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HAVING A BREAK AT KOPITIAM YUE LAI

Posted by crizlai On March - 2 - 2010

You would be surprised that some of the “kopitiam”s (coffee shops) in Penang has become so modernized today that your comfort and cleanliness preferences would always be their priority. One of the recent ones I had visited has some simple menu which would tempt your appetite as well as to allow you some comfort for your business discussions. It’s none other than Kopitiam Yue Lai, located along Jalan Argyll in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Other than the availability of WIFI for your internet convenience, this kopitiam has a very systematic and categorized area for business persons to leave their name cards for that extra publicity mileage. It’s so cool!

Barely a few weeks old, Kopitiam Yue Lai has some light breakfast and meals without you having to worry about paying the additional taxes. All items are priced nett. You could always enjoy a hot cup of Kopi “O” (local black coffee – 90sen) or a glass of Iced Penang White Coffee (RM1.90) while escaping from the burning heat of the humid weather.

Do you want to have some toasts to go with your beverage? You could try out their Yue Lai Kaya Butter Toast (RM1.20). From the first look, I thought it would be another extremely sweet caramelized coconut jam that you would get from the mamak roti man. It turned out just like what I always wanted to have – a mildly sweetened with fragrant eggy taste kaya. This order was not bad at all.

There are also savory version of toasts and sandwiches for you to choose from ranging from mayo egg to mayo tuna. Here’s how the Triangle Toasted Mayo Tuna Set (RM2.20) would look like.

Not enough still for your breakfast? Well, there’s always the Half Boiled Eggs (RM1.40 for 2) with a dash or two of soy sauce and pepper to your liking.

There are also some heavier dishes for your lunch such as the nasi lemak (steamed coconut rice), spaghetti and noodles. You could try out the Yue Lai Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken (RM5.00). This dish would be served with a bowl of rice, some cucumber pieces, half a hard-boiled egg, some deep fried anchovies with peanuts, curry potato and of course with a juicy yet well marinated piece of fried chicken drumstick. This was quite a good bargain for the price paid.

There goes the same for the Yue Lai Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken (RM5.00). Every side dish would be the same except for the chicken drumstick curry.

They do serve Hokkien Prawn Mee (RM4.00) too. I was quite surprise to find this local hawker dish here as it would involve a lot of preparation to get a great bowl such as the Hokkien Prawn Noodle recipe I had earlier. Although the bowl of noodle (instant noodle used here) looked quite simple with only two halves of a hard-boiled egg, 3 medium sized prawns with a few strands of water spinach and garnished with some fried shallots, it tasted quite good. It would be better if the kopitiam were to add in a few pieces of chicken shreds or pork slices for more bites.

Other than those few dishes mentioned above, there’s also the Yue Lai Mee Soup (RM3.50) which was basically your home cooked version of instant noodles. The bowl of noodles came with some cabbages, egg, half a ham and two halves of a sausage. This is another great bargain for all the ingredients given.

Since this kopitiam is still quite new, more delicious dishes and snacks would be added next month onwards. Do check them out for some simple break time food. It would not be hard to find this kopitiam as it is strategically located just behind the Island Girl’s School along Jalan Argyll, Penang. As you pass the Jalan Argyll/Jalan Transfer junction, drive all the way towards the end of Jalan Argyll and you would see a newly constructed building on your left. Kopitiam Yue Lai is at the ground floor.

Name: KOPITIAM YUE LAI
Address: 203-G, Jalan Argyll, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 0181
Business Hours: 8.00am-6.00pm (Closed on Sunday)
GPS: 5.422347, 100.328613

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

ADVENTUROUS AND WET EXPEDITION TO PULAU PAYAR MARINE PARK

Posted by crizlai On January - 19 - 2010

Feeling stressed out from working? You should get a group of friends and head towards Pulau Payar Marine Park, about 35km (19 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) south of Pulau Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia, 28km (15 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) west of Kuala Kedah or 59km (32 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) north of Penang Island, Malaysia for a day out adventure to explore one of Asia’s most beautiful coral reefs. That was what a few of us Malaysian bloggers and friends did last Sunday by applying through the online “Kempen Cuti-cuti MyKad” special promotion package (RM180 per pax) and it was a fun-filling experience for all.

We started out by gathering at the newly constructed Swettenham Pier check-in building and by 8.30am, we were already on our way, leaving behind the scenic view of the Penang island. Some of us did recharge our energy during the journey by having some siesta to get the best out of the package. We finally arrived at Langkawi Coral Reef Platform (100m from the shore of Pulau Payar) about 2 hours later.

Pulau Payar, being the largest and 3 other smaller islands, namely Pulau Kaca (northeast of Pulau Payar), Pulau Lembu (northeast of Pulau Payar and just next to Pulau Kaca) and Pulau Segantang (southwest of Pulau Payar) and have been collectively gazetted as the Pulau Payar Marine Park. These islands are the sanctuary for extensive range of marine organisms and fishes. Stretching 1.75km x 500m with an area of 31.2 hectres, Pulau Payar is rich in flora and fauna on top of the magnificent coral reefs. The island has small stretches of white sandy beaches for those who love sunbathing and casual strolling. Don’t forget to bring more sun-block lotion if you intend to do so, unless you are those who would want to be as tan as the Africans… LOL! If you are lucky, you might even catch some live actions of creatures on the shore during daylight.

There are also a few trekking trails for those nature shutterbugs. You can expect to see endemic flying fox, monitor lizards, shore pit viper, white-bellied sea eagle, crested serpent eagle, imperial pigeon and many other feathered friends. You would also see some amenities which would include picnic tables, barbecue pits, gazebos and restrooms at strategic locations for your personal needs. Picnics and camping are allowed but cutting of trees and open burning would be strictly prohibited. How I wished I had more time to explore the other side of the island for more nature shots.

What impressed visitors most would be the availability of Langkawi Coral, Malaysia’s first and only reef platform located at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. The 49m x 15m well equipped floating platform (with numerous changing/wash rooms, snack bar and dining area) would facilitate activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, fish feeding to panoramic viewing of the marine kingdom. If that alone could not captivate your attention, glass bottom boat rides or diving can be arranged to various coral gardens to amaze you further.

If you do not intend to get yourself wet, there’s a tunnel-like Underwater Observation Chamber at the bottom of the platform (about 10 feet below sea level) to catch glimpses of the beautiful seabed filled with various seashells, shellfishes and slugs. With an average visibility of 9 to 15 meters of crystal clear blue water, I’m sure you would be impressed easily.

Do watch out for colorful soft corals and hard corals such as the deer antler like Staghorn, Boulder and Brain as well as fishes of all stripes, dots, spots and rainbow colors. It was a bonus in here for me as I caught shots of two main pelagic predators out there. One of them was the around 1m long Barracuda (locally known as alu-alu) which I would expect to be around 10kg or so, hiding under the platform awaiting its prey. The next was the Black Tipped Reef Shark of almost the same length as the Barracuda. Both were wonderful sights indeed.

While snorkeling deep in the crystal clear water, I managed to see some beautiful colored fishes such as the rock fish, yellow fin goatfish, schooling bannerfish, yellow boxfish (related to the pufferfish family), blue dot grouper, goldband fusiliers, horse-eyed jacks, tiera batfish, lawnmower blenny, sea goldie, raccoon/blackbacked butterflyfish, orange striped cardinalfish, percula clownfish (which did not have the lighter orange color as my favorite “Nemo”), yellowfin clownfish (of course I still missed my “Nemo”.. where did it hide itself this time? LOL!), tangaroan goby, yellow clown goby, arc eye hawkfish, large sized parrotfish, moon wrasse, juvenile trevally, black snapper, remora (suckerfish), mirror fish, needlefish and many more that I had lost track of their names. The more common ones that would invade the platform would be the four striped damselfish (sometimes known as sergeant major by some anglers), streaked spinefoot and queenfish (ikan talang/sampan thiao). There were quite a lot of sea urchins (locally known as sea rambutans) too on the seabed but be careful not to get poke or step on them as the only temporary cure to soothe the pain would be urine.

I was praying hard that I could get glimpses of some of the more unique sea creatures as those shown on National Geographic Channel such as the moray eel, giant grouper (long tan 龍旦), ghost pipe fish, lionfish, nurse shark, giant trevally (kam koay) or even lobsters but they were so hard to detect in such a vast area within the few hours we had. Moreover, I was not in any diving gears nor having any underwater camera. What a waste! Anybody want to sponsor me an underwater camera? LOL! Anyway, here are some of the underwater shots taken by Chan with his water-proofed Lumix camera:

There was to be a shark feeding session in the package but it had been cancelled until further notice by the management. I guessed this could be due to too many of their staff been bitten while feeding those aggressive predators. Maybe those sharks had gotten larger than before and thus one day they would be as large as those in the “Jaws” movie. Well, at least I was lucky to capture the shot of one earlier. 😛 Don’t be despair as you would still have the opportunity to feed other smaller fishes that would not bite. Errr… unless they are real hungry as I got my butts pinched quite a few times while feeding them in the water. How careless! Haha!

Buffet lines featuring international and local food would also be provided in this package deal. There was more than 25 items on the buffet spread which included appetizers such as over fresh buns, butter and cabbage & carrot soup, salads such as capsicums, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, Cameron lettuce with a choice of thousand island or spicy Italian dressings, mixed fruit salad, coleslaw, chicken sausage with corn salad and tuna with French bean salad, tempting entrée such as five spice chicken rolls, vegetable spring rolls, spicy potato wedges, fish fillet, Western, Malaysian & Oriental cuisine such as beef slices stew, sweet & sour prawns, braised mushroom with mixed vegetable, fried turmeric chicken, spaghetti bolognese, fried seafood vermicelli, oriental fried rice. Desserts included fruits such as watermelon, pineapple and oranges, pudding and jellies such as or raspberry mixed fruit jelly, orange mixed fruit jelly, mango pudding and honeydew pudding, local delicacies such as brown sugar steamed cake (malai ko) and kuih lompang pandan. Tea, coffee and cold water are free flow too. Overall, the food was reasonable enough to fill the tummy after the many hours of sea activities.

One of the main highlights of our trip was the photo shooting of our current Miss Malaysia World 2009 1st runner-up, Stefanie Chua. All eyes, especially from those male foreigners, were glued to her almost at all times. Stefanie Chua, who was no stranger to many beauty pageants, also held the Miss Schwarzenbach Beach Beauty during the recent competition and also countless of titles from other pageants. The photography was shot by none other than our Heritage Wedding Photography 2009 winner and founder of Studio Moonspell, Mr. Patrick Soon. Here are some glimpses of the photography session.

Let’s hope Stefanie recovered fast from a little mishap that happened during the photography session. We won’t want this expression in her photos right? Here’s a complimentary photo by Patrick Soon. Boy! If I were to be younger, I would surely get him to shoot my autobiography. What a beautiful shot… minus that candid expression of course. Haha!

Here’s a short video on my experience there in Pulau Payar. Let’s hope I can share many more of such trips with you in the near future. Do enjoy watching. 🙂

Hey! Why are you still gazing the photos and videos in here? By now you should have booked the package deals for your coming holiday. All you need to bring along would be yourself, a large towel, your swim wear and some cash for some extra hired excitements at Langkawi Coral Reef Platform. Our package deal included return boat fares, taxes, PA Insurance coverage, buffet lunch and fun-packed activities. There’s always something to do for everyone in Pulau Payar and getting bored would be the last thing you would hear. Please book early to avoid any disappointments. Have a nice holiday!

Important Not-To Do Note:
1. Pulau Payar Marine Park is a protected marine ecosystem area and no angling of any sort would be allowed under the Malaysian Fisheries Act 1991.
2. Collection of any coral and aquatic life would be prohibited.
3. Never vandalize or stand on any coral reef as it took thousands of years for them to form.
4. No shampoo or soap is allowed.
5. Do not litter. Pick up your rubbish when you leave the island.

Other Useful Information:
1. Do check out the Marine Park Centre, operated by the Fisheries Department for further information by means of brochures, maps and videos. Make sure you get more information on the do’s and don’ts while visiting the island.
2. There are no accommodation facilities on the island and camping permit would be required to stay on. Permit applications can be obtained at Pulau Langkawi’s Kuah Fisheries Office (604-966 6464), Kuala Kedah Fisheries Office (604-7621 6700), Kedah/Perlis State Fisheries Office (604-734 2137), Penang State Fisheries Office (604-626 1002), Department of Fisheries Malaysia (Ministry of Agriculture) in Kuala Lumpur (603-298 2011). Get enough of drinking water and food if you intend to stay back for more days.

It’s rather hard to show you how to get there as the islands are so small that even Google Map would not show up. Luckily, Chan brought had a GPS around. Here’s how’s the islands would look like if we were to blow up the scale.

Name:
LANGKAWI CORAL REEF PLATFORM
c/o Langkawi Saga Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
16 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Georgetown, 11200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-899 8822
Fax: 604-890 6068
Email: sales@langkawicoral.com
Website: http://www.langkawicoral.com
GPS: 6.0654, 100.0433

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

On holiday:
Criz Lai, Steven Goh, Kim Peng, Stefanie Chua, Patrick Soon, Tiffany Thor, David Khoo, Nana Khor, Lay Min, Kok Ann, Chan Chee Wah and Shirley See.

SIMPLY DELICIOUS HOMECOOKED KOREAN MEAL AT SA RANG CHAE

Posted by crizlai On January - 15 - 2010

환영! 환영! Welcome! Welcome! What? I’m in Korea now? Well, not exactly as this was at one of the Korean restaurants in Penang which a few of us had visited not long ago. Carrying the name Sa Rang Chae (사랑채/舍廊居), the food served here was in fact one of the best I had tasted so far. Moreover, the price was very reasonable considering that everything came in large portion. Without much ado, let’s jump into the menu and see what would be the food that would make you drool for more.

No matter which Korean restaurant you would pop in, there would always be those mini plates of side dishes and sauce served individually for each diner. There were so many on our table that I had lost count of how many plates in total. LOL! To name some, we had some kimchi, fried tofu in spicy sauce, mixed vegetable strips in mayo, stir fired aubergine (eggplant/brinjal), crunchy anchovies with peanuts, spicy mixed vegetable strips, stir-fry spinach and braised pumpkin cubes. That’s quite a lot for starter but I loved every single plate of the side dishes especially the tofu and pumpkin.

The first dish of the day was the Modeum BBQ Set 1 (모듬 – RM150) with choice pieces of beef rib meat, pork rib meat, pork belly, chicken, flower crab, prawns, squids and clams. Boy! I would say I could not stop myself from eating those well marinated pieces of meat and seafood. What was my favorite? BBQ pork belly of course! 😛 To cut down on the oiliness of the meat, a wrap of either lettuce or sesame leaves (깻잎/ kkaennip/Korean perilla leaves) with a dash of the accompanied sauce would be great.

Before we had even finished taking the BBQ, some cold cuts of Jokbal (족발 – RM70) were already waiting for us at the next table. These were actually glazed pig feet meat slices. I was really impressed on the evenly sliced thickness on each piece. The chef was indeed good in his cutting skills. Taken with the accompanied spicy and salty sauce which had some fried dry baby shrimps, the mildly fatty meat just melted into my mouth. It was indeed heavenly good. In fact, the only available size dish was large enough for 8-10 pax.

Along the way came the Japchae (잡채 – RM30), a rather large plate of stir fry glass noodles (당면/dangmyeon/冬粉/tang hoon) with shredded meat, prawns and vegetables. It was garnished with some sliced eggs, chilies and toasted sesame seeds. The base of the sauce had some sweet soy taste and what I like most was the springy texture on the glass noodles.

The next dish was Haemultang (해물탕 – RM80, smaller size available – RM60), a pot spicy hot seafood stew. There were so many types of seafood and vegetables within the pot which included mussels, octopus, squid, prawns, flower crab, scallops, clams, enoki mushroom, some bean curd slices, sliced red chilies, green chilies, bird’s eye chilies and red chili paste. This pot of goodness was indeed a fiery pot rather than a spicy pot. However, I loved the dish quite a lot too. The sweetness of the soup from all the ingredients thereafter was superb. It was like having a concentrated “prawn noodles aka Hokkien Mee” with some additional blended red chilies. Thumbs up for this dish!

One look at the color of our next dish which was Ojingeo Samgyeopsal Bokkeum (오징어 삼겹설 볶음 – RM30) would surely give you another sweaty sensation. Yup! The next dish was indeed hot and spicy. It consisted of squid strips and pork belly slices nicely stir fried in their in-house spicy sauce. Hot as it may seemed in the beginning, we managed to finish off the whole plate as the squid strips were really succulent and the pork belly meat was amazingly tender. I would advise you to get a bowl of rice to go with this dish to cut down on the spiciness. This would be another great dish for those spicy food eaters.

Next on the list was a spicy fish dish known as Agwijjim (어귀찜 – RM80, smaller size available – RM60). Agwi is actually an ugly looking blackmouth angler (sometimes known as monkfish) which was originated from the city of Masan, South Gyeongsang Province. The texture of flesh is somewhat between the softness of a dory fish and the firmness of a giant grouper. The fish was cooked with soybean sprouts with its rich taste and spiciness coming some chili powder, chopped garlic, chopped scallions, soy sauce and a hint of fermented soy beans. This large portioned dish was presented on a bed of lettuce and sprinkled with some toasted sesame.

We all loved the next dish which was the Maewoon Kalbi Tang (매운갈비탕 – RM30, smaller size available – RM20). It was actually pork ribs stewed in a hot pot of spicy broth with some glass noodles (冬粉/tang hoon), radish, carrot, potatoes, non glutinous rice cake (garaeddeok/가래떡 or sometimes known as just ddeok/떡), red dates, and chilies of all kinds. Towards the end when all the already thickened broth got absorbed into the springy textured glass noodles, this dish was at its peak. This would be a great dish to opt for if you do not want to have rice.

If you still yearn for more hot and spicy Korean dishes, you can always try out their Dakgalbi (닭갈비 – RM50). It had some choice pieces of grilled chicken, slowly simmered with some cabbages, carrots, onions, scallions, sweet potatoes, chilies in some honey sweet and chili spicy broth with a hint of rice wine. I simply loved those juicy and chili spiced up pieces of chicken.

You could also have some Soju (소주/燒酒/Korean Gin – RM25/bottle) to flow down the hot and spicy food. Do check with the restaurant on which brands to recommend. What we had was the Chamisul (참 이슬 meaning “real dew”), a popular soju produced by Jinro (진로 /眞露), the largest manufacturer of soju, based in South Korea.

Overall, we had a great time trying out the good food over in this restaurant. It was the best I had in years. I must take this opportunity to thanks Mr. Kevin Kim and his beautiful wife, Mdm. Lim Soo Yeon for bringing such great Korean food to Penang. You might want to pay them a visit to check out on their ongoing promotions or even book a place for your coming Chinese New Year reunion dinner.

It’s easy to find the restaurant as it’s directly opposite Penang Chinese Girls’ High School (Peng Hwa High School/檳華女子中學) and at a ground floor corner lot within the New Bob Centre along Jalan Gottlieb. If you are still unsure about the venue, drive all the way along Jalan Burma passed Adventist Hospital (on your left) and 1-Stop Midlands Park Centre (on your right) until you see the Jalan Burma/Jalan Gottlieb traffic lights. Turn left and drive on until you see Goodall Food Court. Slow down and turn left into the service road after the food court. Prominent landmark would be the 7-11 shop. Parking can be quite scare during certain period of time. There’s always the underground car park within the New Bob Centre for your parking convenience.

Name: SA RANG CHAE KOREAN RESTAURANT
Address: 11-G-1&2, Jalan Gottlieb (New Bob Centre), 10350 Penang.
Contact: 604-226 3587, 012-468 6700 (Mdm. Lim Soo Yeon/Mr. Kim)
Business Hours: 12.00noon-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm (Closed Monday Lunch)
GPS: 5.432084, 100.301914

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

Organizer:
CK Lam & hubby

Attendees:
Lingzie
Huat Koay
Albert Yap
Criz Lai & Johnny Tan
Steven Goh
NKOTB

FANCY HAVING FRIED CHEE CHEONG FUN FOR SUPPER?

Posted by crizlai On January - 11 - 2010

Note: I was rather surprised that this outlet was closed within a short period of time. You could still try them out at Kuta Bali Food Court, Paya Terubong, Air Itam, Penang or sometimes at some night markets.

Visitors to Penang would often go for the authentic type of Chee Cheong Fun where there would be some generous topping of sweet sauce, fragrant prawn paste (heko), chili paste and toasted sesame seeds such as the famous stall at Genting Café, Green Lane, Penang. In the era of fusion food, a new breed has emerged at Star City Food Court, located at the outskirt of Georgetown area.

How would you fancy a plate of Seafood Fried Chee Cheong Fun (RM2.50 for 3 rolls)? Basically the Chee Cheong Fun looked like any normal ones you can get from the streets but this version had some surimi crab sticks and fresh prawns wrapped in them. Upon each order, these pre-prepared rolls would be dipped into batter and deep fried until golden brown. Prior to serving, you have an option of two sauces such as mayonnaise and KL rojak sauce. I opted for mayonnaise sauce on these cut pieces of fried chee cheong fun and had some crushed toasted peanuts sprinkled on them. I’m sure children would love this version well although I did not find much attraction in them compared to my favorite authentic ones.

On top of the above as well as the plain version which would cost you RM2 for 3 rolls, there was also something else to bite on – Toasted Stuffed Bean Curd Puff (RM1.80 each). Each piece of the large bean curd puff would be stuffed with shredded jicama and cucumber prior to being toasted in an oven. Again, there would be two options. This time, I opted for the KL rojak sauce. The surface of the puff was crisp while the interior confined the moist from the shredded vegetables. The slices of the bean curd puff were then topped with the KL rojak sauce and garnished with crushed toasted peanuts as well. This combination tasted not bad, except that I found that the KL rojak sauce to be a bit milder in spiciness and rich prawn paste flavor as those found in some of the famous rojak stalls we have in Penang.

Overall, I found only one unique food that ought to be mentioned here from this food court. The rest of the food from the hawker stalls were just average and nothing to brag about. If you are adventurous to try them out, drive all the way from the Penang Ferry Terminal along Pengkalan Weld until you have reach the Pengkalan Weld/Gat Lebuh Macallum traffic lights. Turn left into Gat Lebuh Macallum and drive all the way until you see Harbour Trade Centre on you left. Turn right and drive on and you would see the food court at the junction of Gat Lebuh Macallum/Gat Lebuh Cecil 1 on your right. Parking space would be quite ample here except on Thursday night when there would be a pasar malam (night market) there.

Name: FRIED CHEE CHEONG FUN @ STAR CITY FOOD COURT
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil 1, 10300 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.30pm-11.30pm (Closed on Alternate Tuesday)
GPS: 5.404303, 100.334164

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

ALL YEAR ROUND BUFFET SPREAD AT HARDWICKE HOUSE

Posted by crizlai On December - 18 - 2009

Note: This place has ceased operation in mid 2010.

Most of the time, major hotels within the Pearl of Island, Penang, would only hold buffet during weekends and special occasions. With the opening of Hardwicke House BBQ & Buffet Restaurant barely few months back, you can now have the opportunity to have buffet any day during lunch and dinner.

What is the difference between the food served at Hardwicke House and hotels? Well, practically none. Both of them have the same style of serving dishes from appetizers, salads, meat dishes to desserts but Hardwicke excels one step ahead with the availability of fresh seafood and meat grill DAILY for dinners at RM38++ per pax. Lunch would be at RM18++ minus the grill menus. Let us have a peek at what style of food would be available on a typical dinner evening.

As starters, we had Cream of Asparagus with some dinner rolls accompanied with butter cubes and some jars of crispy papadam and some crackers.

The salad section was quite impressive. Other than the usual salad greens, there were also some corn kernels, kidney beans, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, olives, raisins, cherries, pea sprouts (豆苗,dou miao) and swirl pasta for us to mix and match to our own liking. As for dressing, there were quite many choices such as mayonnaise, creamy French, vinaigrette, coleslaw, creamy Italian, thousand island and of course some mustard too.

The main buffet spread for the night consisted mainly of some local, Indian and Western cuisines. We had fried rice, fried noodles, cabbage poriel, brinjal sambal, dhal, lamb rogan josh, chicken curry, roast beef, baked cured salmon with cheese, chicken lor bak (chicken rolls), crispy Vietnam prawn roll and spaghetti and beef Bolognese sauce. This was not a bad spread for those lamb and beef lovers.

As for the grill section which would only be available for those dinner patrons, the options would be more. There would be roast lamb leg, steaks, sausages, prawns, squids, fish, clams and of course there would also be tandoori chicken. You can also choose what you want as side dishes such as mash potatoes, baby carrots and corn kernels. On top of that, you can choose whichever gravy you would like to have such as BBQ sauce, mushroom sauce or even black pepper sauce.

Sweet tooth lovers would surely love their desserts section. On top of their many options such as homemade cakes, tarts, mousse, jelly, fruits, brewed coffee and tea, there are also many flavors of ice cream with your choice of toppings such as strawberry, caramel and chocolate.

If you think the beverages would not have the “boost” to energize you, there’s always the option to order some good old hot cup of “special” coffee. Of course these would not be covered under the buffet menu. They have Guatemala SHB Arabia, Kenia AA Arabia, Java WIB Robusta, Costarica Arabia SHB, Espresso Coffee Pod “Oro”, Decaffeinated Espresso Coffee Pod “Oro” to give you your favorite Espresso, Ice Berg, Regular Black, Cappucino, Flat White or even just a Latte.

Some people might want to have some wine to go with the meal. There would be many unique and established brand of wine for you to choose from the wine house. Some of the recommended would be the Friulvini Verduzzo IGT, a straw yellow colored wine with a pleasantly, amiable, slightly acidulous and full bodied which had a hint of fruity taste. This would go well with confectionery, salads and fruits. The next would be the Chilean Terranoble Sauvignon Blanc 2005. This slightly yellowish colored wine would be fresh, dry and well balanced for your consumption. It would be ideal to go with fish and seafood. There would also be the New Zealand produced Schubert Hardwicke Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, the deeply red colored wine would exhibit an intense nose of blackberries, plum, chocolate with notes of walnut and spice. This red wine would be great with your meaty meals.

There are many ongoing promotions from Hardwicke House this festive season. You might want to click and enlarge the photo below to view more on their December-January promotion.

For Christmas, check out their Christmas promotion too. It’s best that you call up to reserve your table to avoid disappointment.

If you are coming from town along Jalan Burma, drive all the way until you see a “Y” junction. Left would lead you to Pulau Tikus. Right would lead you to Gurney Drive. Turn left into Jalan Pangkor (keep to your right). Immediately after you see Gleneagles Medical Centre on your right, slow down. Turn right into the service road and you would see a purplish building (Northam Tower). Hardwicke House is just in front of the building. You would not miss the white colored colonial architectural building.

Name: HARDWICKE HOUSE BBQ & BUFFET RESTAURANT
Address: 67 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm (lunch), 7.00pm-10.30pm (dinner)
Contact: 604-226 4998
GPS: 5.427643, 100.320806

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

CHEAP AND HUMBLE EVENING SNACKS AT CECIL STREET GHAUT

Posted by crizlai On December - 15 - 2009

There are so many hidden areas in Georgetown with many wonderful evening snacks and most of the time these little stalls by the roadside would go unnoticed by many. One such stall would be a little Laksa stall manned by a Chinese mother and her son along Cecil Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Cecil).

For those who love the sourness and sweetness of this version of Assam Laksa, this would be the right place. The Assam Laksa (RM2.20) here did not have the strong taste of tamarind (assam) but instead it had stronger blended pineapple sourness with some hints of Kaffir lime leaves. The color of the soup might not be as dark as others but it has the right sourness and sweetness for those people who like sourness in their food. With a spoonful or two of shrimp paste (hae ko), this bowl of Laksa would be enough to woo many ladies. 😛

What caught my attention most was not the Laksa but the little savory snacks the stall had. The rows of big sized golden colored Spring Rolls were tasty and crunchy. The secret… handmade poh piah skins instead of those frozen ones which can be found easily in supermarkets. Moreover, the simple filling of shredded jicama, carrot and sliced French beans gave the spring rolls the necessary original sweetness. It’s only 80sen each. It’s darn cheap, right? On top of that, you can just ask for some Laksa soup to dip these delicious snacks.

Another of the tasty product from the stall would be the Prawn & Bean Curd Fritter (also cheap at 80sen each). Normally, you would get fritters either with prawns or bean curd but here the lady combined both. Each flat but large sized and crunchy fritter contained bean sprouts, peeled white prawns, cubed bean curds, fried in an Indian like masala reddish colored flour. I prefer this version here compared to the Tan Jetty Prawn Fritters as I did have pesky little prawn skins and heads poking into my gums. A piece or two of the spring rolls plus a piece of the fritter plus a small bowl of dipping Laksa soup were enough to bloat my tummy up.

If you think the above two items would be a bit too much for your tea time, then you can opt for the Fried Chicken Wings (90sen for wing/drumlet). If your timing is good, you might even get hot, crispy and well marinated chicken to keep you drooling for more.

Other than those mentioned above, there would also be some crispy flour coated Fried Prawn Ball (3 for RM1) and Stuffed Crabsticks (60sen each). The Stuffed Crabstick would have some mayonnaise, a slice of sausage, crabstick, coated with Pato breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden.

You can have your little evening snacks served with chili sauce but it was too plain for me. I preferred mine dipped in Laksa soup. It’s free anyway with the fritters.

There are a lot of evening stalls selling snacks over here such as rojak, cold desserts, local kuih, mua chee, nasi lemak, curry puff and banana fritters sold here in the evening. The best time to pay a visit would be after 2.00pm each day.

Finding the Laksa stall would be real easy. As you are moving your way towards the Jelutong Expressway from Weld Quay, you would come to a traffic light (Weld Quay/Gat Lebuh Macallum). Immediately after the traffic light, you would see another traffic light (Weld Quay/Gat Lebuh Cecil). Turn left into Gat Lebuh Cecil and you would see the stall on your left at the junction of Gat Lebuh Cecil 1.

Name: CECIL STREET GHAUT LAKSA & FRITTERS
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil, 10300 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 1.30pm-6.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 016-498 6018 (Ah Boy)
GPS: 5.406025, 100.332189

RATING:
Ambience: 5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 4/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

A WEDDING RECEPTION AT THE FORUM CHINESE CUISINE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On December - 8 - 2009

Finally, a group of us floggers managed to attend the first Penang flogger’s wedding reception. Who could that be? It was none other than our beloved Steven Goh tying the knot with his beautiful wife, Kim Peng. The memorable event was held at The Forum Chinese Cuisine on 5 December 2009. Let us all wish the couple happy and prosperous days ahead with lots of bubbly “tiger” babies. Next year is the Year of the Metal Tiger in the Chinese Lunar Calendar and based on the Chinese Zodiac, such tigers are said to be lucky, lively and engaging with courageous attributes to protect his family against many evils. The Metal element gives the 2010 born tigers their sharpness in action and speed of thoughts, which would likely make them stand out in a crowd. With an inspiring assertiveness and competitive demeanor, they determine their goals and then do anything necessary to achieve them. Well Steven, you should know your 2010 planning now right? LOL!

Anyway, let us go right into food now as when there are floggers around food would be the main news. Hehe! Although there was a minor hiccup by the management of the restaurant in the serving of the dishes, it did not spoil the moods of the occasion. We had Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallops & Crab Meat served first. It was just a normal wedding banquet type of serving but what caught my attention was the usage of “glass noodle texture-like” shark’s fin and surimi (crab sticks). I guessed many sharks and decapod crustaceans were spared in this eco-friendly dish. LOL!

Next was the Deluxe Hot & Cold Dish Combination which consisted of hot steaming crystal skin “money bag” dumplings, stir fried prawns with cashew nuts and bell peppers, Minced pork and waxed sausage rolls and minced pork cutlet in plum sauce which tasted somewhat like our local “bak kua” minus the red rose wine flavor and coloring. It was an interesting combination.

Braised Chicken with Chest Nuts wrapped in Aluminum Foil followed. Although the roasted chicken was a bit bland in taste due to over steaming, the tender meat went well with the stuffing of chest nuts, mushrooms, waxed sausages and carrots with some mild seasonings. The best part lied in the gravy where it had a rich and flavorful chicken essence.

When it came to giving fresh and succulent large prawns, the restaurant had its best. The Deep Fried Prawns coated with Oats & Crispy Minced Egg was perfect. Some of us were caught savoring the delicious condiments instead.

We were then served with Stewed Assorted Mushroom with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. Other than broccoli, straw mushrooms and Chinese mushrooms, there were another thinly sliced abalone-like texture ingredient. We were not too sure what that was but to me it tasted more like an edible sea snail meat.

As for the Steamed Grouper Fish “Teow Chew” Style, it was just a normal serving due to the mass production. Somehow ours was sort of “handicapped” (from the sign of the tilted head) and overcooked. The fish lost the firmness in texture. Moreover, a touch of more pickled sour plums and Shao Xing wine would make the dish more tasteful.

Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice with Waxed Sausage was served next. Simple as it may look, each grain of rice was well flavored with the taste from the lotus leaves.

The last course was of course dessert. We were served with Sweetened Honeydew Melon Cream with Sago. I suspected the cream came in powder form as the coloring was somewhat artificial. I surely preferred something more natural like blended honeydew instead.

Other than the free flowing wine, beer and cordial, we were each presented some gift by the couple – a piece of fruit cake and a silky pouch filled with a pair of heart-shape lollipops. From my observation, this memento pleased many of the guests. The elderly were happy with a little something to keep their coins, whereas the younger ones were happy with something to share with their friends and partner-to-be. After all, wedding is all about sharing the love together for eternity.

To Steven & Janice…
Your happiness begins
With your wonderful wedding day.
You’ll share everything together;
Through it all, your love will stay.
Congratulations to you,
As you begin your happy life.
May all good things be yours,
As new husband and new wife.

For those who had missed the memorable event, here’s a short video of the couple walking down the aisle.

The Forum Chinese Cuisine is located at Level 3 within Island Plaza, Penang. It won’t be hard to find the way as it’s just along Jalan Tanjung Tokong on your right.

THE FORUM

Name: THE FORUM CHINESE CUISINE @ ISLAND PLAZA
Address: 803-01, 3rd Floor, Island Plaza, 118 Jalan Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Business Hours:
11.30am-3.00pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm (Monday-Saturday)
9.30am-3.00pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm (Sunday & Public Holiday)
Contact: 604-899 0088
GPS: 5.450371, 100.305946

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

ATTENDEES:
Criz Lai
CK Lam
Alan & Amanda
NKOTB & hubby
CW Chan
Eunice & Siew Ying

IMPRESSIVE DELIGHTS FOR ALL AGES AT KIM TAVERN

Posted by crizlai On November - 6 - 2009

Not many of us realized that there existed a great pork-free restaurant within the premises of Sunway Carnival Mall, Seberang Jaya, Penang. The restaurant which carries the name “Kim Tavern” may look just like any of the fast food chains or franchised restaurants but it is not as it is the brainchild of proprietor, Mr. Andy Liew. Thanks to Taufulou aka Bok, who came all the way from KL and with the liaison of CK Lam, a few of us had the privilege to visit the place on the invite of the boss. Thanks to Mr. Liew too. Barely a few weeks old since its opening on 16 October 2009, Kim Tavern had already attracted many loyal patrons, even during the low period of the day. Do check out below the reasons behind the success of this newly established restaurant.

The main attraction would be the many choices of affordable delicacies available here, ranging from Southeast Asian Favorites to Western Paradise. Let’s start with the local food scene. We started with the Nasi Lemak Curry Chicken (招牌椰漿咖哩雞飯-RM7.90). This dish has been remarkably served with fragrant coconut milk enhanced and tender curry chicken drumstick, accompanied with side dishes such as a halved hard-boiled egg, papadam, deep fried anchovies & peanuts in chili paste, cucumber and a bowl of hot steaming white rice. You may ask why the rice was plain rather than the usual fragrant coconut milk steamed rice, right? That’s the healthy way the restaurant believed in. Moreover, it’s also the best way to serve the dish since the curry chicken has already been cooked with coconut milk. I also loved the deep fried anchovies & peanuts in chili paste a lot as the side dish had the required fragrant, crunchiness, sweetness and sourness to get anyone craving for more.

If you love the Nasi Lemak Curry Chicken, you would also love the Nasi Lemak Rendang Chicken (招牌仁當雞飯-RM7.90). Everything would be the same as the above except the style of cooking for the chicken was a bit different. The gravy has a more pungent taste with a hint of lemongrass. The sweet and sour sambal (chili paste) on the egg and rice had a strong but lovely taste of assam (tamarind). That made the whole combination real appetizing.

The Udang Sambal Rice (招牌酸辣參拜蝦仁飯-RM7.90) would be another good meal to order. Freshly peeled prawns cooked in fragrantly stir fried sweet and sour assam chili paste and served with the same combination of rice as above surely caught the attention of our fellow female floggers. I’m sure most ladies would love this dish.

Another of the recommended dish would be the Dry Curry Stir Fried Chicken Rice (祖傳甘香雞飯-RM6.90) or commonly known as the Kam Heong Fried Chicken. This was very appetizing as thin slices of chicken fillets were stir fried with the chef’s secret recipe. There were hints of onion slices, spring onions, chili paste with lots of curry leaves. The wok hei (high heat frying) of the dish was great to go with the steamed rice.

If you think that those lovely dishes up there might not be enough, do try out their bento sets. One of the bento sets that made all of us “ooo”ing and “aah”ing away was the Sweet & Spicy Fish Bento (辣味蜜汁魚片便當-RM8.50). The fresh and high graded batter fried dory fillet prepared nicely in sweet and sour sauce, accompanied with some shredded cabbages and carrots topped with thousand island sauce, a bowl of miso soup, a halved hard-boiled egg topped with some sweet and sour chili paste and steamed rice was something delicious and within the budget of everyone. The only feedback from us was the lack of some tofu cubes in the miso soup and the usage of Japanese rice grain. Well, at that pricing and great taste, who’s to complain? You should try this out!

For those unagi lovers, you should try the next dish out which was the Unagi Fried Egg Rice (日式鰻魚炒蛋飯-RM12.90). The dish may look simple with some gravy like ingredients on a hot bowl of white rice, garnished with some boiled corn kernels and vegetables. One scoop of this dish and you would be like in heaven. Each mouthful would be filled with the creaminess from the egg, followed by the fragrant taste of sliced onions, firm slices of grilled unagi (eel), wonderfully matched with the sweetness from the Japanese sweet soy sauce. I loved this dish a lot!

Other than my favorite tomyam noodles from my most frequent stall down along Weld Quay on the island, I just found another great version right in mainland… where else except in Kim Tavern. The Tomyam Seafood Noodle (正宗泰國冬炎海鮮湯麵-RM9.90) was indeed another great dish. All the ingredients used here were freshly made instead of the usage of readily made tomyam paste as in other restaurants. The noodles were firm and all the seafood within were market fresh. At this pricing, I was glad that the bowl was filled with lots of sliced onions, tomatoes, prawns, squids and two lovely Australian mussels. The spiciness, sweetness and sourness from the soup of course attracted the ladies most. This is so far the best tomyam dish I had taken in mainland Penang. 🙂

The next dish was the Ipoh Chicken Slice Noodle (祖傳怡保雞絲河粉-RM6.90) or commonly known in Ipoh as the Kai See Hor Fun. This bowl of noodle lacked the originality in soup broth compared to those found in Ipoh. Although the soup base was thick, it lacked the taste from the long hours of simmering of some fresh prawn shells. Overall, this dish was still delicious as only specialized stall such as those found abundantly in Ipoh would be able to come out with such a unique taste. The dish had reasonable serving of chicken slices, prawns and cut spring onions.

Capsicum Prawn Fried Rice (招牌燈籠椒蝦仁炒飯-RM7.90) was served next. This dish looked just like the usual Yang Chow Fried Rice but if you inspect closely at the green colored cubes, you would realized that it had many finely chopped capsicum added in. It was wonderful. Not only was the wonderful skill of the chef in creating the “wok hei” present, the mild peppery taste of the “bell pepper” added the additional fragrance which made this simple plate of fried rice delicious. This dish was served with the chef’s specially prepared sambal belacan (shrimp paste chili).

You could also try out their Tomyam Seafood Fried Noodle (冬炎海鮮炒金旦麵-RM8.50). This was the fried version of the earlier tomyam dish with some additional chicken sausages. Although fragrantly fried, most of us preferred the soup version. As for me, I personally felt that simplicity would be better minus the sausages.

If you think that all the dishes mentioned above would be too “heaty” for your body system, there’s always the porridge section. We did try out their Seafood Mushroom Porridge (香菇魷魚海鮮粥-RM7.90). At this pricing and with so much of seafood which included cuttlefish, top graded dory fish fillet, prawns, chunky mushroom slices and so on, this richly ingredient filled porridge would be a great bargain for those porridge lovers.

There’s also the Western section for you to select your urge for more delicious dishes. The wonderful thing about dining here would be that the most expensive dishes would cost you barely RM15.90 and those are the Black Pepper or Mushroom Steak. Since we were rather filled up to this stage, we managed to try out their Spaghetti Chicken Bolognese (RM6.90). The texture of the spaghetti was just right for our bites and the freshly made Bolognese sauce with minced chicken meat was just perfect.

Next on the serving was the Mushroom Chicken Chop with Garlic Butter Rice (RM9.90). The gravy was delicious. It had the right combination of sauces and spices and it blended real well with the garlic butter rice. The only hiccup was on the grilling of the boneless chicken drumstick. It lost the juiciness within. The chef should have taken note on the time needed to grill such a thinly pounded fillet.

When the next dish was presented, I suddenly turned orange with black stripes, eyes widely opened and whiskers shot right out of my cheeks. OMG! I turned into Garfield as Cheesy Chicken Lasagna (RM9.90) has always been my favorite and it had such a large portion. The bowl should have at least 5 layers of medium soft lasagna pasta, stuffed with precooked minced chicken simmered in rich tomato puree and generously topped with lots of mozzarella cheese. Yummy! I won’t mind making some takeaways during my next trip.

The restaurant also has light meals which included soup, sandwiches and finger food. What caught our attention was the Honey Pepper Roast Chicken Drumlet (5pcs – RM6.90). The well marinated drumlets were perfectly roasted. I just wished someone would prepare such nice and tasty ones during BBQ sessions. This would be a must to order.

Overall, the food here would be great for families and individuals of all ages. The food served here are rather tasty and reasonably priced. The only setback would be the lack of creative desserts rather than the normal scoops of ice creams but it would not necessary mean that it lacked the necessary beverages to attract the crowd. Some of the smoothies and ice blended drinks we had ordered were amazingly unique and tasty. Amongst those ordered were Fresh Carrot-Orange Juice (RM3.50), Honey Lemon Ice (RM3.80), Mango Smoothies (RM5.50), Wheatgrass Smoothies (RM5.50), Special Ice Blended Peppermint Mocha (RM7.80), Special Ice Blended Blueberry Chocolate (RM7.80), Special Ice Blended Hazelnut Latte (RM7.80), Special Ice Blended Almond Latte (RM7.80) and Special Ice Blended Tiramisu (RM7.80). The top three of our choices were Mango Smoothies, Wheatgrass Smoothies and Special Ice Blended Blueberry Chocolate.

The abovementioned dishes and beverages were part of what we had ordered. You can always click and enlarge the menu below to check out more of what they have. 5% service charge would be applicable for all orders.

For those who had not been to Sunway Carnival Mall where Kim Tavern is located before, please refer to the attached map. There are two ways you can reach the mall upon coming out from Penang Bridge. Just drive towards the sign leading to Alor Setar. Upon reaching the first flyover, look out for a mosque on your left (Jalan Siakap), drive on until you have reached a mini roundabout and turn 3 o’clock on your right into Jalan Tenggiri. Drive on until you see a traffic light and turn left into Lebuh Tenggiri 2. Drive all the way passed KWSP building (on your left) and Sunway Hotel (on your right) until you had reached a T junction. Turn left into Jalan Todak and you would see the mall on your right.

Another way would be driving all the way over the first flyover upon coming out from the Penang Bridge but turn left before the second flyover which would lead you to the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim). Turn left into the expressway and drive all the way until you had reached the third left junction (Jalan Todak). Turn left into Jalan Todak and you would spot the mall on your left.

If you are still not sure how to find the place, you can always key in the GPS coordinates stated below in the Google Map and it would show you the mall location. Happy food hunting!

Name: KIM TAVERN @ SUNWAY CARNIVAL MALL
Address: LG 04, Sunway Carnival Mall, Jalan Todak, 13700 Seberang Jaya, Penang.
Business Hours: 11.30am-9.30pm
Contact: 604-399 9879, 012-428 8066 (Mr. Andy Liew)
GPS: 5.398695, 100.397875

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

COORDINATORS:
Taufulou aka Bok of http://www.taufulou.com/
CK Lam of http://www.what2seeonline.com/

ATTENDEES:
Criz Lai of http://crizfood.com/
Lingzie of http://www.lingzie.com/
Mary Teo of http://reginatravel-foodparadise.blogspot.com/
Alan & Amanda of http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
NKOTB of http://mylovemyfood.blogspot.com/

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)

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