Visitors will want to know where to eat Penang’s legendary Murtabak made since 1907? This is a must go to restaurant for the ultimate halal food when they’re here on an eating holiday.
Hameediyah Restaurant is a curry institution and cooks the same recipes for Indian Muslim cuisines with authentic flavours of long ago. This shop is 109 years old and spans a lineage of seven generations, with loyal customers who are now in their 4th or 5th generations.
This was my grandpa and my father’s favourite place for delicious curries and the famous Murtabak.
For Penangites coming round for meals at the restaurant is a must for most families.
The founder M. Mohamed Thamby Rawther started as a spice trader, importing exotic spices from India. As he was good cooks, he started to serve food cooked with fragrant spices.
The family created many signature dishes that have withstood the test of time.
Popular traditional dishes include Beef Rendang, Mutton Mysore, Kapitan Chicken, Fried Chicken, Curry Chicken, Fish Roe, Squid, Dalcha, Biryani, Okra, Mee Goreng Mamak, Rojak, Pasembur and their lip-smacking Murtabak.
HISTORY OF HAMEEDIYAH RESTAURANT
History has it that Hameediyah Restaurant never closes. In 1940 during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, the restaurant continued to serve the Japanese soldiers and generals. The dish they crave for was the Beef Rendang.
In 1960 to the 70’s, Hameediyah Restaurant helped supply an immense quantity of Beef Rendang to the American GIs fighting in the Vietnam War.
Surprisingly, business boomed during this time.
The popularity of Hameediyah Restaurant ’s sumptuous cuisine grew over the years. Loyal customers from outstation and even overseas would pack curries home for festivals and their weekly dinner!
At lunchtime, it is a common sight to see women coming around to pack home curries.
Penang’s who’s who and dignitaries including the former Chief Minister of Penang are known to have their favourite curries packed in tiffin carriers to be carried to their hotel room for a private dining experience.
HAMEEDIYAH RESTAURANT BRANDING
A hundred years on, credit should be given to the Hameediyah Restaurant’s younger generation, Seeni Pakeer and Syed Ibrahim.
These are the men who kept the exact ageless recipes alive.
The timelessness of the cuisine, with its heady, tantalizing taste is as appealing as it was in the old days.
The staff uniform has a stylised Mamak “kain pelekat” apron with garment money belt worn over black pants and a bright yellow tee shirt embossed with 1907.
If you ask a Penangite what their favourite curries are, they would fumble to say just one.
WE LOVE MURTABAK
When we walk in, we were greeted by a man flipping Murtabak with a burger spatula. The delicious aroma hits you immediately. Most customers stall and watch, a little torn about what to do next.
Hameediyah makes the best Murtabak in Penang. Murtabak is a savoury giant meat and egg stuffed pockets of roti canai dough. The outer paper thin crispy skin is cut open to reveal steamy hot fillings.
All that eggy, oniony filling smells so delicious. There is a choice of vegetarian, chicken or mutton. The murtabak is served with a side of chopped pickled ‘pink” onions. This definitely added an extra ‘kick’.
As for me, their murtabak is the best. The same taste is unchanging over the past 50 years my family had our meals there. Yes, I am the 3rd generation diner who comes back for more!
Travel Tips for Eating Nasi Kandar Without Bursting Your Budget
For first-timers, students and budget travellers, the aromas of delicious curries will floor you. Here are some tips to follow so you don’t over order.
There are two ways to order.
One is to order the rice and several dishes separately to share with family and friends. This way you get to control the quantity of curry for your rice, in case you’re at a beginner spice level.
Individual Plate with Curry over Rice
For diehard fans of Nasi Kandar, this is the only way to go. Even if a group gathers for a meal, everyone will queue for an individual serve. They pick their choice of meat and vegetable and the chef ladle this heavenly mix of curries over. Locally, Malaysians will call for “banjir” meaning to flood the rice. This is strictly not for the first timers as the spices may be overpowering to the sensitive palate. But not to worry as the curries are the result of a good mix of spices and are surprisingly mild and pleasant. There is no explosive heat from potent chillies.
Generally, ask for the type of meat you want. At Hameediyah, there’s duck and chicken curry on the menu. A serve of Duck Meat costs more than a piece of Chicken.
If you like seafood, remember to ask for the price of the large prawns before you order. This is normal according to market price and the size of the prawns.
As the restaurant serves both beef and mutton, do check first. There are also squids, squid eggs and fish roe on the menu.
Best tip is to ask if you’re not sure as meats when covered in curry many looks deferent than when it’s served fried.
If you want to beat the crowds, go before noon. This is the time the curries are taken from the kitchen and the sight of huge vats of hot spicy food is appetising.
What do I like to order at Hameediyah?
My top selection is the flavourful Ayam Ros, Ayam Kurma and Fried Chicken. Sometime I may have a piece of fried fish when I feel like a change.
I often have a plate of rice with a piece of their crispy tender Fried free-range chicken marinated in spices. My curry is Ayam Kapitan and for good measure, a Veggie Murtabak to share. I like the Veggie version so I can taste the caramelized onions and eggs. I know it’s a little like eating an onion omelette which I can make at home. But this is a treat I enjoy.
One of the most delicious items on the menu is the Beef Curry, very robust, spicy and addictive. You can easily eat three small pieces. Another is Squid Roe which I take once in a long while due to its high cholesterol. I tried the Duck Curry with an Aussie friend who actually introduced that to us. The Duck Curry is very delicious and aromatic.
As for Paul, his must have is the chocolaty dark and rich Beef Lungs with his Nasi Kandar. He eats his white rice drenched in a colourful curry mixture and pickled pink onions. When it comes to Nasi Kandar, everyone has their way to enjoy it best.
My choice for drinks is Ais Merah, a sweet rose flavoured the iced drink.
Apart from that, just enjoy and have a great Nasi Kandar experience!
Hameediyah Restaurant | 164A, Lebuh Campbell, George Town,
10200 George Town, Penang | Telephone: 04-261 1095
Opens Daily 10:00am – 10:30pm
There’s a Hameediyah Tandoori House a few doors away from the original restaurant. They provide catering service for parties, weddings and other large-scale events.
The small restaurant, over the years, grew and now has found its way to Kota Damansara.
Kota Damansara branch | Unit A-GF-01 Sunway Nexis, No 1 Jalan PJU 5/1, Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor | Telephone: 03-6151 7766 | Opens Daily 10:00am – 10:30pm
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