Salmon Fish Head Curry
Rojak, Talented Chefs and Manager
Char Koay Teow
Nasi Tomato and Chicken Curry
Wok Fried Duck with Ginger, Onion and Shitake Mushrooms
Soup Ayam Madura (chicken soup)
Grubby streets, unhygienic cooking stations, car fumes, gutter creatures, upset stomaches, rude or no service, the stench and stickiness of sweat soaked garments and the dangerous street meander of traipsing across town from one vendor to the next to get a complete meal can all be rather exhilarating, but can also be avoided with a one stop visit to the Islander. Quite the opposite of the street parade, the Islander at Trader's Hotel, dispenses cool, clean, peaceful, sweet smelling, safe surroundings with staff that are oh so helpful and polite, with chairs that stay upright and a smorgasbord of local delights all in the same location. There is one glaring common denominator though. The draw card for most tourists to Penang. The food.
With low expectations, we took a seat at the 'international buffet' of the Islander one Saturday lunch time. After eating our way around some of the tastiest streets in the country, we were not anticipating grand things from a hotel all-day-dining restaurant. Our thoughts were quickly proven WRONG as we browsed the offerings at the Islander's weekend Baba Nyonya High Tea. A couple of international plates sprinkled the buffet, but with a brisk survey around the counters, we were delighted to see an astounding number of Penang dishes on display. A more profound surveillance of the environment saw tables packed with Penangnites and more trickling in the doors. Our interest heightened.
Beelining for the Penang Laksa I found thick round rice noodles, silky and soft, flavoured with that ginger flower that I've recently grown an addiction to. The Prawn Mee, with a light sauce, yellow noodles and perfectly textured prawns was just as good. In my limited experience of Otak Otak, the one served at the Islander was the best I’ve tried. I’m usually put off by the overly fishy taste and smell of the ones I'd had in my previous tastings. This parcel however was fresh, light and non pungent. The Oyster Omelet with brean sprouts and fresh shallots was so tasty I had to get my own (hubby was not willing to share) and the Soup Ayam Madura (chicken soup) was a strong broth, laden with herbs - it felt like a perfect cure for a cold. The Wok Fried Duck with Ginger, Onion and Shitake Mushrooms is a must try, alongside their Famous Salmon Fish Head Curry – created by chefs at Traders, now copied around Penang. I love Asian greens so the Stir Fried Kai Lan didn't disappoint and while not generally a fan of white rice, the Nasi Tomato, an Indian Muslim variety was quite tempting. Just a short while ago I acquired a taste for rice porridge and loved the Islander's flavourful Original Duck Congee. Even though we were stuffed at this stage hubby asked a chef if he could fry up some Char Koay Teow, which they were only too happy to do and it came out spicy with prawns and squid but satisfyingly not greasy like the street food counterpart. Rojak, the local salad, was brimming with freshly cut fruits and vegetables and of course there was dessert too. I'm not such a huge fan of Malaysian sweets, but hubby lapped up the Cendol and topped it off with two helpings of Teh Tarak. Chatting with some local diners we learned that, in their opinion, the Teh Tarik at the Islander is one of the best in town. Due to the use of real tea and milk it has a natural taste. Apparently many in the coffee shops or street stalls use colouring.
The food variety and quality at the Islander was excellent. For a short trip to Penang, it is an efficient and comfortable way of trying many local dishes. If something you want is not on the buffet, just ask a chef. They seem only too willing to make you happy. Vegetarians especially don't be concerned with all of the meat options, the team seemed only too pleased to prepare meat free dishes when I asked. There are seven different menus rotating weekly highlighting food from Penang. I'm already hankering to get back and try some more. The Baba Nyona High Tea is a steal on weekends for only RM49 nett! In house guests receive a further 25% discount and various credit cards bring a 15% reduction in cost too.
Islander at Trader's Hotel offers various other promotions over the week too. One of them being their Saturday night seafood buffet priced at RM69 nett. The fresh barbecued items such as lobster and chilled oysters are all time hits. The seafood buffet has six rotating menus so you have little chance of boredom even if you were to attend every Saturday night for a couple of months. Being under Shangri La means the sustainable practice of banning shark's fin and other endangered species too. No MSG is used at any Shangri La managed hotel either, and chefs at the Islander enjoy working with the natural flavours of quality ingredients. This means fresh, healthy food for the customer.
+6 04 2622 622