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Gēn 根 @ George Town Penang

After putting this place on my list for the longest time, I finally tried their tasting menu.

For RM330 per person, it is a steep pricing for a 12-course tasting menu in Penang. Price is comparable to those in KL (or even more expensive).

Let me show you what I had:

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Nutmeg refreshment

Upon arrival, they’ll serve you a shot of nutmeg refreshment to cleanse your taste palate before seating you.

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Ginger flower sorbet

Served with peach floss on top, this was rather refreshing and interesting.

Ginger flower cracker & ginger flower tea

The ginger flower cracker has a mild taste and it was sandwiched with watermelon spread in between.

The ginger flower tea was interesting as it was served with kaffir lime laksa oil. The tea itself was strong with flavours and tasted more like a light laksa broth than ginger as the sourness from the kaffir lime cuts through any bitterness from the ginger.

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Debone chicken wing

Looks nothing like a chicken wing infact. It’s wrapped in a black mantau with egg fried rice and topped with sambal. Pretty interesting! Honestly I tasted more egg fried rice than chicken.

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Salted duck egg

This was so pretty! It is prata shell filled with torched corn and salted egg yolk crumbs. The salted egg flavour was quite prevalent and strong, those who like salted egg would like this one.

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Pickled papaya

A long strip of pickled papaya sitting in a pineapple and tomato based juice. On its base, there are aged prawn, cured vegetable and pork lard. The papaya was just alright with me, what stood out was the broth / juice. Really flavourful and sweet which complemented the aged prawn really well.

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Ulam

Ulam, a traditional Malay salad becomes modern and interesting when served with a variety of sauces and vinaigrette.

It’s served with a slice of mackerel, 6 dippings and 2 vinaigrette. I usually don’t quite like my salad this raw but the variety of dressings made it better.

I don’t like vinaigrettes so I didn’t touch those at all. The dippings were budu sauce, spicy chili, tamarind, salted egg, fermented cempedak and desiccated coconut.

I LOVED the fermented cempedak. It had a good texture which went so well with the raw vegetables. The next best in line for me was the desiccated coconut and tamarind sauce. My favourite combo was long beans + fermented cempedak + desiccated coconut.

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Hakka express

I honestly didn’t dare to try this at first because I don’t have the highest tolerance for chili and have never eaten a full chili on its own before. But thank goodness this was not even close to spicy.

Chili stuffed with minced pork and topped with pork floss. Pretty nice combination.

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Pumpkin porridge

Cooked with dried scallops and served with pork floss, sous vide egg yolk, chives and beans. I loved this combo! And in particular the pumpkin porridge which was really flavourful.

Threadfin

Local threadfin fish served with fermented cabbage broth, pickled radish, sea grapes and Sarawak black peppercorn.

This wasn’t my favourite. Maybe because I don’t like blackpepper to begin with and the taste was quite prevalent in the dish.

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Duck Confit

Duck confit wrapped in Chinese pancake, topped with shitake mushroom and served with Sarawak black peppercorn sauce.

This one I like! The shitake mushroom has smoky flavours which went really well with the duck.

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Herbal Duck Soup

Served with mushrooms 3 ways, oyster mushroom, fermented shiitake mushroom and fresh button mushroom. I enjoyed this as it has a homey and comforting feeling drinking the broth.

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Pickled pineapple

Served with soy sauce reduction. This is the chef’s childhood favourite. Not gonna lie, I expected this combination to be weird as I don’t see how the saltiness from soy sauce would complement the sourness from pineapple.

Happy to share that it was a nice experience. Better flavour than expected. The soy sauce reduction wasn’t as salty as it sounds and the pickled pineapple was sweeter than I could have imagined.

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Birds Nest Crème Brûlée

The staff told me the way to eat this is by pouring the birds nest over the crème brûlée and enjoying it paired together. I think having it on its own is also nice but the birds nest gives it a different texture when eaten together.

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Guava & Strawberry Parfait

Sweet ending to the meal. The guava parfait was served with sour plum power and rose parfait served with rose powder. Missing in picture is deep fried kaya pandan ice-cream puff with chocolate powder. Bite sized and just nice!

Overall the food was good and did not disappoint. Would say that their cocktails have room for improvement (not in photograph).

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