How often have you tried Penang assam laksa, chee cheong fun or rojak in Kuala Lumpur that was either tasteless or inauthentic.

It is difficult to find great Penang hawker food outside the island. They may be found sporadically, but to find them all at one eating outlet such as the Penang Village in Kuala Lumpur is an answered prayer to Penang food lovers.

You get the real stuff at Penang Village and in a wide variety.

With the good food, price and setting combined, it is no wonder that since it opened three months ago, the outlet has attracted good-sized crowds without a single advertisement.

The most appealing part of the menu were the appetizers. The kerabu mango, for instance, with finely shredded mango and onion, had the right sweet and sour taste.

The jiu hu char, made up of savoury cuttle fish, turnips, carrots, black mushrooms and prawns wrapped in local lettuce, reminded one of popiah without the flour wrap but a lot tastier.

The Penang rojak could be catgorised as an appetizer instead of a dessert in the menu. Unlike regular Penang rojak, this rojak has been modified creatively. The combination of fruits garnished with finely minced fried cuttlefish was superb.

The tasty fishiness of the garnishing blended well with the prawn paste and held the sweet and sour taste of mango, guava and other local fruits together. For a "southerner" not impressed by Penang rojak, I was certainly converted.

What is that you can find about Penang Village is that you can find a homecooked dish such as salted fish bone curry which is hardly found in restaurant these days. The dish was mixed nutritiously with egg plant, bean curd and pineapple and went well with rice. Forget about fish head curry, this curry is out of this world.

Check out the spicy otak-otak. Slightly different from the usual paste, the Penang otak-otak was made up of ikan kurau, daun kadok, lemon grass and fish paste.

Even Westerners can enjoy the spicy food which was not too pungent, for example hokkien mee. This light soup did not have the usual red spicy colour but the prawn taste remained just like the original. And since it was light, it was less oily.

For something Chinese, the chicken, offered a pleasant surprise. Well marinated and roasted, the chicken meat is tender and succulent.

However, the lorbak did not fare so well. Although rich in herbal taste, the chicken meat was a little dry and tough, making it hard to chew.

The assam laksa contained sufficient fish but it was a wee bit too sour. Nevertheless, some may like it for the "kick".

The desserts were delicious. The cendol was sweetened with real gula melaka while the bubur cha cha had the right amount of coconut milk.

The desserts were delicious. The cendol was sweetened with real gula melaka while the bubur cha cha had the right amount of coconut milk.

A restaurant is usually known for one or two of it's best dishes, but for Penang Village, almost every dish was delicious and came with its own touch of creativity.

The setting is certainly a great improvement of the regular hawker stall.

In short, you won't be disappointed!