THE authentic Hainanese specialties, seafood offerings and rustic surroundings of Hollywood Restaurant remind one of the good old days.
Established in December 1945 along the Tanjung Bungah main road, it is one of Penang's oldest family-run eateries and continues to welcome diners to this day.
Many of the dishes it pioneered decades ago are still popular today, now dished up by a fourth-generation Tan, the head chef Melvin.
Prepared using recipes passed down over the years by his forebears, they are popular among those yearning for a nostalgic taste of yesteryear.
The Choon Piah (Spring Rolls) is an enduring signature item. Packed with shredded vegetables and crab meat then deep fried to a crisp, it goes a treat with the homemade dipping sauce.
Equally great are poultry offerings like Inchee Kabin, Hainan Chicken Chop and Chicken Curry Kapitan, all classics that have withstood the test of time.
“We maintain the taste of our dishes, and many old-timers keep coming back for the familiar taste,” said brother Irwin Tan, who helps run the place.
Other notable items include the Hainanese Kerabu with chicken claw, which is great as a starter to get the appetite going, and the Hainan Noodles.
There is also the Hainan Soya Fragrant Prawns, Lam Chut Fish with black sambal, and Hollywood Assam Curry which can be cooked with either fish or prawns.
The restaurant also prides itself on a selection of specialty items which can be had with advance order of at least one day.
These include the Stuffed Shell Crab laden with crustacean meat, cheese and mushroom, or the Macaroni Pie and Hainanese Fish Pie each brimming with different fillings.
Otherwise, dig into the hearty Chicken Pie, with chunky meat and vegetables in a creamy roux, topped with flaky handmade puff pastry. There is also Duck and Yam Stew.
Hollywood also offers live seafood items, prepared upon order. Simply pick your desired morsel, and have them freshly cooked the way you want.
“We introduce new dishes from time to time, and have a good selection of drinks to complement them.
“Our location by the main road makes it convenient for customers, while the scenic waterfront on the other side creates a relaxing atmosphere,” added Irwin.
The establishment, which turns 70 later this year, started life as a humble coffee shop established by Tan Yong Aun, a migrant from Hainan, China.
Serving Hainanese coffee, toast, and soft-boiled eggs in the early days, it transitioned into a restaurant in the 1960s after the impetus of the founder's nephew, Tan Cheow San.
The latter's son Tan Wee Chong now oversees the restaurant, with his children in turn, also playing a major role in continuing the family business.
Operation hours are from 11am to 3pm, and 6pm to 10pm daily, except Tuesdays.
For more information, visit www.hollywoodrestaurantpg.com or call 04-8907268, or 016-4928282, or 010-5648221 for reservations.
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