NYONYA Breeze Desire restaurant carries on the tradition of Peranakan cuisine associated with Penang, writes C.K. LAM.
THE recently opened Nyonya Breeze Desire in Straits Quay, Penang, offers food similar to that at its outlet in Abu Siti Lane. The impressive range of dishes include nasi ulam, inche kabin, sambal goreng, asam pedas and braised meat.
Nyonya cuisine is prepared with great attention to detail, balancing flavours and taste. Cooking Nyonya food has always been a meticulous affair and Nyonya Breeze Desire offers excellent meals.
Located on the first floor of Straits Quay, Nyonya Breeze has a gorgeous sea view. The decor is that of a modern cafe with replicas of old kopitiam tables and chairs. Tables are big and the chairs comfortable.
The dishes came in large and small portions. I chose the latter. The starter was deep fried spring rolls (RM8.90). Also known as choon peah, these were complemented by Worcestershire sauce. The stuffing of minced chicken, sengkuang (yambean) and carrot tasted doubly flavourful with the sauce.
A plateful of jiu hu char or stir-fried sengkuang (RM13.90) followed. Served with fresh lettuce and sambal belacan, this dish was simply flavourful. The gravy had hints of mushroom, carrot and dried squid. All in all, a perfect dish.
Kari Kapitan is a classic chicken curry with emphasis on lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. Overall, the rich full-bodied gravy was not too spicy, and it was an excellent complement to white rice.
A Nyonya meal is not complete without soup. Pepper too tor t´ng, (pig´s stomach soup) was served with ginkgo nuts and tender pieces of pig stomach and chicken.
Tau eu bak (pork in soya sauce) was braised for several hours to make the meat flavourful, with the gravy complementing it well. However, the meat was a bit tough as most of the pieces were lean.
Another must-try is perut ikan (RM11.90). Literally translated as Fish´s Stomach, this is a signature Nyonya specialty. The very thought of it sets stomachs rumbling! Perut ikan is a curry-like dish with vegetables, aromatic herbs and fermented fish´s stomach in the bath of rich, savoury, sweet, sour, and spicy goodness. Every spoonful of the soup was simply orgasmic.
The meal ended with a serving of fragrant nasi ulam, which is a combination of cooked rice with toasted grated coconut, toasted belacan (dried shrimp paste) powder, fried salted fish, dried shrimp and finely chopped fresh herbs including daun kaduk (betel leaf).
Nyonya Breeze Desire is open daily. Its outlet in Abu Siti Lane closes on Tuesday.
Nyonya Breeze Desire (non-halal)
3A-1-7 Straits Quay
Tanjung Tokong, Penang
Tel: 04-899 9058
Nyonya Breeze Desire
50 Lorong Abu Siti, Penang
Tel: 04-227 9646