Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Jazz Pinoy Restaurant in KOMTAR, Penang

Ok, say you are a Filipino, living in Malaysia, and you miss the food at home. Someone, like, ooooh say, my wife. You really crave some adobo, diniguan, sinigang, or some other food you haven't had since last time you were at home. What do you do?

Well, if you are in Penang, you go to KOMTAR, (the big tower in the picture on the left). You go upstairs to the third level, and see the James and Susan Moey at the Jazz Pinoy Restaurant.

(That's Susan on the left, my wife, me, and James.)

There they have all sorts of Filipino foods for you to eat, just like at home. If you tell them a day ahead of time, they will even make you that special dish you haven't had since you left home.

The Jazz Pinoy acts as the unofficial Filipino center for Penang and northwestern Malaysia. During the weekend, Filipinos come from all overthe area to meet, eat, make friends, and speak their native tongue. If you are a Filipino in trouble, go there and they will put you in contact with the Penang Support Group, which works with the Embassy in KL to help Filipinos in need. The PSG is doing good work, and has helped out many Filipinos in this area who were having various problems.

My wife and I discovered this place purely by accident.

We were staying overnight in Penang, before going on to Thailand, to go on vacation to help us get over our second pregnancy misfire. We didn't know where we were going to go, so we were looking for an internet cafe to check likely locations. I knew there was one in KOMTAR.

We went to the level where I knew there was one. I saw their sign advertising Filipino food, and stopped. My wife grabbed my hand, and tried to pull me towards the Internet cafe. I told her there was a Filipino restaurant right in front of us, but she refused to go in. Nothing I could say or do would make her stop for a couple of minutes to check it out. Her reason? She didn't think it was a real Filipino restaurant. HUH?

It was only after we finished at the Internet cafe that she consented to go in. Then we found out that yes, it is a real Filipino restaurant with real Filipino food, and that Susan is from the Visayas, just like my wife. Once my wife was there, it was hard to get her out.

We went back when we returned from Phuket. My wife has been back many times, and has made many friends there. She even met one of her classmates from primary school there, who is now married with four kids. Through the contacts she made at the Jazz Pinoy, she was able to enroll in a certificate course in cooking, sponsored by the Philippine embassy. It is taught by her new friend Lisa, who is also from the Visayas.

The Jazz Pinoy definitely has been a blessing to my wife, and the other Filipinos in the area.

It is a little bit of home away from home.

Even for me! :-)