THE Michelin Guide KL and Penang 2023 has finally made its debut in Malaysia with the announcement of its selection of restaurants.
In all, 97 restaurants shone in the First Edition of the Michelin Guide Kuala Lumpur and Penang out of which four restaurants were recognised with one Michelin Star for their high-quality cooking while 32 establishments received a Bib Gourmand for offering good food at moderate prices.
The one Michelin Star was awarded to two restaurants in Kuala Lumpur namely Dewakan, a restaurant offering modern Malaysian cuisine and DC. by Darren Chin that is renowned for its French classics with an emphasis on regional live seafood and local produce.
Meanwhile, the two restaurants awarded one Michelin Star in Penang include Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery serving Peranakan cuisine comprising Chef Auntie Gaik’s secret recipes and quality produce; and Au Jardin for sophisticated European fare with subtle local twists.
“Our first selection in Malaysia highlights the diversity of cuisine on offer in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, reflecting the uniqueness of the country’s multi-ethnic culture in gastronomy,” said Michelin Guide international director Gwendal Poullennec.
Poullennec expressed his confidence that this is “just the beginning” for KL’s and Penang’s gastronomic journey whereby its inspectors have been “more than pleased” by the new creations in Malaysian cuisine, inheritance of traditional cooking and evolution of various national cuisine.
Additionally, they found the vitality of Penang which includes as many Bib Gourmand restaurants, “pleasing and very encouraging” for its inspection team which is looking forward to exploring a lot more of Malaysia, and to taste the diverse offerings of local culinary talents.
In all, 32 establishments were awarded Bib Gourmand distinction (Inspectors’ favourite for quality cooking at moderate prices), with 15 restaurants in KL and 17 in Penang making it to the list.
Bib Gourmand establishments in Kuala Lumpur
In all, there were 15 Bib Gourmand establishments in KL named. These include the 30-year-old Ah Hei Bak Kut Teh, famous for its blend of 16 Chinese herbs; Aliyaa, the perfect place to experience Sri Lankan cuisine and Anak Baba for its authentic Peranakan cuisine melding Indo-Malay flavours with Chinese influences.
Additionally, Congkak (Bukit Bintang), nestled in a residential area near the city centre, famous for its classic local flavours and Dancing Fish, sought-after for its classic Malay-Indo flavours and signature “Dancing Fish” dish made it to the coveted list.
De. Wan 1958 was another clear winner helmed by the popular Chef Wan while Hai Kah Lang serves up only the freshest catch of the day.
The no-frills Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice (Pudu); Hing Kee Bakuteh (Jalan Kepong) and Lai Fong Lala Noodles which prides itself for its Lala Bihun (clam noodles), aromatic broth served with Shaoxing Huadiao (Chinese yellow wine) and ginger plus noodles served with prawns also made it to the selection.
Nam Heong Chicken Rice, famous locally for its Hainanese chicken rice for over eighty years; Nasi Ayam Hainan Chee Meng (Jalan Klang Lama) which has been a staple to the local dining scene since 1965 and Restoran Pik Wah, a hidden gem serving authentic Chinese food also emerged in the winner’s circle.
Not to be left out too are Sao Nam with its iconic phở bò – rice noodle soup with sliced beef whose broth takes more than 10 hours to make and Wong Mei Kee which never fails to attract foodies.
Bib Gourmand establishments in Penang
Over there at The Pearl of the Orient, Bridge Street Prawn Noodle, a third-generation family-run business that started in the 60’s which has become a favourite spot for locals to enjoy hearty Hokkien prawn mee made it to the Bib Gourmand list.
So too, did the Communal Table by Gēn which offers modern cuisine fusing Peranakan and Malaysian flavours made with local ingredients.
Meanwhile, Duck Blood Curry Mee is famous for its noodles served in a savoury-sweet white curry-base made with coconut milk which is best enjoyed with roasted pork and their homemade chilli sauce and Green House Prawn Mee and Loh Mee were also awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand for more than three decades of loyal fandom with its Hokkien prawn mee and loh mee with the secret being the umami in the soups.
Ivy’s Nyonya Cuisine, famous for its Peranakan Kapitan chicken curry and Joo Hoo Char (stir-fried mixed veggies in chili paste); Ming Qing Charcoal Duck Egg Char Koay Teow which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022 also made the list.
Others on the list are Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Kuih, founded in 1933 and famous for its authentic freshly-made kuih; Neighbourwood, serving European dishes with Asian influences and chargrilled choices; Penang Road Famous Laksa which earned its fame with its sardine broth and char koay teow with duck egg; Rasa Rasa, famous for its Nyonya combo sets; Sardaarji for its Northern Indian dishes at its store in Little India; and Taman Bukit Curry Mee, a 40-year establishment famous for its curry noodles.
Not to be left out too are Teksen, a no-frills joint serving traditional Cantonese fare and fusion creations with a local twist; Thara, helmed by a native Thai kitchen team; Theeni Pandarams with its generous portions of biryani served on banana leaf; Tho Yuen, famous for its Cantonese cuisine; and Wan Dao Tou Assam Laksa.
On top of this, three restaurants received the Michelin Special Awards: Service Award, Sommelier Award and Young Chef Award.
The Michelin Service Award went to Leanne Lim of Dewakan (One Michelin Star, Kuala Lumpur) while the Michelin Sommelier Award went to Mahamad Hafiz Abdullah of DC. by Darren Chin (One Michelin Star, Kuala Lumpur).
Meanwhile, the Michelin Young Chef Award was awarded to Lim Yan You of Au Jardin (One Michelin Star, Penang). – Dec 16, 2022
Yvonne Yoong is Focus Malaysia’s Property & Lifestyle Editor, seasoned in the property beat and other industries.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.