Pandemic Takeout 57: Peninsula (Minneapolis)

After several weeks (months?) of saying we would soon be going back to Peninsula in Minneapolis to pick up some Malaysian food we finally did it this past weekend. Peninsula remains the major Malaysian restaurant in the Twin Cities metro. Indeed, I’m not aware of any other contender—which is not to say one might not exist. There is, of course Satay 2 Go in Apple Valley but it’s much smaller, in terms of both size and scope; and in any case we’ve always enjoyed Peninsula more. As I’ve noted before of Peninsula, they have an expansive menu but not everything on it is entirely to our taste. Over the years we have come to focus our meals there on a small subset of their Malay specialties. And on this occasion as well we stuck largely to our favourites. Some of them survived the 50 minute drive from the restaurant to our house a little worse than others but we had an enjoyable dinner anyway.

We were joined again at this dinner by our podmates. With most of our friends approaching being two weeks out from their second vaccine shot, I suppose we are going to reevaluate the whole pod thing at some point soon. But right now our podmates—another family of four—are still the only people we’re eating indoors with. Which means there were eight of us: four adults and four kids. We ordered as excessively as we usually do.

What did we get?

  • Two orders of the roti canai. This may be my favourite dish at Peninsula. The roti/paratha is always very good—a little dried out from the drive on this occasion but still good—and the chicken curry that comes with it is always very good; as close to high quality home-style Indian chicken curry as you could hope to come in a restaurant. Our kids these days love eating parathas with chicken curry; hence the second order so that the adults could also get a taste.
  • An order each of the chicken and beef satays. These were largely for the kids but I got a taste of each and they were tasty. They came with a swimming pool’s worth of peanut sauce.
  • Hainanese chicken. You can get this steamed or fried and we always get it steamed. Both the chicken and the rice (cooked in chicken broth) got inevitably a bit dried out on the drive but were tasty regardless. This was also mostly for the kids.
  • Beef rendang. Peninsula’s rendang is somewhat variable. We’ve had some very good iterations there and some that were just okay. This one fell in the latter category—the beef was perfectly cooked but the flavours lacked some depth in my view. Not bad at all but nothing very special.
  • Kacang pendek or sauteed string beans. You can get them done with garlic or shrimp paste (belacan) and we chose the latter. It was pungent but very tasty.
  • Asam laksa. On our own we typically get only the nyonya laksa and so it was good to renew our acquaintance with this sour-sweet noodle soup.
  • Nyonya laksa. And, of course, we got it again. It was decent but was another dish that perhaps suffered from the drive.
  • Kari mee. Indeed, I preferred this noodle soup with shrimp and chicken in a curry-based broth. My pick of the three noodle soups. All three, by the way, were packed very well with the soup in one container and the rest of the fixings in a larger container that coud have functioned as a soup bowl if you were taking your order only a few minutes away. And the containers of soups and fixings were clearly marked to prevent mix-and-match errors in assembly.
  • We don’t usually get dessert at Peninsula but on this occasion we got two. First up, the coconut jello pudding. This was very nice indeed. The flesh of the young coconut is scooped out and made into a pudding and then put back into the shell. Refreshing and not overly-sweet.
  • We also enjoyed the pilut hitam, a black rice pudding which was likewise not too sweet.

For a look at the menu and everything we ate, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost and to see what might be coming next.

As you probably noticed from the slideshow, the restaurant is still takeout-only. You call your order in ahead of time and when you arrive there is a takeout window set up at the front entrance where you pay and pick up your food. Forget dining in, you can’t even go in. I’m sure that in a time when a number of restaurants have opened back up for dining in the places that are still being more cautious are getting less custom. And so if you enjoy eating at Peninsula ever so often please continue to give them some business.

Price? All of the above plus a 20% tip brought the bill to about $155. Enough food for 10 adults, I’d say, so a real per head cost of $15.50. Very good value.

What’s next for us in pandemic takeout? I’m really not sure. The missus—who will be three weeks out from her second shot on Saturday—is taking off for Los Angeles this weekend to see her mother after a year and a half. The boys and I might just keep things simple this weekend. Let’s see how it goes.


One thought on “Pandemic Takeout 57: Peninsula (Minneapolis)

  1. Thanks, was looking forward to this review, and we will plan to return to Peninsula sometime.

    I promised a report on Hai Hai…we had fun, good service and fun atmosphere, good cocktails, all fairly reasonably priced. Except, the food.

    I had Rendang beef which didn’t taste nearly as good as how yours looked I bet, and was about half as much. It was supposed to be really hot per the waitperson; it wasn’t at all.

    Cathy had their generic Asian noodle dish which was fairly antiseptic tasting. There were no real vibrant or exciting flavors that you usually get in Vietnamese food. The next day she added some more lemongrass we had laying around to her leftovers and then felt it was flavorful. How bout that!

    Unfortunately the food seemed more dumbed down since our last visit, probably in order to satisfy the Minnesota preference for benign flavor profiles. So we decided we likely won’t return.


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