International eating isn't a dangerous adventure through customs, in which the customs officer asks you to open your bag and you refuse, prompting him to teach you about manners by reading select Goofus and Gallant comic strips. Dine in a more diplomatic fashion with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Malaysian cuisine and drinks at Penang Restaurant, located near Dupont Circle.
At Penang, the menu heats up with flavorful preparations of authentically spicy dishes. Start with the customer-favorite roti canai appetizer, a traditional dish pairing crispy Indian pancakes with curry-chicken sauce ($4.25). The Penang satay, another popular appetizer, serves up four skewers of tender, marinated chicken or beef with peanut sauce ($6.95). For a sweet, yet bold entree, try the buah mango, handed out with the choice of chicken or shrimp in a spicy mango sauce with shredded mango, green and red peppers, and crispy rice noodles served in a mango shell ($14.95). The curry dishes at Penang offer a refreshing remix for standard Asian spice—more subtle than Indian curries, heartier than Thai versions, and more existent than German curry recipes. Curious curry dishes include the kari ayam, which fuses chicken and potatoes with red curry in coconut-milk gravy ($11.95).
Recently reopened and renovated following a fire, Penang has dressed itself once again in comfortable, elegant décor. Wood fixtures add natural warmth to plush furnishings of dark red, green, and gold. Soft, romantic lighting adds to the atmosphere of an upscale lounge mixed with an authentic Malaysian home.
Reviewers say the delicious roti canai makes up for the sometimes-inconsistent service. Yelpers give it an average of three stars, and nine Yahoo! Locals give it an average of four stars. Washington City Paper likes the sarang burung.
- A better individual choice is the sarang burung, seafood and vegetables in a white sauce stuffed into a fried taro shell and topped with nuts. The taro might seem like a gimmick, but it complements its contents quite well. – Tom McClive, Washington City Paper
- Penang Restaurant in D.C is a must go to restaurant. The food is great, the people are great, and the price is reasonable. I celebrated my graduation May 2008 by inviting 20 guests for dinner and Penang Restaurant delivered the best service ever. They made my day, and my guests were really satisfied and happy. – taiwo, Yahoo! Local