“gēn 根 is all about using Malaysian produce, presenting local flavours in our own way, and exploring our roots. Our chefs visit the market every morning for produce and work with local fishermen and farmers, such as Uncle Wong whose beautiful free-range chickens produce Penang’s best eggs.
“As the name of our restaurant in Chinese suggests (‘roots’), some of the dishes at gēn 根 are inspired by our childhoods, our backgrounds, and our memories as Malaysians.”
Duck liver with ginger flower curry mousse, burnt cauliflower, pickled nutmeg, and red amaranth leaves; cuttlefish with prawn oil, crispy shrimp, kale, compressed cucumber, and prawn head broth; and fermented pineapple with soya, red chilli, ginger crumble, coconut ice-cream, and kaffir lime chips.
Penang’s gēn 根 – which means “roots” in English – is Chef Johnson Wong’s first restaurant. He has worked in some of the world’s best, from France to Denmark, before returning to Malaysia. At sleek new gēn 根 in an old Chinese enclave, home to a busy wet market, Wong and his young chefs take orders, prepare food, and serve guests at the only table – a twentyfour- seater that runs the length of the room, separating the dining area from the kitchen. Wong cooks in his unique style of contemporary Malaysian cuisine, rooted in nostalgia and flavours from his childhood.