With every place we visit, I am looking at the food to make or break it for me. Malaysia is a very diverse country, which means very diverse food choices. That is especially good for me, as I am not the biggest fan of the traditional Malaysian dishes. Whenever we go to Malaysia, I have one thing on my mind… INDIAN food! I have not been to India yet, but I feel like Malaysia has to be one of the best places to get good Indian food (compared with the other countries we have visited). And while we were in George Town, Penang we happened upon the best Indian food I have ever had.
(*Disclaimer- We went to this restaurant on our own. The restaurant did not have any knowledge that we write a blog. We just love to share the delicious restaurants that we find along our travels and hope that someday you will get a chance to enjoy them as well. The opinions in this article are our own, we hope that you will agree, but if you don’t we are okay with that.)
Sri Ananda Bahwan is well-known in Penang, in fact it is so popular that there are many locations. Two of them are just a block from each other in Little India in George Town. We found out about the restaurant because of a blog post we found calling it the world’s best restaurant. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the world’s best restaurant so on our last night in Penang we drove to Little India and easily found our destination.
As I said, there are two branches within a block of each other, we ended up at the vegetarian location because we didn’t realize that there was more than one. We saw the name, smelled the delicious smells and walked in trying not to drool all over ourselves at the sight of the dishes waiting to be served up.
There are two floors in the vegetarian location, the ground floor is open air and has no air conditioning. The top floor has air conditioning, but to sit there you will be charged a small fee ( I think 0.30 ringitt per person or something like that). We are pretty used to the climate in southeast Asia, so we wanted to sit on the ground floor, not because we were trying to save money so much, as that we loved the busy, hot, delicious smelling ambience of the ground floor. I guess everyone else felt the same way, because it was packed and no seats were available. We decided to trudge upstairs and sit in the luxury of a/c instead of waiting for a table.
Upstairs was a very different scene, there was only one other table filled with two couples having a relaxing and leisurely meal. We chose, well, Z chose our table (she has to sit in restaurants so much, which isn’t the funnest thing for a 3 year-old, the least that we feel is fair is that she gets to choose the table). We sat, ordered a Mango lassi each and started pouring over the menu.
By the time that the server came to bring us our lassi’s and take our order, we had realized that we had no idea what to order. We could order our favorites, okay, my favorites (palak paneer and butter chicken incase you’re wondering), but we felt like getting something different. We felt like getting something that the restaurant recommended, so we asked our helpful server and he chose three dishes for us, cauliflower manchurian, Veggie chicken masala, and Aloo Gobi Masala. Those three dishes, with a couple orders of butter naan and a cheese naan for Z (she calls it cheese pizza) was a HUGE meal.
When the food was delivered (quite promptly, I may add), we were impressed with the portion sizes. We have gotten used to small portions in the Indian restaurants in Thailand, and we realized that our eyes vastly outsized our stomachs. We dug in anyhow, enjoying each delicious bite. The cauliflower manchurian was like little meatballs mixed with chopped onions that are fried and covered in a sticky spicy, sweet sauce. They were so rich and delightful, I was only able to have a few because they were so very rich. The veggie chicken masala was thick and creamy, with a slight indian spiciness that lingered in the back of my throat making me eat more naan than I probably should. The aloo gobi masala was much like the chicken masala but was a bit heavier of a sauce and a little more spice.
We tried to finish our meal, but ended up taking much of it home as take-away. It was such satisfying and delicious meal. And it only cost about 80 Ringitt (or $25 USD)!
I wish we had a branch here in Phuket, although I would probably eat there far too many times in a week and have to work out much more often. Honestly though, the food was so good, I wouldn’t mind adding a couple of hours a day in working out to eat it. It was truly that tasty!
So if you are in Penang, try Sri Ananda Bahwan and send me pictures of the food. Or better yet, overnight me some!
What is your favorite Indian dish? Have you been to India? How does the Indian food in India compete with the Indian food outside of India? Leave a comment and join in the conversation!