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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