron teapots.
Green Tea-Tini. Rachel ordered one of these and I practically had to carry her out of the restaurant, they are extremely strong.
Tofu Nyonya, one of our must-order dishes whenever we go to Penang. Fried tofu with pork and lots of basil, in a rich sauce with red onions.
This is a squid curry which we thought was excellent.
Lady Fingers with Belacan — Stir-fried Okra with Spicy Shrimp Paste. The funkyness of the fermented shrimp condiment with the chiles goes great with the crunchy and slightly slimy okra.
Thai Basil Chicken.
I’m so glad there’s a Penang closer to us. Now we can go whenever we want. But, I was able to walk by the time we left there, I was just anesthetized for about an hour. Whoa! No more vodka drinks for me on an empty stomach!
although its not malaysian i’ve been to a place called kraythiem thai in englewood (across from wendys) that you should check out sometime. it has a small and cozy interior and a byoa policy. they have a pork chop dish that looked very good. plus the sweet rice with fresh fruit is good. if you order one of their cocktails or iced teas drinks they make the straw wrapper into the shape of a heart. its a good date place. you should try it sometime.
Been to Kratiem, it’s ok — but if you want really top Thai I’d go to Pawana (also Englewood) or Wondee’s (Hackensack)
Apparently there’s also a Malaysian place on Rt. 27 down by me, just shy of Edison. It’s on our list as soon as we get all the decent Indian restaurants in. :-D
Here’s the San Francisco favorite!
food looks really good! great pics! I wish we had some malaysian food places around here in California! probably in LA or the bay area but not on the central coast..we have a panda expess though!
Ololo! I like what is written here!!
Ummmm all those yummy food makes me hungry already, Really like your photo skills, sure is much better than mine.
I compiled Penang Tourism Guide recently. Please visit and have some comments .. Hopefully I will visit Penang soon :)
I’ve given up on the Penang chain’s restaurants in New York. I suppose some of their New Jersey locations may for some reason be better; not sure why that would be. But have you tried Laut on W. 17 St. right near Union Square West? I had a good meal there about a week ago that, though it could have been hotter, tasted real and good. I until recently was a fan of Skyway, but they’ve deteriorated somewhat (especially in the quality of their shrimps).
that noodle dish looks absolutely gorgeous. very nice pics, Jason.
The Thia Basil Beef looks nicest.. Hmmm it’s mking me hungry.
Thanks for sharing these great recipes.
That is some really good looking food!
I’m sorry – but please check your fact right before you write about other countries.
Yes, in Malaysia we imposed quota to get into higher education, but the Chinese were not denied entry into the public higher institutions. The rules is not much different from Affirmative Action Act you have here in the States.
Chinese all over the world move out from their home country and migrated to developed countries for better job and work prospect. You can easily look at the number of Chinese migrants in the US & UK. You’ll see many of them are from PR, HK, Taiwan, not just from Malaysia alone. So what would be their reasons? They’re not discriminated in those countries, but they still migrated from their home country.
[…] has brought along a Malaysian chef, who formerly worked at the Manhattan branch of the famous Penang restaurant chain (New Jersey has two Penang locations, one in Lodi and the other in East Hanover). As such, […]
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