Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Assam Laksa Atlanta

There was a Chinese-looking guy sitting right at the back at the workshop in Atlanta. The workshop sessions were rather business-like, and there was not much interaction between the 50+ participants, except those who sat near each other. So, for the first three days of the workshop I was wondering where that guy was from. I figured he wasn't from China or Taiwan, based on his accent. He spoke differently from the other Taiwanese-Americans. And the spelling of his Chinese name just sounded so familiar... So I finally went to introduce myself to him on the fourth day, and guess what, I found out that he is a Malaysian living and working in the US. His name is Francis. He was born in Kuala Terengganu, grew up in Kajang, but is now firmly rooted in the US because he likes it there. The only thing he misses is Malaysian food... and durians. I later found out why he settled in the US. He is married to a Kazakh woman. They met while studying in college in Oklahoma, and are now living in Arkansas with their two young boys. On a related note, he can't stand the corruption and inefficiencies of the Malaysian government, so he left, but still maintains his Malaysian citizenship. (On the flight back from LA to KL, I also met another two Malaysians with US green cards.)

In true Malaysian fashion, Francis belanja'd me dinner at none other than the Penang restaurant, about 6 miles north of downtown Atlanta. He had been eating dinner there everyday since arriving in Atlanta. Apparently there are much fewer Asian restaurants back home in Arkansas, so he had to satisfy his gastronomic cravings as much as possible while he could. Earlier, I had planned to eat some really local American Southeast cuisine for dinner that day, but since Francis had a rented car, and offered to also take me out for a jalan-jalan tour, I ditched the local food and joined him for Malaysian food. How ironic. I had assam laksa, which tasted very authentic. For dessert, we had ice kacang, with real gula melaka, but no santan. Still, it was more than passable.

Heading north on I-85 out of Atlanta

On the road, 6 lanes in one direction.

The noodles were a bit too chewy, but the overall taste passes the test.

Dun play-play, Atlanta also got ice kacang. Better than some KL ones.

Inside Penang

4897 Buford Hwy Ste 113
Chamblee, GA 30341-3667
Phone: (770) 220-0308

American Civic next to the rented Rio. Georgia requires licence plates only on the rear of vehicles.

Then we checked out Lenox Square, which is the premier shopping mall in Atlanta. But it still can't beat the monstrous Mid-Valley Megamall or 1-Utama in size.

A walk along one of the swankier parts of suburban Atlanta

After Lenox Square, we walked over to Phipps Plaza, which is even posher, hosting only branded high-end boutiques. But I went there to use the washroom.

The outside of Phipps Plaza

Atlanta skyline at night


chuen said...

oh oh... there's that same franchise in Chinatown in Chicago... never tried it though...

CHARIS said...

Ha ha, I've always wondered why Malaysians living abroad get so excited in taking a Malaysian from Malaysia to a Malaysian restaurant! It happens to me here in US and also in Australia. Weird, but true :) But I do love the Malaysian or Asian custom of taking care and belanjaing other Malaysians...any part of the world. Now that's Malaysia Boleh, alright!!!

HL said...

Chuen: Hi, nice to see you here. Yeah, Penang is a franchise chain of restaurants. But they have managed to maintain their quality very well, I must say.

Charis: I think it's because they are so happy to meet someone from "home", who actually knows where Malaysia is on the world map*, who also likes durian and who knows how to use the word "lah".

*Most Americans have not the faintest clue where Malaysia is.

nicole said...

you managed to capture the moon in your night scene! is that the moon, really?

HL said...

Yes, that's la luna in the sky.

lin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HL said...

Definitely not a Proton Satria Neo. Probably a Dodge Viper or something.

lina said...

nice pics... looks like you are definitely getting very acquainted with your new cam =D

Duh Dweller said...

Apalah...assam laksa in Atlanta.

But I would have done the same thing...not eat assam laksa, but if I was in NYC or Philadelphia, I would have definitely taken any friend to Penang.

The culinary conundrum is what to order!
Big portions + so many cravings + little stomach space + small wallet = not a very satisfied Penang customer.

HL said...

lina: We're getting along fine.

duh: I didn't find the serving too big, or maybe I was hungry.

vagus said...

didn't realize there was a penang in atlanta. there's a bunch elsewhere in the US.

HL said...

Hi vagus, your name sounds vaguely familiar. We may have met but I'm sorry I can't remember. Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, I didn't know Penang is a chain of restaurants.