Red Courtyard

Special thanks to Red Courtyard for extending this food review invitation.

Red Courtyard (红庭院) is a restaurant on King Street (Lebuh King), just right behind Gem Restaurant. Formerly occupied by Das Rad Cafe, this red building maintains the shop's original architecture. Customers are greeted by old-fashioned wooden doors with gold colored motif.
The dining section of Red Courtyard presents a classical Chinese appearance, invoking a sense of nostalgia of the early 20th century. The walls are painted in vibrant red color, with wooden and golden colors that contribute to a luxurious appearance. Across the tiled floor are marble tables and hardwood stools.
The proprietor of Red Courtyard hails from the Hunan Province of China. Specializing in Hunan cuisine (湘菜), the menu centers on home recipes (私房菜) that she inherited from her family's restaurant in China.
One of the restaurant's signature dishes is Spicy Beer Duck (啤酒酸菜鸭, RM49.90). Tender duck thigh is infused with 15 types of spices. This is in addition to the restaurant's homemade Hunan chili sauce (湖南辣椒酱). The duck is simmered with pickled cabbage (酸菜), ginger, garlic, onions and red chili peppers. Beer is doused onto the dish for the finishing touch. The taste of beer diminishes over time as the soup boils, so it is recommended to consume this dish as early as possible.
Spicy Chicken (湖南香辣鸡肉煲, RM49.90) is an alternative option for customers who do not take duck. The poultry dish combines 3 types of chili peppers with a dozen types of spices. The original recipe calls for Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒). But in response to popular demand, beer is also added.
As for rice, I highly recommend Lap Mei Fan (腊味饭, RM39.90). The claypot of white rice is topped with Chinese sausage (腊肠) and Chinese bacon (腊肉). Both delicacies are seasoned from scratch in the kitchen, not bought from suppliers. Add some soy sauce and scallion before eating. Also stir the rice thoroughly to allow raw eggs to be cooked against the hot claypot surface.
Another dish that one should not miss is the Hunan Spicy Fish (湖南香辣鱼煲). Red snapper (红狮鱼) takes the center stage with its exquisite texture. The fish is fried beforehand, and then dressed with Red Courtyard's signature spice mix. This dish can be seasoned milder or spicier should customers prefer so.
In addition to red snapper, the claypot also contains several shrimps and a generous amount of enoki mushrooms (金针菇). Ginger and garlic do a great job in enhancing aroma. Coriander and scallion are used as garnish. If you are fond of spicy seafood, this dish will certainly appeal to your palate.
Compared Sichuan cuisine (川菜), Hunan cuisine is better described as being sweet-spicy (香辣) as opposed to numbing-spicy (麻辣). Besides cooked dishes, Red Courtyard also serves Hunan steamboat (湖南火锅). Given my good impression of the food today, Red Courtyard's steamboat is what I would love to try next time.

Name: Red Courtyard (红庭院)
Address: 10B, Lebuh King, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 010-398-2205
Business hours: 11:00am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm, closed on 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month
Website: https://www.facebook.com/redcourtyard
Coordinates: 5.41948 N, 100.34069 E
Directions: Drive along the one-way King Street (Lebuh King). After the junction with Bishop Street (Lebuh Bishop), Red Courtyard is one of the first shops on the left. There are parking spaces on both sides of King Street and Bishop Street.

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