LTH Home

Penang Arlington Heights

Penang Arlington Heights
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Penang Arlington Heights

    Post #1 - August 27th, 2013, 11:18 pm
    Post #1 - August 27th, 2013, 11:18 pm Post #1 - August 27th, 2013, 11:18 pm
    I did a search, and Penang in Arlington Heights seems to only appear as a note far down in threads on the former Chinatown location. I think it deserves its own thread.

    I love this restaurant. I can't say whether it's the best Malaysian food in the world, but it's as good as most of the food I have eaten while traveling in SE Asia or in countries that have good representation of Malaysian or Indonesian food (primarily Australia, the UK and the Nethrelands). Just had dinner there again tonight. My dining companion and I discussed the excellent beef rendang, but we had that the last two visits, so we went for the lamb curry, which was amazing. The waiter suggested the mango chicken, one of the "chef specialties," which was a lovely dish, a little sweet and a little spicy, with equal amounts of chicken and mango, served in two hollowed-out mango halves. And I couldn't resist ordering the seafood chow fun, even though it was a repeat from a recent visit (broad noodles, squid, shrimp, and scallops with "egg gravy").

    From other, recent visits, standouts have included, for appetizers, roti canai, satay-tofu, and pandan chicken, for main courses, beef rendang, yam pot, Penang char kueh teow, and a few items that were specials for the day.

    Desserts are great. Coconut pudding is luxurious, the sweet glutinous rice with coconut milk is warm and comforting, the ice kacang is wonderfully reminiscent of exotic locals, with coconut sugar, shaved ice, red beans, and agar agar.

    I love this place, and I'd like to see it just a little busier. I'm sure they didn't pay the wages of the two waiters their tonight.

    And note that the printed menu is much more extensive than the online menu, plus there are generally at least 6 to 8 daily special dishes prepared.

    Penang Malaysian Cuisine
    1720 W. Algonquin Rd. Arlington Hts., IL 60005
    Tel: 847-222-1888
    http://www.penangarlington.com/
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #2 - August 27th, 2013, 11:32 pm
    Post #2 - August 27th, 2013, 11:32 pm Post #2 - August 27th, 2013, 11:32 pm
    What is the basis for your belief that wages were not paid to the waitstaff? Simply that the restaurant was not busy? If so, seems like far flung conjecture to me.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #3 - August 28th, 2013, 8:00 am
    Post #3 - August 28th, 2013, 8:00 am Post #3 - August 28th, 2013, 8:00 am
    I think she means the little business they had didn't cover even the staff cost.
  • Post #4 - August 28th, 2013, 9:02 am
    Post #4 - August 28th, 2013, 9:02 am Post #4 - August 28th, 2013, 9:02 am
    I'm dense, my bad. But yeah, Malaysian food, awesome.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #5 - August 28th, 2013, 9:37 am
    Post #5 - August 28th, 2013, 9:37 am Post #5 - August 28th, 2013, 9:37 am
    I dine here at least once per month.

    I nearly always get the roti canai.

    Another favorite of mine is the gado gado (description in salad section of their online menu).

    The beef rendang is tough to pass up, but a special they've had for awhile now is skate wing w/Malaysian BBQ spices
    prepared in a banana leaf, quite the dish !

    I don't recall seeing lamb there, so looks like it is time for a visit.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #6 - August 28th, 2013, 4:56 pm
    Post #6 - August 28th, 2013, 4:56 pm Post #6 - August 28th, 2013, 4:56 pm
    Sorry for the confusion. Santander is right -- I meant there weren't enough diners to cover the cost of paying the staff. Didn't mean that they wouldn't pay them. A really slow night always saddens me in a good restaurant, because I figure someone is getting fewer hours because of it, or even that there is a danger that they won't hang on.

    Glad to hear that you're a regular, Sweet Willie. As for the lamb curry, it's a few spots down from beef rendang. They have two lamb items -- curried lamb shank and lamb curry -- and the waiter guided us toward the lamb curry (which was excellent).
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #7 - August 28th, 2013, 5:06 pm
    Post #7 - August 28th, 2013, 5:06 pm Post #7 - August 28th, 2013, 5:06 pm
    Cynthia wrote:I did a search, and Penang in Arlington Heights seems to only appear as a note far down in threads on the former Chinatown location. I think it deserves its own thread.

    I love this restaurant. I can't say whether it's the best Malaysian food in the world, but it's as good as most of the food I have eaten while traveling in SE Asia or in countries that have good representation of Malaysian or Indonesian food (primarily Australia, the UK and the Nethrelands). Just had dinner there again tonight. My dining companion and I discussed the excellent beef rendang, but we had that the last two visits, so we went for the lamb curry, which was amazing. The waiter suggested the mango chicken, one of the "chef specialties," which was a lovely dish, a little sweet and a little spicy, with equal amounts of chicken and mango, served in two hollowed-out mango halves. And I couldn't resist ordering the seafood chow fun, even though it was a repeat from a recent visit (broad noodles, squid, shrimp, and scallops with "egg gravy").

    From other, recent visits, standouts have included, for appetizers, roti canai, satay-tofu, and pandan chicken, for main courses, beef rendang, yam pot, Penang char kueh teow, and a few items that were specials for the day.

    Desserts are great. Coconut pudding is luxurious, the sweet glutinous rice with coconut milk is warm and comforting, the ice kacang is wonderfully reminiscent of exotic locals, with coconut sugar, shaved ice, red beans, and agar agar.

    I love this place, and I'd like to see it just a little busier. I'm sure they didn't pay the wages of the two waiters their tonight.

    And note that the printed menu is much more extensive than the online menu, plus there are generally at least 6 to 8 daily special dishes prepared.

    Penang Malaysian Cuisine
    1720 W. Algonquin Rd. Arlington Hts., IL 60005
    Tel: 847-222-1888
    http://www.penangarlington.com/


    We're addicted to this place as well. We used to go to the Penang in Chinatown (we also go there not just for Chinese but the Vietnamese place on Cermak as well), and make the trip out to Algonquin Road from the city whenever we really have a taste for ice kacang. Likewise the beef rendang and the occasional special, plus the coconut rice. FWIW, my 85-year-old mother lives in Mt. Prospect, and it's been a destination place for us to celebrate birthdays and other family occasions when we're in the area.

    As to the number of diners, I can't see we've been there except for an occasional Friday night and weekends, but while there's never a crowd, and the restaurant's not more than maybe 2/3 full at best, I've never seen them have little more than a couple of tables for an extended period of time.

    It's one of the few culinary things that would bring us in from the city regardless. The other's actually Mizrahi Grill's turkey/lamb shawarma. Although I have hopes for Gyro-Mena in Greektown giving us something like a similar experience with their 'authentic' sides, albeit Greek rather than Israeli.
  • Post #8 - August 28th, 2013, 5:58 pm
    Post #8 - August 28th, 2013, 5:58 pm Post #8 - August 28th, 2013, 5:58 pm
    I've enjoyed my visits to Penang in other cities (DC, Atlanta).

    I recall another location in River North/Gold Coast, I want to say on Chicago just west of State. Is that part of the chain?
  • Post #9 - August 28th, 2013, 7:02 pm
    Post #9 - August 28th, 2013, 7:02 pm Post #9 - August 28th, 2013, 7:02 pm
    AaronSinger wrote:I've enjoyed my visits to Penang in other cities (DC, Atlanta).

    I recall another location in River North/Gold Coast, I want to say on Chicago just west of State. Is that part of the chain?


    I take it you're thinking of Panang. It's got a Thai menu, so I doubt it. OTOH for all the Ameri-Thai they have The Tiger Cries and Thai Spicy Spaghetti, which is slightly off the beaten track for what you'd expect for an Asian place in that neighborhood. Really OT but here's their menu: http://www.panangthai.com/menu.html.

    I wish it were the truly Malaysian Panang - we would use a place like the old Chinatown location within walking distance!
  • Post #10 - August 28th, 2013, 7:45 pm
    Post #10 - August 28th, 2013, 7:45 pm Post #10 - August 28th, 2013, 7:45 pm
    Not a big fan of this place - it's just OK in my experience. The consensus amongst my Malaysian friends is the place is OK/mediocre, but not terrible. After having a Malaysian girlfriend for over a year who cooked Malaysian food for me sometimes and traveling to Malaysia a few months ago, I'd have to agree with them, unfortunately That sucks because Malaysian food is AWESOME. To be fair though, the cendol I had last time here was solid. The place definitely tries though and it's been a few months since I've been there, so perhaps I should pay another visit to see if anything changed.

    Chicago city badly needs a good Malaysian place. If people only knew how good their food was, it would probably be the next big thing almost guaranteed. Unfortunately it would probably have to be somewhere "downtown", Logan Square, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village, North Center, or Lakeview to reach that type of status I'm guessing. I always joke with my friends to open up a place, but none of them wants to do it. My friend is a great Malaysian chef, but unfortunately she returned to Malaysia earlier this year ..
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #11 - October 5th, 2013, 6:40 pm
    Post #11 - October 5th, 2013, 6:40 pm Post #11 - October 5th, 2013, 6:40 pm
    I tried the place out again today. I have to say that it was much better than the last time I went. The roti cannai was really good as was the chicken satay. The curries were pretty decent - not amazing, but the flavor was there for sure. Everything else was pretty good too. I think i'll go back there and I take back some of what I said before. Glad that it was better this time than last!
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #12 - October 5th, 2013, 8:30 pm
    Post #12 - October 5th, 2013, 8:30 pm Post #12 - October 5th, 2013, 8:30 pm
    AaronSinger wrote:I've enjoyed my visits to Penang in other cities (DC, Atlanta).

    I recall another location in River North/Gold Coast, I want to say on Chicago just west of State. Is that part of the chain?


    There was a branch in Chinatown where there was an early LTHForum dinner led by Crazy C. Sadly, that location burned down.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #13 - October 5th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    Post #13 - October 5th, 2013, 9:48 pm Post #13 - October 5th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    AaronSinger wrote:I recall another location in River North/Gold Coast, I want to say on Chicago just west of State. Is that part of the chain?

    You're thinking of Panang, an unrelated Thai restaurant at the northeast corner of Clark & Chicago.
  • Post #14 - October 6th, 2013, 11:02 am
    Post #14 - October 6th, 2013, 11:02 am Post #14 - October 6th, 2013, 11:02 am
    stevez wrote:
    AaronSinger wrote:I've enjoyed my visits to Penang in other cities (DC, Atlanta).

    I recall another location in River North/Gold Coast, I want to say on Chicago just west of State. Is that part of the chain?


    There was a branch in Chinatown where there was an early LTHForum dinner led by Crazy C. Sadly, that location burned down.



    That is true.

    That evening, I headed to the other Panag before realizing the errors of my way.
  • Post #15 - November 7th, 2013, 11:56 pm
    Post #15 - November 7th, 2013, 11:56 pm Post #15 - November 7th, 2013, 11:56 pm
    I'm still in the afterglow of an amazing meal at Penang, organized by Sweet Willie.

    For some damn reason I had made all these assumptions about the authenticity. Perhaps it is that their slogan is "the only Malaysian cuisine in town" which doesn't scream confidence. I also wondered, would a suburban Malaysian restaurant really bring on the spice and shrimp paste funk? The answer is HELL yes! That is not to say the extremes were the only highlight of the meal, everything was very well done even the modestly spiced grilled skate wing in banana leaf, and hainanese chicken rice which was up there nearly as good as the most famous versions I had in Singapore. Surprisingly one of my favorite dishes of the meal was the green bean/okra and eggplant stir fried with shrimp paste.

    I am sad it took so long for me to get out there, I guess that will teach me to make assumptions. I'm glad there is a place to get a Malaysian fix, and I hope to be back here often.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #16 - November 8th, 2013, 8:59 am
    Post #16 - November 8th, 2013, 8:59 am Post #16 - November 8th, 2013, 8:59 am
    I found the meal we had to be something of a mixed bag. This is a place I'd go to again in a heartbeat. Not everything we had was to my liking, but I'd be happy to experiment with other parts of the menu. Great to sit down with an LTH crowd, as always.

    Roti Canai -- fantastic, a great intro. Would definitely order again. Chewy roti, rich curry sauce, what's not to love?
    Gado Gado -- Fresh and interesting, but not high only list to re-order.
    Beef Sparerib Soup -- Great broth, but for me only OK (don't love spongy meat in my soup). See Laksa below instead.
    Shrimp Fried Rice -- really, really, good. I've never had such perfect shrimp in a fried rice.
    Hainanese Chicken -- I don't see what the big deal is: it's just steamed chicken. Did I miss something? Did someone else get a plate with crispy skin (the #1 reason to eat chicken)?
    Beef Rendang -- this pot roast with an attitude is a must-have.
    Skate Wing -- I loved the flavor, however I don't know if the fish was overcooked or under-trimmed, but all that cartilage/fin stuff at the edges made it kind of unpleasant.
    Chile Crab -- perfectly cooked, succulent sweet crab, just a PITA to eat with all that slippery sauce all over the shell.
    Mixed veg with shrimp paste -- This was a winner. Lots of funk and garlic and toothsome veg. However, I'd never order it going out with Sue, since I'd have to eat it all myself (she doesn't like green veg or fishy things).
    Laksa -- another winner. I've never had such wonderfully toothsome rice noodles, and such a variety of flavors, from Tom Yum-like spice and sour to bits of pineapple.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #17 - November 8th, 2013, 11:25 am
    Post #17 - November 8th, 2013, 11:25 am Post #17 - November 8th, 2013, 11:25 am
    Like laikom, I really enjoyed my meal last night. I thought it was every bit as good as I remembered the Chinatown location. I agree with JoelF about the skatewing, perhaps my least favorite dish of the night, although it wasn't bad; it just paled on comparison to some of the rest of the dishes.

    Many thanks to Sweet Willie for setting up the dinner, and a big Bronx Cheer to the four people who reserved places and didn't show up or bother to cancel; thus costing the rest of us an extra $10 each to cover the cost of their food.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - November 8th, 2013, 12:18 pm
    Post #18 - November 8th, 2013, 12:18 pm Post #18 - November 8th, 2013, 12:18 pm
    I agree with Steve and laikom, it was a really enjoyable group meal at Penang last night. I didn't love everything but the highs were very high. I don't know this cuisine very well at all but I feared going in that it might be a sweet-fest. That was definitely not the case. Overall, I was very impressed by the heat and funkiness of many dishes we had . . .

    Image
    Penang - 1720 W Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, IL


    Image
    Roti Canai


    Image
    Gado Gado


    Image
    Malaysian Spare Rib Soup


    Image
    Beautiful Plate


    Image
    Nasi Goreng (shrimp fried rice)


    Image
    Hainanese Chicken


    Image
    Hainanese Chicken Rice


    Image
    Skate Wing in Banana Leaf


    Image
    Beef Rendang


    Image
    Chili Crab


    Image
    Green Beans and Eggplant and Okra (oh my)


    Image
    Assam Laksa


    Image
    Our Group

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #19 - November 8th, 2013, 12:33 pm
    Post #19 - November 8th, 2013, 12:33 pm Post #19 - November 8th, 2013, 12:33 pm
    Great photos, Ronnie -- as usual. Nice memento of a lovely evening.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #20 - November 8th, 2013, 1:08 pm
    Post #20 - November 8th, 2013, 1:08 pm Post #20 - November 8th, 2013, 1:08 pm
    We're going there Sunday, probably for dinner. It's our go-to place when we visit my mother in a nearby suburb. Penang's one of the few places that would get us to drive out to the NW burbs from the city for the food.
  • Post #21 - November 8th, 2013, 2:41 pm
    Post #21 - November 8th, 2013, 2:41 pm Post #21 - November 8th, 2013, 2:41 pm
    JoelF wrote:Hainanese Chicken -- I don't see what the big deal is: it's just steamed chicken. Did I miss something? Did someone else get a plate with crispy skin (the #1 reason to eat chicken)?

    I think this is one of those textural things where the jellied/uncrisp skin is sought after in the east whereas jellied/noncrisp isn't a sought after aspect here in the west. The dish compared to a number of the other items we had is one of subtlety rather than in your face flavors, so I can see your view of the letdown. When combined with the chicken rice & soy, this is one of my favorite dishes & one Mrs Willie & I order on a regular basis during the summer, so refreshing the cool chicken.

    I actually thought the beef rending & skate wing in Malaysian BBQ/banana leaf were not as spiced as normal, still liked them a lot but not the norm I've come to expect.

    Chili crab - even though a PITA, still worth it. When in Singapore I'd alternate between chili crab, black pepper crab, then white pepper crab.

    a highlight for me as they were something I've not had before at Penang, were the mixed veggies w/shrimp paste & the laksa, at least one of those will be ordered when I go to Penang from now on.

    edited to add: Thanks for the posting the photos Ron, as usual great shots that really help someone who is reading the thread.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #22 - November 9th, 2013, 8:26 am
    Post #22 - November 9th, 2013, 8:26 am Post #22 - November 9th, 2013, 8:26 am
    JoelF wrote:Shrimp Fried Rice -- really, really, good. I've never had such perfect shrimp in a fried rice.


    Their online menu lists 4 fried rice dishes that mention shrimp; Do you know which one you had? My guess is that it was Nasi Goreng, although that one only mentions shrimp paste.
  • Post #23 - November 9th, 2013, 8:28 am
    Post #23 - November 9th, 2013, 8:28 am Post #23 - November 9th, 2013, 8:28 am
    imsscott wrote:
    JoelF wrote:Shrimp Fried Rice -- really, really, good. I've never had such perfect shrimp in a fried rice.


    Their online menu lists 4 fried rice dishes that mention shrimp; Do you know which one you had? My guess is that it was Nasi Goreng, although that one only mentions shrimp paste.


    Yes it was Nasi Goreng.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #24 - November 9th, 2013, 8:53 am
    Post #24 - November 9th, 2013, 8:53 am Post #24 - November 9th, 2013, 8:53 am
    Another kudo for the great photos, Ronie - you selected your seating well. I generally agree with all the comments above; the crab was a PITA to eat, and I'm not sure that much of the sauce's flavor migrated from the shell to the meat inside (although it certainly migrated to my fingers). I think the green beans, okra and eggplant was my favorite dish, although I wish the Assam Laksa could have come out sooner. I was so stuffed at that point that it was tough to appreciate its shrimpy funkiness.

    Thanks to Sweet Willie for putting the whole thing together.
  • Post #25 - August 18th, 2015, 9:24 am
    Post #25 - August 18th, 2015, 9:24 am Post #25 - August 18th, 2015, 9:24 am
    For dinner last night I enjoyed the Curry Lamb Shank, a dark rich curry with moderate heat, very satisfying.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #26 - December 14th, 2015, 8:24 pm
    Post #26 - December 14th, 2015, 8:24 pm Post #26 - December 14th, 2015, 8:24 pm
    had lunch today with a friend.

    Roti Canai to start

    From the specials board we tried two items, a beef murtabak and cumin lamb.

    I was really excited to see murtabak as I've never seen it in Chicago. Murtabak is the Indian flatbread/roti and folded into it are eggs, beef, onion, peppers. The murtabak options in Singapore include shrimp, sardine, mutton with the latter two being my favorite.
    It was quite good, lacking some heat but Penang is usually very good about requests, so next time I'll know to ask.

    The cumin lamb was delicious, big slices of onion, peppers and lamb with cumin kick.

    Place was really busy during lunch, great to see!
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #27 - December 15th, 2015, 10:18 am
    Post #27 - December 15th, 2015, 10:18 am Post #27 - December 15th, 2015, 10:18 am
    FYI - not necessarily about this but Malaysian food. Penang has competition now since Serai, a Malaysian restaurant, opened in the city (Logan Square). We'll see how they do against one another :)
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #28 - December 16th, 2015, 10:24 pm
    Post #28 - December 16th, 2015, 10:24 pm Post #28 - December 16th, 2015, 10:24 pm
    marothisu wrote:FYI - not necessarily about this but Malaysian food. Penang has competition now since Serai, a Malaysian restaurant, opened in the city (Logan Square). We'll see how they do against one another :)


    Penang and Serai are operated/owned by the same proprietors. We are at Serai tonight and were impressed...I'll try to start a thread if I get a chance.
  • Post #29 - December 17th, 2015, 9:45 am
    Post #29 - December 17th, 2015, 9:45 am Post #29 - December 17th, 2015, 9:45 am
    milz50 wrote:
    marothisu wrote:FYI - not necessarily about this but Malaysian food. Penang has competition now since Serai, a Malaysian restaurant, opened in the city (Logan Square). We'll see how they do against one another :)


    Penang and Serai are operated/owned by the same proprietors. We are at Serai tonight and were impressed...I'll try to start a thread if I get a chance.


    Are they? Funny. I went on the soft opening. I thought the food was better at Serai noticeably which is interesting. Going again this weekend, with a big group of Malaysians who are excited to try it. We'll probably order a large chunk of the menu (at least the Malaysian dishes).
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #30 - January 31st, 2016, 11:52 am
    Post #30 - January 31st, 2016, 11:52 am Post #30 - January 31st, 2016, 11:52 am
    4 of us dined at Penang last night.

    Starter of Roti canai.

    We all shared lamb cumin, beef murtabak, lamb shank in coconut curry, beef rendang, and a side of the green beans, eggplant, okra with shrimp paste. All dishes were very much enjoyed.

    The specials contained some interesting items I had not seen before, such as beef with stinky bean. I'm intrigued as to what stinky bean is and will likely try for lunch sometime this coming week.
    milz50 wrote:
    marothisu wrote:FYI - not necessarily about this but Malaysian food. Penang has competition now since Serai, a Malaysian restaurant, opened in the city (Logan Square). We'll see how they do against one another :)


    Penang and Serai are operated/owned by the same proprietors. We are at Serai tonight and were impressed...I'll try to start a thread if I get a chance.


    The four of us decided to try Serai in March to be able to compare the two.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more