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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.

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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)

CHUAN CHUAN XIANG MALACCA SATAY CELUP

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 25 - 2008

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

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On 7 July 2008, George Town, the historic capital of Penang was formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside with Malacca as both states were officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. Although the food served in these two states of Malaysia have their own identity, there tend to be some crossovers. Two of the Malaccan dishes introduced in Penang recently are the Malaccan Satay Celup (food on bamboo skewers cooked in thick peanut sauce) and Chicken Rice Balls. Thanks to Steven for showing me the existence of such a shop in Penang.

The experience of dining in this restaurant is totally different compared to the one I had in Malacca as the pot for dipping in the skewers has two sections instead of one. It’s a combination of the local boiling water method and the Malaccan Satay Celup concept. The Malaccan dipping pot has a thicker and stronger gravy compared to the one served here. Moreover, the Malaccan gravy would be served in one boiling peanut sauce pot with more grounded peanuts and Malaccan palm sugar (Gula Melaka) in it.

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Well, one thing great about the place is the cleanliness of the Lok Lok (food on skewers). All the skewers are kept in two designated chillers within the premise and you would need to pick what you want to consume. At 70sen per skewer or RM15 (adult) & RM7.50 (child) with free flow of can drinks, you can savor over 60 types of meat, seafood, processed fish balls or vegetables skewers. There would also be a 10% discount for those diners with more than RM20 bill.

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On top of the peanut sauce in the pot, you could also try out their three special sauces such as Thai Spicy Sauce, Blended Cili Padi (chili Paddy/Birdseye Chili) and Tomyam Sauce. I find the spicy sauce to be a bit too sour, the chili paddy sauce to be a bit bland but the tomyam sauce was still fine to my liking.

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Other than the Lok Lok, you can also try out the Malaccan Hainan Chicken Rice Balls at RM3-RM4 per set. One note, please get the boss (Mr. Lau) to heat up the dish for you as the set dish would taste better if warmer. The taste for the chicken was fine although it was cold for my case. The meat was tender and the sauce was just right. Even the accompanied chili sauce has that blended ginger taste in it. As for the rice balls, I felt that there was nothing special except that my rice came in ball shapes. I guessed that must be the Malaccans’ way for better presentation.

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Overall, the food there was just average considering that I had tasted the actual Malaccan dishes before but it could be a great experience for those people who had not tried out Malaccan dishes before. It would also be a great bargain for those who can consume a lot as the price of RM15 per person is reasonable. The restaurant also caters for birthday gathering as well as having certain offers on certain days of the week.

For those who are not staying in mainland Penang, going to the Raja Uda area might be quite a hassle. I’m going to show you the ways to reach the restaurant by either ferry or through the Penang Bridge. Just click on the map below to enlarge to have a clearer view of the direction by following the red (bridge) and blue (ferry terminal) dotted lines.

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To elaborate further when you have found your way to Jalan Raja Uda, just drive forward until you see SJK (Cina) Kwang Hwa on your left. Immediately after the school, there would be a row of shop houses. Keep at look out for the Lekker II Claypot House (stated as LCH in map) restaurant at the corner lot and turn into the road (Jalan Pangsapuri Emas). The restaurant is just at the corner lot of the apartment.

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Name: CHUAN CHUAN XIANG
Address:
Tingkat 08, Jalan Pangsapuri Emas, Taman Emas, Raja Uda,
12300 Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-484 2088 (Mr. Lau)
Opening Hours: 5.30pm-11.30pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.428874, 100.383384

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

AQUATIC CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 12 - 2008

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 10 - 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHA YU KAFEI RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 8 - 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEVEN SISTER CAFE & RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 5 - 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

VIETNAMESE STREET FOOD TASTING @ MISS SAIGON

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 16 - 2008

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It was a great experience for some of us here who had never tasted Vietnamese Street Food during the food tasting gathering organized by Miss Saigon, Vietnamese Cuisine at E-Gate, Penang yesterday. We were given the privilege to try out all the items in the pork-free menu prior to the launching of the promotion which would start this coming Friday to cater for those who would like lighter treats. There are all together 31 items in the newly promoted menu, ranging from summer rolls, exotic spreads, salads, rice noodles and sandwiches.

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To start off the event, we were presented with 10 different types of fresh and fried rolls with different kinds of sauces. Those dishes included the Traditional Northern Rolls (RM6.80) with prawns, Traditional Southern Rolls (RM7.80) with chicken slices, Farmer’s Egg Rolls (RM6.80), Mini Prawn Paste on Sugar Cane (RM10.80) to be wrapped in rice paper, Crispy Gourmet Seafood Rolls (RM9.80), Crisp Fried Hanoi Rolls (RM8.80), Fresh Vegetable Rolls (RM5.80), Southern Fish Rolls (RM7.80) and Classic Hor Fun Rolls (Beef – RM10.80, Chicken – RM9.80). Overall, the rice paper wrapped rolls tasted almost the same with lots of fresh vegetables except for the different types of meat in it. The ones that stood out and tasted great for my personal liking included the Mini Prawn Paste on Sugar Cane, Crispy Gourmet Seafood Rolls, Crisp Fried Hanoi Rolls and Hor Fun Beef Rolls.

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The next set of meals was the exotic side of the Vietnamese cuisine. We were presented with 8 dishes, namely the Cinnamon Beef Chunks La Lot (RM11.80), Grilled Chicken T-shaped Wings (RM9.80), Wok Fried Flower Chicken (RM14.80), Wok Fried Flower Beef (RM14.80), Spiced Grilled Eel Cake (RM12.80), Villagers Grilled Snail Cake (RM12.80), Street Style Salty Soft Shell Crabs (RM13.80) and Royal Seafood Skewer (RM10.80). The Cinnamon Beef Chunks La Lot was tender and juicy with that special taste from the Vietnamese spice leave. The Grilled Chicken T-shaped Wings was also nice as they were marinated and grilled to perfection with the chef’s secret BBQ sauce. Other than that, my preference would be the two Wok Fried Flower Chicken/Beef dishes. The taste of the Pergularia wild flowers sure did enhance the dishes which came with a bit of tangy and salty after taste. The Eel and Snail cakes were average. Both tasted like chicken burger expect that the snail version had a bit of springiness in them. The Street Style Soft Shell Crabs was quite nice too except that I found it to be a bit over salty to my taste bud. The Royal Seafood Skewer is nothing special compared to other BBQ skewer dishes but the salmon served was indeed fresh.

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The restaurant’s salad dishes were next on the list. We were served with 5 different kinds of salad namely their most recommended Sour Green Mango Salad (RM7.80), Miss Saigon Salad (RM9.80), Cold Glass Noodle Salad (RM6.80), Crunchy Papaya Salad (RM7.80) and Jelly Fish Salad (RM8.80). The dressing for all the salad tasted almost the same except for the Cold Glass Noodle Salad which has a touch of shredded ginger flower bud added. I love this salad most as it tasted like Yee Sang which would be served during Chinese New Year minus the crunchiness of the fried flour biscuits. The Sour Green Mango Salad and Miss Saigon Salad were also not bad in taste but I would prefer the chef to add in more fresh bean spouts as the dishes lacked of some crunchiness of fresh vegetables.

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The rice noodles dishes were served next. There are all in 6 dishes from the menu such as the Crunchy Eel Glass Noodle Soup (RM13.80), Villagers Snail Noodle Soup (RM13.80), Traditional Southern Beef/Chicken BUN (RM14.80/RM12.80) and the Traditional Vietnamese Chicken/Beef PHO (RM12.80/RM14.80). I found that the eel strips were a bit too small in size after being fried as I could not get the fish taste in it. I normally prefer fresh fish fillet in my noodle soup, although I do take some fried ones which were in a bigger chunks. The Villagers Snail Noodle Soup was not bad. Although the snail meat was not as thinly sliced as I would expect, it blended well with the sour taste of the soup. The soup tasted like our local Laksa minus the pungent taste of the soup. Even the chewy noodles were exactly the same as those in Laksa. Both the Traditional Southern Beef/Chicken BUN tasted great. They looked like our local “Kerabu” and tasted the same too. I quite like the chicken version as sauce blended in real well. The Traditional Vietnamese Chicken/Beef Noodles were normal but the beef version would be quite suitable for those who do not like the overpowering taste of beef.

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The last on the menu were the Frog Curry with Garlic Spiced Baguette (RM10.80) and Vietnamese Street Beef/Chicken Baguette (RM9.80). The latter was nothing but a part of a baguette filled with some beef and chicken cold cuts. The Frog Curry was worth mentioning as the curry was delicious and had a quite unique taste from all the herbs within. Even the garlic topped baguettes combined well with the curry.

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Overall, the taste for the Vietnamese street food could be quite an experience for many but I find the pricing to be a bit too steep for some of the items in the menu. If you are a frequent wet market customer, you would realize that the ingredients used in the preparation of some of the dishes would be around 30% of the price charged, excluding the rental, ambience and worker’s salaries. I would like to advice the management to lower to a reasonable price in order to let more people try out the Vietnamese food. 10% service charge is applicable to all orders and major credit cards would only be accepted for bill above RM50.

The restaurant is situated within the E-Gate building next to Penang’s Tesco along Jalan Tunku Kudin, Gelugor, Penang. It is facing the Jelutong Expressway and is just next to the Old Town Kopitiam.

SAIGONMAP

Name: MISS SAIGON VIETNAM CUISINE
Address: 1-01-15, E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2, 11700 Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00pm – 12.00am
Contact: 604-377 6083, 012-402 2909 (Mr. Leslie Loh)
GPS: 5.376253, 100.315558

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: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

Other attendees:
Steven Goh from Steven Goh
Allen Ooi from Yummy Station
Michelle & Jason Law from Let’s Chat and Chew
PenangTuaPuis from PenangTuaPui
CK Lam from What2seeOnline
Gill & Jason from Gourmet Garden
Lingzie from Lingzie’s Tummy Treats
Allie & friend from Havenly Allie
Nicholas Chan from Shiok Or Not
Carrie Soon from Cariso Delicacies Corner

THAI STATION @ PRANGIN MALL PENANG

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 12 - 2008

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Some of the shoppers might not know that there is a Thai restaurant hidden in the more low traffic area of Prangin Mall, Penang. The restaurant, Thai Station Café & Restaurant at Atrium A of Prangin Mall is actually a subsidiary company of the HK Wong Kok Group of Restaurants. There’s a branch of HK Wong Kok at Level 3, Atrium B, Prangin Mall too.

Whenever I’m in Prangin Mall, I would drop by for some food or just savor some of their Thai desserts. Although this is not the best Thai restaurant in town due to their fusion way of preparing some of the dishes, this could be a great place for a quiet discussion. I have tried out a large number of their dishes even before I started my flood blogging such as their Kway Teow Nger (Beef Koay Teow Soup – RM7.30), Khow Phad Krapi (Shrimp Paste aka Belacan Fried Rice – RM7.50), Phad Thai (Thai Fried Koay Teow – RM7.50) and so on.

The recent one I had was their Phad See Eu (Stir Fried Hor Fun with Kailan aka mustard greens – RM7.50). The noodle was smooth but the mustard greens were a bit too old and fibrous. Luckily with a big serving and lots of pork slices make the overall taste quite passable.

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My friend ordered the Khow Phad Subprarod (Pineapple Fried Rice – RM6). It has a slightly spicy look compared to those we get from the local hawker stalls. I guessed they might have added some turmeric powder to make it so yellowish. As for taste, it’s just slightly above average although it had quite a lot of raisins, pineapples and chick chunks in the dish.

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We also tried out their Hor Mouk (Fish Mousse aka Fish Otak Otak – RM3.50). The fresh piece of fish fillet and the combination of spices were great. The only hiccup is that they did not use any wild betel leaves (daun kaduk) at the base, instead they used lots of Thai basil leaves (daun selasih). To me it’s fine as I love the unique taste of green curry. It might not be suitable for some.

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For dessert, my friend ordered the Tub Tim Krob (diced water chestnuts coated with red starch jellies, somewhat like the seeds of a pomegranate, diced jack fruits and served with sweetened coconut milk – RM3.90). The taste was great as it’s not too sweet as those I had taken in Thailand.

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I ordered their Ruam Mid (diced water chestnuts coated with red starch jellies, diced glass jellies aka leong fun, attap seeds in syrup – RM3.90). The taste is just mediocre.

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Overall, the food there is just slightly above average to my liking as I had got my taste bud accustomed to somewhat more authentic Thai cuisines. By the way, they do charge a 5% service tax. If you are in Prangin Mall, Penang, walk towards the entrance of the Parkson Grand Supermarket at Level 1, Atrium A. There are actually two entrances at each floor. If you cannot see the restaurant, it means you are at the wrong entrance. Try moving to the next entrance.

THAISTATIONMAP

Name: THAI STATION @ PRANGIN MALL
Address:
33-01-118A, 1st Floor, Prangin Mall, Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours:
12.00pm – 9.00pm
Contact: 604-262 8080
GPS: 5.414464, 100.331683

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: 7/10 (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)

YONG PIN RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 11 - 2008

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You may not know but there are about 13 dim sum shops in Georgetown area alone. Some are newly established with great ambience and choices, whereas there are still a few older but well established ones that regulars would still frequent. One such shop ios the Yong Pin Restaurant located along Jalan Sungai Ujung, Penang. Instead of covering on the not-so-many varieties but delicious dim sum they have, let me share with you their yummy noodles.

One such noodles that I have not seen from other dim sum shop is their Fried Duck Yee Foo Noodles (RM5.50). The yee foo noodles dish was great with all the gravy from the stewed duck seeped right inside the noodles, making the whole combination very tasty. The restaurant only serves this wonderful dish on Friday and Saturday.

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Another noodle dish that’s worth mentioning is the Hong Tu Wo Mian (RM5). It came with some yee foo noodles cooked in some thick soup, somewhat like the sharksfin soup. It had some pork, prawns and beaten eggs in it. You can add in some black vinegar if you want it to be more sourly. The dish tasted great too.

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The next dish we ordered was the Sheng Mian (RM5). The crispy noodles was actually fried wan than noodles which were topped with some gravy, prawns, fish slices, pork slices and vegetables. This is another dish worth eating.

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Most of you might not be aware of Sunday Metro’s SMS Pick of the Best Dim Sum in Malaysia as published on 6 July 2008. Yong Pin Restaurant was voted as one of the top choices in Penang, as highlighted.

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This restaurant sure did provide some great authentic dim sum such as the Black Vinegar Pork Legs, Broiled Fried Chicken Legs, Fried Paper Wrapped Chicken and so on. Although the varieties are not as many as those bigger dim sum shops, there are quite a few of their steam as well as fried dim sum that’s worth trying out.

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Of all the dim sum that I had in this shop, I would never miss out their Prawn Rolls and Fried Water Chestnut Cake. The Fried Water Chestnut Cake is soft and fragrant with lots of finely sliced water chestnuts inside while the outer layer has a bit of crispiness. I would have two to three plates on each visit as I find them to be not overly sweet. Do try them out if you ever visit this place.

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If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong (road leading to KOMTAR/Prangin Mall), keep to your left and turn into the second road on your left which is Jalan Sungai Ujung. Find a parking space as the shop is just on your right along a row of shop houses.

YONGPINMAP

Name: YONG PIN RESTAURANT
Address: 11-B&C, Jalan Sungai Ujung, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours:
6.00am – 12.00pm, 7.00pm – 12.00am (Closed Monday)

Contact: 604-261 1355
GPS: 5.415989, 100.332175

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

RESTORAN AZIZAH (RESTORAN MAK LONG)

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 8 - 2008

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If you are in Georgetown area, you could always try out the kampung style cooking at Restoran Azizah, a subsidiary restaurant of the famous Restoran Mak Long in Bayan Lepas. This little Malay restaurant serves quite a variety of Malay dishes with rice at a very reasonable price. Some of the vegetable dishes would be as low as RM3.00, whereas fish would be charged according to market price. If you do not want to have rice with dishes, you could always order their fried rice and noodles which won’t cost you more than RM4, unless you order their special which would be RM1 additional.

Here are some of the dishes I had tried out in this restaurant. The Tom Yam Udang or Prawn Tom Yam (RM4) has 6 medium sized prawns, some fresh mushrooms and tomatoes. The dish was quite tasty and appetizing to start the meal.

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Next was the Sotong Goreng or Squid Fritters (RM4). The flour used was of a different kind. They were using plain flour which did not give the crunchiness I had expected. That was quite a disappointment.

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Sayur Campur or Mixed Vegetables (RM3.50) was next. Nothing to fuss or boast about as they did give quite a lot of squid slices there.

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I also tried out their Telur Bungkus or Wrapped Omelette with Minced Chicken (RM4). There were quite a lot of minced chicken, chopped onions and mixed vegetables cooked with a touch of tomato puree wrapped inside the omelette. This dish is normal but at least the filling and the omelette blended in quite nicely.

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As I saw many customers ordered their set fried rice, I decided to try out their Nasi Goreng Padprik Ayam or Padprik Chicken Fried Rice (RM4). I was impressed by the generous amount of chicken meat and vegetables given, considering the amount I had paid. As for the taste, it was a new experience as the gravy from the dishes blended in very nicely with the fried tomato rice.

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I was chatting with the person-in-charge of the restaurant on what were the most ordered dishes in the restaurant. He recommended me the above fried rice as well as the Nasi Goreng Special (RM5) which has a few more seafood added in. Maybe I can try that next time.

If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, keep to your right and turn into the second road on your right which is Jalan Transfer. Drive on until you have reached the third junctions on your left (Jalan Dinding). That’s where the restaurant is located. You can always park your car along Jalan Dinding.

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Name: RESTORAN AZIZAH (RESTORAN MAK LONG)
Address: 162, Jalan Transfer, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 4.00pm – 1.30am
Contact: 604-641 4450 (Restoran Mak Long)
GPS: 5.419714, 100.330077

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

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