Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for November, 2013


Posted by crizlai On November - 23 - 2013

The participating bloggers in the recent HGW Penang Food Trail 2013 were treated to a surprise prize giving dinner at a hidden eatery spot in Penang yesterday. Not knowing where their dining venue would be or for what occasion was the dinner celebrated upon, the bloggers were led to an open air eatery deep into the densely populated residential area of Green Lane, Penang. Ta Da! Dinner was served.

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Let’s have a closer look at all the delicious dishes served here.

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Finally, the purpose of gathering all the bloggers was revealed to them. It was an occasion to celebrate the winning of two best blog posts for the HGW Penang Food Trail 2013 event. With a panel of judges from HGW Singapore, the winners were decided. The winning entry for the Best Blog Post went to Mr. Henry Tan, whereas the 2nd Best Blog Post went to Ms. Jerilyn See. Each of them won a 1T External Hard Disc and a 12000mah Power Bank respectively.

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Though it was just a simple gathering for the bloggers, everyone went home contented with the food choices for the night. It won’t be hard for you to decide where would be the ideal place to dine in Penang. You might even find some hidden eateries you have yet to discover. All you have to do is download the HungryGoWhere Malaysia mobile app through IOS (version 5+) or Android (version 4.0+) or pay a visit to their website at Being a nation with rich and diverse food culture, HGW Malaysia users would get to gain new experiences in searching, discovering and locating the best dishes and eateries within a 10-30km radius. It would even be greater if you were to register yourself as one of the many users, a smart move to leave your tracks behind to recommend more new eateries to other users. After all, HGW Malaysia is a platform by users, for users, to archive pure and unbiased recommendations. HungryGoWhere Malaysia – Discover, Eat, Share today!



Posted by crizlai On November - 18 - 2013

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Recently, a Singaporean food blogger (flogger) has posted up on his blog, ranting his views on “There is no such thing as a free meal. This is the cost of food blogging”. Well, he got most of his points right. However, some points stated might not necessary apply to all the Malaysian bloggers due to the different standard on the cost of living.

Most people would just assume that floggers are enjoying their lives just because they have endless eatery requests for reviews. Some high profiles ones might even get free meals daily the whole year through. Is it fun? Yes, it is fun to try out different cuisine. No, as no one really knows the amount of time a blogger spent to get a well written post out. Towards the end of the day, the “I feed you free and you write a review for me” deal might end up costing you more than the meal itself.

Leaving all the nitty-gritty part of your investment out (E.g. camera, flash light, batteries, computer, editing software, photography workshop tuition fees, domain purchase, website hosting fees and so on), what the merchants did not realize is that there are still many hidden cost to a blogger. Here are some of the main factors:

TIME FACTOR: Most merchants would think that floggers are so free that time is not a factor. If they can attend their food review, it meant that they have lots of free time in hand. Are they serious? If a flogger can earn easily through blogging, then they do not need to have a full time job. Other than personal expenses from family commitments, most bloggers would still need to find ways to earn something to pay for all their miscellaneous bills. If time is free, who started having this phrase “TIME IS MONEY”?

LABOR INTENSIVE FACTOR: How many hours do you think a blogger need to be present in a food review? It’s at least 2-3 hours. Most of the time, it’s even longer than that. What about brainstorming to write a proper post? It’s at least 2-3 hours, though some seasoned bloggers can do it within an hour or more. How about the time spent in editing photos and uploading to the necessary photo archive before embedding into the post? Another 2-3 hours? For a review posting, it would safely take up to 6-9 hours of their time.

TRAVELING FACTOR: Do not forget that traveling to a designated venue would involve time, petrol/taxi/bus/LRT fee, toll fee and parking fee as well. Is that “our problem” since “I feed you free of charge? How you come is not my concern.” mentality has always been present in the minds of these merchants?


Average time spent on a review: Estimated 7 hours x RM10/hour (cheap labor cost) = RM70
Traveling cost: RM15 (petrol/taxi/bus/LRT fee) + RM7 (toll) + RM5 (parking fee) = RM27
Estimated cost to review an eatery: RM97 (round up to RM100 for easy calculation)


Now come the interesting part on how smart a merchant would think in order to squeeze the best from floggers for the sake of cheaper publicity. Media advertising would cost them up to thousands.

Cost of food for review: RM800
Number of media/bloggers engaged: 10 pax
Average cost per media/blogger: RM80 each

From the example shown above, you can see that floggers are sponsoring merchants RM20 at their own expenses instead. Some merchants would argue that they are providing floggers with food to fill their tummies as well as contents to build up their website traffic. Well, that’s not all wrong too. However, most merchants are taking floggers for a ride in the sense that there are normally some “hidden clauses” to the free food deal. “Can you all help in spreading the promotion, etc via FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram or even TripAdvisor?” Moreover, some merchants have the cheek to request for free photos just to save on professional photography charges. I’m sure they are not aware that each camera has a shutter life expectancy of certain quantity of photos and it would cost thousands to replace a camera. Reviewing an eatery does not mean that the floggers’ photographs are the property of the eatery owner. Unless stated in black & white prior to the review, each photo given is chargeable between RM20-RM200 depending on the quality required. Are they expecting floggers to provide free service as well?


Case 1: Official opening of a restaurant – 13 media/floggers sharing less than RM200 of food from their ala carte menu.
Case 2: Burger review – 7 floggers sharing less than RM60 of mediocre burgers.
Case 3: Event – Dozens of media/bloggers begging to be served with just a drink.
Case 4: Restaurant review – canceling of review 10 minutes before review time. No rescheduling thereafter. Most of the floggers were already 3 quarter way to the venue.
Case 5: Hotel restaurant review – One session of food review and endless emails requesting to promote their monthly offer throughout the year.


Bloggers are not beggars to insist on being rewarded. However, they should also not be taken for granted to provide all the publicity needs to a money earning entity. I want to compliment some PR personnel as well as PR Agencies here for handling the bloggers professionally. They are well aware of the bloggers’ efforts in writing a review and would reward/subsidize them at least something by mode of cash, vouchers and kinds. After all, blogging is one of the alternative ways to bring up the profitability of a business. It’s should be a WIN-WIN relationship for both parties


By the end of the day, you would realize that “free food” reviews are not really for free. In fact, the floggers are actually paying for their own food indirectly as stated above. On top of that, most of the time, the floggers are subsidizing these eateries instead. It’s always a WIN-LOSE relationship between eatery and floggers. The only advantage is that floggers get to try out new dishes, which are not necessary the best to their likings. At times, some of the inexperienced floggers with no culinary background will fall prey to writing positive reviews on lousy food, just because it’s an invited review.


Do you think merchants/brands/PR Agencies are treating bloggers fairly? Would you still accept such an invitation based on the different scenario stated below?

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Scenario #1:
Mode: Via PR Agency
Review: One top market women accessories company requires 10 female lifestyle/beauty bloggers to blog about their new products releases. Press release is provided.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: Each blogger will get RM200 worth of product samples.

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Scenario #2:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: One top confectionery company requires 50 food bloggers nationwide to blog about their new range products. RM30 worth of sample products would be sent to each blogger. Guidelines are provided to the bloggers.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: None

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Scenario #3:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: A Multi National Corporation (MNC) requires 100 bloggers nationwide to blog about their new product launch. Press release and photos are provided to the bloggers to come out with a proper post.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: RM15 blogging fees per post
Added Bonus: 3 lucky draw of products worth more than RM1000 each.

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Scenario #4:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: A 5-Star Hotel requires 10 food bloggers to blog about their monthly buffet promotion. The new items will be served ala carte. However, bloggers can access to their buffet spread of the day for additional dishes. A normal buffet will cost about RM60/pax. Press release is provided.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: Goody bags worth more than RM25 each

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Scenario #5:
Mode: Via PR Agency
Review: A fine dining restaurant in town requires 5 bloggers to blog about their new promotion. Bloggers get to try out all the dishes in a fine dining style. Each set will cost between RM100-RM150. No press release given.
Requirement: TWO posts with at least 5 photos each
Compensation: RM30 blogging fees per post
Added Bonus: None

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Scenario #6:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: A top mobile company requires 10 lifestyle/tech bloggers to blog about their next generation of mobile phone. Bloggers get to try out the new release for 2 weeks. Thereafter, the mobile phone would be sent back to the company. Return shipping will be paid by the company. No press release is given.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: An opportunity to purchase the unit at cost price (30% off from the RRP)

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Scenario #7:
Mode: Via PR Agency
Review: A top alcohol brand requires 10 lifestyle/entertainment bloggers to blog about their upcoming biggest party (RM300-RM400 per ticket) with smaller pre-parties held near your vicinity. Access ticket worth RM120-150 for the pre-party will be given to each blogger. Free flow of alcohol will be provided. Press release is given.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: Door gifts worth more than RM50

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Scenario #8:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: A restaurant requires 10 food bloggers to blog about their new menu. 20% of dishes in the menu (worth RM600) are presented to the bloggers to share out. No press release is given.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos and to share the photos in various social media.
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: None

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Scenario #9:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: An airline company requires 5 lifestyle/travel bloggers to blog about their new flight to a destination somewhere out of Malaysia. Each return air ticket will cost about RM4000. Bloggers will have to bear their own accommodation, food expenses and traveling cost within the country. The next flight out from the country will be in 5 days’ time. Thus, the bloggers would have to stay in the country for at least 4D3N at their own expenses. No press release is given.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: None

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Scenario #10:
Mode: Direct Engagement
Review: A 3-Star hotel requires 5 lifestyle/travel bloggers to blog about their experiences staying in their hotel somewhere out of their state. A 3D2N accommodation package (RM400/day) will be given to each blogger. Each blogger is allowed to bring along a +1. Bloggers will have to bear their own transportation cost to the hotel. No press release is given.
Requirement: ONE post with at least 5 photos
Compensation: None
Added Bonus: Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided for two.

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There are still endless scenarios to mention here but I’ll just keep it simple at 10 cases. Let me hear your feedback via the comment box below on the following scenarios with reasons why you think otherwise.

On the other hand, let’s understand a bit more on bloggers too. Most bloggers, not necessary only Malaysians, have the hope to be just like entrepreneurs, always on lookouts on how to monetize their blog/business. In order to become a professional blogger, do get your own domain name and host. Unless blogging is just for your leisure writing and not as a career, it’s strongly discouraged to rely solely on free blogging platforms. Not only are you restricted to place well any sponsored advertisements, you would give the impressions to any potential merchants that you are always on the lookout for “freebies”. Being frugal here won’t get you far in your financial dreams. Success won’t come free either.


The reality is that only a small percentage of bloggers are successful. These are the people who have the influence to determine how much they can earn through blogging. Have you asked yourself why you are not in that loop of successful bloggers? Firstly, how many years have you been blogging? Successful bloggers don’t just fall from the sky as it takes years of hard work, determination and patience to be where they are today. Secondly, do you think that by blogging alone will make one grow rich? Unless a blogger is super rich enough to sustain his/her living, the answer is “No”. If you research carefully, you might have missed out that most successful bloggers have backup businesses behind their blogs. Those can be by mode of cross selling their products and services or even having those “connections” that not any Tom, Dick or Harry would get access to. Thirdly, it’s sheer luck as you are extremely lucky to be at the right place and right time to strike gold by meeting the right person. However, even luck will run dry one day if you do not take the golden opportunity to maintain your blog quality as per high expectations from your readers.

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How many bloggers are really following the Bloggers’ Code of Ethics other than hoping that monetary gain would make them excel in their style of blogging? As I have always mentioned this message to many bloggers, “Do not make money as your primary driving force! Do take it with a bit of salt that any monetary gains would just be some extras for your ‘festive shopping’.” There are some bloggers out there who owned a camera, a valid blog plus some knowledge on how to write a bit better and they think they can rule the world as a professional blogger. Some even boasted that they have the best gadgets in town, thus their blog will sure rule the blogging scenes. I did tell many of my blogger friends, “You do not need to have the best gadgets in town to get a winning entry.” If you have the eye to capture the best composition, any model of camera will do. After all, you don’t really need super high megapixels photos, thus slowing down the downloading speed of your blog post. For knowledge sake, even a large wallpaper printing or a super large banner on high rise building would require only 1dpi for printing. Why do you need such a super expensive high megapixel camera just for blogging? The least is to get at least a better quality compact camera to do the job.

I won’t deny that some bloggers managed to pull through the hardship but from my study, most of them eventually turned inactive after awhile due to the lack of commitment, determination and time to maintain a quality blog. Blogging is surely not for those people without much willpower to strive for the best. It’s a tough “job” that most people could not endure for a long period of time due to not seeing any profitability from all the hard work they have put in.

I have also encountered many good bloggers surrendering to the wants of their readers to have shorter posts, thus ending up with just photos and descriptions with hardly any views from their parts. Without much detail, it’s as good as posting up on any of the social networks with limitation of words. It’s no longer a blog as I can see it. Potential merchants would surely avoid such blogs.

There are even some bloggers who would use their so-called credentials to “beg” for freebies and reviews. Yes, you read it correctly. Begging! There’re no differences between the blogger and that of a beggar. If your blog is at par with quality posts, merchants would eventually hunt for you instead of you pitching for any reviews like there’s no tomorrow. The most disappointing part is that some of these bloggers are not even having high blog traffic to demand for reviews.


GOOD JOURNALISM: You should not plagiarize other people’s hard work. Even if you need to quote something or use any photo belonging to others, do give proper credits to your source. Moreover, you need to make sure you have all the necessary up-to-date details and not just assuming that it’s accurate just because you read it from somewhere ages ago. Get your facts right before even publishing your post. Most importantly, write in a language that you are comfortable with. You have the Google, Wikipedia and many other sites to help you in this matter. Stop giving excuses that you don’t know anything without putting in some effort in researching more.

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ACCOUNTABILITY: What we post might affect the reputation or profitability of a business. There are certain people who think that I’m bias in certain invited reviews without using my lion mouth to criticize them. Is it? I won’t even bother wasting my time writing a bad product or a service. If you don’t like it, just leave it. We have to be conscious on the livelihood of a business. You have a family to feed, so do they. Even the best product or even a restaurant might not please everyone. Negative feedback may come in many ways. You just don’t give a business a brutal slap just because you don’t like what you get at first impression. Moreover, I realized that many bloggers are doing so without truly exploring more on anything. Even a patient would seek other medical help for a second opinion. So, what about having multiple visits or try outs to get a better verdict? Do not keep it to yourself or voice it out to other parties on your displeasure. Constructive feedback should be directed to the business owner in order for them to improve further.

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CIVIL MINDEDNESS: As a blogger, you have the right to stress on your views. However, it’s unethical to run down anyone with personal attacks. We have to be mindful on how we write with the right choice of words. “The item sucks” versus “The item is not up to my expectations” would have totally different meaning. Do remember that personal preference can be real subjective. If a business had gone astray, do try to throw in some continuous reminders and feedbacks to get it back on the right track. Do have the interest to help build up the businesses within your community so that you can be proud of them in years to come.

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TRANSPARENCY: No blogger has the budget to review everything under the sky. If you are given any sample, discount or anything for that matter for reviewing, just disclose your privileges in your post. There’s no point bragging on how much you had spent while in actual fact, you are doing reviews based on other people’s expenses or even based on your online deal purchases. What your reader wants would be your truthfulness in your reviews and not on the false richness you try to conceal.

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PROFESSIONALISM: Just because you are a blogger with some influences, it does not mean that you could insist on special treatments such as offers, discounts, freebies, free food, free drinks and so on. Not only would you tarnish your image, you would also bring shame to the whole blogging community. Moreover, I did hear of certain groups in the blogging community, within and outside of Malaysia, even target PR companies/departments seeking exclusive reviews. What a shame to the blogging community! I have also seen some bloggers force selling their personal products or services during a proper review. There’s nothing wrong in promoting your business but do it on another day on your personal accord rather than jeopardizing the whole review process. You won’t want the bloggers to be termed as scavengers striking at potential victims.

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Disclaimer: This is a post for awareness and sharing purposes. I have no intentions in defaming any parties, either bloggers, merchants or whomever while writing this post. The entire post is based on my observations on what had happened in the world of blogging today.


Posted by crizlai On November - 10 - 2013

I’m sure I need not have to mention much about Starbucks® in Malaysia as most of you would have known the brand throughout their 15 years of operations in Malaysia. It’s operated by Berjaya Starbucks® Coffee Company Sdn. Bhd., a joint-venture between Starbucks® Coffee International and Berjaya Group Berhad. With over 150 outlets and ‘drive-thru’s throughout Malaysia since their first store opening in Kuala Lumpur on 17 December 1998, Starbucks® promised to bring in more great deals during this Christmas 2013 (Promotion period: 6 November 2013 – 6 January 2014) based on the theme “Create Wonder and Share Joy with Favorite Seasonal Traditions”. We had a fun-filled briefing on the seasonal promotion at Starbucks® Drive-Thru, Tanjung Tokong, Penang recently.

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“Starbucks® Drive-Thru Tanjung Tokong is the most profitable drive-thru outlets amongst all six throughout Malaysia. It’s also the outlet with the most completed merchandises in Penang,” stated Sdyney Quays, Managing Director of Berjaya Starbucks® Coffee Company.

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Amongst the once-a-year favorites would be their freshly brewed Starbucks® Seasonal Favorite Coffees (RM40 for 250g coffee beans pack or RM33 for 12 sachets of ready brew packs), the perfect salute for each season. These are the Starbucks® Christmas Blend (Whole Beans or VIA Ready Brew Christmas Blend), a dark roasted coffee with a blend of lively Latin American coffees and smooth Asia Pacific coffees, including rare, aged Indonesian beans; full bodied, medium acidity with soothing sweet, spicy plus herbal aromas and Starbucks® Christmas Blend Espresso Roast, a darker espresso roast with sweeter and dense flavors to the mellow smoothness of the Asia Pacific beans.

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There are also 3 new flavors of delicious cakes introduced this year. All cakes would be priced at RM10.90/slice. The most notably one would be their Trio Forest, a rich moist chocolate cake, stuffed with juicy caramelized dark cherries, topped with a layer of chocolate ganache and beautifully presented with a generous amount of shaved chocolate flakes. The Mango Tango which had mango slices stuffed between layers of light sponge cake would be ideal to go with the Starbucks® Christmas Blend. The Midori on the other hand was also unique by itself. The trio layered sponge cake had a topping of cream cheese with slathered pistachio dressing.

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Christmas is a time to create wonder and share joy with family and friends over stories, memories and delicious Starbucks® food and beverages. Again this year, Starbucks® is bringing back their Christmas beverages with a bit of twist from last year’s. You can now enjoy their enhanced versions of Toffee Nut Latte, Toffee Nut Frappuccino® blended beverage, Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino® blended beverage and Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® blended beverage.

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Toffee Nut Latte Frappuccino® is a flavorful holiday beverage. It has the rich, buttery flavor of sweet toffee combined with toasted nuts, blended with their smooth espresso and velvety steamed milk. Topped with whipped cream and toffee-flavored sprinkles, it’s no surprise that this warm, heavenly beverage is sure to put you in the mood for Christmas.

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The Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino® is another great beverage for peppermint lovers. It has a combination of espresso, steamed milk, bittersweet chocolate and peppermint flavor in this seasonal favorite. Topped with classic whipped cream and a light sprinkles of Christmas cane candies, the Peppermint Mocha is brimming with Christmas cheer that is sure to please.

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Back by popular demand, the Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® is the perfect sweet treat to sip during this season. Starbucks® signature espresso is combined with freshly steamed milk and luscious white chocolate, then topped with whipped cream, a tart cranberry drizzle and crystallized cranberry sugar.

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Another gifting option or even as collectible items would definitely be the Starbucks® Card. This year, Starbucks® had added another new card design named “Merry Christmas”. You would have the options to choose from the 3 distinctive designs, namely “Merry Christmas”, “Snowman” and “Christmas Tree”. Do grab either one of the limited edition designs or maybe all if you are into collecting them. Each card required a minimum activation fee of RM30.

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Also available this year would be their limited edition Starbucks® Planner 2014 which has a special compartment to store your iPad. Priced at RM159 each, this planner could also be redeemed FOC via certain termed purchases by mode of your Starbucks® Card. The requirement of purchases would be any 3 purchases of the Christmas beverages plus 15 purchases of “Grande sized” beverages. Terms & conditions apply.

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Planning to set the Christmas moods with more giving and sharing? There are more than 60 items at each Starbucks® outlet, ranging from Starbucks® Seasonal Favorite coffees, Starbucks® Card, Starbucks® Planner 2014, Starbucks® soft toys, Starbucks® mugs, Starbucks® tumblers, Starbucks® Christmas ornaments and more for you to choose.

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The most notable one would be the Swarovski crystal studded Starbucks® Christmas ornament priced at RM185.

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Thanks to Starbucks® for the invitation as well as the lovely bring home gifts~ 🙂


Address: 4-G, Jalan Pantai Molek, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-890 6008
Business Hours: 6.30am-1.00am (Sun-Thurs), 24 hours (Fri & Sat)
GPS: 5.446571, 100.305556


Herbs and spices (either freshly grown or dried ones) have been around for centuries and they are the main ingredients to pep up the flavors and aromas in our daily cuisine. For the month of November 2013 (1-30 November 2013), the Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Herbs & Spices Promotion to send your taste bud tingling back to the days of the Maharajah. This promotion would be under the skillful hands of Chef Khalil bin Khazali, Chef de Partie (Malay Kitchen) and Chef Buvanessuaran a/l Muniandy, Commis 1 (Pastry Kitchen), supervised by Chef Mohamad Bakri, head of Malay Kitchen.


We started off the meal with a soup called Chicken Mulligatawny Soup (印度香料雞湯). Mulligatawny is a traditional curry soup of Indian origin but it has many variations depending of which region it came from. The soup basically has the ingredients of your common Potato & Carrot Soup (ABC Soup as some locals may call it) but slightly spiced up with some curry powder, plus added green apple slices for some extra crunch and sweetness. This soup would normally be thickened up with some rice grains but there would also be the option to apply in some heavy cream. The mild spiciness of this soup would suit Westerners more. However, being a spicy lover, I personally find the soup to be a bit too mild and watery to my liking. On top of that, being towards a more Indian theme, it lacked the common garnishing of herbs such as cilantro and/or red chilies to bring out more depth in the dish, taste and flavor wise.


Next we had a dish known as Achari Paneer (鮮辣芝士沙拉). Paneer is a kind of non-melting Indian style cottage cheese, processed by separating the curd from the whey by adding some food acid into hot boiling milk. The drained curd would then be soaked in chilled water for a period of time to get the almost bean curd hard like texture. This “either you like it or not” type of non-melting paneer is extremely versatile for any form of cooking, even as a pakora. The kitchen did it in a spicy way by stir frying those cubed paneer with a long list of herbs and spices. The aromatic accompaniment was nicely prepared with the right balance of flavors. However, I noticed that the paneer was not properly drained as there were still some traces of moisture oozing out from cooked cheese. The kitchen might pull through by preparing the dish this way but it would be a bit risky if they planned to deep fry those cubed cheese.


Since I’m quite fond on Indian finger food such as the vadai, masala vadai, samosa and more, I find the next item to be simple and yet fulfilling. We had Deep Fried Pakoras (香酥炸蔬菜). Each pakora had some finely cut onions, chilies and spices mixed in gram flour prior to being mold into bite size for deep frying. These lovely crispy snacks went well with their Madras Curry Mayo dipping sauce.


The Chicken Tikka Masala (馬薩拉香濃雞) was lovely. The meat was well marinated and tender with a high presence of garam masala usages. If you can get hold of a slice of lime, a little squeeze would pep up the flavors even more. Thumbs up!


The Goan Fish Curry (印度傳統咖哩魚) was served next. The Goa style curry fish was normal. You practically get this style of cooking anywhere in Malaysia, whether they are from a Malay, Indian, Indian Muslim or even a Chinese economy rice stall.


On the other hand, the Sindhi Kadhi (咖哩蔬菜鍋) was also another common dish served. This nutritious dish with a predominant use of various vegetables, complement each other beautifully in terms of color, taste and texture.


We were also served with the Masala Aloo (香濃馬鈴薯咖哩). I was wondering if the kitchen named this dish wrongly as there were no “murgh” aka chicken in the dish. Thus, I had renamed it as Masala Aloo rather than Murgh Aloo Masala. The dish practically tasted almost like the Indian style Dhal Curry. However, instead of using lentils, these were replaced with chickpeas. This dish would go well with rice or any of the Indian bread, especially roti pratha and chapati.


Lastly, there was also the Lamb Briyani (羊肉燜飯). I kind of like the tender and well marinated lamb pieces here. However, the rice somehow lacked the fragrance and texture I was expecting. Though Basmati rice grains were used, the amount of water used was not enough to ascertain the ideal al dente of the rice. The rice was rather dry and lacked of flavors to my liking.


There would always be some sweet desserts for last to complete the contentment. Well, it’s almost always true but not as sweet as the Indian desserts. Though the kitchen had cut down on the sugar usage, I still find the Gulab Jamun (玫瑰黃金球) to be over excessive in sweetness. The deep fried dough basically consisted of flour, milk powder and baking soda and soaked in a pool of rose infused syrup. Somehow, the syrup lacked some significant flavors such as those from rose and notably cardamoms.


There was also the Payasam (香料西米露) which was made up of super sweetened milk with a high usage of cardamoms with a light garnishing of fried cashew nuts. I could not ascertain the starch used as it could be either semiya, a type of vermicelli or even poha, a flattened rice, as the dessert was to0 sweet for my consumption.


Last but not least, we had my favorite of the day – Mango Lassi (芒果拉西). This barely 100 calories yoghurt and milk based refreshing beverage was well chilled with added chunks of fresh Indian mangoes. It was great to slurp down the lassi after a heavy meal of herbs and spices infused cuisine.


Overall, I find that the theme for this month was rather confusing as all the dishes served here were of Indian cuisine. It was not wrong altogether as the Indians do use the most herbs and spices in their daily cooking. However, I personally feel that diners would want more options of other origins such as Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Nyonya and so on. I was really expecting some Nasi Ulam which is a dish that’s rather unique in this region as most countries won’t be able to acquire most of the herbs and spices from Malaysia. Even some local Nyonya dishes such as the Perut Ikan and Otak Otak would have impressed most of the foreign diners. On top of that, what about some simple herbs and spices usage Western cuisine? I do hope the kitchen would have a wider range of options for this promotion by coming out with more authentic flavored dishes rather than sticking to solely Indian cuisine. Moreover, there are the Northern and Southern Indian cuisine too with different flavors.

Here’s the summary of the Herbs & Spices 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): Sunday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank, CIMB Bank and CITIBANK card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Herbs & Spices 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 right 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)




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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.

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