Being stranded on a tropical island doesn’t seem like the worst fate on earth until the beach frolicking grows tiresome and the call of the tummy can no longer be ignored. Only a teeny weeny problem if you’re anything like me and have no hunting, fishing or foraging skills; the prospect of playing Russian roulette with leaves and berries is not particularly appealing. In fact, it’s terrifying. And rather irrationally, it was a fear I had about spending three to four days on Pangkor Laut Resort.
I know, I know, I overreacted… we were knowingly going to a luxury resort on a private island. Not exactly washing up on a grim deserted island. My first world fear was not about the need to hone my scavenger skills, the issue was whether any of the food would be any good. Restaurants in resorts have a notorious reputation for being overpriced and underwhelming; where’s the incentive to wow where you’ve got a captive customer base?
The first piece of good news is the decent selection of restaurants on the island and secondly, the quality of the food is great. Most Malaysians would probably wince at the prices, especially when comparing them to the hawker stalls and family-run restaurants on the mainland, but for a resort, I think it’s fairly reasonable! We tried all the restaurants and here’s what we thought…
Breakfast at Feast Village
I rarely eat breakfast and rarely tolerate buffet food, but I do make an exception for hotel breakfast buffets, especially when they’re as generous as the one at Pangkor Laut. This is the only meal included in your room booking (unless you’re Malaysian and book the Resident’s Package) and it’s a good one – there’s something for every taste, so you definitely won’t go hungry. We set ourselves up for the day with a hearty mix of roti and curry, congee or rice noodles, fresh fruit and juices, and always with a nasi lemak. I think it’s the best way to start the day but if you can’t get your head around eating all that for breakfast, there are plenty of conventional Western options such as waffles, omelettes, salads and cereals.
Royal Bay Beach Club & Chapman’s Bar
On the days we were by the pool we enjoyed lunch at Royal Bay Beach Club, and when we were at Emerald Bay, we dined on the beach at Chapman’s Bar. Both have similar menus of classic Malaysian dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice or satay, and Western favourites such as sandwiches and salads; something to suit all moods and palates. The vibe at both is very casual, and the food and views are best enjoyed with a refreshing cold beer or cocktail!
Dinner at Feast Village
In the evening, Feast Village focuses on local delicacies and showcases the bold fusion flavours of Malaysian cuisine. We indulged in a beef soup and prawn salad to start before tucking into our mains of laksa and sambal fish. The laksa was rich and comforting, as expected, while my generous fish fillet covered in chilli sauce was so succulent and fragrant. We could’ve done with a bit more heat in both dishes but they were full of flavour and we enjoyed dining in the relaxed atmosphere!
We thought the food at Pangkor Laut’s fine dining seafood restaurant was an utter disappointment. The tables overlooking the sea and the attentive staff were perfect but the food was just not quite up to scratch considering the price. The dishes, such as lobster bisque and poached fish fillets in soy broth, were mostly tasty but lacked the creativity and finesse in execution to make this an interesting dining experience. After the first two courses, we were definitely not inspired to order dessert!
Uncle Lim’s Kitchen
Uncle Lim’s Kitchen is undoubtedly the best and most popular restaurant on Pangkor Laut; it specialises in homely Nyonya, a distinct combination of Malay and Chinese cookery, and Hockchew Chinese dishes. All the dishes are served family style and can be tweaked and tailored according to your tastes which is a testament to the skill of the kitchen team! Uncle Lim himself is a well-loved figure on Pangkor Laut; he started his career on the island in 1985 and although he’s since hung up his wok, he’s often spotted chatting away to guests in the dining room!
My fears of going hungry were obviously irrational and unfounded… as you can tell we ate very, very well at Pangkor Laut Resort – check out what we thought of the overall experience here!