Sunday, August 5, 2012

Singapore ~ Amazing spread of Penang food at Copthorne Hotel's buffet

Singapore cuisine is heavily influenced by all the countries around the tiny island country and Penang food is wildly popular and one of my favorites. When I was in Singapore last year, my mom and her friends took me to a buffet lunch at Penang Place which was outstanding. Unfortunately the restaurant is closed on Sundays so we went to the next best option at the Copthorne Kings Hotel which has been serving their buffet since the 70’s. The restaurant is nothing fancy, in fact it’s a little dated in decor, but the buffet has kept many Singaporeans coming back.

The impressive thing about this buffet is that in addition to the pre-made array of dishes, there are many cooked-to-order and do-it-yourself stations. They had a section that served freshly prepared local dishes such as kway teow, penang laksa, hae mee (prawn noodles), ak twee mee sua (duck leg noodle soup) - this is definitely where you want to spend most of your stomach space on.

The rojak station offers all the ingredients you need (boiled potatoes, cucumbers, fried been curd, boiled eggs, jicama, pineapples) and a mixing bowl for you to combine the fruits & vegetables with the crushed peanuts and a spicy dressing of chili, lime, and prawn paste.

Satay with peanut dipping sauce (chicken, mutton, beef) and the staple sides of cucumber and raw sliced onions. The meats were very juicy and flavorful.           

Porridge with deep fried onions for crunch and fried fish and fried you tiao (deep fried crullers).

Popiah is fresh spring roll with lots of vegetables. The popiah wrapper is a thin crepe that bundles in lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts,cucumbers, shrimp and grated steamed turnip. Popiah is served with a sweet hoisin sauce mixed with sambal.

I definitely overdid it on this plate-  fried chicken, char kway teow (fried noodles with shrimp, Chinese sausage, cockles and bean sprouts), braised pork knuckle (in a vinegar soy sauce), otak (steamed fish cake mixed with shrimp paste, coconut milk, lemongrass and shallots), chicken satay topped with spicy peanut sauce.
Another serving of char kway teow (cuz it's that good), chicken curry with diced potatoes (soooo good) and Kueh Pie tee (crispy mini pastry shell stuffed with a mixture of sauteed jijama, carrot, diced shrimp and shredded omelet).
Deep fried shrimp, chee cheong fun, sambal squid (which was very spicy).
Pigs stomach soup with ginko nut. Even though I was stuffed by then, I discovered this Hokkien soup hiding in the corner and had to grab some. This soup is commonly fed to women post-birth in order to help replenish nutrients- don't worry, not me! The broth was loaded with lots of flavors and the large pieces of pigs stomach gave off that distinct intense ofally flavor - so pungent yet so delicious.

I definitely filled up on my fair share of savory items, but do remember to save room for their comprehensive dessert selections.

Ice kachang is a Singaporean dessert of shaved ice with red beans, palm seed, corn and topped with carnation milk and syrup. There were also other local desserts including a DIY chendol (green grass jelly infused with pandan with creamed corn, red beans and in coconut milk).

There was also an assortment of handmade Nonya kueh, apom bokwa (rice pancake with banana sauce, pulut tai tai (glutinous rice cake with kaya sauce).

The Penang buffet at the Copthorne Hotel is such a great way to sample all the local dishes in one meal. The food is authentic as evidenced by the hoards of local people dining there. Singaporeans take their food seriously so you know it's a good thing when they all flock over.

Princess Terrance Cafe at Copthorne Kings Hotel
403 Havelock Road
+65 6733 0011

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