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EXPLORING INTO THE HEART OF KUALA JURU FISHING VILLAGE

Posted by crizlai On March - 7 - 2009

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Ever since my adventurous trip to Pulau Aman to discover the wonderful and tasty Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles), I have been yearning for the similar dish, if not the best, which would be much nearer to Penang island. Eventually after much searching around, I found a place right within mainland Penang – Kuala Juru, the river mouth of Juru. Located next to Persatuan Nelayan Kawasan Seberang Perai Kuala Juru Jetty, lies a quiet and scenic restaurant by the name of Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru. This place served fresh and delicious seafood dishes. Let me start by recommending the food here prior to introducing other aspects which also did amaze me.

Coming so far away from the island, I would surely try out their seafood dishes rather than the Malay cuisine which they do also serve. They have Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles) and Mee Ketam (Flower Crab Noodles). Instead of having a plate of both, I had the mixed version with two fresh large prawns and a flower crab in halves. All for RM6!!! That’s real cheap considering the size of the prawns and crab although the noodles were a bit too little for my consumption.

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The broth with ingredients such as smashed garlic, chillies, cabbage, onion and a hint of tomato puree combined with the sweetness of the fresh seafood was superb. The prawns and flower crab were so fresh that I wanted to order more. I even bought home a few packets and my parents sipped everything until the last drop. You could imagine how delicious the noodles were. It’s a must try for all seafood noodle lovers.

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Since I was still a bit full with the 5.30am Char Koay Teow breakfast, I managed to try out the second dish which was the Nasi Goreng Udang. Most stalls that I had been to would just fried rice with a few medium sized prawns. The way the restaurant served the dish was totally different. It came with a plate of fried rice which was quite normal to me but the spicy large prawns curry was a real surprise. It may look like it would be a fiery dish from the look of the color but it was not chili hot at all. The thick gravy which consist some freshly grounded spices was very appetizing to be taken with the fried rice. I have a feeling that they did add in some belacan (prawn paste) to have that fragrant and delicious taste. This set was also priced at RM6.

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In case you might want to find out what else they have in this restaurant, you can click and enlarge the attached menu below.

MENU

**** UPDATED 15 MARCH 2009 ****

It was only during the 2nd visit to this restaurant did I know that the prawns used were neither green prawns nor tiger prawns. It was another species that I had never heard of or common in our wet markets. These prawns are called Udang Rotan (Cane Prawns as translated). They are the same family with the tiger prawns but with a harder shell. No matter what species they are, they sure tasted better than fresh water prawns.

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On top of the above fried rice and noodles, we also tried out their Nasi Goreng Padprik (Padprik Fried Rice – RM4). The cook sure knew how to use the stove well as the fried rice has the required grainy texture and the high heat cooking was just right. The accompanied stir fry mixed vegetables with fresh squids in some spicy tomato gravy combined well with the fried rice. You should check this dish out.

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**** END UPDATE ****

Although there are two more such restaurants at Sungai Sembilang and another three restaurants along Jalan Kuala Juru, I like this restaurant the most. Not only was I amazed by the great food and simplicity of the village folks, it’s also a heaven for nature photographers. You just won’t know what you would expect to find along your way to your gastronomic destination. I had seen a few stray otters playfully along the swampy area, a monitor lizard by the roadside, a Haliaeetus leucogaster (white bellied sea eagle) soaring the sky seeking its prey, a low flying stork, hungry looking stray cats and many other unique looking shell fish such as the Horseshoe Crab/King crab along the river banks.

VIEW

One main type of shell fish that you would see here would be the cockles. Kuala Juru is one the many areas in Malaysia that harvests and processes cockles for distribution to the local markets. It was indeed an eye-opening experience to see how cockles were in their original state and the processes to get them clean. I managed to catch the whole action on camera and would like to share with you. As the cockles arrived in sampans, they had that dirty and muddy look mixed with lots of rubbish. After they had been put into a rotating machine that filters out the mud, tiny objects and other dead shells with a constant spray of clean water, they would end up at section where larger objects would be filtered out. Towards the end of the process, these cleaned cockles would be packed in large nylon sacks to be distributed to the local markets. The steps may look simple but it did involve a lot of manpower.

COCKLES

It would be easier to reach the restaurant if you know your way to Auto City. As you come to the Juru Interchange, you would pass through 3 traffic lights to reach Auto City. At the last traffic light at the T-junction (McDonald’s), turn left and drive all the way up Jalan Perusahaan/Jalan Tok Kangar until you have reach a traffic light at Jalan Juru (Map A), turn right into Jalan Juru (Juru Villa Show House) and drive all the way until the end. You would pass through a few sign boards of the district on your left namely Kampung Sekolah Juru (Map B), Bagan Nyior (Map C), and a sign board showing direction to Sungai Sembilang and Kuala Juru (Map D). At the T-junction (Map E), turn right and drive all the way to Kuala Juru (Map F). You would reach a playground not far away (Map G). Find a parking space there as the restaurant is just opposite the playground. You can click to enlarge the two maps below for a clearer direction.

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Name: RESTORAN NELAYAN KUALA JURU
Address: Persatuan Nelayan Unit Kuala Juru, MK12, SPT, 14100 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-11.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
Contact: 012-567 2423, 019-549 7134, 017-446 7194
GPS: 5.340084, 100.408500

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

AUTHENTIC MALAY CUISINE IN THE HEART OF GEORGETOWN

Posted by crizlai On February - 19 - 2009

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

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

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

BREAKFAST

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

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

ULAM

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

FRESH

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

SEAFOOD

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

POULTRY

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

VEGETARIAN

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

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

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

MYMEAL

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

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KUALIKUALICAFEMAP

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

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

SAM HUI CAFÉ @ PRANGIN MALL

Posted by crizlai On February - 12 - 2009

UPDATED 16 MARCH 2009: The Sam Hui Prangin Mall has ceased its operation and had moved to the ground floor of 1-Stop Midlands Park. Will the standard of the food still maintain as good as in Prangin Mall? You would have to find out yourself. 😛 (More updates on their main branch below – 15 February 2009)

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The legendary 70’s Hong Kong actor/singer Samuel Hui (Sam Hui) has a food franchise business in Penang? Generally, this is what I have heard from some of the older generations around here. Well, the proprietor is definitely named Sam Hui, a Malaysian. You would not get him to sing to you with his unique voice or break any humor but he would surely impress you with his range of Hong Kong style cuisine. I have tried out one of the franchises recently and was really impressed by their choices of food, tastes, food presentations and pricing. It was in fact better than some of the known Hong Kong style restaurants around town.

The Hong Kong Style Tong Por Pork Rice (RM5.50) tasted real good. It may look like a plate of normal economy rice with some meat and vegetables but one bite into the sliced meat and you would be asking for more. The meat was nicely stewed until soft and tender with their special fragrant herbs and spices. It would just melt right in your mouth. It would have a stewed egg and some vegetable to balance off the meal.

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Their Orange Fried Fish Rice (RM6.80) was also quite unique. It has quite a generous amount of deep fried tempura based fish slices cooked in mild spicy orange sauce and topped with mayonnaise, served with rice and accompanied with some salad. The taste would suit any ages.

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You could also try out their Sharks Fin Gravy Rice (RM7). This is another wetter version of rice served with a generous amount of shark fins and fried baby anchovies. The gravy was nothing more than some rich broth with some beaten eggs. It tasted quite normal to me except that the fried anchovies did bring out some fragrance in the dish. Moreover, I was quite skeptical about the amount of shark fins given at such a low price. It could well be mock shark fins as the bite was not as chewy as the real ones. Well, at least some sharks were spared in this process. LOL!

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I also tried out their Shanghai Noodles with Dried Tong Por Meat (RM5.50). The juicy meat slices were as great as mentioned above and the noodles blended in well with the Tong Por meat gravy and a hint of sesame oil. The Shanghai noodles tasted like a combination of ramen and pan mian. It has a springy sensation and tasted real nice.

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You should also try out their salad and lighter snacks such as the fried and soup based dumplings, spring rolls combined with different salad dressings. I quite like the Deep Fried Breadstick with Pineapple Salad (RM6.80). Each piece of the sliced breadstick or commonly know as You Tiao or Chinese Crullers were stuffed with some prawn paste and deep fried until golden. The crunchy yet delicious breadstick slices (10 pieces) were then laid on some fresh green lettuce and topped with some pineapple salad and fresh carrot strips. This is a must to have.

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The café do also serve Siew Long Bao (Little Basket Dumpling – 6pcs) for a mere RM9. Each piece of the dumpling contained some soup with seasoned minced meat mixed with some chopped Chinese celery. Watch out when you take these dumplings as you might spurt some of the juices at your friend. LOL! Anyway, I found those served here to be quite fine except for the minced meat which has a bit too much of corn starch added, making the meat a bit too soft. On top of that, the accompanied black vinegar with ginger strips was a bit too diluted for my liking.

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The café do not have many choices for desserts as there were only three options such as Sweetened Barley with Egg and Tofu Skin (RM3), Red Bean Paste (RM3) and Fruit Cocktail with Herbal Jelly (RM3.50). I managed to try out the Sweetened Barley with Egg and Tofu Skin. The barley broth was mildly sweetened with rock sugar, accompanied with some barley grains, dried tofu skin and a hard boiled egg. This is an ideal dessert for a hot and humid weather.

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Overall, the place served some good food at a reasonable price and without any taxes added onto your bill. They also have a few unique ice blended juices such as Markisa (Indonesian Passion Fruit) and Red Plum for you to try out. There are just too many items to introduce here. I will just attach their order menu to let you have a better idea of what they have. You can just click the photo to see the enlarged version.

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Although the location of the café was at a secluded area of the mall, it’s actually quite easy to find the place. Try to find your way to Prangin Mall Atrium A (where Bread History, Secret Recipe, Starbucks, 7-ELEVEN, etc are). Use the main bubble lift to level 2. Look out for the striking S&J orange signboard or Digi yellow and blue signboard. Immediately after these two shoplots, you would see the café located along an inner lane between the Chocolate Gift & Souvenir and Glantz shoplots.

SAMHUIMAP

Name: SAM HUI CAFE
Prangin Mall Branch:
Level 2-30, Atrium A, Prangin Mall-Komtar,
33, Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.30am-9.00pm
Contact: 016-453 0350 (Mr. Kelvin Khor)
GPS: 5.414814, 100.331286

You can also check out their main branch located within the 1-Stop Midlands Park Centre in Pulau Tikus. Just walk into the main entrance of the mall (Jalan Burma). The café is at level 2 on your left.

1-Stop Midlands Park Branch:
488B-2-26, Level 2, 1-Stop Midlands Park Centre
Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.30am-9.00pm
Contact: 016-458 2979 (Mr. Sam Chong)
GPS: 5.433139, 100.306547

UPDATED 15 February 2009: I thought after having some reasonably nice food at their Prangin Mall branch, the food at the main branch would be even better. My whole family was extremely disappointed with the taste and quality of the food served here. It was real embarrassing to me. To me, it should not the main excuse of us being the earliest patrons there. Moreover, the rude service of certain staff had added to the wound.

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The five of us had ordered 5 different dishes and none of those ordered met our expectations. The taste for Shanghai Noodles with Tong Por Meat (RM5.50) was totally different compared to the one I took from the other branch which was filled with flavors. Except for the Shanghai noodles, the meat was hard and the gravy was so diluted with hardly any herb taste in it. The Kimchi Noodles (RM5.50) was a disaster. The wantan noodles used was soggy and the soup was rather tasteless except for the mild chili flavor. The Guangdong Crispy Noodles (RM5.50) was still fine but it was not the best around. It lacked of fragrant. The Pork Rib Rice (RM6.00) was a laugh. It was merely some sliced pieces of pork chop and it was so chili hot that it won’t fit the taste bud of a child. It’s supposed to be sweet and sour and not sweet and spicy. The last order which was Hong Kong Style Roasted Pork Rice (RM5.50) got me dumbfounded. I expected the dish to be somewhat different in taste but ended up with some roasted pork slices fried with fermented beans. I could have cooked that myself instead of visiting a restaurant just for that.

Overall, the food here is way below par compared to any of those roadside stir fry stalls. I would expect the café to look into a better qualified chef than to simply serve the public with such kind of food. If the other branch can provide quality food, why can’t the main branch? I might be wrong in this review but with two seasoned cooks, one elderly father and two children complaining, something is just not right. The menu here was slightly different with an additional 10 set meals priced at RM15. You can click to enlarge the menu below.

SAMHUIPTMENU

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: 4.5/10 (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)

A FUN GATHERING AT LOUIS CAFE

Posted by crizlai On February - 9 - 2009

NOTE: THIS CAFE HAS CEASED ITS OPERATIONS

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If you are looking for a place where you can savor great food with rich and quality ingredients, you should take note of the latest Western and Asian fusion restaurant in Penang. Opened barely two months ago on 22 December 2008, Louis Café had impressed its customers with its wide arrays of dishes. Most of the dishes served are the own concoctions of their few experienced chefs. Thanks to Lingzie for arranging this gathering yesterday as some of us were able to review on their food quality, taste, flavor and ambience. I would say this is a cool place for group meetings, family functions and a romantic evening for love birds with their averagely lighted atmosphere.

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Let’s start the food introduction in proper sequence. Salads were first and we were served with three different varieties – Our House Rules Organic Salad (RM15), Classic Caesar Salad (RM18) and Scallop Salad (RM20). The Organic Salad was filled with lots of fresh greens and a mixture of apple cider, olive oil, some herbs and a hint of chopped lemongrass. This would be a great appetizer for those who love crunchy greens but I find the dressing a bit sour to my liking. Maybe a pinch of salt and some raw brown sugar might help pep up the flavor. The Classic Caesar Salad was loaded with lots of fresh greens, fried bacon bits, salmon strips, mixed herbs and garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and toasted croutons. I simply love this salad as it was rich in flavors except that I would prefer the croutons to be oil fried instead. The Scallop Salad was indeed another irresistible choice. On top of the fresh greens, the seared fresh scallops still maintained their juiciness. The searing definitely brought out the flavor in the scallops and with the special apple salsa sauce. This salad was one of the best I had tasted for ages. It even had some chopped onions, tomatoes, apples and chives for that extra bite.

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The next set was the soup served with some dinner rolls. We had the opportunity to try out some of the existing as well as newly created soup. There were all together 5 varieties which included Italianese Wild Mushroom Soup (RM10), Pumpkin Soup (RM9), Cream of Broccoli (RM9), Cream of Cauliflower (RM9) and Cream of Tomato (RM9). All the soups were creamy and tasty in their own ways. Except for my favorite Pumpkin Soup which came with some toasted almonds slices garnishes, I personally find that these could be further improvised by adding some bites into them such as toasted wild mushroom slices, oil fried croutons, chopped tomatoes as all the ingredients were blended too fine.

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We were then served with another 8 main course dishes such as the Vegetarian Cutlet (RM15.90), Classic Fish Cordon Bleu (RM25), Sirloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce (RM28), Grilled Lamb Chop with Peppercorn Sauce (RM22), Grilled Lamb Chop with Brown Mushroom Sauce (RM22), Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce (RM38), Pan Seared Salmon Steak with Dijon Sauce (RM30), Red Snapper with Cream of Tomato Pulp (RM25) and Baked Stuffed Chicken with Brown Mushroom Sauce (RM20). The Vegetarian Cutlet was unique as it came in the shape of a leaf. It was made from a mixture of buttered mashed potatoes, carrot dices, chopped onions, corn kernels, chopped broccoli, mixed herbs, coated with breadcrumbs and fried to perfection. This would be a great dish for those who like to have a meatless meal. The Classic Fish Cordon Bleu was another hit amongst us. Instead of red snapper fillet, Pacific dory fillet was used. The combination of the fresh fillet with filling such as ham and cheese, was so well balanced that it was gone within minutes. The Sirloin Steak with Red Wine was also a dish that got us drooling as the air flown Australian Striploin maintained its juiciness and tenderness after being grilled medium rare. The red wine sauce complemented the whole combinations perfectly.

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The Grilled Lamb Chop came in two flavors – Peppercorn Sauce and Brown Mushroom Sauce. Most of us preferred the latter as the former had a rather strong pepper taste which overpowered the natural lamb flavor. The Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce was also nice except for the strong peppercorn sauce as mentioned. The Pan Seared Salmon Steak with Dijon Sauce was also nice combination except for the fillet which I personally find a bit too thick to allow whatever marinates to seep deeply into the meat. The Red Snapper with Cream of Tomato Pulp was grabbed up real fast too. The freshness and smoothness of the red snapper fillet blended in well with the accompanied creamy tomato pulp sauce. The Baked Stuffed Chicken with Brown Mushroom Sauce was another cool dish as the chicken thigh fillet had a whole cheese sausage stuffed inside, breaded and baked until golden. The brown mushroom sauce combined well with this dish.

On top of the main courses, we also had Spaghetti Arrabiata (RM16), Fettucine Carbonara (RM16) and Spicy Chicken Tortilla (RM15.90). The Spaghetti Arrabiata was nice for those who love a spicier version. I personally find the herbs and ingredients were a bit too spicy and over rich in flavors. The Fettuccine Carbonara was my favorite as it had lots of bacon slices, ham strips, chopped onions, sautéed garlic, buttered wild mushroom slices, mixed herbs, cream and grated Parmesan cheese which made the whole combination perfect. Instead of the fettuccine pasta, linguine pasta was used and this made each mouthful even smoother and flavorful. Spicy Chicken Tortilla was a surprise to us as it was not stated in the menu. The filling was marvelous as the chicken pieces and potatoes were mildly spiced with some curry spices and curry leaves. Each bite left us yearning for more.

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Since all of us were fully stuffed by the café’s management (Thanks to Ms. Teoh), I managed to try out one of the desserts which was the White Fungus with Ginkgo Nuts (RM5). The dessert was marvelous as the soup was mildly sweetened with red dates and rock sugar. The ginkgo nuts were cooked just right and the white fungus still maintained their crunchiness. You can also opt for their other desserts such as Bird’s Nest at RM45 per bowl or the Herbal Snow Jelly at RM10 per bowl.

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Overall, we enjoyed ourselves dining in the café. With the great Penang Floggers there, it was even more fun and exciting. There would be a 5% service tax applicable to all the meals ordered but you can always check with the proprietor, Ms. Teoh, for group discounts if you would want to hold some functions. Tour groups are always welcome. On top of the Ala Carte dishes as mentioned above, the café do have a different Set Lunch menu daily which consist of appetizer of the day, choice of main course, choice of beverages and free flow of ice cream at only RM18.90+. Set Dinners are also available with an additional soup of the day and the option to choose between beverages and fresh cut fruits at only RM26.90+. Moreover, they also have finger snacks such as Fried Chicken Wings, Deep fried Squid Balls, French Fries, Potato Wedges and Deep Fried Calamari Rings from as low as RM6. If you fancy some local hawker fares, you could also look into their Asian menu which has Seafood Singapore Bee Hoon, Seafood Fried Rice, Thai Seafood Tom Yam Bee Hoon Soup, Seafood Hokkien Char, Seafood Hor Fun, Seafood Ramen and BBQ Pork Ramen (between RM8-RM12).

Finding the restaurant would be easy but not prominently noticeable as it’s situated along a row of pre-colonial houses along Jalan Argyll. The best way to reach the café would still be from Upper Penang Road. Coming in from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah into Upper Penang Road where Hotel Continental, Hotel Malaysia, Cititel are, drive onwards until you see Veenai Odeon Cinema on your right. Turn right into the road, that’s Jalan Argyll. Drive on until you have reach the cross junction (Jalan Transfer/Jalan Argyll). Drive across Jalan Transfer and you would see the café just a few houses away on your left (directly opposite Mingood Hotel).

LOIUSCAFEMAP

Name: LOUIS CAFE
Address: 161-C, Jalan Argyll, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm
Contact: 604-228 7729, 012-470 1666 (Ms. Teoh Chua Tee)
GPS: 5.421778, 100.330472
WIFI: Yes

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: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

Attended Floggers:
Criz Lai of Criz Bon Appetite
Lingzie of Lingzie’s Tummy Treats
CK Lam of What2See Online
Huat Koay of PenangTuaPui
Rebecca of The Nomad Gourmand
Steven Goh of Steven Goh dot com
Allen Ooi of Yummy Station
Gill & Jason of Gourmet Garden
Carrie of Cariso Delicacies Corner
Mary of Food Paradise
Bee of Buzzing Life
Mr. Lee of Kwong Wah Yit Poh

 

SET LUNCH AT SALSAS RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On February - 1 - 2009

It was another reunion meal and a birthday celebration for my Dad on the fourth day of Chinese New Year. Most of our chosen restaurants were either closed or fully booked on that day. To avoid any disappointments, we had booked a long table at the Salsas Restaurant at Hotel Continental for early lunch instead. The restaurant was indeed very crowded. Walking into the restaurant, you can feel the coziness of the whole setup. Here’s a glimpse of the whole place.

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Salsas Restaurant does not provide many ala carte dishes. Instead, it has 26 impressive set lunches in the menu, ranging from as low as RM13.50 to a higher range as much as RM27.50. Every single set lunch would come with Soup or Salad of the Day, Main Course, Coffee, Tea, Iced Lemon Tea or Fruit Juice, and Dessert of the Day. It’s quite a good money-for-value meal. Just click and enlarge the below photos to know what they have in their menu.

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Let us just look at how a typical set lunch at the Salsas Restaurant would look like. First you would be asked on whether you would wan coffee, tea, iced lemon tea or mango juice on top of the plain glass of water you would be served.

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They would also serve everyone with a hot toasted bun each with butter while waiting to the set lunch courses to start.

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We were given the option to choose between the Soup of the Day and the Salad of the Day. The Soup of the Day was Asparagus Soup. It was creamy enough for my liking. The Salad of the Day was some fresh lettuce and tomatoes with mayonnaise and garnished with toasted bread cubes. It was refreshing.

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We ordered the main course from 3 different price ranges in the menu. The first range was RM13.50. We had Double Jumbo Chicken Sausages and Grilled Dory Fish Fillet with Salsa. The sausages were good but a bit salty to my liking. The dory fillet was also good combined with the tomato salsa it came with.

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The next range was RM15.50. We had Baked Penne Pasta and Lamb Pepperpot. The pasta tasted great with lots of chicken cubes and creamy cheese. On the other hand, the Lamb Pepperpot was braised with the right herbs and had the tenderness I would like. This dish came with 3 slices of richly toasted garlic bread.

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The next range was RM18.50. We had ordered Grilled Sole Fish Fillet and Grilled Lamb Leg. The fish was fresh and it went well with the lemon crème and shrimp butter. It has some salty breadcrumbs garnished on the boiled cauliflower. It was very yummy indeed. Next was the Grilled Lamb Leg. The lamb leg was grilled well and the tenderness blended in real well with the accompanied salsa.

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The set meal ended with Dessert of the Day which consist a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a fruit cocktail and two mini cakes. It was nothing to brag about but the presentation was great.

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All the set lunches would come with a 10% service charge and 5% government tax. The total bill was RM162.73 for 9 persons. I would say it’s rather reasonable although the main course size was a bit too small to fill me up. I would surely visit them again to try out their other set dishes.

If you are driving down from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah into Jalan Penang, you will see the restaurant right at a corner within Hotel Continental’s premise. As the road there can be quite jammed up, I would advise you to park your car at the Red Garden Café parking lot just a block away and walk to the restaurant.

SALSAMAP

Name: SALSAS RESTAURANT @ HOTEL CONTINENTAL
Address: Ground Floor, 5 Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 3923
Opening Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-11.00pm
GPS: 5.421928, 100.334470

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

YELLOW LIGHT RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 16 - 2009

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Most Penangites would have known about this Thai Restaurant with no signboard except for a yellow round light along Jalan Fettes since 1982. Yellow Light (Thai Food) Restaurant was one of the finest Thai cuisine restaurants ever existed in Penang, managed by the then founder, Madam Yoke Payong. Subsequently her daughter, Chef Loh took over the business and continued to serve great Thai cuisines to patrons from all over the world. The business eventually moved to 8 Row along Jalan Krian off Jalan Macalister. Somehow, I guessed another golden opportunity knocked at the right time and she’s right now with her new restaurant along East Coast Road, Singapore.

The continuity of the current restaurant, under the same name, is under a different management now. Will the food be as good as before ever since Chef Loh had moved to Singapore since January? Let’s look at some of the dishes I had ordered here compared to the one I had tasted by Madam Yoke as well as her daughter, Ms Loh.

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The first dish that was served was just another simple dish in any household, Phad Phak Ruam (Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables – RM9). Except for some Chinese cabbage, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and wood ear fungus, there was not a piece of meat or prawn in it. The taste was just normal without any Nam Pla (fish sauce) to bring out the best in the dish.

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Next was Yam Woonsen (Glass Noodles Salad – RM12). The dish has cooked glass noodles, prawns, dried shrimps, chicken dices, onions and chili paddy mixed all together with some sauces and garnished with some coriander. The dish was a bit too sour and the glass noodles were so soggy that all were lumped up. We had to request for a pair of scissors to cut them up.

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Thailand is famous for some of their seafood dishes. We tried out the Poo Cha (Deep Fried Stuffed Crab – RM6/pc) and Poo Neung (Steamed Stuffed Crab – RM6/pc). Both had the same ingredients such as minced meat, prawns, crab meat, water chestnut, Chinese celery, chopped chillies and topped with some salted egg yolk. The fried one came with some breadcrumbs. As for the taste, I find the stuffing rather soft to my liking. I guessed the cook might have put too much of corn starch into the mixture, thus making the stuffing too sticky and slimy.

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One of my most ordered dishes in Thailand other than Tom Yam Gung would be the Thod Nam Pla (Deep Fried Fish Cake –RM2.50/pc). The ones served here was not as spicy and thick as those I had taken before. I find the whole fish cake rather bland to my liking. Moreover, the amount of vinegar in the chili sauce provided was too strong.

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A Thai meal would not be complete if you do not try out the Gai Bai Toei (Fried Pandan aka Screwpine Chicken – RM2.50/pc). This was another let down as I could not really bite out the toughness of the chicken pieces. There were just too much of spices in each wrapping than the actual meat. Moreover, the meat was over marinated until they became over soft like minced meat.

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As for dessert, I ordered the Tub Tim Krob (diced water chestnut in colored starch and jackfruit strips served with thick coconut milk –RM2.50). The dessert was rich with coconut milk but was too sweet to my liking.

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Maybe I could have ordered the wrong dishes from the drastically reduced food list compared to the previous ones I had at the original house but if the basic dishes from a Thai cuisine had failed my taste bud, it would mean that the rest would not be as interesting anymore. The damages were RM55.35 for all the food ordered with drinks, optional wet towels and 5% service tax. I hope that the new management would try to improve further with the food quality. I also hope that I don’t get to see the good image and reputation of the former heavenly Yellow Light tarnished and vanished from the face of Penang.

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If you are driving down from Komtar into Jalan Macalister, you will see a petrol kiosk on your left and then Grand Paradise Hotel. Immediately after the hotel and before the traffic light, there is a left turning, Jalan Krian (Krian Road), where the 8 Row heritage restaurants are situated. The restaurant is occupying the first two shop houses.

YELLOWLIGHTMAP

Name: YELLOW LIGHT RESTAURANT
Address: 2-4, Jalan Krian, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 6072 (Mr. Ooi/Ms. Wong)
Opening Hours:
Restaurant: 11.00am-11.00pm
Bistro & Karaoke (upstairs): 9.30pm-2.00am (min 3 tables)
GPS: 5.416714, 100.322076

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

CUISINE EXTRAVAGANZA AT CHIN BEE TEA CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 12 - 2009

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Who would have expected hidden amongst some of the heritage houses in Georgetown would have a tea café that served quality choices of tea as well as food? Of course, that would be Chin Bee Tea Café, an established tea supplier to most of the restaurants and hawker centers in Penang. I found out about this place a few months’ ago when they were still undergoing renovation works and this place ended up as a treasure to me and I would strongly recommend them to my friends. I have even lost count of how many visits Steven Goh, whom I had first introduced this cafe, had brought his family along to patronize this place.

From the exterior of this place, most people would just assume it as a place serving solely tea and some light bites as most tea houses. If you look into the clear glass panels, you would even see rows of cupboards and urns filled with tea leaves and flower tea buds. Anyone would surely have that wrong perception.

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Going into the café is like moving into a place filled with hospitality. You would be served by the members of this family run business with all smiles. The service is remarkable. You would be given a menu with a list of tea which you would like to have as well as a simple menu for the food.

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Do try out their quality Chrysanthemum bud tea which would give you the unique sweet after taste as well as their Ginseng Tie Guan Yin which would energize your moods and alertness.

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Do not be fooled by the simple list of food as shown in the menu as there are still many other wonderful dishes that the over 60 years old Sifu (Grand Master of the Kitchen), Mr. Malai Chong, have under his sleeves. I was truly surprised on how impromptu and creative this Sifu was in coming up with dishes that will make anyone drool just by looking at it. This showed that with his seasoned experiences, he could just combine any ingredients in the kitchen to make great dishes. What else would you expect from a chef who had work in overseas restaurants such as Ireland and UK, and also in reputable Malaysian hotels and restaurants for the past 40 plus years?

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Let us now looked at some of the dishes the café is famous for such as the Special Pork Ribs (RM3/pc). The inner part of the ribs will always been soft while the outer layer has that crunchiness from the chef’s secret formulated flour. The dish would be served in some sweet and delicious sauce. This dish is highly recommended for those who would not mind some fatty layers on the belly cum ribs portion of pork.

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The next dish was a surprise. I wanted something nice mixed with some greens. The Sifu concocted a new dish called the Smooth Journey (一帆風順 – RM12). From the outlook of the long and round food on the plate, I was not sure what they were until I sliced open both of them. The long one appeared to be stuffed capsicum with some juicy minced pork and prawns. It was unique and yummy. The round one appeared to be stuffed button mushrooms with the same type of fillings. The slightly sweet and sour sauce made both simply irresistible.

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I wanted something lighter next and the Sifu recommended a homely dish called Three Jewels Steam Egg (三黃蛋 – RM8). It had three types of eggs, basically chicken eggs, salted duck egg and century eggs, all whipped up with some seasoning and steamed to perfection. The dish would then be garnished with some quality soy sauce, some fried garlic & oil and chopped spring onions. It was marvelous too as the texture of the steamed egg was without much bubbles and it was as smooth as consuming Japanese tofu.

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Next, I got my “sort of personal chef now” (LOL!) to serve me with some chicken dish that he did not have in his menu. Again I was stunned by how well he had presented in the next dish which was the Sweet & Sour Chicken (燒汁雞 – RM10). It was basically a large chicken drumstick (the size as you would get from Western food) but the preparation was ten times tastier than I have tasted anywhere. I guessed the Sifu used only the best sauce to come out with something as great as this dish. The batter coated chicken was very crispy. It blended real well with sliced onions, chillies, sugar snap peas (mange tout) with some touches of sweet and sour sauce.

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The next dish which was the Rakkyo In-house Tofu (蕎光豆腐 – RM12) was another eye opening dish for me. When I thought it was just the usual fried in-house made special tofu cooked with minced meat and mixed vegetables, the taste was totally not as I had expected. It was so appetizing. It has that unique sweetness combined with quality Chinese wine. The added sliced sugar snap peas, carrots and button mushrooms made the dish real colorful.

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Do you want to know the secret behind the appetizing dish? Here they are. The dish has finely sliced pickled ginger (調味醋姜片) and pickled Rakkyo bulbs (酸甜蕎頭). You might want to know what Rakkyo is. It is a native plant in South East Asia, mostly grown in China, Japan and certain parts of Malaysia (Cameron Highlands) where the bulbs would me made into pickles. It also believed to have some medicinal properties such as the prevention of thrombosis, treatment of heart diseases in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), remedy for fever, stomachache and eye infections. There are many names to this midget spring onion or allium-like plant such as the widely used English term which sounded so Japanese – Rakkyo, Japanese scallion or Allium chinense.

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Another dish that the Sifu had specially prepared for the Chinese New Year season would be the Dried Oyster, Scallop & Black Moss Stew (大蠔燉乾貝髮菜 – RM20-40). This is a wonderful dish as the dried oysters and scallops were braised in some seasonings such as ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and Shao Xing wine until soften. These would then be simmered along with some young lettuces and black moss. This specially prepared dish would normally be served in family reunion dinners on the eve of Chinese New Year.

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On top of the above dishes with would be taken with rice, you could always opt for something lighter. They have only rice or Ee Foo noodles. Either you can ask the Sifu to cook Fried Ee Foo Mee or their famous Hong Tu Mian (鴻圖面 – RM8-15). This would be best taken with some black vinegar.

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If you feel that you would like something drier, you can try out their Yong Chow Fried Rice, Egg Wrapped Fired Rice or my favorite Hot & Spicy Fried Rice (特色炒飯 – RM5-RM15). The “Wok Hei” aka high heat frying for this fried rice dishes is real good.

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Overall, Chin Bee Tea Café is a great place to buy various quality tea leaves/flower teas as well as for family dine-in. There would always be surprises for you as you would not know what other delicious food the Sifu would stir up for you. The price for the food is reasonable, so are the selections of quality tea drinks. I will surely drop in to try out their other reputable dishes such as the exotic deer meat and fish head curry. By the way, the Sifu would also like to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year in the coming Ox year.

MALAICHONG

If you are coming from Trader’s Hotel along Jalan Magazine, keep to your left and drive on until you have reach the second traffic light. Turn into the first road on your left (Jalan Gurdwara) and then the first left turning into Lebuh Noordin. The shop is just somewhere in the middle on your right within a row of heritage houses. In fact, this shop is just two houses away from another recommended confectionery manufacturer by the name of Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading. Please make sure you call up for reservation as this place could be packed during lunch or dinner hours.

CHINBEEMAP

Name: CHIN BEE TEA CAFE
Address: 124, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 1761, 012-499 9972 (Mr. Ong)
Opening Hours: 12noon – 3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.00pm (Closed Alternate Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412361, 100.329541

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)

 

RELAXING MYSELF AT JJ CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 9 - 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JJACAFEMAP

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

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

YOUNG HEART RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 7 - 2009

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With the inspiration from a plant with heart shaped leaves called Sweetheart Hoya, a restaurant known as Sweet Heart Restaurant was established since 2005. Strategically located nearby the hustle and bustle of the Pulau Tikus market, this restaurant surprisingly gives you the relaxing environment with the peace and tranquil one would hardly expect. It’s a cool place to be in as the whole theme would be based on their motto “The Fragrance of the Refreshment comes from the Heart”. What would be the best way than to present them in edible forms?

The best part of indulging yourself in such a restaurant is that the food served here would be of home cooked styles without any unnecessary flavorings. The dishes would be cooked in the simplest and most healthy way and yet bringing out the best in each dish. Even those fragrant flower tea drinks served there were refreshingly healthy. It’s indeed a healthy place for everyone.

Other than their famous dumplings, noodles and impressive set lunch menus, the restaurant has recently cooked up some promotions to cater for the Chinese New Year crowds. A few of the Penang floggers had the privilege to try out the dinner last night. Prior to starting the food tasting for the Chinese New Year promotion, we were given a few types of sauces. There were fried onions, ginger in black vinegar and chili powder in oil meant for the jiaozi and guotie which we would be having later on. On top of that, we were also given some Chinese, Japanese and Siam sauces too.

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Lotus Root with Sugar & Vinegar (RM3) was also served as an appetizer where slices of lotus root were marinated in sugar and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is believed to be able to lower cholesterol level. This is indeed something different for us.

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During most Chinese dinners, soup would always be the first to be served. We were treated with Hot & Sour Soup (RM5/bowl). The soup contained 3 types of vinegar, namely black, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar with cube of bean curds, crabsticks, wood ear fungus, pickled shanghai vegetable, chopped chilies, fish maws, beaten egg white and so on. It was indeed appetizing.

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Another few appetizers worth mentioning would be their paper rice rolls. We had the opportunity to try out their Prawn Vegetable Rolls (RM7.60), Egg Vegetable Rolls (RM6.60) and Unagi Vegetable Rolls (RM7.60). They were perfect as each roll was filled with freshly sliced vegetables.

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There were also the restaurant’s in-house specialties such as Fried Bean Curd (RM4.80), Prawn & Leeks Guotie (RM9.60) and Cheese & Chicken Guotie (RM10.80). The Fried Bean Curd was extremely tasty as the inner part has so many ingredients in it. The outer part has the crunchiness of the special batter, making the whole mouthful very delightful. It was great having these with the Siam Chili Sauce provided.

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Next on the list was the 7-course Chinese New Year Promotion, which consists of Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Mushroom (RMRM16.80), Golden Scallop Dumpling (RM18.80), Fried Prawns with Garlic (RM18.80), Steamed Cod Fish with Bean Curd (RM29.80), Prosperous Year in Malaysia (RM6.80), Snake Squash with Pork (RM11.80) and Sponge Gourd with Pork (RM13.80).

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The Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Mushroom had some nice and sweet gravy with lots of greens and mushroom in it. Simple but yet it contained great vitamin and minerals to the body. The Golden Scallop Dumpling which has some carrot juice made skin contained a juicy fresh scallop each. The Fried Prawns with Garlic was another great dish as the prawns were mixed with some chopped garlic batter and oil fried to perfection, giving each prawn the fragrant bite. The Steamed Cod Fish with Bean Curd did not let anyone down as some even ordered some rice to be taken with the tasty gravy. The Prosperous Year in Malaysia was actually deep fried chicken wings and drumlets. What made this dish stood out was the smell and taste of sliced Kaffir lime leaves and shallots within the marinated pieces. The Snake Squash with Pork was a rather unique dish for many as most of us had not known the existence of such a vegetable. The taste was somewhat like munching cooked celery minus the strong celery herby taste. The Sponge Gourd with Pork was somewhat different compared to the rest as it was cooked with Angelica sinensis (dong guai or female ginseng). This would be an ideal dish for those who like Chinese herbs cooking.

The meal ended up with noodles, namely Black Jelly Mushroom Fried Noodles (RM8.80), Shredded Pork Noodles (RM7.50) and Ground Pork with Spicy Bean Sauce Noodles (RM7.50). All the handmade noodles tasted great with their own unique tastes, except that the Ground Pork with Spicy Bean Sauce Noodles could be rather pungent for some.

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On top of the food, we were also served with two unique combinations of beverages. One would be the Honey Lemon with Aloe Vera (RM6/glass) and sweetened Chamomile & Chrysanthemum Tea (RM4.50/glass). The Honey Lemon with Aloe Vera was lovely as it has cubes of jelly-like Aloe Vera cubes in it. The Chamomile & Chrysanthemum Tea on the other hand was refreshing as Chamomile is believed to be good for the digestive system as well as fighting against fatigue and insomnia. Chrysanthemum has the medicinal value of fighting against flu related viruses.

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Attended Floggers:
Criz Lai of Criz Bon Appetite
CK Lam of What2See Online (Organizer – Thanks!)
Tam Chiak & Huat Koay of PenangTuaPui
Steven Goh of Steven Goh dot com
Allen Ooi of Yummy Station
Gill & Jason of Gourmet Garden
Carrie of Cariso Delicacies Corner
Mary of Food Paradise
Allie of Heavenly Allie
Bee of Buzzing Life

Reaching the restaurant would be easy if you are coming from Jalan Burmah into Jalan Cantonment. Just drive along Jalan Cantonment until you reach the first left junction (Pulau Tikus Market – Jalan Pasar). Just go further up after this junction and you will see Wisma Kota Kembar – Pulau Pinang-Medan Information and Promotion Centre on the corner lot. The restaurant is just next to this centre.

YOUNGHEARTMAP

Name: YOUNG HEART RESTAURANT
Address: 44A, Jalan Cantonment, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-10.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 604-228 8084, 016-410 8098 (Ms. Ann Kee)
GPS: 5.430508, 100.311350

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

COFFEE ISLAND IN PENANG

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 3 - 2009

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The latest happening in town other than the New World Park would be the newly open Coffee Island situated along the promenade of Gurney Drive. It has the buzzing crowd ranging from families, YUPpies (Young Urban Professionals), college and school students. Moving into the premises was like being greeted by a mini party of giggles and laughs, setting the mood of the environment to happy and lively modes.

Coffee Island could be a great place for those who love to drop in for late breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper or even early breakfast in a relax environment as they would be open for business as early as 10.00am until 3.00am. I was there for a late dinner. The menu was rather impressive as it has more than 160 types of food and beverages to choose from. There was also a section for those late owls.

It was a surprise that with such a packed crowd that night, service was still up to par. Waiters and waitresses would check on the provided chit upon serving and supervisors would double check on the orders per table. Meals were served within few minutes too.

The first order that came was the Chicken Maryland (RM11.50nett). It was just a normal presentation with side dishes such as salads, mashed potatoes and some greens. As usual, the dish would also have sausage, pineapple and banana fritters on top of the usual breaded chicken. I would think that the sausage could be improved as it tasted “cheap” and the breaded chicken had a hard outer batter while the meat was extremely dry. It tasted as though it was double fried and lost its juiciness. Somehow this dish was not up to my expectation.

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The next one was the Traditional Chicken Curry served with Roti Jala (Net Egg Crepe – RM9.50nett). The dish has only three piece of roti jala, two with pandan (screw pine flavored) and one plain, served with spicy chicken slices curry (8 small slices in fact). The taste was great but the amount could hardly fill my tummy, considering that the dish was served with only 4 thin slices of cucumber. Great taste but too pricey.

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To fill up my tummy, I had to order the Ham & Cheese Toast (RM4.60nett). I was expecting something fragrant and crunchy but in the end I had 3 thick but springy slices of white breads stuffed with a semi fried ham and a piece of cheese. Moreover, there were no vegetables inside, except for some over lime juice taste mayonnaise. I would rather have non toasted bread with butter spread as the whole combination was too dry to my liking.

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There was nothing special in the drinks too. The Iced Cappuccino (RM5.90nett) was really ‘ice filled” and not to my liking as it tasted so “thin”. The Pink Holiday (RM6.90) was a laugh. It tasted like a sugarless Ais Manis (red syrup iced drink) with some fizzy soda. It was nothing special at all.

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Maybe it was just due to my wrong timing to dine there when the place was so packed or my expectation could be too high. Anyway, I was not quite happy with the RM43 paid (plus tips) to have these types of food served. If I were to visit there again, I would surely choose other dishes to test them out again. Let me share with you what they have in their menu.

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Overall, the place would be ideal for meet-ups if the taste of food is not your main concern. The pricing might be a bit high though for the amount of food served and the drink could be a bit “thin”. I would advise can drinks instead. You can opt to dine indoor rather than the al fresco area. There would be two free 1MB WIFI line available, namely Coffee Island 1 and Coffee Island 2. Downloading could be quite fast but uploading is rather slow. There are other “unsecured lines” such as MyBroadband and Gurney67 available but I’m not sure about the speed.

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The shop is strategically located along the sea front of the famous Gurney Drive (next to Crepe Cottage). If you are coming from town center towards Gurney Drive into Jalan Kelawei, turn right at the first junction (Jalan Lim Chin Guan) where Gurney Tower is. Drive towards the end and turn left. You would pass through Evergreen Laurel Hotel and a stretch of hawker centers on your left. Slow down as Crepe Cottage is immediately after the last hawker center (Song River Café). You can park your car next to the café. The car park is in fact behind Crepe Cottage. If you visit this place during weekends, I would advise you to park your car in the Jalan Birch Car Park (the road after Song River Café) and walk up to the cafe.

COFFEEISLANDMAP

Name: COFFEE ISLAND
Address: 77 Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 3.00am
Contact: 604-2272378
GPS: 5.432556, 100.316592

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: 5.5/10 (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)

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