Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for September, 2012


Posted by crizlai On September - 26 - 2012

For meat lovers, especially beef and poultry lovers, you are in for a meaty treat this coming October 2012 as Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its German Galore Promotion for the whole month of October 2012 (1-31 October 2012). You can now savor all the delectable spread of German cuisine under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Kelvin Cheong. However, you won’t be able to try out any pork related items the Germans are famous for as the restaurant is halal. For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.


One of the main appetizers of the day would surely be the German Potato Salad (德式馬鈴薯沙拉). This nicely chilled authentic German salad recipe had me digging in for more. It was a simple dish with just a few ingredients and yet the slight creamy and sour flavors in it were truly refreshing and appetizing. Can you imagine a dish with just diced potatoes, diced onions, diced turkey ham, black pepper, vinegar, salt & sugar to taste with a light sprinkles of chopper spring onions can be so fulfilling? Yummy!


The next appetizer was the German Sauerkraut Salad (德式酸菜沙拉). The sauerkraut which is basically shredded cabbage and sugar under pickling processes through lacto-fermentation, had that slight sourness. When combined with some sliced celery, capsicum, onions and tossed with some sliced bratwurst, it was another great dish to start off prior to a heavy and meaty meal.


As for main, we had an assortment of German Sausages (Bratwurst) and Chicken Schnitzel served on Rotkohl, with Onion Sauce (with diced turkey ham) and Dijon Mustard as condiments.


The Germans are the experts in making wurst (sausages) for centuries and they claimed to have created more than a thousand types of wurst throughout Germany, with variants in different regions of course. Their wurst basically falls into 4 categories such as Rohwurst (fresh/raw), Kochwurst (cooked), Buchwurst (boiled/scalded) and Bratwurst (grilled/pan-fried). There are also the schinken (hams) such as the Rohschinken (fresh/raw), Kochschinken (cooked) which would be ideal for topping breads. We managed to try out 5 types of the wurst (chicken & beef) such as the Bratwurst, Foot Long and Weisswurst.


The Chicken Schnitzel (德式雞排) on the other hand was a hit amongst us. The golden breadcrumbs crusted boneless chicken thigh meat had just the right marinates with a mild touch of parmesan cheese, butter, pepper and a light hint of lemon juice. It was perfect with some sprinkles of roasted almond flakes for the extra crunchiness.


One of the side dishes that came severed with the main dishes was the Rotkohl (Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage), another staple dish in Germany. Compared to the Sauerkraut, this dish had a more distinctive tangy sweetness from some added apple cider and spices such as cloves and cinnamon barks. Some toasted turkey bacons were added in for a mild tad of saltiness. This dish went well with all the meat dishes.


Another of the main dishes served was the Beouf (Beef) Stroganoff on some puff pastry. This is quite a flexible dish as it can be use to top any of the starches such as rice, noodles, pasta, bread and more. The taste of this dish was quite similar to those beef stews except that it was rather mild in spices. Basically, you can taste the natural sweetness from a high usage of onions, mild peppery taste from some mustard and black pepper, earthly taste from some mildly sauteed mushrooms and some creamy and sour flavors from the added sour cream. The only doubt I had was on the origin of the dish. It was to be a Russian dish but got famous throughout the surrounding countries and the Germans also claimed it as theirs. LOL!


A meal won’t be complete if you did not have the national dessert of Germany – the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) or simply known as the Black Forest Cherry Torte. Resident Pastry Chef, Chef Franco Ho did a great job here by producing the most amazing slice of cake I had for a long time. The cake was filled with the right sweetness of cream with added juicy black forest cherries. Thumbs up!


Another two desserts that got the Germans munching practically any time of the day was the Berliner (Berlin Donuts) and Pretzels. The Berliners were simply deep fried yeast dough balls with custard, crème or jam fillings. On the other hand, the Southern Germany favorite of Pretzels came plain with some sprinkles of icing sugar. This light snack would be great if dunked into some black coffee, especially those filtered coffee.


Overall, Swez Brasserie had its limitation in serving the German cuisine as pork remains the most popular choice of meat in Germany. Due to the restriction in serving pork related dishes, you would see more of chicken, beef or turkey being used as alternative ingredients. The taste of the dishes might differ significantly from the authentic ones by this substitution of meat choices. I do hope there would also be some German schinken (hams) being served during the actual promotion dates rather than having only German wurst (sausages). For bread, it would be great if they also have some of the famous ones such as those with sourdough and/or Pumpernickel, a deep brown colored steamed, sweet-tasting rye bread. These bread choices would be lovely to go with the meaty dishes such as the Beef Stroganoff or maybe Kartoffelsuppe, a potato and wurst soup. I guessed the kitchen should consider serving some German soup as well for those light eaters. There are many soup options in Germany such as the Gebundene Ochsenschwanzsuppe (German Oxtail Soup), Ueberbackene Zwiebelsuppe (German Onion Soup), Graupensuppe Eintopf (German Barley Soup with Bacon) or even a simple Erbsensuppe (German Pea Soup) to consider.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD & VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for Texas Grill Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.


Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)


The Northeastern Style Dumplings, more commonly known as DONGBEI JIAOZI (東北餃子), are the staple food of the capital city of Beijing, China. The ravioli textured and size like dumplings can be stuffed with just anything you like. Since Dongbei cuisine are often quite heavy in the usages of meat, garlic, vinegar and thick sauces, you would expect the stuffing to contain meat of any sort combined with different types of vegetables as well as different versions of vinegar content condiments. Now these delicious dumplings with natural fruit or vegetable flour skins are available for purchase in Penang.


You can also serve these dumplings with some noodles as how I did it. This noodle dish was simply irresistible!


Price: RM0.80nett/pc
Orders: (Penang Island Only/只限檳島)

15pcs pack: RM12.00nett (include 5 types of mix fillings)
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)

50pcs pack: RM40.00nett (include 8 types of mix fillings)
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)
• Radish (白蘿蔔)
• Mushroom + Carrot (香菇胡 + 蘿蔔)
• PORK FREE (Chives + Glass Noodles + Egg + Prawn) 素三鲜 (韭菜 + 冬粉 + 蛋 + 虾)

100 pcs pack: RM80.00nett
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)
• Radish (白蘿蔔)
• Mushroom + Carrot (香菇胡 + 蘿蔔)
• PORK FREE (Chives + Glass Noodles + Egg + Prawn) 素三鲜 (韭菜 + 冬粉 + 蛋 + 虾)
• Beef + onion (牛肉 + 大葱)
• Mutton + Carrot + Coriander (羊肉 + 白蘿蔔 + 香菜)
• Spicy Fragrant Chicken (香辣味雞肉)
• Pork + Dried Seaweed (豬肉 + 紫菜)

Note: Some basic ingredients include pork n prawn unless stated otherwise.

• WHITE – Milk + Egg White (牛奶 + 蛋清)
• GREEN – Spinach (菠菜汁)
• YELLOW – Carrot (胡蘿蔔汁)
• RED – Dragon Fruit (火龍果汁)
• BLACK – Toasted Black Sesame (黑芝麻)
• PURPLE – Purple Cabbage (紫甘藍汁)

Contact: (+6)012-480 2909 (Ms. Song/宋小姐)
Business Hours: Please call up for more information on available date, time and exact pick up point along Jalan Gottlieb (near Waterfall Hotel), Penang.

Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)



Posted by crizlai On September - 14 - 2012

More and more home based bakers had popped up recently in Malaysia to share out their delicious delicacies. Well, I won’t mind indulging in more homely bakes since they have the strictest handling procedures without added preservatives, quality ingredients and the huge passion in the heart to bake the best for their happy customers. One such outlet is the Homemade Delicacies located in Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia. Their delicious homely bakes surely reflected the carefulness and conscientiousness of the master baker to excel in this industry. All you need to do is to call up the baker to place the necessary customized orders and door-to-door delivery to savor these delicacies.

One of the lovely cakes that I love quite a lot was their Mango Cake (1kg – RM79nett). Not only was the taste perfect for my boost of sweet tooth, it was gracefully decorated with a beauty of its own. It was elegantly presented and yet superbly flavorful with the generous amount of natural fruits toppings. The moist and spongy cake layers within had just the right sweetness from the chunks of mangoes and fresh cream. Mango lovers would surely fall in love with this cake at first sight. From the outlook of the cake, you can clearly see the passion of the baker, spending a huge amount of time, tediously applying layers and layers of sliced mangoes onto the cake, thus creating a winning entry. At least 5 quality mangoes were used to come out with such a cake. To avoid disappointment since quality mangoes can be quite limited to source, it would be advised to preorder the cake earlier.


Another of the most sought after cakes from Homemade Delicacies that we had tried was the Belgium Chocolate Cake (1.5kg – RM89nett). Every bite of the moist chocolate cake melted heavenly in the mouth with a high hint of imported Dutch cocoa powder with a mild bitterness from some light touch of coffee powder. The creamy melted chocolate cream (ganache) in between the cake layers had just the right sweetness that made the whole cake irresistible. Some bonuses of chocolate balls were garnished on the cake for a state-of-the art effect. Now this cake is reminding me to visit my usual Chocolate Buffet in Penang as well. Haha~ 😛


On top of the sweet treats available from Homemade Delicacies, there would also be some light savory finger food ideally for parties, meetings, picnics made to your orders. One of the options would be the Mini Tuna Quiche (RM27nett/ box of 9 pieces). The fillings were actually made out of beaten eggs with some cream (sour/yogurt) plus mayonnaise. It also had some added cheese combined with some well drained tuna flakes, tomatoes and cut olives. The fragrantly baked crust plus the nice combination of filling made these quiches nice snacks over coffee or tea. For stronger flavors, some sprinkles of mixed herbs (or even dill alone for seafood) plus a light touch of paprika or chili flakes would make them the perfect finger food for my palate.


As Mid Autumn Festival is just around the corner, Homemade Delicacies would also produce daily fresh mooncakes such as the Traditional Baked Mooncakes, Snowskin Mooncakes, Shanghai Mooncakes, Jelly Mooncakes and more. Of all the mooncakes, we had tried out the Shanghai Mooncakes (RM40nett/box of 4 pieces). The Shanghai Mooncake had the full fragrance from the quality butter, egg and flour. Each had some sweet pure lotus paste with one fresh salted duck egg filled within its soaring round shining shape. Very much different textured with a crusty bite compared to the traditional ones. The added pumpkin seeds on the surface gave it an extra crunchiness.


Other than that, we also managed to try out the many varieties of Jelly Mooncakes (RM30nett/box of 4 pieces). Some of the options we had tested out were the sweet corn, dragon fruit, green tea, chocolate and coffee. The new generation type of Jelly Mooncakes resembled the concept of those traditional ones with so called “fillings”. Basically, both the “filling” and “crust” were from the same compounds, with the “filling” being a bit firmer and stronger in taste whereas the “crust” had some evaporated milk added in for the extra creaminess. Somehow, my preferences were towards those more natural flavored ones such as the sweet corn and dragon fruit.


Overall, if you need to indulge in some heavenly homely bakes with the highest quality of ingredients. You will know where to find them now. Other options might include cupcakes, tarts, cookies, jellies and more. Most likely whatever you want, she might be able to pep them up for you. As these snacks and cakes are all home baked, you would have to call up Nicole Ann Ng to make the necessary orders and delivery arrangements.

Address: Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-492 1648 (Ms. Nicole Ann Ng)
FaceBook: Homemade Delicacies
Business Hours: Call up for delivery availability (within Lunas, Penang island and mainland)

Food Choices: 5/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)


Asian Food Channel (AFC) together with BERJAYA University College of Hospitality (BERJAYA UCH) recently held an event entitled Autumn Treasures with Chef Martin Yan at the university’s fine dining restaurant, Samplings at the Fourteenth, Level 14, Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur. The sit down dinner held on 5 September 2012 was priced at RM290++/pax. I was lucky to be one of the lucky winners of a contest organized by AFC to dine with Chef Martin Yan (甄文達). I’m sure most of you would have known the Chinese-born American celebrity chef for his jovial ways to handle Asian cuisine with a twist of humor. Chef Martin Yan from the famous cooking show “Yan Can Cook” has hosted over 1,500 episodes since 1978. “If Yan can cook, so can you!” became his catchphrase ever since. What impressed me most was his comical ways in chopping food frantically with just a sharp cleaver. He indeed made the whole room filled with laughter when he performed a live demonstration on how to cook his Dragon & Phoenix chicken dish.


During this Autumn Treasures event, five of the chef’s signature dishes were chosen to be served as fine dining dishes, with assistance from the numerous students support from the Berjaya UCH. The menu was as shown below:


The first dish was the Crispy Beancurd Skin Rolls. The spring onions wrapped rolls had stir fried jicama, carrots and mushrooms fillings, beautifully plated with a pickled radish and carrot flower and some drops of hoisin and chili sauce. Although the rolls were quite tasty in flavors and texture, they were not as crispy as the name. Most probably the kitchen had prepared it too early or the oil was not hot enough to give that crisp. Thus, there was this soggy oil after bite.


The next dish was the Dragon & Phoenix in a Basket. The basket basically consisted of deep fried finely julienned yam mixed with some corn starch. The topping had the chicken dish demonstrated live by Chef Martin Yan. They consisted of chunks of chicken breast meat stir fried with onions, straw mushrooms, garlic and Thai basil leaves, topped with some blanched asparagus. I was surprised that my serving did not contain some diamond shape bell pepper cuts as shown in the demonstration. However, even without the flavors from the bell peppers, the taste for the topping with high hints of Thai basil and pepper after taste was nice enough to complement the yam basket.


As for main, we were served with Beef Stew with Beancurd Sticks & Chinese Chestnut. The dish tasted quite similar to my brandy boasted Cantonese recipe of Braised Oysters & Scallops. The beef stew which had tender chunks of wine boasted beef came with some beancurd sticks, Chinese chestnuts, carrots, radish and Chinese mushrooms, came with side dishes such as bread pudding with mixed toasted sesame seeds candy and a slice of garlic bread. The dish was amazingly great and rich in sweet flavors from the long period of stewing. However, such rich flavored dish would go better with plain rice or bread instead of the accompanied side dishes. Moreover, it lacked some fresh greens to subtle the richness from the meat dish.


As an alternative dish to non beef eater, a Vegetarian Spaghetti was also served as main. It was basically some spaghetti with the right al dente served with some fresh onions, carrots, zucchinis and tomatoes sauce, garnished with some julienned bell peppers, parsley and a deep fried beancurd stick. Taste wise, it was a straight forward dish. However, I personally felt that it was a dish not properly justified against the price paid. I was a non paying guest, so I can’t complain much but it would surely piss off those paying ones. The kitchen should have considered serving some vegetarian dishes that has a more sophisticated outlook and taste such as the Agnolotti with Roasted Pumpkin, Broccolini & Chilli Spaghetti with Pangrattato, Pan Fried Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Sage Butter or simply add in a different variety of fresh mushrooms to make the dish more classy.


We were also served with Smoked Marinated Squab. The squab or commonly known as domestic pigeon, had a tough texture almost similar to duck meat but with meat white in color. I personally found that the meat was just mildly marinated with barely distinctive flavors or strong smoke taste. Moreover, it needed some tenderizer such as ginger juice to soften the meat further. The squab was dressed with some brown sauce and served with some simply fried basmati rice with finely brunoised bell peppers and some cherry tomatoes salsa.


Lastly, it was dessert time with Wine Poached Pears being served. The mildly sweetened poached pear in red wine had mixed spices flavors coming from some cloves, star anise and cinnamon. I would say that it was a bit overwhelming for diners who detested strong spices aftertaste.


There were also free flow of Chinese tea, white wine, red wine and sparkling wine, by Australia’s over 160 years winemaking expert, Jacob’s Creek, to pair with the dishes.


All the diners were presented with a certificate signed by Chef Martin Yan to commemorate our memorable dining experiences with the chef.


Here’s the snapshot of the contest winners and guests with Chef Martin Yan, courtesy of Ms. Evelyn Ang Loo.


Overall, it was an eventful evening with Chef Martin Yan. Thanks Asian Food Channel (AFC) for giving me the opportunity to meet up with Chef Martin Yan. To the waiters and waitresses of BERJAYA University College of Hospitality (BERJAYA UCH), you all have done a great job!

Address: Level 14, East, Berjaya Times Square, 1 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact: 603-2687 7073
GPS: 3.142152, 101.710618



Posted by crizlai On September - 1 - 2012

I always love to have trotters as they are naturally rich in collagen and gelatin. Collagen makes up connective tissue like tendons and ligaments, all of which you are able to consume by braising the trotters with the right preparation. It’s good for your joint health. On the other hand, gelatin is another substance found in the tissue of animals, especially a very high concentration in pigs. This easily digested form of protein helps the human body in growth and tissue repairs, thus giving you a great protection against sickness. What I’m going to share today is a traditional recipe named BLACK VINEGAR TROTTERS WITH GINGER. Not only is the dish good for general health, it’s also great for post-labor women to cleanse the body of blood clots and so called “wind”. Most of the Chinese women in Malaysia would have this dish on the 12th day during their confinement period.


3-4 pork trotters (about 2.5kg – front legs as hinds have more fat)
600g lean meat
1.5L sweetened black rice vinegar
1.5L hot water
500-600g old ginger (remove skin and smash lightly)
4 tbsp sesame oil
Salt to taste (about 1 tbsp)
Rock sugar to taste (about 150g)

Hard boiled eggs
250g roasted black beans
4-5 cloves garlic

• Rub the chopped pork trotters and lean meat with salt and wash to rid of meat odor. Scald with hot boiling water to remove scum and rinse well.
• In a non aluminum wok (vinegar’s acidic reaction to aluminum), pour in the sesame oil and sauté the smashed ginger pieces until fragrant.
• Add in the rinsed meat piece and sauté until the meat firmed up. This is to ensure that the meat won’t easily dissolve in the process of cooking.
• Add the black rice vinegar, hot water, some salt and rock sugar.
• When the soup boils, lower the fire to LOW and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hours or until meat is soft.
• Taste the gravy for saltiness and sweetness. If not enough, add in more salt and rock sugar to adjust to your personal taste bud.
• Let the meat stand in the wok for 4-5 hours to absorb the flavors before serving with hot steaming rice.

Note: You can also use a pressure cooker for a faster cooking time. Add in the black rice vinegar, hot water, some salt and rock sugar in your pressure cooker. Bring to boil. Add in the sauteed meat and ginger. Close lid and let it pressure cook under MEDIUM-LOW fire for 10-12 minutes. Let the meat stand in the pot for 4-5 hours to absorb the flavors before serving with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 6-8)





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About Me

Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

By the way, you might not notice it but CRIZ BON APPETITE is iPhone/Mobile Compatible. Please do feel free to hop over to to get the latest updates! If you want to contact me for any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at crizlai [at] hotmail [dot] com. Spamming would not be tolerated – you are being tracked here!



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