Penang is a place that was recommended to me in Chinatown by a friend who is easily wigged out sometimes by the unkempt appearance of restaurants in Philly’s Chinatown. I finally got around to trying it last weekend and I was not disappointed. He was right, it is very clean inside.
It is a chain, which is odd for Chinatown, with locations in Philadelphia, Boston and New York that features “Malaysian Cuisine”.
We were seated quickly, without a reservation of any kind, at 8 pm on Saturday night. Parking garages are plentiful in Chinatown, if a little expensive ($16-$20 for the evening).
I started off with a plate of fried appetizers consisting of shrimp, pork and tofu. All of it was very good, though the tails were left on the shrimp and it was baked into some kind of bread so I had to pick at it before I would eat it (I don’t eat shells, sorry). Unfortunately, the menu is not online and I didn’t bother to note the name of the dish. It came with two sauces, one sweet and one a little spicy. I enjoyed it.
My friend and I shared an oversized bowl of Wonton soup. It was some of the freshest most delicious wonton soup I’ve ever had and had a very clear, light broth. The dumplings in it were very fresh. Our waitress, whose English aptitude was somewhere between New York cab driver and Mexican landscaper, brought us two huge bowls. After, literally, 4 minutes of explaining we only ordered ONE big bowl she finally took the second one away.
For our entrees I got the Penang Special Chicken which was very lightly fried (almost tempura style) white meat chicken pieces accompanied by a sweet and spicy red sauce with lots of fresh veggies in it. I only ate about half of it before crying uncle. It was very, very good.
My friend got the coconut shrimp plate, which was an interested combo of coconut breaded shrimp served in a giant mound of toasted coconut. It was tasty, but very dry. He asked for some of the sauce that accompanied his appetizer to dip the shrimp in and they obliged. I sampled a bit of the toasted coconut.
Penang in Chinatown is certainly worth a stop, but don’t go looking for a traditional Chinese menu because you won’t find it here. It’s a big menu and very different from what you’re used to seeing, but I found the food to be very tasty and fresh.
Prices weren’t bad either, about $20 per plate for dinner.
HOURS: 7 days/week (11:30AM – 1:00AM)
ADDRESS: 117 N. 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
TELEPHONE: (215) 413-2531 & (215) 413-2532
FAX: (215) 413-2510
PAYMENT ACCEPTED: VISA – MASTERCARD – AMEX