Penang Café & Restaurant, Otahuhu, Auckland

Calling Penang Café & Restaurant (6 Station Road, Otahuhu, Ph: 09 – 270 0668) a ‘café’ seems like an insider gag; there are certainly no lattes served here or schmancy sandwiches in sight. The faded signage and plastic tablecloths hark back to the 80’s, and its location just off the main street of Otahuhu makes this place an easy one to walk past without a second glance.

The gregarious waitress greets you like an extended member of the family. A pot of tea is quickly brought out, and the hot jasmine tea is a comforting brew on a chilly Spring day. There are both lunch (rice and noodle dishes) and dinner menus offered, and we ordered off the dinner menu.

Penang Café & Restaurant is well known for their chicken rice. If you want a half ($18) or whole steamed chicken, you have to order this a day in advance. We ordered a half chicken as we wanted to sample their other dishes. When you bite into the chicken, you understand why this gets raves, – the meat is velvety soft, and perfectly seasoned with just a touch of ginger and soy. The accompanying rice is flavoursome ($1 per person).

Their special tofu ($15) is four huge pieces (a knife is supplied for you to cut these into more manageable sizes) of custardy soft tofu, which has been deep-fried so the ‘skin’ is crispy, and is served with some soy and sesame oil.

Penang Café’s version of roti ($2) is fluffy and delicate, but can be a bit too oily. It was still very good though and comes with thick curry gravy.

The eggplant and pork in claypot ($22) is exactly that, – generous serving of eggplant, onion pieces and shredded pork in a thick, savoury gravy.

The waitress had recommended the butter coconut prawns ($25), and even though we had already ordered enough food for 4 people, I was glad we succumbed. The prawns had an addictive buttery crunchy coating and a luscious taste.

Penang Café is extraordinarily good value, – the servings are huge (3 mains for 4 people is plenty) and everything we ordered was superbly seasoned and cooked.

Coming to Otahuhu is a real treat. On the day we visited, the local Tongans and Samoans were exhibiting their ardent rugby team allegiance (less than a week to Rugby World Cup kick off) by enthusiastic flag-waving and noise making all along the main streets. The joyful celebrations and good-natured rivalry between the fans was a delight to watch.

9 thoughts on “Penang Café & Restaurant, Otahuhu, Auckland

  1. bunnyeatsdesign says:

    Yay! Thanks for writing about this place. I've been craving chicken rice lately so I had for lunch today. I was trying to eat it discerningly, trying to assess the texture of the chicken and the fragrant rice for perfection. I ended up eating all of it and couldn't decide if it was a good one or an amazing one. All I know is that it was delicious. It was at Sri Mahkota on Symonds Street. Are you familiar with them?

  2. easyfoodhacks says:

    Hi Genie, I used to go to Sri Mahkota at Symonds St when I worked in the CBD, but have never tried their chicken rice. Sri Mahkota is very good in general, so I would expect their chicken rice to go good as well. You must try out Penang Cafe and let me know how it compares! 🙂

  3. easyfoodhacks says:

    Thank Sasa! I look forward to the NZFBC, – thanks for your hard work in helping with it. BTW, am loving your blog, – I really like the clean design and all the fantastic food, – I'm learning about Japanese and Austrian food! 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just ate here tonight had beef rending and duck with special sauce the duck was a little tough but the rending was the best I've had in nz even better than kk malaysian

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love Penang Cafe's rotis – but have too many and you get tummy cramps from all the oil. We also go for the honey garlic chicken (I think that's what is called). Overall, this place is a hidden gem, where we love to take our friends and family when they're in town.

  6. Antipodean says:

    Had a great feed at Penang Cafe last night with friends. The female solo staff was very nice although being the only one out on the floor to serve four tables at once (there are more tables but that's how many tables were occupied at that time) was perhaps a little inadequate but with a bit of patience it was all good. The butter coconut prawns were amazing! As was the coffee pork, the fried tofu, honey chicken, chicken satay, the roti and everything else we ate. There were five of us and we split the bill between us. I thought it was quite reasonable for the five of us who were full to the brim with great food. We also took advantage of the BYO menu so we took with us two bottles of sparkling and they kindly put the second bottle in their fridge until we were able to start on the second. Very nice evening all round. Thanks Penang Cafe. May just see you again soon with the family LOL Happy New Year to one and all.

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