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Archive for March, 2013

If you are in for an exotic spread of spicy, sweet and sour dishes from the regions of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, you should check out the Golden Triangle Promotion at Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, for the month of April 2013 (1-30 April 2013). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Executive Sous Chef, Chef Daniel Tan and Guest Chef, Chef Tan Kian Seng (陳湕勝), who has over 2 decades of culinary experiences in various local hotels, specializing in Chinese and Thai cuisine.

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To start off the meal, we had a Laotian appetizer called Larb Ped (老撾辣鴨沙拉). This salad is also quite popular in Thailand until some diners would have the thoughts that it was originated from there. The preparations between both regions were in fact quite similar except that the Laotian had a milder spiciness from the strong usage of bird eye chilies. I quite like this Laotian version though it lacked the burning sensation of the Thai’s “Larb/meat salad” version such as the Spicy Minced Pork Salad (Lab Moo Sub/ลาบหมู) which contained a secret ingredient – coarsely blended toasted raw rice grains.

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Another appetizer that I quite like was the Yum Talay (Thai Spicy Mixed Seafood Salad/泰式香辣海鮮沙拉/ยำทะเล). The dish had a seafood combination of cooked prawns, and mussels, together with some big onions, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilies, coriander, and spring onions, all tossed in a spicy, sweet and sour dressing. Though nice, I personally felt that it needed a little more pepping up of fish sauce (nam pla/น้ำปลา) to bring out the authentic Thai flavors.

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Of course, we also had the ranked #4 dish in the Readers’ Choice: Top 50 Most Delicious Food by CNNGoTom Yam Goong (Thailand’s Spicy Prawn Soup with Lemongrass & Chili/泰式香茅鮮蝦東炎湯/ต้มยำกุ้ง) which has the unique unity of the 4S tastes – spicy, sour, sweet and salty. However, we had a bonus too as the soup also came with some mixed seafood of fish, squids and mussels. I guessed they should have named it Tom Yam Ruam Mit Talay (Thai Spicy Mixed Seafood Tom Yam/泰式酸辣海鮮東炎湯/ตมยามรวมมีดทะเล) instead. Do consume this soup while it’s hot or it may have a heavier salty aftertaste.

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As for the main course, you would have the Gaeng Keaw Wan Gai (Thai Green Curry Chicken/泰式青咖哩雞/แกงเขียวหวานไก่). Thai Green Curry Chicken has always been my favorite as I always love the fresh taste Thai basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves and Thai eggplant. However, I detested the bright green coloring on the chicken pieces though they have been marinated naturally overnight with the fresh juices of capsicums and parsley. I rather have them in their natural state.

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Another of the main courses would be the Mohinga (Burmese Fish Noodles/Burmese Laksa/緬甸魚面). I’m a frequent consumer of the Mohinga, cooked the traditional way by actual Burmese and I found the ones served here to lack the volume and balance in ingredients. Basically, it was just fish gravy on rice vermicelli (the local version instead of the actual version where gram flour/chickpea flour/chana dahl is used) with Thai basil and red chilies as garnishes. Though the fish gravy had the standard flavors but the whole dish lacked the crunch, creaminess and spiciness. They should have added in some sliced raw snake beans, hard boiled eggs, fried split chickpea fritters, fish cakes and sliced coriander leaves with a separate serving of chili flakes for that extra spiciness. At least, by doing so, it would not be so astray from the traditional recipe.

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You would also get to try out the Or Lam (Laos Green Vegetables Stew/老撾燜蔬菜). There is actually no fixed recipe for Or Lam as you can practically put in whatever you have in small quantities, may it be vegetables, meat or fish (sometimes can be known as Or Ro). What we had here basically consisted of morning glory, mushrooms and eggplant stewed together in a mildly spicy and thick meat broth with a mild hint of lemongrass being used. The dish was nothing fanciful but was good enough for those who love mushrooms a lot.

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You might also get Khao Mok Gai (Laos Steamed Chicken Rice/老撾雞飯). This dish is almost similar to the Malaysian Style Nasi Briyani, except this hybrid Laos/Thai version had a milder or non usage of turmeric or saffron. The taste of the Laos version had some slight differences in fragrance as it was not as aromatic as the Malaysian’s without the usage of ghee or butter.

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This Laos steamed rice may come with a deep fried chicken as one of the options during semi-buffet.

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Another option for the semi-buffet would be the Pad Thai (Thai Style Stir Fry Flat Noodles/泰式炒粿條/ผัดไทย), ranked #5 in the revamped list of Readers’ Choice: Top 50 Most Delicious Food by CNNGo. I’m sure you would like this stir fried flat noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, deep fried bean curd, chives and prawns with some condiments of crushed peanuts, sugar, chili flakes, lime and more.

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As for dessert, we had Khao Neaw Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice/香芒椰漿糯米/ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง). The coconut milk steamed glutinous rice was served with some slices of hybrid local mangoes and some slightly salted coconut cream. Taste wise, it was normal as I prefer those with fresh coconut cream instead. Moreover, it lacked some extra flavors from some deep fried mung beans or toasted sesame seeds as garnish.

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Another dessert we had was the Tub Tim Krob (Jellied Water Chestnut Rubies with Jackfruit in Coconut Milk/泰式馬蹄椰漿露/ทับทิมกรอบ). Frankly speaking, I do not quite like this dessert here. Firstly, it was the boxed coconut milk being used. Secondly, it was the jellied water chestnut rubies was diced too fine and lost their crunch. Thirdly, they can forget about adding the cendul in there as the frozen texture of the “pandan noodles” was totally out. I guessed the kitchen ought to revamp the whole dessert properly before serving its diners.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here still have rooms for improvements as the taste and flavors were rather localized. Somehow, the recipes for the dishes were a bit way too out in flavors compared to those traditional ones and did not attract much of my attention anyway. Let’s hope they will come out with more authentic flavored dishes for this promotion.

Here’s the summary of the Golden Triangle Promotion.

GOLDEN TRIANGLE PROMOTION (1-30 APRIL 2013)
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, Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank, CIMB Bank and CITIBANK card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Golden Triangle 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.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
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

RATING:
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)

 

CHINESE STYLE APPETIZER BOOSTER SOUP

Posted by crizlai On March - 20 - 2013

Everyone knows that a healthy appetite would reflect positive health on a person. What would happen when a person had a reduced or sudden loss of appetite? Most of the time, it might just be the causes of some prescribed medications or even emotional stress. Little do we know that loss of appetite might also be triggered by the presence of soon-to-come infections such as hepatitis, lungs/kidney infections, influenza, liver inflammation, etc. What you need would be a booster to strengthen your body’s immune system by having some brewed homemade soup such as the CHINESE STYLE APPETIZER BOOSTER SOUP (中式開胃湯).

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Here are the recipes:

INGREDIENTS:
400g-500g of any white meat ribs (skinless chicken drumsticks would be best)
2 large carrots (remove skin & cut into coarse pieces)
10 Chinese mushrooms (soak & cut into 2-3 pieces)
3-4 cloves garlic (remove skin and slightly smash)
4g Ginseng slices (人參)
4g Polygonatum odoratum (玉竹)
3g Angelica sinensis (當歸)
3g Poria cocos (Tuckahoe/茯苓)
3g Cyperi (香符)
3g Glycyrrhizae (甘草)
1/2 tsp grounded pepper
2L water
Salt & soy sauce to taste

PREPARATIONS:
• Bowl 2L of water in a pot.
• While waiting for the water to boil, wash your ribs with some coarse salt and put them into a bowl. Pour some hot water into the bowl and let the ribs soak for about 5 minutes to get rid of any slimy stuff.
• As the water boils, pour in the ribs and the rest of the ingredients (except carrots).
• Lower the fire and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
• Add in the carrots and let the soup simmer for another 30-40 minutes.
• Add in salt and soy sauce to taste.

Note:
1. If you have a pressure cooker, it would be even easier to cook the soup. It would just take about 12 minutes for the soup to be ready.
2. If you are not sure what are the ingredients, just print the recipe and get any Chinese medicine shop people to combine them for you.

(Serve: 4)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

 

DRIED WOOD APPLE (BAEL) SOUP

Posted by crizlai On March - 19 - 2013

With such unpredicted hot and wet weather, who won’t get sick? Occasionally, we’ll need something to strengthen our immune system. Little known to the world is a miracle fruit that has been used as far back as the 1st millennium BC. Bael or commonly known as wood apple (Aegle marmelos/Bengal quince/beel/maja/maja batu/stone apple/golden apple/matam/木橘/硬皮橘), is a species of fruit with great medicinal properties, originated from native India but available throughout Southeast Asia. It’s also one of the ten best herbs frequently used in Ayurvedic medicines due to its strong digestive and carminative properties. All parts of the tree are believed to have many health benefits such as the improving digestion, remedy for respiratory infections, scurvy, peptic ulcer, diabetes, fever, chronic inflammation and more.

Well, there are no side effects in consuming this fruit whether it’s fresh or dried. Thus, let me share with you a simple soup that would keep the whole family free from any undesired illness during this period of crazy weather. As the health guru always state, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Let’s consume this different species of apple instead. Do enjoy this slightly bitter fragrant DRIED WOOD APPLE (BAEL) SOUP. 🙂

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Here are the recipes:

INGREDIENTS:
400g-500g of any white meat ribs
5-6 slices dried bael fruit
6 red dates
100g dried longan
2L water
Salt to taste

PREPARATIONS:
• Bowl 2L of water in a pot.
• While waiting for the water to boil, wash your ribs with some coarse salt and put them into a bowl. Pour some hot water into the bowl and let the ribs soak for about 5 minutes to get rid of any slimy stuff.
• As the water boils, pour in the ribs and the rest of the ingredients.
• Lower the fire and let the soup simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the meat on the ribs become tender.
• Add in salt to taste.

Note: If you have a pressure cooker, it would be even easier to cook the soup. It would just take about 15 minutes for the soup to be ready.

(Serve: 4)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR MY READERS: Just print this banner by showing my blog URL (http://www.crizfood.com/2283/chef-petrs-catch-seafood-buffet-sarkies-eastern-oriental-hotel-penang/) and make an early reservation with the hotel (604-222 2000 ext 3601/3602) before 24 April 2013 and you are entitle to dine in with a discounted rate of RM80++/pax (adult) and RM38++/pax (child). Offer only limited to the first 80 early reservations. One printout is for one pax only. Terms & Conditions apply.

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If you are in for a seafood buffet of a different kind, do check out Chef Petr’s Catch at Sarkies @ E&O Hotel, Penang. Priced at RM110++/pax (adult) and RM48++/pax (child), you’ll get to savor quite a variety of imported seafood such as Alaskan Snow Crab Claws, Boiled River Cray Fish, Duo of Gravlax, Fresh Oysters on Ice, Marinated Cuttlefish, Seasoned Squid, Deep Fried Snow Crab Claws, Poached Black Mussels, Oyster Omelette and many more on a rotation basis. The seafood promotion which would be held on every Wednesday of the month would last until the end of April 2013. The seafood promotion would be headed by Chef Petr Feher, Executive Chef of E&O Hotel.

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There were a few sections for this seafood buffet, starting with the Salad Section, Appetizer Section, On Ice Section, Baked, Grilled, Fried & Roasted Section, Hot Dishes Section, Action Counters, Fresh Fruit Cuts Section, Sweet Dessert Section to Hot Beverages Station. Let’s start the meal healthy with the Salad Section. This section practically has a variety of items such as frisee, rocket, romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, red & green corals, iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, onion rings, pickles, dried fruits, croutons, pine nuts, sauteed mushrooms & garlic, capers and more with a selection of 8 dressings. On top of that, there was also a section where you can have some crackers to go with a variety of cheese such as Cheddar, Emmenthaler, Limberger, Camembert and more plus vegetable sticks for your crudités.

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As for the Appetizer Section, there are many choices ranging from raw to cooked items. Some of the dishes included Salmon Sashimi, Assorted Sushi/Maki, Chuka Wakame, Chuka Idaho, Duo of Gravlax, Gado Gado, Grilled Vegetables, Canapes, Assorted Ready Made Salads, Smoked Mackerel (Tenggiri), Pan Seared Tuna and more.

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On Ice Section was where all the imported seafood attractions were located. We have the famed Alaskan Crab Claws, River Cray Fish, Prawns, Black Mussels and Fresh Oysters.

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Along this stretch would be the Baked, Grilled, Fried & Roasted Section where you can savor the famed E&O Roasted Duck. It was indeed one of the best in town. On top of that, you can have some Cheese Baked Oysters, Oyster Omelette, Herbs Roasted Beef & Lamb, Grilled Meat (Beef, Lamb, Satay & Sausages), Grilled Seafood (Salmon & Scallop), Deep Fried Prawns, Spring Rolls, Samosa & Pandan Wrapped Chicken.

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While waiting for your grilled items, you could always pay a visit to the Hot Dishes Section. Of course, there would be the Soup Station here where we had Onion Soup plus Tomyam Soup served with some bread and dinner rolls. On top of that, there would also be some Steamed Rice to be taken with a variety of hot dishes such as Masak Kicap Kambing (Dark Sauce Lamb), Roasted Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce, Sweet & Sour Fish (Deep Fried Sea Bass), Stir Fried Fish with Dried Chilies, Prawns in Coconut Paste, Thai Style Beef in Yellow Curry, Baked Potatoes and Chinese Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables.

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There was also the Action Counters where you can order your choice of Fried Noodles plus Stir Fried Seafood.

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As for the Dessert Section, there would be two stations. One station would have a variety of fresh fruit cuts while the other would serve all the sweet temptations such as cakes, pastries and ice cream. You could also gather some sweet treats at the so called “Dessert Tree” in the middle of the dining room.

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Scattered around the dining area would be two Hot Beverages Stations. There would be some Brewed Coffee & Tea and a machine for you to make your choice of coffee. You can be creative here too just like how I made my Affogato with 2 scoops of Vanilla ice cream plus double shots espresso. 😛

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Overall, the quality of the seafood is there with quite a number of imported seafood. However, since it’s a seafood theme with such an amount charged, the combination of seafood ought to be improved further with more options rather than using the same few seafood species and preparing them differently. Moreover, the combination of dishes is 3:2 for seafood versus meat. Ideally, it should be 7:3 or 4:1 combinations. For example, preparations of oysters have 3 types, namely fresh, cheese baked and omelette. Prawns also have 3 styles, boiled, fried and curry. The usage of salmon is definitely in abundance from sashimi, sushi, canapés, gravlax or even grills. Personally, I felt that the kitchen should infuse more local seafood with Asian flavors into the theme to make it more interesting. I’m sure both locals and tourists would love to try out our Banana Leaves Grilled Stingray, Sambal Stuffed Hardtail Mackerel or even various Portugese Seafood Grills, right? Even without the usages of the local seafood, the seafood theme should be more international. It could just be with the addition of the Spanish’s Gambas Al Ajillo or Stuffed Grilled Squids or the French’s way of Simple Baked Fish with herbs, salt & pepper. On top of that, some of the dishes served tend to be on the salty side while others were under flavors. The desserts may be attractively colorful and abundant but somehow they consisted mostly of different versions of cupcakes and macarons or a mix & match of both, a bit lack in unique choices.

Current Promotions by E&O Hotel can be viewed clearer by clicking and downloading the photo below:

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Sarkies is located at the new wing of Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang (next to Penang Bowl) along Lebuh Farquhar. If you are coming from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah towards Weld Quay, keep to your left immediately after passing by CitiBank. When you see the Penang Bowl building on your left (UMW Toyota opposite), please slow down. Turn left immediately after the Penang Bowl entrance. The E&O Hotel car park is situated just inside the building. Parking charges would be a maximum of RM6 (weekdays: Monday-Thursday) and RM12 (weekends: Friday- Sunday)

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Name: SARKIES @ EASTERN & ORIENTAL HOTEL
Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-222 2000
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.30pm (Chef Petr’s Catch on Wednesday only)
GPS: 5.423624, 100.334988

RATING:
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: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

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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 http://ip.crizfood.com 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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