Lunch today at Penang arts supremo, Tan Chor Whye’s new restaurant, 𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗦𝗶𝗺 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 (阿心家味) 𝗮𝘁 𝗔𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀’ 𝗥𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝘇𝘃𝗼𝘂𝘀, Super8 Hotel on Tye Sin Road.
Tan Chor Whye was the person responsible for bringing in world-class mural artists like Ernest Zacharevic, Julia Volchkova and Emmanuel Jarus, and putting Penang on the world map for its amazing wall murals.
Well, besides the arts, Tan Chor Whye’s other passion was good food, and he’s indeed lucky that to have a wife, Justina Lee (aka Mrs Tan Chor Whye) who happened to be a great cook. Art Sim Kitchen is helmed by Justina Lee, and the marvelous spread of Penang-Nyonya dishes which we had today at lunch included:
Chwee kuih - saucer-shaped steamed Teochew/Chaozhou rice flour pudding. The version here, topped with chopped scallions, red chilis, golden-fried shallot crisps and dried shrimps, were actually for Hokkien/Fujianese. But they were absolutely scrumptious, so we weren’t quibbling about their authenticity.
Tan Chor Whye said he’s Teochew, whilst his wife, Justina, who runs the kitchen is Hokkien, so that figures!
Orh kueh (steamed taro pudding) - another Teochew/Chaozhou classic, done very well here. The taro flavor was evident, unlike those from many other places in town, which attested to the high amount of fresh taro versus rice flour used here.
Nyonya kuih selection, including putugal, pulut inti, tapioca cake, etc.
The “pulut inti” was steamed glutinous rice, tinged blue using the natural colours from bunga telang (blue bellvine flower). It’s served with brown grated coconut cooked with palm sugar
Nasi Ulam with Ikan Goreng Asam (Fried Tamarind-marinated Scad) - “nasi ulam” is a rice salad, yellow-hued from the addition of fresh, grated turmeric root, tossed with a bouquet of finely-chopped aromatic herbs & leafy greens
Nasi Ulam with Ikan Goreng Kunyit (Fried Turmeric-marinated Scad)
Kerabu Beehoon - rice vermicelli salad, dressed in “sambal belachan” (chili- fermented shrimp paste), tossed with shredded mint leaves, pink torch ginger flower, toasted groundnuts, dried shrimps, shallots, pan-fried tofu squares and coriander leaves. The dish was topped with a wedge of hard-boiled egg before serving. Very tasty version here.
Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken - the Malaysian classic: coconut milk-flavoured rice, tinged blue using “bunga telang”, and served with spicy, curried chicken.
Gandum (bubur terigu) - a sweet porridge of wheat, cooked with coconut milk and palm sugar, scented with pandanus leaves. This was excellent, one of the best in town.
Today’s actually the first of business for this restaurant, so the new wait-staff seemed a tad shaky.
The dining room was filled with some very lovely artworks and antiques, and promises to be a hangout for local artists going forward. Don’t be surprised if you run into Ernest Zacharevic or his fellow Penang-based artists when you dine here.
𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗦𝗶𝗺 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 at Super8 Hotel opens 10am to 3pm Tue to Sat. Closed on Sun & Mon.
Address: 81, Lebuh Tye Sin (Tye Sin Road), 11200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia