CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for April, 2016

Dining Room @ Macalister Mansion has always been known for its delectable yet innovative gastronomy by utilizing high quality ingredients in their dishes all around the globe. Under the helm of its Head Chef, Chef Johnson Wong, 25 years old, whom had years of experiences overseas under Michelin starred restaurant and chef, Dining Room is on its way towards the next level of excellence. Currently, Dining Room is promoting its “from farm to table” 8-course tailor-made Chef’s Tasting Menu at RM268nett/pax, with the option to top up an additional RM160 for wine pairing. The menu would showcase the chef’s talented modern French cooking techniques by incorporating some Malaysia flavors into the dishes.

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Even before the first dish was being served, we were already impressed on how those cute little warm bread rolls were being served with burned butter. With some mild yet aromatic coffee flavor within the rolls and boosted up further with some coffee beans in the serving tray, it was indeed one of the ingenious methods to stimulate the body with enthusiasm to be alert for more good food ahead.

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The first dish of Garden of Macalister Mansion indeed showed the romantic side of the chef towards the local Malaysian produce. The organic green salad featured a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables from the local farm. The greens were presented in different textures and colors with a combination of smoked salmon at the base to boost up further smoky flavor. The salad was well plated with some added cappuccino foam to give it that misty yet mysterious effect. It was too beautiful to eat but too irresistible not to consume the healthy salad. Well, everything was wiped out within seconds~ LOL~ 😛

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We were then served with Carabineros, a heavy saline flavored Spanish red prawn, renowned for their jumbo size and striking bright red color. The carefully time-monitored seared prawn was stuffed with pineapple and peppercorn. It was served alongside with sweet Japanese Momotaro tomato, white balsamic vinegar and olive pesto, which gave some refreshing yet zesty touches to the dish. The prawn was presented in an almost sashimi-like texture but that was not the main point of consuming a Carabinero prawn. Crustacean enthusiasts would go for its head first as that’s where all the oozy goodness lies. Sucking a prawn head might be quite embarrassing in a fine dining restaurant such as Dinner Room but don’t get discourage as that’s what they would expect you to do to fully enjoy the intensely flavorful innards. Though I could be quite adventurous while trying out new food, but to consume this prawn, it might require an acquired taste bud for some diners.

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I was truly impressed with the next dish which was the 62.5°C Slow Cooked Egg. The time-consuming process by the kitchen just to serve the Japanese inspired egg dish should be well complimented. The egg had gone through an hour of sous vide cooking temperature of 62.5°C, followed by crumbling it with kataifi phyllo and deep fried to golden perfection, before being served in a puddle of Leek and Matcha Emulsion, together with Hokkaido Scallop and Anchovy to enhance the neutral taste of the egg further. You have to try out this heavenly dish as the crunchiness from the shredded phyllo, combined with the ooziness from the egg yolk plus the freshness from the added seafood and earthliness of the added matcha, was one dish that caught the umami taste bud in my mouth. Ichiban!

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The Foie Gras Cappuccino was another impressive dish that caught my attention, not only through its flavorful yet balanced taste but also on its presentation. The Foie Gras soup was presented in a cappuccino texture with classic Italian combinations such as Arugula and Aged Balsamic. Pomelo shreds were added to reduce the surfeit oiliness from the Foie Gras. I must admit that this was one of the better foie gras I’ve tasted so far. The kitchen would have imported such a quality piece of foie gras with such a balanced creaminess and fattiness. Combined with the perfectly flavorful aged balsamic, nutty flavored arugula and bitter sweet pomelo shred, it was a perfect dish for the evening.

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For any fine dining experience, there would almost always be a Palate Cleanser in between courses. The cleanser was practically a quenelle spoonful of apple sorbet, garnished with a hazelnut, mint leaf and pennywort leaf (daun pegaga). It was something so refreshing that I would ask for more, if possible~ 😛

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We continued with yet another remarkable dish which was the Blue Lobster, another signature dish from Chef Johnson. An upscale ingredient from Brittany, France, the blue lobster was very well prepared and served with a Satay peanut sauce like foamy sauce minus the pungent spiciness but with a distinctive roasted lobster shells flavors. It came with a mildly blanched stalk of kalian (the same family as kale) which has that earthly bitterness to balance off the overall flavors. The freshness of the blue lobster combined with the fusion Asian sauce was another perfect dish to my liking.

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We had Grain Fed Chicken next which did not look like chicken at all as it was presented in two different styles. In one style, there were a few pieces of phyllo fried wraps filled with slow cooked chicken, blue mussel and basil. The other style consisted of mushroom cepes powder layered and compressed slow-roasted chicken mousse. The dish was served with dried chili Escabeche sauce and creamy ricotta puree to balance off the spiciness. The wraps were simply delicious with the flavors emitted from the added sweet basil leaf. However, the layered chicken piece was a bit too dry for my liking. Maybe it would be great if the kitchen could add in some finely chopped water chestnuts or jicama to make the bite juicier.

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For pre-dessert, we had their self concocted Penang Native which consisted of local Penang flavors such as Lemon Granite, Candied Nutmeg and White Fungus. It was indeed a refreshing treat before a heavier dessert next. Personally, I would prefer if some lemongrass extracts were to be added into the lemon granite to further boost up the flavors. Moreover, it would be great too if grated nutmeg pickles were to be added in instead of the candied nutmegs as they were a bit over dehydrated for the bite.

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Their dessert of Café Mocha was heavenly. The chef embedded the elements from Mocha and reconstructed them into a beautifully plated dessert. The dessert had a pate sablee frozen cookie base, architecturally constructed upwards with coffee mousse and chocolate crunches and served with coffee ice cream. It was a great combination of bitterness and sweetness (70% dark chocolate) with a twist of crunchiness plus the bonus of having the aromatic and earthly coffee flavors infused into the dessert.

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Overall, I quite like the quality, creativity and taste of the dishes served here, especially those playfully concocted dishes that were beautiful to the eyes and flavorful with each bite. Chef Johnson has done a great job here for placing the culinary scenes in Penang to a higher level. If you enjoy a great dining experience without worrying about the bill, Dining Room @ Macalister Mansion would be the ideal place for you. After all, trying out the Chef’s Tasting Menu at below 50% off from the ala carte prices, is not something that you would get to indulge in always~ 🙂

Apart from the Chef’s tasting menu, Dining Room do also offer the 4 courses MM’s Discovery Menu which is another trademark of Macalister Mansion. The 4 courses MM’s Discovery Menu is priced at RM168nett per pax or guest could also opt for ala carte. For the coming promotion, you can also check out the Black Truffle Dinner experience on 29 April 2016 as below:

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Since Macalister Mansion is situated along a one-way street, there are only two roads leading into Jalan Macalister – 2 different stretches of Jalan Perak. Either way, when you drive via Jalan Perak into Jalan Macalister, slow down and keep to your left or you might miss the entrance into Macalister Mansion. Macalister Mansion is located just immediately after the Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre. There will be ample space within the compound for your parking need.

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Name: DINING ROOM @ MACALISTER MANSION
Address: 228 Jalan Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-228 3888
Business Hours: 7.00pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.418900, 100.318746

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 9/10 (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)

About Macalister Mansion: Located along the historic Macalister Road, Macalister Mansion is a design boutique hotel honors Sir Norman Macalister. Being the first Malaysian member of design hotel, Macalister Mansion promises a quirky and sophisticated new lifestyle destination to relax and refresh. Within Macalister Mansion, each space within its food & beverage outlets together with the hotel is branded as distinct rooms found in a mansion. Designed around the idea of an old English mansion, Macalister Mansion aims to provide hospitality of an actual home to the hotel guest to unwind through its modern facilities and impeccable service standards. Facilities include The Lawn (swimming pool), Dining Room (restaurant), Living Room (café), The Cellar (wine lounge), The Den (whisky bar), Eight Rooms (hotel), guest lounge and weight room. For more information, please contact Macalister Mansion at +604 2283 888 or access to its website at http://www.macalistermansion.com

 

US POTATO CULINARY FESTIVAL PENANG 2016

Posted by crizlai On April - 24 - 2016

With the successes of the US Potato Culinary Festival Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and 2015, the US Potato Festival Penang 2016 was finally held in the Pearl of the Orient, Penang, where the culinary scenes are well known to the world. Organized by the United States Potato Board of Malaysia with the support of the Penang Chefs Association, the month long festival would last from 1-31 May 2016 with 20 participating eateries showcasing the best they could offer with U.S. potatoes, either using fresh, frozen and/or dehydrated. Each eatery would feature some mouth-watering assortments of their creative delicacies from finger food, appetizers, entrées, soups, main courses to unique desserts, fully utilizing the versatility of the quality and nutritious U.S. potatoes. The launching of the festival was held at Straits Court @ Straits Quay, Penang recently on 23 April 2016.

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According to Eddie Saw from the United States Potato Board of Malaysia, the humble looking potatoes had faced many bad reputations for being one of the most fattening food items to consume. In fact, one medium size (5.3 oz) skin on U.S. potato merely contains 110 calories per serving, boosts more potassium (620g) than a banana, and provides almost half the value of Vitamin C (45%) and contains no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol at all. He could be right with the facts and figures as potatoes surely have their fans and foes depending on how you cook them. Some of the healthier ways might include baking, roasting, mashing, scalloping or even steaming rather than dunking them into a deep fryer and dressing them up with fatty and greasy toppings. Fat-free sour cream, salsa or even simple toss in extra virgin olive oil could be your best alternative. It’s about time we give these spuds the respect they deserve, considering that they do have many nutritional benefits as well~ 🙂

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Here were some of the interesting and unique dishes pepped up by the participating eateries during the launch as shown in the photos below.

A few of the dishes caught my attention. One of them was the Stuffed Egg with U.S. Potato from What The Duck Restaurant. It had slightly sweetened mashed potatoes wrapped around a quail egg, breadcrumbed, deep fried and drizzled with some mayonnaise. I could have mistaken them as dessert as the filling was almost mung beans like as you get from those in mooncakes. Anyway, it was quite a cheeky play on the usage of potatoes.

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Another dish that I was quite impressed with was the Rib Eye (120 days Grain Fed) served with Oxtail US Potato Cake, Buttered Spinach & Brandy Sauce by Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant. The well grilled rib eye combined with the crispy yet creamy potato cake, dressed in the sauce was something I would go for when I visit the eatery soon.

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Hotel NEO+ Penang came out with a skillfully prepared Millefuille of Braised Lamb Shank infused with Herbs, accompanied with US Gratin Potato on Grilled Scallop Shell.

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Café 32 @ Segi College Penang also did impress me with their Deep Fried Cris Cut with Pandan Cream & Palm Sugar. It was something out from the norm.

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Georgetown City Hotel also came out with a creative dessert of Chocolate Brownie with US Potato Chunks. On top of the little nutty crunch within, you would get some soft and moist potato bites as well.

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Naughty Nuri’s Warung could be real cheeky as their name with their pub grub style Wicked US Potato Chips with Salted Egg Mayo. Be warned~ The dip could be real fiery with some hidden red bird’s eye chilies~ LOL~ 😛

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As for creativity, I would think that Evergreen Laurel Hotel excelled above the rest for its colorful yet tastefully plated arrays of dishes such as their Deep Fried Bird Nest US Potato with Sliced Herbed Potatoes, Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Fruits Salsa & Baked Capsicum Sauce plus their US Potato Wrapped with Seaweed, Vegetables and Mash, accompanied with Waffle Potato in Balsamic Reduction Sauce.

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THE 20 PARTICIPATING OUTLETS:

1. Bayview Beach Resort
2. Bayview GeorgeTown Hotel
3. Black Kettle Café
4. Blue Reef Fish & Chips
5. Crazy Cowboy Bar & Grill
6. Evergreen Laurel Hotel
7. Gala House Café & Restaurant
8. Georgetown City Hotel
9. Hamburger Inc.
10. Harvest Time Café
11. Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant
12. Moulmein Gourmet
13. Naughty Nuri’s Warung
14. Hotel NEO+ Penang
15. Rakkii Izakaya
16. Segi Café 32
17. Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya
18. The Chambers Restaurant
19. Uncle Albert Fish & Chips
20. What the Duck Restaurant

 

Right in the heart of George Town, Penang, lies a cozy and yet sophisticated café by the name of Auction Rooms Café Georgetown (ARG). Under the umbrella of Kimberley Hotel, Penang, this café promised some great dishes that would suit your appetite real well, such as salad, soup, munchies, various meat, seafood, pastas and beverages. All orders would be inclusive of 6% GST.

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We started off with their Fruit Salad (RM14) with a variety of fruits and greens, drizzled with some yoghurt and honey. It was just a simple and healthy boost before our main meals. It would be great if the kitchen would garnish the salad with some granola or chopped nuts to make the salad more nutrients perfect, especially for those who would take salad as their main course.

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We also tried out their Cream of Wild Mushroom (RM10), served with slices of garlic toasts. Though it was not the best mushroom soup to my preference, it was still a decently prepared one with the earthliness of the wild mushrooms bits. I would think that the kitchen should toast some of the mushrooms to bring out some smokiness for the overall flavors. I’m not too sure what type of mushroom they were using but if they could ad in more types of mushrooms such as Portobello, Shitake, Oyster, etc would surely make the soup even tastier.

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While waiting for our main courses to be served, we tried out some of their munchies, starting with some Nachos with Cheese (RM12). The dish had some baked tortilla chips dipped in hearty Italian Bolognese sauce and topped with melted mozzarella. I quite like the overall flavors as the added sauce was one of the better ones I had tried before. This would be a bite perfect dish for any ages.

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The next munchies item we tried out was the Seafood Bruschetta (RM14). It had some succulent fish chunks, squid and prawns in a house cream sauce on baguette slices and toasted perfectly with some melted mozzarella cheese. It was a crunch perfect dish. However, I would think that some sprinkles of mixed herbs on the cheese would have pepped out more flavors.

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We practically tried out everything that was on their meat main courses, starting with their Grilled BBQ Chicken (RM22). There was nothing much to shout about the dish as it was just a simple preparation of grilled chicken fillet, glazed with some in-house made BBQ sauce, accompanied by sides of sautéed vegetables and steamed white rice. Though the chicken fillet was juicy and flavorful as it should, the overall combination was a bit too dry to my liking. Maybe the kitchen should consider dressing the blanched vegetables with some butter white sauce since the dish was served with rice.

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The Chicken Roulette (RM25) served was not bad at all considering that it was an orient-inspired roulette with tender chicken breast slices rolled with Japanese pickles, carrot, chicken frank and cheddar, served with house gravy, mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. However, I personally think that there could be more improvements on the gravy itself with more creatively inspired sauces by utilizing the zesty mandarin orange, lemon or even a combination of the creamy avocado with a light touch of wasabi and lime juice.

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I quite like the next dish which was the Stuffed Chicken (RM28). It was an infusion of smoked chicken stuffed with duck breast, cream cheese and spinach, along with wild mushroom sauce and accompanied by some golden potato fries and sautéed vegetables. It would be great if some salsa be added in to cut down on the heaviness of the meat.

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The Lamb Shoulder (RM38) served was another dish I enjoyed as it had succulently grilled lamb shoulder braised in mint sauce, served with sides of mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. For me, it would be great if they were to be some added mint jelly served together with this dish. However, there were some inconsistencies in the grilling as some of us did encounter certain part of the lamb shoulder to be a bit too well done.

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We also did try out their Australian Rib-Eye (RM52). It has medium-rare fine Australian rib-eye steak served in a black pepper corn sauce with sides of fried mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. The meat had just the right tenderness and texture to my liking and the fresh grounded flavors of the black pepper corns in the sauce was just right. However, the kitchen could be a bit heavy handed with the salt during the grilling process. Moreover, I would advise the kitchen to serve the sauce separately as not everyone would like their meat to be drowned in sauce.

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As for seafood main courses, we had their Grilled White Tuna (RM28), wild ocean tuna fillet, served with creamy wild mushroom sauce, accompanied by sides of mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. Personally, I would think that there should be justice given to the sauce as it tends to get boring after some time with their basic mushroom sauce for just anything. No doubt it was fine but I would think a more citrus and zesty flavors would complement seafood items better. The kitchen should consider using Lemon Butter Sauce or even some lime juice pepped up salsa to go with the fish.

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The last of the main course we had was the Pan-Seared Mackerel (RM30). The dish had a perfectly pan-seared mackerel fillet served in leek pesto sauce, served with sides of mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. What amazed me most was the presentation. It was one of those unique ones I’ve seen so far, especially for Western cuisine. I’ve to compliment the chef for best effort on this dish. Everything was perfect for this dish except that I would think it lacked some garnishing. It could be just anything from roasted nuts, a curled piece of lemon slice for those who love to have some zesty squeezes on their fish, chili flakes or even some toasted chopped black olives.

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There are 5 types of pastas for you to choose from too ranging from the Vegetarian Pesto Pasta (RM18), Fried Cuttlefish Spaghetti (RM20), Smoked Duck Carbonara (RM22), Crabmeat Pomodoro (RM24) and Smoked Salmon Aglio E Olio (RM28). Amongst all, the Smoked Salmon Aglio E Olio remained my favorite as its had al dente textured spaghetti with pan-fried cherry tomatoes, broccoli, wild shitake mushrooms tossed in their infusion of rich olive oil and garlic and garnished with some smoked salmon with a light sprinkle of chili flakes. It was a well balanced pasta for me.

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For dessert, we had their Warm Crepe with Mochi & Chocolate Ice Cream. It was just a normal dessert to tempt the craving of those dessert lovers.

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As for beverages, they have coffee, tea, juices, beer, mocktail and more.

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Overall, the dishes served here were simple and yet filled with flavors. I would think that the young chef there knows his stuff quiet well. However, there should be more improvements on the dessert section as there were hardly many options for dessert lovers. Maybe they could consider waffles, egg waffles or even churros into their menu. Anyway, ARG is still a great place to hang out with business associates, family members and friends.

You can check out more of the menus here:

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If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong (KOMTAR Walk), drive further up until you see the first left turning. Turn left into Jalan Sungai Ujong and you would see ARG a few shop houses away on your left. Parking can be quite limited here during peak hours. Alternatively, you can ask the guard there if there are parking spaces behind the hotel.

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Name: AUCTION ROOMS CAFÉ GEORGETOWN (ARG) @ KIMBERLEY HOTEL
Address: 38A Jalan Sungai Ujong, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-263 6688
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.415785, 100.331781

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

 

China House which has the full range of dining experiences in this region has been the highlights of many events such as performing arts, art galleries, talk shows and more for quite many years. In fact, it could be the longest restaurant in Malaysia with a buildup area of 400’ x 25’, comprising 2 heritage units facing Lebuh Pantai and a heritage unit facing Lebuh Victoria, linked by a beautiful decorated open air courtyard. With 14 spaces comprising shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries and multi-purpose performing art theatre, we managed to pay a visit to their BTB & Restaurant on one fine evening. The restaurant serves a fusion of Western mixed with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, something that will thrill the appetite of those adventurous gourmet aficionados. All orders would be inclusive of 6% GST but you would still need to pay for the 10% service charge.

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To start off the meal, we tried out some of their signature entrees. Firstly, we were served with their Mezze Vegetarian (RM28+), a platter filled with lots of small dishes and served as an appetizer. The dish consisted of the freshly made Harissa (a chili paste made from various hot peppers), Eggplant Ginger Bud Sambal, Green Relish (cucumber & green chili pickle), Corn & Parmesan Salsa, Red Pepper Chutney, Yoghurt, Pomegranate Dip, Dukkah (mixed herbs, nuts & spices), Lemon Rocket Salad and served with Pita and Focaccia. Well, those were quite a remarkable array of spreads and dips with some twists to infuse some local flavors as well. Everything was perfect except I wished I had some hummus in the platter for my pita bread~ 😛

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Next we had the Pumpkin and Apple Soup (RM18+), garnished with Candied Pumpkin Seeds and served with Parmesan Biscotti. The mild sweetness of the pumpkin and the fresh sourness of green apple, combined with little crunchy bites from the added candied pumpkin seeds made this soup very appetizing indeed.

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I’ve tried so many versions of Grilled Halloumi (RM38+) before and their version with added Parmesan Biscotti on Avocado, Sesame Seeds Candied Cashew Nuts, Grapes, Cranberries, Rocket Salad with Pomegranate Dressing was one of the best I’ve tried. The grilling on the semi-hard and unripened brined cheese (forgot to verify if they were made with goat, sheep or cow’s milk) was just perfectly textured for the bite. Combined with their perfectly concocted salad, it was heavenly for a salad lover like me.

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The next salad which was the Deep Fried Tiny Prawns (RM38+) on Mango and Avocado Salad, garnished with Pistachio and served with Basil Dressing, was another great salad for me as it had that fruity creaminess with just the right crispiness and crunchiness from the battered fried shrimps and nuts.

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Another unique salad was their Salt Egg Yolk Crispy Chicken Strips (RM34+) on Watercress, Peanuts, Corn, Cherry Tomato, Green Mango and Coriander Salad with Spicy Peanut Dip. No doubt it was a great concoction with the flavors that I like.

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As for Main Courses, we started with the 200g of Seared Fillet of Beef (RM76+) served with Parsnip Skordalia and Mushrooms, Roasted Pumpkin and Duo Sauces of Spicy Peanut Sauce and Balsamic Sauce. The main highlight would be the wonderfully seared beef fillet which had the right medium rare texture to my liking. To my surprise, the kitchen used Parsnip Skordalia instead of mashed potatoes. I’ve known from the local market that parsnips are quite rare and they were not commercially grown since the presence of potatoes which are easier to manage. The nuttiness and sourness from the duo sauces combined real well with the beef.

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The next main course which was the Rack of Lamb (RM76+) was another impressive dish. The nicely pan seared lamb rack was glazed with Chimichurri Pesto and served with Dukkah garnished Roasted Pumpkin, Eggplant Ginger Bud Sambal plus a Cauliflower Gratin on the Side. In my personal opinion, it was another great dish. Combined with the cheesiness from the fragrantly baked cauliflower gratin, I won’t mind having another serving.

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The next dish which was the Asian Platter (RM62+) had my eyes opened widely as it had so many side dishes served with rice. It was like our local Malaysian Nasi Lemak served with various Asian countries’ specialty. It was indeed a different approach to my dining experience. The platter had Laotian Style Chicken & Pumpkin Curry, Malaysian Style Coconut Beef Rendang, Thai Style Sweet Basil Mango Salad, most likely Nyonya Style conceptualized Eggplant Ginger Bud Sambal, Caramelised Peanut Relish, Thai/Laotian Style Chicken Larb in Iceberg Cup, served with hot steaming Coconut Rice and Indonesian Melinjo Crackers (commonly known as emping).

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We also tried out the 2 Main Courses from the Kopi C Casual Dining Menu. One of the more unique dishes was the Hokkien Spaghetti Bolognese (RM34+), a favorite dish amongst the diners. The dish had a bowl of al dente spaghetti tossed with some almost Laos style Minced Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms gravy and served with Cucumber Ribbons, Eggplant Ginger Bud Sambal, Caramelized Peanuts and an extra serving of the Minced Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms “Curry”. I quite like the fusion in this dish.

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The second main we had was the Chicken & Mushroom Pie (RM38+) served with Baked Sweet Potato, Mashed Potato, Broccoli and Tomato Relish. I simply love the buttery crust of the pie with quite a generous amount of chicken and mushroom chunks within. How I wished they do have beef pies too.

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For cakes lovers, Beach Street Bakery @ China House is the place for you to with all their mouth watering homemade cakes. In fact, you have a long table filled with heavenly goodies to soothe your sugar craving~ 😛

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We did try out some of their recommended cakes and all of them were up to my expectation, especially the Tiramisu Cake. We tried out their Tiramisu (RM15.90+), Passion fruit Coconut Butter (RM10.60+), Chocoholic Chocolate (RM12.70+), Banana Mocha Frosting (RM12.70+), Carrot Walnut (RM10.60+) and Salted Caramel Cheesecake (RM15.90+).

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As for beverages, they do have an extensive array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. We have decided to go for the non-alcoholic beverages such as Single Shot Café Latte (RM10.60+), Gula Melaka Shake with Homemade Ice Cream (RM18.30+), Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake with Homemade Ice Cream (RM18.30+), Freshly Made Crushed Mint & Lime Soda (RM10.60+), Ice Coffee Milo Dinosour with Cold Milk Foam (RM11.50+) and Strawberry Banana Granola Smoothie with Natural Yoghurt (RM16.30+).

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Overall, I quite like the dishes served here at BTB & Restaurant especially all the uniquely concocted salads. Though some the pricing might be a bit steep for some diners, you can be assured that you would be getting the freshest ingredients from the kitchen. As for dessert lovers, it’s a must for you to drop over for some heavenly baked cakes over tea or coffee.

If you are coming from Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay) towards Bayan Lepas/Penang Internatioanl Airport (PIA) in George Town area, slow down when you have reached the Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal. Upon the ending of the iron metal divider, keep right and turn right into the second junction which is Gat Lebuh Armernian. Drive onwards the cross junction (Gat Lebuh Armenian/Lebuh Victoria) until you have reach Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street). Turn right and you would see China House about 50m away on your right. Parking could be quite scare during peak hours of the day. To prevent yourself from getting lost or getting summon for illegal parking, I would advise you to find a parking at the open car park nearby. Instead of turning into the second right junction of Gat Lebuh Armenian, drive further to the third right junction which is Gat Lebuh Acheh. You can see an open car park at the corner of Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Acheh. Park your car and use the Lebuh Victoria exit, turn right and walk for another 160m and you can see the China House @ Lebuh Victoria Entrance on your left. You won’t miss it as the signage is quite prominent.

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Name: CHINA HOUSE (唐人厝)
Address: 153, 155 Lebuh Pantai & 183B Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-263 7299 (Reservations & Enquiry)
Business Hours:
Kopi C: 9.00am-6.00am (Breakfast), 12.00noon-6.00pm (Lunch), 6.00pm-11.00pm (Dinner)
BTB & Restaurant: 6.30pm-10.30pm
Beach St. Bakery, Vine & Single, 14 Chairs: 9.00am-12.00am
Courtyard Café & Burger Bar: 12.00noon-11.00pm
Canteen & Bar: 12.00noon-12.00am
GPS: 5.414866, 100.338768 (Beach Street Entrance), 5.413907, 100.339300 (Victoria Street Entrance)
Website: www.chinahouse.com.my

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

 

Earlier in 2014, I’ve written an article for HungryGoWhere Malaysia on Hakka Village (客家山寨), Balik Pulau, Penang. It was a height defying experience travelling uphill to an altitude of 300’ above sea level via a jeep. However, they have relocated to another venue on flat ground to enable more visitors (especially those elderly) to try out their home cooked Hakka cuisine. Though booking for their recreational camping, physical strength challenge and group training recreational activities or even holding some private events are still available, special arrangement would be made to cater to their dining needs. The new outlet has been named Hakka Village Branch (客家分寨), located along the main road of Jalan Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, Penang.

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To savor their delicious and home cooked Hakka Cuisine, the price would be at RM38nett (adult) and RM19nett (children) with a minimum order for 2 pax. Reservation is required to enable them to pep up your dishes well on time. Rice and nutmeg juice would be free flow and dishes are refillable. There won’t be a fix menu for the day as you get to eat whatever dishes they have available for the day – with a minimum of 7 dishes plus 1 soup.

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Though some of the dishes may vary from day to day, some of their signature dishes would surely be highlighted. Let me brief you through on the dishes we had for the day.

Firstly, there was the Braised Pork with Red Fermented Bean Curd and Wood Ear Fungus (紅腐乳/南乳木耳燜豬肉). If you love the flavors of red fermented bean curd which is quite a norm in Hakka cuisine, you would truly love this dish. Moreover, they used lots of wood ear fungus (black fungus/cloud ear fungus/Auricularia polytricha) which are beneficial to our body system such as improving the blood circulation, lowering cholesterol, anti-viral and more.

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Next on the list was the Preserved Sweetened Mustard Greens (Mui Choy) with Pork Belly (梅菜豬肉). Somehow, the kitchen managed to get this dish right with the right balance of sweetness and saltiness. Moreover, the added pork belly slices gave the overall flavors an extra boost with natural oiliness. Ideally, I would prefer to have this dish over porridge than rice, especially during such humid and dry weather~ 🙂

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I’m a big fan of taro and when the Hakka Style Steamed Pork Belly with Taro (Kau Yoke- 客家芋頭扣肉) was served, I was all eyes on those nicely steamed taro pieces in red fermented bean curd. However, this dish would come in a set of a thick slap of pork belly meat and a piece of deep fried taro. There were distinctive flavors from the added red dates and Shitake mushrooms in the dish. Just give a bowl or two or three of hot steaming rice and I could just gobble up the whole dish.

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We also had the Yellow Wine Chicken (黃酒雞), a simple home style chicken dishes with julienned ginger, wood ear fungus and yellow wine. The mild sweetness from the added yellow wine indeed pepped up the unique flavors in the dish.

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The Hakka Stuffed Bean Curd (客家釀豆腐) might look plain with nothing more than some deep fried bean curd cuts with stuffed minced pork. However, sometimes simplicity ruled over complexity in a dish. Those pieces of stuffed bean curds were truly delicious.

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For health reasons, I would try to avoid preserved ingredients especially those with high sodium content. However, their Salted Radish (Chai Poh) Omelette (菜莆煎蛋餅) was one dish that caught me clearing up the whole plate~ LOL~ 😛 Somehow, the kitchen managed to soak the salted radish just right to rid the excess saltiness. All there was left was a nice plate of fragrantly fried eggs with crunchy bits from the added salted radish. Thumbs up!

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Their Stir Fry Cabbages with Dried Shrimps (包菜炒蝦米) might look simple but it was pepped up with the fragrance and flavors from some added dried shrimps and oyster sauce.

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The soup for the day was the Chinese Style Sweet Corn Soup (中式玉蜀黍湯). It was nothing special as I do cook this soup on a regular basis too. However, corns are beneficial to the body system as they contained great antioxidant properties for general wellbeing. So, consuming a bit more of this soup won’t do you any harm.

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Penang has been known as one of the top quality producer for nutmeg as well as its by-products. You would be thrilled to be served with free flow of Nutmeg Juice (豆蔻水) here. Instead of the freshly blended ones with added sour plum, you would be served another version which had been slowly simmered in rock sugar.

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We were surprised that the boss threw in another bonus dish which was the Hakka Style Sour Braised Pork Trotters (客家豬腳酸). Compared to the old ginger simmered Black Vinegar Pork Trotters, this dish has a unique sourness from added tomato puree plus chopped radish and carrots.

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Overall, I would think that these were just some of the basic Hakka dishes they have served during our visit as there are still more delicious dishes not covered in their menu-less spread. I’ve tried their Hakka Lui Cha (擂茶) during one of the recent Chinese New Year event and it was the best I’ve tasted. Moreover, there were the Salt Baked Chicken (鹽焗雞) and Hakka Yam Abacus Beads (算盤子) which I do find to be extremely delicious. Too bad these won’t be in the menu due to the tedious work and quality control (QC) involved to pep up all these fresh dishes. Though, the pricing might be a bit steep for some, many are not aware that if you like any of the dishes, you could always ask for refill as many times as you like without any additional charges.

After your meal, you could always pay a visit to the Local Products & Souvenir Shop just behind the main dining hall. Since Penang is a world known for the culturing and production of nutmegs, you should try to get your hands onto some of the nutmeg by-products such as pickled nutmegs, nutmeg with licorice, nutmeg juice and more.

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Behind the souvenir shop would be another attraction – Hakka Village Cultural Center. If you would like to know the history behind how the Hakka clan landed in Malaysia and how was their lifestyle from those heydays, this would be quite an ideal place to learn more. There would be an admission fees of RM10 imposed on each non-dining individual.

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If you are coming via the hilly Jalan Tun Sardon towards Balik Pulau, drive all the way until you see a T-junction (Jalan Tun Sardon/Jalan Balik Pulau). Turn left and drive all the way until a mini roundabout. Turn left into the second exit (Jalan Sungai Pinang) and drive on about 900m and you would see Hakka Village Branch on your left opposite Tingkat Sungai Pinang. You won’t miss it as there would be lots of colorful lanterns hanging at the fence.

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Name: HAKKA VILLAGE BRANCH (客家分寨)
Address: 536 Jalan Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-2829666, +6016-4116666
Business Hours: 11.30am-3.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.355300, 100.228148

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

 

Espressa Coffee Company (ECC) Flagship Cafe located at Gurney Tower has opened its door for business on 1 March 2016 in an effort to bridge the gap between “the third place” and “the concept store”. Executive Director, Mr. Solomon Lee and its management team strive towards establishing ECC as the solution. As a first of its kind cafe, ECC Coffee has launched its first wave of signature beverages which include coffee, chocolate and fruit tea range along with merchandises such as ECC special mix sachets and more to come.

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ECC Coffee uses its own manufacturing arm, with a whole ecosystem from coffee harvesting to distribution supply chain and integrated customer experience at the end of the day. The product is ISO 22000, a HACCP, GMP and Halal-certified. The range of their merchandises are thoroughly created and manufactured in line with the latest trends. It’s crafted to be the perfect premium gift for any season, anytime and anywhere. Basically, there are 5 types of coffee beans being sold here such as Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Java.

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There are quite a substantial amount of beverages options you could order off the counter from basic coffee (5 options), chocolate (6 options), signature coffee (12 options) and fruit tea (10 options). The coffee beans found here were slightly below medium roast with a higher note of acidity. Though I’m more of a bitter coffee lover, ECC Coffee managed to make that fragrantly bright, snappy and earthly cup of coffee of mine to be quite mellow with a light tart of sweetness and creaminess to my liking. Just order the basic Latte and you will know what I meant. As for the Chocolate, I do find the Orange Cioccolata to suit my taste well with the right amount of citrus zesty flavor and sweetness. Of all the signature coffees that were presented, I personally like the Irish Espressa and Limon Espressa. All their fruit teas were well received by us especially the Kiwi Te Freddo which was rather unique and not frequently found elsewhere.

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If you love the beverages here and would like to enjoy them in the comfort of your home or maybe to share them with your family and friends, you could always purchase the “premix” off the shelves ranging from Espressa, Cioccolata and Te Freddo. There would be 10 sachets in each pack and they do come in quality takeaway bags. The prices are shown in the list below.

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There are also an assortment of pastries and cakes for your personal indulgence such as Blueberry Muffin, Banana Muffin, Sardine Puff, Almond Roll, Black Sesame Milk Chocolate Cake and more. I personally like the uniqueness of the Black Sesame Milk Chocolate Cake as the combination of layers were perfect over a cup of hot coffee or tea.

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Let’s have a look at pricing for the items available on their main board as well as their takeaway products as below.

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The core business of ECC is focused towards licensing where they offer interested investor to license their business plan locally and internationally. Interested parties may contact Ray Low, Franchise Developments Director at 6012-209 6100 or email [email protected] for more details.

ECC Coffee is located at the corner shoplot of Gurney Tower at Jalan Kelawai and Jalan Lim Chin Guan. The signage is quite prominent. Parking could be quite scare during peak hours. If you can’t find any parking space here, you could almost always find some further up the service road nearer to Good Hope Inn. Make sure you use your parking coupons sparingly as the MBPP staff could be real hardworking here~ LOL~ 😛

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Name: ECC COFFEE @ GURNEY TOWER, PENANG
Address: R-G-B1-2, Gurney Tower, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604- 227 7001
Business Hours: 8.30am-10.00pm (Sun-Thurs), 8.30am-12.00am (Fri&Sat)
GPS: 5.429920, 100.318775

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Terrace Bay Restaurant @ Copthorne Orchid Hotel, Penang, is currently promoting their Western Galore Buffet Dinner on every Fridays of the month from 7.00pm until 10.00pm. Priced at RM49nett per pax (Adult) and RM30nett (Child), this promotion would feature an array of Western dishes ranging from appetizers, soup, main and desserts.

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For Starters & Soup, you would be expecting to get dishes such as Garden Green Salad, Nicoise Salad, Greek Salad with Cheese and Potato Salad with dressings such as Thousand Island, French and more. As for the soup, there was the Green Pea Soup served with Garlic Bread and Dinner Rolls.

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As for Main Course, the spread could be quite simple but palatable to one’s needs. Items served could include Pilaf Rice, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Seabass Fillet with Herbs Butter, Lamb Moussaka Tomato Sauce, Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes, Pasta with Crabmeat & Roasted Broccoli and Buttered Mixed Vegetables.

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Desserts might include Mini Fruit Tartlets, Fruit Puddings, Jellies in Glass, Crème Caramel, Chocolate Cake, Bread Butter Pudding and Fresh Fruit Platter. Coffee and Tea were on a free flow basis.

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Do also check out their other promotions as shown in the posters below:

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It’s not hard to locate the restaurant as it’s within the premises of Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang. Drive all the way up towards Batu Ferringhi. After the traffic lights at the Kompleks Makanan Selera Mutiara (Hillside), you can see the hotel on your right. You’ve to keep right and make a U-turn at a junction further up. There would be ample car parks outside as well as the basement. Walk straight until the end of the lobby until you see the stairways towards the swimming pool. Walk downstairs and you can see Terrace Bay Restaurant there.

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Name: TERRACE BAY RESTAURANT @ COPTHORNE ORCHID HOTEL PENANG.
Address: Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-892 3333
Opening Hours:
Buffet Lunch: 12.00 noon – 2.30pm
Buffet Dinner: 7.00pm – 10.00pm
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

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

 

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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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