CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for the ‘floggers’ Category

Recently on 20 April 2107, Lexis Suite Penang which is located at the beautiful shoreline of Teluk Kumbar, Penang, hosted the Media & Blogger Appreciation Night 2017 at its beautifully Japanese themed decorated Hibiscus Ballroom with its staff all dressed up in traditional Japanese attires.

 photo LEXISMBAN201701_zpstuuh8omp.jpg

It was a fun-filled event with great food, great entertainment with bridal show and martial art session plus lots of lucky draw items to be won by its guests. Guests were even pampered with a brief massage session by Lex Spa.

 photo LEXISMBAN201703_zpstcu8fozj.jpg

The interior was with a setup of how Lexis Suite Penang would decorate the ballroom for a customized wedding banquet.

 photo LEXISMBAN201702_zpsjnh0zd5j.jpg

Of course the dishes served on that night would be Japanese cuisine as well with options such as Ninniku Chahan, Fried Lotus Roots with Konnyaku, Tori Katsu, Oden with Condiments, Chilled Seafood Platters, Sushi, Sashimi, Teppanyaki, Roasted Meat, Yakitori and a variety of desserts, not forgetting the cocktail, mocktail and coffee section.

 photo LEXISMBAN201704_zpsoh8r7qvg.jpg

 photo LEXISMBAN201705_zps4smcfszm.jpg

 photo LEXISMBAN201706_zpsepayxucs.jpg

 photo LEXISMBAN201707_zpslhikkbcr.jpg

Thank you to Lexis Suites Penang for extending the invitation for a great night out.

Lexis Suites Penang is located right at the end of Teluk Kumbar before the main road into Gertak Sanggul. In fact, it’s located just next to the Hao You Teluk Kumbar Seafood (公巴好友海鲜). The Roselle Coffee House is located at level 1 of Lexis Suites Penang. Just walk into the main lobby of the resort and move towards the right side of the lobby and you will see the elevator there. Take the lift to the first floor and you would see the restaurant there.

 photo LEXISSUITESMAP_zpsg9dtmwo7.jpg

Name: LEXIS SUITES PENANG
Address: 28, Jalan Teluk Kumbar, 11920 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-628 2888
Business Hours (Roselle Coffee House):
Breakfast: 6.30am-10.30am
All Day Menu: 11.30am-10.30pm
Buffet Menu: 6.30pm-11.00pm
Room Service: 24 hours
GPS: 5.287210, 100.232760

About Lexis Suites Penang: A luxurious resort by the beachfront that stands out as the only hotel on the island which offer guests the luxury of an individual private pool and steam room in every of its 222 suites. Located at the idyllic Teluk Kumbar, Lexis Suites Penang is about ten minutes’ drive from Penang International Airport. The guestrooms feature two king-sized beds and a host of practical amenities in a spacious enclave, with an awesome view of the sea.

 

ARE THE MEALS PROVIDED TO FOOD BLOGGERS REALLY FREE?

Posted by crizlai On November - 18 - 2013

FREEFOOD01 photo FREEFOOD01_zps44d74fdf.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNICAL CALCULATION:

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

SYPNOSIS:

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

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

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

WORST FOOD REVIEWS ENCOUNTERED:

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

REMUNERATION:

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

SUMMARY:

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

CASE STUDIES:

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

 photo FREEFOOD10_zps39c6ec2d.jpg

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

FREEFOOD05 photo FREEFOOD05_zps716f7b88.jpg

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

FREEFOOD09 photo FREEFOOD09_zps45e283aa.jpg

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

FREEFOOD11 photo FREEFOOD11_zpscac246a5.jpg

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

FREEFOOD18 photo FREEFOOD18_zps09afac06.jpg

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

FREEFOOD06 photo FREEFOOD06_zps1695b74f.jpg

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

FREEFOOD12 photo FREEFOOD12_zpsb1f7890b.jpg

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

FREEFOOD04 photo FREEFOOD04_zpsd943f154.jpg

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

FREEFOOD07 photo FREEFOOD07_zpsfea263c5.jpg

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

FREEFOOD03 photo FREEFOOD03_zps3a1149ea.jpg

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

FREEFOOD08 photo FREEFOOD08_zpsa2342e70.jpg

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

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

REALITY:

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

FREEFOOD02 photo FREEFOOD02_zpsfd53e778.jpg

COMMON BLOGGING SCENES:

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

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

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

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

BLOGGERS’ CODE OF ETHICS:

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

FREEFOOD17 photo FREEFOOD17_zpsc1fb52ae.jpg

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

FREEFOOD14 photo FREEFOOD14_zpsd686f84d.jpg

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

FREEFOOD16 photo FREEFOOD16_zpsdc89ea49.jpg

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

FREEFOOD15 photo FREEFOOD15_zps02632853.jpg

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

FREEFOOD13 photo FREEFOOD13_zpse058804f.jpg

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

THE GRAND OPENING OF TEA SECRET AT QUEENSBAY MALL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On November - 11 - 2011

Quite a number of F&B outlets are taking this opportunity to have their Grand Opening today since it’s a nice date~ 11-11-11 (11 November 2011). One such outlet is the Tea Secret, an outlet specialized in producing tea and fruit based beverages with the concept originating from Taiwan. Thanks to the management for inviting a few of us to grace the auspicious occasion. There are quite a few choices to choose from, starting from Milky Tea Premium Tea, Around The World, Nutrilicious Yoghurt, Natural Fruit Tea, Latte Series, Milik Cream Tea, Frozen Indulgence, Delicious Chewy Tea, Yakult Tea and Smoothie Delights. The Tea Latte Series has a special and imported machine just like the coffee version and may require a slightly longer waiting time.

TEASECRET01

All the beverages would come in two sizes – 500cc and 700cc. There would be options to top up these beverages with either Pearl, Aloe Vera, Grass Jelly (Leong Fun), Pudding, Ai-Yu Jelly, Coconut Jelly or Konjac (a colorful jelly having the al dente similar to that of Nato de Coco) at RM1.00nett. On top of that, you have the option to adjust the sugar level to your liking from 0% (no sugar), 30% (slight sugar), 50% (half sugar), 70% (less suagr) and 100% (normal sugar). Moreover, you can also request the ice to be 0% (no ice), 70% (less ice) and 100% (normal ice). You can click on the photo below to have a clearer view of the options.

TEASECRET02

Here are the 700cc of beverages provided to us by the management. It sure was a large and filling one at that size.

TEASECRET03

There were also some catered snacks for our appetite such as different flavors of Cheese Tarts, Chocolate Tarts, Fruit Tarts, Cream Puffs and some Chocolate Brownies. It was indeed a sweet over sweet temptation for those sweet toothed guests.

TEASECRET04

Here are some of the bloggers and friends who attended the grand opening.

TEASECRET05

Overall, I find that some of the beverages were a bit too sweet to my liking. Maybe I should have requested for one with lesser sweetness instead of having ordered the normal ones (100%). Well, it might take some tweaking before one would get the right taste for his/her preferences. As for the top-up ingredients, I somehow like the natural aloe vera, and ai-yu jelly due to the fact that they went well with the more fruity teas. It was a waste that the coconut jelly and pudding were out of stock before we could even try them.

The Tea Secret kiosk is located right next to the Lower Ground car park at the South Zone of Queensbay Mall. Alternatively, if you enter the Central Zone of the mall, just turn left and walk towards Dome Café. Use the escalator down to the lower ground and you will see the kiosk right under the escalator. It’s just next to Nippon Yataimura Japanese Restaurant and nearby Jusco Supermarket.

Name: TEA SECRET @ QUEENSBAY MALL PENANG
Address:
LG-K1, Queensbay Mall, Persiaran Bayan Indah, Sungai Nibong, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm
GPS: 5.332499, 100.306417

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6.5/10 (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)

 

POON CHOI CRAVING AT ZI ZAI RESTAURANT PENANG

Posted by crizlai On November - 6 - 2011

Poon Choi (盆菜) or also known as Big Bowl Feast/Big Basin Feast, is a traditional dish which originated from the village of Hong Kong. This multi layer of ingredients dish is usually served during special occasions such as wedding, reunion, festivals and so on. Choice layers and layers of precooked ingredients such as vegetables, meat, seafood, mushrooms and meat/fish balls are slowly arranged until the brim of the bowl/basin with a mixture of sauces from each individual ingredient. The art of eating Poon Choi is by tackling the layer by layer of the ingredient from the top until the bottom. Cost wise, it could range between tens of ringgits until thousands, depending on what quality of ingredients you put into the bowl/basin. There was a time when urban restaurants decided to introduce this dish to their up-class diners at a rate which would be quite impossible for the budget of an average income diner. Today, Zi Zai Restaurant had changed that perception by providing quality Poon Choi at an affordable price with two size options. The bigger size at RM400nett (RM418nett effective February 2013) could fill up the appetite of 10 persons but could feed up to 12 or more persons (especially with a mixture of ladies and children), whereas the smaller size at RM258nett (RM268nett effective February 2013) could accommodate the stomachs of 4-6 persons. Both sets would come with free flow of steamed rice and herbal teas. (Note: Make sure you call in 1-2 days earlier to book your table as it would take tedious hours of preparation for such a dish.)

ZIZAI01

Recently, we had a small gathering amongst 13 friends and we opted for the Big Basin Feast (RM400nett). The basin came with 14 ingredients which consisted of (from base) Chinese Cabbages, Braised Pork Belly in Red Fermented Bean Curd (Tao Joo/Nam Joo), Yam, Yam Bean (Sengkuang/Jicama), Sea Cucumbers, Chinese Mushrooms, Fish Maws, One Whole Charcoal Roasted Duck, One Whole Chicken in Sesame Oil, Broccoli, Deep Fried Snapper Fillets, Deep Fried Homemade Hock Chew Fish Balls (Fish Ball with Minced Meat Filling), Sweet n Sour Prawns and One Whole New Zealand Abalone Slices (on the top). It came heated up on a portable gas stove with a low-medium fire to avoid the base being burned. Well, the cabbages which were laced at the base for this purpose were indeed slightly burned but due to the long period of maintaining the heat. Alternatively to avoid burned items at the base, the kitchen could consider using a shallow based metal or porcelain plate to avoid this issue. As for taste, the whole combination was just right to my liking. The gravy had the taste of high soup stock combined with the individual seasonings and sweetness from all the ingredients within… not too thick and can be easily taken as a soup.

ZIZAI02

They do also have “takeaway package” for both sizes of Poon Choi but the free flow of rice and herbal drinks would not be included.

ZIZAI03

I ordered the RM258 package home recently for a small family reunion. This smaller size would have half the portion of the ingredients served as above but with one whole abalone. I managed to have the abalone replaced with Kooi Fa Abalone (actually they are evenly cut calamari slices) and Fresh Scallops. Yup, you can have additional ingredients or replace one or two ingredients for your Poon Choi if the boss agrees to it but the price would be based on market rate.

ZIZAI04

Other than Poon Choi, Zi Zai Restaurant also serves other stir fry dishes. One of their signature dishes would be their Assam Prawns (RM32 – about 16 prawns). Good sized prawns were marinated with tamarind juice, sugar and salt prior to being fried to perfection. This easy to cook Nyonya cuisine would get many yearning for more as the tamarind infused prawns had that slightly acidic sourness on top of the briny sweet taste.

ZIZAI05

Another of their signature dishes would be their Belacan Chicken Wings (RM16). Belacan or commonly known as shrimp paste would be something some foreigners would dread coming near to one. Due to the long fermentation of grounded and sundried shrimps, they indeed omit an intruding smell to the nose but belacan remains one of the most sought after ingredients throughout South East Asia. Alternatively, some would use belacan granules to avoid the overpowering smell floating around the air. The restaurant sure had mastered their recipe well here as each bite onto the succulent and yet crispy meat would surely boost up your appetite for more.

ZIZAI06

A simple dish such as the Stir Fried Bean Sprout with Salted Fish (RM12) would go well with any meal, especially with the meat and seafood enriched Poon Choi. I admired the commitment of the restaurant staff in peeling off the roots of the bean sprouts to give the dish a clearly look. The chef did a real job here in maintaining the crunch on each sprout.

ZIZAI07

Another nice vegetable dish would be the Stir Fry Yao Mak in Garlic (RM10). It’s simple and yet delicious. The chef again did a great job in maintaining the freshly crunch on the vegetables. Yao Mak is also known as Baby Romaine Lettuce.

ZIZAI08

Occasionally, there will be some species of clams available at the restaurant. What we had was the Stir Fried Sambal Lala (RM12). The mildly spiced up dish had that gingery taste from some shredded ginger and spring onion garnishing. Unfortunately the supply on that day was rather small, thus leaving the Lala without much flesh. Overall, it was still an acceptable dish for our palate.

ZIZAI09

Don’t you think our lunch for that day was impressively delicious?

ZIZAI10

Yours truly also did sponsor 2 cans of New Zealand abalones to make the occasion more joyous. The chef had abalones cooked with some fresh mini Chinese cabbages.

ZIZAI11

Finding this restaurant won’t be hard as it’s located along the main road of Paya Terubong, Air Itam, Penang. The easiest way would be driving through Farlim, Air Itam via the Thean Teik Highway. If you are coming from town along Jalan Air Itam into Lorong Batu Lancang, just drive all the way until you have reached a traffic light (Lorong Batu Lancang/Thean Teik Highway). Turn right into Thean Teik Highway (Lebuhraya Thean Teik) and drive all the way pass 4 traffic lights until the end. At the last T-junction traffic lights (Lebuhraya Thean Teik/Jalan Paya Terubong), turn right into the main road of Jalan Paya Terubong. Drive about 400m and you would see the restaurant on your left along a stretch of shop houses.

ZIZAIMAP

Name: ZI ZAI RESTAURANT (自在飯店)
Address: 1239-G, Ground Floor, Jalan Paya Terubong, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-826 5173 (Mr. Tan Hock Chai)
Business Hours: 4.00pm – 10.30pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.387212, 100.274013

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

 

Hidden amongst the leafy hilltop of Teluk Bahang, lies a natural gem that Penang would sure be proud of. Built high at the edge of the hill adjoining the Tropical Spice Garden on an elevated almost nail-less constructed wooden platform, emerged a beautiful back to nature Thai restaurant with attap leaves covered gazebo and mini bar. The restaurant, Tree Monkey, was thus born on 30 July 2010, which name was prompted by the nearby free roaming dusky leaf monkeys. Thanks to the management of the restaurant as well as the liaison expertise of Warren Tan and CK Lam that a group of us Penang bloggers and floggers managed to gain the experience of jungle dining.

TREEMONKEY01

The strategically built al fresco structure promised a panoramic view of activities along the Andaman Sea. It gets even better towards late evening as one can be mesmerized by the beauty of the sunset on the horizon and also the lighted up of the whole place with lamps and candles. This would indeed be a nice place to hang out for romantic couples and families.

TREEMONKEY02

As the Tropical Spice Garden would also supply the herbs and spices required by the restaurant, you can be assured of freshly cooked dishes by their North East Thailand chefs. There would also be many varieties of dry herbs and spices that you can purchased at their jointly shared shop within the premises.

TREEMONKEY03

What would be more ideal to start the evening off other than to enjoy their limited edition of mocktail – the Sunset Paradise (RM10)? The concoction of orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine tasted great and this special would only available between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.

TREEMONKEY04

There are many items in the ala carte menu that would include items ranging from appetizers, snacks, salads, soups, curries, stir fried dishes, vegetables, seafood, bean curds, eggs, desserts and alcohol. If you are adventurous in trying out Thai food but indecisive on which dish to choose from as a large plate each would be too much for just the few of you, why not try out their tapas sets? Each tapas set would consist a little bit of a few dishes as stated in the menu. The tapas menu dishes might change from time to time.

To start off with appetizers, you can opt for the Thai Tapas ([email protected], 12 [email protected] or 16 [email protected]). There are 12 options on menu such as Thai Toast, Money Bag, Herbs Chicken, Spring Roll, Pandan Chicken, Otak-otak, Mussels Salsa, Lemongrass Stick, Prawn Sarong, Prawn Sabai, Thai Fish Cake and Darling Crab. You can try all of the dishes or select any of the items you think would suit your taste bud (a maximum order of 4 pieces on each item).

TREEMONKEY05

If you are still indecisive, let me brief you more on the individual taste of each item. The OTAK-OTAK which was actually a banana leaf wrapped steamed spiced egg paste with seafood would be mild enough for anyone although I personally like it to be a bit spicier. The MUSSEL SALSA, a half shelled mussel steamed with chili lime salsa plus chopped garlic is a must have. Although a bit pungent for some, the right combination of sour sweet taste was perfect. The THAI FISH CAKE, a deep fried curried fish paste mixed with sliced kaffir lime leaves had the right texture and moist. The LEMONGRASS STICK which had crumbed minced seafood and wrapped around a lemongrass stalk was normal except that it did have the strong flavor of the lemongrass. The THAI TOAST, a crispy toast with minced chicken and topped with sesame seeds was quite normal. I actually preferred to have minced prawns instead. The MONEY BAG with minced chicken and frozen mixed vegetables wrapped in spring roll skin did not impress me much. It lacked the sweetness from some freshly chopped carrots, onions and coriander. The PRAWN SARONG which was a deep fried prawn wrapped with crispy rice noodles was normal, just like those you would get from the dim sum shop. The SPRING ROLL wrapped with shredded vegetables was nothing spectacular either. The PRAWN SABAI was another version of the Prawn Sarong but wrapped with spring roll skin. The PANDAN CHICKEN with turmeric and kaffir lime leaves marinated chicken wrapped in screw pine leaves was tasty but it would be better to if they have a bird eye chili added in for that extra flavor. The HERBS CHICKEN was a chicken drumlet coated in lemongrass batter. Not bad but a longer marinate period would be better as the meat was a bit bland. I can’t comment on the Darling Crab as the half shelled crab stuffed with mixed seafood was not available at that time.

TREEMONKEY06

As for main meal you can go for their Asian Tapas (8 [email protected] or 12 [email protected] served with 2 sets of turmeric rice). There are 12 options on menu such as Mango Salad, Satay, Nam Tok, Crispy Herbs Fish, Chili Paste Prawn, Sweet Bean Curd, Kangkung Belacan, Son-In-Law Egg, Masaman Curry, Panaeng Curry, Tomyum Soup & Tomkha Soup (a maximum order of 4 dishes on each item)

TREEMONKEY07

We had CHILI PASTE PRAWNS, prawns stir fried in chili paste. Nice. Next on the set was the CRISPY HERBS FISH where two pieces of batter fried seabass fillets were topped with deep fried curry leaves, shallots and ginger slices. The freshness of the fish combined with the fragrant from the herbs and spices was indeed delicious. The KANGKUNG BELACAN where stalks of morning glory were stir fried in nice aromatic flavor of shrimp paste (belacan) was refreshing and it had some deep fried garlic as garnish. The SWEET BEAN CURD where cubes of deep fried bean curd were topped with Thai sweet chili sauce, fresh onions and chopped spring onion were normal. I wished they could have served a smoother textured bean curd.

TREEMONKEY08

The next dish on the set was the PANAENG CURRY. It had beef slices stir fried in red curry with chilies, Thai eggplant, long beans and sliced kaffir lime leaves. The taste was nice except that the beef might need some ginger juice as tenderizer. There was also the HOT STIR FRIED BEEF WITH THAI BASIL (supposed to be NAM TOK, a beef salad as proposed in the menu), a stir fried beef dish with chopped garlic, onions, chillies and Thai basil leaves. This dish was lovely with rice. The MASAMAN CURRY was actually chicken slices stir fried with potatoes in red curry and garnished with cashew nuts. Not bad. We also had three sticks of SATAY as one of the dishes. The chicken meat was well marinated in turmeric and chopped kaffir lime leave. Well, these looked deep fried than the normal grilling to me but the meat was still tender.

TREEMONKEY09

On the same set was also the MANGO SALAD. The shredded green mango, carrots, onions and chopped dried shrimps, were well tossed in some chili lime juice. There was a hint of fish sauce added in too. The SON-IN LAW EGG got most of the ladies giggling. What a name! We had two deep fried hard boiled eggs, topped with some chili and tamarind sauce and garnish with some fried shallots. These were normal but appetizing. Lastly, we had two soups. The TOMKHA SOUP had chicken slices slowly simmered with galangal and abalone mushroom with a touch of evaporated milk for that additional creaminess. On the other hand, the TOMYUM SOUP was more likeable by many as it had the nice fragrant of some chili paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leave, tomatoes and a touch of lime juice. The spicy and sour soup came with a variety of seafood.

TREEMONKEY10

As for dessert, we had the Thai Coconut Ice Cream (RM8.80 – topped with jackfruit and attap palm seeds with a dash of evaporated milk). It was a nice dessert as a change to those served in Songkhla where cubed bread, attap seeds and roasted peanuts were used instead.

TREEMONKEY11

The memorable meet up evening with the bloggers ended with Spiced Tea and Coffee with Condensed Milk (RM8 each – hot or cold) being served. Most of us preferred the Spiced Coffee more as it did not have such a thick spiced flavor. The tea on the other hand has a stronger presence of cinnamon, cloves and cardamon.

TREEMONKEY12

Overall, this place would be a nice and serene venue for couples and small groups. The menu is pork free. Vegetarian dishes can be arranged. It has WIFI facility and can cater up to 80 people at one time. I have to thanks the management, namely, Mr. PattKhor and his beautiful assistant, Ms Wisakha for the lovely evening.

Getting to the restaurant would not be hard as it’s located just next to the Tropical Spice Garden. Just drive all the way up to Teluk Bahang but do watch out for some nooks and corners as you might just miss the restaurant especially during late evening. I have drafted out a simple map with photos to lead 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 the restaurant 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.

TREEMONKEYMAP1

Due to the steepness of the tar trail and many steps involved in getting to the restaurant, those elderly, handicapped or those with knee problems may have some difficulty in dining there. Let’s hope the management might consider having a buggy car to transport these people. After all, they also should have the privilege to enjoy the food and scenic view up there.

TREEMONKEYMAP2

Name: TREE MONKEY @ TROPICAL SPICE GARDEN
Address: Lone Craig Villa, Lot 595, Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-881 3494
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 11.00pm (Sun – Thurs), until midnight (Fri & Sat)
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

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

TREEMONKEYGROUP

ATTENDEES:

1. William Tan – http://www.genesissix.com/
2. Warren Tan – http://www.genesissix.com/
3. CK Lam – http://www.what2seeonline.com/
4. Criz Lai – http://crizfood.com/
5. Carrie Soon – http://www.cariso.net/
6. Lingzie – http://www.lingzie.com/
7. Alan Choong – http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
8. Amanda Teoh – http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
9. Steven Goh – http://www.stevengoh.com/
10. Mary Teo – http://reginatravel-foodparadise.blogspot.com/
11. Cheah BH (Bee) – http://buzzingbee.blogsome.com/
12. Patrick Soon – http://studiomoonspell.blogspot.com/
13. Tiffany Thor – http://sexydracula.blogspot.com/
14. Yeap Jian Ming – http://cokeworldcitizen.blogspot.com/
15. Chan Chee Wah (Waco) – http://www.noweating.com/
16. Nel Ng – http://bearyinformative.blogspot.com/
17. Emily Chong – http://www.millymin.com/
18. Xherlyn Chong – http://hysteric-elegance.blogspot.com
19. Calvyn Lee – http://www.icalvyn.com/
20. Sherming Chua – http://www.sherming.com/
21. David Lee – http://www.limpek.com/
22. Joanne Chong – http://www.joannechong.com/
23. Danny Ooi – http://www.joannechong.com/

YET ANOTHER GREAT FLOGGERS GATHERING AT JURIN EXPRESS

Posted by crizlai On April - 12 - 2010

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

Yesterday marked another great gathering for the Penang floggers as we had our 5th Penang Floggers Gathering. This time, it was Japanese cuisine at Jurin Express aka Jurin Japanese Restaurant located within the notable mall, Gurney Plaza. At a specially arranged RM50 nett per pax deal, we had more than we had bargained for with everyone going home feeling contented.

JURIN01

We had free flow of Hot or Cold Honey Green Tea. The beverages were thicker than the normal ones as they were specially prepared for us with loose green tea leaves instead of those in sachets.

JURIN02

The meal started with 3 types of appetizers. The first was Tempura Kani. The dish had crabstick (kani kama) sushi rolls coated with tempura and deep fried until golden brown, topped with sweet soy sauce and garnished with some herbs and chili flakes.

JURIN03

Next was the Sushi Combo with a colorful array of sushi rolls. It was simple but very filling.

JURIN04

The last of the appetizers was the Sushi Fried Maki. This version was a bit different as it had nori rolled sushi in vinegar rice. These were then topped with some mayo and ebiko (shrimp roes).

JURIN05

The specially arranged main meal consisted of 4 options.

Set A: Ginmutsu Teriyaki (Deep fried cod fish in sweet sauce), Chicken Ban Ban (Boneless fried chicken chunks served with Japanese sauce and mayo), Ebi Tempura (Deep fried shrimps in batter), Yaki Tamago (Sweet omelette), Garlic Fried Rice and Miso Soup.

JURIN06

Set B: Salmon and Tuna Sashimi, Unagi (BBQ Japanese eel), Tamago Kikurage (Black fungus with chilies), Yaki Tamago (Sweet omelette), Garlic Fried Rice and Miso Soup.

JURIN07

Set C: Salmon and Tuna Sashimi, Spicy Salmon (deep fried and topped with spicy sauce), Kakiage (Deep fried shrimps, squid and vegetables in batter), Yaki Tamago (Sweet omelette), Garlic Fried Rice and Miso Soup.

JURIN08

Set D: Karubi Beef (Stir fried beef with onions), Nama Ika Teriyaki (Grilled cuttlefish in teriyaki sauce), Karaage (Deep fried soft shell crabs), Yaki Tamago (Sweet omelette), Garlic Fried Rice and Miso Soup.

JURIN09

A scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream with Red Beans was served as dessert. The ice cream was not as smooth as I had expected and with a mild green tea flavor. On top of that, I would also prefer to have blended red beans instead of the whole ones for that extra smoothness.

JURIN10

We ended the gathering with everyone bring some sponsored gifts home. We had the Vouch Magazine, a bottle of each of Chili Bao and Chili Red, sponsored by Bao Bao Restaurant from Puchong, Selangor, Stuffed You Tiao vouchers sponsored by Te Chang You Tiao Wang from Paya Terubong, Penang and Fried Fish Tom Yam Noodles vouchers by Siong Ho Fish Head Tom Yam Noodles & Porridge, Weld Quay, Penang.

JURIN11

We had a small photography session after the gathering had ended. In presence were Daisy Lee (boss) & hubby, Alan Choong & Amanda Teoh, Eunice, SY, Kelvin Tan, CW Chan, Criz Lai, JK Beh, Cheryl Wee & hubby, Kok Ann, Lay Min, Sam Ong, Gill & Jason and Steven Goh. (Not in photo – Carrie & partner, Lilian Chan & son).

JURIN12

Overall, I found the dishes served here were just average. The restaurant could have served a better quality of fresh seafood, thus less deep fried items for seafood related dishes. Fish cuts were a bit too thin for the value of money paid. The fried garlic rice was normal and lack of wok hei (high heat fragrant) as I believed that it was prepared much earlier before our arrival. However, these few hiccups did not spoil our moods in mingling around with old and new found friends. A special thanks to Jason & Gill for organizing this gathering.

I don’t think I would need to describe the way to Jurin Express as most people would know how to get to Gurney Plaza. Just walk towards the new wing of the mall and go to level 2. You would see the restaurant just next to Sushi King.

Name: JURIN JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Address:
170-02-59/60, 2nd Floor, Gurney Plaza (New Wing),
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 7112
Business Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437696, 100.309592

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

CBA 2ND ANNIVERSARY DIM SUM PARTY AT FUN TEA GARDEN

Posted by crizlai On December - 21 - 2009

More than two years of food blogging was nothing to brag about. In fact, it’s not the experience that I had acquired through time that pushed me to withstand the pressure and pleasure to get the best detail on the greatest places for dining. It’s the support and encouragement from you, my fellow floggers and readers. The friendship, the communication, the interpersonal skills and most of all the mini gatherings and reviews we had together indeed fostered our relationships even closer. We are like a big family now and hope to remain so for years to come. Even the responses and comments from readers (although I saw quite a large number of silent stalkers :P) surely kept Criz Bon Appetite moving even more diligently to bring the best place to eat to you. One thing I have noticed, Penangites are always in search of great food. It’s even obvious when it’s free as I had posted up in my anniversary giveaway. Within a mere two weeks, almost RM3,000 of free food vouchers had been sent out through snail mails from Northern up to Central Malaysia.

Well, don’t thank me for that. I’m only the postman. If not for the wonderful sponsors who wished to share out the best there are in Penang/Butterworth, you won’t have the privilege to try out their wonderful culinary skills. Let’s officially thank them for promoting Penang’s best to the dining community. They are Fun Tea Garden Dim Sum, Ki Xiang Klang Bak Kut Teh, Village Café Tom Yam Fish Head Noodles, I Mum Mum Pan Mee, Ivy’s Kitchen Nyonya Cuisine, Kowloon Hainan Chicken Rice and Magazine Road Tang Yuan. Let’s hope there would be more sponsors around next year since there were some late requests during the end of the project. I sincerely hope that those who had received their free vouchers had a great dining experience. 🙂

Last Friday night was the ending of the giveaways and saw a memorable anniversary celebration for close friends and floggers at Fun Tea Garden for the “eat-until-you-drop” dim sum and noodles party. Everyone was indeed stuffed until the brim by trying out almost everything from the restaurant. Well, that’s another few inches to the waistline. LOL! In fact, the whole atmosphere was filled with the laughs of the wackiest floggers and shutterbugs around town. Jokes can be heard at every table while ghost stories at another. I hope Steven Goh did not have bad dreams that night for the story telling. Haha! It was indeed a fun filling event for many including our new flogger-to-be in town, Lay Min and friend, Kok Ann, who drove all the way from Butterworth to attend this function. You would be surprised that the oldies and the newbies can click really well that night. Won’t it be great if we were to have more of such happy moments? Gals and guys… plan more in 2010! Hehe!

Since I was the host for the night, shooting great shots was quite impossible. Why not let the rest of the attendees show you how great the food was that night? Here’s a glimpse of some of the food we had.

The celebration ended with a large anniversary Marble Cheese Cake from Jenni Homemade Cakes, courtesy of Carrie, Mary and CW Chan. It was a bonus for all of us and also a few more pounds gained. Haha!

Here’s the group photo of the attendees with the boss of Fun Tea Garden, Mr. Danny, courtesy of CW Chan who has also bought a new RM3.1K Lumix camera on that night to provide better shots for his readers in the future. Thanks for de“virgin”ized your camera for that night. LOL!

Not in photo: NKOTB & hubby

ATTENDEES:
Criz Lai
Alan & Amanda
NKOTB & hubby
Little Inbox & hubby
Eunice, Siew Ying & Kelvin
Lay Min & Kok Ann
Jason & Gill
CW Chan
Steven Goh
Mary Teo
Carrie Soon
Jian Ming

A WEDDING RECEPTION AT THE FORUM CHINESE CUISINE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On December - 8 - 2009

Finally, a group of us floggers managed to attend the first Penang flogger’s wedding reception. Who could that be? It was none other than our beloved Steven Goh tying the knot with his beautiful wife, Kim Peng. The memorable event was held at The Forum Chinese Cuisine on 5 December 2009. Let us all wish the couple happy and prosperous days ahead with lots of bubbly “tiger” babies. Next year is the Year of the Metal Tiger in the Chinese Lunar Calendar and based on the Chinese Zodiac, such tigers are said to be lucky, lively and engaging with courageous attributes to protect his family against many evils. The Metal element gives the 2010 born tigers their sharpness in action and speed of thoughts, which would likely make them stand out in a crowd. With an inspiring assertiveness and competitive demeanor, they determine their goals and then do anything necessary to achieve them. Well Steven, you should know your 2010 planning now right? LOL!

Anyway, let us go right into food now as when there are floggers around food would be the main news. Hehe! Although there was a minor hiccup by the management of the restaurant in the serving of the dishes, it did not spoil the moods of the occasion. We had Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallops & Crab Meat served first. It was just a normal wedding banquet type of serving but what caught my attention was the usage of “glass noodle texture-like” shark’s fin and surimi (crab sticks). I guessed many sharks and decapod crustaceans were spared in this eco-friendly dish. LOL!

Next was the Deluxe Hot & Cold Dish Combination which consisted of hot steaming crystal skin “money bag” dumplings, stir fried prawns with cashew nuts and bell peppers, Minced pork and waxed sausage rolls and minced pork cutlet in plum sauce which tasted somewhat like our local “bak kua” minus the red rose wine flavor and coloring. It was an interesting combination.

Braised Chicken with Chest Nuts wrapped in Aluminum Foil followed. Although the roasted chicken was a bit bland in taste due to over steaming, the tender meat went well with the stuffing of chest nuts, mushrooms, waxed sausages and carrots with some mild seasonings. The best part lied in the gravy where it had a rich and flavorful chicken essence.

When it came to giving fresh and succulent large prawns, the restaurant had its best. The Deep Fried Prawns coated with Oats & Crispy Minced Egg was perfect. Some of us were caught savoring the delicious condiments instead.

We were then served with Stewed Assorted Mushroom with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. Other than broccoli, straw mushrooms and Chinese mushrooms, there were another thinly sliced abalone-like texture ingredient. We were not too sure what that was but to me it tasted more like an edible sea snail meat.

As for the Steamed Grouper Fish “Teow Chew” Style, it was just a normal serving due to the mass production. Somehow ours was sort of “handicapped” (from the sign of the tilted head) and overcooked. The fish lost the firmness in texture. Moreover, a touch of more pickled sour plums and Shao Xing wine would make the dish more tasteful.

Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice with Waxed Sausage was served next. Simple as it may look, each grain of rice was well flavored with the taste from the lotus leaves.

The last course was of course dessert. We were served with Sweetened Honeydew Melon Cream with Sago. I suspected the cream came in powder form as the coloring was somewhat artificial. I surely preferred something more natural like blended honeydew instead.

Other than the free flowing wine, beer and cordial, we were each presented some gift by the couple – a piece of fruit cake and a silky pouch filled with a pair of heart-shape lollipops. From my observation, this memento pleased many of the guests. The elderly were happy with a little something to keep their coins, whereas the younger ones were happy with something to share with their friends and partner-to-be. After all, wedding is all about sharing the love together for eternity.

To Steven & Janice…
Your happiness begins
With your wonderful wedding day.
You’ll share everything together;
Through it all, your love will stay.
Congratulations to you,
As you begin your happy life.
May all good things be yours,
As new husband and new wife.

For those who had missed the memorable event, here’s a short video of the couple walking down the aisle.

The Forum Chinese Cuisine is located at Level 3 within Island Plaza, Penang. It won’t be hard to find the way as it’s just along Jalan Tanjung Tokong on your right.

THE FORUM

Name: THE FORUM CHINESE CUISINE @ ISLAND PLAZA
Address: 803-01, 3rd Floor, Island Plaza, 118 Jalan Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Business Hours:
11.30am-3.00pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm (Monday-Saturday)
9.30am-3.00pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm (Sunday & Public Holiday)
Contact: 604-899 0088
GPS: 5.450371, 100.305946

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

ATTENDEES:
Criz Lai
CK Lam
Alan & Amanda
NKOTB & hubby
CW Chan
Eunice & Siew Ying

4TH PENANG FLOGGERS GATHERING AT VINTAGE BULGARIA RESTAURANT & BAR

Posted by crizlai On September - 10 - 2009

It was indeed an evening of “Fun, Wild & Intimate” as the theme was when we gathered for the 4th Penang Floggers Gathering at Vintage Bulgarian Restaurant & Bar not long ago. Other than the usual faces we had seen, many new flogging friends had decided to show up from as far as Kuala Lumpur. Who they are? You can find out about them at the end of the post. Now let’s start with the main topic – FOOD! Since it was a specially arranged menu just for us and many other patrons of the restaurant for the night, we had a great package deal at only RM40/pax. Thanks to Alan and Allie for organizing this memorable event.

The dinner started with a choice between two soups. The Mushroom Soup with Vintage Garlic Bread was freshly prepared with a mixture of different types of mushrooms, accompanied by a slice of creamy garlic bread. The soup had the earthly taste that I love a lot and the garlic bread was marvelously prepared with lots of cheese topping.

The Seafood Soup on the other hand had a totally different taste. It has the freshness of the seafood ingredients somewhat like seafood chowder but a bit spicier. There were hints of crabsticks, fish cubes, crab meat and herbs that made the whole taste a unique experience.

There were 5 options for the main meal and we shared amongst our table of 6 persons so that everyone would have a taste of the food. The first that arrived was the Bulgarian Pork Djolan, a traditional roasted pork knuckle. Sometimes also known as ham hock or hough, the meat has been well marinated with hints of light wine, salt, honey, herbs and spices. This was then roasted until perfection with slightly crispy skin and tender yet juicy meat. The dish alone had enough of flavor without applying the accompanied BBQ sauce.

The next dish was the Chicken Stroganov which consists of boneless chicken drumstick cut into stripes and cooked with mushroom, wine, cream, herbs and spices. This again was well received by many of us although the portion was not as remarkably large as the former dish.

The Bulgarian Platter was served next. The dish had a mixed grill trio of kebapche (front row in sausage shape), kyufte (back row in oval shape) and karnatche (center row with sausage like texture). The differences between kebapche and kyufte are in shapes and the additional usage of chopped onions in the later. Both are actually made out of minced meat (pork, beef or mixed) with some signs of cumin, salt and grounded black pepper. Karnatche is actually the Bulgarian style of stuffing sausages with pure meat patty and then grill to perfection. Taste wise for everything was fine, except that they could be a bit salty for the local consumption.

For those ribs lover, the Plovdiv Ribs might be a good choice. It came with a few choice pieces of pork ribs, marinated with the chef’s secret recipe and roasted until tender. The ribs were meaty enough too. To me, there were no uniqueness in this dish compared to any regular BBQ ribs and it was a bit sweet to my liking.

With all the meaty stuff, it was great to see a seafood dish. Baked Cod Fish Fillet served with chopped mushroom in creamy mushroom sauce was next. The thick cut cod fish fillet was slightly bake to maintain the gel like freshness within blended in real well with the slightly cheesy taste like sauce.

Even before our desserts were served, we were given sweet treats courtesy of Winter Butterfly Homemade Cakes and gelatos from Gelatisimo. Here are the Oreo Cheese Cake, Chocolate Brownies and Cream Cheese Mousse Cake.

The sample tryout by Gelatisimo was indeed different. The different flavored gelato itself was smooth, creamy, flavorful and not overly sweet – the healthy way that I love. We had flavors such as green tea, mango, chocolate, rum & raisins, etc. There are around 50 more flavors in their outlets.

After all the treats, we had more desserts from the restaurant. The first dessert was the Chocolate Soup with Vanilla Ice Cream. It indeed reminded me of how I used to take my ice cream when I was in my earlier years – mildly sweetened chocolate beverage with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. The only difference here was the sprinkles of some chocolate rice. In fact, I still do make this dessert quite often but with milky coffee instead. I personally felt that the aroma and slight bitterness of the coffee combine well with vanilla ice cream.

The next dessert was the Chocolate Crème Brulee. It was indeed another great dessert which was not as sweet as it looked. The crème was perfectly whipped and to take a spoonful with some caramelized sugar on the surface was like heaven. The creamy substance oozing down your throat while your teeth slowly munching the crunchy caramelized sugar, was simply refreshing. This dessert came with some fresh fruit cuts.

It might be quite hard to locate the restaurant for those from outstation but it would be worth your effort to try out their wonderful food. Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant is actually situated just behind Mutiara Selera Food Court at the base of Pearl Hill. To go to this restaurant, just drive towards Batu Ferringhi from town. When you reach the Penang Swimming Club on your right, drive ahead until you see Caltex petrol kiosk on your left. It’s just a short distance before reach another traffic light (Mutiara Selera Food Court). Turn left before the food court and you would see a Y junction. You can either turn left and find a parking space somewhere near the 7-ELEVEN outlet as the restaurant is right in the middle or the same row of shop houses or turn right until you see another Y junction then turn left into Jalan Sungai Kelian. Turn left again into the sloppy service road. You would see the restaurant on your right. There’s a mini car park opposite the restaurant but it’s up to your luck to find a parking space as normally it would be full during dining hours.

Name: VINTAGE BULGARIA RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: 1E, Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-898 1890
Business Hours: 12.00noon-12.00am (Last order at 10.00pm)
GPS: 5.464654, 100.292526

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

Attended Floggers:
Alan Choong
Allen Ooi
Allie Sun
Anna
Bee
Carrie Soon
Celine
Chan Chee Wah
Cheryl Wee
CK Lam
Criz Lai
Desmond Ch’ng
Gill Giam
Huat Koay
Jason Wong
Jessica Tan
Jian
Kathleen Tan
Ken Chan
Leong Mei Yi
Lingzie
Mary Teo
NKOTB
Rebecca Saw
SP Moi
Steven Goh
Wong, Zi Yi
Yong Shi Hui

PRE FLOGGERS GATHERING AT 75 CELSIUS RESTAURANT & BAR

Posted by crizlai On August - 21 - 2009

NOTE: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

Prior to our 4th Penang Floggers Gathering scheduled to be held later in the evening, we were given a treat at 75 Celsius Restaurant & Bar, located along the promenade of the beautiful Gurney Drive last Saturday. Thanks to Ken and William for giving us this privilege to savor almost all that they have in the menu.

75FACADE

Although I did pass through the Gurney Drive stretch quite often, little did I know that the little hidden treasure could provide such a wide range of western cuisine to please my forever craving appetite. Let’s start with what they have in their menu. Initially, they were 3 types of soup being served here. The Creamy Mushroom Soup (RM6.90) came with 3 freshly mixed mushrooms stewed to perfection, garnished with some cream, herbs and served with a slice of garlic bread. The taste was great compared to others except that it would be better if they cut down a bit on the level of saltiness. The Creamy Tomato & Bacon (RM6.90) was my favorite as it was mild enough for my liking and the sautéed beef bacon chips did add in that extra flavorful taste. This was served with a slice of garlic bread as well. The Oxtail Soup (RM8.50) was good too as it had the right amount of herbs and spices usage and the oxtail was tender and superb. This soup was also accompanied with a slice of garlic bread.

75SOUP

Next on the menu were the salads. The Crispy Chicken Salad (RM12.90) came with some pieces of golden fried bread crumbed chicken, sliced and laid on a bed of mix greens, dressed by some mayonnaise like oriental dressing. Except for the meat slices which were a bit dry to my liking, the whole combination justified each other well. The next salad which was the Chef’s Salad (RM11.90) was normal except that it had additional tuna flakes and crab filament stick slices added in, topped with Thousand Island dressing.

75SALAD

For those who would like to have some light meal with loads of greens, you should check out the Sandwiches section in the menu. The Turkey Fresco (RM11.90) was indeed lovely with a slightly butter toasted croissant filled with turkey ham, greens and oozing dressing. The Hamburger Delight (RM16.90) was our favorite as the beef patty was firm and tasty. The Cheezy Beef Roll (RM15.90) did not impress me much as it was just some marinated beef slices baked with cheese. The Tuna Supreme (RM12.90) was just another common tuna filled croissant but it was delicious as the filling was rather moist. All the above sandwiches would be presented with some green salads and French fries.

75SANDWICHES

If you like to have something even lighter, you could always look into their Snacks sections. You could try out their Cheezy Garlic Bread (RM6.90), Tempura Prawns (RM9.90), Tempura Calamari (RM8.50), Fish Cocktail (RM8.50), Mushroom Bruschetta (RM7.90) and Lamb Bruschetta (RM8.90). All snack meals would come with some green salad. Except for the Fish Cocktail which had some blended fish, prawns and squids being a bit too soft for my liking, I loved the Lamb Bruschetta a lot. The lamb slices was stewed perfectly in their own secret recipe until the meat were tender. The only problem I had was the understanding on bruschettas. All along I thought they would be served with filling on top of the bread slices. Instead I had 5 slices of garlic bread served with a bowl of lamb stew. I guessed that would be their way to avoid the bread being soiled by the lamb gravy.

75SNACKS

There would also be pasta dishes available here to tempt your appetite for Italian cuisine. We had the Aglio Olio (RM15.90). This dish was kind of fusion as it had some aubergine (eggplant/brinjal), ham slices and tiger prawns added in on top of the usual garlic, herbs, chili flakes and olive oil. Overall, the taste was still superb as it was just right for my level of spiciness. The Alla Carbonara (RM10.90) was also good with the right amount of creaminess but I would prefer a bit more sauce. It would be even better if only the beef bacons were not chopped so fine and linguini pasta be used instead of spaghetti pasta. My preference would still be the one I had at QEII. The next two pasta dishes which were the Alla Marinara (RM16.90) and Baked Cheezy Seafood Pasta (RM16.90) was a bit disappointment for most of us as both dishes lacked the special unique taste of some white wine and cognac. Moreover, I’m still pondering which item in the ingredients caused the overpowering fishy taste.

75PASTA

Now, let’s look at the colorful Main Course dishes. The Tagarashi Salmon (RM17.90) was uniquely presented. It had Nori (seaweed) rolled into salmon fillet, mildly grilled and topped with some spicy curry cream sauce. This was served with ratatouille on mashed potatoes and green salad. Each flake of the salmon with the sauce was delicious, so was the ratatouille with the mashed potatoes.

75CELSIUS01

The Lemon Butter Fish (RM12.90) was next. It had some French fries laid on a pool of buttered lemon cream sauce, topped with a battered fried fish fillet and some shredded carrot strips as garnish. The tangy flavored white sauce blended in well with the whole presentation.

75CELSIUS02

The Jacuzzi Beef (RM16.90) was presented on a bed of fresh lettuce and was served on a hot plate. It had some paprika sprinkled French fries and black pepper sauce as gravy. Everything on the hot plate was good except that I found the gravy to be a bit mild for my taste bud. This dish would be mild enough for a kid’s consumption.

75CELSIUS03

For those Ribeye Steak (RM17.90) lovers, the next dish would be a great bargain. The accompanied simple yet fragrantly sautéed potato slices with onions itself was a kill. The steak was cooked medium and the pepper mushroom sauce clicked well.

75CELSIUS04

The Spice Lamb Leg (RM18.90) was presented on some sautéed potatoes with rosemary. The meat was grilled fragrantly and served with some Pineapple Jack Daniels (JD) sauce. Except for the meat which was a bit dry, that was a great way to have lamb minus the mint sauce.

75CELSIUS05

There was also the Lamb Cutlet (RM20.90) served with ratatouille on mashed potatoes and mint yogurt sauce. The mint yogurt sauce was something new to me and it was delicious with the grilled cutlets. The ratatouille was as tasty as before. Now, that made me missed Remy from Walt Disney’s Ratatouille more and more. 😛

75CELSIUS06

Teriyaki Chicken (RM15.90) was served next. Except for the beautiful presentation, everything tasted quite normal. I would suggest to the chef that the chicken be marinated longer to get the best out of the teriyaki taste.

75CELSIUS07

The Roasted Chicken Drumstick (RM15.90) looked great with the sautéed potatoes with rosemary and orange ginger sauce. The combination might be unique for many but my preference would still be the classic gravy where some chicken broth are to be pan cooked with some remain juices from the roasting, some flour, salt and black pepper to taste. A dash of dry white wine would surely boost up the taste further.

75CELSIUS08

Everybody was complimenting on the Chicken Chop (RM10.90). It may be the most common item in any Western food menu but the one served here was rather unique. Maybe it was our luck that day but the chicken drumstick fillet was indeed thick and juicy. The outer crust was still crispy after being exposed so long for our photo shooting and the oriental sauce on it was delicious. It’s a great bargain here!

75CELSIUS09

The last of the main course we had was the Black Pepper Mushroom Chicken (RM10.90). It looked as if the drumstick had shrunk compared to the chicken chop earlier. It surely had something to do with the frying flour as this was grilled. Overall the taste was still fine. This would suit me better if the gravy was a bit spicier for my taste bud.

75CELSIUS10

Hmm… I had just realized something here. They do not have any desserts in their menu. I think they should consider on having some for those for visiting families with kids. Nevertheless, they do have a wide selection for beverages, ranging from coffee, ice coffee, coffee with liquor, chocolate, blended, milkshake, juice, tea, special, sodas, cocktails, liquor and beer. Here are some of the non-alcoholic drinks some of us had ordered (except for Caffe Baileys which contained some Baileys Irish Whisky Cream). They are Cappuccino (RM5.00), Hazelnut Cappuccino (RM5.50), Ice Expresso (RM7.00), Caffe Baileys (RM8.00), Ice Blended Green Tea Special (RM9.50), Ice Blended Chocolate (RM9.50), Ice Blended Wildfruit (RM9.50), Vanilla Milkshake (RM8.00), Strawberry Milkshake (RM8.00), Lemon Temptation (RM7.00), Philadelphia (RM7.50) and Dawn of The Beauty (RM7.00).

75DRINKS

As for the alcoholic section, I found something interesting. Don’t you think some of the names given were rather kinky? LOL!

75ALCOHOLMENU

There are over 30 types of cocktails, hard liquor and beers for you to choose here. Some of the alcoholic drinks ordered by us included Michael Jackson (RM10), Lemon Drop (RM10), AK47 (RM18.00), Tequila Sunrise (RM13.00) and Screwdriver (RM13.00).

75ALCOHOLIC

Dining here can be rather humid during sunny afternoon as the place is open air. I would advise you to dress casually or dine during late evening. Please take note that all prices would be subjected with a 10% service charge.

The shop is strategically located along the sea front of the famous Gurney Drive (right before Coffee Island and Crepe Cottage). If you are coming from town into Jalan Kelawei, turn right at the first junction (Jalan Lim Chin Guan) where Gurney Tower is. Drive towards the end and turn left. You would pass through Evergreen Laurel Hotel and a stretch of hawker centers on your left. Slow down as 75 Celsius is immediately after the last hawker center (Song River Café). I would advise you to park your car in the Jalan Birch Car Park (the road after Song River Café) and walk up to the restaurant cum bar, especially during weekends.

75CELSIUSMAP

Name: 75 CELSIUS RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: 75, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 3775
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.00am
GPS: 5.433140, 100.316246

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

VIDEO

TAG CLOUD

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs

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!

Photos

Twitter

    LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs