A busy restaurant that has become a go-to place for Mat Sallehs, making it difficult to get a table here.
What makes white people gravitate toward one Malaysian eatery and not the other? My hypothesis is that whenever they travel, they absolutely love trying to get chummy with a local restaurant owner, and it helps a lot when they already know his name because it’s on the sign. Though tourists have discovered and apparently love Andrew’s Kampung, Penangites continue to eat here as well so there’s more to this place than empty hype.
How To Get Here
Andrew’s Kampung has managed to thrive despite an odd location in Batu Ferringhi. Eden Parade is a commercial plaza block off of Jalan Batu Ferringhi at the northern tip of Penang. Once there, circle the building until you get to the side that faces Jalan Batu Ferringhi. On the very top floor, you should see the blue signs for Andrew’s Kampung cafe. Take the stairs on the ground floor next to the shop on the corner and ascend the stairs, following the signs up to the cafe.
Ambience & Amenities
The main dining area is an open-air space with additional tables set up next to the edge of the balcony so you can look down over Batu Ferringhi. Obviously, there’s no air conditioning here, but the restaurant has put up standing fans where they could. This space was almost entirely populated with foreigners, and not young professionals but old retirees. There is also an indoor dining room situated next door, and in here was where all the locals ate.
The wall in the main dining area is plastered with sun-baked photos. In nearly every picture was Andrew with a table of white people here in this very restaurant. I would guess that being a regular patron, to the point where Andrew recognises you, is what it takes to get up on this wall.
The toilet was surprisingly grungy for a place beloved by so many westerners. I thought more of them would have been turned off by the state of it. It’s a cramped room with bare paint and a lopsided toilet roll dispenser. There’s only one toilet but it was still a sitting toilet with paper nonetheless. The sink is outside this room in the main restaurant. Around the mirror was a “decoration” of salvaged plastic water bottles – a show of planet-conscious reusing, but just looked ugly to me. I don’t “get” art.
Though his restaurant became popular with westerners, Andrew never sold out and shifted his menu towards sub-par burgers and steaks. Andrew’s Kampung menu is Chinese style with seafood, chicken, beef and veg dishes that are intended to be eaten with rice, which must be ordered separately. At the back is a cheat sheet detailing the spice levels of the curries and sauces. Water does cost 50 sen a glass, but it’s a tall one that should be good for most of your meal.
Don’t be expecting a syrupy Lipton style iced tea when ordering the Iced Lime Tea (RM4.90). It is exactly what it says it is: black tea with a hint of lime that is served on ice. There’s no sugar at all in this, it’s just cold tea.
The Kai Lan (RM13.90) is typical if you’ve ever ordered this at a Chinese restaurant, or even made it at home. This was sauteed in a garlic sauce with crisp stalks and slimy leaves.
The Fried Koay Teow (RM8.90) was tasty for a restaurant that doesn’t specialise in the complex dish. It was flavourful and the noodles were not overcooked. Unconventionally, there were chunks of what I think was fried chicken in the mix.
The Indonesian Fish (RM15.90) was the best part of our dinner that night. Moist white fish that is breaded and remained a bit crunchy even when smothered in the Indonesian sauce. The Indonesian sauce was manageably spicy with a dash of sweetness. This was so good we even ate the lettuce garnish because they had some sauce on them!
I remain confused as to why Andrew’s Kampung is so wildly popular among tourists while many other similar restaurants don’t get half the attention. The prices are very fair for what you get, but the food didn’t blow my mind and the ambience is mediocre. I think this is a cut and dried case of TripAdvisor sheeping. However, this place does have the one thing that other restaurants do not, which is Andrew himself, who seems like a naturally friendly guy. I am not disappointed by my visit here, but I do not think I would come back. The hour-long wait for a table and food (even at 9pm – far too late for the dinner rush, isn’t it?) are not worth it to me.
Price for 2 Pax: RM44.60
Indonesian Fish (Half Portion): RM15.90
Kai Lan (Half Portion): RM13.90
Fried Koay Teow: RM8.90
Iced Lime Tea: RM4.90
Glass of Water x 2: RM1.00
Andrew’s Kampung, Batu Ferringhi
Eden Parade, Northside, Third floor (above Rose’s Tailor and Danish Biryani House), Jalan Sungai Emas/Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang
Daily: 12pm – 10pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Alcohol Served: Yes