Mention the state of Penang and the first thing that comes to mind are two words. ‘Food’. And ‘Haven’!
Surely, we’ve all had our tastes of Char Kuey Teows and Curry Mees by the picturesque beaches and vivid Ferringhi sunsets. The obsession never stops. How do we know that? Well, living on the island has taught us one thing and it is that people from all over the nation go nuts for gastronomic delights in Penang.
In terms of posh and grandeur, the island life doesn’t disappoint either as there are a variety of luxurious locations with a terrific menu to match. Indeed, one of the places we checked out was Maple Palace Chinese Restaurant, situated in a shiny centennial structure in the beating heart of Georgetown. This place is quite the talk of the town too and we’re here to tell you more about this local haunt.
Operating since 2009, Maple Palace has gained quite a reputation for its Cantonese cuisine that is traditional and yet seeks to break new ground. Described as avant-garde, the restaurant serves up an East meets West interpretation while honouring the various techniques and cooking customs that have been in session.
Now, you might seem surprised as to how an upmarket eatery brings in the crowd with all the culinary competition dotted all over this rock. Indeed, we were curious. Indeed, running a restaurant in the food haven of Malaysia is not the easiest task, but that isn’t the case for Tan Loy Sin, better known as Loy Tan!
Speaking to the brains behind this operation within the pearly walls of Maple Palace, we learned that Loy Tan had been in this field at a very tender age. His origin story is humble, as he took on roles in hotels and coffee houses, working as a waiter, and a butcher, before moving on to the Shangri-La group of hotels at 18. Nevertheless, the journey was only going to get more adventurous. Opportunity came. Soon enough, he traded a grounded life to set sail for the seven seas!
All aboard! Working with Star Cruise, his repertoire vastly increased with the variety of international customers from all over the world. Many a time, he would be thrown into situations where he had to adapt to their tastes, whims, and fancies. Customers from Spain, China, Canada, you name it, would request a customized menu on a daily basis, and he had to deliver.
Now, as this conversation went on, a sweet incense filled the atmosphere as pots of food made their landing on the table in front of us. Chicken, juicy and golden, took its seat on the central throne, accompanied by aromatic rice, barbecued char siew, and kai lan.
The centrepiece, as noted, was the Boiled Superior Chicken, which was noted to be 7-month corn-fed chicken. Right off the bat, when we took our first bites, we noticed that there was a certain crunch to the skin, as opposed to a conventional offering in which the outer layers wouldn’t have been given too much thought. The flavours within the tender flesh were also distributed evenly with adequate juices flowing through the meat.
On the surface, it might look like a traditional ‘Gai Fan’. Yet, the arrangement of spices and thought that had been put into this makes it one hell of a chicken rice!
The conversation picked up once more as Loy Tan spoke of his desire to innovate and bring something new each time. His menu is constantly updated to keep it fresh and to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of food on the beautiful island.
Besides, the menu is prepared fresh for customers daily due to his insistence on crafting the very best for his customers. Healthy and quality ingredients are of utmost importance with an emphasis on making sure that patrons are satisfied and kept on their toes, wondering what sorts of delicacies might await their lips.
Moving on, we were served a Grouper Seafood Steamboat, which in itself, was a party! The list of ingredients is astounding, with fifteen elements consisting of seafood, mushrooms, and greens, but truly, the broth itself was to die for. The milky concoction was a deeply fragrant mixture with a wonderful kick. Served with chillis and shallots, the spice hits the spot especially with the grouper’s essence absorbing itself into that melting pot.
As time passed, it became more apparent that the lore behind all of this was part of the experience. Nah, it wasn’t just about the sumptuous food, or the sensations surrounding the crevices of one’s mouth. This was a storied matter. Just as a good art piece invites spectators to resonate with the thoughts of the creator, Maple Palace’s offerings are very much an experiential matter, delving into the psyche and elements of its vision.
Regardless, we gotta say that we do have a favourite from the entrees that were served. And that is the Iberico Char Siew! Holy moly, that was heavenly! The nutty meat was just the right texture with splendid umami. It was not too chewy, and it literally melted on the tongue. No cap, our Gs, ese ‘fusion delight’ es muy bueno!
To cleanse our palate for the day, we had a field day with sweet treats. Herbal Jellies with Almond Milk, Chilled Mango Sago, Double-boiled Snow Lotus, and Black Glutinous Rice in Coconut all graced our lips. All of these were definitely worth trying as we chowed down on the delicacies. However, we have to say that our favourite was the Glutinous Dumpling & Peach Resin in Hot Ginger Tea. Think ‘Tāngyuán’, with an extra gummy sensation!
To sum up our experience at Maple Palace, we can say that the ingredient of passion runs deep through its menu, with the freshest set of elements flowing through the pots, and pans, going through its baptism of fire and water. The quality is immaculate and the standards are high here.
As we said, we liken this to a painting. It is an outpouring of love and passion for the art of cooking, and the more you engage in the food and understand the essences flowing through, it becomes clear that this is an amalgamation of experiences from the mind of its creator. This is a witty adaptation, bringing an imaginative mindset to the table, and making it all work in elegance and style.
So, head right over to Maple Palace to experience a world-class menu that is sure to delight!
Of course, what we Hype-rs had was just the tip of the iceberg. Maple Palace’s menu is a vast landscape filled with treasures from all over the globe. So, we recommend that you check out the menu here.
Also, check Maple Palace out on Facebook and most importantly, have a go at their culinary experience at the following address: