There are many hawker stalls on Penang and many of them deserving of the title of ‘best in its type’ but there is one food court or night market that is truly deserving the title of largest, most centrally located and some would say best.
Red Garden has been a fixture on the visitors to Penang’s ‘must eat at’ locations since it was opened 5 years ago. The managing Director, Albert Loh, has transformed the concept of Night Market Hawker Food by gathering together in one very central location the ‘very best of the best’ under one roof.
Many vendors wish to be at Red Garden but first you have to satisfy Albert that your food can stand the test of the mighty Penang palate.
The famous TV Chef, Anthony Bourdain, recently visited Penang for yet another show of his and yes you guessed it he was guided to Red Garden by non-other than one of our very own culinary masters, Helen Ong.
Anthony filmed one evening in February and he, not known for holding back on his honesty (just read his book Kitchen Confidential and you will know what I mean!), loved the Fish Head Curry so much he ate the entire pot for himself, leaving his famously hungry film crew to fend for themselves.
The crowds start to come in at around six and this very mixed bunch of hungry customers are from literally all around the world. When a sample was taken just a few weeks ago there were over 14 nationalities scattered around the night market at that time.
You will brush shoulders with foreigners and locals here as they know what is good. On my recent visit there was a Tan Sri, a Dato and many other noted Georgetown businessmen, all here separately and all on a weekday night for no other reason than the food is good.
In addition to the main draw of the food there is a nightly musical performance which does have a following of its own. Red Garden does not only offer you a place to sample the offerings of Penang’s finest hawker foods but is a cheap place to eat, drink and listen to a free show of music.
Next month we will be going stall to stall with our own recommendations – if you have a favorite stall then please visit our fan page and let us know your top picks when it comes to hawker foods and where to find them.