[Penang, Malaysia] Lunch at ๐—›๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฅ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ต

Itโ€™s been a while since I come across a youngish, energetic chef like Gobi Vellasamy. He is the co-owner and also executive chef of 5-month-old Hungry Ranch on Sungai Ujong Road.

Chef Gobi has had an impressive 15 years of cooking experience, including 2.5 years in Frankfurt, Germany. His last place in Penang before setting up his own place here was the popular Kim Haus on Campbell Street nearby.

Over at Hungry Ranch, Chef Gobiโ€™s offerings run the gamut, from grilled meats to local Nyonya and Malaccan-Portuguese offerings.

Gobiโ€™s partner and co-owner is the friendly, vivacious Stephanie Teh, who runs the front of the house.

What we ordered at lunch today:

  1. ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ถ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ & ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ. This is Chef Gobiโ€™s take on the traditional Penang roti babi, a more-ish deep-fried sandwich containing minced pork-and-onion filling. But instead of mixing chopped onions with minced pork for the filling, he chose to turn the onion component into a relish instead: gently pickling the onions with red chilis in apple cider vinegar overnight, and then use it as a garnish atop the minced pork canapes.

Whilst the traditional roti babi is a cholesterol bomb, Chef Gobi turned it into small canape-sized open sandwiches - lighter and daintier, and more suited to be served as an appetizer.

  1. ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—น ๐—–๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐˜† - this is the local Malaccan-Portuguese version of the Goan-Portuguese Pork Vindaloo, i.e. heavily-spiced pork casserole given a sharp sourish stab of tanginess using cider vinegar.

The rendition here used thick belly pork chunks, and was delicious. In Singapore, devil curry usually paired meats (pork, bacon, sausages) with potatoes, whereas in Malacca, the same dish used cabbage instead of potatoes, giving the dish a rather different character. Over here, Chef Gobi used zucchini, which gave the dish a different, and rather unique, textural dimension. Itโ€™s tasty, but hellishly spicy as anything dubbed โ€œdevil curryโ€ would be.

  1. ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฏ, ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ต & ๐—ญ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ, ๐— ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฒ - I was here with a group of friends from the Penang Walkabouts social walking group. A couple of them ordered this dish which they declared tasted way above their expectations. Chef Gobi experimented with cooking his meats, including steaks, using the sous vide method, before finishing them either under the grill, or on a hot frying pan.

  2. ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ-๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ป, ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ต & ๐—ญ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ, ๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฒ - one of my lunch companions had this, and also declared it perfectly executed.

  3. ๐—ง๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜‚ - this was singularly the best-tasting tiramisu Iโ€™d ever had in George Town, and Hungry Ranchโ€™s version is definitely my food discovery for the month thus far. Chef Gobi used Kahlua for the alcohol component. Now, I have my own go-to potluck party dish where itโ€™s Nigella Lawsonโ€™s tiramisu which calls for Baileys Irish Cream. Now, I know Kahlua does it better than Baileys!

  1. ๐—–๐—ฟรจ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฟรป๐—นรฉ๐—ฒ - texture-wise, the crรจme brรปlรฉe was much too firm (over-cooked) but, taste-wise, was perfect: rich and creamy.

  2. ๐—˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฃ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜€ - this was another Malaccan-Portuguese/Nyonya pickle of green chilies stuffed with finely-shredded raw papayas, and whole cloves of garlic.

Very tasty dishes, served amidst a pleasant, casual environment. Definitely a place Iโ€™d want to return to. Planning to try its other menu options like the breakfast options and the pasta dishes next time.

Address
Hungry Ranch
31, Sungai Ujong Road, 10100 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 14-601 8278
Opening hours: 10am to 12 midnight Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun. Closed on Wednesdays.

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