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THE ALL NEW LA FRANCE CAFÉ & RESTAURANT IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 11 - 2011

If you are a frequent diner at the Northern Beach Café situated along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in Penang, you would notice that there was this little stall selling great French food by the name of La France. Well, that was history! Today, that former little stall by the beach cafe, manned by the loving couple, Frenchman Nathan (who lives near to the border of Germany) and his lovely wife, Ginny, has moved into a cozy mansion of their own, right in the heart of the beautiful George Town, Penang. The all new La France Café & Restaurant now promises a more unique and fresh home cooked French cuisine with a little touch of German. Merveilleux! Wonderful!

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There are two type of menus available here, namely the Menu Dejeuner (lunch from 12.00 noon onwards) and Menu Diner (dinner from 6.00pm onwards). The latter has a few additional items added in for a more fulfilling dinner. Let’s start with the entrees (starter). One of the dishes which I tried out was the Potage du Jour (Soup of the Day – RM5.90) which happened to be Mushroom Soup. It would be served fresh from the kitchen with some sprinkles of black pepper. The soup had a distinctive earthly taste from the finely chopped Shitake mushroom within (most restaurant would just blend all in). It had this sweet but not too creamy taste which was quite different from elsewhere. Instead of the normal usage of flour to create that broth like soup version, the chef applied a healthier method by substituting flour with some freshly mashed potatoes and a mild touch of chopped parsley. Simply healthy and delicious! The soup would not come with any bread or bun, so you might want to order some Pain d’ail (garlic bread – RM3 for 5pcs ciabatta slices).

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There was also the Croques Monsieur (Oven baked Ciabatta) – Croc’ Ham & Cheese (Pork Ham – RM9.80) served with some sautéed potatoes and fresh greens. The whole dish was heaven! The half-sliced ciabatta had just the right crisp on the surface while maintaining the softness within. The bread has some light spread of butter, chopped parsley, pork ham and cheese, prior to being oven baked to perfection. The taste of the cheese was rather different as Mozarella cheese alone would not have that sharp salty cheesy taste. Some crumbles of bleu cheese were used too. The other two side dishes needed some compliments as well. The sautéed potatoes were awesome with a nice aromatic taste from some added herbs. The fresh greens may look normal but when you mix them together with the special dressing created by the chef, it was totally another response. The slightly mustard spiced dressing with some butter-flour roux béchamel sauce and herbs was superb for any salad.

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Another dish that you should not miss out for any meal would be the savory croissants. The Croissant Poulet (Yoghurt Chicken – RM10.90) which was crispy, flavorful yet healthy was another dish to remember. The stuffed chicken meat mixed with some yoghurt and fresh herbs, topped with some cheese and baked to perfection was a perfect lunch for me. It also came with two delicious side dishes as above. You can also try out their Croissant Jambon (Pork Ham – RM10.90), Croissant au Thon (Tuna – RM10.90) or Croissant Saumon Fume (Smoked Salmon & Egg – RM14.90)

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As for pasta, they would use the twirl like fusilli pasta. I tried out the Aglio Olio with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (RM9.00). This version was totally different compared to others. I guessed different restaurant prepared this dish differently. Basically, Aglio e Olio means garlic and oil. The pasta came with some cut dried chili pepper, cut black olives, chopped parsley, sliced garlic, some sprinkles of black pepper, mixed with some extra virgin olive oil and garnished with some parmesan cheese. Overall, it may look rather dry for some but each mouthful gave a totally different cheesy experience. Finally, the whole dish was cleared. Personally, I felt that it may need just a bit more dashes of olive oil, a more fragrant sautéed garlic slices and some available chili flakes for those who love the dish to be a bit more spicy.

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There was also the Crepes de Bleu (Savory French pancakes) section to try out in the menu but I opted for other dishes as it basically consisted of fillings such as eggs, chicken, tuna and smoked salmon but there was this dish that caught my attention. It was the Oven Baked Crepes Beef Bolognese (RM13.90) with cheesy toppings. Well, I had too much of meat and cheese for a day, so I leave it for another day. Instead, I headed for the Dessert Maison section. I had the Crepes Suzette (RM5.90). It was a hot and cold dessert with two folded hot crepes, topped with slightly sweetened fresh orange juice and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The tangy taste of the juice on the crepes combined with the creaminess from the ice cream was simply refreshing.

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The next dessert which was the Crepe Compote (Apple & Banana – RM6.80) was another great dessert. The crepes were rolled up with some fruit compote, sprinkled with some icing sugar and garnished with some hot chocolate sauce. This was another superb dessert for all. The natural sweetened compote had a bit of wine after taste due to the cooking reaction by the combination of the two fruits. It had some raisins and a bit of grounded cinnamon added in for that flavorful taste.

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As I had mentioned earlier, the menu had some additional dishes added in. Let me share with you what you would expect from here. There’s the Omelettes Soufflees (Fluffy) with choices such as the Omelette Champignon (Fresh Mushroom – RM9.90) Omelette Fromage (Cheese – RM9.50), Omelette Jambon Fromage (Ham & Cheese – RM10.50) and Omelette Forestiere (Mushroom, Ham & Cheese – RM12.90). I had decided to go for the Omelette Jambon Fromage (Ham & Cheese – RM10.50) which had chopped hams, onions, chopped parsley, black pepper and cheese. It was cheesy and flavorful. The dish also came with some Pomme Frite (French Fries) and greens. This was another marvelous dish by the restaurant.

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There are two additional dishes for dinner in the Les Regionales (French Local Specialties) section. Other than the Quiche Alsacienne with Bacon & Cheese (RM9.50) and Bratwurst with Sauteed Potatoes (RM11.80) available for both meals, I tried out the Kartoffelpuffer (Alsacien Potato Pancakes – RM10.90). It was a thin fried savory pancake originated from Europe which consisted of grated potatoes, flour, eggs, onions, chopped parsley, topped with sautéed mushrooms in bechamel sauce and served with greens. It tasted quite normal to me as it was but when combined with the sauce, the creaminess and buttery taste of the evenly coated pancake was awesome. The slightly burned edges of the potato pancake gave it that extra flavor. The dish also came with some fresh greens.

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Another of the dinner dish would be the Schnitzel (Grilled Chicken Cutlet – RM14.90). The grilled chicken with a flavorful layer of pork ham and served with white sauce was very tasty. It had some nice crisps at the edges while keeping the moist with the tender meat. This came with some sauteed potatoes and greens.

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La France Café & Restaurant is not just a place for your meals but also a great place for meet ups. You can have some nice desserts during tea time or supper over some hot and cold beverages. On top of that, they do serve imported lager such as the Kronenbourg 1664 (RM16.90), which was reported symbolized the French art of pleasure, exquisite in every details and universally desirable.

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Overall, the dishes served here are delicious, provided you are a lover of cheese and healthy food, as all the food served here are made fresh from selected quality ingredient and does not contain any monosodium glutamate (MSG). The portion may look rather fine and small in some dishes but it’s the standard size as served in France. It would be more than enough to fill up your appetite… unless you are an extremely big eater. Some of the cheese based dishes may contain some crumbles of blue (bleu) cheese which would give the dish a unique, sharp and a bit salty flavor. All dishes are fairly charged with a nett price tag.

La France Cafe & Restaurant would not be visible by the main road. If you are from town towards Pulau Tikus along Jalan Burma, keep to your right after passing the Giant Supermarket (Penang Plaza) at the junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Larut. Keep driving until you have passed Him Heang, a church, Jemputee (junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Chow Thye), a vegetarian food court and Malaysian Chin Woo Association on your right. Turn right into Jalan Servis (between Chin Woo Association and Malaysian Buddhists’ Association) and drive all the way in until your see a right junction (Jalan Irrawadi). At the corner lot, you would see the El Case Wine & Dine Restaurant. La France Café & Restaurant is just opposite the café in a state-of-the art mansion. You won’t miss it at all.

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Name: LA FRANCE CAFÉ & RESTAURANT
Address: 3B, Jalan Irrawaddi, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-412 7355 (Ginny), 012-491 3360 (Nathan)
Business Hours: 12.00pm-10.00pm (Closed Tuesday – Dinner 6.00pm onwards)
GPS: 5.42628, 100.320936

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: 8/10 (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)

 

BORA BORA BY SUNSET PENANG PAREO PARTY 2011

Posted by crizlai On September - 5 - 2011

Criz Bon Appetite together with a few bloggers had the privileges to be invited to the Bora Bora By Sunset’s Pareo Party 2011 at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, on Saturday night. The pareo party was a blast with a huge crowd of ladies and men trying to outwear each other with their best pareo displays. We have Shahriman Gunter as the emcee for the night.

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Thanks to Ms. Melynda Soon and the Bora Bora staff for making our presences there so enjoyable and fun-filled. Almost everyone is aware of the existence of Bora Bora By Sunset by now and the ever friendly staff sure knows how to keep their patrons happy with great food, cool beverages, electrifying entertainment in a nice Balinese style setting by the beach.

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The event started with a contest to test out the drinking power of both sexes. Finally, we did find out that certain ladies can drink faster than the other even though they have shapely figures. Amazing! There was also the men’s category. I don’t have to disclose which blogger was one of the winners right? It was so obvious~ LOL! Well, all of them must thank Carlsberg for giving them free beers. Haha!

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The staff of Bora Bora By Sunset also did put on their best costumes to present us with a Hawaiian number. All the ladies were so sexily dressed. Oops… did I say all ladies? Well, it did take lots of courage for Wipeout Jacob to be cross dressed as a female dancer. Well done Jacob but I hope those “inspectors” did not harass you much at all. Haha!

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Here’s the video of their performance:

Next in the program were the Best Dressed Women and Men in Pareo Contest. I guessed the men chickened out as they have nothing much to show in public. LOL! The women excelled better in pareo dressings as you can see them at all the corners of the bistro. Eventually, the winners went to a lady with the most creative way of dressing in pareo and a tourist with his “sarung” and Scottish cap. Haha! Each of the winners won a bottle of wine home, courtesy from the management of Bora Bora By Sunset.

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Educators always say that it would not be too late to learn something new. Teacher “Ernest” sure has “her” way to teach the guys how to wear a pareo well. Of course, those “students” needed to be taught the right way, with wigs and hamburger buns stuffed in front to be more “feminine”. We all had a good laugh!

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There was also the special fire show by Anita (nicknamed Nita by the locals) during the night. It was an energetic and superb performance under the dimly lighted surroundings.

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Do catch part of her performances in the video below:

Eventually, the staff did a catwalk in their best pareos while dragging more of the patrons up onto the stage for a few dance numbers.

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A display of fireworks presentation was set off to mark the bistro’s appreciation to the patrons for a wonderful night there.

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The party went on until the wee hours of the morning.

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If you love great food and beverages in a relaxing and breezy place, do head to Bora Bora By Sunset for your next great dining and entertainment experience. They do have fusion local and Western delights to please all taste buds. It might be a bit hard for foreigners to find this bistro as it would not be visible from the main road. But no worries as I’m going to show you some landmarks that would lead you directly to their door step. Just drive all the way up to Batu Ferringhi until you reach the traffic lights with Petronas petrol station at the junction. Further up would be Lone Pine Hotel on your right. Drive slowly and watch out for the tall Tarbush Lebanese Restaurant neon signboard on your right. Just before the restaurant is the Beach Corner Seafood Restaurant (Happy Mart Mini Market is just across the road). Park inside the car park (RM3 per entrance/RM5 on weekends) and you would see a green gate on the right. Walk through that gate, turn left and you would see the bistro there waiting to greet you with open arms.

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Note: The entrance to Bora Bora By Sunset is actually opposite the Desire Reflexology Centre and Fish Spa (left side of Jalan Batu Ferringhi) but quite unnoticeable with a small signboard in yellow neon lights with a beach view background. As parking spaces would be very limited inside there, it would be a better idea to park your car next door (Beach Corner Seafood Restaurant) with ample parking spaces.

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Name: BORA BORA BY SUNSET
Address: Lot 415, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
12.00noon-1.00am (Sunday to Thursday)
12.00noon until 3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday)
4.00pm-7.00pm (Happy Hours)
Contact: 012-553 1313 (Ms. Melynda Soon)
GPS: 5.474476, 100.248114

 

I was honored to be invited to grace the launching of Time Out Penang, The Insider’s Guide to Penang 2011/2012 yesterday, together with the honorable Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng at Aseana Café & Bar, Straits Quay, Penang. This guidebook is published by Mongoose Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd, and showcased the wonderful state of Penang, from the historic architecture and the unique street food culture to the world class hotels and resorts. “Here’s a guidebook which captured the spirit of Penang. I felt like I was being shown around Penang by a proud Penangite,” said YAB Lim Guan Eng.

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Time Out Penang, The Insider’s Guide to Penang 2011/ 2012 is a 150 pages, A4 sized, glossy magazine-guide, presenting a typically comprehensive, honest and trustworthy account of Penang’s travel hotspots for the high-end tourists, business travelers, expatriates, and huge affluent local readership who enjoy and act upon what they were told by Time Out. This annual publication is distributed to relevant countries across the region and key international destinations around the world. This well-traveled audience is eager to explore more of the world and cannot wait to read and see more about the breathtaking sights and sounds of Penang, from the historic architecture and the unique street food culture to the world class hotels and resorts.

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Time Out is an international, multimedia publisher of cultural experiences that provides inspiration to city dwellers around the world. Currently operating regular magazines in 40 cities around the world and guidebooks in several more, the Time Out brand is instantly recognized and trusted by residents from the world’s top cities. “Time Out Penang is no exception as it derives deep into Penang and presents the best that this beautiful state has to offer, as recommended by insiders who know the best,” said Graham Paling, Group Managing Director of Mongoose Publishing. We are glad to have CK Lam, one of the best food writers around Penang to be part of the Time Out Penang team.

The invited guests were served with some refreshments during the Time Out Penang 2011/2012 launch by Aseana Café & Bar, Straits Quay, Penang at their sophisticated yet cozy restaurant. Some of their finger food could be quite impressive in terms of presentation and taste.

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On top of that, there were numerous ongoing programs that kept the Straits Quay visitors occupied. Amongst them were the weekend flea market and promotional booths that had interesting items up for sales, ranging from natural soap, herbs and spices, cakes, magazines and books, toys, costume jewelries, hotel promotions, tea & wine and more.

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Many fun-filled activities were held throughout the day such as dance performance by the Burlesque troupe from SuperStar Libra, traditional Nyonya dance, fashion show by the Bran et Daguet boutique, Straits Quay, which specializes in elegantly cut couture and ready-to-wear cocktail dresses and occasion wear with international appeal and local bands.

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I guessed the highlight from the one-day event would be the belly dancing from the SuperStar Libra’s Burlesque troupe that caught most of the ladies there putting on their best pair of binoculars to stare at the handsome and hunky European dancers. On top of that, the guys were not excluded as I saw some jaws dropping with eyes fixed on the belly dancer from Ukraine. Well, here’s the video on the dance performance in case you missed it~ LOL! 😛

If you would love to get your hand on a copy of the newly launched Time Out Penang 2011/2012 or the soon to release Time Out Malaysia 2011/2012, do check out your nearest newsstands or any leading bookstores. Each book would cost you RM38. You could also buy direct and get a 10% discount if you purchase online through their website. Those who would like to enquire more about their coming issues, whether it’s Time Out KL, Time Out Malaysia, Esquire, Expatriate Lifestyle, Gold Vacations, RSGC’s The Circular, Al Musafir, Essential Education or the newly launched Time Out Penang, can do so by filling up their contact form or call up +603-2166 6650.


The easy-going and down-to-earth Taiwanese Celebrity Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻) is now in Penang on a mission to savor all the best food in Penang and to come out with his new cookbook entitled Hong’s Style (鴻食代). The former host of the famous Taiwanese TVBS Cooking Program, Ah Hong Cooking Up A Storm (阿鴻上菜), Hong’s Kitchen (阿鴻好主意) and also the author of the best-seller cookbook named A-Hong’s Healthy Medicated Diets (阿鴻養生藥膳), Chef Chen Hong or more affectionately known to his fans as “Ah Hong”, is also dubbed as the Culinary Prince (美食王子) in Taiwan. At a tender age of seven years old, he had already started pepping up impressive dishes. Until today, he’s still famous for his simple, practical and yet healthy recipes amongst the working groups, home makers and senior citizens. He enjoys working with Chinese herbs, traditional ingredients and vegetarian recipes, which is something he picked up from his maternal grandmother at a young age. The ever youthful and charismatic chef is currently the ambassador for many well-known brands and has hosted numerous culinary programs throughout Asia.

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At the press conference held at G Spot, G Hotel today which was graced by Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development and Culture, YB Danny Law and Food Digest Managing Editor, Tracy Lau, Chef Chen Hong was officially appointed as the ‘Penang Food Ambassador to Taiwan’. It was an honor for Penang to have such a seasoned Taiwanese Celebrity Chef to spread the words on all the unique blends of tastes, ranging from Nyonya cuisine to authentic street food to the world.

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During the press conference, specially brought to you by Food Digest Magazine, Malaysia’s No. 1 food and lifestyle magazine, Chef Chen Hong stated that Penangites are the best food critics due to their sharp tongues in deciding whether the food is good or bad. He jokingly stated that you would only need to understand a few phrases in the local Hokkien dialect… “Eh Jiak”, “Bay Jiak” or “Ho Jiak” (can eat, cannot eat or very good food), when seeking food in Penang.

Together with Penang food portal, FoodTok and GG, the Food Digest Team would be bringing Chef Chen Hong on an adventure to some of the recommended food spots in Penang, while playing judge to some of the most famous hawkers and restaurants throughout the little food paradise island of Asia. Try catching his whereabouts on his journey to find great food between 10 June 2011 and 12 June 2011 from as far as Batu Ferringhi, Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus until the heart of George Town, through the Food Digest official site www.twitter.com/myfooddigest.

Also in attendance are renowned Chef Park Tae Yeong (from Korea) and Chef Billy Ng Yih Lee (runner-up of 8TV’s Hot Chef Season One).

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Chef Park took the bold step by leaving that corporate world’s comfort zone of 10 years in Seoul, Korea to pursue his culinary dream. A French graduate from Academie de Toulouse (The Baccalaureat Professionnel Restauration De Cuisine); the chef is a living proof that one is never too old to pursue their dreams. Brilliant in French and fusion style cuisine, he’ll be spending the coming year working on his first ever cookbook, travelling and opening a world of culinary experiences. I love his style of recording all his new creations in pictorial form and in colors too.

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Chef Billy was the runner-up in the inaugural 8TV’s Hot Chef (Season One). He specializes in Western cuisine. Originated from Klang, Selangor, he can converse well in English, Cantonese and Hokkien. He would be the next generation of chef that would follow the footsteps of his mentor, Chef Chen Hong. Currently, he’s an instructor with Berjaya University College of Hospitality.

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The 13th Penang International Salon Gastronomique or commonly known as the “Battle of the Chefs (BOTC)” is currently held at Straits Quay Penang from 3rd June 2011 until 5th June 2011. Ever since the inaugural event was held in July 1988 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Penang with only 60 chefs from major hotels in Penang, today it had attracted more than 750 participants from over 20 countries. Organized by the Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter (MAH) and the Chef Association of Malaysia Penang chapter, this event has seen more and more promising talents walk away with many prestigious awards. The event was officiated by Tuan Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Penang State Executive Councillor, in charge of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee, on behalf of the Chief Minister, YB Mr. Lim Guan Eng. The organizing of the event is led by Chef William Thong, Organizing Chairman for BOTC 2011, who is also the Executive Chef of Holiday Inn Resort Penang and Chef Marco Battistotti, Organizing Chairman for the 1st MAH Penang Chapter Hospitality Challenge 2011.

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There are many awards up for grab by the hotels, associations, organizations, institutions or competitors such as the most prestigious Penang Governor’s Challenge Trophy, Nestle Overall Best Chef Award, Most Outstanding Patissier, Most Outstanding Apprentice and more.

There were all together 3 sites for the competition participants to show off their culinary skills. There were over hundreds of dishes prepared on the first day and I would share with you some of those rather nicely presented ones here.

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As for the exhibition sections, there were many categories to be challenged. Firstly, there were sections on Bread Showpiece, Dummy Wedding Cake, Chocolate Work, Butter Sculpture, Roselle Supreme Dress The Cake (2-tier) as well as Fruit & Vegetable Carving (Theme: Fairy Tale). Let’s have a peep at those attractive ones here.

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It was also a privilege to be invited by Mr. Thomas See, PR Manager/Exhibition Booth Liaison, BOTC 2011, to be one of the judges for their Modern Western Cuisine Restaurant (3 chefs, 1 waiter & 1 bartender) Competition. There were 4 tables and each table was handled by a different hotel/institution. I had the opportunity to try out the Renaissance Melaka Hotel’s fine Western course dinner by judging them on presentation, taste, ingenuity and innovation. We were first served with Malacca Moon Rise, a mocktail with a concoction of orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine, blended with ice cubes and served with cincau (herbal jelly), There was not much of a distinctive flavor here as the beverage tasted just like a normal glass of mixed fruit juice. It lacked that little touch of sourness to boost up the appetite on any meal. The starter was the Cold Medley, with Tuna on Cauliflower Mousse, Beetroot with Roasted Pumpkin Salad and Duck Broccoli Stack. This dish was rather unique as the cauliflower mousse was wonderfully prepared and the broccoli stack was just right with some mild seasoning. Unfortunately, the beetroot lacked in flavor although the combination was truly special. The Ocean Consomme was just right without the overpowering fishy taste. It had a crispy deep fried prawn with saffron with a hint of mild turmeric being used in the broth. The Chicken Roulade which had spinach and goat cheese (feta cheese) stuffed within a chicken fillet, actually blended in real well with the fruity persimmon reduction. Somehow, the chef did not provide the moist within the dish and a bit too much of herbs were used on the outer later. I wondered if they are aware that a bit of pumpkin paste added in would solve the problem of dryness. The next dish had lots of praises as the Rosemary Lamb served with garlic lemon vegetables was almost perfect if not for the slightly undercooked vegetables. The baby lamb racks had the texture, tenderness and taste just right for everyone. The Classic Chocolate Fondant with Crème Anglaise tasted great. If not for the malfunction of the oven, the chocolate fondant would be in a better shape rather than in a big clump. The crème anglaise would blend in better if it was not as concentrated as served. Overall, it was a pleasant dinner for all of us judges. Due to the problem with the Chicken Roulade, the hotel only secured a Diploma. The rest of the 3 competitors, namely Thailand Culinary Academy (Table 1), Sandy Bay Beach Resort (Table 2) and Eastin Hotel (Table 4) all secured Silver medals.

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There would be many stalls, scattered at the Straits Quay entrance, on the lower level as well as within the inside and outside of the conference hall for you to patronize. Some of them would be selling items while others would be given out free food samples.

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For your information, those who had not heard of Foodsion, a bilingual food and lifestyle magazine, you can now get a set of 5 recent issues, 5 mini recipe books, Heritage Coffee 10% discount cards, Raiya toothpaste, Penang White Coffee and Nyonya fish curry paste, all in a recycle bag for just RM25. Normal price is RM12 per book.

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THE LAUNCHING OF ACE PROGRAM AT HARD ROCK HOTEL

Posted by crizlai On May - 31 - 2011

A new trade program that would inspire trade partners to excel in their field was launched at Hard Rock Hotel, Penang yesterday. The program, known as the “A” Class Experience (ACE) Program, which was specially designed by Carlsberg Malaysia in collaboration with Taylor’s University, aims to provide supportive trade partners and F&B operators a series of educational and practical training in raising the bar to meet the growing expectations of customers in today’s competitive industry. Those who attended the launch included some of the top brewmasters for some of the leading brands in Malaysia, namely Mr. George Frank Reisch, Brewmaster for A-B InBev (Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Budweiser & Leffe), Mr. Sean Soh, Commercial Manager of Luen Heng F&B Sdn. Bhd. (leading supplier in the distribution of premium consumer beer, wine and spirits throughout East and West Malaysia), Mr. Lim Eng Wah, Penang Regional Manager, Carlsberg Manager, Mr. Eduardo G. Manas, Jr., Area Manager of Jagermeister Mast, representatives from leading brands such as Kronenbourg 1664, Corona Extra, Danish Royal Stout, Skol, Carlsberg Green Label Draught, etc and many participants as far as Langkawi. The ACE Program was officiated with the hand prints and signatures of the leading masters in the related F&B industry. Some cool items were given out to the media as well.

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ACE Program syllabus consist of both off-site and classroom training that will equip Carlsberg Malaysia’s trade partners with a better understanding of the brands under Carlsberg Malaysia as well as day-to-day bar operation skills and customer service excellence. In addition to that, participants will also be able to experience exclusive training with World Class Brewers.

Carlsberg Malaysia will reward the best performing participant of this ACE Program with a fully paid 14-day trip cum practical training to the Jacobsen Brewery and Visitor’s Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark in the year 2012. This winning participant will get the chance to gain exclusive experiences at the Carlsberg headquarters that brewed the first ever Carlsberg beer.

As for the lst and 2nd runner up, both will also be rewarded with a fully paid trip to one of the Luen Heng F&B top vineyards in Victoria, Australia. Luen Heng F&B Sdn. Bhd. is the leading supplier in the distribution of premium consumer Beer, Wine and Spirits throughout East and West Malaysia.

“Carlsberg is a brand that strongly believes in ‘Doing The Right Thing`. With that in mind, our partnership with Taylor’s University in this ACE Program aims to provide a rewarding and beneficial experience to our valued trade partners,” says Soren Ravn, Managing Director of Carlsberg Malaysia.

All of these training are made at no cost to the trade partners as Carlsberg Malaysia would like to ensure that this training will benefit the trade partners’ business. This is to showcase that Carlsberg Malaysia is 100% behind its trade partners that made Carlsberg Malaysia the preferred beer brand among its trade partners in Malaysia. “It is a privilege for Taylor’s to be a part of Carlsberg Malaysia’s ACE Program. We are positive that this collaboration will bring about favorable outcomes for all participants,” says Mr. Haresh Singh Gill, Associate Dean of Enterprise, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Taylor’s University.

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Off-site Training
Carlsberg Malaysia hosted an off-site training, which consist of a series of practical and contemporary training modules conducted by World Class Brewmasters and expert partners. This training session will be conducted in 3 regions i.e. Penang, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur to allow exposure to various participants from different geographic regions. All these sessions include concise brand knowledge; technical and practical training that is aimed at providing a better understanding of the brands that their outlets represent.

The sessions are:
• Carlsberg Beer Portfolio bg Ms. Teh Chui Hoon, Marketing Manager of Carlsberg Brands
• Kronenbourg 1664, Corona Extra, Danish Royal Stout and Skol by Mr. Edwin Yeo, Marketing Manager of Portfolio Brands
• Art of Brewing by Mr. Gunnar Hepp, Brewmaster of Carlsberg Malaysia
• Imported Beer Segment (Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Budweiser & Leffe) by Mr. George Frank Reisch, Brewmaster for A-B InBev
• Wine segment by Mr. Sean Soh, Commercial Manager of Luen Heng F&B Sdn. Bhd.
• Jagermeister, Germany by Mr. Eduardo G. Manas, Jr., Area Manager of Jagermeister Mast
• Carlsberg Green Label Draught Excellence by Mr. Alvin Yap, Draught Beer Services Manager of Carlsberg Malaysia

Classroom Training
Carlsberg Malaysia aims to offer value-added knowledge to its trade partners via its collaboration with Taylor`s University. The recognized Bar & Beverage Management course by Taylor’s University is a 3-day course that will kick off in Penang on the 4th of July 2011 at the Equatorial Hotel, Penang.

Apart from that, there will also be a half day session on customer service excellence. This module will provide participants the techniques to improve service standards in their outlets. The ultimate objective is to uplift service standards that will result in customer loyalty, increased outlet traffic and enhance business profitability.

ACE Program Activities

Among the activities that will be implemented in line with this ACE Program are:

Mystery Shopper Program — Carlsberg Malaysia will deploy a group of mystery shoppers to rove into participating outlets and evaluate the implementation of trainings provided. If the bar staff meets the pre-set standards, RM50 cash will be rewarded on the spot. This is to motivate participating bar staff to deliver constant good performance in their daily work life.

Outlet Evaluation — Carlsberg Malaysia will deploy a special taskforce to go around participating outlets and collect feedback from consumers on their preferred bar team /bar outlet. These feedbacks will be translated into an inter-outlet challenge whereby the top preferred outlet will walk away with a RM30000 event sponsorship. In addition to that, this special taskforce will educate consumers on the appreciation of the perfect Carlsberg draught beer and promote upcoming Carlsberg promotions.

Digital Activation — A dedicated Facebook application that allows Carlsberg Malaysia trade partners to constantly monitor their outlets preferential ratings by consumers on real time basis. On top of that, this application will assist outlets to understand their customers better and facilitate improvements.

Carlsberg Malaysia brand new ACE program will end its semester in August 2011 and all participating trade partners will be rewarded with a fun-filled outdoor celebration cum graduation party.

The media were also briefed by Mr. George Frank Reisch (Brewmaster for A-B InBev such as Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Budweiser & Leffe) on the ingredients used to make all the alcoholic drinks in the world. Basically, those ingredients consist of chocolate malt, black malt, wheat malt, rice, hops, caramel malt and pale malt. Most of the beers around would use wheat malt or pale malt. Mr. Eduardo G. Manas, Jr. (Area Manager of Jagermeister Mast) briefed that there were actually many secret ingredients used in the preparation of Jagermeister from Germany but he could only disclose some of the common ones such as ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and orange peel. Resulting from the consumers’ preferences, Jagermeister had recently overtaken famous brand such as the Bailey’s.

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When there’s an event by any of the F&B companies, there would surely be beautiful models to represent the brand. Two of our food representatives, Sam Ong and Jacgy Chan, took the opportunity to have some shots with them.

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Lunch was served after the briefing and the buffet spread at Hard Rock Hotel was rather enjoyable as some of the dishes were uniquely prepared. We had different salads at the appetizer section, some South Western minestrone soup with dinner rolls, entrees such as seasonal vegetables, sautéed potatoes, slow cooked beef with smoked onion & thyme, risotto of roasted pepper & garlic, crab cakes with mango & green tomato salsa, cornmeal crusted fish with green tomato chutney and jerk chicken with pineapple mole sauce. The last two dishes were rather uniquely prepared. The fish fillet blended in real well with the mild sweet and sour chutney. The jerk chicken was full of spice enhanced flavors just by itself but with the chocolate mole (pronounced as mo-lay) sauce and the sweetness from some canned pineapples, it was totally a different taste with the richness from the dark chocolate and some hints of herbs and spices. On the dessert spread, there were the New York style cheese cake (my favorite), apple pie, devil’s food cake, mini lemon meringue pie, savarin with citrus syrup, strawberry short cake, chocolate mud cake and fresh fruit cuts.

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Overall, the experience was a great one as it’s the beginning of a new frontier where a product company, such as Carlsberg Malaysia has taken the initiative to ensure that their trade partners get the best out of their products while maintaining the quality of the products. I do hope that more product companies would come forward with such a great program in the near future.

BALANCING YOUR YIN AND YANG QI AT YOU SHAN FINE SOUP HOUSE

Posted by crizlai On May - 15 - 2011

Penangites finally have the opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle with the opening of You Shan Fine Soup House, located at Auto World Complex, Penang. The restaurant was officially opened on 14 May 2011 by our YB Ms. Betty Chew, wife of the Penang Chief Minister, YB Mr. Lim Guan Eng. The one and only of such restaurant in Penang, would help diners to balance their Yin and Yang Qi, two hidden forces that would cause illness if found to be out of balance. This is something that most of us ignored with our hectic lifestyles as we find the lack of time in spending hours brewing nutritious soup for our own health. Leave it to the experts to help you in your food therapy as the restaurant has the strong backup of their advisor, Mr. Chew Hock Eam, a Chinese Physician, who has over 3 decades of experience in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medication), to help you in seeking out the healing powers from their selected soups.

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There will be over 60 types of soups, whether savory or sweet, available at this restaurant, ranging from as low as RM5 to as high as RM68. Most of the soup would need to be preordered at least 24 hours before dining. This would enable the kitchen to slowly select the best herbs to brew up your personalized bowl of nutritious soup. You don’t have to worry too if you missed out ordering your favorite soup as they would also be having 3 different types of soups available each day. To avoid the disappointment, I have attached below the full menu of the soups. Please do click on the individual photo for a clearer view of your PREORDERS.

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Two soups were served during the opening day. One of them was the Fine Soup King which contained sea cucumber, fish maw and scallop. This soup would help in relaxing the body muscles, promote blood circulation and delay the process of aging. It would be suitable for those with bone degradation and high blood pressure. The other soup was the Yang Xin Ning Shen Soup. The rejuvenating soup has the citrus flavor of tangerine to strengthen the stomach and lily bulbs to reduce the body heat.

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You might think that this is just a soup house from the name but you are wrong as they do serve dishes just like any other Chinese restaurants. There would be options such as fish, crabs, frogs, prawns, squids, pork, chicken, venison, vegetables, tofu to general soups. The price, depending on serving size, would range from RM8 to RM 30 or based on market rate for some seafood dishes.

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If you think the items from the ala carte would be a bit too much for a small group, you should also check out their daily set lunch and set dinner deals. Each set would come with individual portion of 3 dishes, a soup plus a drink, ranging from RM12 to RM19.

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If you are coming from Penang Bridge towards the North-South Highway, you would see the Juru Rest Area on your left. Drive further a bit and you would see an overhead bridge which would lead you to the Juru Interchange. Do not drive up the overhead bridge but turn left instead until you see a traffic light. Turn right into Jalan Kebun Nenas. Drive on until you see the second traffic lights at a T-junction (Jalan Kebun Nenas/Jalan Perusahaan). At the traffic light, turn right into Jalan Perusahaan. A few meters away, keep a look out for Maybank at Kompleks Auto World on your right. The restaurant is just on the left of the bank.

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Name: YOU SHAN FINE SOUP HOUSE
Address:
1797-G-12, (Beside Maybank), Kompleks Auto World,
Jalan Perusahaan, Juru Interchange, 13600 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
11.00am-2.00am (Lunch), 2.00pm-5.00pm (Tea), 5.00pm-9.30pm (Dinner)
Contact: 017-488 3400
GPS: 5.33994, 100.429605

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: 7.5/10 (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)

Yesterday marked another great journey for Tropical Spice Garden (TSG) with the launching of their cooking school – the Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School (TSGCS), by none other than our Food Ambassador of Malaysia and celebrity chef, Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or better known as Chef Wan. With Chef Wan’s vast experience in the usage of herbs and spices, TSG remained one of the chef’s favorite destinations to show the world the wonders of using garden fresh items of different colors, shapes and forms to present the best culinary flavors. With a tropical climate for great herbs and spices plantation, Malaysia has been charted as one of the best place in the World’s Spice Trail, with Penang producing the top quality nutmegs and Sarawak having the best black peppers.

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TSGCS lies within the spice garden sanctuary overseeing the panoramic view of the Teluk Bahang bay. A step into the air-conditioned building will bring back many fond memories of the good old days of your grandmother’s aromatic cooking. The kitchen is equipped with 10 cooking stovetops with double hobs each, one oven, two large refrigerators, an outdoor grinding stone and grilling station each, not forgetting the coffee and tea facilities too. The kitchen can accommodate up to 10 persons per class. With the experience of resident chefs such Pearly Kee (Nyonya & Indian Cuisine), Lily Tan (Chinese & Hawker Cuisine) and Azizah Othman (Malay Cuisine), you can be assured of fun-filled hands on experiences in bringing back great recipes to please your families. There will also be some guest chefs popping in once in awhile to further provide you with the knowledge and skills in other international or fusion cuisines. After sweating it out, lunch would be served at the Pavilion, a large outdoor gazebo, fitted with picnic benches and tables under a cool, breezy and fresh environment. Private classes for up to 6 persons can also be arranged upon request. We had such good time watching for the very first time, Chef Wan together with the Penang State Exco for Tourism & Development, Mr. Danny Law, TSG Managing Director, Ms. Katharine Chua, the resident chefs and guest chefs put on their aprons during the official opening.

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Of course, the best part of joining in the classes would be the advantage of getting all your fresh herbs and spices, just a stone throw away from the doorsteps. TSG boasts over 500 species of tropical flora and fauna with an emphasis on herbs and spices on 4.5 acres of landscaped garden (spread over 8 acres of secondary jungle). A large amount of the herbs and spices found growing abundantly here, have amazing medicinal and therapeutic properties. Some of the major herbs needed in our famous Penang Nyonya Laksa such as the torch ginger flower (bunga kantan), galangal (lengkuas), polygonum leaves (daun kesom), lemongrass (serai), and so on can be found here. Chef Wan did a food demonstration on Nasi Ulam (Jungle Herbs Rice Salad) and most of the finely sliced ingredients such as the wild betel leaves (daun kaduk), galangal leaves (daun cekur), kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), turmeric leaves (daun kunyit), basil leaves (daun selasih), turmeric (kunyit), black pepper (lada hitam) were obtained fresh from the garden. There are also the cardamoms, star anise, cloves, nutmeg and many spices, normally used in curries and Nyonya cooking found here.

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At a minimal cost, there will be trained guides to take you around to introduce you to the many usages and medicinal benefits of the herbs and spices found there. You could even see the many types of flora and fauna as well as the insects and creatures that had made the garden as their natural habitat. For more information, you can always check out www.tropicalspicegarden.com (email: [email protected]) or www.my-island-penang.com (email: [email protected]).

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Getting to TSGCS would not be hard as it’s located within the TSG premises. Just drive all the way up to Teluk Bahang but do watch out for some nooks and corners as you might just miss the place. Here’s a simple map to guide you to your destination. Upon seeing Hard Rock Café (Map A), drive pass Bayview Beach Resort until you see a housing estate on your left (Map B). Drive further on and round a corner, you would see a hilltop Chinese cemetery (Map C) on your left. Before you reach the next corner (Map D), slow down as Tropical Spice Garden is barely 50m away on your left (Map E). There would be ample parking space in front and opposite the restaurant. You can also park your car along the hawker area diagonally opposite the restaurant (Map F). Do click on the map for a clearer view.

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Name: TROPICAL SPICE GARDEN COOKING SCHOOL
Address: Lone Craig Villa, Lot 595, Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-881 1797 (Cik Azimah)
Opening Hours:
Please check the TSGCS program for the month (under the top photos).
A minimum of 24 hours in advance booking is required for each scheduled class.
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

IN SEARCH FOR CNY 2011 REUNION VENUES

Posted by crizlai On January - 21 - 2011

Chinese New Year 2011 would be here barely 2 weeks from now. Have you ever wondered if you should let your loving mother go on vacation during this festive period since she has been slogging all these years in the kitchen? Well you should. It’s about time you pamper her to some of the great restaurants in town for all the sacrifices she had given to you all these years. It’s also ideal to hold a company dinner during this time to appreciate the hard work your staff had put in throughout the year. Let’s look at some of the possible venues in Penang. Please ensure that you call up to the respective restaurant to make a reservation as it could be rather packed during this season. (Do click on the menus attached for a clearer view or you can download and print on A3 paper)

If you love food just like the way your Mother or Grandmother would cook them, why don’t you try out Ivy’s Kitchen? They do serve one of the tastiest Nyonya cuisines in town. The food served here are more towards home cooked style and I’m sure your family members, friends and colleagues would be impressed.

Availability For booking: 2 February 2011 – 17 February 2011
Map & Review: http://www.crizfood.com/1003/home-cooked-meals-ivys-kitchen/

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If you think your loved ones deserved to get the best there is in Penang, you can try out Chin Bee Tea Restaurant, my most recommended restaurant in Penang. You would surely not regret having dined in this personalized dining restaurant (私房餐廳). Not only are the ingredients the freshest and of high quality, you would experience dishes that are personally cooked in ways that you would not get elsewhere.

Availability For booking: 5 February 2011 – 17 February 2011
Map & Review: http://www.crizfood.com/1374/chin-bee-tea-cafe/

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Since the above two restaurants have quite limited spaces for large gathering, you may consider Starview Restaurant at New World Park, Penang. This restaurant has been in establishment for decades and the food served here were of great consistence.

Availability For booking: 7 February 2011 – 17 February 2011
Fully Booked: 5 & 6 February 2011
Map & Review: http://www.crizfood.com/1341/starview-restaurant/

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Another restaurant, Tianyi Restaurant, which started business at the last quarter of last year, can also cater for large crowds. Do check out their menu as well.

Availability For booking: 3 February 2011 – 17 February 2011
Fully Booked: 2 February 2011
Map & Review: http://www.crizfood.com/1473/tian-yi-restaurant/

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Note:
These are some of the CNY 2011 menus I have gathered here to ease my readers. I do not have any ownership, directly or indirectly, over any of the establishments mentioned above. Reservation, cancellation, losses or embarrassment encountered, whatsoever, with whichever restaurant is solely the responsibility of the person’s action(s).

CRIZ BON APPETITE 2ND ANNIVERSARY GIVEAWAYS

Posted by crizlai On December - 4 - 2009

Gosh! I almost could not make it due to a month plus of office relocation and crashed hard backups, followed by the promised “2 weeks of delivery” of internet connectivity by Telekom Malaysia (still waiting since 23 October 2009 and still not fixed!!!). Alternatively, I had to borrow a P1W1max Broadband modem to go online, which was replaced with a new one yesterday due to some latest firmware upgrades. Due to some unforeseen technical setup error, the data was not properly updated and 24 hours were wasted unnecessarily. Let’s hope things would go smoother for Criz Bon Appetite with the beginning of another new year.

Today, the 4th of December 2009, marked my 2 years of food blogging, humbly started in two blogger.com accounts to the presently owned crizfood.com. To show my appreciation to my fellow readers, Criz Bon Appetite is giving away free food vouchers to anyone who would love to try out some of the best food around the Food Paradise of Malaysia – Penang. There are many options ranging from Midnight Dim Sum, Klang Bak Kut Teh, Pan Mee, Tom Yam/Clear Soup Fish Noodles, Nasi Lemak, Hainanese Chicken Rice to authentic dessert such and Glutinous Rice Ball Soup (Tang Yuan) from some of the notable stalls within the island and mainland Penang.

Anniversary Giveaways

The procedure of claiming the vouchers is real simple. All you need to do is to email your particulars (name & mailing address) to [email protected] and a randomly selected voucher would be sent to you in no time. The giveaway would be available until 17 December 2009 or until stocks last. Each person would be entitled to only one voucher. The voucher would be valid until 16 January 2010. Start emailing now to claim your voucher to avoid disappointment.

Do check out the website more often from now onwards for more hidden food treasures in Penang! Have a great meal everyone and a happy 2nd birthday to Criz Bon Appetite!

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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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