Sunday, 8 May 2011

Restaurant: Tho Yuen - Lebuh Campbell, Penang (Top Pick)

Many visitors to Penang may well have heard of Tho Yuen. It has been in business for over 20 years and is in Lebuh Campbell in the heart of Georgetown, right in the centre of Chinatown. Tho Yuen is famed for its dim sum which is so popular that in the early hours around rush hour it can be very difficult to get a seat as the local workers and residents flock to the place to sample the delights of the best dim sum in Penang.

Tho Yuen doesn't benefit from a sign in English so you need to know where to find it. About half way up Lebuh Campbell as you head towards Jalan Penang you will come to a shop with a Rolex sign (corner of Lebuh Cintra). As you face that shop Tho Yuen is the second shop in from the corner. You will see the tables outside and the metal topped tables inside. The place can seat a LOT of people and it needs to!!! I got there around 10am and it had quietened down some but don't leave it too late or you'll miss the dim sum as they switch to lunch-time fayre.

Following the welcome at the counter you will be taken to a table. You then just take a seat and ask if you want a drink of some sort (I opted for the China tea - in this case a strong and earthy red tea that goes really will with food). The staff will then bring your tea, cups, chop sticks and bottles of chilli (and this stuff is hot!!) and soy sauce. There is then a constant flow of trolleys with freshly cooked dim sum in all varieties which the helpful staff will explain if you are a little lost. I had 5 different varieties (too much really but I love dim sum and was very hungry) and have to say they were all superb. A portion is either 2 or 3 pieces depending on the size of them. The prawn filled dumplings were particularly tasty, as was the spiced chicken and a longer parcel filled with black mushroom, bean sprouts and pork. The dumplings were all perfectly steamed, firm and bulging with filling. They also serve a very nice steamed bun (Siopao) which is softer and more doughy the European bread and is filled with either a savoury or sweet paste. They look like very large dry dumplings and are very tasty, you should try at least one.

With the 5 portions of dim sum, the siopao and the endless supply of tea (you just keep filling up from the hot water urns) the whole bill came to RM 14!! Excellent value, fantastic taste and the best breakfast I have had in Penang. For me this is a Top Pick that has to be visited at least once. If you manage to get there at lunch time as well I am told the chicken rice is also very very good. I intend to find out!!!!

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