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SPICY POMELO MANGO SALAD

Posted by crizlai On May - 20 - 2009

Malaysia is a country with an abundant variety of tropical fruits such as durians, rambutans, mangoes, guavas, papayas, pineapples, coconuts, pomelos and many more. At any time of the year, you can get many different spread of fruits on your dining table without much hassle. Other than having the fruits as desserts or as a source of fiber for better bowel system, what would you do with them especially when you have some delicious mangoes from the plantation in Alor Setar and some juicy sweet pomelos from Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, both major exporter of their respective fruit in Malaysia? Most people would just take them as they are but for me, I’m a bit more adventurous. I made them into SPICY POMELO MANGO SALAD.

POMELOMANGOSALADA

If you are in an Asia Pacific region, getting the fresh ingredients would be quite easy. In the case of foreign countries, the best alternative would be from Chinatown or any of the Chinese grocery stores. Let us now look at the required ingredients and how easy it is to prepare this delicious salad. I have attached an animated view of the ingredients below to let you have a look on how they are cut.

POMELOMANGOINGREDIENTS

MAIN INGREDIENTS:
1/2 pomelo (about 6-7 segments – use flesh only and slightly peel apart)
1 big unripe mango (about 300gm – cut into strips)
5 shallots (slice thinly)
5 kaffir lime leaves (slice thinly)
100gms water chestnut (dice)
50gms dried shrimps (soak, dice and slightly pound)
10 bird’s eye chili pepper (cut thinly)
25gms peanuts (roasted and crushed)
10gms sesame seeds (toasted)
2 stalks coriander (pluck the leaves)

DRESSING:
4 Tbsp lime juice
4 Tbsp plum sauce
2-3 Tbsp fish sauce
3-4 Tbsp fine sugar

GARNISHING:
Leave a bit of the roasted and crushed peanuts, toasted sesame and coriander leaves as garnishes.

OPTIONAL:
50gms cuttlefish strips (oil fry and drain well – to replace dried shrimps)
1 inch lemon grass stalk (chopped finely)
1 red chillies (dice finely for the extra color)
1 tsp ginger flower bud (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)

PREPARATION:
1. Mix the dressing thoroughly and adjust according to your taste as some may like the salad to be a bit salty (fish sauce) or sweet (sugar). Please note that some brands of plum sauce are already sweetened.
2. Mix the first 7 ingredients in a salad bowl, occasionally adding in a spoonful of the dressing to taste. Lastly, add in the last 3 ingredients. Please do not over stir the ingredients as it might cause the dish to be watery.
3. Garnish with the reserved items mention above.
4. Best serve while the fruits and vegetables are chilled prior to mixing.
5. Serve immediately to maintain the crunchiness of the ingredients.

(Serves: 6-8)

Note: It is not necessary to add in all the optional items but you can do so if you prefer a more spicy concoction. The bird’s eye chili (cili padi) can be replaced by any other chili pepper you would prefer as not many people can stand the hotness from this small sized fella. You can use mangoes that are slightly ripe (as I did) if you are not in for so much of sourness.

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

Spicy Pomelo Mango Salad on FoodistaSpicy Pomelo Mango Salad

A SEAFOOD EXPERIENCE AT SIONG HO

Posted by crizlai On May - 18 - 2009

Even before their signboard was up, I had paid umpteen visits to Siong Ho Fish Head Bee Hoon to savor some of their noodles and porridges. To show some appreciation to my frequent support, the boss, Mr. Teh (Ah Ho) had decided to throw in a small feast for a handful of us to try out all the seafood items he has in his café. Due to the choices of either clear or tom yam soup based dishes, just a few floggers had the privilege to get the invitation, namely myself, Steven, Gill & Jason, Buzzing Bee, NKOTB and Jian.

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What was my reason for visiting this café for my noodles and porridges so frequently? It’s definitely not due to humid weather, the signs of feeling sick soon or my huge appetite for spicy food but the secret lied in the soup.  The soup has a specific recipe of chicken bones, some hint of dried shrimps and some of their secret ingredients. Even the tom yam paste they used was from a reputable brand from overseas.

SOUPBASE

To start your meal, you would have 6 options to your bowl of hot steaming dish. You can either choose thin rice vermicelli (bee hoon), thick rice vermicelli (cho bee hoon), wheat flour vermicelli (mee suah), instant noodles (maggi mee), soya noodles (tao chiam) or porridge (moey).

NOODLES

Next would be your choice of main ingredients such as large white prawns, grouper fish head, grouper fillet, fried “kalak” fish head, fried “kalak” fish fillet, mud crabs, flower crabs, mantis prawns, squids or frog. Some of the main items here would depend on market availability as the boss would only accept fresh ones from his suppliers. I will also like to give a short description here on the fishes. The grouper fish (kerapu, 石斑魚) is one of the most sought after fish locally due to the fine texture in the flesh. It’s also one of the more expensive fish in the local market. The “kalak” fish (ibu kerisi or goldband jobfish) as it is more commonly known as locally is loved for the softness in flesh and less fishy taste. Most local western cuisine restaurants would use them fresh for fish and chips rather than the frozen dory fish.

SEAFOOD

You could also have some addons to your dish such as pork kidney, minced meat, meat balls, fish ball, quail’s eggs and dried bean curd.

ADDONS

To spice up your bowl of noodles, you might get some of these vegetables and herbs.

VEGETABLESHERBS

No dishes would be presentable minus the colors of some garnishing. You could expect some cut red chillies, chili paddy and a bottle of dried fried chopped garlic available on each table for your preferred intake.

GARNISHES

Let’s start the ball rolling with the presentation of the first dish which was the Tom Yam Prawn Noodles (東炎蝦麵 – RM9-RM10 for 3 large prawns). This was served with instant noodles (Vit’s Mee to be exact). This dish had improved a lot since my last visit as the boss had taken steps to add in some tomato and abalone mushroom slices for the value-for-money bowl of noodles. The soup was thick and spicy enough for me with the fragrance coming from the added Kaffir lime leaves and mint leaves. The prawns were large and super fresh. It was a hit amongst us. Now you know why I love that brand of tom yam paste. Haha!

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The next dish was the Fried “Kalak” Fish Head Noodles (炸魚頭清湯粗米粉 – RM6). It has many chunky pieces of fried goldband jobfish head served with thick rice vermicelli (bee hoon) in clear soup. This combination is one of the most favorite orders in the café. The sweetness in the soup and the freshness of the fish blended in real well.

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Prawn Noodles in Clear Soup (大蝦清湯米粉 – RM9-RM10 for 3 large prawns) came up next. It came with the thinner type of rice vermicelli. I truly love this dish better compared to the earlier dish as the freshness and sweetness of the prawns brought out the best in taste in the bowl of soup. After all, better quality food sure cost almost double right? It’s really value for money considering the size of those fresh prawns.

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We were then served with Squid Noodles (魷魚清湯麵 – RM6). This time, it was served with instant noodles. Although the squids were fresh and cooked just nice plus some with eggs (ooo.. the cholesterol level), the dish somehow tasted a bit bland due to the true nature of squids being tasteless. I would prefer them cooked with tom yam soup instead.

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There’s nothing better than to have a bowl of hot steaming porridge served with fresh grouper fillet. That was what we had next – Grouper Fillet Porridge (石斑魚肉粥 – RM8/75gms). The texture of the porridge was just nice and combined with the freshness of the grouper fillet, it was delicious.

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Another of their most sought after dishes would be the fresh Frog Porridge (田雞粥 -RM6/100gms). We had a large frog and this dish cost RM12. The flesh was smooth and tender as braised chicken meat. It was a delicious dish as well.

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It was a surprise to me that the boss chose the largest crab he has for our next dish. The Crab Noodles (螃蟹清湯粗米粉 – RM5/100gms), which came with thick rice vermicelli (bee hoon) cost just RM10. The unique freshness and sweetness of the mud crab indeed proved this dish to be another favorite amongst us. You can also opt for the blue flower crab (RM5/100gms – if available). You would be even luckier if you can get to try out another species by the name of Charybdis feriatus (紅螃蟹). This species is quite rare in the local water and taste just as great as the blue flower crabs.

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The Fried “Kalak” Fish Fillet Mee Suah (炸魚肉清湯麵綫 – RM6) also tasted great with the mee suah (wheat flour vermicelli) cooked just nice and not too soggy.

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We were all quite full after gobbling down so many bowls of noodles and porridges when the boss decided to throw in another large bowl of Mixed Seafood Tom Yam Soup (RM17 based on the selection of ingredients) just for us. This dish was indeed a blessing to please our craving for more tom yam soup. There were lots of ingredients in it too with the availability of all the fish and meat balls, fried fish head and fillets, squids, pig kidney, etc without any trace of prawns. Can you guess the reason? The boss was so happy to see us that he forgot to add those in. He even showed me proof that he had without any intention left out the prawns. LOL! Anyway, the dish was good enough for our filled tummies. You can order this “only items based” soup if you crave for more delicious soup.

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Here’s a rough summary of all the possible combination of ingredients and prices (either with noodles or porridge in clear soup or tom yam):
Grouper Fish Head: RM9
Grouper Fish Fillet: RM8
Prawns (3 pcs): RM9-RM10
Mud Crab/Flower Crab: RM5/100gms
Mantis Prawn: RM5/100gms
Frog: RM6/100gms
Fried “Kalak” Fillet/Fish Head: RM6
Minced Meat: RM4.50 – RM6
Miscellaneous items such as pork kidney, fish balls, meat balls and dried bean curd: RM3+ per item or combined

If you are coming from Prangin Mall along Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, drive straight pass the Lebuh Carnarvon traffic light. You will reach another traffic light (Lebuh Pantai). Drive straight again until you have reached the Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld) traffic light. Turn left and drive on until you have reached the third left junction (Gat Lebuh Armenian). The stall is just within the Kedai Makanan dan Minuman CF. Turn left into Gat Lebuh Armenian and left again into Lebuh Victoria and you would see some parking spaces behind the coffee house for its patrons.

If you are coming from the ferry terminal, keep a watchful eye on the landmarks on your right, especially those Jetty signboards. You would pass by Lim Jetty (temple), Shell Petrol Kiosk, Chew Jetty (hawker area), Tan Jetty and you would see the coffee house by the name New Ocean (next to Pan Malaysia shop) directly opposite the Tan Jetty. There would be some parking spaces next to the coffee house for its patrons.

SIONGHOMAP2C

Name:
SIONG HO FISH HEAD NOODLES & PORRIDGE
@Kedai Makanan and Minuman New Ocean
Address: 116A, Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay), 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-12.00 midnight
(Closed on 1st & 15th Day of Chinese Lunar Calendar)
Contact: 019-458 8693 (Mr. Teh/Ah Ho)
GPS:
5.41191,100.337319

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8.5/10 (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)

 

MUMMY’S NIGHT OUT TO NIPPON YATAIMURA

Posted by crizlai On May - 11 - 2009

Although I do get my Mum the best food around town frequently, it was a special day yesterday to bring her out for some live-on-the-spot dinner. After all, it was Mothers’ Day and she ought to be treated like a queen. We ended up having Japanese food at Nippon Yataimura which is located in Pulau Tikus, Penang. From the exterior, it looked like a normal restaurant. As we stepped inside, it was totally another world by itself with lanterns hanging everywhere on little roofs just like in a village. Now I got it why they had named the shop as “日本屋合村”, meaning Japanese House in a Village.

NIPPONYATAIMURA01

There were just too many choices available in this restaurant with even a specially created 9-course set meal priced at RM48+ just for Mothers’ Day but we ended up ordering some other set meals with a few dishes from the Ala Carte menu. Let me share with you the set meals that we had ordered. One of the set was Saba Syioyaki (RM25). This is one of the most ordered fish dish in Japan where a small mackerel was grilled to perfection while maintaining the moisture within the fat. The fish had a nice grill and with a squeeze of lemon juice and grated daikon (mild flavored white radish), it was good.

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Next were two sets of teppanyaki (鉄板焼) style dishes. One of them was the Teppan Chicken (RM20). The dish came with some iron griddled mixed vegetables with some toasted garlic slices. The chicken slices were good with their special sauce and they tasted a bit like the spicy version of sate.

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Teppan Salmon (RM24) was the other wonderful dish as the sauce was somewhat unique. It was slightly sweet and mildly spiced up. Even with the crisped sensation I had, the fish managed to retain its juice. It was beautiful.

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Something caught my eyes in the set menu and I ended up ordering Pork Mayonnaise (RM20). The dish was real creamy with the flavors coming from the mayo and a hint of Lea & Perrin sauce. This dish was cooked with lots of sliced big onions. This would be good if taken with rice.

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The above four sets came with side dishes such as a bowl of beautifully steam Japanese rice, Salad, Miso Soup, Chawan Mushi and fruit cuts. The Salad had a mildly gingered chili paste. The Miso Soup was thickly flavored with some tofu cubes and chopped spring onions in it. The Chawan Mushi (Steam Egg) came beautifully decorated and was silky smooth with a few chopped chicken meat pieces within.

NIPPONYATAIMURASIDEDISHES

Other than the above set meals, we also tried the Seafood Fried Rice (RM22). The dish came with freshly cooked squids, prawns and fish fillet. Although the taste of the rice was nice, I found it to be wet for my preference. It could be due to my liking for “wok hei” (high heat cooking) style of plain white rice rather than the usage of Japanese rice.

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The next dish which was the Fish Ball Ramen (RM13) may look plain but one sip into the soup and you would yearn for more. The soup was richly flavored with a hint of fresh prawn juice. It was just like the Dobin Mushi I had at Penang Times Square. Even the portion of ramen served was rather filling. The dish came with fish balls, sliced wood ear fungus and some spring onions.

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We also ordered some of the dishes from the Ala Carte menu and one of them was the Ocha Soba (RM13). We had a small serving of cold noodles served with cold soup, raw quail’s egg, spring onions and chopped fried garlic. We indeed left the quail’s egg untouched. One reason was that it was raw and the next was the 3640 calories it will bring into our bodies. The noodle was springy and blended nicely with the soup but somehow I still prefer the Tenzaru Soba I had at Penang Times Square as the soup was more flavorful.

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Next side dish was the Agedashi Tofu (RM6). It was nothing special with some pieces of fried tofu garnished with nori (Japanese seaweed strips), spring onions and daikon, served in a pool of soy sauce but the tofu cubes were indeed silky smooth.

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The Ishiyaki Kinoko Nomori (RM18) was my favorite amongst the rest of the side orders. The shiitake (Chinese black mushroom – 香菇) and enoki/enokitake (golden needle mushrooms – 金針菇) mushrooms were stone-cooked so perfectly with their special sauce while maintaining the fragrant mushroom taste. The gravy for this dish tasted great with my rice. Both mushrooms are believed to be great antioxidants.

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The most wonderful dining experience in this restaurant was their free flow of green tea, either cold or hot at no extra cost.

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I felt that the pricing here is reasonable compared to the quality of ingredients and portion served. After all, I was really filled up with each set meal I had ordered. The service here was good considering that almost all the food came within minutes upon ordering. There are more dishes which I would love to try out next from their ramen (noodles), gohan (rice), sushi (vinegar rice finger food), sashimi (raw cold cuts) and dessert sections.

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There is another branch of this franchise restaurant located within Queensbay Mall up in Bayan Baru, Penang. The main restaurant which I had visited in Pulau Tikus, Penang, is located next to a service road along Jalan Burma. If you are coming from Jalan Burma into Pulau Tikus district, you would see a police station on your right. Drive on until you have reached the Jalan Cantonment/Jalan Burma traffic light. After the traffic light, you would see a row of shop houses. Slow down and keep a watch out for a service road on your left. Turn in the service road and you would see the restaurant on your left just next to Teow Chew Meng restaurant. Parking can be quite limited during office hours and weekends. You can either try finding some behind the restaurant or opposite along Bellisa Row. The worst alternative would be within the Bandar Baru Supermarket car park along Jalan Cantonment and walk back to the restaurant.

NIPPONYATAIMUREMAP

Name: NIPPON YATAI MURA (日本屋合村)
Address: 403-A, Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
12.00noon-2.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm (Weekdays)
12.00noon-10.00pm (Saturday & Sunday – No reservation on these days & Public Holiday)
Contact: 604-226 6018
GPS: 5.432746, 100.310593

RATING:
Ambience: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

AN INSIGHT VIEW OF HAVEN DELIGHTS @ PENANG TIMES SQUARE

Posted by crizlai On April - 23 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operations at Penang Times Square and has moved to Gurney Plaza, Penang, under the name of Xiao Nan Guo Cuisine.

INTERIOR

When I mention about insight, please do bear with me on a long post with a detailed study into Haven Delights. Ever since my first visit to Haven Delights, I must admit that I just could not get enough of their various ranges of cuisine from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It was not the food alone that attracted my attention but the friendliness, smiling faces and wonderful services from every level of the restaurant management. It has also been quite awhile ever since I had encountered innovative chefs and management that were so receptive to feedbacks and their willingness to post mortem mistakes to serve their best to meet the demands and requests of their patrons. This is the true quality of how good a restaurant should be and the success story behind Penang Times Square’s latest restaurant, Haven Delights.

TEAPOTS

It was truly a privilege to be invited by the management of Haven Delights and also a wonderful experience working closely with the Chairman & Managing Director, Mr. Ng Boon Tong, Executive Chef, Mr. Edwin Teo, Sous Chef, Mr. Alex and staff to provide some of the Food Blogging Community members the opportunity to try out their fabulous cuisines last Saturday. The turnout was marvelous with 19 of us from Penang and KL. Without much ado, let’s hit the review items that were served to us.

MDCHEFS

COLD CUTS:

The Hotzzz Abalone (from the Buffet Menu) dish came as a real surprise for many of us as it was topped with the chef’s homemade spicy paste and eel sauce, then garnished with fried garlic and spring onions. This was the first time I had tasted abalone served in this method (the next closest would be the abalone salad I had at Sarkies Corner in E&O Hotel) where the chili paste was not too spicy and yet very appetizing. The Unagi Tofu (from the Buffet Menu) on the other hand was milder with a grilled eel slice being laid above a silky and smooth tofu with chopped fried garlic, spring onions and bonito flakes as garnishes. The accompanied sweet sauce combined well with each of the ingredients.

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MAIN DISHES:

The Chicken Ban Ban (RM10) which had fried chicken pieces, deep fried eggs and topped with the chef’s 3 types of special sauces and shredded nori was another great tasting dish. The only hiccup was that although the chicken pieces were juicy enough, it lacked a bit more of seasoning which would make the whole dish perfect. Moreover, the presentation for the night was kind of flat compared to the few times I had tasted out this dish. The kitchen had now reverted to the earlier style as shown in the comparison photos below. Try combining all the 3 sauces (mayo, wasabi mayo & sweet sauce) on the dish and you will feel the sensation of sweet, creamy and spiciness with each bite. With almost all the items being fried, there were hardly any signs of the dish being oily.

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The Red Dragon Prawn with Jammy Sauce (RM20) which was presented next was a colorful dish. It had giant battered prawns, ball-like white dragon fruit cooked with the chef special fruity sauce. The tangy and slightly spiced flavor from the dish was unique to many. Due to the existence of so many food critics in our group that night, I guessed the chef was a bit nervous and came out with a slightly overcooked dragon fruit ball. Most of us thought it was kiwi fruit instead. I hope the kitchen staff will take note that fruits are not meant to be overcooked or they would lose out on their Vitamin C nutrient. Overall, the dish was still great for many, especially when taken with the shredded radish side dish.

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Next on our review list was the Motoyaki Scallop (RM14 for 5pcs). Since I’m a heavier flavor and spicy rich eater, I have no problem with the scallops served that night, except that I found them to be potentially spicy for many people, especially children. Moreover, the tabasco pepper sauce-like spiciness and thousand island type of creaminess from the toppings had somehow overpowered the freshness taste of the scallops. I would recommend the kitchen to look into the possibility of coming out with a milder dish for those non-spicy food patrons, e.g. plain grilled scallops with some lighter flavored sauces.

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For those Korean food lovers, the next dish which was Korean Beef Kimchi (RM16) would be ideal. The homemade kimchi was good as it was just nice without the overpowering taste of chili and vinegar. The beef slices were tender and juicy. I won’t mind having this dish with a bowl of hot steaming rice.

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The Lamb Teriyaki (RM18 for 2 cuts) had a sweet and slightly grill-burned taste. It tasted nice except that the lamb cuts for that night was not as perfect as the ones I had earlier. It somehow lacked the little fatty portions that would be ideal for any grilled lamb cuts. That might be the reason why certain parts of the meat were not well flavored or tender enough for the consumptions of some of the floggers.

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I loved the uniqueness in taste of the restaurant sous chef, Alex’s creation – Homemade Spicy Chicken (RM15). The fried chicken pieces, chopped fermented black beans, red chilies, garlic, spring onions, curry leaves and sesame seeds were cooked in thick, sweet and spicy gravy and these complimented each ingredients wonderfully. This would be another great item to be taken with hot steaming rice or mantou.

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The newly menu added Shanghai Honey Spare Ribs (RM18) served for the night was the most disappointed dish to be served for the night as most of us considered the dish to be over salty. Somehow the saltiness overpowered the sweetness of the honey. Moreover, the meat on the ribs was rather hardy to be taken in a chopsticks serving dining. I would suggest that spare ribs be braised prior to frying as it would loosen the meat more on the ribs. On top of the awareness on the correct combination of taste, a fattier choice of ribs would be more ideal in this type of dish. As for presentation wise, the rearrangement of the ribs by our own flogger, Jason, would be better as the dish would not look so flat.

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NOODLES:

Although the next dish Japanese Yaki Udon (RM12) was a common dish, the paper thin bonito flakes made it livelier as they were moving along with the heat from the dish. Most of us found the dish to be a bit too wet and the high heat frying (wok hei) was a bit overpowering. The revised version served later was drier and tasted better.

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CHEF’S SPECIAL SURPRISE:

The Tempura Cheese Maki served to us individually was the new creation of Edwin Teo, the executive chef of Haven Delights. The mildly burn tempura unagi roll topped with creamy Mozarella cheese was wonderful. I wished I could have more serving of this dish on that night.

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There were also another two unexpected food testing from the kitchen for the event. One was the beautifully blue fuel gel flamed and aluminum foil wrap baked Chicken Bomb. The presentation was good but the spicy and thyme enhanced flavor of the mashed salmon somehow did not match well with the fiber texture of the chicken meat. The whole combination did not meet our likings much. I personally felt that salmon should be taken in bigger chunks or in thin slices and should not be mashed up to taste like tuna. Maybe a milder herb usage or a non spicy version would be better for the dish. Let’s leave this to the chef to figure out.

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The other unexpected dish was the HK Style Wan Than Mee (RM22). Most of us considered the price to be a bit high even if the wonton were to be big and fully filled with prawns. The dish had four big wontons and a generous amount of young kalian (Chinese broccoli/kale) on top of the springy thick wonton noodles. The soup broth was thick and suited the noodles well but the wontons had some problems. The usage of some blended squid paste resulted in the prawns to be rather soft and powdery taste like as though they were not fresh. I would personally prefer either a bit of minced meat were to be used for the extra bite sensation or some chopped spring onions/Chinese celery to be added to the fresh prawns with a drop or two of sesame oil and light seasoning. Having some chopped jicama, carrots or water chestnuts would surely be an added bonus to the wontons. I also felt that plain fried garlic oil on top of the chopped spring onions served as garnishes would give would give the extra fragrance to the noodles compared to using fried shallots.

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HOMEMADE DESSERTS:

We also had the options to try out two of their special homemade desserts which were Macha Ice Cream and Kuru Goma Ice Cream. The Macha Ice Cream (RM8) had thick green tea extract blended into the ice cream, served with two mochi (glutinous rice balls) and topped with red bean paste. There were many disputes over this dessert as some prefer it not to be so strong in green tea flavor and to be sweeter in taste. Some prefer the red bean paste to be blended finer and even suggested the usage of kidney beans so that it would go smoother with each luxurious mouthful. There were also feedbacks on a less chewy mochi or had the mochi filled with red bean paste instead. To me, it would be each individual’s preferences as not everyone will have the same taste bud. I would think this dessert would be suitable for those who love to indulge in having dessert but are afraid of their blood sugar level. On the other hand, the mochi were indeed chewy hard but it has a great scientific explanation to that. Which item would not turn hard at freezing point? Even the Tempura Ice Cream which I had tried during my earlier visit had harder tempura bits compared to the actual room temperature ones I had tried before. Maybe the kitchen might want to consider having a nutty, chocolate or fruity version by considering the usage of roasted peanuts, pistachio, chocolate rice or even bananas. Simplicity might even be the better solution for this dessert.

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Next of the dessert option was the Kuru Goma Ice Cream (RM8) which had a ratio of 3:7 of grinded black sesame seeds to the ice cream, topped with crushed peanuts. Most of the floggers loved this flavor as this dessert was sweeter compared to the Macha Ice Cream but there were still some who prefer to have more black sesame flavor in the ice cream. Moreover, some had also considered the presentation to be a bit too plain and lack in colors. I would think sprinkling some roasted black sesame seeds and garnish with a leaf or two of mint leaves would be the solution.

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The above items were the food specially arranged for us to review. There are still many hundreds more of new items available in the Ala Carte and Buffet menus. Buffet lunch and dinner would be priced at RM49.90+ per person (Children 50% off). You can order as many items as you like in their over 90 dishes buffet menu list within the allocated two hours duration from as early as 10.30am until 11.00pm daily. Do take note that wastage above 100gms would be charged accordingly. Here are some of the side dishes they may serve on the buffet line on top of those orders you can make from the buffet menu.

BUFFETSIDEDISHES

There were also some great dishes that I had tasted from this restaurant during my other visits other than the ones I had reviewed last month and I would like to share with you here. If you like to have a lighter meal, you can try out the Karapachio Salad (RM10). It would come with a variety of greens, some fish cake slices and served with their specially prepared sashimi raw fish mix sauce. It was indeed refreshing and unique.

KARAPACHIOSALAD

If you are keen on trying out cold noodles, you should try the Tenzaru Soba (RM14). It would come with a rack of noodles on ice cubes, served with tempura prawns and vegetables, a thick broth for dipping and some condiments for you to adjust your level of flavor. I loved every items served in this dish.

TENZARUSOBA

Even the Silky Lau Mee (RM12), almost similar to the taste of the tested HK Style Wan Than Mee except for the wonton, tasted great with broiled young kalian, crab stick strips and boiled chicken slices. The taste of the broth blended well with the springy thick wonton noodles.

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Another quite similar to the Tempura Cheese Maki dish was the Aburi Ebi Cheese Maki (RM18). This was a marvelous dish indeed. It has 6 pieces of lovely Mozarella cheese enriched rolls (maki) and 2 pieces of tempura prawn rolls. There were also a lot of tobiko (flying fish roes) sprinkled on them. It was simply yummylicious!!

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Just to prove to you that the restaurant would do anything to accommodate to the request of its customers, I had presented them with a task of coming out with a dish with a packet of mixed flavored beans and seaweed as rice garnishes I had received from Japan. The result was amazing… A well presented plate of triangular shaped Traditional Onigiri (三角形日式飯糰), a cooked Japanese white rice finger food wrapped in nori (edible seaweed). Thanks to Mr. Melvin Loo, the sushi assistant, for coming out with this wonderful out-of-the-menu item. You have indeed proven your worthiness to be amongst the top in sushi making.

ONIGIRI

Last but not least, I would like to thank the management and staff of Haven Delights for giving us, the Food Blogging Community, the opportunity to try out the food and in trusting us in our feedbacks for further improvement to the quality of food in Penang.

MANAGEMENT

I would also like to thank the following attendees for making this review gathering an enjoyable one with constructive feedbacks to the management of Haven Delights. Thank you guys and ladies… you were great!

Rebecca Saw
Steven Goh
Nicholas Chan
Jason & Gill
Cariso
CK Lam
Mary
Allie
Bee
Allen Ooi
Lingzie
Ken Chan
Sidney, Sunny & Alex
Albert Yap
Huat Koay

The best way to reach the shop would be by using Jalan Magazine (Traders Hotel). Drive into Jalan Dato Kramat (2nd junction at the right of Gama Supermarket) until you have reached Penang Times Square on your left. Find a parking space along the road or within the allocated parking bay. Just walk into the mall and go to Level 1. The restaurant which is facing the main road of Jalan Dato Keramat is very prominently located either by mode of escalator or elevator.

HAVENDELIGHTSMAP

Name: HAVEN DELIGHTS
Address: 77-L1-34, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-210 8855, 210 8856, 016-492 1658 (Ms. Angie Ng)
Opening Hours: 10.30am-11.00pm
Buffet Hours: 10.30pm-11.00pm (2 hours duration per person)
GPS: 5.414701, 100.331871

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: 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)

THE CHEAPEST DIM SUM IN PENANG?

Posted by crizlai On April - 13 - 2009

After patronizing more than 14 dim sum restaurants within the Georgetown vicinity, I had found one that suited my taste best. Surprisingly, this barely a year old restaurant is the sister company of the famed Restoran Zim Sum along Jalan Anson and they do share the same premise with another sister company named The Steamboat Restaurant along Jalan Macalister, Penang. The name of this restaurant is Dim Sum Food Restaurant.

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When I mention about being the cheapest, do not have the wrong perception as in monetary terms or on the restaurant serving extremely cheap food. I had based my judgment on the quality, freshness and amount of ingredients used in each of the dishes. Moreover, the food here did fill the two of us here until the beam. Let me share with you my experiences of dining in this restaurant.

Not many restaurants in town would provide quality and delicious dim sum from Shanghai or Hong Kong and at the same time at an affordable price but this restaurant proved me wrong. The have Gyoza (Jiaozi – 餃子) , Egg Dumpling (蛋餃), Shanghai Sheng Jian Mantou (生煎饅頭) and many more at less than RM3 for a plate of threes. Just to try them out without overeating, I just ordered one of each at RM1 per piece. That’s cheap in my context as I had paid RM8+ before just to savor 5 pieces of smaller sized Gyoza in other restaurants.

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The Gyoza was great and had the mild crisp still on the skin and the filling was well stuffed wile maintaining its juiciness. It went well with lots of young ginger strip soaked in black vinegar. The Egg Dumpling tasted great as well although it looked just like an egg coated dumpling. What impressed me more was the Sheng Jian Mantou (Pan Fried Steamed Bun), a common street food in Shanghai. The filling within was so compact and it has lots of ingredients such as minced pork, chopped shrimps, jicama and mushroom seasoned with a mild fragrant taste from some dashes of sesame oil. This is a must try.

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Just for information purposes, you might want to know how to differentiate the many versions of the Chinese dumpling, Jiaozi (餃子). Depending on the way these dumplings are cooked, boiled ones are called Shuijiao (水餃), shallow pan fried ones are called Guotie (鍋貼) and steamed ones are called Zhengjiao (蒸餃). Some people may use egg as the wrapper or coat the Jiaozi with beaten eggs prior to frying. These would be called Danjiao (蛋餃/蛋餃子).

Next was the Har Gao (Shrimp Bonnet due to its pleated shape). The skin was so thin that the basket of three looked so translucent. With the freshness of the mildly seasoned prawns, the whole dumpling just melted smoothly inside my mouth.

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In most of the dim sum restaurants locally as well as those from Taiping, Perak, you would get Siu Mai (Pork Dumpling) as a common item. This restaurant had put in the extra effort to have some prawns in the dumpling, thus making them into Har Mai (Prawns and Pork Dumpling). The best part was that they have four in the basket compared to the normal three I get elsewhere. With the fresh juicy prawn dumpling served steaming hot on my table, they were one of the best around.

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I also realized something unique in this restaurant. They do not use Kani Kama, artificial crab sticks which have no crab meat in it but processed to resemble snow crab legs with surimi (grounded) white fish meat (pollock or hake). Most dim sum restaurants would use Kani Kama to dress each dumping differently but with the same type of filling just to impress on the look. I guessed this restaurant believed in freshness of each dim sum they serve. I had chunks of fresh crab meat garnished on my richly prawn filled dumpling. Moreover, it’s really cheap at RM4 for a basket of threes.

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The next order was something that I have not had in ages. It’s Steamed Prawns on Pan Fried Tofu and served with egg white gravy. The minced prawns were mildly flavored and the fried tofu was silky smooth.

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A visit to any dim sum restaurants would not be complete if you did not try out the Hong Kong Style Prawn/Char Siu Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Roll with Prawns/Honey BBQ Pork). Although the rolls were not as soft and as translucent as they should be, the tasty special soy sauce, fried onions and blended dried shrimp chili paste complimented each other well.

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The waitress also recommended their hot selling Nam Yu Bao (Red Fermented Bean Curd Roasted Pork Steam Bun). It was superb! Choice pieces of roasted pork belly meat were marinated with red fermented bean curd, sugar, salt and some sauces and steamed until tender prior to rolling them into the steamed bun dough. These would then be steamed until the dough rose up beautifully. This is another must try in this restaurant if you love fatty meat items.

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The last order which was supposed to be our first order came last. It was a mistake order, not as in quality but in quantity. We did not expect our small order to end up so big. The Fried Grouper Fillet Hor Fun was enough to feed three persons and it was priced at only RM8. The dish had lots of snow peas, carrot slices, cabbages, onions, roasted pork slices on top of the generously garnished fried grouper fillets. The first taste of the gravy was beautiful but we ended up felling disgusted due to the oversized portion of the hor fun (broad rice noodles). The chef should have fried the noodles dry instead of serving them plain. That would have cut down on the soggy feeling.

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With our tummies being over expanded, we did not manage to try out the remaining fried items out of their over 80 types of dim sum served there. I was also being informed by the chef that they would still be coming out with new items by the end of the week. Although I did have some takeaway, it would unfair to judge them when the food had cooled down but I can assure you that the taste of the brought back items were rich in flavors. Some of the items which I could not manage to capture on shots included the Fish Bladder Prawn Dumpling and Shark’s Fin Prawn Dumpling. Gosh! Those eaters sure know how to grab good food fast. Anyway, I would just share what I had photographed below.

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Overall, the whole dim sum breakfast meal came up to RM30 nett inclusive of a pot of chrysanthemum tea for two. Do you think the food here is expensive then?

Dim Sum Food Restaurant is just located along Jalan Macalister between Jalan Kek Chuan and Lorong Susu. The most prominent landmark would be Menara UMNO which is directly opposite the restaurant. In case you might miss the restaurant, just look out for The Steamboat Restaurant sign as both share the same premises.

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DSFOODRESTAURANTMAP

Name: DIM SUM FOOD RESTAURANT
Address: 63, Lorong Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 7273
Business Hours:
9.00am-3.00pm (Monday-Friday)
8.00am-3.00pm (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.415606, 100.324736

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

EXPERIENCING THE INDIAN CUISINE OF KARAIKUDI

Posted by crizlai On March - 27 - 2009

Wait! Before I confused more people, I was not in the city of Karaikudi in Sivaganga District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the capital of the Chettinad region but instead I’m in an Indian restaurant in Penang’s Little India by the name of Karaikudi right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Thanks to PenangTuaPui for inviting me to try out their food. The food in this restaurant is so much different compared to a few others that I had frequent quite regularly. Here, they concentrate more on the fresh ingredients and spices imported all the way from India. That’s the reason why the taste, the texture and the fragrance emitted for the dishes were so pleasant to my senses.

KARAIKUDIVIEW

To get everyone’s appetite moving, we were first served with Mango Lassi (RM4.00) to hydrate and refresh the body after a tiring day. What could be greater than blending fresh mangoes and yogurt to rejuvenate the body? Not only does the beverage contain Vitamin A, B6&B12, C and many more nutrients, it has the necessary dietary fiber to aid our digestive systems. The Mango Lassi served here was one of the best I have tasted. It was thick, creamy and smooth flowing. How I wished they would blend in some ice cubes to make the beverage maintained its chillness.

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Chettinad Style Vegetable Soup (RM3.00) was served to every individual next. The soup was mild in taste with cuts of fresh cauliflower, carrot, French bean and dhal with a light touch of spices. The soup was light and slightly salted to boost up the pungent taste. Non spicy at all and it would be suitable even for kids.

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As appetizer, we were served with some thinly sliced and yet crunchy Bitter Gourd Chips (RM6.00). These were well marinated with chili powder, salt and chickpea flour (Besan) and deep fried to perfection. I love the version here as each piece was sliced so evenly thin and fried without any moisture left within. Moreover, having curry leaves and dried chillies fried together with the bitter gourd had added that special fragrance for the dish. Bitter gourd is also believed to improve the energy level, stamina, eyesight and also to lower sugar level in the blood and urine. This would be a great vegetable dish for diabetics.

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The next dish which is quite common in an Indian restaurant would be the Squid Fry (RM8.00). Slices of squids would be dipped in spicy batter and then deep fried while maintaining the tenderness within while having a crunchy outer layer of batter. It’s better to consume this dish as soon as it had been laid on the table as time would eventually make the fried squids soggy due to the moisture inside.

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Wow! The restaurant sure has a group of hearty people as the next dish which was the Chicken Cutlet (RM6.00) came in the shape of hearts. There were grounded chicken, potato cubes, onions, green chillies, turmeric and chopped coriander inside each cutlet. Seasoned with beaten eggs, these cutlets were coated with bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. It was an indeed a beautifully presented dish for all. Anyone want to celebrate Valentine’s here next year? It would surely get you heated up for many years to come. 😛

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No meal in an Indian restaurant would be complete without trying out their Chicken Briyani (RM9.50). Basmati Rice was use in this dish combined with the necessary spices and it has that hidden tangy taste of tomatoes. A chicken drumstick was hidden right at the base of the fragrant rice with a hardboiled egg above. The rice would go well with the accompanied side dressing such as chutney and raita but I personally felt that the chicken should be above. Somehow, the meat had lost its value hidden under the rice although this would be how any Indian restaurant would serve their Nasi Briyani. Moreover, the meat was not as fragrantly cooked as it should be. Another thing that the restaurant might not be aware of was the presentation. The modern generation might not be so concern about it as it would just be another meal to them. To the older generation, especially the Chinese Taoist, the hidden chicken especially in such a small bowl with an egg on top would meant something taboo which would only be performed in certain rituals. My advice to the restaurant would be to turn it into a clay pot style or present it on a plate.

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If you want something with rich gravy to go with your rice, you should order their Kadai Vegetables (RM9.00). There were assorted vegetables such as green peas, tomatoes, carrots and many more, slowly simmered with freshly grinded spices and water until the gravy became thick. This dish was really good as I can taste the freshness of the ingredients very well such as a touch of garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc. The only difference in terms of style of cooking was the added bean curd cubes. Moreover, the freshly sliced coriander and onions garnishing gave that extra fragrance to the dish.

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The Chicken Kothu Paratha (RM9.00) was something unique. Roti Paratha would be what the Malaysian would address as Roti Canai. It’s made of whole-wheat flour, pan fried in cooking oil or sometimes in ghee for the extra crispiness. The Roti Paratha would be cut into strips (somewhat the thickness of koay teow). On the other hand, the chicken meat would be cooked in curry and then hand shredded into smaller pieces. These would then be stir fried with boiled lentil (urad normally would be used in the cooking of dhal), eggs, tomatoes, onions, spices and curry leaves. This is a great dish and was not that oily too.

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When I saw the Ladies Finger Pepper Fry (RM7.00) on our little “test paper”, I thought it would be those slimy wet version of ladies fingers as the Chinese would cook. To my surprise, the dish came with deep fried thinly slices ladies fingers fried with chopped onion, grinded black pepper with some salt. It was so simply and yet it was so delicious with that peppery taste. In fact, we had ordered for a second helping.

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The Mutton Chukka Varuval (RM18.00) caught most of us by surprise with its powerful spiciness. Simple as it may look, the added curry leaves and chillies sent many seeking for more drinks. I suspected that the garam masala that they had used contained more grounded peppercorns than usual. I had no problem with that as spicy food regardless of Indian, Malay, Chinese or Thai has been quite a norm in my daily meals. Surprisingly, I found this dish to be extremely delicious. The meat just melted in my mouth as it was tender, juicy minus the strong mutton taste.

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The Kashmiri Naan (RM6.00) served here is simple but yet delicious. Normally it would be filled with more nuts and dried fruits such as raisins, pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts, shredded coconuts and many more. Instead of making the naan so complicated in ingredients, the restaurant made it simple by only filling it with desiccated multi colored coconuts some powdered cashew nuts and garnish with some chopped cherries. It was slightly sweetened but it was good as each bite was smooth to the mouth.

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The next dish which was the Chettinad Potato Masala (RM6.00) has been my favorite no matter which Indian restaurant I had patronized. The only difference was that the ones served here was richer in taste. It was a perfect dish with potato cubes being sauteed fragrantly with the presence of cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, poppy seed, dried chillies, curry leaves, tomato and garnished with some coriander. The chef sure knew the secret to a good Chettinad masala.

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The Egg Podimas (RM4.00) was actually the Indian version of scrambled eggs. I cook this dish quite often at home but not as spicy as what the restaurant served. It’s basically beaten eggs fried with onions, chili powder (prapika), turmeric powder, coriander leaves, green chillies, mustard seed, curry leaves, salt and pepper. I normally add in slices of fresh tomatoes to cut down on the spiciness.

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Chettinad Special Dosai (RM4.00) was indeed the colorful version of a plain Dosai. It had a generous spread of chopped beet roots, onions, carrots, cabbage, coriander leaves. This crispy thin Indian pancake tasted well with the accompanied chutney and tomato puree.

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There was a surprise in store for us towards the end of the meal and it was the special creation of the owner’s wife. Sizzling Brownie (RM10) as the name stated came sizzling with a freshly baked chocolate brownie on a hot plate of melted butter, topped with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge and some cashew nuts. This was somewhat like the apple crumble I had at Swensen’s but the ice cream here melted just too fast over here. Although the dessert tasted great with the slightly burn taste of the brownie and cashew nuts combined with the saltiness from the boiling butter, I would advise the restaurant to reconsider the brand of the ice cream. This brand does not really suit the sizzling plate concept. It’s either the suggestion mention or to provide a thicker cake base to distance the sizzling heat from the ice cream. Moreover, the presentation was not as impressive as it should be as you can see on the photo below. It would be better if the sauce would be poured right in front of the customer for that wonderful experience, with the advance provision of a napkin of course.

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After a hefty meal, what would be best than to have a hot cup of frothy “teh tarik” styled in-house specially filtered brew, namely the Chettinad Filter Coffee (RM2.80) just like what everyone in Tamil Nadu would do. The distinct taste of the grounded roasted coffee beans, set in boiling water, filtered, then slightly sugared and with added fresh cow milk was indeed bonus for all.

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Alternatively, if you would love to have tea instead, you could always try out their spicy Masala Tea (RM3.00) or sometimes known as Masala Chai which has a strong taste of cloves, star anise, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. There are many variants to the Masala Tea as sometimes ingredients such as grounded peppercorn, mint leaves, nutmeg or licorice roots would be added too. Some might not like their tea to be so spicy but it was surely an aromatic experience for all of us.

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Overall, the quality of food and service here is good. I shall be dropping by to try out their other dishes soon namely their idly, vadai, paratha, poori, naan with chicken tikka as they are my favorites at anytime of the day. 😛

If you are coming from Lebuh Light (Esplanade/Fort Cornwallis), you would reach a roundabout near Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower with one of Penang’s beautiful stainless steel structure known as “Pinang Dibelah Dua”. Turn 3 o’clock into Lebuh Pantai where all the main banks are. Drive on and keep a lookout for the 5th junction on your right (1st-Lebuh Union, 2nd-Lebuh Bishop, 3rd-Lebuh Gereja, 4th-Lebuh Cina and 5th-Lebuh Pasar). Turn right into Lebuh Pasar (Market Street) and you will see the restaurant on your right. Parking space could be quite limited here during certain peak period and office hours. Try to find some along Lebuh Penang, Lebuh King or Lebuh Queen. If you are having trouble finding parking space, I would advice you to park your car at Sri Weld Car Park (next to Sri Weld Food Court) located along Jalan Pantai directly opposite Lebuh Bishop and walk up to the restaurant.

KARAIKUDIMAP

Name: KARAIKUDI RESTAURANT
Address: 20 Lebuh Pasar (Market Street), 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 1345, 604-263 1359
Business Hours:
11.00am-11.00pm (Closed on Deepavali)
11.00am – 4.00pm (Lunch), 4.00pm – 7.00pm (Snacks), 7.00pm – 11.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.416567, 100.340400

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: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

Plentiful of nice Penang Accommodation are also available if you plan to visit Penang for all the wonderful and multinational cuisine.

WONDERFUL HEALTHY BREADS AT RAINFOREST BAKERY & PASTRY

Posted by crizlai On March - 25 - 2009

As people are getting more educated on healthy living, more and more health food outlets such as organic food stores, restaurants and bakeries have boomed all over town. Of the many, the most notable one would be the Rainforest Bakery & Pastry with their internationally patronized shop located along Jalan Chulia in Georgetown, Penang. You would just need to walk into the bakery and you can feel the coziness and atmosphere of a traditional cottage-like bread house. The whole place has the nice aroma of freshly baked breads and the arrangement of the bread loaves, rolls and cakes of many shapes and size were indeed the work of an artisan bread maker. The best news is that all the breads here are freshly handmade daily from quality and healthy ingredients. That’s the reason the breads here are heavier and have different tastes, textures and shapes.

SHOPVIEW

Managed by a pair of identical twins Jerry and Jesse Tan, this bakery is indeed a heaven for those healthy and organic bread lovers. With Jesse who had gone for a bread hunting trail throughout Europe, France, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic and absorbing hands on experience in each of the country, this little cottage like bakery do indeed produced one of the finest breads in the country. With Germany having the most types of bread (more than 300 types to be precise) and the world’s number one bread consumers, how would they not be the best in this region?

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You would surely be spoiled by the wide array of choices these two bakers can produce. To name some here, they are Poppy or Sesame Bagel (RM1.50), Chelsea Bun aka Cinnamon Roll (RM1.70), English Scone (RM5/pack of 5pcs), Foccacia (RM3.70), English Muffin (RM4.50/pack of 4pcs), French Baguette (RM3.90), Grainy Baguette (RM4.80), Ciabatta (RM6.30), English Bloomer (RM4.20), Poppy Seed Bloomer (RM5.20), Rustic Onions (RM6.30/RM3.50), Volkron Brot (RM8.80 – also known as Pumpernickel Bread) and many more.

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On top of that, they do have some quality cakes, cookies and muffins to make you drool for more. Their Chewy Nut Trail Cookie (RM3.80) is indeed my favorite as each cookie was filled with a generous amount of nuts and raisins. Moreover, it was mildly sweetened with natural honey. It’s great for those who are not so much of a sweet tooth. Even their Plum Muffin (RM2.70), Raisin Muffin (RM2.10) and Tropical Banana Cake (RM3/slice) were all made from fresh fruits. You should check out on their homemade Kaya (RM3 – Coconut Jam), Garlic Butter (RM7) and their 100% natural Fruit Smoothie (RM8 – Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Lychee and Mango).

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The list would go on and on as these two brothers would always try to experiment other different types of bread to cater to their needs of some expatriates and their guests from all over the world. You can have a look at the part menu list of what you could expect from the bakery. Please remember that it’s best to drop by their bakery to have a look at their complete products. Please click below to enlarge the flyer.

BREADLIST

Another reason why I like to visit such healthy bakery is to source for some healthy bread for my family. When you have a household of diabetics, you might be wondering what would be the best bread for consumption. For sure any types made from solely white flour would be the ones to avoid. The ideal type would be Ezekiel Bread which is organic, flourless and rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat, as inspired by the Holy Scripture verse Ezekiel 4:9., “Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it…” . It’s quite hard to find such bread mass produced locally. Maybe I should produce my own from the recipe I have… if only I have the time. LOL! The next best alternatives as suggested by Jerry were their Sourdough Bread and French Farmhouse Bread.

Sourdough Bread (RM7/loaf) has a distinctively tangy or sour taste and that’s how it got its name. It took Jerry four days of leavening process just to produce a few loaves of the Sourdough Bread for the day as this type of bread does not go through the normal process of using cultured yeasts but with the reserved dough as starter. Consuming Sourdough Bread especially during the most important meal of the day, breakfast, would eventually lower the blood sugar level of a consumer. I would think that the fermentation process would have changed the nature of the starches in the bread making and it would be an ideal choice for diabetics.

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Although Sourdough Bread would be good, not everyone could get accustomed to its slightly sour taste. Alternatively, French Farmhouse Bread (RM6.30/loaf) will be the next choice. The bread consists of different ingredients and it’s also fat and sugar free as the Sourdough Bread. It’s a traditional hand kneaded recipe where white flour, yeast, linseed (flax), sunflower seeds and millets would be used. That’s the reason you would hardly see the bread being of a standard size. Linseed or common flax seed has been widely used as a precautious measure for certain major diseases as well as stabilizing the blood-sugar levels of a diabetic. Moreover, the seeds have high fiber content.

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Do you want to know what are the cereals and grains that you have in or on your bread? Here are the items that they have been using.

GRAINS

The best way to reach the shop would be by using Jalan Penang and turn left into Lebuh Chulia. Drive straight ahead and you would pass by Jalan Masjid (Sun Hotel) on your left and then Lorong Love (7-11). Slow down after Lorong Love and you would see the bakery just a few shop houses away on you left with a black signboard. It’s also located just opposite the famous night Curry Mee stall along Lebuh Chulia.

RAINFORESTMAP

Name: RAINFOREST BAKERY & PASTRY
Address: 300 Lebuh Chulia, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 4641, 012-405 6276 (Mr. Jesse Tan)
Opening Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.418328, 100.336631

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

SIMPLY REFRESHING JELLY

Posted by crizlai On March - 16 - 2009

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When you mention about jelly, the first thought that would come into your mind would be those translucent and wobbling like gelatin that would normally be served chilled as a dessert. Yup! Those are jellies but do you know that there are so many kinds of jellies available in the market? Most people would assume that these were made out of seaweed. Well, it’s not necessary true as certain brands used animal-derived gelatin with the requirement of alcohol in the cooking process and thus that would not be appropriate for the consumption of certain religious groups or vegetarians.

Brands such as Kraft Food’s Jell-O Shots (Vodka Jelly) would require the use of some alcohol such as vodka, tequila, rum or grain alcohol. This would replace the use of certain percentage of water or fruit juice to congeal the gel. In Malaysia, people used agar strips or powder made from algae-like seaweed. Carrageenans, an extract from red seaweed that grew abundantly in Phillipines were used by the locals, either in dried or powder form for making jellies and thickening certain food stuff. Japan had their version of jelly too. The Japanese would make jellies out of a prepacked mixture made from Konnyaku potatoes combined with calcium hydroxide extracts from eggshells.

Let me share with you a great success story of one of our locals here who owned a coconut shop right in Georgetown, Penang. The first moment you step into the shop, you would see coconuts scattered everywhere. That would be how you would see as in the many other coconut wholesalers in Penang such as the one at Lorong Abu Siti. They would normally sell the coconut juice straight from the fruit.

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If you are observant enough, you would noticed a small refrigerator by the side of the shop with chilled coconuts in it. Isn’t it great to sip chilled coconut juice on such a hot weather?

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You would be in for a surprise if you try to sip that using a straw. Watch closely what was written on the label.

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It’s jelly inside my friend! You would need a spoon instead of a straw. LOL! This new and refreshing way to get pampered was the brainchild by one of the Malaysian geniuses. Welcome to the newly innovated idea of Mr. Joel with his Penang “Coconut Jelly”. The best part of this yummy dessert would be the jelly within that is preservative free and fresh to be consumed anytime throughout the day. You can even savor the fresh flesh after that.

You can have a look at how original the content in the coconut is. It looked so deceiving as the color of the jelly is exactly like the juice itself. The only difference is that you would not be able to spill any juice out by turning it upside down.

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The mildly sweetened jelly tasted great with the natural taste of the coconut juice. The texture of the jelly was like a harder version of soft fruity crystallized jelly but a softer version of the agar we usually get from the mamak stalls. Everything was perfect. On top of that, I could even scoop up the flesh with ease. Well, it’s best that you get the person to choose a younger fruit for you just to make sure you won’t get hardy coconut flesh. If you intend to buy back the coconut jelly, make sure you consume within 3-4 days as you won’t want the RM3.70 per coconut fruit to go stale.

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You could get three coconuts for RM11 with only 10sen discount. If you would want to get each for just RM3, you could always drop by PenangTuaPui’s food blog to print their 1st anniversary discount voucher. For courtesy sake, please leave them some well wishes. You can see their banner being hung right above the shop. The promotion ends 23 March 2009.

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The best way to reach the shop would be by using Jalan Magazine (Traders Hotel). Drive into Jalan Dato Kramat (2nd junction at the right of Gama Supermarket) until you have reached Penang Times Square on your left. Start counting until the 3rd junction (Jalan Kajang) on your left. The shop is just 2 shop houses after Jalan Kajang on your left. Parking would be hard here as the shop is near to a traffic light. My advice would be for you to park along Jalan Kajang itself and walk up to the shop.

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Name: JOEZ ENTERRPISE
Address: 201, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.00am-7.00pm
Contact: 604-229 6063, 016-440 9049 (Mr. [email protected])
GPS: 5.411811, 100.323208

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

EXPLORING INTO THE HEART OF KUALA JURU FISHING VILLAGE

Posted by crizlai On March - 7 - 2009

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Ever since my adventurous trip to Pulau Aman to discover the wonderful and tasty Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles), I have been yearning for the similar dish, if not the best, which would be much nearer to Penang island. Eventually after much searching around, I found a place right within mainland Penang – Kuala Juru, the river mouth of Juru. Located next to Persatuan Nelayan Kawasan Seberang Perai Kuala Juru Jetty, lies a quiet and scenic restaurant by the name of Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru. This place served fresh and delicious seafood dishes. Let me start by recommending the food here prior to introducing other aspects which also did amaze me.

Coming so far away from the island, I would surely try out their seafood dishes rather than the Malay cuisine which they do also serve. They have Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles) and Mee Ketam (Flower Crab Noodles). Instead of having a plate of both, I had the mixed version with two fresh large prawns and a flower crab in halves. All for RM6!!! That’s real cheap considering the size of the prawns and crab although the noodles were a bit too little for my consumption.

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The broth with ingredients such as smashed garlic, chillies, cabbage, onion and a hint of tomato puree combined with the sweetness of the fresh seafood was superb. The prawns and flower crab were so fresh that I wanted to order more. I even bought home a few packets and my parents sipped everything until the last drop. You could imagine how delicious the noodles were. It’s a must try for all seafood noodle lovers.

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Since I was still a bit full with the 5.30am Char Koay Teow breakfast, I managed to try out the second dish which was the Nasi Goreng Udang. Most stalls that I had been to would just fried rice with a few medium sized prawns. The way the restaurant served the dish was totally different. It came with a plate of fried rice which was quite normal to me but the spicy large prawns curry was a real surprise. It may look like it would be a fiery dish from the look of the color but it was not chili hot at all. The thick gravy which consist some freshly grounded spices was very appetizing to be taken with the fried rice. I have a feeling that they did add in some belacan (prawn paste) to have that fragrant and delicious taste. This set was also priced at RM6.

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In case you might want to find out what else they have in this restaurant, you can click and enlarge the attached menu below.

MENU

**** UPDATED 15 MARCH 2009 ****

It was only during the 2nd visit to this restaurant did I know that the prawns used were neither green prawns nor tiger prawns. It was another species that I had never heard of or common in our wet markets. These prawns are called Udang Rotan (Cane Prawns as translated). They are the same family with the tiger prawns but with a harder shell. No matter what species they are, they sure tasted better than fresh water prawns.

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On top of the above fried rice and noodles, we also tried out their Nasi Goreng Padprik (Padprik Fried Rice – RM4). The cook sure knew how to use the stove well as the fried rice has the required grainy texture and the high heat cooking was just right. The accompanied stir fry mixed vegetables with fresh squids in some spicy tomato gravy combined well with the fried rice. You should check this dish out.

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**** END UPDATE ****

Although there are two more such restaurants at Sungai Sembilang and another three restaurants along Jalan Kuala Juru, I like this restaurant the most. Not only was I amazed by the great food and simplicity of the village folks, it’s also a heaven for nature photographers. You just won’t know what you would expect to find along your way to your gastronomic destination. I had seen a few stray otters playfully along the swampy area, a monitor lizard by the roadside, a Haliaeetus leucogaster (white bellied sea eagle) soaring the sky seeking its prey, a low flying stork, hungry looking stray cats and many other unique looking shell fish such as the Horseshoe Crab/King crab along the river banks.

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One main type of shell fish that you would see here would be the cockles. Kuala Juru is one the many areas in Malaysia that harvests and processes cockles for distribution to the local markets. It was indeed an eye-opening experience to see how cockles were in their original state and the processes to get them clean. I managed to catch the whole action on camera and would like to share with you. As the cockles arrived in sampans, they had that dirty and muddy look mixed with lots of rubbish. After they had been put into a rotating machine that filters out the mud, tiny objects and other dead shells with a constant spray of clean water, they would end up at section where larger objects would be filtered out. Towards the end of the process, these cleaned cockles would be packed in large nylon sacks to be distributed to the local markets. The steps may look simple but it did involve a lot of manpower.

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It would be easier to reach the restaurant if you know your way to Auto City. As you come to the Juru Interchange, you would pass through 3 traffic lights to reach Auto City. At the last traffic light at the T-junction (McDonald’s), turn left and drive all the way up Jalan Perusahaan/Jalan Tok Kangar until you have reach a traffic light at Jalan Juru (Map A), turn right into Jalan Juru (Juru Villa Show House) and drive all the way until the end. You would pass through a few sign boards of the district on your left namely Kampung Sekolah Juru (Map B), Bagan Nyior (Map C), and a sign board showing direction to Sungai Sembilang and Kuala Juru (Map D). At the T-junction (Map E), turn right and drive all the way to Kuala Juru (Map F). You would reach a playground not far away (Map G). Find a parking space there as the restaurant is just opposite the playground. You can click to enlarge the two maps below for a clearer direction.

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Name: RESTORAN NELAYAN KUALA JURU
Address: Persatuan Nelayan Unit Kuala Juru, MK12, SPT, 14100 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-11.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
Contact: 012-567 2423, 019-549 7134, 017-446 7194
GPS: 5.340084, 100.408500

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: 9/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

CECIL STREET CHAR KOAY TEOW

Posted by crizlai On March - 5 - 2009

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If you want to know the success story of a Char Koay Teow stall, you should check out the stall located at a corner shop lot named Kedai Makan Teong Ah along Lebuh Cecil (Cecil Street). I had to wake up real early this morning at 5.00am just to make an effort to visit the place and have a chat with the cook, Mr. Leow, who has started frying Char Koay Teow as early as 1967. For the past 40 years, Mr. Leow has been frying along the roadside of Magazine Road before he was forced to move out due to a road expansion project. Currently, he has shifted to this new premise for more than a year.

Why is Mr, Leow’s Char Koay Teow so unique and famous that he has to open up for business so early in the morning? It’s very obvious as his Char Koay Teow and Fried Rice has been the hot favorite of many factory workers. By the time I was there at 5.40am, he had already packed more than 50 packets of Char Koay Teow and fried over 20 plates. What is so different in his style compared to some of the famous ones around? He uses almost the same ingredients as the others but there’s one hidden secret. He uses charcoal and his high heat frying skills that I could hardly take a proper shot from his hyper motions.

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Another reason is that his Char Koay Teow is believed to be the cheapest within the whole of Penang Island. A plate of Char Koay Teow with an egg, three large prawns, cockles and some sliced Chinese sausage fried with some lard, bean sprouts and chopped chives cost only RM2.60. I had mine added with extra fresh prawns and it was only RM3.30. You can also opt for the Char Koay Teow fried with duck egg. It’s only RM3.

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The Char Koay Teow was not oily at all and it had a banana leaf laid on the plate prior to serving. Somehow, not many Char Koay Teow stalls are applying this method nowadays although this would give that additional aroma to the noodles. On top of that, the dish had the right saltiness, spiciness and a bit of burn flavor in it.

Since the Char Koay Teow was so delicious, I was tempted to try out the Fried Rice as well even though it was a bit too heavy for such an early breakfast. The price was the same as the Char Koay Teow but instead of the ingredients stated above, he used only rice, chopped char siew (bbq pork) and fresh prawns. The Fried Rice was indeed another good experience. The dish had that unique burn flavor again with a well combined taste to my liking. Every single grain of the rice was well coated with rich flavor. This is also a must to try out.

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If you would like to have many packets of takeaways, I would advise you to call him up prior to collecting. From my observation during the one hour of patronizing his Char Koay Teow stall, his handphone was like a hotline.

Searching for the Char Koay Teow stall would not be hard at all as it’s just right at the junction of the Cecil Street evening wet market (七條路巴刹). If you are coming from Jalan C.Y. Choy, it’s just right at the corner with a large signboard “Kedai Makan Teong Ah – 中亞茶室) as you turn right into Lebuh Cecil.

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Name: CECIL STREET CHAR KOAY TEOW @ KEDAI MAKAN TEONG AH
Address: 246 Lebuh Cecil, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-485 8210 (Mr. Leow)
Opening Hours: 5.30am-10.00am (Closed Monday, 1st&15th day lunar calendar)
GPS: 5.407442, 100.329381

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