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OH LAY OH LAY OH LAY EE

Posted by crizlai On April - 19 - 2010

Is this another new theme song for since the English Premier League season is still on? Of course not! This was another of my crazy food expedition during the wee hours of the morning when I could not get much sleep with such a humid and sweaty weather. Huh? Breakfast at 5.00am? I thought having Char Koay Teow at 4.30am was crazy enough! 😛 This hidden treasure lies right in the heart of Georgetown where you can get a rich bowlful of Penang Hokkien Mee (prawn noodles) and Loh Mee (starched noodles) manned by Oh Lay Ee (Auntie Oh Lay) and her husband for the last 3 decades.

OHLAYEE03

When I say rich, it really meant rich as the stock for the soup had been tediously boiled for hours with bones and prawn shells, somewhat similar to how I cooked it earlier this year. On top of that, there were so many ingredients that I can add into my bowl of noodles. A plain bowl of Hokkien Mee here would cost you merely RM2.30 with a generous amount of prawns, pork slices and egg. My hot steaming bowl of Hokkien Mee was priced at RM4.40 since I had added in some extras such as pork rib, crab roll (chim choe), fried and steam dumplings (siew mai), fried meatball, small and big fish balls. The only setback was the right saltiness in the soup which can be corrected by adding in some soy sauce to your liking. It was indeed filling and cheap for just anyone.

OHLAYEE01

You can also opt for the Loh Mee (RM2.30) which would come with the same ingredients as above except that there would be some extra blended garlic added in and the soup base would be thick and starchy. I found this dish to be rather normal as it did not contain the thick flavors of bones stock. Moreover, the prawns could not soak up the juice from the soup. Thus, those sliced prawns were a bit too hard to my liking.

OHLAYEE02

If you are coming from Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay) towards the Jelutong Expressway, slow down and keep to your right when you reach the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights. Make a U-turn at the traffic lights and keep to your left. Turn left into the first junction you see (Gat Lebuh Presgrave). Drive further up and you would see the stall on your right in front of a row of old houses. This stall normally caters to those early factory workers.

OHLAYEEMAP

Name: OH LAY EE HOKKIEN MEE
Address: 13 Gat Lebuh Presgrave, 103000 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.00am-11.40am
(Closed on 1st & 15th Day of Chinese Lunar Calendar)
GPS: 5.409713, 100.332705

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

DELICIOUS HOME COOKED PENANG HOKKIEN PRAWN NOODLES

Posted by crizlai On January - 31 - 2010

With the Chinese New Year just barely two weeks away from now, you might wonder what the heck I was doing coming out with a recipe for a local noodle dish when I can easily get it from any of the hawker stalls outside at barely $1 (RM3). Well, I have a surprise fusion recipe in store during this coming reunion dinner cooking in which I would require the stock from this dish. LOL! Anyway, coming out with the home cooked, non-MSG stock has been quite an achievement as it involved months of collections – prawn shells. It may sound crazy for many but these prawn shells would be the main secret behind the thick, tasty and aromatic flavors of the PENANG HOKKIEN PRAWN MEE (檳城福建蝦麵) recipe which I would be sharing with you today. For those who would like to have a simpler recipe, this recipe would not suit you as it involved lots of processes and it can be real time consuming. After all, great tasting food would not be easy to prepare right? 😛

INGREDIENTS:

Chili Paste:
10 tbsp chili boh (about 35 deseeded, soaked dried chilies – blended in 3-4 tbsp water)
15 shallots (blended)
6 cloves garlic (blended)

Stock:
2kg pork bones (big bones/tua kut)
2-3kg prawn shells (blended)
2pc rock sugar (ping pong ball size)

Garnishing:
500gms pork
1kg prawns
6 eggs (hard boiled)
300gms bean sprouts (remove roots if possible)
Some fried shallots
5-6 stalks of morning glory (kangkung – optional)
300gms pork ribs/trotters (optional)
150gms pork fat (cubed & fried until crunchy – optional)

Others:
1kg yellow noodles (chow mien)
1pkt rice vermicelli (bee hoon)
1pkt instant noodles (optional)
Water
Salt
Pepper
Rock sugar
Soy sauce
Oil

PREPARATION:

1. Wash all the bones clean with salt and slowly put all of them into a big pot of boiling water (about 20 cups). Lower the fire, close the pot with a lid and let it simmer for about 2 hours. Filter out all the bones and you would get about 15 cups of stock.
2. Heat up about 7-8 tablespoon of oil in a wok and sauté the blended garlic and shallots (do leave 1 tbsp of the blended shallots for the cooking of stock) for about 5 minutes under low fire. Add in the chili boh and sauté until fragrant. Add in a pinch of salt. It would take about 15 minutes. Scoop and put aside the chili paste while leaving about half a tablespoon in the wok.
3. Heat up the wok again with additional 1 tablespoon of oil and put in all the prawns. Stir fry until all the prawns are curled up beautifully. Scoop and leave aside. You may slice these prawns into halves or leave it as it is. I left a few of the prawns with the tails intact just for photography presentation purposes.
4. Using the same wok again, heat up 4 tablespoon of oil. Put in the blended prawn shells (drain the shells as dry as possible while keeping the remaining juice for the stock). Saute the shells until you get that thick aromatic prawn smell. By then, the shells would be in bright crystal orange color. Pour in the remaining juice from earlier plus another 3-4 cups of water. Let it simmer under low fire for about 2 hours.
5. While waiting for the prawn stock to be ready, heat up 2 tablespoon of oil in a soup pot and sauté the reserved 1 tablespoon of blended shallots for about a minute. Put in about half to one tablespoon of the cooked chili paste (depends on your spicy level). Mixed well and add in the bone stock. Bring to boil and add in the pork pieces/pork ribs/trotters. Lower the fire to simmer further.
6. By then, your prawn stock would be almost ready. Slowly and carefully sieve the prawn stock (leaving out all the shells) into the pork stock pot. Bring to boil while adding in 2-3 tablespoon of soy sauce, rock sugar, a sprinkle or two of pepper and salt to taste. Remove the foam on the surface while retaining some of the floating oil. The oil would keep the soup at a high boiling point.
7. Lower the fire and check if the pork ribs/trotters and cooked meat are tender. Scoop up in separate bowls. Sliced the meat thinly. Leave all aside for garnishing later.
8. Cut the hard boiled eggs into halves, quarters or rings to your liking.
9. Heat up a wok of water and blanch the bean sprouts and morning glory (1.5” length) separately. Make sure you drain the excess water well. Set both aside.
10. Soak the rice vermicelli (bee hoon) for about half an hour (or according to the directions on the pack). Blanch to soften it. Drain well. Do the same for the yellow noodles (if possible get the higher quality ones which would be thinner and would not have the “lye water” after taste). Instant noodles too can be an option.
11. To serve, place some bean sprouts and morning glory at the base of a deep and roomy bowl. Add in your preferred noodles then top with some prawns, sliced meat, pork ribs and egg. Pour some boiling soup over the noodles and garnish with some fried shallots and chili paste for that extra spiciness. Some may even want to garnish the noodles with some crunchy pork lard but I opted that out for health reasons.

Secret Notes:
1. The secret for a good tasting bowl of Hokkien Mee stock lies in the species of prawns used in the cooking. There are hundreds of species in the world and the most suitable one would be the Green Shell Prawns (Cheh Kak Hae, almost similar to the Australian Fenneropenaeus indicus species but with a slightly darker grey-green body) found commonly in the water of this region. Tiger prawns (Marsupenaeus japonicus, Penaeus esculentus or P. semisulcatus depending on your region) should not be used as these species have an overpowering shellfish taste which would not be suitable for the stock.
2. Some people may use a small piece of shrimp paste (belacan to pep up the taste of the stock). I did not use it due to the product being not easily obtainable internationally. Moreover, the raw ingredients used for my home cooked version of the stock were already sufficient enough.
3. For the sweetness and color of the stock, most people would use palm sugar (gula Melaka). For my case, I prefer the usage of rock sugar for a more natural and milder sweetness. After all, the soy sauce would have the required faded brown color for the stock
4. Another secret to thicken the stock would be by using some finely pounded bread rusk, a sort of unsweetened dry bread normally used with meat to bind them well. I did not use this method as my stock was already almost gelatin-like with the large amount of bones used.
5. Chicken bones may be use to substitute the pork bones but it would not give you the thick and meaty flavor required for the stock.
6. Roasted pork pieces, fish cakes, fish balls, pork intestine (粉腸), pork skin and baby kailan (Chinese broccoli or kale) may be added if you need a richer bowl of Hokkien Mee.

(Serves: 10 and above)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

FANCY HAVING FRIED CHEE CHEONG FUN FOR SUPPER?

Posted by crizlai On January - 11 - 2010

Note: I was rather surprised that this outlet was closed within a short period of time. You could still try them out at Kuta Bali Food Court, Paya Terubong, Air Itam, Penang or sometimes at some night markets.

Visitors to Penang would often go for the authentic type of Chee Cheong Fun where there would be some generous topping of sweet sauce, fragrant prawn paste (heko), chili paste and toasted sesame seeds such as the famous stall at Genting Café, Green Lane, Penang. In the era of fusion food, a new breed has emerged at Star City Food Court, located at the outskirt of Georgetown area.

How would you fancy a plate of Seafood Fried Chee Cheong Fun (RM2.50 for 3 rolls)? Basically the Chee Cheong Fun looked like any normal ones you can get from the streets but this version had some surimi crab sticks and fresh prawns wrapped in them. Upon each order, these pre-prepared rolls would be dipped into batter and deep fried until golden brown. Prior to serving, you have an option of two sauces such as mayonnaise and KL rojak sauce. I opted for mayonnaise sauce on these cut pieces of fried chee cheong fun and had some crushed toasted peanuts sprinkled on them. I’m sure children would love this version well although I did not find much attraction in them compared to my favorite authentic ones.

On top of the above as well as the plain version which would cost you RM2 for 3 rolls, there was also something else to bite on – Toasted Stuffed Bean Curd Puff (RM1.80 each). Each piece of the large bean curd puff would be stuffed with shredded jicama and cucumber prior to being toasted in an oven. Again, there would be two options. This time, I opted for the KL rojak sauce. The surface of the puff was crisp while the interior confined the moist from the shredded vegetables. The slices of the bean curd puff were then topped with the KL rojak sauce and garnished with crushed toasted peanuts as well. This combination tasted not bad, except that I found that the KL rojak sauce to be a bit milder in spiciness and rich prawn paste flavor as those found in some of the famous rojak stalls we have in Penang.

Overall, I found only one unique food that ought to be mentioned here from this food court. The rest of the food from the hawker stalls were just average and nothing to brag about. If you are adventurous to try them out, drive all the way from the Penang Ferry Terminal along Pengkalan Weld until you have reach the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights. Turn left into Gat Lebuh Macallum and drive all the way until you see Harbour Trade Centre on you left. Turn right and drive on and you would see the food court at the junction of Gat Lebuh Macallum/Gat Lebuh Cecil 1 on your right. Parking space would be quite ample here except on Thursday night when there would be a pasar malam (night market) there.

Name: FRIED CHEE CHEONG FUN @ STAR CITY FOOD COURT
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil 1, 10300 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.30pm-11.30pm (Closed on Alternate Tuesday)
GPS: 5.404303, 100.334164

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

CHEAP AND HUMBLE EVENING SNACKS AT CECIL STREET GHAUT

Posted by crizlai On December - 15 - 2009

There are so many hidden areas in Georgetown with many wonderful evening snacks and most of the time these little stalls by the roadside would go unnoticed by many. One such stall would be a little Laksa stall manned by a Chinese mother and her son along Cecil Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Cecil).

For those who love the sourness and sweetness of this version of Assam Laksa, this would be the right place. The Assam Laksa (RM2.20) here did not have the strong taste of tamarind (assam) but instead it had stronger blended pineapple sourness with some hints of Kaffir lime leaves. The color of the soup might not be as dark as others but it has the right sourness and sweetness for those people who like sourness in their food. With a spoonful or two of shrimp paste (hae ko), this bowl of Laksa would be enough to woo many ladies. 😛

What caught my attention most was not the Laksa but the little savory snacks the stall had. The rows of big sized golden colored Spring Rolls were tasty and crunchy. The secret… handmade poh piah skins instead of those frozen ones which can be found easily in supermarkets. Moreover, the simple filling of shredded jicama, carrot and sliced French beans gave the spring rolls the necessary original sweetness. It’s only 80sen each. It’s darn cheap, right? On top of that, you can just ask for some Laksa soup to dip these delicious snacks.

Another of the tasty product from the stall would be the Prawn & Bean Curd Fritter (also cheap at 80sen each). Normally, you would get fritters either with prawns or bean curd but here the lady combined both. Each flat but large sized and crunchy fritter contained bean sprouts, peeled white prawns, cubed bean curds, fried in an Indian like masala reddish colored flour. I prefer this version here compared to the Tan Jetty Prawn Fritters as I did have pesky little prawn skins and heads poking into my gums. A piece or two of the spring rolls plus a piece of the fritter plus a small bowl of dipping Laksa soup were enough to bloat my tummy up.

If you think the above two items would be a bit too much for your tea time, then you can opt for the Fried Chicken Wings (90sen for wing/drumlet). If your timing is good, you might even get hot, crispy and well marinated chicken to keep you drooling for more.

Other than those mentioned above, there would also be some crispy flour coated Fried Prawn Ball (3 for RM1) and Stuffed Crabsticks (60sen each). The Stuffed Crabstick would have some mayonnaise, a slice of sausage, crabstick, coated with Pato breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden.

You can have your little evening snacks served with chili sauce but it was too plain for me. I preferred mine dipped in Laksa soup. It’s free anyway with the fritters.

There are a lot of evening stalls selling snacks over here such as rojak, cold desserts, local kuih, mua chee, nasi lemak, curry puff and banana fritters sold here in the evening. The best time to pay a visit would be after 2.00pm each day.

Finding the Laksa stall would be real easy. As you are moving your way towards the Jelutong Expressway from Weld Quay, you would come to a traffic light (Weld Quay/Gat Lebuh Macallum). Immediately after the traffic light, you would see another traffic light (Weld Quay/Gat Lebuh Cecil). Turn left into Gat Lebuh Cecil and you would see the stall on your left at the junction of Gat Lebuh Cecil 1.

Name: CECIL STREET GHAUT LAKSA & FRITTERS
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil, 10300 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 1.30pm-6.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 016-498 6018 (Ah Boy)
GPS: 5.406025, 100.332189

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

SHABU SHABU ON A RAINY DAY?

Posted by crizlai On October - 8 - 2009

It was a cold and chilly afternoon, thus Steven and I decided to go food hunting for something hot that would warm up our bodies. We ended up at a corner café located along Jalan Perak for our lunch. Was our meal Shabu Shabu? Well, not exactly but the beef slices was indeed thinly sliced and there was the hot pot that was solely manned by the ever smiling boss, Mr. Tiger. Yup, we were at the 2828 Café Famous Beef Koay Teow Soup stall.

On top of those few famous beef noodles stalls in Penang, this stall also has its own loyal followers. You can practically see that the whole café would be packed during lunch time and majority of the patrons would go for the beef noodles. There are so many beef parts available here which you could select for your bowl of soup. The soup base here would be of a clearer and milder herb version compared to the rest and one thing you can be sure of is that it would not contain too heavy beef taste. Your bowl of beef soup (as low as RM6) can go well with your bowl of rice (RM0.60).

Another option you can have here would be the selected ingredients taken with noodles. There are two types available here, namely the yellow noodles (mee) and flat noodles (koay teow). Each bowl would cost as low as RM6.

There’s one thing that I find rather inappropriate for my bowl of beef noodles – the condiment. It was too chili sauce sweet like. I rather have my beef slices dipped into a blended version of red chilies, garlic and ginger. At least that would cut down on the strong taste of certain beef parts.

Overall, this is still a great place for those who do not like their beef soup to be overpowering with herbs and beefy taste and the price here is still reasonable for all. Do also watch out for my next post on what to get from the same café during dinner time – affordable home cooked dishes at Kim Hooi Seafood stall.

It’s easy to find the stall as it is located at a corner lot of Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak. The easiest way to reach the place from town would be by using Jalan Macalister (as you would not be able to turn right from Jalan Dato Keramat). Drive all the way until you see the Jalan Macalister/Jalan Anson traffic lights (EON Automobile Showroom on your left). Turn left into Jalan Anson and drive all the way until you see the Jalan Anson/Jalan Perak T-junction traffic lights. Turn right into Jalan Perak and keep left. You can see the corner café immediately after a stretch of the General Hospital Officers’ residence on your left. Turn left into Jalan Lim Khoon Huat and park your car along the service road in front of the Perak Plaza.

Name: 2828 CAFÉ FAMOUS BEEF KOAY TEOW
Address: 56K, Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 10.30am-3.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 012-450 8177 (Mr. Tiger)
GPS: 5.416874, 100.316519

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

A DIFFERENT YAM RICE VERSION IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 25 - 2009

Penang is truly a food paradise of Malaysia. Every loops and corners in any district, you would find eateries regardless of Chinese, Malay or Indians hidden within small lanes, beach fronts, flats, industrial areas or simply residence areas. One such area which I had found to be real fascinating would be the Weld Quay/Macallum Street area. There were the best woodfire pizzas, cheapest stir fry Chinese cuisine (choo char), freshly fried prawn fritters, best tom yam fish head noodles, best pan mee, cheapest fried udon and now a new encounter with a yam rice of a different kind – Eng Yam Rice.

What made Eng Yam Rice so special? If compared to my most frequent yam rice stall in Chai Leng Park, Butterworth or their recently opened yam rice branch along Jalan C.Y. Choy, I would choose Eng Yam Rice. The difference lied in the yam rice. Each whole rice grain from here had the right texture and softness, combined with the thorough coating from the fragrant dark soy sauce, mixed with the right saltiness from the dried shrimps and beautiful powdery bites from the yam cubes. I can just have bowls of this yummy yam rice even without ordering any side dishes.

Speaking of side dishes, what you get here would be a bit different compared to the salted vegetable assorted pork soup and dark soy sauce pork trotter you get from the BM Yam Rice stall over in mainland Penang or even some stalls which would serve you with assorted Yong Tau Foo soup. To go with your yam/white rice, you can order one of their sets which would include a hard boiled egg, a piece of fried bean curd and some pork belly meat, cooked in thick and flavorful herbs and spices filled dark soy sauce – all in a bowl for only RM2. It was cheap and good!

Even the Pork Trotter (RM4) had the same quality as they also came from the same thick and flavorful braising sauce. The meat was tender and each bite was beautiful.

The wonderful part of dining here would be the choices of soup available with your meal. The stall would have RANDOMLY at least 3 types of soup each day. Firstly, there was the Radish and Carrot Soup (RM2/bowl). There was a generous amount of vegetables in the bowl with some pieces of pork. This bowl of soup was perfect with my yam rice.

Next would be the Duck Egg and Cabbage Soup (RM2/bowl). The soup contained some pan fried fresh duck eggs, boiled with some cabbages. It was just a nice and simple bowl of soup. I wished it could be something else more homely as a bowl of salted duck egg and mint leaves soup. 😛

Starched Pork with Cabbage Soup (Bak Kee Soup – RM2/bowl) was also available for the day. Although this soup was a lot cheaper than the one I had at the coffee shop along Lorong Carnarvon, the cooking style was different. They used pork chunks coated with corn flour instead of pork slices. I personally felt that it had lost the bite sensation.

The Salted Fish Tofu Soup (RM2/bowl) was another of my favorite here. The tofu cubes were mildly fried and the salted fish did not have that overpowering fishy taste. Combined with some cabbages, the soup was full of flavors. The only problem would be that they do not serve this soup daily. It’s up to your luck to get to try this out.

Another soup that you would get only during weekends (Saturday & Sunday) would be the Pepper Pig Stomach Soup (Too Tor Th’ng – RM3/bowl). It would be a waste if you did not try out this soup. The pepper taste combined with the thick soup broth was marvelous. The only hiccup was that they do not have added ginkgo nuts. That would make the soup perfect.

On top of the meat and soup dishes, Prawn Fritters (RM1/pc) were also available. They would come with the chef’s own created garlic chili paste. Although I found the fritters to be lack of prawns but they were indeed real crispy. What’s there to complain at the price I paid?

Finding the stall won’t be hard as it’s just at the junction of Pengkalan Weld and Gat Lebuh Macallum. The only problem would be the parking space. If you are coming from the ferry terminal toward the Jelutong Expressway, you would see the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights (the stall is actually opposite in a corner coffee shop named Kedai Kopi Sing May Mah). Turn left into Gat Lebuh Macallum and then turn right after the road divider into Gat Lebuh Cecil 1. There would be a lot of parking space there within the PDC flats area (you can get a lot of cheap and nice food here during dinner time). Moreover, I Mum Mum Pan Mee shop is just steps away from the yam rice stall.

Name: ENG YAM RICE @ KEDAI KOPI SING MAY MAH
Address: 214, Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 10.00am-2.00pm
Contact: 014-901 8082 (Mr. Ooi aka Ah Eng)
GPS: 5.407395, 100.332419

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

SAN DIAN SHUI SPECIALIZE CAFÉ

Posted by crizlai On July - 11 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

It’s has been quite some time since I had the opportunity to drop by my favorite yam rice shop at Chai Leng Park, Butterworth, Penang. Moreover, my most frequent Bak Kut Teh stall, Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh has also ceased operation late last year with an “imitation” opening up just few shops away and I was not impressed with the taste of the bak kut teh there. What should I do then with one shop so far away in mainland Penang and another lost from the face of earth? Frankly speaking, it has been a tough time finding those equivalents on the island. The nearest to the best that I had found, surprisingly both under different management, are located in a newly open café right in the heart of Georgetown. The café which was barely two weeks old is called San Dian Shui Specialize Cafe (三點水美食專門店).

SDSYAMRICE01

The stall within the café which carries the name of Yam Rice King is supposed to be one of the outlets from the original BM Salted Vegetables and Pork Soup stall. You can have the many sections of the pork ranging from lean meat, belly meat, liver, kidney, intestines, meat balls and salted vegetables.

SDSYAMRICE02

Well, every ingredients and cooking style looked the same but taste wise, it’s another story. Somehow the taste of the soup (RM8 for two pax) was not as I had expected. The meaty sweetness and presence of the salty vegetable was not so prominent at all. Maybe it was still early as I had patronized the café around 10.00am in the morning. That should not be the excuse since it’s supposed to open for business at 9.00am right? The sliced salted vegetables were indeed soaked too long until there was no taste in them. It was like munching some crunchy but tasteless pickles. Moreover, the taste of pepper was overpowering, especially towards the base of the soup. If not for the wonderful combination of sambal with dark soy sauce, it would be a total disaster.

SDSYAMRICE03

As for the yam rice (RM1/bowl), it was world of a difference compared to the one I had at Chai Leng Park. The rice was not fragrant form the dark soy sauce and soft with juiciness as the former. There were barely much signs of yam and the dried shrimps were minute and soaked too long too. Something ought to be done to the style of cooking. I guessed using a rice cooker and using a large pot to cook the rice over slow gas cooker heat indeed would give a different texture and taste.

SDSYAMRICE04

The life saving sambal with dark soy sauce was indeed good. In fact, it was spicier than the one at Chai Leng Park.

SDSYAMRICE05

I might have to revisit the place at a later date as it was still new and I guessed they will still need time to adjust the right taste of the public. Moreover, I did not get to try out their dark soy sauce braised knuckles as it was not ready yet. Let’s hope it would be as nice as the Chai Leng Park stall. If you like to try them out, they will serve from 9.00am until 5.00pm. Do check out the map at the bottom of the post.

Name: BM ORIGINAL SALTED VEGETABLE & PORK SOUP YAM RICE KING
Branch Address: 231 Jalan C Y Choy, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-486 7937, 016-423 9937 (Mr & Mrs Ng)
Business Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm
GPS: 5.407678, 100.330156

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

Another stall which would also serve yam rice, from 5.00pm until 10.00pm, would be the See Yang Yang Claypot Bak Kut Teh stall.

SDSBKT01

The taste of the soup was almost similar to my much admired Fei Kay Klang Bak Kut Teh I had last year in Selangor. It had the mild herbal but with a stronger licorice tangy taste. It was just nice with my bowl of rice. The clay pot bak kut teh which was filled almost to the brim with choice pieces of soft pork ribs, belly meat, pig’s stomach (too thor), meat balls and fried bean curd cost me just RM5.50. I would say it was the cheapest around with that amount of ingredients provided.

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They do also have Braised Black Vinegar Pork Knuckles (Too Kar Chor – RM6) served in a clay pot. The whole dish was not that bad at all (except a bit sweet to my taste bud as I do not like my savory dishes to be over sweet) with the heat from the clay pot thickened the gravy within. The knuckles were nicely braised with old ginger and some dried chilies. It was real appetizing to go with my yam rice.

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The Cameron Lettuce with Pork Floss (RM4/plate) came just exactly like I had wanted. The lettuce was crunchy with the right combination of soy sauce. The amount of pork floss garnished on top was generous and it had something I love – fried pork lard! Oops! I have to watch my fat consumption here. 😛

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They also do have Chinese Crullers (You Tiao) to go with your bak kut teh. I just wondered why they did not get from the famous stall at People’s Court since they are so near there. It would be great if they get their supply there for the extra crispness.

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There yam rice in this evening session stall was indeed better. Although dry a bit due to my visit at 9.15pm, it has the right amount of yam and dried shrimps. The rice was also better than the morning session pork soup stall. It has a nice, thick and welcoming aroma with the right taste to go with my clay pot dishes. Hmm… but I still prefer the Chai Leng Park yam rice. LOL! Well, this is a healthier version with a lesser use of oil compared to the Chai Leng Park stall. Overall, it’s still good for me.

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Name: SEE YANG YANG CLAY POT BAK KUT TEH
Branch Address: 231 Jalan C Y Choy, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 017-445 9487, 012-613 7492
Business Hours: 5.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.407678, 100.330156

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: 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)

It would not be hard at all if you know your way to the Cecil Street evening wet market (七條路巴刹). The café is just on your left hand side between Lebuh Katz and Lebuh Cecil. If you are coming from Jalan C.Y. Choy, you will see the Lebuh Macallum traffic lights. Immediately after the traffic lights, slow down and you will see the shop with attap leaves awnings on your left. Parking can be quite a hassle here as it’s located along a heavy trafficked area. It’s even worst if it’s during the evening market operation hours. I will advise you to park at the limited parking space at Lebuh Katz or within the Cecil Street wet market car park and walk up to the shop.

SANDIANSHUIMAP

 

FRUIT HUNT AT SUNGAI BATU DURIAN STALL

Posted by crizlai On July - 8 - 2009

It’s the time of the year for fruit feasting as there are lots of fruits on sales just anywhere you go along the roads of Penang. From May until August each year, you would get to enjoy many of the seasonal fruits especially durians – the King of Fruits. The different species of the fruits can come in shapes such as oblong and round with yellow, green or brown husks and the flesh would either be in white, pale yellow, yellow, orange to red. These thorn covered fruits are famous for their large sizes and unique smell that made them the love and hate of many people. I don’t think anyone had created a name for its intruding odor but to some it may just well be the combination of pungent cat pee, musty gym shorts, smelly socks and gas leak. I even heard someone mentioning that his neighbors called in 911 to report a rotten corpse. LOL!

Penetrating odor as the nicknames have suggested above, the fruits have the same reputation as the Hong Kong Stinky Tofu – the scent of smell could be overpowering but the scent of taste would sent many floating in heaven. There are many species of durian available in the South East Asian regions of Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia but most of the durian lovers would still prefer those from Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia and its surrounding areas as the texture are finer with stronger acquired taste.

DURIANFEAST

Thanks to Steven’s contact with the daughter of a durian seller, an entourage of the few of us was able to have the first hand experience in tasting the best of this stinky fruit. There are many species of durians available here such as Kor Teh (Bitter Herbal Tea), Kucing Tidur (Sleeping Cat), Susu (Milk), Capri, D15, D2, COB, Ganja (Cannabis), Seven Goddess (七仙女), Bak Ewe (Lard), Ang Hae (Red Prawn), Ooi Keong (Turmeric/Kunyit) and many more. We started by tasting the more common ones and later to those award-winning and branded ones.

BRANDEDDURIAN

We started with the so called Ooi Keong Ong (Turmeric/Kunyit/黄姜王 – approx. RM10). It was fibrous, custard creamy and sweet with a hint of fermented wine after taste. Although the fruit was filled with lots of meaty flesh, it was just average to my taste bud as it lacked the strong aromatic taste of durian. Even though so, it would still be ideal for general consumption as it was rather filling.

OOIKEONGONG

We were then given a test on our preferences for the following two branded durians of almost the same quality – Hor Lor versus Kim Poh. Comparing the colors of these two different species, Kim Poh (Golden Treasure/金寳 – approx. RM15) had a more inviting color of mixed orange and yellow. Taste wise, it had a smooth creamy and custard like flesh with slight bitterness. To me, it was a bit over ripe but that was the uniqueness that made the fruit having its strong fermented wine after taste and likeable by many.

KIMPOH

The moment everyone tried the Hor Lor (Calabash/葫蘆 – approx. RM15), there was a moment of silence as everyone was enjoying the beauty of the taste. The flesh was so smooth that it just melted in our mouth like ice cream. The creamy sweetness and bitter end taste obviously showed which species won the contest. Thumbs up for Hor Lor!

HORLOR

The next durian which was the Chneh Poay (Green Skin/青皮 – RM8-RM20) tasted more like native durians as it did not have much of the durian flavor “strength”. More fibrous compared to the rest, it only taste sweet towards the end nearing the pulp with more obvious bitterness.

CHNEH POAY

I thought the next durian served was the laugh of the day – That Kah Chui (Stuffed Buttock/塞屁股 – approx. RM10) but that was indeed the name given by Ah Joo for this native durian (durians from the older unnamed trees/土蓮). This was just another typical native durian with thinner flesh and larger seeds. Although sweet with fine texture, it definitely would not satisfy my craving for better and more fulfilling durians. I’ll need more meaty flesh, regardless of branded or native as some native durians could taste far better than branded ones.

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Here are a shot of some native durians which you could get a large bagful for less than RM20.

NATIVEDURIAN

The Man of Honor aka Ang Hae (Red Prawn/紅蝦 – RM10-RM30) came out last as we had had decided to save the best for last. The fruit was indeed the best as it has won many awards in the local durian scene. The flesh was the finest around with smooth custard like creaminess. There was the distinctive sweetness and wine taste with a slight touch of bitterness. I would recommend this species. There’s a secret when consuming Ang Hae. The fruit should not be eaten once collected from the plantation. It should be left aside for a few hours to enable it to gather that powerful “booster”!

ANGHAE

On top of having durian fresh or having them with steamed white glutinous rice topped with thick and slightly salted coconut milk and fine sugar, there are many other by products available here such as the local durian paste cake (durian kuih), dried durian meat cracker, durian cream cake, coconut durian glutinous rice cake (dodol), durian ice cream, durian nian gao (glutinous rice cake available during Chinese New Year) served with shaved coconut, etc. Phew! There are just too many to mention here. For me, I love to have the seeds roasted or boiled until cooked. They tasted just like chestnuts. Wonderful!

However, when you have the King of Fruits, you would also have the Queen of Fruits during the season – Mangosteens (RM2/kg or RM5/3kg)! These proud looking tangy and peachy flavored ladies in deep purple dresses with Brazilian party like greenish headgears and white pinkish undergarments have been believed to be the antidote for those who had consumed too many of the “kings”. Its nutritious richness and antioxidant strength would surely compromise with the sugar level, carbohydrates, protein and fat that of durians. Isn’t it great to have the “cooling effect” of mangosteens versus the “bodily heatiness” of durians? But have a pair of watchful eyes when peeling as the purplish natural dye from the fruit might stain your attire terribly. The edible endocarp of the mangosteen would normally have few segments of so called wedges like flesh. The bigger ones would have seeds. At the bottom of the exocarp would be some embossed wheel spokes like ridges. That would determine the amount of “wedges” the fruit will have within.

MANGOSTEEN

Other than the kings and queens, we have the hairy like fruits called Rambutans (RM2/kg or RM5/3kg). These fruits may come in many colors such as red, yellow, reddish green, green (unripe) or maroon (shorter hair). The species sold here were from Balik Pulau, Penang. They have thinner skins with a much thicker coconut crunch like texture. The taste of rambutans would be somewhat different compared to other tropical fruit as it has a unique mild acidic sweetness. Some older generations might even pickle them in salt. It actually tasted real good as pickles. One advice for those with asthmatic or throat problems – Do not take the fruit with the skin from the seed intact. It would cause continuous irritation to the throat.

RAMBUTAN

Another tropical fruit that would be quite famous, especially amongst the Malays would be the Buah Langsat (RM2/kg). These fruits are normally oval in shape and would come in bunch of 30 fruits or less. The yellow and leather like skin fruit has 5-6 peels of translucent juicy flesh inside. Just like the mangosteen, it has whitish like seed in bigger peels. As for taste, it has a sweet and slightly sour acidic flavor with a hint of bitterness if not fully ripened.

LANGSAT

Last but not least my so called Prince of the Fruits – Cempedak (RM3/kg). The sausage like fruit practically grows on the trunk of the tree. The unique South East Asia native fruit has red, orange and yellow arils and taste somewhat like a stronger jackfruit with a hint of durian (without the intruding smell of course). I actually wanted the stronger and sweeter fruit with red arils but it would take a month or two more before they would be available. We ended up with the yellow ones which tasted just as great. Although some people would love to have them fresh, my favorite teatime snack would still be the double batter fried ones. Why double batter fried? The first batter dip would be to get the flesh cook and the next batter dip would get the seed within cooked well and to give that extra crunch. Just like the durian seed, the cempedak seed has the unique chestnut flavor but a bit softer than the former.

CEMPEDAK

I would surely archive Ah Joo’s contact for the remaining months and also for years to come as this has been one of the great fruit stalls around. Even their Buffet Durian Promotion (5-10pax at RM25/adult and RM15/child) shone out amongst the rest as there will be unlimited supplies of branded durians for your consumption. If you feel like having a durian fiesta right in the comfort of your home, delivery service can be arranged for an order of more than 10 fruits. Do check out the delivery time below.

Finding the stall would not be hard if you know how to get to the Penang International Airport by using Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. As you reach the airport entrance “Y” junction, turn right and go over the flyover into Jalan Bayan Lepas. Drive on until you have reached the Jalan Permatang Damar Laut junction. Drive straight until next prominent landmark which would be the Emerald Park/Krystal Country Homes on your left. Drive further until you see the Teluk Kumbar Mosque, Kampung Sungai Batu. Slow down and watch out for Ah Joo’s Durian Stall just a few meters away on your right next to Forever Star Electrical and Plumber Trading.

AHJOOMAP

Name: Ah Joo Durian Stall
Branch Address: 1238 Jalan Bayan Lepas, 11900 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 017-422 2248 (Ah Joo), 012-453 1812 (Delivery-Kelly)
Business Hours: 10.00am-12.00am (daily)
Delivery: After 5.00pm (weekdays), business hours (weekends)
GPS: 5.285736, 100.238872

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

Invited Reviewers:
Criz, Cariso, Food Paradise, Steven Goh, Chan CW

A SEAFOOD EXPERIENCE AT SIONG HO

Posted by crizlai On May - 18 - 2009

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

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

SOUPBASE

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

NOODLES

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

SEAFOOD

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

ADDONS

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

VEGETABLESHERBS

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

GARNISHES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIONGHOMAP2C

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

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

 

THE NEWEST FOOD COURT IN PENANG – METRO CAFÉ

Posted by crizlai On May - 3 - 2009

Note: This place has ceased operation in early 2010 due to a high rise building construction next door.

It seemed like there are more and more restaurants and food courts opening within the last one week. The latest being Metro Café which was opened on 1 May 2009, located just within a stone’s throw away from Northam Beach Café. Walking through the pathway leading to the dining area, there were many accessories stalls selling costume jewelries, t-shirts and souvenirs. With a few vacant stalls left within it premises, it gave me the first impression that it would be just another of those food courts with many inexperienced cooks.

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Although I did not manage to test out all the food stalls there, what I had for dinner yesterday were quite satisfactory to my liking. The first dish which was Chicken Shiogayaki (RM8.50/set) proved that there still existed some good and experienced cooks in Penang. The set dish came from a Teppanyaki stall and it had some juicy pieces of chicken meat pan fried with their special ginger sauce and onions, served with plain rice and salad. It was indeed delicious as the meat was somewhat like teriyaki chicken with a stronger taste of ginger. I will surely comeback to try out their other dishes such as Unagi, Ika Teriyaki Pepper, Salmon Terikyaki, Tori Karaage and many more.

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I even got to order Vietnamese Rolls (RM3.50 for 2 rolls). That’s real cheap. The roll came with a leaf of lettuce, finely stripped cucumbers and carrots, glass noodles, chopped chicken meat, fresh prawns and Chinese celery leaves, wrapped in a hot water softened bánh tráng (rice paper). These were served with additional Chinese celery leaves and their specially prepared chopped garlic and chili sauce. The only hiccup was that they should have given more of the sauce for dipping. Other than that, the dish was refreshing and healthy. From the culinary skill of the finely stripped vegetables, the cook had indeed traveled to many countries for the last few years. Two of the dishes which caught my attention and I would try them out next would be the Crispy Aromatic Duck Meat served with Chinese Crepes and special sauce (RM11) and their Crispy Black Pepper Chicken Sticks (RM6).

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Instead of ordering the normal Claypot Chicken Rice (RM4.50 with egg), I opted for the Claypot Stewed Pork Rice (RM5.50 with egg). I actually hesitated when ordering this dish after seeing how many English spelling errors the stall had on their menu. Is it Claypot Pork Rips Rice or Claypot Pork Ribs Rice? Indeed the dish was not up to my expectation. I was expecting freshly stewed pork slices but what I had was canned stewed pork. The fatty portion on the meat was so powdery soft and with the “chemically” preserved juice added into the rice, it had a weird rosy after taste. Although the dish had some Chinese sausages and egg added, it lacked the wok hei (high heat cooking) fragrance that any claypot rice should have. I guessed not many stalls would add some Shaoxing wine onto the cooked claypot of rice either.

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When I saw the next stall selling Gurney’s famous roasted chicken, I was sure that this was the branch of the famous Song River Café Roast Chicken. I lost my battle against the temptation of trying them out. Instead of ordering the Roasted Chicken Drumstick (RM5 each), I ordered their Roasted Chicken Wings (RM3.60 for two wings) instead. The delicious and juicy wings were well roasted until golden brown and the skin had that beautifully crispy sensation. A thumbs up indeed!

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It was time for dessert and I spotted a stall with lots of dragon fruits being displayed. With no photos or English descriptions on the menu, I thought it was just another fresh fruit cuts stall. Instead, it was a great discovery of a new type of dessert in town. The Red Dragon Fruit with Sago (RM4) was something that I did not expect to see. Normally, most people would use white fleshed dragon fruits and these would be cheaper as the fruits would not be as sweet as the red ones. The dessert was unique in color and it was just a simple combination of fresh cut red dragon fruit served with shaved ice, some spills of evaporated milk, syrup and topped with springy sago. The sweetest was just nice for me and the slightly sour but sweet dragon fruits made the whole dessert perfect.

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Another order which I had made through this stall was not listed in their menu but the hot dessert was another good experience. It was Tang Yuan Fu Chok Yee Mai Soup (RM3.50 – Glutinous Rice Balls in Beanstick and Barley Broth). It came with two large sesame filled rice balls and three plan rice balls. Although the tang yuan were not as soft as I would expect, the broth was rich in flavors. It was thick and not so sweet at all.

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I would surely revisit this café for a better judgment on the overall food as there were still many stalls I had yet to try out such as the Portugese Barbeque, Popiah, Bak Kut Teh, Laksa, Rojak, Thai Salad, Satay, Koay Teow Th’ng, Fried Money Bags and many more.

If you are coming from Jalan Burma into Jalan Pangkor or Jalan Kelawei or Persiaran Gurney, just drive straight into Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Keep to your left and you will see the Metro Café signboard in blue. The café is actually a few houses before the Northam Beach Café.

METROCAFEMAP

Name: METRO CAFÉ
Address: Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.00pm-12.00midnight (tentatively – it might be 24 hours later)
GPS: 5.427937, 100.321358

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

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About Me

Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

By the way, you might not notice it but CRIZ BON APPETITE is iPhone/Mobile Compatible. Please do feel free to hop over to http://ip.crizfood.com to get the latest updates! If you want to contact me for any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at crizlai [at] hotmail [dot] com. Spamming would not be tolerated – you are being tracked here!

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