G2, Jalan Puteri 2/6,
Bandar Puteri, Puchong,
Tel: 03-8052 0181
Business hours: 9.30am to 9.30pm daily and
16-1, Jalan PJU5/7, Dataran Sunway,
Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-6151 1083
Business hours: 10.30am to 10.30pm daily.
Photos by SHAARI CHEMAT
DRIVING four hours to Penang for a taste of your favourite hawker food is no longer necessary, thanks to Penang One restaurant in Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara.
Open seven days a week, from 10.30am to 10.30pm, patrons can now enjoy their hawker specialities like asam laksa, fried kuey teow or rojak all day long.
Served in an air-conditioned corner shoplot, painted white and red with road signs lining the walls, Penang One promises patrons authentic Penang hawker food.
The food is shipped in from the island with 11 specialities prepared by 11 different hawkers there.
“We want to be different by serving Penang food in the Klang Valley, and give customers real hawker food and not just say our restaurant offers Penang food,” said owner Gary Teoh.
He opened his first shop in Bandar Puteri Puchong in October 2011 and the one in Kota Damansara five months later.
Teoh said everything, including the noodles, sauces, condiments and ingredients, were brought in from Penang.
The only ingredients he purchases locally are eggs, vegetables and fruits.
Teoh explained that the noodles, meat and seafood were supplied by the hawkers as the noodle texture and meat marinade made a big difference.
“It was really challenging at first to get the things sent here every day and before that to get the hawkers on board.
“Not many could understand my concept and were willing to do it every day,” he said.
However, Teoh managed to find five hawkers who agreed to join him on this food venture, leading him to start business with only five dishes.
There were kuey teow soup, fried kuey teow, asam laksa, cendol and ice kacang, and Penang Hokkien mee (known as prawn noodle here).
Shorter shelf life items such as soup for both the soup dishes are sent every day, while the others are sent twice a week or some even a few times a month.
“I don’t know how to cook. All I can do is source, ship and serve,” he said.
Hawkers often pay a visit to the store to ensure the food lives up to the reputation in Penang.
Teoh explained that he also personally learnt how to fry the kuey teow the “uncle’s” way and got his chefs to take lessons.
“Everything from the noodles to the chilli to the sauce and the prawns are supplied by the “uncle” and he never reveals his secret ingredient to making the fried kuey teow so tasty,” he said.
Even the lard for the fried kuey teow is mixed with vegetable oil and sent in by the “uncle”.
The restaurant fries the kuey teow dishes one at a time, even when they are busy.
With the good response, Teoh engaged six other hawkers to expand the menu.
To-date, Penang One also serves rojak, lobak, chee cheong fun, mua chee, curry mee and bak chang.
Lovers of rojak will definitely enjoy the fruit rojak, with its smooth texture and thick prawn sauce with peanut chunks and sesame seeds.
The lobak tasted homemade with century egg, seasoned tofu, battered prawn fritters and the fried meat roll.
Unlike other lobak dishes here, the one served at Penang One is made out of actual meat rather than the usual processed version with carrots and radish.
Even the mua chee, made out of rice flour and coated with peanuts, was really soft and easy to chew.
According to Teoh, the mua chee dough is cut and re-steamed by chefs at Penang One to ensure it remains soft.
Teoh said all the dishes were sourced from different parts of Penang, some of which were hard to locate.
Teoh, who grew up in Penang, said most of the stalls there were only open for a few hours a day.
“If you are not local, you might go at the wrong time and find the stall closed.
“But here, you can eat all day long, and not worry about the timing and looking for the stall,” he said.
He runs the business with his wife and hopes to open another branch in SS2, and Kuala Lumpur or Subang Jaya later.
Teoh said he decided to open his first outlet in Bandar Puteri as many Penangites live there.
Teoh has asked the Penang Global Tourism Board to work together to promote the island to diners and plans to screen footage of tourist spots and Penang heritage.
“I aim to make this a one-stop centre for everything Penang,” he said.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.