[Penang, Malaysia] Best Malay at Quallys Syok Segarnya

Masterchef Malaysia star, Rosemah Ibrahim, is in town for this weekend’s Battle of the Chefs in Penang. She’s one of the celebrity-chefs giving cooking demonstrations in-between the cooking contests involving nearly 1,000 chefs from across the Southeast Asian region.

So, where to bring one of Malaysia’s top Malay chefs for dinner, but at, IMHO, Penang’s best Malay restaurant, Quallys Syok Segarnya. This newish 5-month-old eatery on Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) is a new incarnation of the recently-defunct Quallys Nusantara Kitchen.

And the superbly-talented Yusniza Ayu Yusoff aka Kak Ayu 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 disappoints, as she cooked up some of the tastiest Malay dishes one can ever have in Penang, using some of the freshest seafood around:
:small_orange_diamond:𝘒𝘶𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘢𝘬 𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘬 - mussels in turmeric-coconut milk gravy. The sourness from the tomatoes and asam keping (tamarind slices) offset the richness of the thick, rich coconut creme. Very good rendition.

:small_orange_diamond:𝘎𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘪 𝘪𝘬𝘢𝘯 - well and truly the BEST-tasting Malay fish curry in town! Fresh snapper fish-steaks were complemented by ladyfingers and chunks of fresh tomatoes. Curry leaves gave a heady aromatic lift to the already tasty, well-balanced spicy gravy. No one does Malay fish curry as well as Kak Ayu.

:small_orange_diamond:𝘒𝘦𝘱𝘢𝘭𝘢 𝘪𝘬𝘢𝘯 𝘥𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘮 𝘴𝘰𝘴 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘯 - chopped fish-head in spicy, eggy salted-egg yolk gravy. The fish-head pieces were batter-fried till crisp on the outside, but still moist inside. These were then tossed in an unctuous, delicately-spiced sauce with salted duck egg yolks giving it a rich, earthy spike of flavor.

:small_orange_diamond:𝘜𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘢𝘬 𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘬 - prawns in turmeric-coconut milk curry. Superbly sweet, fresh prawns. Kak Ayu’s Penang version of masak lemak includes shallots/small purple onions in the spice paste, which defers from the Minang version which does not use any onions. As Rosmah Ibrahim is one of Malaysia’s foremost authorities on Minang cookery, I’m keeping my fingers crossed the food here meets her approval, as she can be quite acerbic in her criticisms of some places I’d brought her to.

:small_orange_diamond:𝘛𝘦𝘭𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘢𝘥𝘢𝘳 - fluffy egg omelette. Kak Ayu does it so very well - Rosemah says one needs to use a lot of oil during the frying process to obtain this texture, and to be careful not to press down on the omelette - let it fluff up and gently cook on both sides till a golden-brown sheen is obtained.

:small_orange_diamond:𝘒𝘢𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘢𝘭 - French beans in sambal sauce.

Phew! Rosemah Ibrahim really liked the food. In fact, she was completely bowled over. :joy:

QUALLYS Syok Segarnya
567, Jalan Masjid Negeri (Green Lane), Gelugor,11600 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +6017-529 6674
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm daily


@klyeoh, in the photo of Rosemah Ibrahim with Kak Ayu, I was interested to see Rosemah appears to be eating with her right hand. Is it traditional for Malay food to be eaten by hand? I recently started a thread about eating with hands. I wasn’t aware it was a thing in Malay culture. I thought chopsticks might be the norm?

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Yes, for ethnic Malays in Malaysia, eating with hands is the norm. Chopsticks is seen as “alien” to the Malays, and is identified with the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia.

Malaysia is a multi-racial country, where the Malays constitute the majority, about 60% of the populace. They are 100% Muslims, and have their own ethnic cuisine which is closer to Indonesian.

The ethnic Chinese in Malaysia is the second-largest racial group there, and are about 20% of the populace - eating with chopsticks is largely identified with the Chinese, although other racial groups may also use it. The other significant minority race are the ethnic Indians, which are about 6% of the population.