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Monday, April 2, 2012

Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine

007 Popiah 
Open Kitchen 


043 Sambal Sotong 


119 Green Curry Vegetables

104 Spicy Golden Tofu 

175 Seafood Chow Fun

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of dining at Peninsula Malaysian with friends. I have dined at Peninsula a handful of times in the past and have always admired the variety and authenticity of their food. Malaysian cuisine is notable in that it represents many ethnic groups resulting in influences of Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Thai cuisine. This variety is obvious in their extensive four page menu. Peninsula is located on 26th and Nicollet on Eat Steet in Minneapolis. Peninsula's chef, Tong spent 15 years cooking at a well known Malaysian restaurant in New York City where he honed his skills before beginning his Minneapolis career. For an appetizer we ordered Popiah, a Malaysian egg roll filled with tofu, bean sprouts, and jicama drizzled with oyster sauce. The roll was laking in flavor and texture. I would have liked to see the addition of fresh herbs or a crunchy element to liven up the dish. Next to arrive was the Sambal Sotong, a squid dish with fish sauce and shrimp paste. Our waiter warned us before ordering that this dish was quite spicy and fish sauce heavy. Personally, I love fish sauce as well as spice and was not put off by his warning. When the plate arrived, I could smell the potency of the fish sauce from the table... he was not joking! However, when I began to taste the squid, the fish sauce was much milder than I had expected based on its smell. I enjoyed the hint of salty fish sauce in the back of my tongue while flavorful chili and spices could be tasted upon first bite. Next, we received the Vegetable Green Curry, Golden Tofu and Chow Fun. By a sweeping win, my favorite dish was the Golden Tofu, which we later found out from our waiter is used with homemade pressed tofu in house. The tofu spice blend tasted similar to Siracha hot sauce and packed a punch of heat. The selling point to this dish is the play on texture from crispy on the outside to soft and airy on the inside. The Green Curry dish was on the milder side, which helped us save our palates from burning off :) I enjoyed the curry and would definitely order it again. The Seafood Chow Fun came with an incredibly liquid sauce, also on the milder side. I would compare the sauce to what you'd find in an egg drop soup, thick and starchy. I loved the chow fun noodles and seafood, yet was not a huge fan of the corn starch rich sauce glazed over the dish. We all left the restaurant with burning tongues and contented full tummies. We had a few hits and a few misses, but overall a wonderfully flavorful and unique meal. Peninsula will still remain on my top Minneapolis restaurant lists!


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