It is always Singaporean’s hobby to search for good food whether it is local food or food representative of other countries. As Singapore’s neighbour, many Malaysian dishes are well-loved by the locals here which is why many hawker centre stalls and restaurants have sprouted out throughout the island offering some of the signature Malaysian dishes.
Penang food is one of the favourite cuisines from our neighbour that most Singaporean love, with the Penang laksa and fried Kway Teow topping the list. So when Penang Culture opened a new outlet in the new wing of Vivocity, everyone flocked there to try the food and my family was no exception.
The outlet itself is quite small with very limited seating as the main drinks counter, kitchen and cashier has already taken up a huge amount of space. The capacity of the restaurant is only suitable for 10 – 15 groups of customers at one seating. There is a self-service counter at the corner where you can get complimentary ice water, additional bowls and utensils.
The menu offers everything that shouts Penang from their stir fry dishes to signature street food and desserts
Orders can be put in via the order chit that is placed at every table together with the menu. You can simply indicate the order number of the dish and include any remarks if necessary
First up was the buah long long juice which is the juice of a small fruit also known as Spondias dulcis ( as described by Wikipedia). The taste of the drink is kind of citrus and sour which is a good palate cleanser and appetite creator. You can commonly find this drink in Malaysia. The one offered here is not as sweet as those in Malaysia but is still quite good
The Penang laksa is one of the signature dishes but was somehow lacking in taste. The taste of the prawn paste was not strong enough and the soup was not flavourful enough even though it packs quite a fiery sour punch. The fish chunks portions were quite generous but it was a pity the soup was not good enough
The Penang fried kway Teow was not too bad has it had good wok hei ( typically known as the charred tasted from a well heated wok) The prawns were quite huge in size and the overall flavours of the dish were good except the cockles were way too small that I could hardly find them
The curry noodles were quite disappointing as the flavours were bland and the curry was watery and weak. The only saving grace was the prawns given were of a jumbo size and very fresh and tasty quality. However. with a poor gravy, the dish was really mediocre
The best dish I had in the restaurant was this Penang rojak which had a very generous amount of fragrant prawn paste which is the key to good rojak. There were various kinds of fruits and vegetables in the dish like green mango, cuttlefish, turnip, pineapples, green apples and fried fritters. The only downside of the dish was the fried fritters were a tad too hard for people with weak teeth, if it was more crispy, the dish would be perfect. Personally, I preferred hard fried fritters to soft and soggy ones
When it comes to dessert for Penang, you have to eat the chendol. Although you can find this in Singapore as well, the Gula Melaka used (coconut brown sugar) is much more fragrant than those in Singapore. However, this particular chendol was also a disappointment as the fragrance of the sugar and fresh coconut cream was not enough and the entire dessert was just sweetness missing the fragrance.
Overall, the food at Penang Culture is quite mediocre although there are only a small number of dishes which is better than mediocre. They are kind of letting down the good food of Penang with their versions of the dishes. There are definitely other places to find better Penang dishes. At the exit, you can find some Penang cookies and sesame oil on sale. Personally, I would recommend the sesame oil for people who cook as it is from a very well known Penang brand and the fragrance and taste of it is really great.
Address: #B2-23E, Vivo City, 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585
Operating hours: 11 am to 10 pm