Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Original Thai Food - Old City Food Court, Tg Tokong (Top Pick)

Regular readers will know that I am very partial to Thai food and it's pleasing to see that Penang has an increasing number of Thai F&B outlets, albeit some much better than others.  But that's the same everywhere, there's good and bad Chinese and Indian food here, just as there is good and bad French food in France. For me, eateries here tend to be one of three types: restaurants (mid or high-end); kopitam or coffee shop style; and food courts and hawkers.  Clearly you don't always want to go to a restaurant and it's good to see that Thai food is also readily available in many of the food courts.  By far my favourite in this regard is 'The Original Thai Food' (TOTF) which is in the Old City Food Court at Prima Tanjung in Jalan Fettes, Tg Tokong.

Old City is quite a large food court but is easy to miss if you don't know it's there, being situated between (and behind) the two raised promenades of shops that make up Prima Tanjung.  There is quite a lot of parking around but the area does get very busy at lunch time and in the evenings, both because of the food court and the many eateries and food stalls around.  Parking is very cheap at around 30 sen for 30 minutes and if the parking is really full you can easily park at Island Plaza (or even Precinct 10) across the road and walk over.
One of my readers, Kumar, also advises that You can also park your car in the basement carpark under Prima Tanjung. They charge by the hour on weekdays and on a 'per entry' basis at the weekend.

Chicken with cashew nuts
The food at TOTF is really very good and is all cooked fresh to order.  As a result there may be a wait at busy times but even at it's most busy I've rarely waited longer than 10 minutes or so, time to drink some refreshing 'ambla' (sour plum drink), one of the many juices, teas and coffees available, or even a beer (or two, or more).  Drinks are very reasonably priced with an 'ambla' costing RM 2.20 and a large beer about RM 13.  Of the dishes at TOTF one of my favourites is chicken with cashew nuts (gai phad met ma-maung), a stir fry dish using dried chills in a thick, rich and spicy sauce.

Another favourite is stir fry pork mince with basil (phad kra pao gai).

The seafood tom yam is also excellent, as is the pork salad (lap moo).  I have tried many other dishes there and never been disappointed.  Most of the dishes are priced at around RM 5-6 which is very good value and the friendly staff will also happily prepare your food to take away if you don't wish to eat at the food court.

Old City of course also offers a wide variety of other eateries and for those in search of porridge you can do no better than 'May's Porridge' stall which is opposite TOTF and is next to another excellent Thai stall which sells delicious pad thai.  The clay pot noodle stall next to May's Porridge is also very good'.

Old City is open daily from around mid-morning until 9pm but closes all day every second Saturday and TOTF is very well worth a visit there.  Such is the quality of the food there that I'm happy to to award TOTF with a 'Top Pick'


  1. Great article about one of my most favorite places to eat. I love the ground pork and basil, as well as the chicken and cashews. One dish you must try is the mango salad. They use Thai mangos instead of local ones. I am a regular there and when they see me they always know to make mine extra spicey. In my opinion the food here is better than most of the expensive Thai restaurants in Penang. See you there soon.

    1. Yes it's a great place, agreed their sontam is excellent, I also ask for extra spicy or 'ped ped', but like you, they know now. That said, 'ped ped', only gets its back to the original Thai default spice level, the milder versions being toned down merely to suit palates they think maybe can't take it. I tend to be able to 'out ped' most Thai's I know however, the result of years of spicy food I think :-)

      See you there.

  2. You can also park your car in the basement carpark under Prima Tanjung. They charge by the hour on weekdays and I think on a 'per entry' basis in the weekend.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'll add it to the article.


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