Real Food has now arrived in Penang. Run by people who are passionate about ethically sourced, healthy and meat-free food, they have chosen to make food from scratch with only fresh ingredients. Suzanne Morgan and her husband Ken tried it out.
Singaporeans Jee Yang and his wife, Serene, have branched out and brought their meat-free concept restaurant to Penang. Jee Yang explained that they wanted to expand regionally but didn’t want to go to another big city like Kuala Lumpur; they already have three branches in Singapore.
About Penang, Jee Yang said that “I really like the lifestyle here and it’s close to the source of our food supply”. Their mostly organic and non GMO products come from Cameron Organic Farm in the Cameron Highlands and Justlife in Penang.
Together with their Penang partners, Mike and Carmen, they have opened Real Food in Straits Quay. Their vision is to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle by offering high quality meat-free food as well as workshops, talks and film screenings.
“Real Food is a restaurant with a heart”, Jee Yang said and by the look of the menu, the food is certainly good for the heart. You won’t find any processed, ready-made food here, all the food is made from scratch and can be a labour of love. Serene mentioned that their unique handmade signature dumplings can take three people around six hours to make.
Walking into Real Food, there is a real feeling of light, openness and space with big windows, light wood furniture and white walls. All around the store are shelves full of Sonnentor organic products including teas, herbs and spices. There’s also a real community feeling with comfy couches, long wooden tables and a magazine rack full of reading materials. WiFi is also available.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Real Food offers a large, creative and varied menu. Start the day with their all day breakfasts including banana pancake and veggie omelet. Choose from soups, sandwiches and burgers, salads, pasta, pizza, rice and noodle dishes. Looking for a snack, then there are spring rolls, dumplings, mushroom bruschetta and fruit rojak.
On our visit, we had the beet and millet burger which is a soft patty made with beetroot, carrot, onions, coriander and millet stacked with fresh greens and sauce in a seeded bun served with organic raw dehydrated fruit. This red coloured burger was delicious, but the dehydrated fruit is soft and a bit of an acquired taste.
We also tried the chickpea cake made from chickpeas, sweet potato, herbs and spices, served with an asparagus, green bean, lettuce and almond salad. The soft chickpea cake was delicious and nicely spiced and the asparagus, beans and almonds gave the dish crunch.
There aren’t any desserts on the menu, but if you want something sweet, then you can try the vegan ice-cream or vegan brownie available that day. We tried the brownie which was soft, decadent and not too sweet.
Feeling thirsty? Choose from a variety of fresh fruit juices, smoothies, fruit and herbal teas and even a soya latte which Ken was excited about.
Real Food is a unique concept in Penang, not only serving healthy, nutritious and creative food, but offering an environment to work, read, and learn about a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Being in Straits Quay, the cost of the food is mid-range with the average cost of a main dish being around RM25 and a juice around RM16. The food is certainly delicious and tasty, but the portion sizes are a bit on the small side. However, the ingredients are mostly organic and non-GMO and cooked from scratch, so you can be assured that they are nutritious.
Cost: Between RM18 – RM33 per dish.
Location: Ground Floor, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470, Penang.
Open: Daily, from 10am to 10pm.
Parking: Straits Quay offers covered and uncovered parking. The 102 bus stops outside Straits Quay. The 101 bus stops at Tesco and it’s a five minute walk to Straits Quay.
Recommendation: Take a stroll outside Straits Quay and watch the boats and yachts moored there. You can also take a walk down the promenade for a bit of exercise. Organic Oasis, selling organic skin care, is on the first floor.