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AFFORDABLE FAMILY DINING AT KIM HOOI SEAFOOD

Posted by crizlai On October - 9 - 2009

In my earlier post on the 2828 Café Famous Beef Koay Teow Soup stall, I did mention about the dinner spread you can get from the same café. If you are one who can appreciate authentic Chinese dishes, you had come to the right place as the dishes served here are a mixture of Cantonese and Hakka. Not only are the dishes here are having the taste of a family dinner spread, the pricing here would definitely please those with a big household. The stall here is none other than Kim Hooi Seafood which has been operating in the present premises for over 7 years.

On top of those common dishes you can get in any stir-fry dishes restaurant, this place had the extras effort to introduce their specialties daily. Here was one of the dishes. It’s Braised Pork Ribs with Radish (RM7). Choice pieces of pork ribs were marinated with red fermented bean curd (nam yu/tau joo/乳腐), fried and then braised with some chopped radish and chilies. Initially I thought this was another Hakka dish but eventually I was told that it was also called Thai Ribs (泰骨). The taste was remarkably unique and the ribs were tender and melted in my mouth.

The next special dish was indeed Hakka. It was the Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Wood Ear Fungus (客家炸肉-RM7). The method of preparation was somewhat like the pork ribs except that the gravy had a stronger red fermented bean curd taste. This dish would be best with a hot steaming bowl of rice.

If you do not want to have so much of pork dishes, the Plum Sauce Chicken (梅子雞-RM7) would be quite ideal, even for kids. Although there was the presence of some chopped chilies, the dish was not spicy at all. One whole boneless chicken drumstick was coated with some batter, deep fried, topped with some hot boiling plum sauce with chopped chilies and garnished with some chopped spring onions. Not only was the chicken slices crispy, the gravy itself was enough to boost up my appetite. I found that there was something in there that made the dish different compared to others. It had some chopped pickled ginger added. No wonder the dish was so delicious.

As for seafood, the next dish which was the Stir Fry Grouper Fish Fillet with Fresh Enokitake (金針菇石斑魚片-RM15) was wonderful. The fillets were indeed fresh. Together with the rest of the ingredients which included sliced carrots, button mushroom, snow peas, enokitake (enoki mushroom/golden needle mushroom/金針菇) with a dash of Shao Xing wine, the whole dish was healthy and hearty. Moreover, I found that the amount of grouper fillets given was rather generous.

The next dish was rather interesting – Fried King Prawns with Stout (黑啤酒蝦 – RM18). Four king size white prawns were deep fried and then stirred into some thickened stout beer with a soft touch of salt and chopped chilies. It had lots of sliced spring onions and big onions as salads. The sweetness from the stout blended in nicely with the salads. The prawns were so fresh that I had some trouble peeling off the skins. Although I love this dish a lot, the only hiccup I had was on the preparation. The prawns should have been slightly sliced at the side prior to cooking to allow the delicious gravy to seep into the flesh.

For those who love bitter gourd, the next specialty would be great – Stuffed Bitter Gourd (RM8-4pcs/RM12-6pcs). Each slice of bitter gourd was stuffed with the chef’s own recipe which included fish paste, minced pork, chopped salted and century eggs. These stuffed bitter gourd slices would then be steamed for a period of time before being topped with some oyster sauce based gravy.

For those who love to have same tofu dishes, this place served the best house special tofu I had tasted. The tofu slices were silky smooth and they just melt in your mouth. Although I could order other types tofu such as Japanese tofu which would also be available, I rather have their house special tofu which were preservative-free. One way of cooking the House Special Tofu (招牌豆腐 – RM6) would be in some mild gravy accompanied with some sliced Chinese mushrooms, peas, dried scallops and a touch of Shao Xing wine. Delicious!

Another version would be the Deep Fried House Special Tofu (紅燒招牌豆腐 – RM7). This dish may look quite similar to the earlier one but the gravy had a stronger taste due to the usage of some sliced carrot, leek, roasted pork, garlic and of course the Shao Xing wine. This is another great dish to go with rice.

When you have kids around, one of the common dish you might order would be the Foo Yong Omelette (RM5). There’s nothing special about this dish as it only contained eggs, sliced onions, chopped grilled pork (char siew) with a touch of flavorings.

There were so many types of fresh vegetable dishes available here but I always like to have something simple such as the Stir Fry Romaine Lettuce with Garlic (RM5). What I like most about their preparation was the maintaining of the crunchiness of the lettuce. It was simple yet healthy!

For those soup lovers, you should try out their daily double boiled soups other than their impromptu cooked soups. They should have at least two types available daily. I managed to try out their Double Boiled Winter Melon Soup (冬瓜湯 – RM5.50). I thought it would be just a simple bowl of soup but I was wrong. The thick and aromatic bowl of soup contained lots of meaty pork ribs, red dates, dried mussels and winter melon cubes. I did not regret ordering this bowl of soup.

I was also lucky to try out their Double Boiled Beet Root Soup (地瓜湯 – RM5.50). I expected this bowl of soup to be purplish red as in a fresh beet root but I was wrong again. It has the color of a normal pork ribs based soup. There was nothing much in the bowl of soup except some chopped beet roots, meaty pork ribs and some dates but the soup has that special natural sweetness in it. This bowl of soup is believed to protect the liver, lower cholesterol, hypertension, blood pressures and so on. It can also be taken for general health. Hmmm… I should cook this soup at home too from time to time. 🙂

Overall, this would be a great place to dine in after you are bored with all those restaurant/hawker/fast food. After all, we should also have some healthy meals from time to time right?

It’s easy to find the stall as it is located at a corner lot of Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak. The easiest way to reach the place from town would be by using Jalan Macalister (as you would not be able to turn right from Jalan Dato Keramat). Drive all the way until you see the Jalan Macalister/Jalan Anson traffic lights (EON Automobile Showroom on your left). Turn left into Jalan Anson and drive all the way until you see the Jalan Anson/Jalan Perak T-junction traffic lights. Turn right into Jalan Perak and keep left. You can see the corner café immediately after a stretch of the General Hospital Officers’ residence on your left. Turn left into Jalan Lim Khoon Huat and park your car along the service road in front of the Perak Plaza.

Name: KIM HOOI SEAFOOD @ 2828 CAFE
Address: 56K, Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 6.00pm-10.30pm (Closed Wednesday)
Contact: 012-498 8453 (Mr. Lo)
GPS: 5.416874, 100.316519

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: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SHABU SHABU ON A RAINY DAY?

Posted by crizlai On October - 8 - 2009

It was a cold and chilly afternoon, thus Steven and I decided to go food hunting for something hot that would warm up our bodies. We ended up at a corner café located along Jalan Perak for our lunch. Was our meal Shabu Shabu? Well, not exactly but the beef slices was indeed thinly sliced and there was the hot pot that was solely manned by the ever smiling boss, Mr. Tiger. Yup, we were at the 2828 Café Famous Beef Koay Teow Soup stall.

On top of those few famous beef noodles stalls in Penang, this stall also has its own loyal followers. You can practically see that the whole café would be packed during lunch time and majority of the patrons would go for the beef noodles. There are so many beef parts available here which you could select for your bowl of soup. The soup base here would be of a clearer and milder herb version compared to the rest and one thing you can be sure of is that it would not contain too heavy beef taste. Your bowl of beef soup (as low as RM6) can go well with your bowl of rice (RM0.60).

Another option you can have here would be the selected ingredients taken with noodles. There are two types available here, namely the yellow noodles (mee) and flat noodles (koay teow). Each bowl would cost as low as RM6.

There’s one thing that I find rather inappropriate for my bowl of beef noodles – the condiment. It was too chili sauce sweet like. I rather have my beef slices dipped into a blended version of red chilies, garlic and ginger. At least that would cut down on the strong taste of certain beef parts.

Overall, this is still a great place for those who do not like their beef soup to be overpowering with herbs and beefy taste and the price here is still reasonable for all. Do also watch out for my next post on what to get from the same café during dinner time – affordable home cooked dishes at Kim Hooi Seafood stall.

It’s easy to find the stall as it is located at a corner lot of Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak. The easiest way to reach the place from town would be by using Jalan Macalister (as you would not be able to turn right from Jalan Dato Keramat). Drive all the way until you see the Jalan Macalister/Jalan Anson traffic lights (EON Automobile Showroom on your left). Turn left into Jalan Anson and drive all the way until you see the Jalan Anson/Jalan Perak T-junction traffic lights. Turn right into Jalan Perak and keep left. You can see the corner café immediately after a stretch of the General Hospital Officers’ residence on your left. Turn left into Jalan Lim Khoon Huat and park your car along the service road in front of the Perak Plaza.

Name: 2828 CAFÉ FAMOUS BEEF KOAY TEOW
Address: 56K, Perak Plaza, Jalan Perak, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 10.30am-3.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 012-450 8177 (Mr. Tiger)
GPS: 5.416874, 100.316519

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

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS LANG SAE LEE?

Posted by crizlai On September - 30 - 2009

Note: Please take note that the price of dishes here had increased tremendously in 2011. It’s no longer a budget dining place as it once used to be. I have edited the pricing here and the portion would be bigger than shown here.

That’s a good question to begin with. Lang Sae Lee is neither the name of a place, a state nor a country but the name of a person. Originated from Pulau Betong, this lady has been residing in Penang for the last 4 decades, cooking delicious and aromatic Thai cuisines that her neighbors would always be envy of. As humble as anyone along the heritage stretch of the clan jetties along Weld Quay, Madam Lee had decided to share her passion in cooking hot and spicy Thai dishes barely a month’s ago just to supplement the moderate income of her family members. As a result, what could be a greater news for foodies all over town other than having some home cooked Thai dishes at an unbelievable and yet reasonable pricing.

But there is one problem… you would need to have the patience to dine in this residential stilt-in-the sea house as this is a non-commercialized one-cook restaurant and food would not be served for quite some time. For those with 4 or more diners, it’s best to pre-book your dishes prior to visiting this place. Don’t be sad with the news as the restaurant has many surprises in store for you. The surrounding area has lots of interesting eco system creatures and birds plus beautiful landscapes for those shutter lovers. You can easily fill up your waiting time when you are enchanted by the beauty of Mother Nature. WARNING: PLEASE WEAR FLAT SHOES AS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT YOUR HIGH HEELS TO GET STUCK BETWEEN PLANKS OF THE WOODEN BRIDGE!

So, what’s good to have here? If you are looking for many dishes to go with some fragrantly steamed Thai rice, it would require an advance booking to get the full range of dishes Madam Lee can wok up for you. Simplicity with some vermicelli and rice would be available here. For instant, the Thai Laksa (RM4) here was good. It was so much different compared to those I had tried locally. The vermicelli were thinner and the soup base had a more pungent and spicy flavor with some touches of coconut milk. Other than the usual sliced cucumber, pineapple, onions, mint leaves and cooked fish fillets, I had a surprise with the additional chopped onions, pickled radish (cai po/菜脯) with sliced red chilies. The whole concoction plus some added chili flakes was worth my sweating. LOL!

There are six types of rice dishes available here. One of the most commonly ordered in any Thai cuisine would be the Pineapple Fried Rice (RM5). The serving here was rather large for the amount paid as there were generous amount of pineapple cubes added on top of the few large prawns, chicken meat and egg. It was indeed filling.

The next rice dish was my all-time favorite – Thai Holy Basil Fried Rice (RM5). It was nothing fanciful but just some stir fry dish on top of a bowl of steamed Thai rice but the taste was something amazing. The special flavor came from the clove-like sweetness Thai holy basil leaves, fragrantly stir fried with some special sauce with your choice of seafood and meat. You can opt for the dish to be cooked with prawns, chicken meat or simply a combination of both. The style of cooking was rather traditional too as all the ingredients used were smashed instead of the usual cutting. This will be one dish that you should not miss out but there’s one warning here. Please inform Madam Lee your level of hotness.

Just an additional note here to share with those who would like to know more about the basil leaves used in Thai cuisine. There are 3 types available, either fresh or dried. The Thai Sweet Basil (horapa/daun selasih) is normally used in dishes such as Thai Green Curry and Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken. This basil also commonly known as just Thai basil has a more assertive flavor that not many people can accept and they are the strongest flavored ones amongst the 3 species. The next would be the Thai Holy Basil (kha phrao/daun ruku ruku/tulsi). They are milder in taste but have clove-like sweetness in them. This type of basil is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes. It’s believed to be used for many purposes such as cold, stomach disorder, poisoning and many more and the Hindus uses them as part of their worship rituals. The last basil would be the Thai Lemon Basil (manglak/daun kemangi/hoary basil). The leaves have a more citrus-like flavor and they are widely used in Indonesian cuisine such as raw salad.

Another of the commonly ordered rice dish would be the Belacan Fried Rice (RM5). The rice was fried with Madam Lee home made belacan (dried shrimp paste). The taste was not as intruding as some of the belacan dishes I had tasted before. The fried rice was served with cut omelette, some stir fry pork, sliced onions, unripe mangoes, bird eye chilies and some deep fried dried shrimps. When mixed up just like a salad, it was another great experience. The meat was tender and the sourness from the unripe mango made the whole dish real appetizing.

There was also the Salted Fish Fried Rice (RM5). This rice dish would be great for those who could not take too much of spicy food. The fried rice was very similar to the Oriental Fried Rice but has bits of fragrantly fried salted fish. The salted fish was not fishy as it was made from a higher grade of fish, namely barracuda.

There would surely be the Tom Yam Fried Rice (RM5) in any of the Thai restaurant menus but I find the dish to be a bit too mild for my liking. The fried rice has the fragrant, the required ingredients, the sourness from the lime juice but it lacked the extra kick taste from some chopped bird eye chilies. I won’t know for sure but it could be due to Madam Lee thinking that I was not in the game for another extra hot and spicy dish. 😛

The last of the rice dishes would be the Sambal Fried Rice (RM5). I love this dish a lot too. The sambal (shrimp paste plus fresh red chilies concoction) was definitely one of the best around. Every mouthful was like heaven as each grain of rice has the fragrance and was coated thoroughly in flavors. This is another of my recommended dish.

If you think that having the above few dishes won’t be enough to fill you up, there’s always the finger food. You can try out the Fish Cake (RM2/pc) which has some sliced kaffir lime leaves and vegetables mixed with fish paste inside.

Pandan Chicken (RM2/pc) would also be available here. Each piece would have some turmeric plus coconut milk marinated chicken fillet, wrapped professionally in a pandan leaf (screw pine leaf) and deep fry to perfection. The meat was still juicy and nice. I don’t mind paying a bit more for a bigger and thicker pandan chicken as I personally felt that it was too small for me. One bite and it was gone. LOL! If they were to add in one or two bird eye chilies, it would be even better.

How do you like to have some jaws here? Yea… shark meat! They do serve Deep Fried Shark Fillet (RM15/plate) here too. It was just another simple fried fish dish but the fillet was indeed fresh and the fine texture of the meat was wonderful.

There’s also the Belacan Chicken Wings (RM3/pc) too. I found that there wasn’t much of belacan flavor on the chicken wings and they sure do taste normal. I still prefer the ones at my regular stall at Lebuh Kimberley. Let’s hope Madam Lee improves her recipe for this dish further.

You can also order their Stuffed Chicken Wing (RM4/pc). Each wing was stuffed with marinated chopped mushroom, carrot, prawns and squid, coated with some frying flour and fry until golden brown. This dish would be great for children if only you instruct them not to put the chili sauce on it.

There’s also the Spicy Stuffed Chicken Wing (RM3/pc) version with the same ingredients as above plus some turmeric spices and sliced kaffir lime leaves. Well, both the stuffed chicken wings were equally nice if taken immediately when served.

You might also want to try out the Clear Seafood Tom Yam Soup (RM15/bowl). This is one of the less available tom yam locally as most of the restaurants would serve the “easier” red version. The way Madam Lee cooked the soup made me craved for more. It had the right amount of pungent and sourness and all the ingredients used were fresh. Depending on market availability, each bowl/clay pot would have at least one large prawn, some squid slices, goldband jobfish (kalak fish) fillet combined with some abalone mushrooms. The dish was indeed great to go with my other rice dishes. You must try this soup out!

The Red Seafood Tom Yam Soup (RM15/bowl) would also be available here. If you had read carefully earlier, you would have notice that I had inverted the word “easier”. Most restaurants would use the ready made tom yam paste (nam prik pao) available in the market for faster cooking, thus it would not have the freshness in the soup base. As for Madam Lee, she also uses that but with a minimal amount to pep up the red color of the soup. The soup would be spicier and sour than the earlier version. My recommendation would still be the earlier version as it’s more towards the original taste of tom yam.

Overall, this is just a simple Thai food restaurant located along the beach front of Weld Quay, overseeing the Straits of Malacca. It would be a great place to chill out but do watch out for the low tide period as there would be the overwhelming muddy stench. By the way, there will be more delicious dishes available from time to time from Madam Lee. Please check with her when you call up for reservation. For lunch crowd, you would not have problem dining there. For dinner crowd, it would be best if you book in advance as the business would end at 7.30pm, although you can stay until 9.00pm or later.

Visiting this place would be quite a maze for many people, especially foreigners, as the house is located deep into the Tan Jetty. Here would be a few maps and photos to lead you to the restaurant. Please right click to view map/photos in a bigger version.

Here’s Map A which would lead you directly to the entrance of Tan Jetty. It’s quite easy to spot the place as it’s just next to Tan Bee Eng Bird Shop with a small “Tan Jetty” sign above. If you are coming from the ferry terminal along Pengkalan Weld, keep a watchful eye on the landmarks on your left, especially those Jetty signboards. You would pass by Lim Jetty (temple), Shell petrol kiosk, Chew Jetty (hawker area), slow down and watch out for the Tan Jetty (Tan Bee Eng Bird Shop) sign on your left. Park you car within the road next to Xen Teck Café a bit further up on your left. Walk back to the Tan Jetty entrance where you would see a giant water tank and walk right until the last house.

Alternatively, there’s the Map B with a riskier route but with ample parking space. Just drive into the road beside Xen Teck Café until you see the Tan Jetty Prawn Fritter stall. Drive further in until you see the beach front. The restaurant is located at the last house on your left. There would be lots of dogs there and you would have to walk over some loose wooden planks to get into the back portion of the house. My advice – call Madam Lee to lead you into the house when you have arrived. I would not advice this route for the elderly and children, especially when the sun is about to set or during rainy days.

Name: LANG SAE LEE THAI FOOD
Address: 97A, Tan Jetty, Weld Quay, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm, 5.00pm-10.00pm
Contact: 014-907 1808 (Madam Lee)
GPS: 5.411565, 100.339195

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (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: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

A DIFFERENT YAM RICE VERSION IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 25 - 2009

Penang is truly a food paradise of Malaysia. Every loops and corners in any district, you would find eateries regardless of Chinese, Malay or Indians hidden within small lanes, beach fronts, flats, industrial areas or simply residence areas. One such area which I had found to be real fascinating would be the Weld Quay/Macallum Street area. There were the best woodfire pizzas, cheapest stir fry Chinese cuisine (choo char), freshly fried prawn fritters, best tom yam fish head noodles, best pan mee, cheapest fried udon and now a new encounter with a yam rice of a different kind – Eng Yam Rice.

What made Eng Yam Rice so special? If compared to my most frequent yam rice stall in Chai Leng Park, Butterworth or their recently opened yam rice branch along Jalan C.Y. Choy, I would choose Eng Yam Rice. The difference lied in the yam rice. Each whole rice grain from here had the right texture and softness, combined with the thorough coating from the fragrant dark soy sauce, mixed with the right saltiness from the dried shrimps and beautiful powdery bites from the yam cubes. I can just have bowls of this yummy yam rice even without ordering any side dishes.

Speaking of side dishes, what you get here would be a bit different compared to the salted vegetable assorted pork soup and dark soy sauce pork trotter you get from the BM Yam Rice stall over in mainland Penang or even some stalls which would serve you with assorted Yong Tau Foo soup. To go with your yam/white rice, you can order one of their sets which would include a hard boiled egg, a piece of fried bean curd and some pork belly meat, cooked in thick and flavorful herbs and spices filled dark soy sauce – all in a bowl for only RM2. It was cheap and good!

Even the Pork Trotter (RM4) had the same quality as they also came from the same thick and flavorful braising sauce. The meat was tender and each bite was beautiful.

The wonderful part of dining here would be the choices of soup available with your meal. The stall would have RANDOMLY at least 3 types of soup each day. Firstly, there was the Radish and Carrot Soup (RM2/bowl). There was a generous amount of vegetables in the bowl with some pieces of pork. This bowl of soup was perfect with my yam rice.

Next would be the Duck Egg and Cabbage Soup (RM2/bowl). The soup contained some pan fried fresh duck eggs, boiled with some cabbages. It was just a nice and simple bowl of soup. I wished it could be something else more homely as a bowl of salted duck egg and mint leaves soup. 😛

Starched Pork with Cabbage Soup (Bak Kee Soup – RM2/bowl) was also available for the day. Although this soup was a lot cheaper than the one I had at the coffee shop along Lorong Carnarvon, the cooking style was different. They used pork chunks coated with corn flour instead of pork slices. I personally felt that it had lost the bite sensation.

The Salted Fish Tofu Soup (RM2/bowl) was another of my favorite here. The tofu cubes were mildly fried and the salted fish did not have that overpowering fishy taste. Combined with some cabbages, the soup was full of flavors. The only problem would be that they do not serve this soup daily. It’s up to your luck to get to try this out.

Another soup that you would get only during weekends (Saturday & Sunday) would be the Pepper Pig Stomach Soup (Too Tor Th’ng – RM3/bowl). It would be a waste if you did not try out this soup. The pepper taste combined with the thick soup broth was marvelous. The only hiccup was that they do not have added ginkgo nuts. That would make the soup perfect.

On top of the meat and soup dishes, Prawn Fritters (RM1/pc) were also available. They would come with the chef’s own created garlic chili paste. Although I found the fritters to be lack of prawns but they were indeed real crispy. What’s there to complain at the price I paid?

Finding the stall won’t be hard as it’s just at the junction of Pengkalan Weld and Gat Lebuh Macallum. The only problem would be the parking space. If you are coming from the ferry terminal toward the Jelutong Expressway, you would see the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights (the stall is actually opposite in a corner coffee shop named Kedai Kopi Sing May Mah). Turn left into Gat Lebuh Macallum and then turn right after the road divider into Gat Lebuh Cecil 1. There would be a lot of parking space there within the PDC flats area (you can get a lot of cheap and nice food here during dinner time). Moreover, I Mum Mum Pan Mee shop is just steps away from the yam rice stall.

Name: ENG YAM RICE @ KEDAI KOPI SING MAY MAH
Address: 214, Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 10.00am-2.00pm
Contact: 014-901 8082 (Mr. Ooi aka Ah Eng)
GPS: 5.407395, 100.332419

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: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

THERE IS A COOLBLOG IN TOWN

Posted by crizlai On September - 22 - 2009

You may not realize that I was mentioning about CoolBlog and not about just any other online blog (weblog) that we have here. It could have been coincidental but I had notice that Prangin Mall, Penang has been attracting many so called “blogs” ever since the opening of Bloggers Café late April this year. The word BLOG had somehow inspired many entrepreneurs to use that as a selling name for their products. CoolBlog is actually a Singapore franchise company selling beverages and desserts which consisted of different flavored teas and fruit juices since their establishment in 2005.

With over 20 kiosks over the Southern Region and Klang Valley, CoolBlog has now set foot in the Northern Region to quench the taste of the Northerners.

So what do they serve actually? They have “Blogs” such as Tea (green, red & milk – RM1.80 without topping), Smoothies, Ice Blended, Yoghurt, Milk Shake, Italian Soda, Chocolate, Coffee, Fresh Fruit, Oreo and even Bandung with an option to choose from flavors available such as almond, banana, blueberry, blue coral, chocolate, grape, green apple, honey, honeydew, kiwi, lemon & lime, lychee, mango, orange, passion fruit, peach, peppermint, pineapple, sour plum, soursop, strawberry, vanilla, watermelon and yam.

On top of your preferences stated above, you can always have another option to select your topping. There are 6 toppings available (5 shown below) such as black pearl, lychee jelly, mango jelly, grape jelly, apple jelly and rainbow jelly at 60sen per topping.

I was given the privilege to try out a few of the top selling flavors namely the Blue Coral (with milk RM2.50 + rainbow jelly 60sen), Lemon & Lime (with juice RM1.80 + rainbow jelly 60sen + apple jelly 60sen), Almond (with milk RM2.50 + black pearl 60sen) and Strawberry (with milk RM2.50 + rainbow jelly 60sen + mango jelly 60sen).

Overall, I love the Lemon & Lime Ice Blended most as I found the beverage to be real thirst quenching. Moreover, the jellies were chewy and balanced well with the beverage. The only feedback that I had given to the management was the sugar level. I found the beverage (other than the Almond Milk which was a bit mild in the nutty almond taste) to be a bit too sweet for my taste bud. It could be due to the excess syrup from the soaked jellies which the staff have to be carefully about. For those who would like their beverages to be less sweet, please do inform the staff when ordering.

The kiosk is located at level two of Prangin Mall Atrium A (where Bread History, Secret Recipe, Starbucks, 7-ELEVEN, etc are). Use the main bubble lift to level 2. As you walk out of the lift, make two right turns and you will see the kiosk just opposite C&J gift shop and Chocolate Gift & Souvenir shop. You won’t miss it as the kiosk has this brightly painted pinkish structure – the trademark colors of CoolBlog.

Name: COOLBLOG @ PRANGIN MALL
Lot A2/K10, 2nd Floor, Atrium A, Prangin Mall,
33, Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 11.00am-9.00pm
Contact: 012-412 3366 (Mr. Alvin Chua)
GPS: 5.414701, 100.3318971

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

MOON CAKES YOU WOULD GET FOR MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL 2009

Posted by crizlai On September - 18 - 2009

Do you realize that what we consume today has evolved into something that even if our ancestors were still alive, they would no longer recognize those traditionally prepared products anymore? Well, time has changed. So have the needs and tastes of the modern generations. Here’s just a little project that I did in introducing Traditional Moon Cakes versus Fusion Moon Cakes based on my findings on 4 companies, namely Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Manufacturer (HLS), Tho Yuen Restaurant (TYR), The Baker’s Cottage (TBC) and Yan Wo Wang (YWW). So which one would you choose? Would you still choose Traditional Moon Cakes over Fusion Moon Cakes, vice versa?

Let’s start by introducing the basic cookies that you would get on top of the mooncakes. We call them the Moon Biscuits/Cookies (Mid Autumn Cookies/Gong Zai Peng/Ang Kong Na Pia/公仔餅). Traditionally, these biscuits would come with plain flour mixed with some golden syrup, bicarbonate soda, corn oil, alkaline water and so on before being baked until golden brown. Today, the method has evolved with many manufacturers having them with nuts and fillings. There are 7 versions I found at HLS (see photo below – top left clockwise) namely Melon Seed Moon Biscuit (RM7.00/500gms), Plain Moon Biscuit (RM5.00/500gms), Black Sesame with Pumpkin Seeds Moon Biscuits (RM5.00/pack), Red Bean Paste Moon Biscuit (RM4.00/10pcs), Lotus Seed Paste Moon Biscuit (RM4.00/10pcs), Durian Paste Moon Biscuit (RM5.00/10pcs) and Coconut Silk Moon Biscuit (RM4.00/10pcs).

Basically, some of these biscuits come without any surface designs but you can always find some around with designs such as the ones Steven’s mum baked – fish and minis. You would have to ask him if his mum sells those. You can even find some mini ones at HLS at RM4.00 for a pack of fours.

As for moon cakes, the traditionally prepared ones would be either with plain pastry skins or snow skins (glutinous rice flour). Sorry to say, you won’t get the snow skin versions from HLS as they are solely into biscuit manufacturing but I had made the effort to get one from TYR just for the photo shot. (Clockwise from top left) You can see the Single Yolk Red Bean Paste Snow Skin Moon Cake (RM7.70 – TYR), Lotus Seed Paste Moon Cake (RM6.50 – HLS), Single Yolk Coconut Silk Moon Cake (RM5.00 – HLS), Mixed Nuts Moon Cake (RM6.50 – HLS) and Durian Moon Cake (RM6.50 – HLS). You can visit them for more flavors (RM7.00/RM8.00) such as the Red Dates, Pandan Lotus Seed, Green Tea and Mixed Nuts with Ham.

Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Manufacturing: 120 Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang. Tel: 604-262 2162
Tho Yuen Restaurant: 92 Lebuh Campbell, 10100 Penang. Tel: 604-261 4672

Isn’t the spread of moon cakes stated above great? Yes it is but it did not stop there with the creativity of mankind. Thus, came in companies such as TBC with other fusion flavors. (Clockwise from top left) You can see the latest product from them namely the Precious Black (RM11.90 – pure charcoal powder butter pastry skin/white lotus seed paste with chunky dried longan meat and wolfberry lotus seed paste “yolk”), Rich Chocolate Peanut Praline (RM11.90 – pure chocolate butter pastry skin/dark chocolate lotus seed paste and peanut praline “yolk”), Pearl of Prosperity (RM11.80 – pandan lotus paste/yellow mung bean paste and egg yolk), Chestnut Japanese Jingsa (RM11.90 – chestnut lotus seed paste and Japanese Jingsa with seaweed flake “yolk”) and Blueberry Blackcurrant Cheese (RM11.90 – fruity blueberry lotus seed paste with dried blackcurrant chunks and cheesy “yolk”). Do check out some of the TBC counters at shopping malls for some discounts. For more information, visit the TBC website.

Well, that’s not all the moon cake you would find. There’s the Single Yolk Shanghai Moon Cake (RM11 – TYR). The filling would normally be lotus seed paste but you might find some with red bean paste as well. The differences lie within the skin pastry. This version has a flaky skin.

You thought the creativity of the bakers stopped there? No, it did not. Let’s looked at what YWW had come out with – the fruity snow skin version. My best recommendation would be the Snow Skin Strawberry Moon Cake (RM13.90 – YWW). It has the fruity strawberry paste minus the extreme sweetness compared to other moon cakes and it has a fresh strawberry as the “yolk”. I would think it’s a bit pricey but it’s one product that would suit the taste buds of different generations. Don’t you think this would be the ideal “courting” product for this season? LOL!

Check out the flyer below for more flavors:

YWW is also the producer of Crystal Moon Cake. This is actually the jelly version but YWW has moved one step ahead of others by inserting pure bird nest since they are also one of the bird nest distributors in Malaysia. Let’s look at some of the moon cakes they have to offer – Mango Crystal Moon Cake (RM12.90 – pure mango jelly skin, mango milk jelly and carrot “yolk”), Red Bean Bird Nest Crystal Moon Cake (RM16.90 – soy bean skin, bird nest, red bean jelly and carrot “yolk”) and Honey Dew Bird Nest Crystal Moon Cake (RM16.90 – plain skin, bird nest, honey dew milk jelly and carrot “yolk”).

There are also many other flavors such as cappuccino, dragon fruit, mixed fruit, kiwi available and they come in a beautifully design box of 2’s and 6’s.

Check out the flyer below for more flavors and also visit some of their counters at Gurney Plaza basement, Pacific Megamall basement, Sunway Carnival Mall basement or I Mum Mum Restaurant, the Pan Mee Specialist at Lebuh Macallum.

Overall, this is just an informative post to enlighten my readers on what to expect out there during this Mid Autumn Festival celebration (3 October 2009). I would like to take this opportunity to wish my readers a Happy Mid Autumn Festival 2009. Happy reunion with your loved ones! To my Muslim readers who would be celebrating the Hari Raya this coming Monday – Salam Aidil Fitri!

 

I MUM MUM PAN MEE

Posted by crizlai On September - 16 - 2009

I had tried so many types of Pan Mee from many parts of the country which include places such as the Bukit Jambul flat area (Penang), Green Lane Genting Café (Penang), Petaling Street Chinatown (Kuala Lumpur), Klang’s Mee Hoon Kuih (Selangor) and Seri Kembangan rural area (Selangor), that came in many shapes and flavors. No doubt each individual shop has its own style of cooking and flavor but I have yet to see one that has the uniqueness as I had experienced at I Mum Mum Pan Mee shop along the starting point of the Jelutong Expressway, somewhere in Georgetown, Penang. The little restaurant hidden away below a block of flats had some great versions of Pan Mee to cater to the ever flowing appetite of not only to the residents there but many others who had heard about them by word-of-mouth.

Initially located as a stall in one of the prewar coffee shop in Pulau Tikus, Penang, more than 5 years back, the husband and wife team who were stationed in London for sometime had decided to come back Malaysia to open up a Pan Mee specialist restaurant. Some may ask what’s Pan Mee (Board Noodles/Ban Mian/板麵). It’s actually a Hokkien dish originated from Fujian, China. The noodles comprised of flattened hand kneaded noodles, usually served either in broad pieces, angel hair spaghetti like thinness or slightly thicker as shown below.

The choice of Pan Mee here can be quite limited. That’s because the locals here prefer the original version rather than those purple sweet potatoes, orange carrot, yellow pumpkin, green spinach versions as I had mentioned earlier. Let’s look at the Pan Mee Soup (RM2.80/RM3.30). Normally most health conscious people would go for this as the soup base would be vegetables filled with the sweetness coming from the fragrantly fried anchovies. The bowl of Pan Mee would have your choice of noodles, minced pork, fried anchovies, wood ear fungus, sweet leaves (sayur manis/star gooseberry/馬尼菜), garnished with some garlic oil. It was perfect!

You can even have the dry version – Dry Pan Mee (RM2.80/RM3.30) which has the exact ingredients except that the noodles would be stirred in some dark soy sauce and sesame oil. It was real delicious. This set would come with a small bowl of anchovy soup.

For those who love to have their noodles a bit spicier, you can opt for the Spicy Pan Mee (RM3.20/RM3.70). Basically, everything would be the same as the Dry Pan Mee except it has some dried chili flakes and meatballs. This set would come with a small bowl of anchovy soup too.

The next option would be the Minced Pork Pan Mee with Special Sauce (RM3.50/RM4.00). This would be a dry version and you would get quite a generous portion of the chef’s specially stir fried minced pork, wood ear fungus, sweet leaves and some sliced omelette, garnished with chopped spring onions. This was very tasty with a hint of fermented bean paste and chopped carrots emitting from the minced pork. This set would come with a small bowl of anchovy soup too.

The last option was the Crispy Pork Pan Mee (RM3.50/RM4.00). This is my all time favorite. On top of the selected choice of noodles, I had a generous portion of wood ear fungus, sweet leaves and some delicious sliced crispy pork chop, garnished with some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds. The accompanied sauce on the pork chop has a combination of mild spiciness, sweet and sour taste. This is a must order dish!

There are about 8 items you can add on onto your noodles here in this restaurant but I love to have some soup based ingredients. Thus I have a bowl of rich and aromatic soup with some pork dumplings (水餃 – RM0.70/each), fish dumplings (魚餃 – RM0.50/each) and meatballs (肉丸 – RM0.50/each).

The restaurant would also provide some wonderful homemade condiments to go with the noodles which consist of blended chili, bird eye chili and also the fragrantly fried chili paste.

Please take note that this is a non air-conditioned restaurant but you can always cool yourself down with their daily home cooked herbal tea. If you are coming from Komtar/Prangin Mall area along Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, drive all the way until the Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong/Lebuh Carnavon traffic lights. Drive on until you have reached the Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong/Lebuh Pantai traffic lights. Drive on again into Gat Lorong Prangin until you see the Weld Quay/Pengkalan Weld traffic lights. Turn right and drive towards the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights. Slow down and keep to your left after the traffic light. Watch out for a service road (barely few meters away) on your left. Turn in and you would see a few I Mum Mum signs on your left. That’s where the restaurant is.

Name: I MUM MUM RESTAURANT
Address: No, 294, PDC Flats, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-518 1827 (Mr. Choo/Ms. Carmen)
Business Hours: 7.00am-3.00pm (Closed Alternative Monday)
GPS: 5.406715, 100.332001

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

I ORDERED MY COFFIN AT HUI WEI

Posted by crizlai On September - 14 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation in early 2011

Surprised? Why worry? Sooner or later you have the opportunity to order one too. Why wait when you can choose one for yourself right now at Hui Wei? The exterior was solid but the interior had a pillow like softness. Unfortunately, there’s only one size and one presentation. You may think there’s not much option for someone who would be in heaven soon but I still love my coffin a lot… it’s truly heaven and it tasted great! Huh?? What??

Haha!! I finally caught your attention here. Hui Wei is actually a restaurant with a menu offering food ranging from dim sum, set meals, snacks to steamboat. My food for the day was indeed called Coffin (棺材板-RM7.90). The “Coffin” was actually a sliced portion of a French loaf, having a carefully carved out Coffin Cover”, a dug hole in the middle and filled up with creamy, oozy, cheesy and delicious seafood and meat. The filling tasted just like how they would prepare a baked lobster in a restaurant but instead of lobster meat, it had sliced crabsticks, mushrooms, prawns, squids, shark fins, fish balls, chicken, onions and a slice of cheese melted on top. The whole dish was unique and delicious. Now you know where to order your “Coffin”. LOL! The only thing that I had realized on was the chocolate Chinese character on the cover. They should have used mayonnaise instead for a savory dish but who on earth would want their restaurant name to be imprinted on a “coffin cover”? I guessed one of the directors who are involved with geomancy would have known what’s best for the restaurant.

The price range of each set meal would differ depending of what main dish you would order. Each set meal would come with a plate/bowl of rice/noodle/porridge, soup, main dish, stir fry vegetable, dessert and your choice of beverage (Pearly Milk, Mocha, White Coffee or Wu Mei Juice). I ordered the Marmite Chicken Rice set (RM14.90). Except for the stir fry vegetables which were overcooked and drowned in the gravy, everything seemed to be in order… errr… but too small a portion to justify the pricing. The meal had a bowl of rice with some minced meat plus gravy, a small strip of flour coated marmite chicken breast meat, a bowl of old cucumber soup, some grass jelly cubes with nata de coco in syrup and a glass of herbal drink. Overall, it was just an average meal.

The dim sum side orders were disastrous as they were rather stale to my liking. Continuous steaming of the dim sum is most likely to be the cause as my two orders was bad. The Mushroom Siew Mai (RM2.80) had a change in color and was extremely dry. The Har Kow (RM2.80) had hard skin and the prawn within had turned into sticky paste like. I hope the management would think of a better solution soon or else this type of quality would surely turn off a lot of customers.

On top of the normal beverages, you can always opt for some nice tea brew. The pot of flower tea I had ordered consisted of rose, apple and osmanthus (RM6.00/pot). It was simply refreshing.

To get to the restaurant is rather easy as it is located along Jalan Burma. If you are coming from Komtar area along Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, drive all the way to the Jalan Larut/Jalan Burma traffic lights. After the traffic light, keep to your right. Drive pass 3 junctions (Jalan Clove Hall, Jalan Arratoon, Jalan Phuah Hin Leong) and your will see Restoran Hui Wei there next to a nasi kandar shop. The shop is actually just opposite SRJK Union, Jalan Burma. As the restaurant is along a heavy trafficked road, I would advise you to park your car at Jalan Phuah Hin Leong or along the road after the restaurant (Jalan Tavoy).

Name: RESTORAN HUI WEI
Address: 142G, Jalan Burma, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 0966
Business Hours: 8.00am-4.00am
GPS: 5.423436, 100.321694

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (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: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

DISCOVERING THE BEST OF BAK KUT TEH IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 11 - 2009

It has been quite some time since I had good Bak Kut Teh (BKT) in Penang ever since the closures of my favorite BKT stall right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. After months of hunting around Penang for a BKT stall that would suit my taste bud, I finally found one. The treasured discovery was not located within the island itself but over at the mainland Penang. Moreover, it was not even any stall from our local Penang Bak Kut Teh community but a newly born 6 months old branch of one of the famous traditional Bak Kut Teh outlet from Klang, Selangor, birth place of Bak Kut Teh. Welcome to the newly opened branch of Restoran Ki Xiang.

Bak Kut Teh (as spoken in Hokkien/肉骨茶) is literally translated as “Pork Bone Tea” in English. It’s actually a variant of rich herbal soup cooked with different meaty bone parts of bones. Firstly introduced locally in the 19th century by the Chinese workers in the then Malaya, it was to be a tonic dish to supplement the under nutrition diet of the coolies but eventually it became a dish for general health for everyone especially those within the Klang Valley population. It is believed that there are still about 400 outlets of Bak Kut Teh stalls remaining there today.

There are three versions of Bak Kut Teh (BKT) in Malaysia – the Teochew style which has a more peppery taste and lighter in soup color, the Hokkien style which is saltier with a darker color from the soy sauce used and the Cantonese style which has more herbs and spices added for a stronger medicinal value. The version served in Restoran Ki Xian has gone through 3 generations with a soup base that has thicker and stronger herb taste. Moreover, the soup was not as overpowering as most of the shops out there. Just look at my one person mixed meat clay pot (RM8) with lots of free tofu puffs and tofu sticks plus enokitake (金針菇/golden needle mushroom – RM4). There were so many choice pieces of meat in the clay pot and yet the price was barely half of those BKT found on the island. It’s extremely value for money dining here. One note… If you intend to add in the enoki mushrooms into your pot, you might get a slightly altered taste as these mushrooms would make the soup having some sour after taste. That would have killed the original taste of the soup. Try asking them to serve you that in a separate bowl. I’m sure they would be obliged to any customer request.

On top of the accompanied tofu puffs and sticks, here are some of the meaty parts you can request – streaky pork ribs (五花骨), spare ribs (排骨), big marrow bones (大骨), small marrow bones (小骨), cartilage (軟骨), lean meat (瘦肉), fatty meat (肥肉), semi fatty meat (半肥肉), (pork trotters (豬腳), pork knuckles (豬腳彎), pig’s tail (豬尾), pig’s stomach (豬肚) and pork intestines (豬腸). There would also be more add ons for tofu sticks (豆腐乾) and enoki mushrooms (金針菇). In case you would like to have specific bone parts, you can always order individual bowls at RM8 each. Here are the uncut versions of all the parts they have.

Klang’s serving of rice would be different compared to what you normally get in our local BKT stalls. Instead of the normal steam white rice, dark soy sauce oil rice or even yam rice, the restaurant here served steam white rice mixed with fried shallots and oil. It’s only RM1 per large bowl or 50sen for a smaller portion.

Even the boiled lettuce would not have the normal meat floss or fried lard with oil garnishing. It’s just a simple plate of Boiled Lettuce (油菜) with some oyster sauce and fried shallots garnishing at RM6 per plate. To me, it’s healthy enough for everyone.

Chinese Crullers or You Tiao (油條) would surely come with each BKT meal. For only RM1, you can get a large bowl here.

As for the condiments, they have chopped garlic, cili padi (bird eye chili), soy sauce and dark say sauce. The chopped chilies sure tasted better than the normal sliced ones as each piece of meat would be covered with an evenly spread spiciness.

Well, what I had mentioned above was not the award winning dish I had been yearning for ever since I was first introduced to an established BKT stall in Klang last year. After trying out so many of the so called dry Klang style BKT from the island as well as mainland Penang, none can please my satisfaction other than the heavenly taste of the dry BKT here. Priced at only RM8 too, you can choose whatever meat parts you like and the chef would simmer them dry in a clay pot with a handful of dried chilies, cuttlefish strips, lady’s fingers slices, dark soy sauce and some of their thick BKT stock. One bite and you would want more. It’s the best of the best so far. This is a must order if you happen to drop by the Megamall area. You can even check out their other branches in Bandar Baru, Bukit Tinggi and Ampang.

Finding the restaurant would be easy if you know your way to the Seberang Perai Megamall. After you exit from the Penang Bridge toll, drive all the way until you see the third exit on your left. Turn left and that would lead you to into Jalan Baru. Megamall is just slightly further away on your left. Slow down and watch out for the first left turning. Turn into Jalan Perai Jaya 3 and drive until the end and turn right. Drive until the end and you would see the big blue roofed Pasar Awam Megamall on your left. That’s where Restoran Ki Xiang is located. To get back to the island, use the road opposite the complex (Jalan Perai Jaya 5) and follow the flow until you see the second traffic light. Turn left and you would see the route to the Butterworth Jetty Terminal (overhead bridge longer way, underpass via expressway with toll) or turn right towards Penang Bridge.

Name: RESTORAN KI XIANG @ PASAR AWAM MEGAMALL
Address: Jalan Perai Jaya 3, Taman Perai Jaya, 13700 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-295 5546, 016-313 8993
Business Hours: 9.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.374071, 100.399733

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8.5/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 9/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

4TH PENANG FLOGGERS GATHERING AT VINTAGE BULGARIA RESTAURANT & BAR

Posted by crizlai On September - 10 - 2009

It was indeed an evening of “Fun, Wild & Intimate” as the theme was when we gathered for the 4th Penang Floggers Gathering at Vintage Bulgarian Restaurant & Bar not long ago. Other than the usual faces we had seen, many new flogging friends had decided to show up from as far as Kuala Lumpur. Who they are? You can find out about them at the end of the post. Now let’s start with the main topic – FOOD! Since it was a specially arranged menu just for us and many other patrons of the restaurant for the night, we had a great package deal at only RM40/pax. Thanks to Alan and Allie for organizing this memorable event.

The dinner started with a choice between two soups. The Mushroom Soup with Vintage Garlic Bread was freshly prepared with a mixture of different types of mushrooms, accompanied by a slice of creamy garlic bread. The soup had the earthly taste that I love a lot and the garlic bread was marvelously prepared with lots of cheese topping.

The Seafood Soup on the other hand had a totally different taste. It has the freshness of the seafood ingredients somewhat like seafood chowder but a bit spicier. There were hints of crabsticks, fish cubes, crab meat and herbs that made the whole taste a unique experience.

There were 5 options for the main meal and we shared amongst our table of 6 persons so that everyone would have a taste of the food. The first that arrived was the Bulgarian Pork Djolan, a traditional roasted pork knuckle. Sometimes also known as ham hock or hough, the meat has been well marinated with hints of light wine, salt, honey, herbs and spices. This was then roasted until perfection with slightly crispy skin and tender yet juicy meat. The dish alone had enough of flavor without applying the accompanied BBQ sauce.

The next dish was the Chicken Stroganov which consists of boneless chicken drumstick cut into stripes and cooked with mushroom, wine, cream, herbs and spices. This again was well received by many of us although the portion was not as remarkably large as the former dish.

The Bulgarian Platter was served next. The dish had a mixed grill trio of kebapche (front row in sausage shape), kyufte (back row in oval shape) and karnatche (center row with sausage like texture). The differences between kebapche and kyufte are in shapes and the additional usage of chopped onions in the later. Both are actually made out of minced meat (pork, beef or mixed) with some signs of cumin, salt and grounded black pepper. Karnatche is actually the Bulgarian style of stuffing sausages with pure meat patty and then grill to perfection. Taste wise for everything was fine, except that they could be a bit salty for the local consumption.

For those ribs lover, the Plovdiv Ribs might be a good choice. It came with a few choice pieces of pork ribs, marinated with the chef’s secret recipe and roasted until tender. The ribs were meaty enough too. To me, there were no uniqueness in this dish compared to any regular BBQ ribs and it was a bit sweet to my liking.

With all the meaty stuff, it was great to see a seafood dish. Baked Cod Fish Fillet served with chopped mushroom in creamy mushroom sauce was next. The thick cut cod fish fillet was slightly bake to maintain the gel like freshness within blended in real well with the slightly cheesy taste like sauce.

Even before our desserts were served, we were given sweet treats courtesy of Winter Butterfly Homemade Cakes and gelatos from Gelatisimo. Here are the Oreo Cheese Cake, Chocolate Brownies and Cream Cheese Mousse Cake.

The sample tryout by Gelatisimo was indeed different. The different flavored gelato itself was smooth, creamy, flavorful and not overly sweet – the healthy way that I love. We had flavors such as green tea, mango, chocolate, rum & raisins, etc. There are around 50 more flavors in their outlets.

After all the treats, we had more desserts from the restaurant. The first dessert was the Chocolate Soup with Vanilla Ice Cream. It indeed reminded me of how I used to take my ice cream when I was in my earlier years – mildly sweetened chocolate beverage with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. The only difference here was the sprinkles of some chocolate rice. In fact, I still do make this dessert quite often but with milky coffee instead. I personally felt that the aroma and slight bitterness of the coffee combine well with vanilla ice cream.

The next dessert was the Chocolate Crème Brulee. It was indeed another great dessert which was not as sweet as it looked. The crème was perfectly whipped and to take a spoonful with some caramelized sugar on the surface was like heaven. The creamy substance oozing down your throat while your teeth slowly munching the crunchy caramelized sugar, was simply refreshing. This dessert came with some fresh fruit cuts.

It might be quite hard to locate the restaurant for those from outstation but it would be worth your effort to try out their wonderful food. Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant is actually situated just behind Mutiara Selera Food Court at the base of Pearl Hill. To go to this restaurant, just drive towards Batu Ferringhi from town. When you reach the Penang Swimming Club on your right, drive ahead until you see Caltex petrol kiosk on your left. It’s just a short distance before reach another traffic light (Mutiara Selera Food Court). Turn left before the food court and you would see a Y junction. You can either turn left and find a parking space somewhere near the 7-ELEVEN outlet as the restaurant is right in the middle or the same row of shop houses or turn right until you see another Y junction then turn left into Jalan Sungai Kelian. Turn left again into the sloppy service road. You would see the restaurant on your right. There’s a mini car park opposite the restaurant but it’s up to your luck to find a parking space as normally it would be full during dining hours.

Name: VINTAGE BULGARIA RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: 1E, Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-898 1890
Business Hours: 12.00noon-12.00am (Last order at 10.00pm)
GPS: 5.464654, 100.292526

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

Attended Floggers:
Alan Choong
Allen Ooi
Allie Sun
Anna
Bee
Carrie Soon
Celine
Chan Chee Wah
Cheryl Wee
CK Lam
Criz Lai
Desmond Ch’ng
Gill Giam
Huat Koay
Jason Wong
Jessica Tan
Jian
Kathleen Tan
Ken Chan
Leong Mei Yi
Lingzie
Mary Teo
NKOTB
Rebecca Saw
SP Moi
Steven Goh
Wong, Zi Yi
Yong Shi Hui

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