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THE RELAUNCHING OF THE LOUNGE @ EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On October - 1 - 2012

Invited guests from the multi-national corporations surrounding the FIZ, Bayan Lepas, were exposed to a totally new concept of relaxation with the re-launching of the lobby lounge, The Lounge @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, on 28 September 2012. With the theme “Under the Sea”, The Lounge was transformed into an underwater world filled with vibrant colors and fun. Gosh! Look at that “live mermaid” at the entrance! I was seeing blue the whole night~ 😛 Many activities were held during the occasion with the opening speech by the General Manager of Eastin Hotel Penang, Mary Ann Harris, followed by an opening performance by an invited dance troupe. The Lounge was officially launched by one of the Eastin Hotel director, Su Chen and the GM, Mary Ann Harris. A wet drum performance proceeded. A beer drinking competition was held thereafter with winner getting a free stay at the hotel. There was also a short wine talk by Anna Yap, Managing Director of Cana Premier Marketing Sdn Bhd on their latest wine product, Wamssler’s Sparkling Mead (Honey Wine), the earliest wine known to man with aphrodisiac properties. This was followed by a good laugh with standup comedian, Papi Zak, who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur and a live house band performance by D’Upbeat Soul.

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A flash mob which consisted of some dance troupe dancers and the hotel’s staff was also in presence during the launching and here’s a short clip of their performance at the hotel’s lobby.

When it comes to having a cocktail party, Eastin Hotel Penang sure did a great job in giving their best effort in coming out with the best food and beverages for the guests. Free flow of red wine, white wine, mead (honey wine), beer and healthy fruit juices were served on the night with of course a colorful and mouth watering spreads of seafood, canapés and desserts. As starter, there were some Grissini Cheese Sticks, Crudités with Thousand Islands dressing, Roasted Peanuts and Sesame Batter Coated Chick Peas on each of the cocktail table.

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From the dessert section, we had some Strawberry & Mocha Macarons, Chocolate Pralines, their signature Mini Opera Cakes and some Assorted Fruits Vol Au Vent.

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At the chilled food section, there was the Chilled Fresh Oyster with Mango & Caviar Salsa, Fresh Oyster with Condiments, Grilled Prawn & Scallop with Melon Salsa, Assorted Sashimi Skewer with Condiments which basically consisted of Sake (Salmon), Maguro (Tuna), Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Tako (Octopus) and Ika (Squid).

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At the canapés section, there were some impressive items such as the Lobster Skewer with Citrus Salsa, Mini Sandwiches, Unagi Crispy Bun (Mantou) Open Face, Smoked Salmon Ball with Herbs Cheese, Cod Fish Ceviche on Toast, and Assorted Cheese Canapés with Dried Fruits and Nuts.

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The Lounge is not just a place with comfortable sofas, entertainment stage and bar counter, serving pastries and cakes, paired with alcoholic beverages. It would also be the place for a healthier lifestyle by powering your day up with a healthy boost. There would be sugarless mixed fruit and/or vegetables juices such as the Breakfast Fruit Blend (Grapefruit + Orange: RM23++), Detoxify the Body (Apple + Carrot + Spinach: RM23++), Banana Apple Oatmeal (Banana + Apple + Fresh Yogurt + Oats: RM25++), Greenday (Apple + Celery: RM25++), Heartburn Reliever (Carrot + Spinach: RM23++), Almond Milky (Almond + Low Fat Milk: RM25++), The Hangover Juice (Apple + Broccoli + Cauliflower: RM25++) and Key Limi Kiwi (Honey + Kiwi + Lime + Pear: RM25++).

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The pastries and cakes that you might get for the day may include Chicken Curry Puff (RM8++/pc), Egg Tart (RM8++/pc), Apple Pie (RM8++/pc), Shepherd Pie (RM8++/pc), Fruit tart (RM8++/pc), Baked Cheese Cake (RM12++/pc), Mango Mousse Cake (RM12++/pc), Opera Cake (RM10++/pc), Ivory Cake (RM12++/pc, RM60++ for 500g or RM90++ for 1kg) and more. Currently, there is a promotion for all confectioneries at 50% off from 5.00pm until 10.00pm daily.

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Overall, The Lounge is a nice place to chill out with friend and family over some light snacks and beverages. It would also be a great place to meet up with business contacts for any discussion.

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

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

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

 

GERMAN GALORE PROMOTION AT SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 26 - 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Northeastern Style Dumplings, more commonly known as DONGBEI JIAOZI (東北餃子), are the staple food of the capital city of Beijing, China. The ravioli textured and size like dumplings can be stuffed with just anything you like. Since Dongbei cuisine are often quite heavy in the usages of meat, garlic, vinegar and thick sauces, you would expect the stuffing to contain meat of any sort combined with different types of vegetables as well as different versions of vinegar content condiments. Now these delicious dumplings with natural fruit or vegetable flour skins are available for purchase in Penang.

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You can also serve these dumplings with some noodles as how I did it. This noodle dish was simply irresistible!

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PHONE UP ORDER: (FROZEN PACK/冷凍包裝)
Price: RM0.80nett/pc
Orders: (Penang Island Only/只限檳島)

PACKING 1: (RANDOMLY SELECTED – NO CHOOSING/沒得挑選)
15pcs pack: RM12.00nett (include 5 types of mix fillings)
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)

PACKING 2: (RANDOMLY SELECTED – NO CHOOSING/沒得挑選)
50pcs pack: RM40.00nett (include 8 types of mix fillings)
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)
• Radish (白蘿蔔)
• Mushroom + Carrot (香菇胡 + 蘿蔔)
• PORK FREE (Chives + Glass Noodles + Egg + Prawn) 素三鲜 (韭菜 + 冬粉 + 蛋 + 虾)

PACKING 3: (SELECT YOUR OWN FILLING/隨意挑選以下餡料品種)
100 pcs pack: RM80.00nett
• Cabbage (白菜)
• Celery (芹菜)
• Capsicum (青辣椒)
• Tomato + Egg (番茄 + 蛋)
• Chives + Egg (韭菜 + 蛋)
• Radish (白蘿蔔)
• Mushroom + Carrot (香菇胡 + 蘿蔔)
• PORK FREE (Chives + Glass Noodles + Egg + Prawn) 素三鲜 (韭菜 + 冬粉 + 蛋 + 虾)
(SPECIAL REQUESTED MEAT/特選肉類):
• Beef + onion (牛肉 + 大葱)
• Mutton + Carrot + Coriander (羊肉 + 白蘿蔔 + 香菜)
• Spicy Fragrant Chicken (香辣味雞肉)
• Pork + Dried Seaweed (豬肉 + 紫菜)

Note: Some basic ingredients include pork n prawn unless stated otherwise.

SKIN FLAVORS: (RANDOMLY SELECTED – NO CHOOSING/沒得挑選)
• WHITE – Milk + Egg White (牛奶 + 蛋清)
• GREEN – Spinach (菠菜汁)
• YELLOW – Carrot (胡蘿蔔汁)
• RED – Dragon Fruit (火龍果汁)
• BLACK – Toasted Black Sesame (黑芝麻)
• PURPLE – Purple Cabbage (紫甘藍汁)

Name: DONGBEI HANDMADE DUMPLINGS (東北手工藝餃子)
Contact: (+6)012-480 2909 (Ms. Song/宋小姐)
Business Hours: Please call up for more information on available date, time and exact pick up point along Jalan Gottlieb (near Waterfall Hotel), Penang.

RATING:
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: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

DELICIOUS HOME BAKES FROM HOMEMADE DELICACIES

Posted by crizlai On September - 14 - 2012

More and more home based bakers had popped up recently in Malaysia to share out their delicious delicacies. Well, I won’t mind indulging in more homely bakes since they have the strictest handling procedures without added preservatives, quality ingredients and the huge passion in the heart to bake the best for their happy customers. One such outlet is the Homemade Delicacies located in Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia. Their delicious homely bakes surely reflected the carefulness and conscientiousness of the master baker to excel in this industry. All you need to do is to call up the baker to place the necessary customized orders and door-to-door delivery to savor these delicacies.

One of the lovely cakes that I love quite a lot was their Mango Cake (1kg – RM79nett). Not only was the taste perfect for my boost of sweet tooth, it was gracefully decorated with a beauty of its own. It was elegantly presented and yet superbly flavorful with the generous amount of natural fruits toppings. The moist and spongy cake layers within had just the right sweetness from the chunks of mangoes and fresh cream. Mango lovers would surely fall in love with this cake at first sight. From the outlook of the cake, you can clearly see the passion of the baker, spending a huge amount of time, tediously applying layers and layers of sliced mangoes onto the cake, thus creating a winning entry. At least 5 quality mangoes were used to come out with such a cake. To avoid disappointment since quality mangoes can be quite limited to source, it would be advised to preorder the cake earlier.

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Another of the most sought after cakes from Homemade Delicacies that we had tried was the Belgium Chocolate Cake (1.5kg – RM89nett). Every bite of the moist chocolate cake melted heavenly in the mouth with a high hint of imported Dutch cocoa powder with a mild bitterness from some light touch of coffee powder. The creamy melted chocolate cream (ganache) in between the cake layers had just the right sweetness that made the whole cake irresistible. Some bonuses of chocolate balls were garnished on the cake for a state-of-the art effect. Now this cake is reminding me to visit my usual Chocolate Buffet in Penang as well. Haha~ 😛

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On top of the sweet treats available from Homemade Delicacies, there would also be some light savory finger food ideally for parties, meetings, picnics made to your orders. One of the options would be the Mini Tuna Quiche (RM27nett/ box of 9 pieces). The fillings were actually made out of beaten eggs with some cream (sour/yogurt) plus mayonnaise. It also had some added cheese combined with some well drained tuna flakes, tomatoes and cut olives. The fragrantly baked crust plus the nice combination of filling made these quiches nice snacks over coffee or tea. For stronger flavors, some sprinkles of mixed herbs (or even dill alone for seafood) plus a light touch of paprika or chili flakes would make them the perfect finger food for my palate.

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As Mid Autumn Festival is just around the corner, Homemade Delicacies would also produce daily fresh mooncakes such as the Traditional Baked Mooncakes, Snowskin Mooncakes, Shanghai Mooncakes, Jelly Mooncakes and more. Of all the mooncakes, we had tried out the Shanghai Mooncakes (RM40nett/box of 4 pieces). The Shanghai Mooncake had the full fragrance from the quality butter, egg and flour. Each had some sweet pure lotus paste with one fresh salted duck egg filled within its soaring round shining shape. Very much different textured with a crusty bite compared to the traditional ones. The added pumpkin seeds on the surface gave it an extra crunchiness.

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Other than that, we also managed to try out the many varieties of Jelly Mooncakes (RM30nett/box of 4 pieces). Some of the options we had tested out were the sweet corn, dragon fruit, green tea, chocolate and coffee. The new generation type of Jelly Mooncakes resembled the concept of those traditional ones with so called “fillings”. Basically, both the “filling” and “crust” were from the same compounds, with the “filling” being a bit firmer and stronger in taste whereas the “crust” had some evaporated milk added in for the extra creaminess. Somehow, my preferences were towards those more natural flavored ones such as the sweet corn and dragon fruit.

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Overall, if you need to indulge in some heavenly homely bakes with the highest quality of ingredients. You will know where to find them now. Other options might include cupcakes, tarts, cookies, jellies and more. Most likely whatever you want, she might be able to pep them up for you. As these snacks and cakes are all home baked, you would have to call up Nicole Ann Ng to make the necessary orders and delivery arrangements.

Name: HOMEMADE DELICACIES
Address: Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-492 1648 (Ms. Nicole Ann Ng)
FaceBook: Homemade Delicacies
Business Hours: Call up for delivery availability (within Lunas, Penang island and mainland)

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

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang is promoting its Chinese Cuisine for the whole month of September 2012 (1-30 September 2012). There would be an array of halal Chinese dishes ranging from appetizers, main dishes and desserts to fill your appetite. This promotion would be arranged under the skillful hands of Chinese Chef, Chef Cheah Teik Huat and Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock. For the month of September, there would also be a 15% off the bill for all MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members.

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As for appetizer, we started with a bowl of Herbal Chicken Soup each. The soup was rich in herbs flavors which basically consisted of Chinese Angelica (Dong Quai/當歸), Codonopsis Pilosula (Dang Shen/黨參), Rhizoma Polygonati Odorati (Polygonatum odoratum (Mil.) Druce/Yu Zhu/玉竹), Red Dates (Jujubes/紅棗) and Wolfberries (Goji Berries/枸杞). Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice, this herbal soup is great to enhance energy (Qi), nourish the Yin, moisturize the lungs, Alleviate dryness and promote blood circulation. This was one soup most Cantonese would love to have in their meals occasionally.

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The next appetizer was Kerabu Jelly Fish. Although I quite like the chewy texture on the jelly fish, I found the dish to be out of the Chinese cuisine ingredient list. It was more of a Peranakan (Nyonya) cuisine. I would think that this dish would be best served chilled the traditional Chinese method by mixing with some soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil and vinegar with a light touch of sugar.

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As for main courses, we had Fried Rice in Lotus Leaves. You can taste the flavor of the lotus leaves richly infused into the fried rice. It had some dried shrimps, mushrooms and cubed chicken slices added into the rice. However, it lacked the flavors from some added Chinese sausages – the halal version, since they can’t serve pork ingredients in the restaurant.

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Next on the list was the Stir Fry Vegetables Treasure. It was just a simple starch gravy dish with various blanched vegetables added in such as white cabbages, mustard stems, water chestnuts, Chinese mushrooms, button mushrooms, ginkgo nuts, asparagus and carrots.

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The Roasted Garlic Marinated Chicken was quite nice indeed as you can taste the right combination of seasoning on each of the chopped pieces. The condiment which consisted of slightly sauteed chopped garlic, blended ginger, spring onions, Chinese parsley, sesame oil with a light touch of salt was perfect. The sauce would also be great with just plain steamed white chicken the Hainanese style.

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We also had some Wok Fried Butter King Prawns. The dish had some king Tiger prawns stir fried with some chilies, curry leaves in butter and garnish with some egg floss. However, I still think that this dish is more towards Asian fusion than traditional Chinese cuisine.

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The last of the main course presented was the Sweet and Sour Fish. This was another common Chinese household dish. The dish had batter coated sea bass fillet topped with tomato ketchup based stir fried pineapple, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and red chilies. Simple as it may look but the fillet still had the slight crispiness that I like.

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Last but not least, we had some Double Boiled Snow Fungus with Pears as dessert. This was another common Chinese household dessert which would be quite beneficial to strengthen the Yin in the body with the current weather which caused many people to be down with flu and cough. The dessert had snow fungus, Asian pear slices, dried longan, red dates and wolfberries. The only ingredient missing here was the Chinese almonds or commonly known as apricot seeds, which would be great to strengthen the respiratory system. Moreover, the chefs used sugar rather than rock sugar for this dessert, thus having a stronger sugar sweetness. You can also try out my personal recipe for this wonderful dessert.

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Since the Mid Autumn Festival would be celebrated on 30 September 2012 (15th day of 8th lunar month in the Chinese calendar), you would expect to savor the delicious mooncakes during the month of September 2012. Eastin Hotel Penang would also be selling their brand of Eastin Mooncakes at the hotel lobby from 1-30 September 2012. There would be 6 choices ranging from Red Bean Paste (RM16.50/pc), Assorted Fruits, Nuts & Chicken Bits (RM17.00/pc), Jade Custard (RM17.00/pc), Low Sugar White Lotus (RM17.50/pc), Golden Honey Grapefruit with Pineapple (RM17.50) and Lotus Paste Single Yolk (RM18.00/pc). Takeaway mooncakes would be subjected to 6% service tax while dine in would incur a 10% service charge and 6% service tax. You can place your order through +604-612 1128 (Tel), +604-612 1199 (Fax) or email to info.pg@eastin.com

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Overall, the spreads served in this promotion were a bit too common in my opinion just like how you would get during any wedding banquet. They lacked the creativity. The dishes have more localized flavors rather than exploring further into the international Chinese cuisine scenes from countries such as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. There are so many regions in China alone and the chefs could have come out with some of the regional cuisine based on the Eight Cuisines of China such as Hui (Anhui), Yue (Guangdong), Min (Fujian), Xiang (Hunan), Su (Jiangsu), Lu (Shandong), Chuan (Sichuan) and Zhe (Zhejiang). Somehow, the dishes served lack the sourness and spiciness as you would get in certain regional Chinese cuisine. I hope the chefs would look into this matter further to provide more options to the diners.

For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Chinese Cuisine Promotion for the whole month of September 2012.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

CHINESE CUISINE PROMOTION (1-30 SEPTEMBER 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday (From 21 August 2012)
RM48++ per pax
Weekend Themed Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Friday: Seafood Supreme
Saturday: Japanese
Sunday: East Meets West
RM80++ (adult), RM40++ (child)

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

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

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

 

While visiting Penang, most tourists would look for some gifts to take home to share with their family members and friends. What gifts could those be since Penang has a vast variety of traditional and local products that would impress just anyone? Could they be some handicrafts, herbs & spices, pickled fruits, fermented seafood by products or confectioneries of many kinds? Why not Pineapple Cakes? Huh? Isn’t that the local product of Taiwan? Yup! You’re right but as in concept. However, the pineapple filling itself is 100% home grown in Nibong Tebal, Penang, carefully handpicked and processed under strict quality control right in the heart of George Town, Penang. Where else can you get these delicious pineapple cakes except from Gartien (小田佳園), located within a heritage house along Lorong Macalister, Penang.

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You may ask me why I chose Gartien’s Pineapple Cakes (RM38nett/box of 10 pcs) over other almost similar product on the market. Firstly, I support local products as the ingredients used were extremely fresh from the farm. Secondly, it was the texture of the pineapple filling that caught me by surprise. Instead of the normal blending the pineapple into puree form prior to cooking, brunoised pineapples (pineapple cubes) were used. The brunoised pineapples were then simmered with minimal amount of raw sugar and honey for 12 hours to produce a tasty, tangy and yet juicy pineapple jam that was perfect as filling. On the other hand, the slightly golden brown baked pastries had just the right amount of flour, pure butter, egg and milk powder to give them the perfect buttery and milky flavors, not forgetting its fluffiness. With a good combination of 3:2 on filling versus pastry, each bite was heavenly~ 🙂

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The handmade pineapple cakes, which do not contain any preservatives and artificial coloring, would be sealed in little internal laminated packages to maintain its freshness up to a month. I’m sure such delicious temptations would not even last more than 2 days in any household~ LOL!

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I also did some personal tests on the best beverages to complement these heavenly sweet treats by preparing a series of hot and cold beverages such as coffee, chocolate, water and various Chinese & English teas. Hot beverages were unanimously voted as the best, especially unsweetened teas with unique fragrance such as Oolong (烏龍茶), Jasmine (茉莉花茶), Ginseng Tie Guan Yin (人參鐵觀音) and sugarless Earl Grey with a slice of lemon. Pu Er (普洱茶) and Lok Pou (六寳茶) with chrysanthemum (菊花) were nice but the thick black tea somehow overpowered the natural sweetness from the pineapple cakes.

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Other than having the pineapple cakes as your breakfast, tea, supper or anytime in between when you need your boost of sweet temptations, when else can you purchase them? Of course, you can also purchase them during any festive season. Since the pineapple cakes would come in a nicely printed box in a beautifully designed paper bag, it would be ideal as gifts to your family members, relatives and friends. You can even serve them during auspicious occasions such as Chinese New Year or house warming parties as pineapples carry a deep meaning in the Penang Hokkien dialect – “Ong Lai”, meaning “Prosperity Comes”.

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Since pineapples also bring about a good gesture of great beginning (Hou Yi Tao) in the Cantonese community, the pineapple cakes would also be ideal to be served during weddings or as token of appreciation door gifts during wedding receptions. Who knows? A little package might even brighten up the face of a beneficiary with a sweet smile during any charitable event? The option is vast as per your imagination. You can practically serve these delightful sweet treats at anytime and anywhere throughout the year.

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Overall, I find the pineapple cake to be awesome, not only through its freshness and real pineapple texture but also due to its versatility to be served during any occasion. After all, pineapples are low in fat and cholesterol and contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B1, B6 & C and dietary fiber, which are rich in nutrients for the body.

Finding the bakery won’t be hard as it is situated right in the heart of George Town, Penang. If you are coming from KOMTAR along Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, just keep to your left. Immediately when you see Hong Leong Bank, turn left into Lorong Macalister. Drive on for about another 200m and you would see the shop on your left right before Lorong Bertam. For those staying in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, you are in luck as Gartien has a few retailers located there. Just check out the address below. For those who yearn for the delicious pineapple cakes but not in Penang, there’s always the postal order link. Shipping fee is RM8/box within Malaysia. The shipping fee may vary depending on the quantity ordered as stated in the checkout form.

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HEADQUARTER & FACTORY:
Name: GARTIEN @ 小田佳園
Address: 68, Lorong Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 0068
Website: www.gartien.com
Email: info@gartien.com
FaceBook: www.fb.gartien.com/
Business Hours: 10.00am-5.00pm (weekdays), 9.00am-6.00pm (weekends)
GPS: 5.416195, 100.328433

ALSO AVAILABLE IN MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA:
• DRAGON BOAT PALACE (龍坊酒家)
149 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3175, Australia.
• STRAITS KITCHEN
Pinewood Shopping Centre (Centreway), Mount Waverley VIC 3149, Australia.
• LAGUNA QV
QV Retail 221 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 30000, Australia.
• WING CHEONG CHINATOWN (WING CHEONG TRADING & CO)
14-22 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia.

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

 

NOTE: This outlet has ceased its operation around the 3rd quarter of 2012.

Nowadays, diners are getting quite fussy about their food intake due to health reasons. They prefer food made from natural ingredients, no MSG, less oil, less sugar and with more nutrients. Recently, a group of housewives led my Mdm. Lim Lay Gaik had decided to join effort to cook some of their favorite dishes, of course the healthy way, to serve their family, friends and guests. Hidden within a corner lot bungalow unit along Jalan Pemancar, Gelugor, Penang, this little spacious yet comfortable eatery by the name of Yummy Tummy Delight sure knows how to pep up good food.

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As the food served here are randomly cooked based on the ladies’ choices for the day, there would hardly be fixed dishes. Nevertheless, you can still be assured of some home cooked main courses, snacks, desserts and beverages daily. One of the almost available daily dishes would be the world’s #7 ranking Penang Assam Laksa (RM6.90nett). One sniff and you would know that the stock has been skillfully prepared with lots of fish bones, tamarind juice, herbs and spices. Although a bit spicy, this flavorful and thick soup based bowl of delicacy would sure soothe your sourness crave. It would come with lots of vegetable and fillet of a yellow-tailed scud (ikan selar) or sardine (ikan sardine), depends on market availability.

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Occasionally, you would also find them serving Penang Hokkien Mee (RM6.90nett). The heavily simmered prawn shells and pork ribs indeed flavored the soup real well. The soup had that touch of mild sweetness; obviously from some add ons of rock sugar. The dish would be served with some yellow noodles/rice vermicelli, shrimps, pork ribs and egg garnished with some homemade deep fried shallots and chili paste. As a Hokkien Mee lover, I simply love the natural flavors of the overall dish. Slurps~ 🙂

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There also do serve Seafood Nasi Lemak (RM4.50nett) on certain days. The fragrantly coconut milk steamed high quality rice sure complemented well with the thickly spiced up prawn curry, turmeric marinated fried fish (ikan gelama/jewfish), egg and some vegetables.

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You would also get a fragrant home style Yang Zhou Fried Rice (RM5.90nett) with some shrimps, egg and Chinese sausages. It may look like any common fried rice but every single rice grain was skillfully flavored. More sambal belacan please~ 😛

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The next dish which was the Fried Radish Cakes (RM5.90nett) was my all time favorite. Not only was the dish less oily than those I have tried elsewhere, it had that nice mild wok hei (high heat frying) with just the perfect flavors in it. The egg used was fresh and the bean sprouts were cooked just right for that extra crunchiness.

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As for snacks, you might get to try out their homemade Yam Cakes (RM3.90nett/3pcs). Each bite had that generous amount of sandy bites yam pieces plus some dried shrimps. On top of that more deep fried dried shimps, fried shallots, chopped spring onions and red chilies were add as garnishes, accompanied by their homemade chili sauce. However, I found the texture to be a bit on the soft side. It could be due to their healthy way of omitting the usage of some lye water. The perfect combination would be 400g rice flour, 20g tapioca flour, 1 teaspoon lye water and 1 litre water, to be mixed with the rest of the ingredients and seasonings, prior to steaming for about 45 minutes.

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Another option might be the Pumpkin Cakes (RM3.90nett/3pcs). Basically, the method of cooking would be the same except of the replacement of yam chunks with pumpkin chunks. Although still a bit soft to my liking, the nice sweetness from the ripe pumpkin chunks was just right. I personally prefer the pumpkin cakes than the yam cakes.

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Whenever they served the Penang Assam Laksa, there might also be some Spring Rolls (RM2.90nett/3pcs). Basically, there was nothing much to shout about as these were just some common finger food. You can either eat these rolls with their chili sauce or just dip them into your laksa soup.

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On and off, they would also utilize their home grown screwpines (pandan) to make some nice Nyonya kuih. I have tried their Kuih Talam (RM2.90nett/3pcs) and these were sinfully delicious. The balance between the pure pandan juice and mildly salted coconut milk topping was perfect.

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For those who love to have mildly sweetened desserts, you are at the right place. Their Bubur Cha Cha (RM3.90nett/bowl) was heaven! It had just the right amount of coconut milk with added rock sugar as sweetener. Other than with sweet potatoes and yam, it also came with some tapioca flour made sweet potatoes and yam just like the ones you have at those Taiwanese dessert shops such as Blackball.

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The Red Bean Soup (RM3.90nett/bowl) was also nice as it had blended red beans soup coupled with some whole azuki beans, kidney beans and some tapioca flour made sweet potatoes and yam too. Mildly sweetened and perfect to end my meal.

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Sometimes, they might also cook some herbal type of desserts such as the Snow Fungus with Ginkgo Nuts (RM3.90nett/bowl). This Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recipe would be great during this season for those who have cough and cold. The way they cook this dessert was based on their liking of having a softer textured snow fungus, thus you would find the soup to be rather starchy. The snow fungus is great to nourish the body, heal dry coughs and clearing heat in the lungs. The dried longan would nourish blood circulation and has a calming effect on nervous system. The red dates are basically for balancing the formula with a light touch of sweetness. The ginkgo nuts on the other hand would help in lungs related ailments, urinary incontinence and also as a digestive aid.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here can be quite nice. However, there are still some rooms for improvements for some of the dishes I have tried. There are still many other dishes I have yet to try out such as their Jawa Mee (RM6.90nett), Nissin Noodles with Sausage & Egg (RM6.90nett), Curry Chicken with Mantou (RM5.90nett), Pandan Ang Koo (RM2.90nett/3pcs), Loh Bak (RM2.90) and more. Drinks such as their daily brewed herbal tea and soy bean milk are priced at RM2.90nett each. If you fancy healthier version of street food, this is the place for you. Delivery can be arranged for purchases of over RM30.00nett within the vicinity of Gelugor, Jelutong, Green Lane, Bayan Baru and Bayan Lepas areas.

Since this is a private owned house within a rather upmarket residence area, you might just pass it as just another house. Moreover, it’s hidden from the main street. If you have a GPS, it would be hassle free to find the location as I have listed below. If not, just follow the directions as mentioned here. If you are coming from Bayan Baru/Bayan Lepas area along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah towards Green Lane/Jelutong, do watch out for the Gelugor Post Office traffic lights (Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah/Hilir Pemancar). Drive on after the traffic lights until you see a Mobil petrol kiosk on your left. Slow down and keep to your left. Turn left into the first left junction (Hala Pemancar). Drive about 50m and you would see a 3-level corner lot bungalow with green transparent awning at 11 o’clock. Park your car along the road and walk in towards the stainless steel gate. The auto bell will ring and there will be people inside opening the door for you. You can’t miss it as there’s a banner there stating “Yummy Tummy Delight”.

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Name: YUMMY TUMMY DELIGHT
Address: 378A, Jalan Pemancar, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 019-280 7560 (Ah Gaik)
Business Hours: 11.30am-7.00pm (Tuesday-Saturday ONLY)
GPS: 5.372685, 100.308112

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

 

It looked like Penang has its personal halal street burger challenges amongst the burger stalls surrounding the island as more and more stalls are coming out with more innovative ways to promote their burgers. Initially, it was the “Ramly Burger” style where the owners tried to outdo each other by increasing the factory made patties until double burger special with added eggs, cheese, etc, such as the one at Old Trafford, Lebuh Chulia, Penang. Then, it was a matter of adding in more extras such as potatoes as at Post Burger, Jalan Gelugor, Penang. As it got harder to tower up the burgers, the diameter of the bun has increased tremendously until 8”-10” such as at Zul’s Burger, Sungai Nibong, Penang. As more and more people got to watch Asian Food Channel through the Astro channel, the burger cooking methods has changed to grilling over cooking grids. One such method of cooking was the sloppy burger style with homemade beef patties and grilled chicken at Hero Burger Bakar, Astaka Stadium Bandaraya, Jalan Perak, Penang. The latest opening of yet another stall with grilling style is the Street Grill – Burger Bakar Penang, Lebuh Sungai Pinang 1 (beside Ocean View Apartment), Sungai Pinang, Penang.

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The differences between Street Grill and Hero Burger Bakar, lies in an additional supply of mutton patties. Street Grill would serve you with boneless chicken thighs, homemade beef and mutton patties, all marinated with their secret recipes. All the meat would be grilled on their custom-made cooking grids. The other difference was that each meat piece would have a special BBQ sauce brushed on to maintain the moist and served with your choice of dressing such as their homemade black pepper sauce, thousand island sauce or mushroom sauce, on top of the normal dressing of chili sauce, tomato sauce and mayonnaise. Only chopped up iceberg lettuce and slices tomatoes were provided as some of the sauces had some chopped onions added in. The buns were also grilled with a little crisp.

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We were first served with the Grilled Chicken with Cheese (RM5.50nett), topped with Black Pepper Sauce. The grilled boneless chicken was indeed flavorful with the nicely sealed in marinates. However, the evenly balanced bite was not there. Somehow, the meat shrunk quite a lot after grilling. Thus, it looked as though the bun was bigger than the grilled meat. Alternatively, they can seek smaller buns or spread cut the meat to ensure a balance bite size in ratio to the bun. On the other hand, the black pepper sauce was rather spicy and the onions were a bit too chunky to stay within the bun. They should have finely chopped the onions further and evenly break them apart to ensure they stay in the bun with each mouthful. The chopped iceberg lettuces were also falling apart due to the lack of sauce to hold them together. Maybe they could just serve each burger with one whole leaf? They would have to look into the stacking steps to ensure the perfect bite.

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The next was the Grilled Beef Patty Burger (RM4.50nett). The grilled beef patty had chunky bite and obviously with less veins in it. It had the necessary marinates to subtle up the beefy flavors. This burger came with their homemade thousand island sauce. Personally, I felt that it would go better with black pepper sauce. I also find the patty to be rather fibrous and lack of moist. I wonder if it would be wise to ask for a medium rare version during my next visit? 😛

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The Grilled Mutton Patty Burger (RM6.00nett) was actually our target as you would hardly find this burger in the menu of most stalls. Indeed it was the best pick of the night as the meat was more tender and flavorful with the right amount of marinates. It was undeniable the best choice of meat for the burgers served here.

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There also do serve half kilograms homemade meat patties (beef: RM15.00nett, mutton: RM25.00nett). One day advance booking would be required. Obviously, we opted for the 1/2kg Grilled Mutton Patty Burger (RM25.00nett) since it was rather rare. The burger would come with an 8” custom-made bun. Taste wise, the mutton patty was perfect except for a little hiccup in the utilized bun. The 8” diameter 500gms mutton patty eventually shrunk to almost 5.5” in diameter after grilling. Thus, the ratio of the patty versus the bun was 1:2, resulting in a double amount of bread compared to the provided patty. The management was aware of this issue and would rectify it with their vendor for a custom-made 6” bun after the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. It would be a good move too as I also found the bun texture to be drier compared to the rest of the buns.

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Just look at the juiciness of the mutton patty below. Isn’t it delicious? However, let’s hope that they rectify the size and texture of the bun soon.

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It has been said that interesting food would always get the attention first rather than the hungry tummies~ LOL! Regardless of gender, there would always be the camwhoring session amongst the guys and ladies~ 😛

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Overall, the taste for the burgers here can be quite good, especially the mutton burger. However, there were no proper sitting places for savoring the burgers straight from the grill. Even if there were stools provided, there were no sales of any beverages to quench the thirst. It would be advisable to bring along some personal drinks if you planned to dine there. The other suggestion I have would be on the availability of egg usages. With the current setup of only cooking grids, there was no way they could have cooked any egg to go with the burgers. I kind of like the one served at Hero Burger Bakar as the given runny egg was a great complement to moist up the overall bite.

If you know where the new Sungai Pinang coastal area is or where the Sungai Pinang “Si Ki Tiang aka 4 tall blue pillars” is, you won’t get lost. LOL! If you are coming from the Penang Bridge coastal highway via Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway, you would drive pass eGate/Tesco. Drive on ahead. Go over the first flyover. As you are about to reach the second flyover when you see Shell petrol kiosk on the opposite direction, keep to your left and follow the sign towards Sungai Pinang. At the traffic lights (Sg. Pinang Food Court at the left corner), turn right into Lebuh Sungai Pinang 1. Move on until the next traffic lights and turn left. You would see the roadside van stall with a standing banner stating Street Grill just 100m away on your left before the Ocean View Apartment entrance.

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Name: STREET GRILL – BURGER BAKAR PENANG
Address: Lebuh Sungai Pinang 1 (in front of Ocean View Apartment), 10500 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-571 1050 (En. Abu Hasan Abdul Rahman)/012-465 9066 (En. Zain)
Business Hours: 7.00pm-1.00am (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.398042, 100.327887

FB: https://www.facebook.com/streetgrillburger

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

 

AFFORDABLE MEALS AT TAIPEI 101 @ BAYAN INDAH PENANG

Posted by crizlai On August - 6 - 2012

Taipei 101 – Taiwan Cuisine Restaurant has been in operation for almost 3 years and I had just managed to pay them a visit recently. The restaurant would serve quite a number of Taiwanese dishes but tweaked to suit the locals’ taste buds. The food here could be real economical for all consumptions as prices would be in nett.

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The restaurant practically served quite a variety of bento sets just like the one I had at Kim Tavern @ Sunway Carnival, Bandar Sunway, Penang. One of the sets was the Sweet & Sour Garlic Pork Bento (蒜泥白肉便當 – RM9.90nett). The bento set came with some stir fried sweet and sour garlic pork, a bowl of rice, half a braised egg, some vegetables and some bean curd stick and seaweed soup. The deep fried eggplants were somehow rather hardy and the stir fried mixed vegetables were somewhat overcooked, thus losing the crunchiness. The dishes were just some simple home cooked dishes which was nothing much to brag about. It would be better if they could give those pork slices a touch of batter and presented it in a semi dry sauce just like how Kim Tavern mentioned above did.

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The next bento set was the Deep Fried Lemongrass Chicken Rice (檸檬香茅雞腿排飯 – RM9.90nett). The crispy chicken drumstick portion was humongous but somehow the taste was not up to my expectation as it lacked the taste of the lemon and lemon grass marinates as the said name. Maybe some finely chopped lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves added in the batter would have given the chicken choice piece a better flavor. Alternatively, some thick lemongrass gravy on the crispy chicken would be another good solution. This dish also came with some steamed rice with braised pork sauce, spicy chili tofu and half a braised egg. Unfortunately, the sauce did not have the fragrance as in the traditionally served Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice just like the one I had at my favorite Formosa Restaurant. It lacked the lard flavors.

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They do also serve claypot dishes sets which would come with a bowl of rice, some spicy chili tofu and some egg. One of the dishes would be the Spicy Pork Ribs Claypot (辛辣排骨 – RM11.50nett/set or RM9.50nett ala carte). This dish was somewhat like the dim sum version of Steamed Pork Ribs with some fermented black soy beans (黑豆豆豉/tao see) and some spicy spices but with more gravy. Though the pork ribs were tender and packed with flavors, the gravy was rather diluted. The kitchen should simmer the gravy more to thicken it or use less water in the process of cooking. Else, the gravy was quite nice to go with hot steaming rice.

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We were also served with the Braised Pork Trotter Claypot (滷豬手 – RM12.50nett/set or RM10.50nett ala carte). Obviously, some pork belly meat had been added into the dish to create more bulk as pork trotters usually would not contain much meat. The sweet black vinegar based dish had some mushrooms added in too. I personally prefer more old ginger added in to pep up the flavor but overall the dish was still great enough to go with a hot steaming bowl of rice.

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Another claypot dish that you would hardly get at any Taiwanese fast food restaurant chain would be duck dishes. Taipei 101 do serve Braised Ginger Duck Claypot (子姜鴨砂煲 – RM11.50nett/set or RM9.50nett ala carte). The dish had some choice duck pieces braised in ginger and Chinese wine with some wood ear fungus added in. Not a bad dish but the flavors from the Chinese wine might be overpowering for some diners.

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A visit to any Taiwanese restaurant won’t be complete if you did not try out their mee suah (麵線/wheat grass noodles). Taipei 101 has the options for ingredients such as oyster, mushroom, squid, mock abalone, mussel and scallop. We had their Neptune Mian Xian (海皇麵線- RM7.80nett/1 ingredient, RM10.80nett/2 ingredients or RM12.80nett/3 ingredients) with mock abalone (貴妃鮑魚/processed calamari slices). Instead of using the Taiwan imported noodles, Taipei 101 was using a local version which had been deep fried. Thus, the noodles had more al dente than the Taiwanese’s but still flavorful for the dish. The almost miso taste-like soup has a distinctive bonito flakes flavor with additional omelette slices, crabstick slices and some spring onions added as garnishing on top of the mock abalone slices.

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The noodle dish would go well with some dry chilies in oil from the table.

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Snacks most probably play an important part in the lives of any Taiwanese. One of the snacks that I like most was their Deep Fried Kumara Potatoes with Plum Powder (甘梅地瓜 – RM4.80nett). The sweet red potatoes were done with the perfect crispiness and they were generous with the plum powder too.

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Another of their snack was the Popcorn Chicken (鹽酥雞 – RM5.00nett). Great chunks of chicken were used but the batter was not up to my expectation as there were some parts of the coating which were rather hardy. Moreover, the juiciness of the meat seemed not to be in presence as drumstick meat pieces were not used in the preparation. Some seasoning powder with high hints of salt and pepper were tossed into the chicken chunks but it lacked the slight spiciness from some finely grinded chili flakes. I wish they could have done up the dish as great as Formosa Restaurant.

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We were also served with their Taiwanese Sausage (臺灣香腸 – RM5.00nett). There were two sausages given compared to other places with only single serving. It was a great bargain. However, the lightly grilled sausage slices were obviously not handmade as the meat within was rather finely minced. Taste wise, they were still acceptable except for the missing chunky bites.

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As for beverages, the options were rather standard except for some with a slight twist. We tried out their Winter Melon Lemon Tea (檸檬冬瓜茶 – RM3.90nett), Chocolate Pearl Milk Tea (朱古力珍珠奶茶 – RM3.90nett), Mango Smoothie (芒果沙冰 – RM5.90), Ice Blended Red Bean (紅豆冰沙 – RM4.90nett) and Papaya Milk Shake (木瓜牛奶 – RM4.50nett). The own created recipe of Winter Melon Lemon Tea was rather unique.

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Overall, Taipei 101 could be quite an ideal place for a quick and simple meal without worrying much on your budget. Food wise, they are not much into the authentic Taiwanese cuisine but a bit more towards fusion food. There are still rooms for improvements as some of the dishes were a bit out of track with more localized flavors. I also hope the kitchen would improve on their balance in flavors as I found a large amount of their dishes lacked the required usage of ingredients. Let’s hope they could revamp a better menu in the future with the help of some qualified professionals in the industry. Free delivery services would be available for purchase over RM25.

Taipei 101 Taiwan is located just opposite Queensbay Mall. If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the traffic lights. Drive on until you see a stretch of shop houses before the open space car park opposite Queensbay Mall. Taipei 101 is at this stretch of shop houses. The entrance is just before the open car park. Turn left and drive one round to find your parking space.

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Name: TAIPEI 101 TAIWAN CUISINE RESTAURANT
Address: 35G Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-642 1339
Business Hours:
11.00am-3.00pm (Lunch), 5.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner), 11.00am-10.00pm (Weekends)
GPS: 5.334662, 100.307305

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: 6/10 (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)

 

A GREAT THAI CUISINE AT THAI FOOD RESTAURANT PENANG

Posted by crizlai On August - 1 - 2012

More and more diners in Penang are beginning to appreciate the wonders of Thai cuisine, which has an unquestionable harmonious balance of Yin and Yang. Thus, a new restaurant by the name of Thai Food Restaurant has recently opened its door within the vicinity of Green Lane, Penang to enable diners to enjoy the coexistence of all the major flavor characteristics, namely sweetness, sourness, spiciness and saltiness”. The provincial style of cooking basically came from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, almost similar to those dishes served at Aroy Chang Moo Kata in Pulau Tikus, Penang.

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Instead of starting off with the commonly available Mieng Kam aka One Mouthful, we started with Nam Prik Kapi (น้ำพริกกะปิ/Thai Style Ulam aka Fresh Green Salad – RM9.00nett). I always have phobia having the hot sauce as in the Nam Prik as different provinces in Thailand have their own different level of spiciness. Surprisingly, I felt in love with the version here as the hot sauce has just the balance of sweetness, sourness, spiciness and saltiness to my liking. The vegetables consisted of long beans, cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower.

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Next, we started off with some appetizers. A simple and nutritious Yam Hed (ยามเห็ด -Black & White Fungus/เห็ดหูหนู & เห็ดหูหนูขาว – RM9.00nett/RM12.00nett) would be a great appetizer to start off a meal. The flavors were quite similar to that of Lab Moo Sub (ลาบหมู/Spicy Minced Pork Salad) but minced chicken was used instead. I love the crunch on both the black and white fungus used as well as the well balanced flavors from the onions, chopped chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, spring onions and coriander. This combination would also go well with chicken feet in place of the fungus.

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Another appetizer we had was the Yam Abpen (ยำแอปเปิ้ล/Spicy Green Apple Salad – RM9.00nett/RM12.00nett). The crunchiness of the Granny Smith green apples used combined with chopped chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, fried dried shrimps and garnished with some cashew nuts was nice. Again, the level of spiciness was just right for everyone.

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Another nice dish to start off a proper meal would be the Pak Boong Krob (ปากบุ้งกรอบ/Batter Fried Crispy Morning Glory aka Kangkung – RM8.00nett). It went well with some Thai chili sauce. Instead of serving it just this way, I have seen a few restaurants tossed these vegetables with some sauce and served as a salad.

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The next dish which was the Tod Man Goong (ทอดมันกุ้ง/Shrimp Nugget/Shrimp Cake – RM3.00nett each) was my favorite amongst all those that I had tried elsewhere. The dish was quite simple to make but required the right balance between the usages of minced meat to prawns. The balance here was 1:2 and the patties were coated with breadcrumbs prior to being deep fried until golden brown. These delicious shrimp cakes would be a must order item.

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The Pik Gai Yat Sai (ปีกไก่ญาติซ้าย/Stuffed Otak Chicken Wings – RM3.50 each) is another of the restaurant’s signature dishes. The spicy egg paste or so called otak otak was stuffed into the partially boneless and marinated chicken wings and deep fried to perfection. The combination was great and it could be even better if a bit more of chili paste and sliced kaffir lime leaves were added in to pep up the flavors more.

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Other than the Germans, the Thais are also great cooks for pork knuckles. Instead of having the stewed version, we opted for the Kha Moo Krob (ขาหมูกรอบ/Crispy Pork Knuckle – RM18.00nett). Each bite was amazing crispy and flavorful. Moreover, it was convenient for everyone as they had removed the bones too.

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Sometimes, a simple Thai dish such as the common household dish of Khai Jiu Cha Om (ขายจิ๋วจะออม/Cha Om Omelette – RM8) would please me most. The feathery young shoots of the food plant (also known as climbing wattle/Acacia pennata) are commonly used in omelettes, soups, curries or simply by stir frying in mild sauce in Thai cuisine. The shoots have a unique smell similar to that of the stink beans (buah petai) but with a subtle flavor. It was great to have it with some hot sauce as served with the green salad.

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The Thais loved squids as well and we were also served with Pla Mek Sam Rot (ปลาหมึกสามรส/Squids in 3 Flavors Sauce). The boiled squids were tossed in chopped garlic, chilies/bird’s eye chilies, fish sauce, palm sugar and coriander and served on a hot plate. Even though this was another version of the wetter version with some added stock, it was real appetizing.

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We also tried out their Gaeng Som Pla Grapong (แกงส้มปลากะพง/Gaeng Som Sea Bass – RM25nett-RM45.00nett). The sour and spicy curry may differ in different parts of Thailand but I love this clearer version with just the right amount of sourness from the tamarind as well as a generous portion of vegetables used. However, I would prefer to have fresh fish rather than deep fried ones for my Gaeng Som.

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Their Green Curry Chicken (แกงเขียวหวานไก่/Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai – RM14.00nett/RM20.00nett) was reasonably tasty. The dish was not as spicy as expected as they were using a light amount of sliced red chilies instead of bird eye chilies. There were some bigger version of mini Thai eggplants being used here plus a generous amount of fresh Thai basil leaves. The gravy had a strong hint of coconut milk being used but was a bit less concentrated than I expected due to the chef’s method of cutting down on the level of spiciness from the pre-prepared green curry paste. Alternatively, some long beans could be added in to reduce the spiciness rather than diluting the gravy too much.

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Most people would think that Thai food would always be spicy until the max but not at all as you can still order some oyster sauce based dishes such as the Phat Phak Naw Mai Goong (ผัดพักหน่อไม้กุ้ง/Stir Fry Asparagus with Prawns – RM12.00nett/RM16.00nett). this dish would be served with some prawns stir fried with young asparagus shoot and carrots in light oyster sauce.

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The next dish was something that I almost would not miss out in my list of orders in a Thai restaurant. It’s the Tom Yam. I would normally order the clear version as the red version would only consist of added chili oil. We ordered the Tom Yam Nam Sai (ตมยามนามซ้าย/Clear Tom Yam with Mixed Seafood – RM18nett/RM28nett) instead. It had prawns, fish and squids. The soup was rather mild, considering that the chefs were quite careful in the usage of bird’s eyes chilies which would give a really powerful spicy punch. Although there were traces of fish sauce, lemongrass and galangal found within the soup, I found the soup to be too mild in sourness. It needed a tad bit more of tamarind/lime juice or even some added tomatoes to pep up the flavor more. Moreover, some added oyster mushrooms would be nice too.

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Instead of steamed rice, you could also order their Khao Pad Sapparot (ข้าวผัดสับปะรด/ Pineapple Fried Rice – RM5.00nett/RM12.00nett). This was one of the best pineapple rice dishes I have tasted as the dish had the nice “wok hei” (high heat cooking) and flavors. Moreover, there was the bonus of having some meat floss and chopped coriander as garnishes. It would be great if some chopped spring onions and fried shallots being added in.

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You can also order the Khao Krok Kapi (ขาวกรอกกะปิ/Belacan Fried Rice – RM5.00nett/RM12.00nett). The dish basically had shrimp paste (belacan) fried with rice and served with side dishes such as bird’s eye chilies, onions, egg, mango, cucumber, dried shrimps and meat. Compared to the Pineapple Fried Rice, the former had better flavors.

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To end the meal, we had the Tub Tim Krob (ทับทิมกรอบ/Jellied Water Chestnut Rubies with Jackfruit in Coconut Milk – RM4.50/bowl). It was a decent dessert with added jellies. It would be even better if the coconut milk added was more concentrated.

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Currently, the beverages served here were rather limited but they do serve freshly brewed Lemongrass Tea (RM1.50nett Hot/RM2.00nett Iced). They should consider importing Nam Daeng (red – sala flavored syrup) and Nam Kaew (green – cream soda flavored syrup) and add in some soaked sweet basil seeds in making the drinks. These two drinks have cooling effects for the burning sensation in your mouth whenever you have taken too high level of spiciness.

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Overall, the dishes served here were quite fulfilling for a Thai cuisine hunter like me here. The wonderful thing is that they managed to control the level of spiciness well for the general local consumers. You could always get them to spice up the dishes if you find them to be too mild for you. However, they are not quite close to the homely style of cooking as I had at Annathai-Kitchen yet but some of their dishes served here surely exceeded my expectations.

The Thai Food Restaurant is located just at the back portion of the Batu Lanchang Market Food Court and won’t be hard to locate at all. If you are coming from Jalan Mesjid Negeri towards the Penang Bridge, you would pass by Lam Wah Ee Hospital. Just drive on until you see a Petronas petrol kiosk on your left. Drive on about 100m more and you would see a left turning. Turn left into Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang and drive on until you see CIMB Bank/KFC. Turn left into Medan Batu Lanchang and drive on until the other side of the shop houses and you will see the restaurant just at the back of the food court on your right. Try finding some legal parking spaces here. If you can’t, I would advise you to park your car within the Batu Lanchang Market car park compound as the local MPPP officers could be rather summons happy here. LOL!

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Name: THAI FOOD RESTAURANT
Address: 19L, Medan Batu Lanchang, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-486 9191 (Mr. Christopher Choong)
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.389492, 100.305363

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

 

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