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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)

 

With National Day just around the corner, Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang is promoting its Marvelous Malaysia Cuisine for the whole month of August 2012 (1-31 August 2012). There would be an array of Malaysian dishes ranging from appetizers, main dishes and desserts to fill your appetite. This promotion would be arranged under the skillful hands of Jr. Sous Chefs, Chef Mohamad Bakri and Chef Mohd Fauzi. For the month of August, 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, there would be some juicy skews of Chicken Satay with Condiments. Of so many styles and flavors of satays I’ve tried from so many buffet lines, I would say that Swez Brasserie did a great job in maintaining the juiciness of the meat within each skew. The flavors were just right with the creamy and flavorful spicy peanut sauce. The satays were served with some onion, cucumber and ketupat cuts.

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Another option was the Pasembur with Peanut Sauce. The dish came with some julienned cucumber and jicama, topped with deep fried items such as potatoes, hard boiled eggs, fish balls, bean curds, chicken rolls, pita bread, prawns and more. It was appetizing.

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As for the main course, we were served with a variety of dishes accompanied by Nasi Briyani. Each grain of the used Basmati rice was evenly coated with briyani seasonings, topped with some raisins and chopped roasted almonds.

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One of the main dishes that I like was the Daging Rendang Tok. The dish had chunks of beef slowly simmered in herbs and spices until the meat prices were tender and nice. It was creamy dry with a large amount of coconut milk and desiccated coconut being used. The dish just lacked a bit more of ginger in it to cover the beefy taste as many of the guests could not get use to the overpowering flavors.

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Next was the Curry Chicken which was of a drier version compared to the normal style served elsewhere. The dish has a tad of Indian influence and would go well with chapatti or any types of bread.

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I love the Ikan Panggang (Grilled Fish) a lot as the kitchen made a right choice of choosing stingray as the flesh was the best for any type of grilling. The flavorful turmeric coating on the fish as well as the beautifully prepared condiment of sauce made the dish the perfect dish for all.

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The next dish which was the Assam Prawns was another well prepared Nyonya dish. The nicely fried tamarind with a light touch of sugar and soy sauce marinated prawns were quite a hit. However, due to the limitation of the prawn supply, tiger prawns were used instead of the ideal white/green shelled prawns.

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The Malaysian sea has an abundant supply of flower crabs, thus Flower Crab Curry was served. For crab lovers, this would be an ideal dish for you as those crabs were indeed super fresh.

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With such a humid weather in Malaysia recently, no one could resist the temptation of having a large bowl of Ice Kacang being served. You can choose all the ingredients you like such as corns, kidney beans, jelly, grass jelly, cendul, attap nuts, nutmeg strips and crushed peanuts for your shaved ice dessert, on top of having a large scoop of ice cream on it. How I wished there could be peanut ice cream as well. Haha!

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Other than cakes, pastries, local kuih or even fresh fruits as desserts, they also would serve some local fruits and vegetables fritters. There would be choices of batter fried Goreng Pisang, Goreng Ubi Keledek, Goreng Ubi Keladi, Goreng Cempedak, Goreng Buah Sukun (bread fruit) or even Kuih Kodok. They sure know how to handle the batter well as each piece of the fritter had a nice crispiness that won’t go soggy even left for a long time.

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Overall, Swez Brasserie do serves quite a variety of delicious Malaysian cuisine with a touch of kampong style. There dishes during our review were reasonably up to the required standards.

For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB and UOB card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Marvelous Malaysia Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday – Thursday: 21 August 2012 onwards), Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday – Sunday) and Ramadan Buffet Dinner from 6.30pm – 10.00pm daily (21 July – 18 August, 2012).

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

MARVELOUS MALAYSIA PROMOTION (1-31 AUGUST 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 (National Day- 31 August 2012): 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: 7.5/10 (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)

 

The month of fasting for the Muslims is just around the corner and Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Ramadan Buffet Dinner from 21 July until 18 August 2012 (6.30pm – 10.00pm) for those who want to “buka puasa” in a comfortable environment. Adult would be at RM85++/pax while child would be at RM43++/pax. The Ramadan Buffet Dinner would consist of delicious authentic Malay cuisine the traditional kampong style under the experienced hands of the Jr. Sous Chefs, Chef Mohamad Bakri and Chef Mohd Fauzi.

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Together they would storm out some of the greatest Malay kampong recipes to please the taste buds of diners.

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Of course appetizers such as the Lemang & Serunding Ayam (Steamed Bamboo Glutinous Rice & Spicy Chicken Floss) would be a must have, may it be during the Ramadan month or during the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Though it quite hard for the chef to bake the Lemang in green bamboo in open space, the duo did quite a good job in preparing the Lemang through steaming. The Lemang was soft and filled with the nice fragrant from the coconut milk used. Even the Serunding Ayam was done in a superb way. Every strand of the chicken was evenly spiced up with a nice crunch.

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Another of the appetizers would be the Kerabu Nangka Muda (Young Jackfruit Salad). The young jackfruits were specially cooked in such a way that the flesh remained tender such as the texture of young coconut flesh. These would be then tossed with some ginger flowers, kerisik (toasted desiccated coconut), toasted belacan (shrimp paste), cooked squids and more with a squeeze of lime juice. Overall, the dish was nice but the nice sweetness and flavor from ripe jackfruit was not present.

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No matter which Malay cuisine outlet you would visit, Ulam-ulaman (assorted fresh greens) would be available. They would consist of raw vegetables, herbs and occasionally with tempeh (fermented soybean).

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The only difference at Swez Brasserie is that you might get different condiment such as the Sambal Cincaluk (Salted Baby Shrimps Sambal) and Sambal Mempelam (Mango Sambal). The Sambal Cincaluk could be a bit salty for many while the Sambal Mempelam would be a great alternative for something spicy sweet.

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One of the more notable dished for more energy and stamina would be their Gearbox Soup. The spices and herbs used in slowly simmering the bull’s thigh bones combined with some potatoes and carrots were indeed “powerful”. A bowl of this heavenly dish would sure keep anyone’s body energetic for any activities during the fasting month.

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As for main course, there will be quite a variety of dishes to go with their fragrantly cooked Nasi Tomato (Tomato Rice). You can taste out the rich flavors from each rice grain with has fresh tomatoes, cloves, star anise, cardamom, curry leaves with chopped almonds and raisins as garnishing. Thumbs up! I love this rice a lot as the texture was just as fluffy as I would have expected.

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Some of the main dishes would include Ayam Masak Ros (Rose Chicken). The supposing red colored curry was not spicy at all as it had more of tomato puree plus a combination of herbs and spices to give it the necessary oomph~ What I like most was the thick gravy which has some hints of coconut milk for the extra creaminess.

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Next on the list was the Ikan Keli Goreng Cili Merah (Fried Cat Fish in Red Chili Paste). The fish was indeed fresh and the mild sourness from the tamarind used plus some hints of lemongrass and coconut milk really complemented each flavor well.

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Another unique dish would be the Pucuk Paku Masak Lemak (Stir Fry Fern Shoots in Coconut Cream). The creamy gravy with some turmeric and lime juice was quite good, except that the fern shoot were rather old for a smoother bite.

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As for dessert, we had an assortment of Malay Kuih which consisted of Kuih Cara, Ketayap and Goreng Pisang (Banana Fritter). The chefs did a great job in maintaining the crispiness of the banana fritters, most probably with a light touch of bicarbonate soda in the batter.

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Since the durian season is still around, we were also treated with some Bubur Kacang Hijau with Durian. It had some durian flesh added in the mung bean porridge. It was a totally great experience having dessert this way except that I would prefer a stronger touch of coconut milk added in for the extra creaminess.

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Overall, the Ramadan Buffet Dinner spreads fairs better in term of choices and taste as the dishes were prepared by the two Malay chefs who know their cuisine real well. The dishes were rather family-oriented with a nice touch of kampong style cooking. I love the way the chefs pepped up dishes that would impress even the non-Muslims like me. Well done~ 🙂

For MAYBANKARD, VISA, CIMB, UOB and CitiBank card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Ramadan Buffet Dinner from 6.30pm – 10.00pm daily (21 July – 18 August, 2012).

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

EASTINHOTELMAP

Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 6.30pm-10.00pm (Ramadan Buffet Dinner only)
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: 8/10 (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)

 

George Town, Penang is truly a food paradise when it comes to having multiple choices of cuisine to suit the palate of locals as well as tourists. The wide exposure to channels such as the Asian Food Channel has brought about a huge change in the cooking methods of street food vendors. More and more of them are investing hugely on proper kitchen equipments by the thousands to serve diners with the best ever cooking solutions for the best taste. One such person is Encik Mohd Hilmey Ibrahim, an entrepreneur with a long history of burger making. He’s the brainchild behind the barely few weeks old Hero Burger Bakar, located within the Astaka Stadium Bandaraya premises along Jalan Perak, Penang.

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So what’s the difference between Encik Hilmey’s burger compared to the rest? Obviously, it’s his homemade beef patties and specially marinated boneless chicken drumsticks, all with his secret recipes. Secondly, it’s his method of cooking. The beef patties are BBQ grilled on cooking grids over high heated lava stones while his meaty chicken fillets are skillet grilled. Thirdly, it’s a sloppy burger where you would have dressings such as black pepper sauce, cheesy sauce, chili sauce and mayonnaise splattered all over the juicy grilled meats for all orders. Lastly, it’s the egg… runny egg with the semi cooked yellow yolk oozing out to provide that extra creamy richness on your burger.

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Most of the diners here would opt for a combination of beef and chicken. Do try out their Double Trouble (RM14.50nett). The set would come with the usual burger bun laced with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum and onions topped with one BBQ grilled beef patty, one grilled chicken, 2 pieces of cheese and 2 semi cooked eggs. Of course, the black pepper sauce, cheesy sauce, chili sauce and mayonnaise would be on each burger ordered. Alternatively, you can also custom make this set with less one egg and one cheese for RM12.50nett.

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For non beef eater, there’s always the Duo Boneless Chicken Special (RM14.00nett). This set would have two pieces of grilled chicken, topped with a piece of cheese and a semi cooked egg. This order would also have the standard 4 dressings.

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For a lighter meal, you can have the Solo Boneless Chicken Burger (RM7.00nett) with the standard 4 dressings.

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Alternatively, you can have the Solo Boneless Chicken Burger Special with Cheese & Egg (RM9.00nett) with the standard 4 dressings.

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For those who love to have only the lighter version of their delicious herb packed beef patty, you can opt for their Solo Beef Patty Burger with Cheese (RM7.50nett) with the standard 4 dressings.

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You can also try out their Solo Beef Patty Burger Special with Cheese & Egg (RM8.50nett) with the standard 4 dressings.

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Here’s a quick reference with what they have in their menu and the pricing you would be expecting. Please click to view a larger size.

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The taste for the burgers here was quite good to my liking, although I usually do not quite like my dish to be overdressed and sloppy. The balance of the dressings was quite good, having the nice combination of black pepper sauce, cheesy sauce, chili sauce and mayonnaise. The only few things lacking are the choice of serving dish and food presentation. Styrofoam plates are not the in-trend for a “Going Green” Penang’s choice even though it would cut down on washing time. If other choices of firmer serving dishes were to be utilized, then a better food presentation would surely boost up the interest of diners. It could just some fresh green salad or even some fries as side dishes. The beef patty (~170gms each) was superb as it has all the beefy flavors and chunky bites with the necessary herbs and seasonings. The meaty and juicy boneless chicken (~200gms each) was also flavorful but only on the surface. If only they could pierce some holes onto the meat with a multi-spike ice picker, the meat would be able to seep in more flavors from their secret marinates. Overall, their “Burger Bakar” would be quite ideal for those who love to have their burgers in a sloppy wet way.

If you know where the City Stadium is, it won’t be hard to locate the food court as it’s just next to the Shell petrol kiosk along Jalan Perak. If you are not sure, let me lead you there. If you are coming from Jalan Dato Keramat via KOMTAR, when you see Padang Brown, keep to your left. At the traffic lights (Jalan Dato Keramat/Jalan Perak), turn left into Jalan Perak and keep to your right. Drive on about 100m and you would see a Shell petrol kiosk on your right. Turn right into the lane (Lilitan Stadium) after the kiosk. Find your parking space within the vicinity of the food court located just next to the petrol kiosk.

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Name: HERO BURGER BAKAR
Address: Astaka Stadium Bandaraya, Jalan Perak, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 011-2642 0334 (En. Mohd Hilmey Ibrahim)
Business Hours: 6.00pm-12.00am (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.411073, 100.315807

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

 

Note: Please take note that Ah Leng Char Koay Teow had relocated to another coffee shop named Restoran Tong Hooi, opposite the current place and next to the Federal Place.

Penang is ranked by CNNGo as one of Asia’s 10 Greatest Street Food Cities with a list of the Top 10 Penang Street Food ranging from the top rated Penang Assam Laksa, Hokkien Mee, Wantan Mee, Nasi Kandar, Rojak, Loh Bak, Curry Mee, Char Koay Teow, Kuih Chiap and Ais Kacang. I have a lot of foreign/outstation readers asking me where would be the best place for Char Koay Teow but I would give them a blank look as I seriously don’t know even though I was born as a Penangite. Instead, I would throw them some questions, “What sort of Char Koay Teow would you be looking for? Would you be looking for one that would have all the high heat frying (wok hei) where you can taste the true flavors of the koay teow and scrambled eggs, one with nice spicy fragrance from specially selected chilies or one with all the fresh seafood added in?” Eventually as an island with fresh seafood catches daily, most would opt for the one with the added seafood. Most would end up at one of the famous ones (commercially recommended by tourists) at Ah Leng Char Koay Teow located at a corner coffee shop along Jalan Dato Keramat, Penang.

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A basic plate of Char Koay Teow at Ah Leng would consist of koay teow (flat noodles), prawns, cockles, chicken egg, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Each plate would cost RM6.00nett. If you requested for the special with added prawns (x4) and mantis prawns (x4), it would be priced at RM10.50nett. Extra noodles and/or with duck egg would cost an additional of 50sens nett per ingredient.

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This is how a special plate of Ah Leng’s Char Koay Teow with Duck Egg (RM11.00nett) looks like. I was wondering. Am I having fried seafood with koay teow or fried koay teow with seafood? The seafood practically drowned the few mouthfuls of noodles as shown below.

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Overall, I would think that the Char Koay Teow is a bit too overpriced with barely 3-4 mouthfuls of koay teow. I could easily get a decent portioned Char Koay Teow (minus the big prawns but with duck egg) for RM3.50nett and you can truly taste the “wok hei” on the koay teow distinctively. Even with the big prawns (RM1/prawn based on market rate) and mantis prawns (RM0.40/prawn based on market rate), the whole plate would cost around RM9.00nett. I’m sure through bulk purchases, the ingredients cost would even be lower. I personally feel that if I wanted to have seafood served that way, I would rather go to a seafood restaurant instead. However, the prawns served here were no doubt super fresh and firm to my liking. Unfortunately, the flavors on the koay teow were under my expectation. They were rather little and mushy from the lack of “wok hei” and were more to the sweeter side compared to other outlets. I really detested having any authentic savory street food being turned sweet.

Since there is only one way to find parking spaces along Jalan Dunlop leading to Jalan Dato Keramat where the coffee shop is, I’ll show you the easiest way. If you are coming from Jalan Macalister via Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, you would reach a traffic light (Ghee Hiang). Keep to your right and turn into Jalan Anson. Drive on until you reach the 5th junction on your left (Jalan Dunlop). Turn left into Jalan Dunlop. Drive on until you reach almost the end of the road and find any parking spaces available. Walk on and you will see the coffee house at the junction of Jalan Dunlop/Jalan Dato Keramat.

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Name: AH LENG CHAR KOAY TEOW @ KAFE KHOON HIANG
Address: 358 Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-498 3962 (Ah Leng)
Business Hours: 8.30am-2.30pm (Closed Thursday)
GPS: 5.412953, 100.319552

Branch Address: 30W Jalan Chor Sin Kheng, Air Itam, 11500 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.00am-11.00pm (Closed Wednesday)
GPS: 5.402892, 100.284337

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

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Peranakan Cuisine Promotion for the whole month of July 2012 (1-31 July 2012). The Peranakan cuisine or commonly known as Nyonya cuisine, is a combination of Chinese (different origins), Malay and other influences such as Thai and Indian into a unique blend of its own. This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Pastry Chef, Chef Franco Ho.

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We were served with the Nyonya Acar Awak (娘惹阿渣泡菜), a spicy mixed vegetables which consisted of cabbages, carrot, cucumber and cauliflower, stir mixed in a spicy sauce which has hints of shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, coarsely pounded toasted peanuts and toasted sesame seeds and more. The Acar Awak served here was extremely simplified and was not anywhere near the authentic version. Firstly, the vegetables were overcooked. The dish should have fast blanched vegetables rather than cooked vegetable to preserve the mild crunchiness. Moreover, long beans were not added. The overall taste lacked the creaminess from more added pounded peanuts, the fragrance from some added red and green chilies and a more distinctive sourness from some added vinegar.

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The Nyonya Kerabu Ayam (Nyonya Chicken Salad/娘惹涼拌雞肉) was a better choice for me as it had a Thai twist to the authentic recipe without the usage of wood ear fungus. It was creamier than the normal Nyonya version with distinctive flavors from the added ginger flower, lemongrass and toasted desiccated coconut (kerisik). However, the red chilies should be julienned rather than sliced for a more fine display and they should not be too overpowering as served.

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Another appetizer that we had was the Nyonya Kuih Pie Tee (娘惹金杯薄餅) or commonly known as the Singapore Top Hats. The version served here was totally different as it had stir fried minced chicken filled in each cup and topped with some fried shallots and chopped spring onions. I would say they were too dry to my liking as the filling lacked some vegetables such as julienned carrot and jicama for some moist bites.

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As main course served with steaming rice, we had the Itik Tim (Duck & Salted Vegetable Soup/鹹菜鴨湯). The duck pieces had the right tenderness. The soup had the right flavors from the salted green mustard (kiam chye), preserved salted plum, tomatoes, peppercorns, onions, dried chilies and young galangal but it was rather salty. This Nyonya duck soup may look easy to cook but without the right skills to get rid of the excess saltiness in the salted vegetables and the right tuning in saltiness and sourness from the preserved salted plums, the whole dish may end up disastrous. I was also wondering why young galangal were used in this recipe as old ginger would be a better choice to pep up the flavors with a more gingery spice taste. Moreover, this was one great ingredient to get rid of the “gas” as believed in the traditional Nyonya cooking.

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As for the Nyonya Yellow Curry Chicken (娘惹風雞肉黃咖哩), it did not amaze me much as the usage of curry powder was overwhelming. It was not even near Nyonya, Malay or even Indian style of cooking. The flavor was rather flat, sweet and sandy without the prominent flavors from star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom and more. There were no traces of tomatoes too for that mild sourness and a pinch or two of salt would have given the dish a better justice.

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The next dish which was the Assam Prawns (阿參蝦) also had a big twist in the recipe. Other than the normal marinate of tamarind, sugar and salt, the prawns had some shrimp paste (belacan) added in. I won’t say it was a totally bad fusion but it indeed tasted out from the norm. As this is a hotel and having white shelled prawns which were costlier would be quite impossible for their budget, tiger prawns were used instead. It really did not bring out the flavors as I would have expected.

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Their Jiu Hoo Char (Stir Fried Jicama with Dried Cuttlefish/魷魚炒甜蘿蔔絲) would have made my Mum screamed for originality. I would rather have this filled in my Kuih Pie Tee instead. Basically, the dish consisted of unevenly julienned jicama, carrots and French beans stir fried with some dried cuttlefish. The taste was just average considering that no meat pieces were added in and no extra fragrance from some thinly sliced Chinese mushrooms at all. I won’t even consider this dish as Nyonya at all although this is one of the signature dishes in Peranakan cuisine.

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As for dessert, we had some Bee Koh Moy (Black Glutinous Rice Porridge/黑糯米粥) topped with some slightly salted coconut milk. Somehow the dessert lacked some white glutinous rice added in to give it the extra thickness. They could have added in some dried longan as well for some natural sweetness and flavor.

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We also had an assortment of Nyonya Kuih such as the Mini Ang Koo, Cai Tao Kuih (Radish Cake with Pounded Peanuts), Kuih Bingka Ubi (Tapioca Cake), 9 Layers Kuih Lapis (Gao Chan Gou) and Kuih Bengkang (purple color).

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Since it’s still the durian season in Penang now, Chef Franco treated us with his latest creation, Durian Layer Cake. It had a mix of some fresh branded durian flesh added in.

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Overall, I would still prefer the authentic Peranakan/Nyonya cuisine rather than the fusion versions served at Swez Brasserie. This dishes served here might suit the taste buds of foreigners but to us Penangites who were born and bred in the Peranakan influenced tradition, the dishes were too mild. Peranakan cuisine is all about making the best usage of herbs and spices to storm out dishes that would be filled with rich flavors for the palate of a family. Some cuisine can’t be too fusion at all as it would kill the authentic flavors of yesteryears. Personally, my preference would still be Ivy’s Kitchen in the heart of George Town for a more authentic Peranakan cuisine.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

PERANAKAN CUISINE PROMOTION (1-31 JULY 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 (George Town World Heritage Day – 7 July 2012): 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 the Peranakan Cuisine 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: 6/10 (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)

 

APPETIZING SPREADS AT SAKAE SUSHI @ 1ST AVENUE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On June - 13 - 2012

The name Sakae Sushi is already well known throughout the Asian region since its establishment in Singapore in 1997. Today it had expanded to more than 70 branches in Malaysia (Penang, Perak, Selangor & Kuala Lumpur), Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam to as far as China. The menu is ever changing with special theme promotion monthly such as the Anago Promotion for the month of June 2012. Economically priced compared to most of the Japanese restaurants around, it catered to the demands and budgets of locals and tourists alike real well. On top of being the first Japanese restaurant to enrich its sushi rice with Vitamin E, it also flew in fresh supplies of Omega-3 rich Norwegian salmons to ensure the satisfactions of every Japanese food enthusiasts. There are many choices of items available just for anyone, ranging from their Sakae’s Signature Sushi & Sashimi, Appetizers, Tempura, Rice, Udon and Soba to simple yet impressive kids’ meals.

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We started off with a large bowl of Kaisen Salad (海鮮沙拉 – RM16.90++). The tantalizing salad was large enough for the consumptions of 2 persons. It came with refreshing selections of coral green and red lettuces, seaweed, cabbages, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, topped with fresh prawns, tuna flakes, snow crab leg meat, ebiko and dressed with their specially concocted goma dressing. What excelled here was the goma dressing. It had that earthly yet peanut nutty flavor with sesame oil, salad oil, soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar and mayonnaise being added. It was so appetizing that we had to ask for more dressing to coat every part of the vegetables. Thumbs up!

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Well, one of my favorite at most Japanese restaurants would be the Chuka Idako (凉拌小八爪魚 – RM7.99++), a marinated boiled baby octopus flavored with mirin, teriyaki, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, red food coloring with a mix of toasted sesame seeds. The portion served here came with 4 flavorful baby octopuses with a high hint of sesame oil just to my liking.

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Their Sakae Chawanmushi (榮茶碗蒸 – RM3.99++) was also nice as it had that thick high stock flavors. The dish had chicken, crabstick, ginkgo nut and shitake mushroom slices in the steamed egg and garnished with some vegetarian shark’s fin and fresh shimeji mushrooms.

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We were introduced to some of the innovative sushi creations and one of them was the Inari Avocado Ebi (稻禾酪梨蝦 – RM7.99++). It basically came with a sweet bean curd skin filled with some sushi rice and topped with some cuts from a whole prawn mixed with avocado and salad dressing plus a battered coated prawn head. The crispy prawn head can be eaten but do watch out for the spike on the head. The creaminess of the avocado blended in well for this combination.

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The next sushi which was the Sakae Blossom (榮之花 – RM9.99++) not only impressed us with its intricate design but also on its taste. The maki had cucumber and finely cubed crabstick in mayonnaise wrapped in nori (dry seaweed sheet) and sushi rice, rolled with some ebiko (shrimp roe) and topped with a flower shaped mildly grilled salmon, some mayonnaise and a petal of parsley. The whole combination was so smooth flowing in the mouth. 🙂

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Next on the list was the Soft Shell Crab Maki (辣味軟殼蟹卷 – RM5.99++). The maki had cucumber and battered deep fried soft shell crab wrapped in nori (dry seaweed sheet) and sushi rice, capped with sweet bean curd skin and dressed with some spicy mayonnaise. It was not bad but I wished the soft shell crab was a bit crispier.

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Another new introduction was the Ebi Crepe (黃金蝦卷 – RM5.99++). This was a totally out of the norm way of making sushi without nori and/or sushi rice. It had some lettuce, egg mayonnaise with slight butter peppery taste and prawn wrapped in a thin layered crepe. It was nice but too Westernized for a sushi.

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The next sushi which was the Hana Maki (鮭魚花卷 – RM9.99++) was also one of our favorites. It had a little sushi rice ball wrapped with a slice of fresh and appetizing salmon fillet, topped with some mayonnaise, garnished with some ebiko and a petal of parsley. It was heavenly smooth to the bite.

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For scallop lovers, there would be the Hotate Mentaiyaki (香烤明太子扇貝 – RM20.90) to savor. It had 4 half shell scallops topped with a combination of cod fish roes (mentaiko/明太子) extracts, mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese and grilled to perfection. With a mild squeeze of lemon juice, it was rather appetizing.

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On top of those sushi choices, we were served with Kaisen Pirikara Nabe (海鮮泡菜湯 – RM24.90++), an appetizing hot pot with prawns, scallops, squids, salmon, shitake & enoki mushrooms, tofu, onions, cabbages, leeks, carrots, spinach, kimchi (fermented vegetables of specific kind) and glass noodles. Although the soup had a rather red color, it was rather mild on the spiciness unlike those kimchi soup you would get from a Korean restaurant. It would be great if the restaurant have options for the level of spiciness. Moreover, it lacked some shoyu to pep up the salty flavor for the right balance. Overall, it was still an acceptable bowl of soup, considering that the seafood added were extremely fresh.

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We also tasted out their Curry Udon (日式咖哩雞烏冬麵 – RM12.90++). This bowl had quite a large portion of wheat noodles (udon) topped with a mild curry flavored potato stew like gravy. It has a generous amount of chicken meat, some fish cake slices, cubed potatoes and carrots. Personally, I would prefer to have chunks of chicken drumstick meat for the curry rather than chicken breast meat slices as they were rather bland to my liking.

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For those who yearn for some rice, there would always be the bento meals such as the Ebi Ten Jyu (海老天婦羅飯 – RM15.90++). The dish would be served with an onion omelette with sauce on steamed Japanese rice and topped with 3 tempura prawns. I personally found the tempura batter on the prawns to be a bit too thick to my liking, unlike those nice ones I had eaten at Miraku Japanese Restaurant, G Hotel, Penang. Moreover, I had to request for some tempura sauce since it was not provided for this set. At least, the sauce did pep up more flavors for my rice.

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Alternatively, there was also the Haru (春 – RM24.90++) which had salmon and chicken teriyaki served with plain steamed Japanese rice, chawanmushi and miso soup. The finely grilled salmon fillet with a salty sweet taste and the flavorful tender chicken pieces with a slightly sweeter teriyaki flavor went well with the rice. Even the chawanmushi and miso soup were up to their standards.

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Another new introduction was the Kids’ Sushi Meal – Little Sushi Home (RM3.99++). It was a very creative sushi. The triangular sushi which had cucumber and crabstick stuffed nori and sushi rice, rolled in finely chopped parsley, came with a halved breadcrumbs battered scallop topped with some mayonnaise and a petal of parsley. From the side, it really looked like a house. Flavor wise, it was normal.

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We ended up the meal with a selection of 4 flavors of ice cream, namely Dragon Fruit Ice Cream (RM5.90++/scoop), Passion Fruit Ice Cream (RM6.90++/scoop), Goma Ice Cream (RM6.90++/scoop) and Matcha Ice Cream (RM5.90++/scoop). The Goma Ice Cream had the highest vote for being the best amongst the 4 flavors but I personally preferred the more sourness Passion Fruit Ice Cream as it was a great digestion remedy after such a heavy meal.

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Those who would love ice cream more than just a scoop would surely like the Matcha Parfait (RM13.90++). The parfait would also be available in other flavors such as strawberry and chocolate. The 6-layered parfait had corn flakes as the base, followed with sweet red bean, matcha ice cream, corn flakes, whipped cream and matcha ice cream, garnished with some sweetened red bean, whipped cream, strawberry and a wafer. Price wise, it was more economical than having just one scoop of matcha ice cream at RM5.90++ per scoop.

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Overall, those new dishes introduced were better than those common ones I have tasted during many visits. The pricing were also quite economical for diners. Some dishes as mentioned above truly needed that little touch to pep up the flavors further. I hope that more creations would be available soon for those Japanese food enthusiasts. Lastly, I would like to thank Foodsion for giving us the opportunity to try out these new dishes.

There are many branches of Sakae Sushi in Penang but the one we went to was located at 1st Avenue, Penang. Just find your way to the mall, go to Level 4 and you can find the outlet just opposite Carrefour. Alternatively, you can visit the surrounding Penang outlets as stated below or based on the other outstation outlets as shown in their website.

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Name: SAKAE SUSHI @ 1ST AVENUE
Address:
Lot 4-16, Level 4, 1st Avenue Mall Penang,
182 Jalan Magazine, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 2218
Website: http://www.sakaesushi.com.my/
Business Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm (Mon-Fri), 11.00am-10.00pm (Sat & Sun)
GPS: 5.413391, 100.331202

Surrounding Penang Outlets:

Sunway Carnival Mall
UG-28, Upper Ground Floor, Sunway Carnival Mall,
3068 Jalan Todak Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya,
13700 Seberang Jaya, Penang.
Tel : 604-380 3368
Gurney Plaza
170-03-87/88/89, Plaza Gurney,
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang.
Tel: 04-229 5930
Queensbay Mall
2F-49 Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah,
11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Tel: 604-643 0015
Tesco Tanjung Pinang
Lot G4, Tesco Tanjung Pinang, No.1, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang,
Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Tel : 04-899 0063
1st Avenue Mall
4-16, Level4, 1st Avenue Mall
No.182, Jalan Magazine
10300 Penang
Tel : 604-261 2218
Auto City
1815-B Jalan Perusahaan, Auto-City,
North-South Highway Juru Interchange,
13600 Prai, Penang.
Tel : 604-508 0268

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