[Penang, Malaysia] Takeout lunches from π— π˜‚π—»π˜π—Ώπ—Ά π— π—²π˜„π˜€

It’s currently Day 43 of the COVID 3.0 Lockdown in Malaysia at the moment, where restaurants/cafes are still not allowed to have dining-in customers. So, most have turned to offering take-outs in order to sustain their businesses.

Following on the rather well-thought-out Sri Lankan lunch takeout we ordered from Muntri Mews a fortnight ago, we decided to try out their Thai lunch set this time.

Muntri Mews does not have Thai-trained chefs, but we suspect that Chef Zachary Choong from its sister-hotel, Seven Terraces, a few hundred meters down the street must have lent his expertise here.

Chef Choong trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok, and is pretty passionate about Thai cooking. He had a pretty successful Thai food promotion back in April at Seven Terraces - at the time, local restaurants could still offer indoor dining.
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Anyhow, the current Thai lunch set for two persons, priced at just MYR60 (US$14.40 /Β£10.40) was a real bargain, by Penang standards.

It was delivered by Muntri Mews’ own staff, and consisted of:

  1. Tod Mun Pla (Thai: ΰΈ—ΰΈ­ΰΈ”ΰΈ‘ΰΈ±ΰΈ™ΰΈ›ΰΈ₯ΰΈ²) - Fish cakes with cucumber-and-peanut-chili dipping sauce. I loved the fishcakes here - they didn’t have that β€œbouncy”, spongey texture of typical Thai fish-cakes (which I don’t like), but straddled somewhere between the Western version (with its moist, flaked fish texture, which I much prefer) and the authentic Thai one. They were pretty well-spiced, and was perfect for me.

The cucumber-crushed peanuts in sweet Thai chili sauce dip was also quite mild, not too chili-spicy as we oft encountered in Thailand, and suited me just fine.

  1. Kaeng Phed Ped Yang (Thai: ΰΉΰΈΰΈ‡ΰΉ€ΰΈœΰΉ‡ΰΈ”ΰΉ€ΰΈ›ΰΉ‡ΰΈ”ΰΈ’ΰΉˆΰΈ²ΰΈ‡) - Roast duck and pineapple red curry. This was absolutely delicious and had all the requisite flavors, plus the sweetness from the pineapple, and the savory-deliciousness from the duck breast-meat.

Again, strangely, the spice level had also been dialed down quite drastically. I’m surmising that it’s to cater to the customers who ordered their take-outs here - 80% are Western expats who make up most of Muntri Mews’ regular clientele.

Thai-level chili spicing would’ve been too much for them, and this suits me fine, too, as I have an aversion towards having chili in my food.

  1. Yum Woon Sen (Thai: ΰΈ’ΰΈ³ΰΈ§ΰΈΈΰΉ‰ΰΈ™ΰΉ€ΰΈͺΰΉ‰ΰΈ™) - Glass noodle salad with prawns and fresh herbs. This dish was okay - the dressed glass noodles were softer than I’d have liked, and did not have minced pork tossed into the salad. The flavors were also milder than what I’m used to, as chilis and fish sauce (nam pla) were omitted, or perhaps used in small quantities as to render them indiscernible.

  1. Pad Pak Ruammit (Thai: ΰΈœΰΈ±ΰΈ”ΰΈœΰΈ±ΰΈΰΈ£ΰΈ§ΰΈ‘) - Stir-fried mixed vegetables: pretty standard stir-fry of French beans, carrots, tomatoes, baby corn and enoki mushrooms.

Must admit we enjoyed the meal vastly, though dining at home meant that we had to do all the washing and cleaning up ourselves afterwards. Am keeping our fingers crossed that we can start dining out again after this lockdown period ends on 28 June, although we’re not holding our breaths.

Address
Muntri Mews Cafe
77, Muntri Street, 10200 George Town, Penang
Tel: +04-263 6125
Opening hours: 8am to 11pm daily

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I particularly like the sound of that.

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This all looks wonderful! Are the beautiful dishes yours? I especially like the little elephant bowl.

Yes, I bought those from Bangkok’s Chatuchak market a few years ago. That place should come with a warning sign for impulsive buyers like me - the amount I had to pay for my excess luggage flying back to Singapore almost doubled the cost of my purchases. :joy:

Good to know!

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Thanks for jogging a wonderful memory @klyeoh. After our first trip to Chatuchak (I don’t even remember when…15 years ago?), we bought a giant suitcase and filled it with our market finds that we still treasure today (cool lamps from a very modern furnishings stall, some awesome pillows that we later spotted at a San Francisco boutique at a HUGE markup, kitchenware). Back in those days, there was left luggage at the airport and at our lodgings, so we didn’t have to lug the huge suitcase around Thailand with us.

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That was exactly what I did - bought a new suitcase and filled it with all the day’s shopping. :joy:

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And, of course, because you can buy nearly anything at Chatuchak, you only had to go a few stalls over to find giant, lightweight suitcases.

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Lunch today was a take-out order of Muntri Mews’ Middle-Eastern mezze lunch set:

Chickpea & tahini dip (Hummus) - this has always been my fave starter at any Middle-eastern restaurant I dined in. Easy to make at home, but easier still if we can procure freshly-made ones from restaurants (supermarket ones often cannot make the grade). The version here by Muntri Mews was actually pretty good. Just wished there was more of it.
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Smoked aubergine & yoghurt dip (baba ghanoush) - another well-made version. Nice smoky aroma from the aubergine. Not too sure about the yoghurt bit - I’d always thought only lemon juice and tahini were used. But it’s pretty decent rendition nonetheless.

Bulgur wheat, tomato, parsley & mint salad (tabbouleh - I’d never fancied this salad, but the one we had today was actually pretty palatable: not too lemony or sharp, but mild-tasting.

Tagine of Chicken with saffron, preserved lemons, and green olives - liked the chicken, which was well-cooked and tender. The flavor was not too agreeable: too much preserved lemon, which lent the whole dish a bitter aftertaste. Rather poorly-spiced, too.

Pilaf & pita breads - the rice was okay, but the pita breads were rather hard & dry - perhaps we should’ve wrapped them up and re-heated them.

Overall, an admirable attempt by Muntri Mews to diversify its take-out offerings, though I’m not likely to order this again.

I’m still awaiting eagerly for Penang to enter the next phase of loosening up its lockdown procedures - hopefully within the next month, if the COVID new infection numbers can be reduced.

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490 days since Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO) began on 18 Mar 2020, and Day 71 of the current MCO 3.0 Lockdown.

Lunch today was Muntri Mews’ special Eid al-Adha take-out set. The set lunch for two persons was very reasonably priced at only MYR20 (US$4.75/Β£3.50), including free delivery within George Town by a Muntri Mews staff.

The lunch set consisted of:
Serundeng - flossed meat, a Malay staple during Eid celebrations, was the dried shrimp variety - not to my liking as I’d have much preferred the beef or chicken varieties of the serundeng.

Chicken satay - drier than I’d have liked, but this could be because grilled meats don’t really travel well.

Spicy peanut dip for the satay - more liquid and has a more diluted taste than I’d have liked.

Beef rendang - great texture for the beef cubes, but the gravy was neither as aromatic nor tasty as I’d expected.

Ketupat palas/Lemang/Nasi impit -this is selection of mainly rice/glutinous rice-based Malay carb items, perfect as accompaniments to the spiced meats and gravies.

Mee Jawa - this spicy noodle dish depends upon getting a good balance of flavors in its thick tomato-chili-inflected gravy, used to slather its blanched yellow wheat noodles, usually garnished with par-boiled shrimps, poached chicken-meat, crisp vegetable fritters and hard-boiled egg. The version here, despite its generous ingredients and garnishes, actually tasted blander than renditions I’d had at good places elsewhere.

Overall, a pretty substantial and varied spread, and amazingly piced. But, taste-wise, I think it’s a matter of β€œJack of all trades …”. I’d rather that Muntri Mews stick to its forte, e.g. Sri Lankan cuisine, rather than make forays into too many other types of cuisines - Thai, Middle-Eastern, and now Malay.

Not a raging success, then.

Looks much better than it seems to have tasted. But, at Β£3.50, I’d be charitable. I doubt whether I could find even one dish here at that price, let alone a full lunch.

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Yup, some really unbelievable prices here. Β£3.50 for two, which worked out to Β£1.75 per person! For all that food!

Just shows how competitive the boutique hotels’ kitchens are at the moment - struggling to keep alive as the never-ending COVID lockdown and total ban on tourists (which the hotels depended upon) continue to ravage the industry.

Wow!

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β€œFood is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2