[Penang, Malaysia] Dinner at ๐—ฆ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ ๐—•๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ, MacAlister Road

One of the latest eateries in town is Snaap Bistro, which opened on 1st Jan 2022. Located inside the Travelodge Hotel on MacAlister Road, the eatery certainly has got its work cut out for it - MacAlister Road is famously one of Penangโ€™s busiest food streets, lined with hawker stalls, cafes and food courts, including some of the best in town.

Its Singaporean head chef, Alex Lim, has a 25 years of experience in the F&B industry, a pretty varied one at that - from working for the Singapore Food Industry Group as chef-in-charge of catering events, to cooking for Singapore Air Force personnel at its training base in Darwin, Australia. But this Penang stint may yet prove to be his most challenging one yet.

We started off with some cocktails at the bar:

The food here were served as one-plate meals, perhaps to cater to the Travelodge clientele - mainly budget tourists who want a quick meal.
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What we had:
Mee Siam - this was a revisionist take on the traditional mee Siam with chili-tamarind dressing or gravy. Instead, Chef Alex made a noodle salad version, dressed in a tomato-based dressing sans the chilis and tamarind, but with a rich, deep sour-sweet flavour. He garnished the dish with salted duckโ€™s egg, Indonesian tempe, Indonesian-style egg omelette, Chinese tofu puffs and fresh cucumber, and topped the whole thing with cut red chilis and a scattering of chopped chives.
Absolutely delicious. It also turned out to be my favourite dish for the evening.

Ayam Belado with rice - an Indonesian spicy chicken dish. The version here was, again, given a slight twist: the chicken was batter-fried to give it an additional textural bite. Chef Alex did away with coconut milk, substituting it with evaporated milk for a healthier alternative which retains the rich creaminess of the dish.

Chili-heads will love this dish - a splash of red sambal sauce on top added a burning sensation that lifted the dish to a whole new level of self-immolating deliciousness.

Chicken Curry with rice - this was an amazing dish, sort of a fusion of flavours from three different โ€œcurry culturesโ€: chicken and eggplant smothered with a spicy Thai-style jungle curry, a gentle Indian dhal/yellow lentil curry, and a peanutty Malay satay sauce.
The hodge-podge of various chili-spiked sauces shouldnโ€™t work, but it did! The sweetness from the satay sauce cuts into the spicy red curry, which was soothed by the mild dhal curry. A must-order when one comes here.

Fish Curry with rice - this was perhaps the most โ€œtraditionalโ€ of all the curried dishes we had: just a South Indian fish curry, with okra added.
We greeted the dish with an almost palpable relief - for once, we could put aside our analytical hats (in trying to isolate and identify the different components of each of Chef Alexโ€™s curries), sit back, and just enjoy the meal as we shouldโ€™ve done.
The fresh garoupa steak was submerged in an aromatic curry with explosive flavours. This is a meal for chili-heads (which Iโ€™m not).

We found out later that Chef Alex just came to Penang from a stint in Pattaya, which explained the Thai cooking elements we detected in some of his dishes earlier.

Address
Snaap Bistro
Travelodge Georgetown, 101, Macalister Road, 10400 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012 4272796
Operating hours: 5pm to 9.30pm

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And brightly colored cocktails?

What are those?

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At first glimpse, I thought the hotel was connected to the similarly named chain thatโ€™s the UKโ€™s largest.

Then I realised the restaurant had good food. Something you will never, ever find in a British Travelodge

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Same here in the States. Travelodge is a budget motel. If I found food like this in one of them, I would cry tears of joy.

Count me as a chili head, but not on authentic Thai level. :exploding_head:

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The blue one was called Aegean Sea - gin, lime and Blue Curaรงao;
The red one was Vanellope - vodka, grenadine, lychee & sparkling water;
The green one was a Green Margarita.

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Initially, Iโ€™d thought they were from the same chain, too, but theyโ€™re not. This chain is mainly Asia-Pacific-based, including Australia & New Zealand.

Iโ€™d also always thought Travelodge was a global chain - now, I realised that the Travelodge chain in the US is different from the one in the UK, and also the one in the Asia-Pacific!
https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/travelodge

Food is not a strong point in Travelodges here in Malaysia, either.
Iโ€™d stayed in the one in KL, and the food there paled in comparison to the one here in Penang.

Back to Snaap Bistro for dinner again this evening - this time to try its Asian-accented Lobster Thermidor. The cheese sauce was given a citrus lift with calamansi lime, streaked through with wispy, julienned strands of kaffir lime leaf.
The crustacean was accompanied by crisp, golden batter-fried calamari rings, a cucumber-mango salad, and a spicy Thai onion-tomato-chili dip. A mound of prawn-and-egg fried rice completed the platter.
Priced at RM250 (ยฃ44/US$59.60), the platter was enough for two.

The Rainbow cocktail consisted of vodka, Blue Lagoon syrup, Grenadine & pineapple:

The other cocktail we had was the Wei Wei, named after a client who loved the drink so much, she became a regular client at the bar. It consisted of whisky, rum, lemon syrup, lime & mint:

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