Penang was one of the first British outposts in South East Asia, and today offers a fascinating fusion of the East and West, embracing modern life while retaining its traditions and old world charm. This is not only reflected in its architecture and its sun-drenched beaches, but also in its delectable cuisines - which has seen it long regarded as the food capital of Malaysia. It’s also home to the infamous Penang Laksa.
Laksa is a spicy, coconut flavoured, noodle soup, which emerged out of a marriage of Malaysia and Chinese cuisine. The Penang Laksa was rated 7th (out of 50) most delicious foods in the world by CNN Travel – so it’s not surprising that it’s on Brett McGregor’s list of must-do’s for this Taste of a Traveller series. Following on from his ambitious Thai style masterchef challenge in episode 3, Brett decides to have a crack at taking on not just any chef, but a head chef known to cook the best Penang Laksa on the island!
Brett also gets to enjoy another Malaysian delicacy, Cendol (pronounced chen-dol). Often sold by roadside vendors or at food courts as a refreshing drink in the hot climate, Penang’s version of this sweet Coconut milk drink come dessert is said to be one of the best. In fact, it’s been declared a Malaysian heritage food.
After some R&R, Brett returns to his kitchen in NZ to recreate his ode to the Penang Laksa – adding his own Kiwi flair to it while remaining true to the unique flavours of the authentic Malaysian dish. This version uses Trident Coconut Cream and a combination of Trident’s Thin Egg and Flat Ribbon noodles. Using both types of noodles not only adds a variety of textures to the dish, but the wider Flat Ribbon noodles will carry the flavour of the soup better due to its wider surface area.
Brett also engages the help of his son Jack, to make Cendol – this time using Trident Coconut Milk for its lighter texture compared to the Coconut Cream.
Tired of the same old, same old mid-week fare or short on inspiration? Instead of left-overs Monday, spice things up and make it Malaysian Monday with these authentic dishes. Find the recipes here.