I, my wife and daughter had a marvelous time with Chef Samuel. Once we signed up, Samuel sent us loads of information about Penang cuisine, and sights to see. Hardly any of his food places were on the list that I had generated from internet searches, so it was great to have this very local information from someone who knows best.
Chef Samuel trained in many cuisines during his time in culinary school, and spent 12 years in restaurants honing his craft. He really made an effort to share his knowledge about the foundations of cooking, how ingredients make a dish taste the way it does, and how to balance essential flavors. He explained the differences between different kinds of curry (Thai, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Japanese).
Our trip began in the early afternoon with a trip to a wet market where we picked up the ingredients for our chosen recipes, and then to a food center next door where got to sample a few select dishes, like popiah.
We made murtabak, kari ikan, and kuih ketayap, and all were more delicious than anything we had in restaurants during our stay! The flipping technique for the roti canai is tricky, but Samuel made it look pretty easy. We’ve been practicing at home, but still haven’t quite gotten it!
All this in an open kitchen in Samuel’s home on the 38th floor, with a view of Air Itam, Georgetown and the ocean rivaling Penang Hill.
Samuel was very welcoming and accommodating, even for the less experienced cooks in our group. He kept us on schedule, and made sure we were able to complete the dishes on time.
To top off the evening, we enjoyed the food we cooked, and had an engaging conversation with Samuel’s wife, learning about local culture and traditions, and getting to meet their infant son.
All in all, we’d do this again if we ever were fortunate enough to return Penang!