[Penang] Hainanese retro dishes from Khoon Pastry House

Khoon Pastry House is the updated brand-name for one of George Town’s oldest eateries, Juat Khoon Pastry House (founded 1957) on Argyll Road. It’s 7-decades-old, but is known more as a lunch spot for office workers nowadays.

Back during its hey-days in the 1950s till 60s, Juat Khoon Pastry House was renowned as one of the leading suppliers of wedding cakes to Penangites. Owner, Foo Siang Chee, still runs the place today, ensuring continuity in its offerings of chicken pies, curry puffs, Swiss rolls, coconut candy, and retro, nostalgia-inducing cakes.

Foo’s older brother, Foo Siang Boon, used to run Ocean Inn, Batu Maung’s destination dining spot in the 1950s. When Batu Maung’s richest landowner, Oh Soon Hin’s son, Seng Tatt, got married in the late-50s, the wedding reception was held at Ocean Inn, and luminaries who attended included Penang’s Chief Minister at the time, Michael Wong.

Today, Khoon Pastry House’s most popular dish is the Malaysian/Singaporean classic: the Hainanese chicken chop - a batter-fried piece of chicken, served with potato wedges & peas/vegetables, and blanketed with the trademark Hainanese brown sauce (adapted from the British brown sauce, but with the addition of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and other spices):

Also popular is the Shepherd’s pie - stewed lamb mince and mixed vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes.

One of our favourite side-orders here was the Hainanese spring roll/“choon phneah” - larger and with a thicker skin than the usual spring rolls. These were filled with jicama, onions, carrots, and finely-chopped chicken. The spring rolls will be served with a Worcestershire sauce & cut red chili dip.

Dessert: Though Khoon Pastry House’s days as the top cake house in Penang is long over, it still makes small pieces of retro sponge or butter cupcakes for sale:

Butter cake and coconut candy

We ordered a Khoon Special Sundae, and it came out looking like a local version of the Knickerbocker Glory.

One of their newer creations - a matcha Swiss roll, turned out to be the best option.

Khoon Pastry House
29, Jalan Argyll (Argyll Road), 10050 George Town, Penang
Tel: +604-263 2858
Opening hours: 11am-3pm, 6pm-9pm, Mon to Sat. Closed on Sundays.