The Penang Hawkers’ Fare Buffet at the York Hotel is a legacy in its own right. With its inception in 1986, the Penang Hawkers’ Buffet is currently in its 28th year. Held approximately two to three times a year with the Penang Hawkers invited in each time, this is one buffet spread with a selection of 10-11 authentic Penang dishes that is probably the closest you can get in Singapore without having to visit Penang itself. Available during both lunch and dinner, the Penang Hawkers’ Buffet is on a first-come-first-serve basis with no reservations allowed. Within the main dining area, snaking queues from each stall stall quickly form, proving to be a slight wait before one is allowed to partake in a gratifying dish fresh to serve. To add to the complexity, each guest can only pick up 2 servings each visit. So if you in it for that famed Orh-luack, you might want to be prepared for multiple trips and a decent wait.
Start off with a serving of the Penang Assam Laksa. Spritely and fresh, with a good amount of minced fish to complement the hearty, umami rich flavours of the prawn sauce in a broth that is both tangy and savoury, this was a wonderful dish to start the entire buffet experience. It certainly opened up the appetite.
The Penang Prawn Mee
Nasi Lemak served with Nonya Chicken Kapitan
Kway Teow Soup
I was very satisfied by the serving of Rojak. There were slices of jumbu, pineapple, turnip and cucumber in a fragrant, sticky fermented prawn based sauce that is nicely livened up with bits of chopped peanuts.
The Fried Oyster Omelette is very decently done here. There is less emphasis on the crisp starch and a more definite focus on the egg and its accompanying fragrance. The oysters are also tenderly juicy, and well incorporated into the dish’s flavours. I noted that the chilli dip carried a stronger garlicky aftertaste, doing well to balance out the overall heartiness in a single sitting. I reckon guests could go for at least 4-5 portions of this to share.
Cuttlefish Kang Kong is a simple yet gratifying dish. The cuttlefish was crisp and tender, nicely paired with slightly bitter savoury kang kong that is complemented by the side of fermented prawn sauce and chilli sauce.
Lor Bak – Prawn, Ngoh Hiang, Tau Kua, Cucumber and Sweet Potato
Go for endless rounds of Char kway Teow if you are a die-hard fan of the dish. While it does not carry the most of a wok hei flavour, this serving is pretty darn good with crisp egg well incorporated into fragrant fried kway teow, crunchy and sweet bean sprouts, sauces and a good scattering of cockles to bring in the good ol’ fashion bite that sometimes can disappear from the local scene.
The Peanut Pancake is also one to rave for. Served hot, each piece is best enjoyed quickly for that extremely crispy and gritty texture. The best part for me is the rough presence of sugar bits that make each bite sweet and satisfying.
Chendol and Ice Kachang for dessert!
The Penang Hawkers’s Fare at the York Hotel is a must visit for any Hawker food lover who is willing to get a taste of Penang hawker fare in an all you can eat setting. Each dish from the Fried Oyster Omelette, to the Char Kway Teow, Rojak and Cuttlefish Kangkong are flavours that I grew up with – making almost each dish a personal favourite. While some may contend that they have their own personal favourites when it comes to a particular dish, I would say that this buffet at the York Hotel is excellent and makes up for any shortcomings in a modest but decent variety that strikes home close to the heart. It is a buffet worth going for, except that as in any hawker fashion when it comes to good food, you have to queue and wait – albeit now in a fancier, air conditioned setting hotel restaurant two or three times a year.
Thank you the York Hotel Singapore for the invitation
|White Rose Cafe|
|York Hotel Singapore
21 Mount Elizabeth
Tel: 6830 1156
12pm to 2.30pm
6.30pm to 10.30pmThe Penang Hawkers’ Fare Buffet
5th to 21st September 2014
Available during both lunch and dinner
Weekdays (Mon to Fri)
Weekends (Sat & Sun)
No reservations allowed