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Archive for the ‘penang’ Category

PULAU AMAN FLOATING RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 19 - 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CARNARVON STREET FRIED KOAY KAK (RICE CAKE)

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 17 - 2008

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As you know, Penang is the Food Paradise of Malaysia. What would you do if you want to try out something cheap, nice and yet not too filling? There are many options but you can always try out one of the local delicacies called Fried Koay Kak (Fried Rice Cake), which is made out of rice flour added with some water and some seasonings. The mixture would then be steamed until you get a white and soft rice cake. The cake would then be cut into cubes using a mesh wire frame before the actual frying. This is how it would look like when mixed with some dark soy sauce in a large pan.

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There is one stall along Lebuh Carnarvon that served one of the cheapest Fried Koay Kak in town from as low as RM1.50 (small). You can opt for either chicken or duck eggs. I would recommend the Fried Koay Kak with Duck Egg (RM2.50). Somehow, the duck egg has that special flavor that made the dish even better. I love to frequent this stall as the lady is one of the more pleasant and generous one around. She would ask you if the ingredients such as the preserved turnip (chai po) or bean sprouts would be enough for your consumption or whether you would need more chili paste and chives. That’s what I call VIP treatment. 🙂

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I would say the price to try out this dish is cheap. Just look at the price list. If you are adventurous enough, you can always try out another version of the recipe which is the Fried Radish Koay Kak (Char Chai Tau Koay).

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It’s really very easy to find the stall. The stall is at café is just diagonally opposite the Te Chang You Tiao Wang stall which I wrote about earlier. If you are coming from Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong along Prangin Mall, you will pass by two traffic lights. Keep left and drive on to the second traffic light. Wan Lee Brothers (toys wholesaler) is on the left. Turn left into Lebuh Carnarvon and drive until the end of the road. You would pass by a police station on you left and then a market after a junction (Lebuh Carnarvon/Pesara Claimant). Drive on. You would reach another junction (Lebuh Carnarvon/Lebuh Campbell). Drive on. Try to find a parking space here. The stall is just on your left hand side at the end of this street (Lebuh Carnarvon/Lebuh Chulia).

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Name: CARNARVON STREET FRIED KOAY KAK
Address: Carnarvon Street, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8.30pm-1.00am (Closed Wednesday & Thursday)
GPS: 5.393019, 100.276342

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

AQUATIC CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 12 - 2008

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

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The concept of having little fish to treat your dead skins had boomed in the past few months with more and more fish spa shops mushrooming throughout the whole of Penang. What many might not know is that there’s another evolved kind of fish related business, the first ever concept, started in Penang barely a month ago. What do you think of the concept of dining with fish then? Let us look into this newly open café, brainstormed by a fish breeder cum Arowana Club Penang member, George Liew, who had named his shop as the Aquatic Café.

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Even before you enter the café, you would see two tanks of his prized arowanas and mahseers (ikan kelah) being proudly displayed at the entrance. Don’t you think the golden arowana looks beautiful? A fish with these marking and color could fetch thousands in the aquarium fish market.

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Upon entering the café, there were rows of aquariums on both sides of the dining area. Baby arowanas, baby mahseers can be seen swimming actively in the specially constructed build-in aquariums.

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I was there to check out the food menu recently. The first dish that was served was the Aquatic Nasi Lemak (steamed coconut milk rice with side dishes – RM7). The set has two juicy pieces of curry chicken, some potatoes, half an egg, some crackers, peanuts and their specially prepared sambal ikan bilis (anchovy curry), presented with a few thinly sliced cucumber and tomato. This is not a bad dish actually as the curry chicken was not too spicy and the sambal ikan bilis blended in well with the steamed coconut milk rice. Even a kid would be able to consume this dish. The only problem is that the peanuts could be a bit hard for my consumption.

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Next one the table was the Aquatic Cheese Baked Seashells Pasta (RM9). You can opt for chicken or beef. The dish was served with a large amount of seashells pasta, topped with the pasta gravy and garnished with some parmesan cheese. The dish had some sweet after taste. Maybe I’m used to consuming more fresh ingredients with minimum sugar intake. I hope the boss would add in some pasta carbonara recipes as there would be more choices for people who does not consume tomato puree.

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They also serve Aquatic Home Made Pies (RM8.50) with a choice of Mushroom Chicken, Black Pepper Chicken and Curry Chicken gravy, all accompanied with some French fries and greens.

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This is the amount of meat and gravy you would get for your Mushroom Chicken Pie (pastry not shown here).

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Your Black Pepper Chicken Pie (pastry not shown here) won’t look much different as the above as it had some black pepper sprinkled on it. I prefer this than the above choice.

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You could also savor the Aquatic Cheese Baked Dory Fish (RM9), served with French fries and greens as well.

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There are more items in their menu which I did not try out such as the Aquatic Sandwiches/Toast (RM3.50), Aquatic Chicken Curry with Toast (RM5.50), Aquatic Tuna Cheese Melt (RM4.50), Aquatic Garlic Bread (RM3), Aquatic Home Made Pizza (RM4.50/RM8.50), Aquatic Fish & Chips (RM9), Aquatic Spaghetti Bolognaisse (RM9) and Aquatic Chicken Spaghetti (RM9).

There also have their own brand of coffee (The Only One) in their beverage menu such as Cappuccino, Latte, Vanilla Latte, Caramel Latte, Hazelnut Latte, Irish Cream Latte, Mocha, Flat White Coffee, White Coffee, Aquatic Black Coffee and Hot Chocolate. These all have low sugar content. Thus, quite suitable for diners who are healthy conscious and the pricing is cheap. Hot (RM2.50-RM4), Cold (RM3-RM3.50) and Blended (RM3.50-RM5). If you are not a coffee lover, you can opt for their Mango, Orange or Lychee Juices – Cold (RM2), Blended (RM2.50) Can drinks are at RM2.50 each. Prices for all the above are at net price.

Overall, the food served here can still be improved, considering that they are only in the market for just a couple of weeks. Their beverages price could be a crowd puller. All the drinks are much cheaper than those franchise F&B Cafes around town. Moreover, it is not a bad place for anglers and fishing enthusiasts who would like to sit around, while admiring the beauty of the arowanas and mahseers swimming about. This cafe has WIFI access facility available too. It would also be an ideal place for families to bring their kids along to dine in here. Most of the fishes displayed are also up for sales. Some of the prized arowanas could fetch quite a high price too.

The café is just diagonally opposite the Te Chang You Tiao Wang stall which I wrote about earlier. If you are coming from Jalan Air Itam (near Kek Lok Si Temple) towards Jalan Paya Terubong, you would pass by SJK (Cina) Kong Ming 2 on your right and then East Coast Seafood Restaurant on your left. Keep to your left and drive on until you had reached the Lintang Paya Terubong/Jalan Paya Terubong traffic lights. Turn left and then left into the service road (which is a one way street). Try finding a parking space further up as the café is just on your right next to a Nasi Kandar shop.

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Name: AQUATIC CAFE
Address: 1228-P, Jalan Paya Terubong, 11060 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact:
604-827 6973, 012-433 6724 (George Liew), 016-473 5129 (Seng Wei)
Opening Hours: 12.00pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.393019, 100.276342

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

TE CHANG YOU TIAO WANG

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 11 - 2008

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Penang has quite a number of records in the Malaysian Book of Records and this yummy Chinese Cruller or Fried Bread Stick (You Tiao) from Te Chang You Tiao Wang (Extra Long Chinese Cruller King) could well fall into one of the category as being the longest (as I know) in Malaysia. This crunchy golden brown, deep fried strip of dough was about 14” long, one and the half times the length of a normal You Tiao selling elsewhere.

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Even a specially designed aluminum stove had to be constructed to ensure evenly spread heat to cook this dessert.

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At present, there are only two types of crullers available at the stall, the extra long cruller (RM1 each) and the Black & White Sesame Twins (3 for RM2). The Black & White Sesame Twins is quite similar to Ma Keok (Horse Shoe Shaped Sweetened Crullers) except that they were kneaded differently with black and white sesame seeds sprinkled on them.

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It was not the extra long crullers that impressed me but the fusion of what it had become today. I could not have imagined that they can be stuffed with so many different combinations and yet tasted great. Would you love to try out Stuffed Cruller with Meat Floss and Mayonnaise (RM2.50)?

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Stuffed Cruller with Tuna Mayonnaise was my favorite. Selling at RM2.50, it had tuna flakes mixed with mayonnaise, chopped onions, cabbages and carrots. Simply crunchy and delicious!

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You can even have Stuffed Cruller with Sausage and Mayonnaise (RM3). This would be a favorite for children.

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There were actually a few other sweeter combinations for you to choose. Each set would cost you only RM2. They are Kaya & Butter, Honey & Butter and Peanut & Butter. Instead of having one long cruller with one filling, I opted for the Mixed Cruller which has half meat floss and half tuna mayonnaise (RM2.50).

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On top of that, they have Black Soy Bean Milk at only RM1. The crullers are best taken when they are fresh and crispy. Leaving them too long with the mayonnaise stuffing would not ensure their crispiness.

If you are coming from Jalan Air Itam (near Kek Lok Si Temple) towards Jalan Paya Terubong, you would pass by SJK (Cina) Kong Ming 2 on your right and then East Coast Seafood Restaurant on your left. The stall is just a bit further up on your right before the Lintang Paya Terubong/Jalan Paya Terubong traffic lights. In fact, it is just next to the Paya Terubong Lao Foo Zhi Bak Kut Teh stall. This extra long Chinese cruller originated from Kuala Perlis. They are the main supplier of You Tiao to one of the famous seafood restaurants there. You could even try them out at their main branch in Kuala Perlis, Perlis, Malaysia.

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Name: TE CHANG YOU TIAO WANG ENTERPRISE
Branch Address: 1250-A, Jalan Paya Terubong, 11060 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-433 7301 (Mr. TH Tan)
Main Branch Address: 76, Jalan Sarawak, 02000 Kuala Perlis, Perlis, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 6.00am-5.00pm (Closed Alternate Tuesday)
GPS: 5.394222, 100.276417

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

 

SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 10 - 2008

Note: Every since this beautiful place vanished overnight through ashes, a lot of people has been missing them. Now they are reincarnated as Bora Bora By Sunset. 🙂

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I guessed I might just have to disclose that there was actually a private function during the launching of my food blog on the 4 December 2008. Attendees – two! Some might get the hint from my statement on “Anniversary of Anniversaries” but some may still be in the dark. I could be a real secretive person at times you know. LOL! Anyway, there is no better place for some private moments than at the beach. The luxurious, warm and soft white sandy coastline of the Batu Ferringhi Beach could well be the perfect environment with beautiful panoramic views and privacy to rekindle the sparks or light a new one for years to come.

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Having some soft evening breeze blowing onto your face, while settling down by the sun deck watching over the sunset and listening to the waves lap on the shore, would be an added bonus for romantic trysts. There’s no budgeting for such a memorable moment, although some would prefer a dining table by the beach under a dim candlelight with soft background music that won’t cost too much. Where would be the best place for such event than at Sunset Bistro Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang.

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As you know this is a bistro with music and liquors (RM10 – RM40) all through the night, there’s actually some fruit juice and non-fizzy beverages available too such as the gigantic jug of Fruit Punch (RM9.90) or the Ice Lemon Tea (RM4.90).

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There are also many appetizers, main meals, rice dishes, noodles, finger food, sandwiches, pizza, pastas and desserts to choose from, ranging from as low as RM6.90 (Fried Koay Teow) to RM31.90 (Mixed Grill). The good news is all items are priced nett with no additional taxes. Since we had a late and heavy lunch, we shared out some of the food.

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The Spaghetti Carbonara with Turkey Ham (RM14.90) tasted great. It had this thick yet herb filled taste in it with some shredded parmesan cheese garnished on the pasta. The portion was large enough for both of us to share out.

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Next was the Club Sandwich (RM10.90). The dish came with four slices of fresh white bread, stuffed with a layer of lettuce, a layer of cheddar cheese, a layer of mixed tuna salad, accompanied by some greens and salad, served with some French fries. The sandwich was nothing really special at all as I was expecting the bread to be slightly toasted.

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The last dish to come was the 6” Mauii Pizza (RM9.90). The pizza base was crispy and the topping was beautiful. It had large chunks of chicken meat, mushrooms and pineapple spread over a freshly prepared tomato puree and baked to perfection with lots of mozzarella cheese. The pizza was so tasty that we regretted not ordering a larger 8” one (RM12.90).

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Overall, the simple meal was quite pleasant. Here’s the signboard of some of the food available in this bistro by the beach.

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We ended up strolling along the mile long night market looking for some bargains for items such as shoes, clothing, DVD’s, hand bags, jewelries, wallets, cushion covers, sarongs, luggage, sunglasses, souvenirs, paintings and many more.

Drive all the way up to Batu Ferringhi until you reach Parkroyal Hotel Penang on your right. Turn right into the first junction after the hotel and you will reach the Bayu Senja beach front. When you are at the T junction, turn left. Find a parking space. The bistro is just somewhere further on you right by the beach in front of many beach hostels.

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Name: SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI
Address: 56A, Bayu Senja, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-553 1313 (Ms. Melynda Soon)
Opening Hours:
12.00pm-1.00am Sunday – Thursday)
12.00pm-3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.471436, 100.244333

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

CHA YU KAFEI RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 8 - 2008

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If I’m not mistaken, this place used to be located in the present 7’s Sister Café & Restaurant premise few years back and relocated to another place at Jalan Arratoon for few years before firming itself at the present premise. With more than 5 years of experience in the F&B sector, the restaurant sure knows how to cater to the taste buds of the public. Moreover, the food served would be halal (pork-free). Upon entering the premise, you would think that they are just another tea house serving some finger food. In fact, they are one of those established restaurant with more than 100 types of dishes for you to choose from. Sadly, they could not come up with photos of all the dishes, as they are always creating new dishes.

One thing you have to take note is that photography taking is quite limited as they have their own set of rules. You would not even be allowed to take shots of the interior and exterior. Please remember that it’s always polite to request the permission from them prior to taking shots, with a name card of course.

I was there recently for a visit to try out some of their newly created tea dishes. As usual, we ordered drinks first. The Soya Bean Milk was RM2.00 whereas the Red Dates was RM1.80.

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There would always be snacks prior to any meal in an Oriental restaurant. Braised Peanuts was at RM2.00 per plate.

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The first dish that came was the Fried Fragrant Tea Rice (飄香茶飯- RM6.90). It was good as the “Wok Hei” (high heat cooking) did make the rice very fragrant. Not oily too. One unique taste in the fried rice was the mild tea taste. The rice was cooked with some tea prior to frying. It has some mixed vegetables, vegetarian char siew chunks, large prawns, eggs and garnished with their in-house fried tea leaves. It’s a must to try out.

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Sesame Fried Abalone Mushroom (芝麻鮑魚菇 – RM6.90) was served next. Some Abalone Mushroom were coated with batter and deep fried, prior to garnishing them with some sweetened chili sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Not bad a dish too if you love crunchy food.

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The Stir Fry Fish Bladder Tofu (魚鰾豆腐 – RM10.90) was appetizing. The gravy itself had all the right combination of sauces. The dish has four pieces of homemade fried tofu, cooked with some fish bladder and mini Chinese cabbage.

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The last dish would normally be the best dish as some said. How true it was for the Drunken Tea Chicken Claypot (茶香醉雞煲 – RM11.90). Choice pieces of a chicken drumstick with thigh were cooked in mild tea, ginger strips, mushroom and wood ear fungus slices, some herbs such as dried Gouqi (wolfberries), dong quai (Chinese Angelica) and a large amount of Shao Xing wine. Some in-house fried tea leaves were sprinkled on the soup. The chicken meat was tender and the soup base was simply rich in herb and wine flavors. A must try for those herb soup enthusiasts.

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An Oriental meal would not be complete without some sweet desserts. Foo Chook Ginkgo Nuts Soya Bean Tang Yuan (腐竹白果豆水湯圓 – RM4.20 per bowl) was served steaming hot. The bowl of dessert had thin soya bean milk, cooked with foo chook (dried beancurd sheet), ginkgo nuts, rock sugar and served with two large sesame filled tang yuan (glutinous rice flour balls). Although a bit pricey for the dessert, it would be worth your money paid.

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On top of the dishes with rice, you can also try out their reputable Hokkien Style Fried Potato Starch (古早味薯粉 – RM6.90). The dish has thinly flavored steamed potato starch fried with fragrant dried shrimps, cabbage, onions, spring onions and prawns. The starch has the color and translucent look of a wood ear fungus but taste springier than hor fun. It was indeed very yummy.

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The Spinach Noodle with Fish Ball (魚滑蚧柳菠菜面 – RM7.90) was somewhat different. A spinach noodle (spinach wan than mee) was cooked in a mild ginger chicken broth, garnished with ingredients such as the chef special fish balls, artificial crabsticks, carrot slices, button mushroom slices and some Chinese cabbage, sprinkled with a bit of fried garlic. The soup taste was fine and the ingredients were a lot.

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If you feel that the noodles were not filling enough, you can also order some side dishes such as the Steamed Egg Rolls (蛋皮巻 – RM5.90 for 5 rolls). Rolls of steamed minced meat, prawns and spinach would be rolled into thinly fried egg skins and garnished with some egg white based gravy. Not bad but I would prefer the filling to be a bit softer.

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Overall, the two of us enjoyed the meal a lot. A 5% tax would be incurred for those orders. The restaurant also caters for indoor and outdoor functions. If you are coming from KOMTAR area/Traders Hotel along Jalan Magazine, turn left into Jalan Gurdwara at the Gama Supermarket traffic lights. Keep to your right after the traffic light and turn right into the small road (Jalan Trang) next to the Gama building. The restaurant is somewhere further up on your left with some beautifully decorated Japanese bamboo gardens.

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Name: CHA YU KAFEI RESTAURANT
Address: 33 Jalan Trang, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 1028, 012-417 3174, 016-422 1028
Opening Hours: 12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.412600, 100.327395

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

3RD PENANG FLOGGERS MEET – POTLUCK GATHERING

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 7 - 2008

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The Third Penang Food Bloggers (Floggers) Potluck Meet at Gill & Jason’s Place on 6 December 2008 was another great experience for many. The food was so wonderful that I do not think anyone else would ever experience such an international spread. We had food ranging from Western, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, etc. This would not have happened if it were not the effort of everyone who had sweated it out in the kitchen to come out with something great to make the gathering such a success.

There were all together 12 attendees at the gathering from 10 food websites. To start the ball rolling, let me start with what I had bought to the gathering.

Criz Lai of Criz Bon Appetite – Western & Oriental Fusion (Nutmeg Cherry Tomatoes / Spicy Chicken & Abalone Salad / Jack Fruit Pork Strips / Fragrant Sambal Prawns). I had a fun theme for my self created recipes. I had the cherry tomatoes stuffed with sugared nutmeg strips. Each tomato had a mild tomato taste with a touch of the sweetness from the stuffed nutmeg strips.

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The Spicy Chicken & Abalone Salad was quite a blast with the floggers. It contained some roasted chicken chunks, fresh Pacific abalone slices, wood ear fungus, ginger flower, kaffir leaves, dried grated coconut, roasted sesame seeds mixed with chili paste, dried shrimp powder and lime juices.

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The stir fried Jack Fruit Pork Strips was another hit for a few floggers. It had a mixture of fresh jack fruit strips, turmeric flavored pork chop slices, cooked with some special sauce with a touch of Shao Xing wine.

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The Fragrant Sambal Prawns was cooked with a fusion between Indian and Nyonya Style. Some large prawns were cooked in sambal hae bee (spicy pounded dried shrimps) with onions and curry leaves to bring in that special fragrance in the dish.

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Jason & Gill – Cheese Fondue with Baguettes / Salsa Salad / Lemonade with Pomegranates. Our loving couple came out with Cheese Fondue, imported directly from Europe. The frozen mixture has that unique liquor taste in it. Although the alcohol content is not that intoxicating, I love it best with the fresh German sausages Ken brought.

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The Salsa Salad goes well with the meaty dishes as it has that pungent and sour taste in it – a great appetizing salad indeed. Sorry to say, I forgot about taking shots of the tasty lemonade drink.

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Ken Chan – Cantonese Style Spicy & Sour Pork Ribs / Fresh German Sausages / Roasted Stuffed Chicken. Ken brought a whole pot of the sour pork stew. It has a mild touch of some herbs with lots of cabbage. The pork ribs were tasty and tender.

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The fresh German sausages which Ken brought all the way from Kuala Lumpur were huge but juicy. We even have a small BBQ area for that.

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The Roasted Stuffed Chicken took quite some time to be defrosted and roasted to perfection. The waiting time was not disappointing at all as the meat had all the herby taste from the coating and ham stuffing absorbed deeply into the meat.

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Lilian Chan – Smoked Salmon & Herb Focaccia Appetizer. Lilian did a great job by creating her own herb focaccia bread for the gathering. Her dish has a spread of mayonnaise on the bread slice and topped with a rolled smoked salmon and some cream cheese. It was something great that you won’t get from any buffet appetizer menu.

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Lingzie of Lingzie’s Tummy Treats – Cheesecake Brownies & Lime Pie. The Cheesecake Brownies Lingzie made was rather rich. It has a thick chocolate taste in it. Sweet for some but it was a lovely treats for us.

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Although the Lime Pie was rather soft and sour in taste, it was very appetizing. It has crushed digestive biscuits as base, baked eggs, condensed milk and lime juice as topping and was served with whipped cream. Simply delicious! I even had three helpings to the dessert.

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Steven Goh – Kimchi Fried Rice. The Kimchi Fried Rice was tasty. It has lots of chicken meat and prawns in it and the overall combination of the Kimchi with rice was just right.

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Allen Ooi of Yummy Station – Mashed Potatoes. Allen tried his best to come out with a recipe he had not tried before. That was a good effort indeed. The Mashed Potatoes was quite nice, although it could be slightly improved with some added sour cream and black pepper to make the dish more creamy and spicy.

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CK Lam of What2See Online – Sushi Rolls. CK brought along a big tray of Sushi Rolls with many varieties to choose from. We have Chopped Baby Octopus Sushi, Fish Roe Sushi, Crab Stick Sushi and Unagi Sushi. All the sushi tasted real fresh and yummy but the Wasabi plus the soy sauce accompanied was real fiery. Both my ears and nose almost caught fire due to my carelessness of applying too much on my sushi… haha 😛

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Rebecca of The Nomad Gourmand – Fruits. We have the privilege to meet up with Rebecca from KL. She had prepared what we needed most – fresh fruits. She served us with Vietnamese dragon fruit, Australian mangoes, Malaysian yellow watermelon and Thai wax apple (jambu air). Even the fruits were rather international too. 😛

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Min aka 550ml Jar of Faith of After Giovanni – Hakka Dish (Stir Fry Sohn Pan Tzai – 算盘子or Àbacus Beads) & Disposable Utensils. Min, also came all the way from KL, came out with a rather unique Hakka dish – Stir Fry Sohn Pan Tzai. The dough is formed by mixing tapioca and yam, cut into abacus-bead shapes and boiled until it looked translucent. The cooked dough is then fried with sliced cuttlefish, dried shrimps, wood ear fungus, some chopped celery stalks with a touch of light soy sauce, sesame oil and some seasonings. The taste was great as I had never tasted this Hakka dish before.

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The gathering sure did foster closer relationships amongst the floggers. I could not wait for the next gathering. Most probably it would be held after the Chinese New Year which will fall on 26-27th January 2009.

SEVEN SISTER CAFE & RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 5 - 2008

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED OPERATION BUT THE PUB IS STILL IN OPERATION

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If I mention about Restoran Zim Sum along Jalan Anson or its sister companies, Town Steamboat Restaurant and Dim Sum Food Restaurant along Jalan Macalister, most Penangites would know about them. What about another sister company by the name of 7’S (Seven Sister) Café & Restaurant just a few blocks away along Jalan Nanning? Quite a number of people who passes by this nice bungalow lot would think that it’s just another pub in town. You are wrong as this place served one of the cheapest set lunches in town.

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I was there to try out their set menu recently and found their food quality to be real impressive at the price I was paying. The set menu came in 3 categories – Noodle Soup & Pasta Set (RM7.80nett), 4-course Western Set (RM14.80nett) and Rice Set (RM10.80nett). All sets will come with a Dessert of the Day (Ice Cream) and a Drink of the Day (Iced Lemon Tea, Soft Drink, Coffee or Tea).

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Since there were only two of us there for lunch, we tried out two of the set meals. I had the Western set which also included Appetizer of the Day (Classic Caesar Salad) and Soup of the Day (Fresh Mushroom Soup). The salad portion was big and has a few fried sausages in it.

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The Fresh Mushroom Soup was great too with lots of mushroom slices in it. It might not be the best around but it was quite creamy and tasty.

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I get to select my main meal from a list which comprised of Grilled Chicken Chop with Mushroom Sauce, Pan Fried Salmon Steak with Lemon Cream Sauce and Black Pepper Grilled Lamb Chop. I opted for the latest. I did not regret ordering this dish as the presentation was marvelous and the black pepper sauce was thick and tasty. There were lots of potato wedges and greens hidden under 3 big pieces of juicy medium rare grilled lamb meat.

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Dessert of the Day was next. It was just a plain scoop of Strawberry Ice Cream. Who would want to complain? That was a bonus!

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My friend on the other hand tried the Rice Set thinking that it would be small serving. He chose the Seafood Japanese Tofu from a list of dishes which also included Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilies, Sweet & Sour Fish Fillet, 7’S Homemade Steamed Chicken in Ginger Sauce and Fried Lamb Cubes in Teriyaki Sauce. The dish came in a clay pot with lots of Japanese Tofu and mixed seafood. The gravy was nice.

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A large bowl of rice with an omelette above and some fresh tomato slices was accompanied with the dish. Dessert followed.

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I would surely drop in to try out their Noodle Soup and Pasta sets when I am down that area again. The list of food listed such as Egg Noodles in Homemade Abalone Soup, Yellow Noodles in Homemade Light Ginger Soup, Spaghetti with Grilled Chicken, and Spaghetti with Grilled Dory Fish was quite impressive.

This place also does provide Happy Hour from as early as 4pm until 9pm.

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Moreover, there’s a public karaoke area for you to sing your heart out until 3am in the morning.

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If you are coming from KOMTAR area (Jalan Magazine and Jalan Dato Kramet) into Jalan Macalister, you would see its sister companies, Town Steamboat Restaurant and Dim Sum Food Restaurant on your left. Drive on and turn into the second junction (Lebuh Nanning) on your left. You will see a big white bungalow with red trims on your right. The famous Lorong Seratus Tahun curry mee is just opposite this restaurant.

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Name: 7’S (SEVEN SISTER) CAFE & RESTAURANT
Address: 26 Lebuh Nanning, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-228 2653
Opening Hours:
Restaurant: 11.30am – 3.00pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm
Pub: 4.00pm-3.00am (Karaoke), 4.00pm-9.00pm (Happy Hours)
GPS: 5.415253, 100.322270

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

NEWW BT FOOD COURT @ BURMAH ROAD

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 30 - 2008

Note: This food court is no longer in operation.

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For those who frequent the Georgetown area for food, you would have noticed that there’s a chain of food court by the name of Neww BT Food Court popping up at many places on Penang island as well as some places at the mainland. These food courts are big and have many choices of food available. I have been testing out majority of the food at both the Weld Quay outlet as well as the Burmah Road outlet but to date have barely found one stall that really gave me that oomph for repeat visits.

For the past few weeks, I have been sitting down at the Burmah Road outlet to identify which are those stalls that had the most orders and tried them out. To my conclusion, most of those ordered dishes were barely up to the standard. Maybe I could be wrong as taste bud is something that differs from individuals but from the leftovers on the plates and bowls that I had noticed, I might not be the only one that had the taste problem. Let me share with you my experiences at the food court.

Some people might consider presentation skill of a dish important. As for me, I would rather have tastier food rather than the presentation. Better still, I would prefer if the restaurant or hawker can provide both. I tried out two of the Western dishes on one occasion.

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The presentation on the Black Pepper Chicken Chop (RM7.50) plate was impressive. It had some turmeric colored oil and dark soy sauce as presentation. Even the main meal itself was beautifully presented as you would get from a fine dining restaurant or a 5-star hotel. The most noticeable problem on this dish is the choice of batter and the chicken meat. The crust was too thick and hard and the meat was too soft. There wasn’t any taste or springy texture of a chicken meat bite. Worst still, the black pepper gravy was so diluted and does not have any pepper taste or saltiness in it. This is totally disastrous!

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The Grilled Chicken (RM7.50) had the same problem as the dish above. The taste is totally bland and burnt. You can see how burnt the piece of meat is. The bottom section was even worst with almost 50% was burnt. The recommended gravy was also bad. No sweetness, saltiness or even sourness in it. Moreover, it’s also rather diluted. This was the worst Western dish I had taken in ages.

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Luckily the Pasembur (mixed fritters with boiled potatoes, egg with shredded cucumber and jicama/yambean/sengkuang – RM5) saved the day. At least all the ingredient that I had chosen plus the gravy was quite acceptable although not the best around.

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The two piece of Poh Piah (thin Asian wheat flour crepe with shredded jicama filling) ordered was a disappointment. I expected something better for the RM3 paid. It ended up soggy, tasteless with hardly any filling. There was not even a single piece of crabmeat in it. Each roll has only barely noticeable mashed bean curd and some minced meat. I felt so cheated!

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The next dish was a joke. Baked Cheese Seafood Macaroni was priced at RM9. I expected to see at least some reasonable amount of seafood presented but all I got was barely one button mushroom, less than half a artificial crabstick, 3 pieces of broccoli, four medium sized prawns, a large amount of macaroni pasta with some crushed oregano sprinkled on top. There was hardly any cheese taste and the sauce was sour and diluted. I did not even finish this dish as it was too tasteless for me.

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I saw quite a number of people ordering the Ampang Yong Tau Foo (mixed fish balls, meat balls, tofu related by products and vegetables of your choice – RM5) served with Yam Rice (RM1). When the dish was served, it was always my style to try out the soup first. First taste was quite fine but rather too mild considering that all the richness from the ingredients and the seaweed that I had chosen would have left some sweetness in the soup. The ingredients were like, “Gosh! How long have they boiled them? There wasn’t any taste in every single one!”

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The Yam Rice looked great with all the loose grains with some pieces of yam but the dish was extremely cold. Now you get what I meant about great presentation? The rice was totally inedible. Not only was the rice tasteless, it didn’t even have the fragrance from the soy sauce or dried shrimps in it. I had to force myself to finish it.

There are many other stalls selling Pei Pa Duck Rice, Braised Duck Herb Noodles, Curry Chicken Rice, Fried Belacan Chicken, Satay, Wan Than Mee, Hokkien Mee, Portugese BBQ, Char Hor Fun, Koay Teow Th’ng, etc that I had not tried to comment more. One thing I had noticed, these few stalls were not getting orders as they should. I guessed the consumers would know better right?

If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, drive on until you reach the second traffic lights at Jalan Burmah and Jalan Anson/Jalan Larut junction. BMW Showroom is on your left and Giant Supermarket if on your right. Drive straight amd keep to your right. You can see the food court on your right. Drive into Jalan Arratoon and find a parking space within the ample car park provided by the management.

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Name: NEWW BT FOOD COURT @ BURMAH ROAD
Address: Jalan Burma, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 2.00am
GPS: 5.422672, 100.323300

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 5.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SELERA SIM CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 25 - 2008

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For those working around the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ), especially those from the FIZ Phase IV, should be aware of the where about this hawker center. It is hidden right within some apartments along Jalan Tengah, Bayan Baru. The cafe is Selera Sim Café and will usually be packed with factory workers during lunch time. What I like about this cafe is the large portion of food served at a reasonable price.

Each time I’m up that area, I would surely visit this café regardless whether it’s breakfast, lunch or tea time. There’s one dish that would always be on my table and that’s the Mee Jawa. You can have it served fried or with the sweet potato soup and the owner would not be stingy to top it off with a lot of ingredients, all for a mere RM2.50. A bigger plate with more crackers would only be RM3.00.

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Each plate would come with sliced fried bean curd, boiled potatoes, eggs, prawn fritters and crunchy anchovy crackers, garnished with pounded peanuts and lettuce, and served with half a lime and some chili paste (sambal). The fried one had all the tasty spices seeped into the yellow noodles used and was topped with a little gravy. The soup one was just boiled yellow noodles with more sweet potato gravy. Both the dishes were remarkably tasty.

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Another of the most ordered dish stall (by the look of the crowd lining up for the food) would be The Nest Chicken Rice. This is just not an ordinary chicken rice stall as the chicken were neither roasted with soy sauce nor boiled. The “All drumstick plus thigh” chicken came in three flavors, namely Turmeric Roasted Chicken, KFC Batter-like Fried Chicken and Black Pepper Grill Chicken. Depending on your selection of side dishes which would include salad, fried bean curd, omelette, prawn fritters and fish fritters, each plate would cost you from RM4.50 to RM6.00. I tried out the Turmeric Fried Chicken Special Seafood Platter Set (RM6.00).

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The set came with a whole large piece of fried turmeric chicken served with lemon sauce (you can opt for their other sauce), a prawn fritter, a fish fritter and an omelette on top of a big bowl of rice. The chicken meat was juicy and tender with the nice turmeric taste on it. The prawn and fish fritters were very fresh and the special sauce on the rice blended in real well. I would say the pricing is very reasonable too as a smaller piece of chicken plus rice in a Nasi Kandar shop would have cost me RM5.20.

Each order would also come with free flow of soup. The soup of the day happened to be Seaweed Soup.

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There was quite a variety of food sold there although there was only a row of food stalls with a few more stalls scattered near the entrance of the cafe. From my observance, the two stalls which had the most crowds would be The Nest Chicken Rice and the Tar Hong Kong B.B.Q. Chicken & Duck Rice. I have yet to try the chicken and duck rice from this stall but I guessed the taste buds from the crowds would evidently prove them to be good.

I have not been there for quite some time for tea. There used to be a Chinese lady selling nice and tasty local delicacies (Nyonya kuih and curry puff) opposite the duck rice stall during tea time. I hope she’s still there if I ever to be there again during tea time.

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If you are coming from Gelugor or Jelutong Expressway towards the old Penang International Airport highway along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, you will reach the Jalan Mahsuri traffic light (turn right and it will lead you to Sunshine Square/SunTech Cyber City). Ignore this traffic and drive on until you see the Jalan Tengah traffic light. Turn right into Jalan Tengah and drive on until you see a traffic light. Turn left into Jalan Mayang Pasir and then first junction on your left into the Kampung Gedung Apartments. There would be a lot of lanes between all the apartments. Try to find a parking space near to Block 70, Block 72 or Block 74. The hawker center is just at the ground floor of Block 70.

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Name: SELERA SIM CAFE
Address: Block 70-G-1, Jalan Tengah, 11900 Bayan Baru, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 6.00pm
GPS: 5.318214, 100.286270

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

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