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Archive for the ‘halal’ Category

LOCAL DELICACIES VERSUS FRANCHISED FOOD

Posted by crizlai On April - 7 - 2009

If you were in Penang, where would you dine? Would you go sweating under the humid weather and hunt for yummy street food or just visit any of those air-conditioned franchise fast food outlets for your meal? Again, it will also depend whether you are a local or a tourist but the end results would still be the preferences of individuals. With the current unpredictable weather from skin scorching weather to wet and chilly nights, I had decided to opt for the later by visiting the latest fast food outlet – Marrybrown within the premise of the upcoming Penang Times Square.

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What did I have then? It’s definitely not any of the burgers and fried chickens but a bowl of Chicken Curry Noodles with a medium sized 7-Up set at RM8.50nett. Surprised? Yes, they do serve local hawker food in the 28 years of establishment Malaysian franchise restaurant. I order this dish just to compare how great it would be at that pricing compared to the local street food. Unfortunately, the results had my pocket burning with the size of the bowl of noodles and ingredients within. There were only 4 mouthful of noodles, some not fully cooked long beans, half an egg, 3 thinly sliced fish cake and 4 miserably soggy chicken pieces in the bowl. The soup tasted like curry powder with some coconut milk with not even a single hint of lemon grass or ginger flower. To my taste bud, it’s truly flat and the amount of oil floating would be quite bad for anyone’s health. Although the restaurant has been serving halal (non-pork) dishes ever since its opening, I still prefer to get my Chulia Street Curry Mee with cuttlefish slices, cockles, tofu puff, fish balls with the onion enhanced flavor of the chili paste and a glass of herbal tea at barely RM3.50.

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I also did try out the Spicy Chicken Rice with a topped up 7-Up (additional 90sen for top up) at RM8.90nett. It came as a multi-racial combination in which consist of Malay style rice, salad and soup, Chinese style sweet and sour sauce garnished on sliced Marrybrown crispy chicken piece and Indian papadam. The amount of rice was small and there were nothing really special in the taste except that the chicken slices were quite crispy. The soup was just average too. If only they can provide this dish as the one from Rosli Nasi Ayam at Lorong Kulit. At least this simple type of serving tasted better and priced only at RM3.50 minus a drink.

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Even the soup there tasted richer than this one I had from Marrybrown. The restaurant should really improve on their mildly flavored chicken soup.

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Buck up Marrybrown! It does not mean that you are originated from Malaysia with outlets in Indonesia, China, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Iran and yet we are not getting the best food quality from you.

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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. Find a parking space along the road or within the allocated parking bay. Just walk into the mall and go to the open space area with all the fountains. The restaurant is located a few shop away from Tsuruya Sushi Bar.

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Name: Marrybrown Restaurant
Address: 77-G-12, Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 6000
Opening Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.413067, 100.325767

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: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

WARUNG PAK SU MEE UDANG AT BAGAN NYIOR

Posted by crizlai On March - 20 - 2009

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Since I did not have the opportunity to visit another seafood restaurant that was much recommended by the Kuala Juru village folks as it was closed during my visit to Kuala Juru earlier, a small group of us decided to go for another food hunt to the small fishing village deep into the outskirt of Juru. This time, I had revisited Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru as well as the much acclaimed Warung Pak Su. I won’t touch much on my earlier trip as I had updated the post itself with some new information and photos. Let me share what I had dined at Warung Pak Su instead. Somehow this visit had a few hiccups as the sky was pouring heavily and the pricing for the food was a bit of surprise to us but these hiccups did not did not deter us from savoring some of the good food around that area.

Being a well established restaurant, Warung Pak Su surprisingly did not provide any printed menus and indeed it was a risk we had to take when ordering a few of the dishes. As most of the seafood items were freshly bought daily, all the items were based on market rate. The first dish that we ordered was the Ikan Siakap Bakar (Grilled Perch – RM30). The fresh fish was cut into halves, marinated with some spices and wrapped in banana leaves and grilled for a certain period of time. The end product was a nicely cooked fish, mild in spices taste and fresh in juiciness. The grilled fish would go well with the special sauce which consists of sliced onions, chili paddy, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar but I personally found the sauce to be a bit overpowering with lime taste.

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While waiting for the fish to be grilled, we also ordered some satay to try out. Although we were still quite full from the earlier meal at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru, the juiciness and fragrance emitted from the chicken on skewer boosted up our craving for more. The taste of the large sized satays were great and it was only at 60sen each.

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The restaurant will also have Kerang Bakar (Grilled Cockles – RM5/plate) but we did not order them as we were scared of food poisoning after seeing how cockles were harvested. 😛

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Since the villagers highly recommended the Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles – RM10) and Mee Goreng Udang (Fried Prawn Noodles –RM10), we decided to order a plate of each. The difference between this restaurant and the one at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru was the use of different species of prawns. Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru uses Udang Rotan (Cane Prawns – thicker shells) whereas Warung Pak Su uses Udang Kertas (White Prawns – paper thin shells).

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I found the prawns here to be fresher compared to the ones down at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru but somehow the noodles were not up to my expectation. Both the fried and soup based noodles tasted kind of sweet without the taste of prawns in them. They tasted just like those you can get at any tea time Malay stalls except that here you will have huge cooked prawns being nicely decorated on the noodles. Luckily, the fresh prawns complimented the noodles or else it would be a total disappointment. My preference would still be those delicious prawn taste enriched noodles at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru.

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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 you will see the restaurant just on your left (Map F). You can click to enlarge the two maps below for a clearer direction.

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WARUNGPAKSUMAP

Name: WARUNG PAK SU MEE UDANG
Address: 385, MK12, Bagan Nyir Juru, SPT, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-10.30pm (Closed Thursday)
Contact: 012-409 0771, 012-493 5771
GPS: 5.326817, 100.414767

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

MALAYSIAN PANCAKE FOR TEA

Posted by crizlai On March - 17 - 2009

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You would be amazed by how many times a Malaysian would eat a day, especially those Penangites with so many options available from breakfast right up to supper. You have so many choices at each and every corner of every district such as Adam’s Karipap Ayam (chicken curry puff – RM1.50 each) in Pulau Tikus Market along Jalan Pasar, Te Chang You Tiao Wang (the longest Chinese cruller at 14” length – RM1 each) along Jalan Paya Terubong, 8o varieties of kuih-muih (local finger snacks – 40sen each) at Mat Relax Corner along Jalan Jones or even some authentic Cantonese snacks at Guangzhou Cake House along Lebuh Carnarvon. Who could resist such temptation even at odd hours of the day?

Another great snack would be the Malaysian Pancake, commonly known as Apom Balik by the Malays and Ban Chang Koay by the Chinese community. Where could you get such great snack then? One prominent place would be right in town itself. With a continuous flow of buyers from all races, En. Noor Azam has been selling his Apom Balik right in front of the General Post Office (Pos Besar Pulau Pinang) along Downing Street (Lebuh Downing) for more than a decade.

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What made his Apom Balik (60sen each) so demanding compare to many other sellers in town? His Apom Balik has the right texture, thickness, sweetness, buttery taste, freshness of the pounded peanuts and most importantly the crunchiness on the crust at all time. There are actually two types available at his roadside stall. One would be a thinner version with crunchy crust. You could opt for plain or with cream corns.

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Another version would be the thicker type being slowly cooked in a large pan. This version would be more fluffy and soft in the center.

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If you are at that area, do try his Apom Balik out. I had not stopped patronizing his stall each time I’m around that area as I find his skills in preparing this wonderful snack had maintained its consistency throughout all the years. It’s a great snack for tea.

Finding the stall would not be hard if you frequent Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street) often for your banking transactions as this is the road where all the major banks are located. Just drive along Lebuh Pantai until you have reached Hongkong Bank. The road next to the bank is Lebuh Downing. Drive right until the end and you would see the General Post Office at the junction of Lebuh Downing and Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay). The stall is just in front of the GPO, next to a Chinese iced drink seller. Do try out the corn drink here too as it’s one of the good ones around.

APOMBALIKMAP

Name: NOOR AZAM APOM BALIK
Address: Lebuh Downing, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-6.00pm
GPS: 5.417557, 100.344192

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: 8.5/10 (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)

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)

AUTHENTIC MALAY CUISINE IN THE HEART OF GEORGETOWN

Posted by crizlai On February - 19 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has changed management in 2010. The original owner was said to have shifted to KL. Her where about is unclear.

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“Simply Irresistible! Aromatic! Colorful! Fresh! Delicious!” These were the words that shouted out from my mind when I first stepped into this barely 5 months’ old authentic Malay cuisine restaurant right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, Penang. Kuali-kuali Café, as the restaurant was named, took over the former Craven Café premise located at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister and had since grown to be a favorite eating place for Malay cuisine lovers from all parts of the island as well as tourists. I even saw some factory workers in uniforms from the Bayan Lepas FTZ area patronizing them.

A brainchild of a former St. George’s High School girl, Cik Sharifah Haslina, together with her husband, Encik Mohd Sophian, catered to the needs of its customer from breakfast until supper. As for breakfast, they would prepare some simple dishes such as Nasi Lemak (Steam Coconut Milk Rice) served with fried anchovies, eggs, sliced vegetables and a few types of curries or you can also try out their ingredients filled noodles such as Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli), Mee (yellow noodles) and Koay Teow (rice cake strips).

BREAKFAST

The breakfast dishes may look simple but the taste was great. What impressed me more was their spreads for their lunch and dinner, served with plain hot rice or occasionally with tomato rice. Could you imagine having around 60 dishes served in cute looking mini woks and rattan trays under that rustic village style attap roof buffet line? This would surely be a great experience for many as you would only get this type of buffet spread at the hotels. Moreover, most of the dishes were not as spicy hot as their fiery looking colors and they do change a small percentage of their dishes daily.

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As there were just too many dishes to share you here, I would just brief you on some of the dishes such as their appetizing ulam (Malay salad), seafood, poultry and soup. Let’s start with the salad part. There were many varieties of fresh vegetables and wild herbs served with two types of dressing. One was the Sambal Belacan which has pounded red chillies, chilli paddy, lime juice and some toasted shrimp paste powder. The other was another diluted dressing that would go well with grilled fish. The dressing has some cut red chillies, chili paddy, big onions and tomatoes mixed with some lime juice. Both dressing complimented the vegetables as well as the dishes real well.

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Do you know that before I went into the restaurant, there was this man outside preparing some grilled fish? The scent coming from the smoke got me even more prepared to jump right into the many varieties of fresh fish dishes they have in there. From the look of the tender yet juicy grilled stingray pieces, you can be assured of its freshness. Even the stuffed hardtail mackerels (ikan cencaru) and chubb mackerels (ikan kembong) had those crystal clear eyes.

FRESH

I can say that they sure know how to prepare their seafood dishes well and with different combination of spices and ingredients. I was surprise to see many seafood dishes that I had not taken for a long time such as the Cockles Salad and Salted Fish Curry. On top of that, the taste of each individual fish curry had its own unique flavors. There were just too many to taste out at one visit. Maybe a slide of the seafood dishes would prove me right.

SEAFOOD

The poultry section was also impressing. They have so many options from a simple Beansprouts with Beef Stomach Salad, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry (Rendang Minang) to their house specialty such as the Red Curry Chicken (Ayam Masak Merah) and Village Style Fried Chicken. The delicious Village Fried Chicken was crispy, a bit like a spicier KFC Original Chicken.

POULTRY

If you feel that there would be too much of seafood and poultry dishes in your meal, you could always check out their little vegetarian corner. There would be around 10 dishes such as tofu, mixed vegetables, and many assorted vegetables cooked in different styles to meet your desire.

VEGETARIAN

Do also watch out for their popular demanded Beef Bone Soup (Sup Tulang Lembu). The aromatic smell of the piping hot soup and the tender meat on the bone is a sure must have dish if you love thick and flavorful soups. Each bowl would cost between RM4.50 to RM6, depending on the amount of meaty bones you have scooped.

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Well, it took me quite some time to study all the dishes in the restaurant but it’s worth the effort to know more of these wonderful authentic Malay cuisines. I ended up with a plate filled with the different types of gravy to try out their cooking style. Moreover, I had a piece of Chicken Thigh cooked with Sweet Dark Sauce, some Turmeric Fried Tofu cubes, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry and a piece of Onion Omelette – all for only RM5. It’s cheap right? You should try to make a visit there and I can assure that you would not regret the experience.

Note: If you are real adventurous to try out all the gravy – Do not put too much as my plate of rice ended up with too much oil. But then, I did finish to the last bit as the food was simply too delicious. Another thing to take note would be the visiting hours. The best time would be 7.30am for breakfast, 11.30am onwards for lunch as all the food would be out hot and fresh. They do not cook more dishes for dinner. The dishes would be whatever left during lunch but you can always order other items such as fried rice, noodles soup, etc.

MYMEAL

Although the restaurant was located at a heavy traffic area with quite limited parking areas, you could see it filled up with customers any period of the day. It would not be too hard to spot the place as the restaurant would be located just at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister. Prominent landmarks to watch out would be the GAMA Supermarket and KOMTAR.

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KUALIKUALICAFEMAP

Name: KUALI-KUALI CAFE
Address: 2 Jalan Dato’ Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 7.00am-12.00am (Mon-Fri), 7.00am-4.00pm (Sat)
Contact: 016-426 2184 (Cik Sharifah Haslina Mufazzal)
GPS: 5.413997, 100.328167

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (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: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

RELAXING MYSELF AT JJ CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 9 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased operation. In its place is a seafood restaurant. Will review them soon.

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I had just realized that I have been in quite an adventurous trend for the past few weeks visiting restaurants by the beach or on an island within the Penang areas. This time it was a combination of both. I was by the beach watching the scenic view of the Penang Bridge while being opposite an island – Pulau Jerejak. LOL! Although this cool “more than a year in business” restaurant named JJ Café is within the premise of the Penang island jetty to Pulau Jerejak and near to the Queensbay Shopping Mall, not many people knew about its existence. Most would just assume this Malay restaurant as part of the jetty. The restaurant’s patrons were still guests and visitors to the nearby Pulau Jerejak Resort & Spa and some workers within the surrounding areas. I would just show you some clips of how relaxing this place could be after a hard day’s work.

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Don’t expect to get all the traditional Malay cooking in this restaurant as it merely served some light meals and finger food. Who’s to complain when the most expensive dish in the menu would cost you only RM6 and it is tax-free. I was there to find some inspirations and to relax mentally and physically on a few occasions and managed to collect some shots to share with my readers. The drinks served there were big and cheap. The thick Iced Milo was only RM2.10. Iced Black Tea was at RM1.70, whereas Can Drinks would be at RM2 each (with ice cubes).

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There would light meals such as the Nasi Lemak (steamed coconut milk rice – RM4) served with chicken curry, potato slices, half an egg, peanuts, fried anchovies and some cucumber slices. The rice was cooked in a different way and did not have the strong taste of coconut milk (santan). The chicken curry did not contain any santan as well. Overall, it was cheap but tasted just average.

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The Curry Noodles (RM4) tasted better as the soup base had all the natural ingredients in it but it could be real tongue burning for some. The dish came with some yellow noodles, lots of baby cockles, some cubes of fish cakes & balls, chicken slices, vegetables and half an egg. It had the spiciness that I love. Argh! Bring me more water please! 😛

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As I had mentioned earlier, the most expensive item would be the Chicken Lasagna (RM6). It had some layers of lasagna pasta with some tomato puree based minced chicken meat in between. Somehow the dish lacked the taste of mixed crushed herbs such as oregano, thyme, garlic, etc. On top of that, the serving was small with only a slice of tomato and some lettuce as garnishes.

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As tea time prior to my dinner appointment, I ordered some Roti Bakar Double (toasted bread slices with coconut jam and butter – RM2) as snacks. Although it was nice and cheap to have as tea, I still prefer my kaya (coconut jam) to have more eggy taste in it.

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I also ordered some Chicken Samosa (RM3) to try out. The popiah (spring roll) skin was crunchy but somehow there were more spicy potatoes inside then chicken meat. I guessed they would have over minced their chicken to have that meaty mouthful bite.

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Overall, JJ Café would be a great place to hang out with friends for a drink but the food quality has to be improvised and improved further. I found that not all the dishes had the required herbs and spices as I would have expected from a Malay establishment.

It would be easier to reach the restaurant if use the Jelutong/Bayan Lepas Expressway. Just follow the direction towards Queensbay Mall. Drive on until you see an overhead pass when nearing the mall. Watch out for a signboard (as shown below) to Pulau Jererak Resort & Spa. Turn left into the road and drive until the T-junction. Turn right and drive on a bit more and you will see the jetty on your left. JJ Café is within its premise.

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Name: JJ CAFE
Address: 1 MK13 Daerah Timur Laut, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-401 2779 (Azhar), 017-553 2105 (Zamani)
Opening Hours: 3.00pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.342083, 100.311763

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (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)

PULAU AMAN FLOATING RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 19 - 2008

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Please bear with me this time on the lengthy post as it involved traveling and trying out new food during a totally out of the way island hopping adventure trip. I was off exploring for great food again and this time it was an adventurous trip involving traveling by land and by sea. The destination was Pulau Aman, an island covering an area of 288 acres and is 25 nautical miles from the mainland just off the coast of Seberang Perai’s southern district of Penang, Malaysia. It’s quite a nice island to be on with affordable chalets. You could also book your lodging through KOPEL HomeStay Project or Ministry of Tourism HomeStay Project to stay with the locals and experience their daily lifestyles. There are many activities on Pulau Aman as well as nearby Pulau Gedung such as fishing, snorkeling, camping, hiking, jungle trekking, kayaking, canoeing, historic site visits or just a visit to the bullet warehouse plus the pirates’ cave. It’s truly a back-to-the-nature outdoor experience for those who won’t mind roughing it out in the wild.

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A 10-15 minutes boat ride from the Batu Musang new jetty brought us to Pulau Aman where there existed the famous floating seafood restaurant. The seafood is real fresh as you can see fishermen bringing in all the live catch, which include varieties of shell fish, fish, flower crabs, prawns and mantis prawns. You can even try catching your own and get the restaurant to cook for you at minimal charges.

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The only disadvantage of patronizing this restaurant is their limitation of food choices. There are only three choices of rice/noodles dishes for you to choose from. Each plate of rice or noodles would cost differently depending on the sizes of the fresh prawns given. It could be as low as RM5 and as high as RM10.

The first dish that arrived was the Prawn Noodle Soup (RM5.50). This was the best prawn noodles I had tasted so far. The soup base was slightly sweet but was rich in flavors with one fresh gigantic prawn, some slices cabbages and fried bean curd. The prawn was almost half the size of the plate of noodles. This is a must to have if you ever visit Pulau Aman. In fact, this dish is one of the most ordered in this restaurant.

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The next was the Fried Prawn Noodle (RM5.50). The fried noodles were cooked in a different way compared to the Indian style fried noodles which was slightly drier. It has 3 medium sized prawns, some cabbages and bean curd slices, garnished with chopped spring onions and chillies. Somehow the Malay lady cook knew the combination of sauces real well. The dish was also superb.

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Fried Rice with Large Prawns (RM5.50) was served next. I had frequent so many Malay styled hawker stalls and restaurants but normally found their fried rice to be a bit damp. This Malay lady cook surprised us with one of the best fried rice I had eaten. I could not had imagined how such an elderly lady would be able to provide us with a plate of wok hei (high heat cooking) filled fried rice full of flavors. Accompanied by 3 large and juicy prawns, I almost ordered a second round. Unfortunately, she was out of rice. What? At 1.10pm? She must have a great demand for the day.

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Since we had almost an hour and a half left before the next boat leaved the island, we went for some sightseeing. It was quite an experience witnessing the lifestyle of the Malay villagers on the island. Although the villagers were living a simple life with basic necessities, they were filled with smiles and contentment. Children were seen playing along the trekking paths and by the semi mud filled beaches but they were seen to be very happy. Even the school and clinic available were such a small scale compared to how fortunate we were to be in the city. One thing which caught my attention was the stray animals on the island. There were barely a handful of dogs but cats could be seen everywhere even by the beaches.

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Visiting a historic site on this island could be real taxing as every site seemed to be so far apart, although it did look near in the map provided on the sign board on the island. We were traveling almost a quarter of the island before we managed to find the Telaga Emas (Gold Well). History stated that a villager found some “gold” in the well. Eventually, those were discovered to be some colored stones. What amazed most of the visitors was that in it contained fresh, energizing and pure water. Although the well was dug just next to the sea, it did not contain any salt water taste in it.

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Strolling within the fishing village, we noticed an abundance of a certain 20m trees. It has leaves almost similar to that of a papaya tree, fruits with texture similar to our cempedak and flesh as white and powdery as tapioca. The locals called them Buah Sukun (Breadfruits), a fruit native to the Malay Peninsula and western Pacific islands.

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We happened to see a stall selling some fried chip-like food by the jetty and thought it was potatoes. As an adventurous foodie, I immediately bought a few packets of the fried chips home, after knowing that they were breadfruit chips. The taste was unique. It was like munching a cross breed of potato and tapioca chips with a hint of jackfruit flavor. After all, a pack was not expensive as it cost me only RM3.50 for a small one and RM5 for a big one. In fact, I bought 3 packets of the smaller ones for only RM10.

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The nearest way to reach the island would be at Batu Musang Jetty (GPS: 5.265888, 100.406928), Batu Kawan, Seberang Perai (Butterworth). A trip from this new jetty at Batu Musang to the island would take about 10-15 minutes or at the Bukit Tambun jetty which would take about 30 minutes (Update: all transports had been redirected to Batu Musang Jetty unless there are some private operator available). If you find it rather taxing to drive all the way to Batu Kawan, you could always board a boat at Batu Uban or Batu Maung jetties but the charges would differ as it would be run by private operators. It would take about 45 minutes to reach the island. Going to the floating restaurant won’t be a problem after all as it’s at the old jetty which is next to the new berthing area. Please get a sea sick pill or a sea sick wrist band from the nearest pharmacy if you are sea sick prone. Just as a precaution, make sure you call up to ensure that the restaurant would be open on the day of your visit (although it’s supposed to be open daily) or you might just waste your effort visiting the island to try out their delicious food. Boat trip charges for return ticket would be RM6 per person (collected at Pulau Aman dock). Operating time would be 8am-7pm (Scheduled ride from Batu Musang: 10am/1pm/4pm/7pm. From Pulau Aman: 8am/1pm/3pm/6pm. There are more trips on weekends and holidays or if there are more passengers to and fro.)

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As you come out from the toll plaza, you would reach a T-junction. Turn right and go over the overhead bridge towards Batu Kawan. Drive a few meters away and you would reach a cross junction. Turn left towards the Batu Kawan Stadium (There will be a signboard showing left towards the stadium. You would pass by the stadium on your left. Drive on until a roundabout. Drive towards your 12 o’clock (leading to Jeti Bandar Cassia) and go straight until you reach a turning on your left (no through road ahead). Turn left into the road (a quarry is on your left) and it would lead you to the Batu Musang Jetty. Take a 10-15 minutes boat ride to the floating restaurant.

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Name: RESTORAN TERAPUNG PULAU AMAN
Address: 120 Pulau Aman, 14100 Simpang Ampat, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-495 5125, 019-476 6125
Opening Hours: 11.00am-9.00pm (daily)
GPS: 5.268310, 100.391495

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 4/10 (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: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

ROSLI NASI AYAM @ LORONG KULIT

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 14 - 2008

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The Malay version of chicken rice is totally different compared to the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Instead of roasting with some sauce on the outer layer of the chicken, they would coat the chicken pieces with a thin layer of batter and deep fried them until they become crispy. One of the nicer ones which I had recently was from a stall within the surrounding of the Penang City Stadium along Lorong Kulit. The stall has been there since 1995, serving their yummy chicken rice to all walks of people. The name of the stall is Rosli Nasi Ayam.

You have a choice of ordering the different parts of the chicken meat but as for me I would always like to have the chicken thigh. The Chicken Rice set will come with a large bowl of rice and a bowl of soup and it only cost me RM3.50. Surprisingly, the meat within the crispiness of the batter still maintained its tenderness and was very delicious.

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As for photography purposes, I requested for the specially prepared soy sauce and chili sauce to be separated. The rice which is fragrant and not dry at all also came with a bowl of chicken soup garnished with some sliced lettuce and fried onions.

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If you are driving from Georgetown towards Air Itam along Jalan Dato Kramat, you will reach a traffic light (The Patani Road Police Headquarter is on your left). Drive on until you have reached the second traffic light (Padang Brown is on your right). Drive on until you see another traffic light (Maybank is on your left). Turn left into Lorong Kulit and you will see the stall at the junction of Lorong Kulit and Persiaran Stadium. This place is where the City Stadium is and has a flea market from as early as 8.00am until 1.00pm.

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Name: ROSLI NASI AYAM @ LORONG KULIT
Address: Lorong Kulit, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Contact: 016-433 2517 (Kak Min)
GPS: 5.412817, 100.313233

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: 8/10 (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)

RESTORAN AZIZAH (RESTORAN MAK LONG)

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 8 - 2008

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If you are in Georgetown area, you could always try out the kampung style cooking at Restoran Azizah, a subsidiary restaurant of the famous Restoran Mak Long in Bayan Lepas. This little Malay restaurant serves quite a variety of Malay dishes with rice at a very reasonable price. Some of the vegetable dishes would be as low as RM3.00, whereas fish would be charged according to market price. If you do not want to have rice with dishes, you could always order their fried rice and noodles which won’t cost you more than RM4, unless you order their special which would be RM1 additional.

Here are some of the dishes I had tried out in this restaurant. The Tom Yam Udang or Prawn Tom Yam (RM4) has 6 medium sized prawns, some fresh mushrooms and tomatoes. The dish was quite tasty and appetizing to start the meal.

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Next was the Sotong Goreng or Squid Fritters (RM4). The flour used was of a different kind. They were using plain flour which did not give the crunchiness I had expected. That was quite a disappointment.

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Sayur Campur or Mixed Vegetables (RM3.50) was next. Nothing to fuss or boast about as they did give quite a lot of squid slices there.

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I also tried out their Telur Bungkus or Wrapped Omelette with Minced Chicken (RM4). There were quite a lot of minced chicken, chopped onions and mixed vegetables cooked with a touch of tomato puree wrapped inside the omelette. This dish is normal but at least the filling and the omelette blended in quite nicely.

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As I saw many customers ordered their set fried rice, I decided to try out their Nasi Goreng Padprik Ayam or Padprik Chicken Fried Rice (RM4). I was impressed by the generous amount of chicken meat and vegetables given, considering the amount I had paid. As for the taste, it was a new experience as the gravy from the dishes blended in very nicely with the fried tomato rice.

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I was chatting with the person-in-charge of the restaurant on what were the most ordered dishes in the restaurant. He recommended me the above fried rice as well as the Nasi Goreng Special (RM5) which has a few more seafood added in. Maybe I can try that next time.

If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, keep to your right and turn into the second road on your right which is Jalan Transfer. Drive on until you have reached the third junctions on your left (Jalan Dinding). That’s where the restaurant is located. You can always park your car along Jalan Dinding.

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Name: RESTORAN AZIZAH (RESTORAN MAK LONG)
Address: 162, Jalan Transfer, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 4.00pm – 1.30am
Contact: 604-641 4450 (Restoran Mak Long)
GPS: 5.419714, 100.330077

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

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