Little Penang Island 小滨岛 The Vibe, Vantage Bay

It isn't common in Johor to find other states' foodfare along the streets - most are espousing true blue Johorean pride. If Johor is the furthest up north you can afford to travel over the weekend, but... rest assured with knowing you could indulge in some Penang cuisine right at Little Penang Island 小滨岛 of The Vibe, Vantage Bay. One gripe is that the place feels too atas to be 'authentic' with gorgeous long tables, high ceilings, impeccable service and the ventilation is excellent with air conditioning. Because if we're not sweating buckets and sitting in a stuffy grimy little shop run by an old, singlet-wearing grumpy uncle, what is authenticity right???

Everything you can remember in your List of Penang Food can be found right here. This includes the first dish we tried, the Popiah. Immediately after the first bite I took, I noticed the popiah skin was quite well done, thin and yet holds everything well together. The popiah fillings were also generous with turnip, cucumber, carrots, egg, chives...! They have a tantalising hoisin base sauce (with some other secret ingredients!) to dip the popiah with too! I wouldn't say it's the best popiah I've tried (the best is made by my parents so NFS) but I guess I would say it is above average! Great choice for starters.

Some noodle soup bowls we tried include the Penang Laksa and Penang Prawn Noodles. The Penang Laksa, in my opinion, is excellent, with exaggerated rich sour and assam tones. Of course, you have to like a sour-based laksa soup before you will enjoy this. I would definitely order the laksa when I'm here. The Prawn Noodles didn't fare as well in my books, with a very thick prawn delicious soup base, but the prawns used were not as fresh as it would be decently considered good. As prawns are the soul of this dish, it is difficult to consider this to be good enough.

Onto the dry noodles! The Dry Hokkien Mee is the Penang rendition, as opposed to the usual soupy, wet delicious mess Singaporeans may be more used to. It is pretty much similar, but imagine it without the soup and stir fried. The dry version is not bad, more fragrant than what we have, but I think I still prefer the Singaporean version one because old food habits die hard... Char kuay teow was decent, but somehow I feel that the wokhei taste it had wasn't as strong as I expected. I'm always looking out for when I'm eating ckt. The plus point is hat the flavours were balanced nicely, it wasn't too sweet like many ckts are there, you can say this is a "healthier choice"!

Overall, I would not travel here specifically for the Penang food herr but it probably is a good addition to the restaurants in this area as the Malaysian cuisine representative in The Vibe. At least folks in groups who can't decide what they want can have the luxury of choice here!

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