Penang Culture At Changi Airport T2 II

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

First things first, how are you guys? Belated Nisfu Syaaban to my fellow Muslims! I cannot believe Ramadan is coming so soon. Second of all, have you guys watched Drake’s guest spot on SNL?! SO FUNNY. I love that he can laugh at himself. Check out the Beef music video, wherein he has a ‘beef’ with everyone at SNL.

Back to reality though – last week I was invited to try Penang Culture’s new menu, which will make its début 1 June 2016. Longtime fans of the casual dining restaurant (yours truly included) will be pleased to know that in addition to most of the old menu items, we will be getting new dishes which consist of all-time classics reinterpreted with a twist.

Penang Culture - Tasting Spread

The table they prepared for us to take photos. Super helpful for super terrible photographers like me! 

We opened the feast with the humble Penang Rojak (S$5.95), which features cubed pineapples, cucumbers and turnips, unlike the thinner slices that feature in the local Singaporean rendition. In addition, the Penang-style rojak has you tiao that is a little soggy and not as crispy as our Singaporean version.

Penang Culture - Penang Rojak

Penang Rojak (S$5.95) – 6.5/10

Verdict: The black sauce was really tasty, and we learned that the fermented prawn paste  was specially imported from Penang, so it’s legit. I have to say I prefer the Singaporean rojak because of the crispy texture of the you tiao, which gives you a satisfying crunch when you bite it. I thought the cubing of the fruits and vegetables did not make a big difference for me.  6.5/10

Next up we had another appetizer, the Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95), which feature fish balls steeped in Penang chicken curry.

Penang Culture - Penang Curry Fish Balls

Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95) – 9/10

I suspect this dish was probably targeted towards kids and other younger diners, but to be frank I really liked it myself. The curry was SO rich and flavourful, with some shreds of chicken if you’re lucky. I could also taste the bits of grated coconut in the curry, which added body and texture to the curry. It isn’t altogether that spicy, although after having all of the curry I did feel a very light buzz on my lips. I think the next time I’m craving some good old curry, I would probably head here.

Verdict: I love curry and I love fishballs, but given a choice, I would probably go with the regular Chicken Curry instead for more protein! Goes very well with plain white rice. 9/10

The Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) were next in line – the base for this is their signature Belacan Wings (which I LOVE and have reviewed here and here) , which are then further coated with sweet plum and Thai chilli sauce.

Penang Culture - Penang Fire Wings

Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) – 9.5/10

Verdict: These tasted like Korean fried chicken, with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. Although the name suggests otherwise, I did not think it was all too fiery. For perspective, this was nothing compared to Badoque’s punishing Kepak Bing Bing devil wings. Loved the slightly crispy chicken skin with the sauce. 9.5/10

Our 4th course was the BBQ Salmon (S$11.95), which features two slices of grilled Norwegian salmon fillet, topped off with Chef’s sweet, spicy sambal paste made from chilli, lemongrass, onions, ginger flower, tamarind and sugar.

Penang Culture - BBQ Salmon

BBQ Salmon (S$11.95) – 8/10

Verdict: You guys. I love the sambal so much, I wish I could order a giant vat of it. This is the exact same sambal from the BBQ Lala dish that I always order at Penang Culture. It’s so unbelievably fragrant and tasty and appetizing, I almost cannot even. The salmon was fresh and exceptionally tender, which was a good thing. However, I did not think the sambal goes well with a fatty fish like salmon, and the whole thing was a little too rich for me. I would have much preferred the sambal with a leaner white fish. 8/10

The next dish was my absolute favourite of the night – the Premium Crab Meat & Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), which comprises fried kway teow with mashed salted egg (both yolk and whites!), stir fried together with prawns, squid, fish cake and cockles, and topped with chunks of mud crab and salted egg crumbs:

Penang Culture - Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow

Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95) – 10/10

Penang Culture - Salted Egg Char Kway Teow

All stirred together! YUM

Now some of you guys might have read my previous review of this item, so this is not a new-new item, but a mid-season item that was experimentally introduced just a few months ago. I LOVE this dish always and forever, I have to break it down into the reasons why.

  1. The amount of salted egg in it is perfectly balanced so it does not overwhelm the dish, and you get subtle waves of salted egg with every bite or two.
  2. Did I mention there are curry leaves peppering the kway teow? YUMMM I love curry leaves in salted egg dishes!!
  3. The entire thing is just bursting with ingredients. BURSTING. It felt like a really opulent char kway teow that done got an upgrade.
  4. There is a great char taste to the noodles which prevents you from getting jelak of it after a while – much R&D and numerous taste tests have gone into making an authentic-tasting but still halal char kway teow, and you can taste the results.

Verdict: Always order this unless you hate Char Kway Teow, or salted egg, or seafood. 10/10

Our penultimate course that night was the Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95), which features the regular assam laksa with slices of Norwegian salmon and a drizzling of hae kor, or fermented shrimp paste.

Penang Culture - Salmon Assam Laksa

Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95) – 8/10

I honestly loved the fat laksa noodles which were specially imported from Penang. I thought the salmon slices were lovely, but the oil from it did pare down the sourness of the broth which I find a key element in assam laksa. However, the strips of cucumber, pineapple and onions throughout the bowl did compensate for the dialed down sourness, by adding a refreshing twist with every bite.

Verdict: Stick to regular Assam Laksa unless you want a milder assam taste and you need to up your omega 3 fatty acids intake. 8/10

In our last main dish, we were treated to Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), which is a pimped up adaptation of their regular Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles, with scallops, chicken slices, fish cake, kang kong, beansprouts, a hard-boiled egg and a whole slipper lobster (oy vey, what a mouthful literally and textually).

Penang Culture - Lobster and scallop noodles

Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95) – 9/10

Can I just say, there is just so much ingredients in this bowl of goodness? A common theme running through all the dishes here at Penang Culture is that they are not stingy with their premium ingredients, despite the very reasonable price tags of each dish.

I absolutely loved the broth. The stock was created by slow-boiling a bounty of prawns, crabs and chicken bones for several hours, and this is well-reflected in the flavourful broth. What a delight! The slipper lobster was a little mushy, I wish it could have been a little springier. Otherwise, everything worked beautifully together and fans of Penang hokkien prawn noodles would do well to give this a try.

Verdict: Definitely a must-try, especially at that reasonable price tag. 9/10

All in all I had a great time stuffing my face at Penang Culture. Always have, always will! It’s a great family-friendly place that serves really good quality Penang hawker food in air-conditioned comfort, at prices that won’t break the bank. The menu is really extensive so personally I find that it’s better to try new items a couple of times before determining which ones will be your go-to staples 🙂

I’ll end off with a short note on drinks – please try the Ampla Ice Blended Drink with sour plum! It makes for a refreshing palate-cleanser with all the rich Penang food you’ll be eating! Also the Chempedak Milk Shake is just heavenly, so give it a go!

 

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

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Penang Culture at Changi Airport Terminal 2

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.8/10

Average Spend Per Pax: ~S$21

Earlier this week, I found myself running through the list of restaurants at Changi Airport, looking for a suitable halal place to break my fast. I was in Ho Chi Minh for a short work trip, and was going to fly back to Singapore later that evening. After looking through the list, which included Swensens, 4 Fingers, and Central Thai, I finally settled on Penang Culture.

Tucked away at the back of the 3rd floor above the Departure level at Changi Airport’s Terminal 2, Penang Culture serves authentic street food in airconditioned comfort, though of course it is priced at a premium to ordinary hawker fare.

I landed around 710 pm and was dying of hunger by the time I reached the restaurant 15  minutes later – luckily, each table gets a basket of prawn crackers, the kinds they usually dole out in Indonesian restaurants. I confess I did not take a photo of it as I was too busy stuffing my face, but it was there, swear. Some of the keropoks were lemau (not as crispy as they should have been), but they tasted good and helped tide me over as I waited for our orders. What also helped was the self-service water stations at one corner of the restaurant, since it meant I didn’t have to wait to quench my thirst.

The menu is crazy extensive, so I will leave the menu photos to the end of the post, but I really had such a hard time trying not to overorder. The one thing I absolutely love from Penang Culture is the BBQ Lala (S$8.95), which are lala clams grilled in their special sambal sauce:

Penang_Culture_BBQ_Lala_Clams

They were juicy and so tasty; I honestly don’t know how they do it. The sambal was absolutely amazing; just thinking about it makes my mouth water! I can’t quite put my finger on the taste, but it was both spicy and sweet, with a hint of lemongrass. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a smidge of belacan or dried shrimp in it. SO PERFECT. The clams themselves were a little chewy but I actually like that, so we’re good. 9.5/10

We also shared a small Penang Otah (S$6.95):

Penang_Culture_Penang_Otah

This was rather disappointing, and definitely not the best I’ve tasted. My main reference point here would be the sublime, fat, juicy-af Fish Otak Otak that they serve at Madam Kwan’s KL (The Singapore Madam Kwan’s isn’t halal, unfortunately). I also really love the moist and tasty otak-otak served at Rasa Istimewa at Choa Chu Kang Park. SO GOOD. But let’s get back to the present, wherein I am confronted by a sad, compact lump of otak-otak that was dry and not at all juicy. It wasn’t all-out horrible; just that I was just expecting more from this restaurant. The taste was also not on-point. It was slightly spicy, which was good, but it was also a little bitter, which I found unusual. My friend agreed with me about the texture, but didn’t really mind the taste. To that I say, you have NOT tasted the otak-otak from Madam Kwan’s! 6.5/10

Luckily, the Belacan Chicken Wings ($$5.95 for two full wings) were so so delicious. I even forgot to take a photo of the dish because I ate it way too quickly before realising what I’d done, sorry guys! You can take a look at the photo in the menu gallery below, but know that it tastes incredible. Umami, crispy skin, flavourful chicken meat, just all-around perfect. 10/10

For mains we shared a Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$14.95):

Penang_Culture_Salted_Egg_Char_Kway_Teow

This was SO SO DELICIOUS!!! Boy did I regret having to share this dish. Because of the salted egg the texture of the noodles are every so slightly grainy, but that’s a small price to pay for the mad righteous flavour. The noodles are moist and packed with yummy prawns, squid, and some crab meat on top. Admittedly it’s a little pricey for ‘atas char kway teow’ but I’m telling you, this tastes so delicious, I would pony up the extra Yusof Ishaks for this plate of happiness. 9.5/10

All in all, Penang Culture is a great spot if you’re looking for a halal option at Changi Airport. I would definitely come back for the food!

As promised, here’s a gallery of the menu. You can also find it online when you click here.

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.8/10

Average Spend Per Pax: ~S$21