The In-Between Festival kicked off with a Baba & Nyonya Supper & Play at Ren I Tang Hotel on Monday night. Smart move, 'cos you really cannot go wrong with Nyonya food.
Pearly Kee's Kacang Botol Kerabu really whetted my appetite. I went back for more! I can say that her otak-otak is one of the best I have ever tasted and I was delighted to find a big piece of firm and white fish meat in the otak-otak. She really doesn't stint on her ingredients.
Her Sambal Goreng was also fantastic and she surprised us with Spicy Savoury Parcels which are actually fried wontons with sambal hare bee (Dried Shrimp Sambal) filling. That's so creative.
Look at my plate piled high with all the yummy dishes!
|Clockwise from top left: Kacang Botol Kerabu, 5 Spiced Chicken Roll, |
Jiu Hu Char, Nasi Ulam, Otak-Otak, Blue Rice, Kari Kapitan,
Spicy Savoury Parcels; and Sambal Goreng in the middle
The food was great but I could not say the same for the entertainment that followed. It was such a disappointment. A couple was so fed-up that they left half-way through the playlet.
Apparently, the Penang Players had only one practice before the show, and so they play-read instead of acted. They were also sharing mics which makes it very difficult for us to hear much of what was being said.
Towards the end there was a part where certain members of the audience (including my Baby Sis) were asked to insert punctuation marks into strings of words in order to make sentences. None of the sentences made much sense to me.
I checked with Baby Sis and she said that they were already cued
on where to insert the punctuation marks. There were no mistakes
with regards to the order of the words on the placards
held by the actors. So what happened?
On the second night, we had a royal Moghul feast prepared by Dr Tripat Narayanan. The location was Salsas Restaurant at Gurney Paragon Mall. I thought it a very odd combination to serve Indian food in a western food outlet. The Indian atmosphere was lost.
I love the attention given to the table setting and the sit-down arrangement. This was the only meal that was not served buffet style.
|I couldn't stop eating the dry roasted cashews |
and almonds. They were super crunchy
and not sweet 'cos they're fried
with chillis, cumin and brown sugar
|Baby Sis was dressed to the theme while I looked so tired |
in my work clothes. Going for dinner straight from work
is not a good idea.
|I couldn't resist taking a photo with Tan Twan Eng,|
the author of "The Garden of Evening Mists." The book,
published in 2012, won the Man Asian Literary Prize,
and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Tan was born in Penang.
|The starter: Cardamon scented Lamb Kebabs with Mint Chutney |
served with small parathas
|Raita, Chicken Kurma, Pan-fried Cauliflower with Tomatoes, |
Saffron Basmati Rice, and Sweet Hot Mango Chutney
for dinner with Rose-scented Apple Kheer for dessert
|Spiced tea and a digestive mix of crushed almonds, |
rock sugar and fennel seeds to end our meal
|Our entertainment for the evening - an Indian dance|
by dancers from the Temple of Fine Arts
On the third night, the spotlight was on Malay food and the menu was supposed to feature P. Ramlee's favourite dishes.
When it was time for dinner we had to bring the plates from our table to the buffet line to collect our meal. We thought the Fish Curry with Roti Bengali was a weird combination and true enough, it tasted weird. I'll settle for Chicken Curry with Roti Bengali any time. And the bubur kacang was also the worst bubur kacang I have ever tasted in my whole life.
The only consolation was the entertainment. Viv Adram & the Northern Jazz Unit were really good. Unfortunately Baby Sis was not feeling too good and so we left early. I would have loved to joget the night away.