When Darryl told me of the Penang Hawkers’ Fare Buffet after meeting two weeks ago, I was game for a visit. Street food like Char Kway Teow, Prawn Mee, Penang Laksa and even desserts like Chendol and Ice Kachang while they are commonly found in Singapore, I wondered what the difference would be since this would be a buffet at the York Hotel.
Clockwise : Penang Prawn Mee, Oyster Omelette, Penang Rojak, Cuttlefish Kangkong
By the time we (Darryl, Yue Yang and me) arrived at the White Rose Cafe located within York Hotel, there was a queue tailing the entrance. Word must have gone around Singapore that the food here must be worth a visit.
Portions are limited in serving size and you can only take two servings at any one time from each booth.
I first started off with the Penang Prawn Mee. Flavoursome prawn broth with a good dose of chilli spiciness mixed within, each sip was tantalizing to begin with and tasty to the end. Decent pieces of prawns adorn the side and I would have gone back for more if not for the stream of people waiting their turn.
Oyster Omelette was decently done with a balance of fried egg and flour. Don’t expect the servings to come with generous portions of oysters though, approximately 3 pieces per plate. Still, the omelette was fragrantly fried and it carried that “pang pang” aftertaste.
The lovers of Cuttlefish Kangkong will be glad to know that there is booth dedicated to this dish. I reckoned this is more of a salad as each serving comes with slices of cooked cuttlefish with pieces of kangkong and topped with a heap of prawn paste, spoonful of ground peanuts and chilli by the side. Seemed like an appetizer to me.
Penang Rojak while I may not be particularly picky about what is served in this dish, I found the sauce a little too mild in spice. More prawny than a good blend of chilli hotness which would rev up the flavours a notch. But I was quite delighted to see pieces of Jumbu here and there. At least they didn’t forget the rose apple.
Out of the entire buffet, the queue was the longest for the Char Kway Teow. I reckoned there was at least a fifteen minute wait before it was your turn. And the portion was once again much smaller than the platter. But gripe as I will, I am without doubt impressed with the robust flavours and tastes presented in this dish. Just the right amount of sauce, not too sweet, with a good dash of spice to tickle the tastebuds. Egg to kway teow ratio was also thoughtfully done and there was a very generous serving of deep fried lard, probably the best part of the entire dish. Very nicely done, justifies the queue.
Penang Laksa was quite ok for me with a tasty base coupled with the spoonful of prawn paste. I was especially interested in the slight sour tang in each sip. Creates a difference.
Fans of Lor Bak would queue for this. Not too bad with a good variety of deep fried ingredients like sweet potato, prawn, beancurd, chicken topped with a light tasting braised sauce.
I am not a fan of Kway Teow Soup as its a little bland for me, but they have it in both soup and dry portions.
Warmed desserts such as Ban Chang Kueh and Apom Balik were served. Quite nice when made hot and enjoyed on the spot.
Being a Chendol fan myself, I found this serving to be quite ok with more than decent ladle of gula melaka and coconut milk to top, though I still found the one at The Blue Ginger Restaurant to be memorable.
Ice Kachang completes the buffet though its not the mountainous version I have commonly come to expect after eating it often in Singapore.
All in all, Penang Hawkers’ Fare Buffet at the York Hotel is an array of tasty delights with dishes that deserve a second or even third visit. But I might have to say that there were quite a fair bit of guests at the buffet such that queues for certain stalls were beyond belief. Also the variety of dishes are rather limited at eleven counts so far. For the price spent, while it may be justifiable as an exposure to flavourful flavours, the end result was only somewhat satisfying. A good place to chill out and relax but don’t expect your tummy bursting your jeans at its seams.
I might be a little absurd posting this article on the last day of the buffet. But there should be a similar one the next time as this is held a few times a year.
|Penang Hawkers’ Fare @ York (3 to 19 September 2010)
White Rose Cafe
21 Mount Elizabeth
Tel : 6737 0511
Lunch : Noon – 2.30pm
$25.80 ++ (Adult)
$18.80 ++ (Child below 12 years)
Prices for Weekends (Saturday & Sunday and Public Holidays)
$28.80 ++ (Adult)
$20.80 ++ (Child below 12 years)
Prices for weekends and public holidays are inclusive of free flow of Bandung & Calamansi drinks
No table reservations will be entertained