Penang Bethesda

Penang Bethesda

As many of you know, my hubby is a US Men’s National Soccer Team super fan.  We try to attend as many of their games (nationally and internationally) as possible. Two weeks ago we traveled to Washington, DC to watch the USMNT play an international friendly game against Peru.

USA v Peru RFK Stadium

USA vs Peru RFK Stadium

Aren’t all games friendly? Yes, (well somewhat depending on the rivalry and crowd response) but some soccer matches are specifically called friendlies because that’s just what they are; a non competitive exhibition game between 2 teams.  National teams will usually play friendlies before a big tournament because it can help the coaches and managers select the best players for the upcoming competition.

The USMNT has a big upcoming match against Mexico on Oct 10th,2015 for the CONCACAF cup in Pasadena, so this game was a great opportunity for the USMNT coach, Jurgen Klinsmann to assess his players.  Go USA!

Sometimes I even surprise myself! All that soccer lingo and jargon that my hubby has been imparting towards me in our 24 years of marriage has apparently sunk in more than even I could have ever predicted!

We also did some sightseeing while we were in DC and I maybe just a tad bias, but every visit to Washington, DC reaffirms my belief that it is one of the prettiest capital cities in the world.

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

We ate at a Malaysian restaurant, Penang Bethesda on our visit.  It was located in Bethesda, Maryland, in a very charming neighborhood which is surrounded by many diverse eateries. The restaurant itself is located at about a 10 min walk from the downtown Bethesda metro stop, very manageable especially on a lovely Summer evening.

The interior decoration was interesting.  They mention that they had just undergone a renovation and I suspect they’re going for swanky but I would call it more family friendly.  

Bonus: there were lots of Asian even Malaysian families eating when we were there on a Saturday night, so I reckon it is a pretty good indication of their authenticity.  

We were seated immediately and the restaurant was bustling that evening.

All food descriptions were taken from the menu.



Roti Canai: Malaysian crispy Indian style pancake with curry chicken as dipping sauce.

Verdict: homemade and buttery.

Roti Canai


1. Bak Kut Teh: Chinese HERBAL soup with pork rib, tofu & mushroom.

Verdict: Tender pork ribs and hearty flavored.

Bak Kut Teh

2. Char Kway Teow: Penang’s famous stir fried flat rice noodles in home-made soya sauce with shrimp, squid, chive, bean sprout, egg and chili paste.

Verdict: Fair and had the requisite wok hei or smoky flavor.  Technically this particular dish should be called Char Mee ( fried thin noodles) because Kway Teow(refers to wide rice noodles).  It’s like ordering fettuccine and getting spaghetti.  Sure, they’re both noodles but the whole point of this dish is the use of wide rice noodles so I am a little puzzled about this interpretation.

Cha Kway Teow

3. Pad Thai: Stir fried flat rice noodles in Authentic Thai chili sauce with tofu & bean sprout, top with crushed peanut.

Verdict: “Best Pad Thai Ever!” according to my daughter who orders this dish at every SEAsian food outing.

Pad Thai


1. Mango Pudding: Cold mango Jell-O topped with fresh mango, shaved ice, syrup & milk.

Verdict: Refreshing and loved the fresh mango slices.

Mango pudding

2. Chendol: Shaved ice served with red bean, green pea flour strip & brown coconut sugar.

Verdict: sweet and a must try especially if you have never tasted brown coconut sugar.  Yes, I know the green pea flour strips look a little weird but they’re like plain jello (a little flavorless) and it’s added more for color and texture.



Outstanding dishes: Roti Canai, Bak Kut Teh and Pad Thai.

The service was just OK.  The waiters were not surly but they weren’t exactly friendly either.  I would expect this standard of service possibly if we were dining at the neighborhood cafe or kopitiam in Penang, Malaysia but even that maybe a stretch.  The last time I visited Penang, Malaysia the service at most cafes and even hawker stalls were actually quite good, probably due to the large number of international tourists that have now discovered the foodie heaven of Penang, Malaysia.

This Penang restaurant is part of the Penang chain of restaurants here in the US.  They are a franchise so each Penang restaurant is individually owned which may account for the varied quality in food and service that I have encountered at the different Penang restaurants around the nation.

The Penang Bethesda restaurant has an extensive Malaysian and Thai menu and deliver within the Bethesda area.  Most entrees are around $15 unless you order specialty items like jumbo prawns or whole fish. They offer lunch specials and are open daily from 11:30 am-9:30 pm (10pm on fri and sat).

Lastly and I really hate that I have to mention this, but the restaurant would benefit immensely from regular restroom checks.