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YET ANOTHER GREAT FLOGGERS GATHERING AT JURIN EXPRESS

Posted by crizlai On April - 12 - 2010

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

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

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

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

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

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

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The specially arranged main meal consisted of 4 options.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRENDY & HEALTHY BREAD FROM WAHAHA BAKERY

Posted by crizlai On April - 4 - 2010

Many of you may not be aware but there is this simple bakery by the name of Wahaha Bakery in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, which had been supplying some great bread and rolls to some of the major health food outlets in mainland as well as on the island for quite some time. What made this bakery outshine in the baking market are some of their unique and trendy creations.

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The first thing that attracted me was their bamboo charcoal by-products. Bamboo charcoal has been used as early as in the Ming Dynasty in China for many purposes which include fueling, bedding products as it can emit far infra red rays to help in blood circulation, speed up the metabolism and encourage cell growth, the adjusting of humidity in the atmosphere, air and water purifier such as expelling bad odors, killing bacteria, dietary supplements in improving personal health as well as in beautifying the facial and body skin. Of course there are the bamboo charcoal powder and bamboo vinegar (pyroligneous acid) which had provided many benefits in the world of health and science.

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From the above bamboo charcoal powder, you would get some nice and soft Bamboo Charcoal Wholemeal Rolls (RM2.60 for 3pcs) in the shapes of croissants from this bakery. This product has been a craze for some years now as a popular health product especially in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The product has cleansing properties that would help in blood circulation. The rolls here were lovely as they had the right ashy flavor to my liking. I could even consume them without any spreads of butter, fruity jam or even coconut jam (kaya). At least they do not taste as bitter and charcoal filled as some that I had tried in KL some years back.

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The next thing that attracted me was their latest creation – Vegetarian Green Tea Sushi (RM1.50 for 3pcs). The sushi was real cool! It has high quality Japanese seaweed (nori) wrapped around a layer of soft and spongy green tea bread, filled with freshly cut cucumber, carrots and pumpkin floss, with some sushi sauce added in too. This was another unique experience but there’s a drawback. It would be better to consume when it is fresh or the moist from the vegetables might make it soggy.

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There’s also the Green Tea Wholemeal Loaf (RM3.00) that was soft and fluffy. You can take it plain too as there were some sweetened red beans kneaded in them. You can also have the bread slices lightly toasted as an evening snack.

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If you think that a loaf of bread would be too much for your consumption, do try out their Black Sesame Wholemeal Rolls (RM2.80 for 6 pcs). Black sesame seeds are high in calcium, iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. The copper would strengthen blood vessels, joints and bones, thus is good for relieving arthritis whereas magnesium would support vascular and respiratory health. The calcium would improve your bone health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s believed that the seeds would promote kidney and liver health as well as to treat constipation and to regulate bowel movements.

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Do you know red has a very high attractive power? I was also attracted by the natural color of the Red Dragon Fruit Cinnamon Roll (RM3.50 for 3 pcs). The red dragon fruit or pitaya is good for those with Type 2 Diabetes as it would help in lowering the blood glucose level. The grounded cinnamon on the other hand would lower the LDL cholesterol level. These fruity flavored soft and delicious rolls had some raisins and sesame seeds added. They were also glazed with some natural honey. I had a real nice tea time.

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I also had a High Fibre Wholemeal Pumpkin Bun (RM1.80) for tea. The natural sweetness of the pure pumpkin puree within the bun was heaven. The moisture from the filling blended in real nice with the texture of the wholemeal bun.

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There were also the Assorted Muffins (RM1.30 each or RM6.00 for 5 pcs – chocolate, blueberry, green tea & black sesame) and Carrot Walnut Muffin (RM1.50 each) that I almost did not have the opportunity to try out. My nieces gobbled them up immediately! Haha! They seemed to be a favorite amongst kids. Well, I love them too as they had the right moist to my liking compared to some that I had tried which were rather hard and dry.

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There are also many other products available at this simple bakery which I alone could not cover all but you have to check them out yourself if you happen to be around that area. If you do not intend to go all the way to Bukit Mertajam just to get your healthy bread and rolls, you could always check up some of the outlets below to get some of the products. Make sure you call up first to check on the availability.

Healthy DIY
G-05 Pangsapuri Seri Melur, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Penang.
Contact: 012-503 7880 (Jessie)

Kedai Organik Olive Green (opposite Sunshine Bayan Baru)
34 Jalan Mayang Pasir,Bayan Baru, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang.
Contact: 604-645 2404

Kedai Minuman Nutrisi Healthy Life House (beside Eyewear Shop)
1-G-22, Suntech Penang Cyber City, Lintang Mayang Pasir 3,
Bayan Baru, 11950 Bayan Lepas,Penang.
Contact: 012-431 8805 (SK Tan)

Kafe JenxDan Lifestyle
21 Jalan Chow Thye, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 8414, 019-471 9123

If you are coming from Penang Bridge towards Bandar Perda along Jalan Permatang Batu in Bukit Mertajam, keep a lookout for the beautifully designed TNB building within Bandar Perda on your left. Slow down when you reach the traffic lights and turn right into Jalan Padang Lalang. Drive over the railway track and move on until you see the second traffic lights (Mayban is on your right before the traffic lights). Turn right into Jalan Tembikai and drive on until you see another traffic lights (Jalan Tembikai/Lorong Tembikai Satu cross junction). You will see the famous night time Gaik Fong Bak Kut Teh shop on your right. Turn left into Lorong Tembikai Satu and drive on until almost the end and you would see the bakery on your right, third shoplot at the last row of shop houses.

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Name: WAHAHA BAKERY
Address:
54 Lorong Tembikai Satu, Kawasan Perindustrian Sungai Rambai,
14000 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 014-247 0018 (Hoyyee), 012-552 4118 (Mr. Chee)
Business Hours: 9.30am-9.30pm
GPS: 5.358054, 100.448329

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

FAMILY DINNER AT STARVIEW RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On March - 26 - 2010

My family members (7 adults & 2 child) recently had a dinner at the Starview Restaurant, located right within the New World Park premises. This restaurant has been in establishment for many years and specialized in Chinese cuisine. One of the more famous dishes would be their delicious fish steamboat that had endless streams of loyal patrons.

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Do you know what attracted me most during the start of a meal in any Chinese restaurant nowadays? It’s the tidbits. It’s neither the fried or roasted peanut, crackers but the braised peanuts. I’ll never have enough of these nicely flavored peanuts. It was a bonus at Starview Restaurant as they do serve both the peanuts. 🙂

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The first dish that was served was the Four Treasures (四寳 – RM80). In fact, it had a fifth dish on the palate which was some mixed fruits and vegetables salad. Refreshing! The first dish was Fried Sweet & Spicy Fish Balls. The handmade fish balls was nicely stirred in some fragrant secret sauce and presented on a bed of deep fried crabstick strips with some toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on. Delicious! The next dish was their popular Stuffed Aubergine in Egg White. I was so much in love with the stuffed aubergine as the filling of minced prawns and pork were just right and the egg white gravy flowed smoothly into my mouth as if consuming some silky smooth tofu. These were served on a bed of deep fried glass noodles. Wonderful! The third dish was Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Fish Bladder. I loved this dish especially when it had some much of crunchy asparagus in it and the fried fish bladder indeed added the extra flavor. Slurps! The last of the combination consisted of Deep Fried Vietnamese Rolls. The mixed vegetables rolls had coats of batter. I find these to be a bit common on the palate.

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Scallops with Seafood & Sharks Fin Soup (乾貝海味翅 – RM100) was served next. Whichever time I dine in this restaurant, the taste of the soup served here has never fail my taste bud. The chef sure did a great job in preparing their tasty stock (上湯). If you had notice in the photo, I would say that there were more ingredients than the broth. Haha! Other than the over generously serving of crab meat, there were traces of diced prawns, sliced fish bladder, fish lips, sharks fin and deep fried scallops as garnishing. Simply delicious!

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The Suckling Piglet (片皮乳豬 – RM138) served next was simply irresistible! What’s the secret? Go there early to get served with the choice piglet that just came out from the roaster. 😛 The skin of the roasted piglet was real crispy. So was the tender and juicy meat with the right amount of baby fat. This dish came with some flower-shaped mantou (steam buns) for stuffing in the roasted pork slices.

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The actual way of eating this dish would be by spreading some of the specially prepared sweet sauce onto the meat, together with a stalk of spring onions, wrapped in the mantou. One bite on this combination and you would see yourself yearning for more. Perfect!

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With all the meat from the last dish, we needed something not so meaty fat. We had Sweet & Sour Fried Red Fish (甜酸紅獅 – RM45). The red fish which looked quite identical to the red snapper family was around 1kg and it was real fat. The chef did a great job in frying the fish with a mild touch of flour with the outer layer having the crisp while the inner flesh remained its juices. The gravy poured onto the fish was just right. It had the right sourness from the mildly used tomato ketchup and sweetness from the fresh chopped tomatoes, onions and capsicums. Beautiful!

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When I thought that would be the last seafood dish we would have for the night, we were served with the Salted Egg Yolk Prawn Balls (金皇蝦球 – RM50). This was just a simple recipe with some smashed salted egg yolk, combined with some pepper, flour and deep fried until golden brown but the chef had added in some sliced bird’s eye chilies and curry leaves to make the dish more fragrant. These were served on a bed of sliced iceberg lettuce. Amazingly tasty!

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Finally, we had the last dish for the night which was Chilled Blended Honey Dew Sago with Lychee (蜜汁西米荔枝- RM25). We were lucky that the honey dew used that night was ripe enough to produce the natural sweetness for this dessert. I like this combination even without the added canned lychee.

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Overall, the food here would be a bit pricey but real delicious if you know how to order. I had heard many good and bad reviews on this restaurant but I have yet to face any problems. Sometimes, I would say it’s the combination of dishes one would order due to their own preferences but I always left the ordering to my favorite supervisor as she would know better. Do seek Ms. S. W. Ng to recommend your dishes as she had never let me down ever.

It’s real easy to locate the restaurant as it’s just within the New World Park premises. The best way and the nearest way to reach the restaurant would be by the Jalan Burma entrance. Immediately after you had passed the Tune Hotel Downtown Penang on your right, slow down and keep a watch out for the entrance a shop away. Drive in and you would see the signboard not far away on your left. Find a parking space nearby and take note that you can pay for the parking ticket through the many automated ticket machine located strategically within the premises.

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Name: STARVIEW RESTORAN SDN. BHD.
Address:
102-B-1 to 102-B-4 New World Park, Jalan Burma, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 04-226 6544, 226 5213, 227 4507
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.30pm
GPS: 5.420106, 100.327153

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

HAVING MY CHECK OUT AT CLINIC CAFE

Posted by crizlai On March - 20 - 2010

Well, you did not read wrong in the title. I’m checking out and not checking up at the Clinic Café, another new themed cafe located just two blocks away from the Sunway Carnival Mall, Seberang Jaya, Penang. The last time I visited such themed cafe was at a jail house themed cafe, just opposite the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang and it was real fun there. At the first glance, you might think that the red and white walled café with a big cross would be just another of those labs such as BP Lab or PMS, an outlet selling medical supplies but what caught my attention was the “Heinekken” sign up there. Hmmm… Medical products and alcohol? They won’t match at all. LOL!

Standing right at the outside window area, you would see some wheel chairs being turned into dining chairs. Those were what gave many passer-bys the wrong impression of the place being a medical supplies shop. As you move inside, you can see the walls covered with display frames of the human body functions posters and some medical instruments. Some of the sofas have been reconstructed to look like hospital beds and you have some operation theatre lamps above your head. On top of that, there’s also a screen for your karaoke session (4.00pm until late) and a corner for a 2-pc band to perform (10.00pm until late)

Don’t you love it too to have sexy nurses (hmmm… I wonder why she’s in a sailor’s uniform here… more revealing? :P) and handsome male nurses and doctor to serve your meal?

Since this cafe is running on a bistro cum pub concept, you would expect to have lots of beverage choices such as non-alcoholic, cocktail, bottled beer and hard liquor. I managed to try out the Mix Fruit Yogurt Shake (RM7.80). It had some orange and strawberry cordial, blended with fresh banana and yogurt. It was not a bad combination in taste except that the ice could have been a bit smoother. The Iced Lemon Tea (RM5.80) was somewhat presented in a different style. Instead of the normal iced tea with a few slices of fresh lemon, it had lemon syrup at the base and topped with iced tea.

As this is a newly opened cafe since 4 February 2010, choices of food here were still a bit limited. There were only a few selections (20 plus choices) on Western cuisine, Rice & Pasta and Snacks. Anyhow, the kitchen would be planning to widen the options within the next few weeks. But with the limitation, the restaurant can have some great blessings too as the Black Pepper Prawn with Pasta (RM11.80) turned out to be real delicious with a generous amount of fresh prawns and greens. The spaghetti had the right biting texture and taste. It was cooked somewhat like the Aglio Olio style with some freshly grounded black pepper sprinkled on the dish. The only two drawbacks were that the black pepper was a bit too much for non spicy food diners. A separated bottle would be great for the diner to adjust to his level of spiciness. Secondly, it would be the amount of oil used. Somehow, there was a small pool of oil present right below the provided vegetables.

Please take note that you can order this black pepper dish with either prawns or chicken slices from opening time until 6.00pm and a complimentary Iced Lemon Tea would be provided – all for only RM11.80.

My next order was the recommended Kampung Fried Rice (RM7.80). It was indeed good with the right wok hei (high heat frying), generous amount of prawns and the flavor suited my taste bud. The dish came with some smashed bird eye chilies and sambal belacan for that extra kick.

Snacks wise, there would be quite a number of choices to choose from. We ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wings (RM12.80 for 4 wings). The wings tasted like yogurt marinated tandoori chicken with added sour cream. Although they were quite tasty in their version of marinates, I preferred those with the presence of some sweet and hot sauce with a crispier surface. Maybe the kitchen might consider adding in some black pepper or praprika and a coat of honey to give the wings the extra flavors.

There were also the Money Bags (RM7.80 for 6 pcs). The snacks had some minced chicken, prawns and mixed vegetables wrapped in wanton skin. These would be best taken when served as they would become a bit hard when taken cold. It had a syringe filled with chili sauce as a dip. I’m not sure whether the supplier had used the right version of wanton skin as I found these to be a bit too thick. There are actually two kinds of skins for wanton. One would be the deep fried version which would be thin and crispier, whereas the other would be meant for soup base wanton. The filling should be a bit more too as there were hardly much bite in each of the money bag.

Overall, the café would be a great place to chill out and some of the food can be quite tasty too. Let’s hope that there would be more options during my future visits. Well, I did find some parts which needed some improvements.

Firstly, it’s the food options. There should be more main courses and set meals rather than snacks and beverages. Roasted baby bird might be a great choice as you could have one of the staff dressed in the green colored operation attire to perform some surgical cuts in front of the diner. This would surely add some magical touches in setting the atmosphere right.

Secondly, it’s the utensils. The only few things that captivated my attention here were the stainless steel kidney tray, stainless steel container to hold the dining utensils and the syringe filled sauces. There should be more hospital like utensils such as the serving trays with compartments for set meals, dish cover for dish served or even a trolley to push the dishes out just like those in a hospital. Somehow, the serving style looked rather common. So were the beverages. They could have had a syrup filled syringe in the glasses to allow the diners to adjust their level of sweetness as I found the drinks to be on a sweeter side.

Thirdly, the café lacked a shelf for some reading materials while waiting for the food to be served. It could be on entertainment or some medical journals or pamphlets on some medical awareness. If they were to be more adventurous, a mock skeleton would be quite fun to play with. I won’t mind shooting some shots with a skeleton for my Facebook profile. LOL! Well, I won’t suggest more as the management would be in a better position to set the mood right for their themed café.

Finding Clinic Café won’t be hard as it’s just 2 blocks away from Sunway Carnival Mall within the Seberang Jaya vicinity. If you are exiting from Penang Bridge towards Alor Setar, just turn left besides the second flyover until you see the traffic lights (Butterworth-Kulim Expressway). Turn left into the highway and watch out for KFC on your left. Drive on until you see a junction on your left. Turn left in Jalan Todak and you would see the Sunway Carnival Mall not far away on your left. Drive further up and you would see the Billion Supermarket. Turn left into Jalan Todak 3 and you would see the brightly red and white colored Clinic Café on the right hand side. Try to maneuver your way for some parking spaces around here.

Name: CLINIC CAFE
Address:
7 Jalan Todak 3, Bandar Sunway, Seberang Jaya, 13700 Perai, Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 04-399 1991, 016 444 6118
Business Hours: 10.30am-3.00am
GPS: 5.396731, 100.397931

You can also check out their newest branch at Gurney Plaza, Penang.

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

SUMPTUOUS BEEF STEAMBOAT AT KANG BEEF HOUSE

Posted by crizlai On March - 14 - 2010

After all the Chinese New Year feasting with great food throughout the period of the celebration, we had another great feasting of steamboat. This time, it was beef steamboat at Kang Beef House located within the Jelutong district. This restaurant has operated since early February this year and has served many varieties of mouth watering and lips-sticky beef cuisines.

The taste of the beef steamboat stock here was a bit different compared to those I have tried elsewhere. On top of the many hours of simmering of the bovine bones, it had the sweetness from some chopped radish and the salty sour taste from some salted vegetables. It was quite unique I would say and the cost for a minimum twin pax order would be RM20 per person.

With an array of many smaller dishes of beef parts and vegetables, I was able to cook up a nice bowl of delicious beef soup.

You might be curious to find out what we had poured into the pot of beef stock right? We had a plate of raw local beef with an egg (牛肉 – 6 pax), beef tendon (牛筋), sirloin (牛腩) & tenderloin (裡脊肉), finely & coarsely minced beef balls (细與粗牛肉丸), honeycomb tripe (牛肚), omasum (leaf tripe/牛百葉), Enoki mushroom, iceberg lettuce and chopped cilantro (Chinese parsley/香菜). It was just a simple setup but it was enough for us considering that we had the opportunity to try 2 out of the four stomachs that a cow/bull has. 😛

Having beef steamboat without the proper chili sauce would be a “no-no”. The restaurant did well in providing us with their delicious homemade chili sauce. Combined with the sinful deep fried lard and garlic in oil (supposed to be for garnishing the beef soup :P), it became my favorite dipping sauce. It was just like the sweet and crunchy sauce I made for my Chinese New Year reunion dinner. Perfect!

There are also noodles and white rice (80sen/bowl) to order to go with your bowl of steamboat soup. The yellow noodles contained less lye water, thinner and flatter just like the wanton noodles. The rice noodles or commonly known as koay teow were also thinner and more translucent as the Vietnamese Beef Pho noodles.

If you feel that having steamboat would be too heavy for you, do try out their Beef Noodles (-RM6/RM8/RM10/RM12/RM15). The price will vary depending on what additional items you would like to add in on top of the regular sized one. Although the stock for this noodle dish was the same as our steamboat, somehow I personally felt that this combination tasted better. It could be I’m a noodle lover. 😛

The next option would be the Herbal Beef Soup (十全牛什-RM7/RM8/RM10/RM12/RM15). The soup base is actually brewing of 10 complete Chinese herbs being cooked with bovine bones. It is also sometimes known as Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (十全大補湯) which is normally used in traditional medicine to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, loss of appetite, dry or scaly skin, night sweating, dryness of mouth and for cancer treatment. The formulae comprised of Panax ginseng (ginseng root/人參), Angelica sinensis (Chinese Angelica root/dang gui/當歸), Paeonia lactiflora (Chinese Peony root/shao yao/芍藥), Atractylodes macrocephala (white atractylodes rhizome/bai zhu/白朮), Poria cocos (tuckahoe mushroom/fu ling/茯苓), Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese cinnamon bark/rou gui/肉桂), Astragalus membranaceus (astragulus root/huang qi/黃蓍), Liqusticum wallichii (ligusticum rhizome/chuan xiong/川芎), Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese licorice root/gan cao/甘草) and Rehmannia glutinosa (Chinese foxglove root/shu di huang/熟地黃). The dark colored soup with a slight bitter sweet taste went well with the meat and noodles but it could be rather “heaty” for the internal organs especially taken during hot weather. I tried that during one humid afternoon and eventually had one pimple popping out on my nose (even with the consumption of a 1.5L herbal tea/五花茶). Well, this could be a special case as I lacked in sleep. LOL!

If you prefer some fried dish instead, you could always try out the Crystal Beef Fried Rice (水晶牛肉炒飯 – RM12.80+beef ball soup). The beef slices were with the right tenderness and the rice had that special hidden crunch. It actually had two type of rice within such as white rice and deep fried rice for that extra crunch. This was indeed a great dish not to miss.

You could also try out their special Dry Fried Hor Fun with Beef (干炒牛河 – RM9.80+beef ball soup). The hor fun (broad rice noodles/河粉) had the right wok hei (high heat cooking), smoothness and taste even without the beef slices as it was prepared specially for one of our non beef eaters. The dish only came with hor fun, bean sprouts, egg, button mushroom slices, chopped onions, spring onions and some chili slices as garnishing. My advice would be not to have any non beef eater around as this is a beef specialty restaurant and no other meat and seafood would be available for any special requests.

There were also a few beef related dishes available if you decide to have them with steamed rice, namely Beef with Ginger & Spring Onion (RM15/RM28), Kai Lan Beef (RM15/RM28) and Black Pepper Beef (RM15/RM28). I quite like the Black Pepper Beef (the only dish we ordered since all of  us were quite full) as it had just the right amount of black pepper and the beef slices were very tender.

You might want to order their Claypot Beef Soup (RM8/RM15/RM22/RM28) to go with your meal or even some golden Crispy Beef Ball (RM4.80/6pcs) as light snack. I simply loved these bread cubes coated beef balls.

Overall, the food here can be real nice except that the pricing may cost a bit more for some diners. You can check out the below menu for a clearer picture of the items served there.

There are two entrances to this restaurant. One would be at Jalan Jelutong whereas the other would be at Jalan Perak. I would advise you to use Jalan Perak instead as there would be no parking space available at the heavily trafficked Jalan Jelutong. The easiest and smoothest way to reach this restaurant would be via Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim (Lam Wah Ee Hospital entrance). Drive all the way until the T-junction (Jelutong Police Station on your left) and turn left into Jalan Perak. You will see the restaurant about 100m away on your right. You can check if there are free parking spaces within the restaurant’s compound. If not, try turning left into Jalan Bagan Serai for more car parks. Parking space could be real limited during peak hours.

Name: KANG BEEF HOUSE (江祖傳牛肉小鎮)
Address: 474 Jalan Jelutong, 11600 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 04-281 0892, 016-416 5373 (Steve Kang)
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm, 4.30pm-10.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.391811, 100.313605

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

HAVING A BREAK AT KOPITIAM YUE LAI

Posted by crizlai On March - 2 - 2010

You would be surprised that some of the “kopitiam”s (coffee shops) in Penang has become so modernized today that your comfort and cleanliness preferences would always be their priority. One of the recent ones I had visited has some simple menu which would tempt your appetite as well as to allow you some comfort for your business discussions. It’s none other than Kopitiam Yue Lai, located along Jalan Argyll in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Other than the availability of WIFI for your internet convenience, this kopitiam has a very systematic and categorized area for business persons to leave their name cards for that extra publicity mileage. It’s so cool!

Barely a few weeks old, Kopitiam Yue Lai has some light breakfast and meals without you having to worry about paying the additional taxes. All items are priced nett. You could always enjoy a hot cup of Kopi “O” (local black coffee – 90sen) or a glass of Iced Penang White Coffee (RM1.90) while escaping from the burning heat of the humid weather.

Do you want to have some toasts to go with your beverage? You could try out their Yue Lai Kaya Butter Toast (RM1.20). From the first look, I thought it would be another extremely sweet caramelized coconut jam that you would get from the mamak roti man. It turned out just like what I always wanted to have – a mildly sweetened with fragrant eggy taste kaya. This order was not bad at all.

There are also savory version of toasts and sandwiches for you to choose from ranging from mayo egg to mayo tuna. Here’s how the Triangle Toasted Mayo Tuna Set (RM2.20) would look like.

Not enough still for your breakfast? Well, there’s always the Half Boiled Eggs (RM1.40 for 2) with a dash or two of soy sauce and pepper to your liking.

There are also some heavier dishes for your lunch such as the nasi lemak (steamed coconut rice), spaghetti and noodles. You could try out the Yue Lai Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken (RM5.00). This dish would be served with a bowl of rice, some cucumber pieces, half a hard-boiled egg, some deep fried anchovies with peanuts, curry potato and of course with a juicy yet well marinated piece of fried chicken drumstick. This was quite a good bargain for the price paid.

There goes the same for the Yue Lai Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken (RM5.00). Every side dish would be the same except for the chicken drumstick curry.

They do serve Hokkien Prawn Mee (RM4.00) too. I was quite surprise to find this local hawker dish here as it would involve a lot of preparation to get a great bowl such as the Hokkien Prawn Noodle recipe I had earlier. Although the bowl of noodle (instant noodle used here) looked quite simple with only two halves of a hard-boiled egg, 3 medium sized prawns with a few strands of water spinach and garnished with some fried shallots, it tasted quite good. It would be better if the kopitiam were to add in a few pieces of chicken shreds or pork slices for more bites.

Other than those few dishes mentioned above, there’s also the Yue Lai Mee Soup (RM3.50) which was basically your home cooked version of instant noodles. The bowl of noodles came with some cabbages, egg, half a ham and two halves of a sausage. This is another great bargain for all the ingredients given.

Since this kopitiam is still quite new, more delicious dishes and snacks would be added next month onwards. Do check them out for some simple break time food. It would not be hard to find this kopitiam as it is strategically located just behind the Island Girl’s School along Jalan Argyll, Penang. As you pass the Jalan Argyll/Jalan Transfer junction, drive all the way towards the end of Jalan Argyll and you would see a newly constructed building on your left. Kopitiam Yue Lai is at the ground floor.

Name: KOPITIAM YUE LAI
Address: 203-G, Jalan Argyll, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 0181
Business Hours: 8.00am-6.00pm (Closed on Sunday)
GPS: 5.422347, 100.328613

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

SWEET & CRUNCHY DIPPING SAUCE FOR STEAMBOAT

Posted by crizlai On February - 26 - 2010

I did mention earlier in my Chinese New Year reunion dinner post that my family has a special dipping sauce for our steamboat instead of the usual hoisin sauce, chopped garlic with bird’s eyes chilies in soy sauce or bottled chili sauce that most family would have as condiments. Let me share with you this simple and appetizing SWEET & CRUNCHY DIPPING SAUCE recipe for almost any meat or seafood dishes.

INGREDIENTS:
250gms red sweet sauce (紅甜醬/tim zheong)
1 thumb size young ginger (slice thinly and cut into strips)
100gms chicken fat/skin/lard (cut into 2” strips)
oil

PREPARATION:
1. Heat up 4 tablespoon of oil in a wok in high fire.
2. Lower the fire to medium and put the chicken fat. Slowly sauté the fat until crispy brown. Scoop up and place on a kitchen towel to seep the excess oil. When cool, cut into smaller chunks.
3. Heat up the remaining oil and sauté the ginger strips until golden brown.
4. Put in the sweet sauce and sauté for about 3 minutes under low fire.
5. Put in the chunks of fat and stir evenly.
6. Scoop and serve.

Note: You can scoop up some of the oil if there is too much. It’s advisable to prepare this sauce 2-3 hours before serving as the oil would harden (due to the fat/lard) and turn white under cold environment. If this happen, just microwave the sauce in high mode for 30 seconds. Best consume within 2-3 days without needing to refrigerate.

(Serves: 10 and above)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

HERBAL SOUP FOR YOUR FAVORITE HOT POT

Posted by crizlai On February - 22 - 2010

Instead of the usual stock for hot pot (steamboat) during this Chinese New Year reunion dinner, I had decided to opt for herbal stock. The ginseng enriched stock was a refreshing experience for my family. Are you aware that ginseng could help in stimulating the physical and mental activity of a tired or weak body? On top of that, it’s ideal for defending the body system from the effects of prolonged physical strain as well as a stimulant for the endocrine glands which would include the sex glands. Did I just say that? Haha! Anyway, it’s good for the general health of everyone.

The amazing part of brewing this stock would be that it’s concentrated. You could easily store in small containers and deep freeze it for your future cooking. The stock would be almost gelatin like with no preservative or seasoning. All you need to do is to add half a container of water to a container of stock and put in some pepper and salt to taste. It’s just as simple as that. Let me show you how you could create this HERBAL STOCK for your favorite hot pot. It’s mild anyway for the consumption of all ages.

INGREDIENTS:

Stock:
2kg pork bones (big bones/tua kut)
3 whole chicken bones
50gms ginseng roots (人參鬚/Panax schinseng roots)
20 sweetened dates
10 liter water

Serving:
Dried Chinese wolfberry (枸杞/kay chee/gouci/goji berry)
Pepper
Salt

PREPARATION:
1. Bring to boil 12 liters of water in a 20L pot.
2. Wash all the bones clean with salt and slowly put all of them into the big pot of boiling water. Add in the ginseng roots and dates. Lower the fire, close the pot partly with a lid and let it simmer for about 6-8 hours. Filter out all the bones and you would get about 6-7 liters of stock left.
3. Scoop the required amount of stock for your hot pot into a new pot. Add in half that amount of hot water (2:1). Add in some dried Chinese wolfberry (about less than 1 tablespoon will do as too much will make the soup turn sour). Bring to boil and sprinkle some pepper and salt to taste. NOTE: Try to be lighter in salt usage as some of the hot pot ingredients such as the meatballs and fish balls have salt in them. Thus the longer the hot pot boils, the saltier it will get. Anyway, I will be sharing the dipping sauce recipe next to allow you to adjust to your taste bud.

Recommended Vegetables for Hot Pot:
Crown daisy chrysanthemum leaves (tang oh/茼蒿) and other vegetables such as Chinese Cabbage (菜心/choy sum), cabbage, spring onions (tied up), young corn, mushrooms, etc. Please take note that the usage of too much Enoki mushrooms might cause the soup base to be sour.

Recommended Add-in for Hot Pot:
All types of meat and fish balls which would be available at your location, either fresh or frozen, chicken fillet slices and seafood of any kind such as crab, clam, mussel, squid, cuttlefish, prawn or fish.

Simple Alternative Soup with the stock:
– Chicken fillet slices, white fungus and ginkgo nuts.
– Chicken fillet slices, lotus seed and lily bulb (百合/bai he/ pak hup).
– Chicken with chopped water chestnut balls, cabbage and rice vermicelli.
– Pork dumpling (sui kow/水餃), Chinese cabbage (菜心/choy sum) and wonton noodles.

(Serves: 10 and above)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

MEMORABLE REUNION DINNER FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR 2010

Posted by crizlai On February - 18 - 2010

As you can see, I have been rather busy during this year’s Chinese New Year. There were just too many projects to handle prior to the forth coming long stretch of holidays in which some of my Chinese based suppliers would be closed for business for almost 2 weeks. On top of that, I was mostly in the kitchen preparing some feasting goodies prior to the reunion dinner. Those included a few of my own recipes which included my delicious concoction of oysters and scallops and 30 liters of home brewed Herbal Tea to serve my guests during their visits on a humid day.

This year was one of the rarest celebration moments in my family as it so happen that the Chinese New Year which fell on 14 February 2010 coincided with Valentine’s Day. It’s a FIVE-IN-ONE CELEBRATION for the Lai Family! The celebration included the reunion dinner to usher in the Tiger year, my brother’s birthday on the eve, Valentine’s Day, my brother’s lunar birthday as well as his wedding anniversary which fell on Valentine’s Day. It was indeed a fun-filled celebration.

This year’s reunion dinner dishes were somewhat unique compared to the previous ones. In fact, other than the purchases of different types of meat and fish balls, the steamboat stock was another new creation for the family. It was ginseng roots based herbal stock for the first time in our steamboat reunion dinner history. Simple as it may look but it took more than 8 hours of low fire simmering and tedious filtering just to cook this up. Our steamboat side dishes this year was rather simple as we had other extra dishes as well. They included lots of crown daisy chrysanthemum leaves (tang oh/茼蒿), cabbages, wolfberry, prawns, silver pomfret (tao tay fish), chicken drumstick fillet, hair moss fish balls, vegetable fish balls, squid balls, large meatballs, 3 different types of wolf herring (sai to/ikan parang/西刀) fish balls, prawn & pork dumpling (sui kow/水餃), seafood tofu, Fuzhou fish balls (福州魚丸/Hock Chew fish ball – stuffed with minced meat), fish dumplings (魚餃/hoo keow/thin fish batter skin stuffed with minced meat) and fried chopped garlic as garnishing. The whole experience was rejuvenating after so many days of tiring preparations.

What would be new to most families would be our unique dipping sauce. It’s definitely not any hoisin sauce, chopped garlic with bird’s eyes chilies in soy sauce or bottled chili sauce but a concoction of red sweet sauce (甜醬), ginger and chicken fat. The fragrant gingery sauce with each bite of meat, seafood or balls would surely make you yearn for more.

As it was rare to have my brother’s birthday on such an auspicious gathering, we totally ignored on the fat and cholesterol intakes. LOL! I ordered one of my favorite Korean food – Jokbal (족발 – RM77), glazed pig feet meat slices. I believed that Sa Rang Chae Korean Restaurant is the sole restaurant in Penang to have this wonderfully cooked dish. It caught my brother’s attention immediately as I saw him applying nonstop the accompanied sweet and/or salty sauces onto the accompanied lettuce endlessly. Cool! At least he’s happy. Err… what happened to your diet plan bro? 😛

Now comes the interesting part of the suspense since my last post on reserving some of my home cooked Hokkien Mee stock and chili paste for this new recipe. What would a birthday be without any birthday noodles? Let me introduce you to my latest fusion recipe – Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles! The delicious dish had yellow noodles carefully stir fried in thick prawn stock, dried shrimps, meat, prawns, fish cake and flowering Chinese cabbage (chye sim/chai sim/菜心) with deep fried crab stick strips and fried shallots as garnishing. You can adjust your level of spiciness by adding more of the chili paste. Everybody, inclusive my two teenage nieces could not stop having this dish as it had a unique seafood fragrant. The more you take this, the more you want it for every meal!

I will not touch on the recipes here but I will share the recipes in the next few posts. Wishing everyone one a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year! Do drive carefully if you are traveling! Check out for more update here soon.

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.

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