Explore the Peninsula

Kuala Lumpur comes to Minneapolis, via Eau Claire.

When have you possessed such a craving for a food that you’d drive an hour and a half each way to have it for lunch? That’s how enthusiastic some in the robust Twin Cities Malaysian community were about the food served at Pinang, a Malaysian restaurant in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.


Tired of the drive, a group of Twin Cities investors persuaded Pinang’s principals to relocate on Eat Street in Minneapolis. Eau Claire’s loss is the Twin Cities’ gain. Peninsula (612-871-8282, 2608 Nicollet Ave. S., www.peninsulamalaysiancuisine.com) opened in January.

Peninsula’s General Manager Ken Li describes Malaysian cuisine as “the best of Thai, Chinese, and Indian cooking, the food from the three countries that border Malaysia.” Seasonings are complex, though not always intensely spicy. Among the classics on the menu are wonderful rendangs, stews of cubed beef or lamb braised in coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, chili paste, and red curry paste, and a tender lamb shank simmered in spices and coconut milk. There are more than two dozen seafood specialties, including a grilled fish wrapped in banana leaf, and a sweet and spicy soft-shell crab.

In contrast to so many ethnic spots, Peninsula is stylish and comfortable. There’s even a good selection of wines and beers to enjoy with Head Chef Chang Xu’s delicious, first-rate preparations.