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HAO SHIANG HOUSE OF NASI LEMAK @ GREEN LANE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 24 - 2013

Recently, more and more restaurants and cafes had opened up in Penang with bombastic names that would attract the curiosities of diners. One such restaurant would be the Hao Shiang – House of Nasi Lemak in the vicinity of Green Lane, Penang. Sophisticated as the name may suggest, it was just another restaurant that is targeting the school children opposite its shop. The menu was simple with not only nasi lemak being served but other breakfast meals.

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To show the Nasi Lemak options available here, I went for a Basic Nasi Lemak Set A (RM2.90). The dish came with a bowl of rice, topped with two spicy sauces, some deep fried anchovies, halved hard boiled egg, pieces of deep fried sardine fish and a slice of cucumber. The rice came cold when I expected it to be at least warm, coming from a shop rather than a roadside stall with prepacked ones. Taste wise, it was rather hard and did not have those fragrant flavors from the usage of coconut milk with some help from some bunches of pandan (screwpine) leaves. The anchovies were barely cleaned well with a strong fishy taste. Moreover, they were rather hard for those with dentures. The halved hard boiled egg was like it was prepared too early as it was rather tough. Though the spicy sauces were reasonably prepared, they did not have that properly sauteed fragrance.

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There was also an addon of Dry Chicken Curry (RM2.50) available of which was not stated in the menu or I being informed by the waitress. It was not bad and the price was reasonable for such a huge piece. There was an offer of RM4.80 for this piece of chicken combined with the Basic Nasi Lemak Set A, a saving of RM0.60.

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Another set named Nasi Lemak “Yuan Yang” (RM5.90), came with a combination two types of flavored coconut milk infused rice. One would be the plain one and the other would be infused with pandan extracts. This set has a different side sides which consisted of some deep fried anchovies, a whole deep fried sardine fish, 2 large tamarind prawns, halved hard boiled egg and 2 slices of cucumber. Again, both there rice were rather cold and hard plus did not have the fragrance required for nasi lemak. The same problem with the hard deep fried anchovies, the fish tasted like salted fish with that overpowering saltiness. The tamarind prawns were fresh but were like marinated in soy sauce and sugar only. The egg was like overnight egg texture. Another failed nasi lemak to me.

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Other than just nasi lemak as the name suggested, they do have breakfast sets to cater to the school children. One such set would be their Breakfast Set B (RM4.90). It came with a set of buttered toasted bread, an omelette, a ham, two sausages and some gigantic baked beans. The only thing I enjoyed here was the baked beans which were superb. The sausages were rather tough to my liking and were not even pan grilled properly.

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You would know how experienced the chef is by just trying out how they prepare their Half Boiled Eggs (RM1.40). The yolk was overcooked and barely oozy as it should be. It should be called three quarter done egg instead.

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There are many selections of hot and cold beverages available here. I managed to try out 2 of the most unique ones in the menu. One of it was the Iced Blended Yam Oreo (RM3.50). Cheap as it may sound, it was definitely not my type of flavors. Combination wise was rather bland with chunks of ice not properly blended. On the other hand, the Iced Orange Coconut Jelly Green Tea (RM3.00) was also quite disappointing. It would be great for kids to quench their thirst with a small amount of coconut jelly but the taste just did not appeal to my liking as it was rather diluted.

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Overall, the food here can be quite mediocre. The food served here would suit school children and elderly more than diners who are looking for a nice hot steaming plate of meal. Though they have been in operation for barely a week, the quality of service could be rather bad, considering that mostly elderly people are handling the kitchen while the waitress barely have knowledge of entertaining all sorts of diners. Please ensure that they repeat what you have ordered as I had my orders missed twice in one dining. All prices are nett here.

Hao Shiang – House of Nasi Lemak is located at a corner unit of a row of shop houses just opposite SMJK Chung Hwa Confucian School along Tingkat Tembaga. You won’t miss it but parking can be quite limited during school/work days.

HAOSHIANGMAP

Name: HAO SHIANG – HOUSE OF NASI LEMAK
Address: 2 Tingkat Tembaga, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-491 2820, 017-771 4218 (Irene Lee)
Business Hours: 6.30am-4.00pm (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.391164, 100.301431

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

 

THE SOFT OPENING OF KAMPAI RESTAURANT AT E-GATE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 19 - 2013

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED OPERATION.

If you are a frequent diner at Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine at E-Gate Penang, you would have realized that they have been undergoing renovation works for some time since early December 2012. Now the restaurant was opened on 19 January 2013 and has been renamed as Kampai. The restaurant has been refurbished to a simple Taiwanese ambience concept with low stools and open space dining areas, serving Pan Asian cuisine ranging mostly of Taiwanese cuisine with a light selection of cuisines from China, Japan, Korea and more. This new concept is another brainchild of the Managing Director, Mr. Jack Suen (孫有恒) who has brought in the new Taiwanese “quick stir fry” dining concept to Malaysia. About 95 dishes would be available from the order menu, of which 70% would consist of dishes priced at RM9.90++ each. The balance dishes from the order menu ranges between RM6.90++ to RM29.90++ per serving.

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On top of the fixed menu, there would also be live seafood available based on market price as shown on the tag displayed. Some of the choices might be Red Lion, Siakap, Tiger Prawn, Kappa, Crab, Lala and more.

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Other fresh seafood would also be available based on the price displayed on the tags. Options might be octopus, cod fish, oyster, white promfret, scallop, prawn, balitung, bamboo clam, salmon head, sea urchin, trichiurus fish, flower crabs and more.

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We started off with some cold cuts such as the Sashimi Moriawase (盛盒刺身 – RM29.90++), an assortment of raw fish which consisted of salmon, tuna, snapper and mackerel cuts.

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Next was the Smoked Duck (煙燻鴨 – RM9.90++) which came in quite a large portion.

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We also fried out the Taiwanese Spicy Chicken (台式椒痲雞 – RM9.90++) which was quite good as the meat was juicy and tender. However, it lacked a bit more chili flakes for my liking.

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The Garlic Pork (蒜泥白肉 – RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite nice with a special sauce. It was one of the Taiwanese’s favorite dishes.

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As for Clams with Ginger Soup (蛤蜊薑絲湯- RM9.90++), the soup was quite nice except for the overpowering taste of added grounded pepper.

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The Garlic Water Frog Soup (蒜味田雞湯- RM19.90++) was just normal to be with a strong hint of garlic minus the fragrant aroma. I would rather have this in my porridge.

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The Taiwanese Roasted Pork (烤鹽豬肉- RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite dry and was rather salty to my liking. Somehow it did not have that sort of nice roasted flavors as on our local version of roasted pork.

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The BBQ Lamb (醬燒羊排 – RM15.90++) was rather tough for me. It was grilled with some quite nicely flavored BBQ sauce but somehow the meat was mot marinated well enough for flavors.

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There was also the Grilled Lemongrass Lamb (香茅羊肉串 – RM15.90++) which to me tasted almost similar to the BBQ Lamb. There was no distinctive lemongrass flavor and was not marinated well enough as the above.

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Again the Grilled Beef Ribs (鹽燒牛小排 – RM19.90++) was quite normal to me. It did not have any special sauce given except for some spices pepped salt for dipping. At least the meat was nicely marinated.

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Next was the Grilled Squid in Sea Urchin Sauce (花枝雲丹燒 – RM15.90++). Nothing special to me and the portion was rather small for us.

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As for stir fry items, we had Kung Bao Chicken (宮保雞丁 – RM9.90++). This was another common dish for me and somehow I felt that it lacked the “wok hei” I was expecting.

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At least, the Stir Fry Leek Chicken (蒜苗鹽豬肉 – RM9.90++) was reasonably flavored to go with a nice hot bowl of steamed Japanese rice (free-flow).

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Lastly, it was the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns (乾燒虎蝦 – RM9.90++). This is so typical Taiwanese style with lots added onions and capsicum in sweet and sour sauce.

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The beverages from this restaurant would basically be canned drinks and beers. Some of the recommended beers would be the Taiwan Beer (RM12++ each) and Taiwan Fruit Beer (RM12++ each). The Taiwan Fruit Beer has 4 flavour such as Lychee, White Grapes, Mango and Pineapple. Other beer brands available would be Budweiser (RM13++), Carlsberg (RM14++), Carlsberg Gold (RM15++) and Asahi (RM17++). For children, there would only be mineral water (RM2++ each) and canned drinks (RM2.50++ each) such as 100Plus, Coke, Sprite, F&N Strawberry, F&N Grape, Iced Lemon Tea, Chrysanthemum, Soya Bean and Grass Jelly.

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You can click below to view a larger photo of the menu available in Kampai Restaurant. The live seafood in the tanks and fresh seafood on ice would be based on market rate and would be charged separately per 100 grams as displayed at site.

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Overall, I personally felt that the dishes served here lacked the authenticity from the actual Taiwanese food I have tried. Though the Taiwanese cuisine we have tried in Malaysia were mostly from the Taiwanese street food scenes, somehow the so called “quick stir fry” dishes served here did not provide me with the type of identity I was expecting to get. 90% of dishes from the menu may consist of name of dishes from the region but they still taste almost similar as what I would get from those stir fry (chu char/大炒) stalls widely scattered all over the country. The only advantage I can see would be its availability to serve late night food hunters up to 2.00am daily with quick food to pair with beers. Another few items not available would be desserts and those milk tea easily available in Taiwan. Anyway, the sitting capacity would only be up to a maximum of 80 pax.

The Kampai restaurant is located within the E-Gate building just next to Subway Sandwiches & Salads facing the main road (Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway). If you know how to go to Tesco E-Gate, you won’t have problem at all locating the restaurant.

KAMPAIMAP

Name: KAMPAI RESTAURANT @ EGATE PENANG
Address:
1-01-05 & 1-01-06, Ground Floor, E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2,
Gelugor, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-658 7826
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-2.00am (Daily)
GPS: 5.375828, 100.315405

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

AFORDABLE JAPANESE CUISINE AT JAPIN RESTAURANT 1ST AVENUE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 16 - 2013

For the last few years, more and more Japanese restaurants are popping up in Penang. Some of these restaurants are charging quite an exorbitant pricing for their cuisine and did not quite suit the budget of many locals. However, one restaurant with quite a few branches has always been receiving endless streams of loyal diners. The name is Japin Restaurant.

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We managed to pay a visit to one of the branches at 1st Avenue recently. This outlet’s kitchen is managed by Chef Wong Wai Ming.

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For ramen lovers, you would not regret ordering their signature Kakuni Japin Ramen (Stewed Pork in Rich Soup Noodles/滷肉絕品拉面 – RM16.80+). You can practically taste the thick flavors in the broth which had been carefully simmered for more than 72 hours. The noodles were served together with some succulent and tender pieces of pork belly meat, wood ear fungus, a runny Ajitama soft boiled egg plus some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes.

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Instead of the thick broth type of ramen, you can also try out their Kara Ramen (Spicy Soup with Noodle/香辣拉面 – RM13.80+) with has a light strength of soup with some kicks of spiciness. The noodles were served with some slices of specially prepared pork, some vegetables plus some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes. You can request for the spiciness to be adjusted based on your preference.

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There would also be some udon dishes available such as their recommended Kaisen Kimuchi Udon (Seafood & Kimchi Soup with Udon Noodle/海鮮泡菜烏冬面- RM20.30+). The soup base was almost similar to the Korean’s Haemultang (해물탕), a spicy hot seafood stew. It was like having a chili boasted rich bowl of seafood stock with a nice al dente bite from the udon noodles. The dish had some scallops, prawns and squids, wood ear fungus, kimchi with some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes.

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Somehow, I always like to order rice dishes such as the Tori Katsudon (Fried Chicken Chop & Egg with Rice/炸雞扒盖飯 – RM12.80+) as it’s more filling for me. Each bowl of sweet sauce boosted Japanese rice would be topped with a piece of chicken chop carefully folded in with some egg and onions. The dish here was not overly drenched in sweet sauce as those I had tasted before. This version had some nori (seaweed) as garnish.

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A set meal would never go wrong in any visit to a Japanese restaurant. I was impressed with the pricing for their Tori Teriyaki Tei (Teriyaki Chicken Set/蜜汁雞套餐 – RM17.80+). On top of the nicely prepared succulent piece of chicken, there was also the hot steaming rice, salad with their own special dressing, miso soup and a few fruit cuts. It was a value for money set deal.

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As for side orders, Gyoza (Fried Dumpling/日式餃子 – RM6.80+) was one dish that was simple and yet filled with a punch of goodness. There was a bit of crisp on the surface form a thin layer of batter used and the filling had that moisture just like when you have your Siu Long Bao. These dumplings would be best consumed when hot with a bit of the accompanied black vinegar. I won’t mind having some julienned young ginger added in the condiment as well.

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I was surprised that their Mikkusu Yakiniku (BBQ Sauce Fried Mixed Meat/日式醬燒 – RM13.80+) was categorized as part of their “Side Dishes”. It was a portion that might be even too much for a small diner. However, ever since my visit to Kannichikan (KNK) Yakiniku Restaurant not long ago, I’ve been longing for some nice meat. The mixed meat palate here was awesome with choices of beef, chicken and pork, in whatever combination suit you best.

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As for dessert, we had the Azuki-An-Nin (Almond Soup with Red Bean/甜豆杏仁 – RM6.80+). The named “soup” can be rather deceiving as what we had were some almond jelly cubes in mildly sweetened syrup topped with some sweetened red beans. No doubt it was simply refreshing for me, it might not be the type of dessert for those who detested the flavors of Chinese almonds. If you love it, this could be one of the nice desserts after a hefty meaty meal.

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Overall, Japin Restaurant does provide a substantial amount of good quality dishes that would please the appetite of major diners. On and off, they do also come out with impressive promotions that would be value for money.

Japin Restaurant is located at the basement of 1st Avenue, Penang. This outlet has been in operation since May 2012. To find the restaurant, just walk towards Kim Gary and you will see the restaurant just on the right side of the restaurant with quite a number of standing banners displayed outside the outlet.

JAPINMAP

Name: JAPIN RESTAURANT @ 1ST AVENUE PENANG
Address: LG-10, 1st Avenue, 182 Jalan Magazine, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 5098
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.413188, 100.331342

Branches:
Japin Queensbay
2F-147, Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-641 5098

Japin Desa Sri Hartamas
34, Ground Floor, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact: 603-2857 0212

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

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Chinese New Year’s Buffet and Chinese Odyssey Promotion for the month of February 2013 (1-28 February 2013). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Chinese Chef, Chef Cheah Teik Huat. You would be offered a variety of Chinese cuisine such as roasted duck spring rolls, braised black chicken with snow pear soup, steamed sea bass with superior sauce and many more to tempt your appetite.

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Of course, each Chinese New Year it’s a must to have Yee Sang. Normally, Yee Sang is to be taken on the 7th day of Chinese New Year to celebrate Ren Ri (人日), the Day of Humankind, when according to the Chinese legend, Goddess Nu Wa created humanity on this day. But today, it’s taken just any day as the act of tossing the mixed ingredients in the air symbolizes “moving upwards” with the wish for our fortune to rise even more during the forthcoming year. The Fresh Salmon Yee Sang (鮮鮭魚撈魚生) would also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013 at RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

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Another appetizer would be their Marinated Jellyfish with Shredded Chicken (海蜇凉拌雞絲). I quite like this dish as the jellyfish had that crunchiness, pepped up with a light spicy sweet sauce. However, the shredded chicken was a bit too dry to my liking due to the lack of dressing sauce. The dish would be better if a bit of coriander leaves being added in.

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The Roasted Duck with Mix Vegetables Spring Rolls (脆皮燒鴨春卷) was actually a disastrous dish for me. The usage of poh piah (spring roll) skin was just not right. The rolls tend to get rather soggy after awhile. I wondered why they did not use those egg crepes as served with Peking Duck.

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We were also served Double Boiled Black Chicken with Snow Pears Soup (雪梨燉黑雞湯). I must admit that the soup was filled with flavors with strong hints of sweetness from the pears and dates plus some usage of dong quai (當歸/Angelica sinensis).

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The Steamed Sea Bass with Superior Sauce (清蒸鱸魚配上等醬油) was simple but yet delicious. On top of the superior sauce being use, some slices of mushroom boosted up the flavor more. It would be great to have some sliced red dates added in too for some extra sweetness.

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The Braised Chinese Cabbage with Black Moss & Dried Oysters (燉白菜髮菜蠔乾) was somewhat different compared to how I would cook it. This dish has more gravy just like the banquet style of dishes. There were some added dried scallops. The dried oysters basically lost all the flavors into the gravy. It would be best if they were pan seared to lock in the flavors.

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Somehow the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns with Golden Pumpkin Sauce (南瓜醬炒大蝦) did not capture the appetite of most of us as the pumpkin sauce was too overpowering and hid the true flavors of the prawns. It would be better to just cook it the Kam Heong (Fragrant Fry) or Har Lok (Sweet Spicy) style where we get to taste the freshness of the prawns. Anyway, I don’t fancy tiger prawns being cooked this way too.

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As for dessert, we had Double Boiled Papaya with Fresh Milk (鮮牛奶燉木瓜). To some, it had a tad of bitterness but it was fine for me. However, I personally felt that the papaya used was rather too ripe. The whole concoction was like missing a bit of bites. Moreover, the dessert tasted rather mushy with traces of coagulated milk.

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Lastly, Baked Mandarin Orange Cheese Cake (烤橘子奶酪蛋糕) was served. Without knowing the name for the cake, I would have praised it heavenly for the balance in the usage of lemon zest was perfect. However, knowing that it was supposed to be mandarin orange flavor, I found it to lack that distinctive mandarin orange flavor. Moreover, only a small amount of orange flesh was noticeable.

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Overall, some of the dishes to be served during the Chinese New Year as well as during the Chinese Odyssey can be rather unique on its own. No doubt a bit of fusion can be quite good for a change but it defeated the purpose of celebrating the festive season with the taste of yesteryears since some of the dishes would only be cooked once a year during this season by many families. Other than that, it’s still a nice spread to welcome in the joyous Snake year.

Chinese New Year’s buffets and performances are listed as below:

Chinese New Year’s eve auspicious reunion buffet dinner with Yee Sang
9 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM98++ (adult), RM52++ (child)

Chinese New Year prosperity buffet dinner with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM88++ (adult), RM44++ (child)

Chinese New Year special dynasty Hi-Tea with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.00pm-3.00pm
RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)

Performances:
Meet & Greet the “Fok Lok Sau”: 9 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Chinese Orchestra Performance: 9, 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Meet & Greet the God of Prosperity: 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.30pm-1.30pm
Lion Dance performance: 11 Feb 2013, 10.00am

Fresh Salmon Yee Sang is also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013
Price: RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

Here’s the summary of the Chinese Odyssey Promotion.

CHINESE ODYSSEY PROMOTION (1-28 FEBRUARY 2013)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – ThursdayRM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank and VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Chinese Odyssey Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

EASTINHOTELMAP

Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

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

 

When you speak about BBQ on the table, the first thing that would come into your mind would most probably be the Bulgogi, the Korean style BBQ, the Asian style of BBQ Steamboat or maybe the Thai’s Mookata, BBQ Steamboat. How about the Japanese style of grilling meat called Yakiniku? What about a fusion between the Japanese and Korean style of BBQ? Would you love to try on that? For the last decade plus, Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant (KNK) has been providing this Japanese styled Korean BBQ concept to the Malaysians starting with its first branch in Penang as far back as August 2000 (more branches are stated below). They are the first to my knowledge to have imported Kuroge Wagyu (Japanese Black) and did the choice cuts themselves as well as providing those diners with acquired taste the options to savor the best of beef “spare parts” such as bowels, intestines, tongues, fardels/multipliers (omasum) and pillar tripes.

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I had the privilege to be invited not long ago to try out some of the dishes available at the pioneer branch located along the main road of Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Penang. This outlet’s kitchen is managed by a young, energetic and jovial chef named Chef Shelvin Tan Hock Pin, who had years of experience working for the husband and wife owners.

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KNK do provide some of the best meat cuts such as beef, pork, chicken and seafood for your grilling pleasures. Of course the best cuts would still be the Kuroge Wagyu Rosu (Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu Ribeye – RM108++). This high priced wagyu beef is known for its marbling characteristics and quality with a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. The grilled meat would flavorful by itself and just melts in your mouth.

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Another option would be the Wagyu Bara (Premium Wagyu Short Ribs – RM59++). The cuts were mildly marinated with the chef’s secret recipe. Though tender and juicy, you can’t compare the texture and bite with the former as they were of the top quality.

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Tokuzyo Rosu (Wagyu Ribeye – RM39++) would also be available for your selection. Same as the above, it was mildly marinated to bring out the best in its flavors.

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Other non-beef options would be the Buta (Pork – RM23++) and the Tori Momo (Chicken Thigh Meat – RM19++). Both the meat cuts came in two different marinates. One would be a simple marinate of sesame oil, salt and pepper while the other one would be with a special combination of sesame oil, chili flakes, sesame seeds, miso with a light touch of apple juice.

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KNK uses a Japan imported type of biomass briquettes which would sustain high heat for an hour plus and yet produce minimal sparks and little ash, though giving the meat some mild smoky flavors. These briquettes would be filled in a Shichirin, a Japanese barbecue grill with a custom made “netted” brazier that has been preheated at the right temperature to prevent meat from sticking on it. Just a reminder here to diners who have no experience in BBQ techniques. Please be informed that turning or poking at the meat too often would flare up the charcoal, thus making the meat scorched easily.

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For those who would love to have a try on the Yakiniku, there’s always the KNK Set for Two Pax (RM119++). The cuts given would include Zyo Tan (Prime Beef Tongue), Karubi (Bone-in Prime Short Ribs), Zyo Rosu (Prime Ribeye), Zyo Bara (Prime Short Rib), Harami (Skirt Flank), Kimuchi Moriawase (Kimchi Mix) and Chisya (Lettuce).

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Other than just items for grilling, KNK also do provide other precooked dishes such as the Butter Yaki Hotate & Salmon (Butter BBQ Scallop & Salmon – RM35++).

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For those who prefer some rice dishes, there’s always the Ishiyaki Bibinba (Stone Bowl Rice with Korean Vegetables – RM20++). This is the Japanese version of the Korean’s Bibimbap. There would be some Japanese steamed rice in a hot stone bowl topped with minced chicken, raw egg, spinach, shitake, bean sprouts, carrot, radish and gobo roots (Arctium lappa roots/burdock roots/牛蒡) which has great medicinal properties as blood purifier.

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For spicy lovers, Karubi Kubba (Spicy Short Ribs Soup with Rice – RM17++) would also be available. You can practically taste the rich stock flavors with a tad of spiciness. Each bowl would come with rice topped with a spicy soup base which consisted of squids, beef, shitake, spinach, bean sprouts, carrot and radish.

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For a lighter palate, you could order their Wakame Sarada (Seaweed Salad – RM12++). It has a light touch of wasabi dressing just mild enough for anyone.

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Lastly, I simply love how KNK prepared their Chichimi (Korean Chives Pan Cake – RM18++). It was not as starchy as I had tried elsewhere and with a nice crisp bite. It has basically egg, flour, chopped onions and chives in it. The dish went well with the condiment which has a slight sourness with a touch of fragrant sweetness from the added soy sauce and sesame oil.

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Overall, Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant has the right flavors for the BBQ items. Simplicity is always the best for tasting the original flavors from the chosen meat. Moreover, not many restaurants in Malaysia have the options for so many “spare parts” for grilling and KNK group of branches are the sole restaurants with such availabilities. Speaking of condiments, KNK is also the expert in providing their homemade sauce paired with the right choice of meat.

Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant has been in Penang since August 2000. Although it’s visible along the main road of Jalan Tanjung Tokong, it tends to be missed by many locals and visitors as it’s located on the 1st floor of Desa Tanjung. If you are coming up from Pulau Tikus/Bagan Jermal/Gurney Drive into Jalan Tanjung Tokong, drive on until you have reached the second traffic lights (Precinct 10 and Island Plaza will be on your right). At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang (leading to Straits Quay). Immediately turn right, keep slow and turn left into the service road. That’s where Desa Tanjung is. Find a parking space and walk up 1st floor and you would see the restaurant there. Parking can be quite scare during certain peak period of the day. It’s advisable to park your car at the Island Plaza car park and walk over to the restaurant.

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Name: KANNICHIKAN YAKINIKU RESTAURANT @ DESA TANJUNG
Address: 125-N&O, 1st Floor, Desa Tanjung, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 8208
Business Hours: 12.00 noon-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.00pm-10.30pm (Dinner) (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.451526, 100.305993

Branches:
KNK Bay Avenue
D-25-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 2, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-641 2410

KNK Desa Sri Hartamas
42, Jalan 28/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact: 603-2300 8829

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

 

From the largest and famous Fengjia Night Market (逢甲夜市) in Taichung, Taiwan, emerged a delicious new concept Taiwanese snack called Squidto (黄金贼) which had endless queues of seafood enthusiasts lining up nightly to have their boost of the mouth watering snack. This succulent deep fried Argentina-imported giant squid stuffed with seafood baked rice snack has finally arrived with the sole franchise outside Taiwan outlet located at Basement 1 Gurney Plaza, Penang.

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Just take a look at the mock at the counter and you would be amazed at how gigantic each squid snack is in comparison to the pen size. Each of the Argentina-imported giant squid would be evenly sized at approximately 6 inches each. Wow! That would be huge for a snack. Some diners were believed to even consume it as a main meal since it had the 3 basic items such as vegetables (julienned cabbage), protein (deep fried squid) and starch (seafood baked rice).

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Prior to being deep fried in a timely preset fryer, each of the squid would be coated in a specially imported breadcrumbs mixture which gave the snack a crispy exterior while maintaining the moist and juiciness within.

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The stuffing for the squid can be quite filling as it used a special graded rice grains which had the glutinous rice texture. Cooked almost similar to how the Italians would cook their risotto, this creamy stuffing had many secret ingredients added in. Visually you can find some finely diced kani crabstick, baby anchovies, baby dried shrimps, finely chopped squid bits and corn kernels with light hints of sweetness and saltiness coming from some onions, butter and cheese. It was not bad at all as the taste from the stuffing was not too strong to overpower the freshness of the squid.

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Basically, the squids were all coated and deep fried in the same way, except for the choice of different dressings. There are 4 standard international flavors available such as the French Honey Mustard Sauce (法式蜂蜜芥末醬), Japanese Sesame (Goma) Sauce (日式和風芝麻沙拉醬), Thai Hot & Sour Sauce (泰式酸辣醬) and Italian Basil Green Sauce(意式羅勒青醬). Other local flavors would also be available for limited period such as the currently promote Cheesy Sauce (奶酪醬). Though the French and Thai sauces remained the two top favorite in Taiwan, my personal liking would be for the French and Italian sauces. As for visual only, here are the 4 standard flavors as shown in the photo below. You are allowed to CHOOSE ONE FLAVOR ONLY. All the 4 standard orders would cost RM8.90nett each while other flavors under promotion might differ such as the Cheesy Sauce set at RM9.90nett. Other promotion included One Set Plus One Drink at RM10.80nett.

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Here’s a comparison between the flavors for the French Honey Mustard Sauce versus the Japanese Sesame (Goma) Sauce here. The former sauce is definitely the best choice for deep fried and grilled items. The Goma Sauce on the other hand needed some acquired taste. I would personally prefer the latter sauce to be dressed on vegetables rather than protein.

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The Thai Hot & Sour Sauce and Italian Basil Green Sauce were quite acceptable by all. The Taiwanese liked the Thai Hot & Sour Sauce more but I found it to be too mild to my liking. Instead, I prefer the Italian Basil Green Sauce more as I love the taste of herbs and spices more.

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There are only 2 types of drinks available here such as the Iced Honey Green Tea (RM2.90nett) and Iced Winter Melon Tea (RM2.90nett). Both beverages were just at an acceptable level considering that they are not the expert in tea drinks.

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Overall, the flavors for the items are within the acceptable level. It would be best to consume the items at the outlet as takeaways might get cold too soon and affect the quality of crispiness and juiciness.

Find your way to Gurney Plaza and use the escalator to go one level down to the basement. As you reach the basement, turn right and walk towards the middle and you would see the outlet right in between Scallop-Q and Mr Teppanyaki. You won’t miss it as it has a steady flow of customer there almost always.

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Name: SQUIDTO (黄金賊) @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address: 170-B1-K5, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-481 3832, 017-400 3618
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437391, 100.309453

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: 7/10 (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)

 

Not many people are aware that along the quiet road of Jalan Pintal Tali (formerly named Rope Walk) housed a 130-year-old hotel building from the late 80’s. After refurbished and given a new lease of life, the hotel is now named 1881 Chong Tian Cultural Hotel, the first and the only Chinese heritage hotel in Malaysia with 7 differently designed rooms for rental and a private museum with all the artifacts from the era. Within the premises of this hotel lie two restaurants – Chinese and Western. I had the privilege to try out their Chinese cuisine recently.

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The Chinese dishes served here had a light touch of fusion, created by the experienced chef throughout his culinary journey. He’s none other than Chef Wah Seong (Wah Ah Keat).

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The first dish served was the Braised Duck With Preserved Mustard Cabbage (梅菜扒肥鴨- RM30++ for 1/2 Duck, RM60++ for Whole Duck). The dish was extremely good, considering that the flavors from the well managed preserved mustard cabbage (Mui Choy) was not over salty and the duck meat was juicy and tender. This is a must try dish~ 🙂

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The next dish was the Stir Fry Assorted Mushrooms with Fish Cake (潮州小炒皇). Other than Shitake and Bunapi Shimeji (White Beech) mushrooms being stir fried with their signature homemade fish cake, the dish has also some pickled Chinese cabbage, chive flowers and added chili slices to pep up the overall taste. It’s still a nice plate of dish although I prefer to have it minus the pickled cabbage but with added deep fried Chinese cruller (you tiao).

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We were also served with a claypot full of Fragrant Spicy Lime Prawns (香辣青檸蝦 – RM20++ Small, RM40++ Medium or RM60++ Large). This dish tasted almost like the Thai version of Lime Prawns with less herbs and spices used. Basically, there were lots of chopped garlic being used, some chili paste, sugar, lime juice with some roughly smashed up bird’s eye chilies. The overall taste was fine except that I found the spiciness was not up to my level~ Haha! 😛

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Another dish we had may look simple but it had the best flavors presence. It was the Fried Bean Curd with Minced Meat & Shrimps (辣子爆豆腐 – RM15++ Small, RM25++ Medium or RM35++ Large). Laced on the plate were some deep fried homemade bean curd topped with the chef’s specially concocted recipe – spicy sauced minced meat, chopped shrimps with hints of some dried shrimps being added and garnished with some chopped spring onions. I can have bowls of rice with just this dish. Thumbs up!

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As Chinese New Year is approaching real soon, you can also make your reservation for your family, friends or colleague gathering at 1881 Chong Tian Hotel. The package which I had tried earlier was RM588nett. It was a 8-course dinner. Overall, it was quite reasonable in terms of flavors.

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1881 Chong Tian Hotel is located along the center part of Jalan Pintal Tali. If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Lebuh Campbell, drive on until you have reach the third junction on your right. Turn right into Jalan Pintal Tali and you would see the brightly lighted up heritage hotel on your right. There would be some reserved parking spots for you (upon availability) in front of the hotel if you were to dine there.

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Name: 1881 CHONG TIAN HOTEL
Address: 38, 40, 42, Jalan Pintal Tali, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 1881
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.417247, 100.33412

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

 

WILD WILD WEST PROMOTION AT SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On October - 28 - 2012

If you love the Texas Grill Promotion in June 2012, you would surely love the Wild Wild West Promotion at Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, for the whole month of November 2012 (1-30 November 2012). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Kelvin Cheong with the help of Chef Evon Chiang from the Cold Kitchen. In this promotion, you would have more options with a combination of Texan and Mexican cuisine. You can now eat as how the cowboys from the West would. Please note that there will be a 15% discount for all MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members. More details below.

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We started with some appetizers namely some Nachos with Assorted Dipping Sauce (烤玉米片沾醬). The imported Tex-Mex tortilla chips came served with 3 types of dipping sauces such as Chili Con Carne, Guacamole and Ranch BBQ sauces. All of us preferred the ranch BBQ sauce over the others as the smoky flavor complemented the chips real well. The second was the Guacamole which basically consisted of blended avocado, garlic, and onions mixed with some finely brunoised tomatoes and capsicum plus a light touch of salt, pepper and lemon juice. The taste was quite equivalent to that of sour cream dip but creamier with the added avocado. The last was the Chili Con Carne. The rich tomato paste dip came with minced meat, corn kernels, kidney beans, etc. Taste wise, it was a bit spicy with some sourness and sweetness. It was not that the dip was not tasty but due to it being a bit too heavy as an appetizer.

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Next was the Mexican Burrito Mustard Bites (芥末醬卷餅) which consisted of fresh wheat flour tortilla laced with a thinly spread of mustard, filled with lots of fresh greens, meat plus sauce and folded like our local “Poh Piah” aka Spring Rolls. The rolls had a wasabi after taste and would be best consumed when they are freshly prepared or the tortilla would get slightly dry after being exposed too long to air.

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There would also be some cowboy bread available to be spread with some jam and butter or even to be dipped into the available soup of the day. Some of the types available might include Country Bread and grinded maize made Polenta Bread.

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As for the main course, we had the Classic Beef Ribs Stew (美式牛肉炖排骨) served on a bed of Grilled Vegetables with Coyote Canyon Red Chili Sauce (香烤沾醬蔬菜). I immediately felt in love with the beef ribs stew as the meat was tender and the gravy was just right to my liking. The dish had almost a similar taste as those BBQ Ribs but without the strong hickory smoked flavors. Now you know what would be best with those country breads~ 😛 On the other hand, the grilled vegetables were just normal.

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There was also the Grilled Raw Honey Chicken (香烤蜜糖雞腿). The flavor on the grilled chicken was quite subtle with a light touch of honey sweetness and rosemary. However, I personally felt that the meat needed a longer period of marinate as they were not flavored in balance. Chef Kelvin’s Grilled Chicken with Honey Mustard Glaze (蜂蜜芥末醬烤雞) tasted way better than this dish.

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The Fish Tostadas with Veracruzana Salsa (墨西哥貝拉克魯斯沙司魚餅) was awesome as the dish was salty, acidic and sweet to my liking. The Mexican state of Veracruz along the Gulf of Mexico indeed had a high Spanish influence as can be seen quite obviously in the usage of their herbs and spices. The choice of using sea bass fillet was perfect as it was thick and had as a simple marinates of just dill, salt and pepper. What impressed me most was the Veracruzana Salsa. Instead of the normal raw based salsa, it had more complex flavors all combined into one. The rich tomato based sauce wasn’t spicy at all. It had hints on the usage of bay leaves, thyme and marjoram, other than garlic, onions, cilantro and chili pepper, plus with a light touch of capers and black olives. The salsa complemented the fish dish extremely well. The only confusing thing is the word “fish tostada” and “餅”, which would translate as crispy/crunchy biscuit in English. Is the fish dish supposed to be served on a tostada aka toasted corn tortilla as it would be in Mexico or it just meant toasted fish? Only the chef would be able to answer to this confusion.

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There were also some Crispy Cheesy Potato Skins (香脆芝士馬鈴薯) to go with the dishes. I was just some crispy deep fried potatoes with cheesy sauce and a light sprinkle of paprika. I could have this side dish alone for the whole day~ Haha! 😛

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Desserts were super nice. Everyone presence were praising the Texas Double Chocolate Mud Cake (濃郁巧克力泥蛋糕). The rich chocolate mousse between the fluffy light and moist cake plus a touch of oozing ganache on the cake, melted in the mouth heavenly. Can I have another piece please? 😛

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Another great dessert would be the Cowboy Raspberry Cobbler (牛仔紅莓果餡餅). It had almost the same bite of the flaky crumbles but with added chocolate chips and walnut. A simple topping of ganache and fresh raspberries made this cobbler the perfect dessert to end a meal.

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Overall, the dishes served in this coming Wild Wild West Promotion were up to the standard required. Of course, you won’t expect to get fine dining dishes from the cowboys but you can feel that each and every dish served at Swez Brasserie during this coming had the hearts of the assigned chefs in it. It’s all about hard work and commitment to get the best dish to please the appetite of the diners. Way to go Chef Kelvin, Chef Franco and Chef Evon as it was another job well done! Keep it up!

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

WILD WILD WEST PROMOTION (1-30 NOVEMBER 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Wild Wild West Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

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

 

Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine, an upscale restaurant that serves All-You-Can-Eat buffet with specialties ranging from Japanese, Chinese, Thailand and other foreign or ethnic food plus a different concept outlet by the name of Yea Japanese BBQ & Shabu Shabu, has officially opened another branch at Penang Times Square recently on 25 September 2012. The latest branch, which is also a pork-free outlet, was the biggest amongst all the branches and can accommodate more than 150 pax at one time with quite a handful of private cubicles for private functions. Priced at RM46++ for lunch*, RM62++ for dinner* and child (90cm to 140cm in height) having to pay half price, this branch has the most buffet spreads (other than the ones ordered from the menu) amongst all their outlets in Malaysia. Currently, they have an “early bird” promotion where a 10% discount would be given to those who had checked in between 5:30pm and 6:30pm from Monday until Friday.

Important Note (*): Please check the time and price as stated right at the end of this post for more detailed information as they can differ on different days.

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The unique part about dining in this branch compared to their other branches would be that this one has an almost a full buffet spread without even having to order from their ala carte menu. Let’s start by studying what they have to offer at their appetizer section. Firstly, it was the cold section where you have options for fresh mussels, oysters and cooked prawns, followed by a vast variety of sushi for just anyone. Fresh seafood and sushi lovers would surely love this section.

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The next section along the U shaped counter would be the cold cuts and other appetizers. Sashimi lovers would love this section as it had fresh cuts of white & red tuna, salmon, smoked squids. On top of that, there were some sugar coated cashew nuts for you to munch while waiting for your food to be prepared at a later stage. Next to those cold cuts would be some appetizers for the day. Those appetizers would be like chuka wakame (pickled seaweed), salmon salad, salted anchovies with peanuts, honey lotus roots, jellyfish salad, flavored deep fried sakura ebi and 3 layer egg.

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Opposite would be the section for salads and some precooked dishes. You would have some greens and fruit to create your own salad with the dressings provided. There would also be the Oden stove for you to savor those skewers of goodies. Basically the stock was made out of a light soy based dashi stock with additional flavors emitted by the skewers of meat, fish cakes and vegetables. That was the Japanese way of having “Yong Tau Fu” during winter. Two dishes of precooked dishes were provided on that day and they were Sweet & Sour Salmon and Beef Stew.

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The next section was the Kushiyaki (skewer grill) and Teppanyaki (iron griddle cooking) section. There were a large variety of skewed items and raw items at the counter. Just pick whatever you like and the chefs would cook them perfectly to your preference and send to your table.

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Finally, you have the dessert section to pick what you like. There would be the chocolate fountain, pastries, jellies, “tong sui” and King’s ice cream to look out for.

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Now let’s have a look at some of the common dishes that would be available in the Ala Carte Menu throughout all the branches. The menu would have different categories such as cold cut, soup, agemono (fried dishes), yakimono (grilled), itame mono (main dish), nabemono (noodle soup), mushimono (steamed) and temaki (hand roll). Since the buffet spread were already real impressive, we just tried out some of the dishes in the menu. We started with the Abalone Slices. It came with some salad dressing. The dish’s name might be classy and pricey but what we had were actually mock abalone which had the common name “gui fei” abalone. They were processed squid meat, cut to have a standard shape and thickness.

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I quite love the next dish which was the Pickled Papaya Salmon. The slight sour sweet papaya pickles wrapped with a fresh layer of salmon and dressed with a tangy dressing was perfect for my meal.

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I have always been a fan of Chuka Idako (Seasoned Baby Octopus). The preparation was not like those I have tried at other Japanese restaurants. The ones here had a more personal touch with a more coarsely prepared homemade sauce. However, I found them to be lacked of a unique flavor – toasted sesame seeds. This addition would surely boost up the taste further.

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The next dish was the Japanese version of croquette called Cheese Korokke. It was nothing fanciful except for some cheese flavored minced meat and potatoes with an over sprinkles of black pepper.

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Then there was the Coconut Shrimps. It was oily a bit without an underlay kitchen towel to soak the excess oil but can be palatable with some nice dressings.

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We also had some Fried Fish Balls. It was just normal with some fish paste coated with some bread cubes and deep fried until golden brown.

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The Tori Miso Yaki (Grilled Chicken Thigh) was rather impressing as the chicken pieces were well marinated and given a nice caramelized texture on the skin. Delicious!

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Beef Bacon Skewers were served next. It was simple and yet fulfilling with a kani (crab) stick and some enoki mushrooms wrapped within the beef bacon prior to a light grilling.

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We also ordered some Motoyaki Scallops. They were average as the sauce applied was on a saltier side.

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There was also the Kyuri Wasabi Saba (Grilled Mackerel with Wasabi) which had a light grill. It was nicely done with a nice flavor and not fishy at all.

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For lamb lover, you should go for the Teppan Lamb. It was heavenly delicious. I won’t mind having the dish with some garlic rice if not for the wide selection at the buffet line. LOL!

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Carefully prepared with a light touch of spiciness, the Tsubu Gai Itame (Stir Fry Japanese Whelk) would also go well with rice. The chef did a great job of not cooking the sea snail meat to be too rubbery.

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Their Chawan Mushi was simple but nice with light steamed egg. However, I still prefer the ones at Sakae Sushi with added toppings such as vegetarian shark’s fin and shimeji mushrooms.

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Lastly, we tried the Jade Scallops. The steamed scallops had some seasoned glass noodles as base and topped with some sweet paste and chopped spring onions. Somehow, I prefer this version more than the Motoyaki Scallops.

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As for beverages, it would be by order. Cold or hot beverages such as lemon tea, peach tea, green tea, coffee and more would be included in the buffet price. Other beverages may incur more cost into your bill. Please ask carefully on the free flow beverages available for the day prior to ordering.

Overall, I quite like the buffet concept here as I can choose whatever I like to eat at the buffet line (what I can see is what I would get) instead of wondering what I would get from the menu as most of the items are with Japanese names without further descriptions in English. For those Chinese educated diners, you won’t have this issue at all as Chinese names are available. Taste wise, there are still rooms for improvement as some of the dishes in the menu were not up to my expectations. They were rather towards the commercial taste rather than being authentic. Price wise, it’s a bit high for those who could not consume much unless you are a true oyster and sashimi lover to get your money worth. Moreover, there are the confusions of the applicable 2.5 hours time limit and pricing. Please digest the information CLEARLY before dining to avoid any disappointment. The pricing and time limit would differ even during the same dining period but on different days. Please take note of this important information as stated at the end of this post.

If you know how to go to Penang Times Square, you won’t have problem at all to find the Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine. The restaurant is located at the central atrium of Penang Times Square. Just walk towards the escalator within the mall and go up to Level One. You would see the restaurant on your right.

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Name: TAO AUTHENTIC ASIAN CUISINE @ PENANG TIMES SQUARE
Address: Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-228 5826
Business Hours & Price:
WEEKDAYS (Monday – Thursday)
Lunch: 12.00noon – 4.00pm (RM46++)
Dinner: 5:30pm – 10:30pm (RM62++)
WEEKENDS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays)
Lunch: 12.00noon – 4.00pm (RM46++ for Friday ONLY/RM62++ for Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays)
Dinner Session 1: 5:30pm – 8:00pm, RM62++
Dinner Session 2: 8:30pm – 11:00pm, RM62++
Note: Early bird (5:30pm – 6:30pm) entitled for 10% discount. This offer is only applicable from Monday until Friday.
GPS: 5.411728, 100.324879

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

 

GERMAN GALORE PROMOTION AT SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 26 - 2012

For meat lovers, especially beef and poultry lovers, you are in for a meaty treat this coming October 2012 as Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its German Galore Promotion for the whole month of October 2012 (1-31 October 2012). You can now savor all the delectable spread of German cuisine under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Kelvin Cheong. However, you won’t be able to try out any pork related items the Germans are famous for as the restaurant is halal. For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

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One of the main appetizers of the day would surely be the German Potato Salad (德式馬鈴薯沙拉). This nicely chilled authentic German salad recipe had me digging in for more. It was a simple dish with just a few ingredients and yet the slight creamy and sour flavors in it were truly refreshing and appetizing. Can you imagine a dish with just diced potatoes, diced onions, diced turkey ham, black pepper, vinegar, salt & sugar to taste with a light sprinkles of chopper spring onions can be so fulfilling? Yummy!

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The next appetizer was the German Sauerkraut Salad (德式酸菜沙拉). The sauerkraut which is basically shredded cabbage and sugar under pickling processes through lacto-fermentation, had that slight sourness. When combined with some sliced celery, capsicum, onions and tossed with some sliced bratwurst, it was another great dish to start off prior to a heavy and meaty meal.

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As for main, we had an assortment of German Sausages (Bratwurst) and Chicken Schnitzel served on Rotkohl, with Onion Sauce (with diced turkey ham) and Dijon Mustard as condiments.

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The Germans are the experts in making wurst (sausages) for centuries and they claimed to have created more than a thousand types of wurst throughout Germany, with variants in different regions of course. Their wurst basically falls into 4 categories such as Rohwurst (fresh/raw), Kochwurst (cooked), Buchwurst (boiled/scalded) and Bratwurst (grilled/pan-fried). There are also the schinken (hams) such as the Rohschinken (fresh/raw), Kochschinken (cooked) which would be ideal for topping breads. We managed to try out 5 types of the wurst (chicken & beef) such as the Bratwurst, Foot Long and Weisswurst.

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The Chicken Schnitzel (德式雞排) on the other hand was a hit amongst us. The golden breadcrumbs crusted boneless chicken thigh meat had just the right marinates with a mild touch of parmesan cheese, butter, pepper and a light hint of lemon juice. It was perfect with some sprinkles of roasted almond flakes for the extra crunchiness.

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One of the side dishes that came severed with the main dishes was the Rotkohl (Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage), another staple dish in Germany. Compared to the Sauerkraut, this dish had a more distinctive tangy sweetness from some added apple cider and spices such as cloves and cinnamon barks. Some toasted turkey bacons were added in for a mild tad of saltiness. This dish went well with all the meat dishes.

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Another of the main dishes served was the Beouf (Beef) Stroganoff on some puff pastry. This is quite a flexible dish as it can be use to top any of the starches such as rice, noodles, pasta, bread and more. The taste of this dish was quite similar to those beef stews except that it was rather mild in spices. Basically, you can taste the natural sweetness from a high usage of onions, mild peppery taste from some mustard and black pepper, earthly taste from some mildly sauteed mushrooms and some creamy and sour flavors from the added sour cream. The only doubt I had was on the origin of the dish. It was to be a Russian dish but got famous throughout the surrounding countries and the Germans also claimed it as theirs. LOL!

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A meal won’t be complete if you did not have the national dessert of Germany – the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) or simply known as the Black Forest Cherry Torte. Resident Pastry Chef, Chef Franco Ho did a great job here by producing the most amazing slice of cake I had for a long time. The cake was filled with the right sweetness of cream with added juicy black forest cherries. Thumbs up!

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Another two desserts that got the Germans munching practically any time of the day was the Berliner (Berlin Donuts) and Pretzels. The Berliners were simply deep fried yeast dough balls with custard, crème or jam fillings. On the other hand, the Southern Germany favorite of Pretzels came plain with some sprinkles of icing sugar. This light snack would be great if dunked into some black coffee, especially those filtered coffee.

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Overall, Swez Brasserie had its limitation in serving the German cuisine as pork remains the most popular choice of meat in Germany. Due to the restriction in serving pork related dishes, you would see more of chicken, beef or turkey being used as alternative ingredients. The taste of the dishes might differ significantly from the authentic ones by this substitution of meat choices. I do hope there would also be some German schinken (hams) being served during the actual promotion dates rather than having only German wurst (sausages). For bread, it would be great if they also have some of the famous ones such as those with sourdough and/or Pumpernickel, a deep brown colored steamed, sweet-tasting rye bread. These bread choices would be lovely to go with the meaty dishes such as the Beef Stroganoff or maybe Kartoffelsuppe, a potato and wurst soup. I guessed the kitchen should consider serving some German soup as well for those light eaters. There are many soup options in Germany such as the Gebundene Ochsenschwanzsuppe (German Oxtail Soup), Ueberbackene Zwiebelsuppe (German Onion Soup), Graupensuppe Eintopf (German Barley Soup with Bacon) or even a simple Erbsensuppe (German Pea Soup) to consider.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

GERMAN GALORE PROMOTION (1-31 OCTOBER 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD & VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for Texas Grill Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

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

 

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