Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Penang Seafood Restaurant: Just What the Doctor Didn't Order

Penang Seafood Restaurant
76 Lor 25A Geylang,
Singapore 388258

 The Place 

After my surgery in Raffles Hospital, I thought I would ease my pain with a post-operative lunch somewhere around Bugis. Whether you get dumped by your loved ones, or in many cultures around the world, meals are served with funerals. Food can be a wound healer.

Ada decided to grab some grub at Penang Seafood Restaurant in Aljunied nearby (i let her decide because i'm in no medical condition to do so).

Station, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
Aljunied MRT station is 55.17 m (or twice the spitting distance) from the restaurant

25A Lorong, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
Lorong 25A (where the restaurant is located) as viewed from Aljunied MRT station platform

MRT station platform, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
Here comes the train, here comes the train.... (sing it in the wedding tune)

Aljunied is part of Geylang, which is known to Singaporean tourist-resident like myself for its legalized red-light district (and illegal duty-free cigarette street trade. It's too bad i quit smoking. Damn shame. Too old to pick it up).

All the side streets that run off the main artery of Geylang Rd are numbered (much like Manhattan, NYC, except that they're lorongs (Malay for 'lanes'), not avenues). Penang Seafood Restaurant is just twice the spitting distance from the MRT station (The Guinness World Record for the longest cherry stone spitting distance is 28.1m. Brian "Young Gun" Krause of USA would have to spit twice before he could reach the restaurant from Aljunied MRT station. But spitting in Singapore is a finable offence. So use google map instead).

Unlike the many shophouses you see in the city centre where they have more flashy face-lifts for upscaled business premises, the shophouses in Geylang are far more modest and practical. Still, don't just gawk at the fronts. Keep your eyes peeled for the staircases in the back of the shophouses.

Spiral staircase, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore Shopfront, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore Spiral staircase, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore

Another thing of note about Geylang is the concentration of eateries that serve a variety of local cuisine.

The thriving of these 2 symbiotic trades isn't surprising. Food is never strayed far away from night life. After one hunger is cured, the other gets more attention.

Because the gentleman businesses open 9 to 5. That is, the topsy-turvy night-is-day and day-is-night 9pm to 5am operating hours, and as a result, not all restaurants are opened for lunch. The choice for my post-operative lunch is therefore somewhat restricted.

Penang Seafood Restaurant is one that opens during the living daylight to serve the traditional crowd of families and hospital outpatient like yours truly.

Anyway, all these thoughts of death and anatomy and surgery really whet up (i prefer wet up) my appetite.

 The Food 

Receipt, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
The rice doesn't cost $6, it's what they put for Fermented Pork Belly that comes with rice. Its usually doesn't come with rice.
Its price is very competative.

La-la Hokkien Mee: 7.5 / 10.
While the dish is named after la-la  (Malay for "clams"), I found the prawns and squids upstaged its title ingredient of clams. The squids and prawns are springy and fresh while there're still a bit of sands in the clams.

La-la Hokkien Mee, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
Ooh la la

Fermented Pork Belly:  8 / 10.
I'm not into deep fried meat. So I had some reservation about ordering this. But it's bit more different from the usual suspects. So with my usual spirit of adventure (a foodie's prerequisite), I checked it out.

It didn't disappoint. While it's marinated in fermented tofu sauce (腐乳), it's not all that overpowering. If you aren't into those wonderfully pungent fares like French cheeses, stinky tofu, durian, etc, this is mild enough for the mild at tongue.

The skins are nicely crispy while its meat retains its moisture. If you like KFC fried chicken, you would want to give this a try, assuming you can handle the sauce.

Fermented Pork Belly, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore

Prince Spicy Rice Noodle: 7.5 / 10.
With my surgery follow-up appointment, i ordered this dish. While it doesn't look like Prince Charming, it tastes better than its look.

The seafood, are as usually fresh and bouncy to the teeth, earning its keep for calling itself a seafood restaurant. The noodles are full of wok-chi (鍋氣), or alluring woody aroma that produced by the licking of the tongue of flames. And these noodles have been licked pretty thoroughly. Yep, the noodles are pretty smoking. The Malaysian chef in general, and Penang chef in particular, is pretty handy with their wok-chi. The black charred noodles are visible (photographic) evidence of these deft tongue works.

Prince Spicy Rice Noodle, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Aljunied, Geylang, Singapore
Burn baby! Burn!

Overall: 7.5 / 10.
Considering with the limited choices to choose from, this is not a bad place for lunch in Aljunied (looks more like a verb than a name. "Madam, you've just been aljunied").

Nope! It wasn't what the doctor ordered because he wasn't here. Besides, i wouldn't know what he would order. I hardly know him.

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