I only have a few hours to spend in Penang as here is one of the stop over for my cruise. My friend had recommended to have my lunch at Jawi House Cafe Gallery at the Armenian Street. With the guide of my Google Maps using my mobile phone,I walked for a few minutes, and luckily the cafe is nearby.
For your information, the Armenian Street is also known as ‘Malay Lane’ and it is the heritage zone of Georgetown. I read about this cafe at the Wonderfood Museum too, from that I know this cafe is one the place I should be missed when I am here.
The café is owned by Datuk Dr Wazir Jahan Karim, an anthropologist and culture conservationist that specialises in traditional Jawi Peranakan cuisine. No, I did not have a chance to meet the owner.
I love this concept of cafe. It felt authentic. The Jawi House Cafe Gallery is filled with decorations depicting the Jawi Peranakan culture. Not too many table inside the cafe and most of the interior are using antiques. The environment inside here is quiet special as it felt nostalgic with all the art pieces.
The cafe crew immediately attend me and took my order. I decided to give a try their signature dish which is Nasi Lemuni (Lemuni Rice). The Lemuni Rice, a rice dish similar to Nasi Lemak cooked with coconut milk but flavoured with leaves from the lemuni tree (scientific name: Vitex trifolia L). Lemuni leaves are said to have medicinal properties.
The café uses long grain basmati in the herbal lemuni rice and it has an interesting mix of flavours. The rice is cooked with ginger, lemon grass, shallots, garlic and homemade lemuni leave paste. The rice has a blue tint from the butterfly pea flowers (scientific name: Clitoria ternatea L). For centuries, it is a traditional postpartum or confinement food for Malay women to improve blood circulation, replenish iron in blood after delivery and increase energy. Today it is also a favourite of Malay men. The rice dish is served with chicken curry, egg, cucumber, crispy fried anchovies and sambal chilli paste.
While I am busy enjoying my Lemuni Rice, some lady had mistep the stair and slip. It was very unfortunate even. Luckily nothing happened to here. I also took the opportunity to visit the upper floor. Nothing much up there.