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NEW FLAVORS OF MOONCAKES FROM LEONG YIN PASTRY

Posted by crizlai On August - 26 - 2016

With more than 40 years of mooncake making experiences behind the name, Leong Yin Pastry had again impressed many with their innovations of flavors for their mooncakes this year. Their 2016 Mooncakes Series (RM19.93nett each) would consist of Gridelin Mellow (金芋满堂) – Custard Paste with Lotus Paste, Ardent Rhapsody (菊花台) – Chrysanthemum Pur Erh with Red Dates Paste, Aurulent Lavish (南洋风味) – Gula Melaka with Honey White Lotus Paste, Scarlet Missive (踏雪寻梅) – Cranberry Longan Paste and Wholesome Chocolate Macadamia with Chips (小巧玲珑).

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Overall, Leong Yin Pastry’s mooncakes are to my liking as all the fillings had subtle sweetness which was quite suitable for all ages, especially over some unsweetened and non-dairy hot beverages.

On top of coming out with good old traditional and fusion mooncakes, Leong Yin Pastry is also the top supplier of mooncake paste to many branded companies locally and internationally. Who could resist the temptation of being spoiled with over 200 types of choices?

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If you are not into mooncakes, you can also opt for their quality assured Moon Biscuits aka Doll Biscuit and Pineapple Biscuits during this Mid Autumn Festival 2016. Those 600g of Special Mixed Nuts Moon Biscuits (RM45.53) could be such a killer during tea breaks.

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With the success in gaining HALAL standards accreditation and others such as HACCP, GMP, ISO22000:2005 Food Safety Management System certification as well as the MeSTI certification, the products are now sold worldwide which includes Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippine, USA, Australia, UK and Middle East. You can find their products being sold at some of the major malls throughout Malaysia such as at Gurney Plaza, Gurney Paragon, Gama, Sunshine Bayan Baru, Sunshine Farlim, M Mall O2O Penang, Sunway Carnival Mall, Pacific Megamall, Pacific Taiping Mall, Aeon Bukit Mertajam Alma, Aeon Kinta City, Aeon Queensbay Mall, Aeon Mall Taiping, CMart Aman Jaya Sungai Petani, CMart Simpang Empat Tambun, Sungai Petani Center Mall, Alor Setar Mall and The Store Kampar Road Ipoh. Do click on the photos below to check out the varieties available for this year.

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Leong Yin Pastry would also produce around 200 different flavors and combinations of mooncake paste. If you are interested, you could always pay them a visit at their HQ at 71, 73 & 82 Jalan Patani in Penang or call in +604-229 2943. They are also the supplier for their established Sang Yoon brand of noodles.

 

For those who love cheesy snacks, you are in for a surprise as there’s a stall selling cheesy banana fritters daily (off only if bananas are out of stock) at Plaza Ivory just opposite University Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang. Under the name Rutd’s Fried Banana Cheese, this humble yet with endless flows of loyal customers stall is located at the al fresco area of the plaza’s right wing, hidden from the main road of Jalan Bukit Gambir, Penang.

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The best part of the banana fritters is that you can just eat it without any toppings, especially when they are using ripened bananas with extra crispy battered crust, unlike those you get from some of the roadside Malay fritters stalls. However, that’s not how they are selling their products. Each set would come with 8 pieces of halved bananas, deep fried to perfections with 3 different toppings. Please refer to the menu below. As for the Rainbow Set, the fritters would be topped with different flavors of grated chocolate.

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The Original Set (RM6.00) would have 8 halved bananas, drizzled with a light drip of condensed milk, topped with generous amount of grated cheese and sprinkled with some chocolate rice. The melted cheese on the hotly fried yet crispy banana fritters was something great to consume over a hot cup of teh tarik or kopi “O”~ 🙂

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The Special Set (RM7.00) was almost the same as the former, except that it had a generous amount of grated chocolate on the fritters. It was indeed a value for money set for those sweet tooth consumers.

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Overall, I quite like the crispiness of the batter used to deep fry those bananas. You can always request for some additional toppings of those leftover bits at no extra cost. However, it can get rather surfeit after a few bites as the abundantly given grated cheese could have an overpowering saltiness.

If you are new to this area, you might turn into the wrong side of the service road. If you are driving from Bayan Baru towards Green Lane via Jalan Bukit Gambir, keep to your left after the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) traffic lights. Drive on until you see the first left turning. Turn left into Halaman Bukit Gambir 1 and immediately turn right into the service road (Persiaran Buit Gambir). Follow the curved road until the end and you would see the stall on your left up at the al fresco area. Parking can be quite convenient here especially during dinner hours.

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Name: RUTD’S FRIED BANANA CHEESE @ PLAZA IVORY, PENANG
Address: Al Fresco Area @ Persiaran Bukit Gambir, Gelugor, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6012- 588 5696
Business Hours: 5.00pm-1.00am
GPS: 5.358744, 100.292307

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

 

Summer Dessert Bakery which is a Penang based bakery had finally opened its first café at Icon City, Bukit Tengah, Bukit Mertajam on Mainland Penang recently. It’s named as Summer Dessert Bakery Café. Compared to many other cafes out there, this outlet has a different concept with the ground floor being a complete bake supply area plus al fresco area and both mezzanine and first floor being the chill out areas for in-house dining. On top of that, there’s also a small room on first floor for private functions.

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What I like about this café is that it’s practically the one-stop bakes and desserts center where you could buy practically anything from buns, cakes, breads, desserts, cookies, nougats, birthday cakes with hot and cold beverages under one roof. Here are some of their fresh bakes and desserts for the day.

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On top of that, there are more custom order dishes for breakfast and tea time too such as Summer Breakfast (RM13.90), Summer Snack Platter (RM13.90), Burger Chicken Chop (RM12.90), Special Sandwiches (RM8.90), Noodle Cintan with Ham, Egg & Sausage (RM8.90), Flatbread Pizza (RM15.90 – Sausage Tomato, Tomyam Chicken or Chicken Pepperoni), Belgium Chocolate Waffle (RM12.90), Ice Cream Honey Toast (RM13.90), Mexico Sesame Flatbread with Chicken Pepperoni (RM15/4 pcs), Danish Cream Roll (Original RM3.50/pc or Chocolate RM4.00/pc), Portuguese Tart (RM2.20/pc or RM8.00/4 pcs), Dacquoise (RM3.80/pc), Rose Chocolate Moist Cake (RM11.90/pc), Mango Passion Mousse Cake (RM12.90/pc), Chocolate Mango Passion Mousse (RM11.90/pc) and more. I quite like the texture and taste of the Dacquoise as it resembled a less sweet version of Macaron as the recipe is basically the same but with the additional usage of all purpose flour.

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There do have Hi-Tea too but their concept is totally different than others as it’s based on DIY concept, meaning you choose what you want from their spreads of bakes and desserts and they would help you to display on their 2-tier stands. Each item would be charged individually. Some of the most sought after items could include Sushi Roll (RM3.10/pc – cut into 2-4 pieces), Panna Cotta (RM4.50/bottle), Danish Blueberries Custard (RM3.90/pc), Danish Sugar (RM2.50/pc), Lemon Tart (RM7.90/pc), Chocolate Truffle Tart (RM7.90/pc), Green Tea Truffle Tart (RM7.90/pc), Lemington Cake (RM3.90/pc – Green Tea, Chocolate or Raspberry), Macarons (RM3.00/pc) and more.

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As for beverages, there are many types of coffee, tea, chocolate, ice blended, iced to fruit juices to cater to the needs of all ages. Summer Coffee (RM12.90 – large with salted caramel & crème brulee), Toffee Nuts Latte (RM10.90 – large), Paris Tower (RM13.90 – raspberry & oreo), Ice Blended Raspberry & Blackcurrant (RM14.90 – with some blue berries added), Black Eagle (RM13.90 – ice blended chocolate & mint), Blue Citrus Mint (RM25.00 – blue lagoon, lemon juice, mint with apple slices) and After Dinner (RM25.00 – orange & mango juice with mango slices) are some of my recommendations.

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Overall, I quite like the concept of the café as it’s so far the only café in Penang which enable its diners to be spoiled for choices. Moreover, the beverages are of a better quality than many cafes out there. As for the coffee, the beans are of somewhere nearer to medium roasted and can be of high acidity to many. I do hope they have more options as I’m more of a medium-dark roasted coffee drinker.

It’s not hard to locate Summer Dessert Bakery Cafe as it’s situated within the newly built Icon City. If you are coming from the North-South Highway towards Auto City, just keep to the left after you passed by the Juru Rest Area (you can see the Petron petrol kiosk there). Turn left into Jalan Kebun Nenas until you reach the first traffic lights. Before the traffic lights, turn left into Jalan Bukit Tengah. Drive all the way until the second junction on your left and turn left into the service road. Drive further until the second left junction and that’s Jalan Icon City. Turn left, drive on for about 250m and you will see the café on your left. Parking could be scare during peak period of the day, especially dinner time. So, do plan your time wisely.

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Name: SUMMER DESSERT BAKERY CAFE @ ICON CITY
Address: 16 Jalan Icon City, Icon City, Bukit Tengah, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-504 1848
Business Hours: 9.30am-1.00am
GPS: 5.344477, 100.434177

RATING:
Ambience: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

HALAL MOONCAKE DELIGHTS 2015 AT HOTEL JEN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On August - 18 - 2015

This year, the Mid Autumn Festival will be celebrated on 27 September 2015, the 15th day of the 8th lunisolar month. Other than the Chinese New Year which falls during spring, the Mid Autumn Festival is the 2nd most important festival for the Chinese as once again they can have reunions with their family members and friends from all over the world. Of course, there would be lots of feasting over great goodies and one of it would be mooncakes of all shapes and flavors. This year, Hotel Jen would also be promoting their delightful mooncakes as before. The best part is that all their mooncakes are halal certified, thus you could share some with your Muslim friends too. Do take advantage of their early birds offer from now until 31 August 2015 as all purchases would be entitled to a 20% discount.

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There will be 8 options for this year’s promotion ranging from classic flavors such as White Lotus with Single or Double Yolk and Green Tea plus innovative new flavors such as White Coffee Paste with Pure Durian Paste, Black Sesame Paste with Custard Paste, Chocolate Paste with Macadamia and Walnut, Latte Paste with Orange Paste and their all-time favourite – Farmer’s Grown. Each piece is priced at RM30nett. For every purchase of 4 pieces (RM120nett/box), you would get to choose one of the 4 exclusive packaging of either Flower Design or “S” Design (velvet finishing with silk embroidery).

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Even during the days of their predecessor, I’ve tried their mooncakes and fell in love with them as their selections have a fine and lesser oil texture compared with many other brands out there. Their Farmer’s Grown has always being my favorite as it has just the right balance of sweetness without feeling too surfeit after each bite. My second favorite this year would be the Wholesome Chocolate Macadamia Walnut, an earthly bitter sweet combo with chunky nuts. Of course, their classic flavors of White Lotus with Single or Double Yolk would be my must have too.

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Here are the descriptions of all the mooncakes and the order form. Please click on the photos below for a clearer view. You can call in at +604-262 2622 ext 8030 to make your booking or fill up the form and fax to +604-262 6526.

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Overall, I still find the mooncakes sold here to be consistent in the texture and flavors, especially those classic ones. However, some of those newer versions could be a bit too sweet for my personal liking. It’s a waste they do not have mixed nuts mooncake as it’s my all-time favorite.

Hotel Jen Penang is located along Jalan Magazine just next to the iconic Kompleks Tunku Abdul Razak (KOMTAR). Just walk into the main lobby of the hotel and you can see the mooncake stall there.

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Name: HOTEL JEN PENANG
Address: Jalan Magazine, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-262 2622
GPS: 5.413622, 100.330153

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

 

When was the last time you have taken a break from your hectic lifestyle and spend a calming day with your family members and friends up Penang Hill for some fresh air while be mesmerized with the beautiful panoramic scenery of the island? For MyKad holders, it’s RM10/pax (adult) or RM4/pax (senior citizen, child & student). As for visiting tourists, it’s RM30/pax (adult & senior citizen) or RM15/pax (child & student). Daily train operation hours will be 6.30am-11.00pm (last train from top station). Now there’s a good reason for you to pay Penang Hill a visit as in conjunction with David Brown’s Restaurant & Tea Terrace’s 8th Anniversary, they are throwing in a superb set dinner deal for 2 pax at only RM100nett (regardless of nationality). The redemption period will be from June 2015 until 30 July 2015, excluding eve of public holiday and public holiday. Terms and conditions apply.

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However, the deal is solely for those who had purchased their voucher during their selected dated Road Show venues as shown below. Please take note that the vouchers won’t be on sale at the restaurant. Normal walk-in diners will be charged RM90++/pax for the set meal. Group purchases for the vouchers can be arranged by contacting the management in advance. Their Road Show Schedules are stated as below.

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Autocity: 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th June 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 6.30pm-9.30pm

Botanical Garden/Youth Park: 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th June 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 7.30am-10.30am

Occupy Beach Street: 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th June 2015 (Sunday)
Time: 7.30am-10.30am

Bayan Baru Pasar Food Court: 10th, 17th & 24th June 2015 (Wednesday)
Time: 12.00 noon-2.00pm

The menu for the Special Set Dinner for 2 Pax @ RM100nett is indeed value for its money as it’s a 4-course set dinner (appetizer, soup, main course & dessert) plus coffee or tea. Do enlarge the poster below for a clearer view.

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Prior to the start of our dinner, we were served with a bread roll each, accompanied with chili sauce, butter and tomato ketchup. I was just wondering who could be the Smart Alec who came out with this wasteful method of serving diners? Can’t we just have butter and save up the sauce until requested? Anyway, their warmly served in-house made buns were amazingly tasty and were rather compact compared to those served elsewhere.

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The first dish started off with an Appetizer of mixed green, dressed with honey lemon vinaigrette and topped with some slices of smoked duck. It was a palatable dish to start off the meal.

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This was followed with Seafood Corn Soup. The soup had a rather unique combination of flavors with sweetness from the creamy corn kernels and a mild hint of lemongrass. It was garnished with some mixed herbs. The soup had chunks of scallops and prawn for the extra bites. Though the soup was to my liking, I somehow prefer diced fish fillet to replace the scallops as it would pep up the taste for the soup further. Some light sprinkles of paprika and chopped spring onions would be great add-ons too.

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We were given the options to choose one main course out of 4 options, namely poultry, fish, beef or lamb. The first option was the David Brown’s Grilled Chicken Chop, served with roasted baby potato, steamed vegetables and a slice of corn cob with grilled jumbo sausage as bonus. The kitchen used their homemade BBQ sauce for the grilling and it came out quite perfect with the slightly burned after taste. It’s not a bad dish to order though. However, the bonus of jumbo sausage would need a bit of adjustment. Instead of directly grilled over the skillet, it could have gone through a process of boiling then grill to maintain the juiciness within. Alternatively, the kitchen could get the boil version as to maintain the yin and yang of the overall dish. I also do hope that the kitchen would look into having a small saucer of BBQ sauce or even some chicken jus for those who do not like their dish to be served so dry.

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The second option was the Pan Seared Sushi Grade Norwegian Salmon, served with potato cream, citrus salsa, pea sprout and aioli. I like how the salmon fillet was pan seared to perfection with the flesh still juicy and the skin having that nice aromatic crispiness. The fresh egg based mild hint of lemon citrus flavor complemented the fish real well.

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The third option was the Pan Seared Grain-fed Sirloin Steak served with roasted baby potatoes, onion marmalade, mixed green, balsamic reduction and au jus was also one of the most sought after dish amongst us. You could always ask the chef to cook it up to your preference such as medium-rare, medium or even well done (well.. I won’t recommend this option as it would toughen the meat).

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The fourth option would be the Braised Lamb Short Loin, served with potato cream, onion confiture and steamed vegetables. This was one of the more flavorful ones amongst the four options as all the flavors were extracted into the gravy. It had hints of apple sourness with a light touch of balsamic vinegar. However, the braising time of 3 hours for the lamb should be adjusted slightly lesser as the meat lost some of its biting texture. Overall, it was still a nice dish to savor over a glass of wine.

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Finally, it was dessert time with the serving of their mouth-dripping Chocolate Mousse Cake, skillfully decorated with a sweet flaky pistachio tuile, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on crumbled Oreo soil and mixed berry compote. It was heavenly and the whole combination had just the right sweetness to my liking.

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Lastly, you have the option to choose between Tea or Coffee to end your meal.

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For those who had missed out on purchasing their vouchers or having gone up during lunch time (11.00am-3.00pm), you could always check out their ala carte menu. One of their unique and signature dishes would be their Chicken & Mushroom Pie (RM48++). It’s one of its kinds in this region or maybe in the world. Instead of the normally enclosed filling of a pie, their version will consist of a plate of nicely stewed chicken chunks with mushroom, served with steamed vegetables plus a ball of mashed potatoes and topped with a freshly made puff pastry. Taste wise, it was just like the traditional style of cooking chicken stew with an add-on piece of butter infused flaky pastry.

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For those who would just love to enjoy the breezy cool air of the “hill on a hill” aka Strawberry Hill on Penang Hill, you could always come over to the restaurant their Afternoon Tea (3.00pm-6.00pm). The most recommend and sought after set on their menu would be the David Brown’s Petit Four (for 2 pax – RM78++), serving you with their finest tea for two, fresh fruits, tarts, sandwiches, fruit cake and English scones with their homemade strawberry preserve and cream.

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So what would you do after a hearty dinner or even finding a place just to relax after a long walk around Penang Hill? You can always laze about at David Brown’s Sky Terrace, one tier below the restaurant, over some light snacks and beverages. There will also be band performance during Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holiday. They will operate from 9.00am until 11.00pm daily. Please do take note that the last train downhill will be at 11.00pm. Unless you are staying uphill for the night, do take heed of this reminder. On top of their English Breakfast Set Meal (RM25++), you can still order their Devonshire Cream Tea (RM25++) which would come with a pot of hot tea, 2 scones and their homemade strawberry preserve and cream. Do check out their cakes too. My recommendation would be their Tiramisu (RM15++). Since I was in the mood for watching the panoramic night scene, I stayed on over a pot of Peppermint Tea (RM12++) and a steaming hot cup of Coffee Latte (RM12++). I was impressed with their use of the Italian brand Caffe Vergnano Espresso Rico ‘700 which has an intense and full-bodied flavor with hints of chocolate finishing. This blend had just the right balance of fragrantly roasted Arabica combined with the rich and full-bodied Robusta. The Coffee Latte served here was one of the best milk-based espresso beverages I have tasted.

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While waiting for the sky to get even darker for the perfect night lights shots, I was also munching some of their Crunchy Breaded Calamari Rings (RM20++), served with their homemade tartare sauce. It was nothing great to shout about but at least there was something to keep my mouth moving~ LOL!

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Overall, I do find some of the dishes served here to be quite impressive. However, there are still rooms for improvements, considering that time has changed and so do the taste buds of the diners out there. The simple and traditional way of preparing food might no longer attract diners of the younger generations. Price wise (other than the set dinner promotion which is a great bargain), some may find the menu pricing to be exorbitantly steep. As a Penangite, I would consider myself lucky having a cool, breezy and relaxing place to fall upon when I needed a short getaway to rid my body and mind from the stressful city life. Compared to travelling to another hill resort outside Penang to dine out, don’t you think that it’s even cheaper to pay a friction of the travelling cost and pamper yourself more often like a King or Queen over some meals at David Brown’s Restaurant & Tea Terraces? The choice is yours. I rest my case.

It’s not hard to find David Brown’s Restaurant and Tea Terraces as it’s located above the small Strawberry Hill next to the train station. Upon disembarking from the train, just walk towards the end and turn right and you can see a stairways leading up to the restaurant.

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Name: DAVID BROWN’S RESTAURANT & TEA TERRACES
Address: Lot 400, MK 17, Daerah Barat Daya, Strawberry Hill, Bukit Bendera, 11300 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia
Contact: +604-828 8337 or +6018-409 6277
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm (lunch), 3.00pm-6.00pm (tea), 6.00pm-10.00pm (dinner – last order at 9.00pm)
GPS: 5.424210, 100.268632

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

 

Before I start my post on the Sanrio Hello Kitty House in Bangkok, Thailand, let’s welcome the latest addition to the Hello Kitty family right in Malaysia. I’m sure those who had frequent Sunway Pyramid in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, would have noticed a huge pink signage on the construction site next to Caffe Benne. Yup! Malaysia will be having its first Hello Kitty Gourmet Café right in the heart of Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall real soon. I’m sure due the limited space within the complex, the layout might not be the same as the rest of the cafes throughout the world. However, I would be sure that it would be pink everywhere with whatever corner filled with your beloved Hello Kitty decors. Don’t you love PINK now? LOL~ 😛

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Recently, I paid a visit to the Sanrio Hello Kitty House at Siam Square One in Bangkok, Thailand. It was a unique multi-storey shop unit filled with lots of pink, love and cuteness at every possible corner within the premises. Why is it called Sanrio Hello Kitty House? It actually housed two levels of Hello Kitty Café and a basement level of Hello Kitty Shop and Hello Kitty Spa.

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Let’s have a look at the respective floor of the Hello Kitty Cafe. The first floor comprised of the ordering counter where you can have glimpses all the cute desserts on display. There was also a take-away counter on the far right for your beverages and light snacks. The system here was somewhat like how you would order your items at Starbucks, eg. Order-Pay-Collect. For orders that would require some period of preparation time, you would be given a number and the staff would deliver to your table.

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Though there were some dining areas at the first floor, the second floor itself was more spacious and basically just for dine-in with more selfie corners, pinkish chairs and lounge sofas for you to slumber in.

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When you are so far away from home and at such a themed café, you would want to try the best items that they would offer. All price quoted is inclusive of 7% VAT. The Lemon Tart (THB280nett) display at the chiller caught my attention. Well, looks can be real deceiving. Sometimes, when we deemed an item to be photo-worthy, it might not appear to be tasty at all. That was what happened. The lemon tart set was horrendous! The lemon filling tasted rather fake and extremely sour. As for the crust, I would recommend you to request for a hammer and chisel. It was so rock hard that I might break the given pair of fork and knife. Those “chick pea” like pebbles were nothing more than some bland biscuits. If not for the chocolate sauce, I would just leave them aside. For that lovely looking mini mug with red mousse, it was just some tasteless cream with red coloring. As one of the most expensive desserts on the menu, it was one order that was barely consumable.

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Thanks goodness the kitchen ad hoc prepared Ham & Cheese Sandwich (THB200nett) was at least edible. It was just two slices of “Hello Kitty” face shaped toasted bread with rolled ham and cheese, accompanied with some cheap greens with salad dressing. It was normal and nothing to shout about.

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As for drinks, I ordered their recommended Kitty Smoothie (THB150nett) and Hello Kitty Mineral Water (THB30nett). Except for the bottled water, I really can’t figure out what I was drinking. It was like drinking a glass of syrup with some light hints of milk and strawberries. It was so sweet that I had to leave it after a few sips as it might juggle up my glucose level. I’m still wondering why the Thais like their drinks to be so artificially sweetened up.

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Let’s leave the food and beverage woes away and check out the basement of the unit. The Hello Kitty Shop will be a merchandise heaven for those Hello Kitty enthusiasts as they have practically everything you ever dreamed of having here from little memorabilia to items such as T-shirt, bags, umbrellas, etc. I’ve to forewarn you that prices of the items are not cheap. They are original franchised items after all.

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On the other hand, you would find the Hello Kitty Spa at the other further end of the basement level. This might not be the type of spa you would be expecting as it would basically cater to the feminine parties, kid inclusive.

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The facilities would include nail services, lash extensions, waxing, face and body treatments plus massages. You can check out the prices below (click to enlarge for a better view).

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Overall, Sanrio Hello Kitty House is quite a nice place to bring your family or dates for the first time experience but most people won’t be able to stay there for too long. The reason is that the never ending replaying of the theme song can drive anyone up the wall with madness. Can you imagine having the same few seconds theme song playing over and over again at the moment you step into the place until you leave? OMG! As for the food and beverage wise, I was expecting something more edible rather than loads of food and drinks with high level of sugar and coloring contents. I hope we don’t get these experiences at other franchised outlets in the near future.

Name: SANRIO HELLO KITTY HOUSE BANGKOK
Address: 388 Siam Square One Building, LG, 1st & 2nd Floor, Siam Square Soi (Alley) 7, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
Contact: +662 115 1335
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 13.744526, 100.533489

DIRECTIONS:

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Take the BTS Sukhumvit Line and stop at BTS Siam Station. Use the Skywalk towards Exit 2 and walk downstairs all the way until you reach a junction. Turn into Siam Square Soi 4 and walk straight until the cross junction of Siam Square Soi 4/Siam Square Soi 7. The Sanrio Hello Kitty House is just at the corner unit.

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

 

[email protected]小田佳園, Penang’s foremost pineapple cake manufacturer, has recently launched their limited edition of Seasonal Crystal Pineapple Confiture, retailed at RM16.80 per bottle. It’s basically chopped up pineapple slices, slowly stewed under pasteurized conditions with minimal added sugar, combined with a mild touch of lemon zest. The differences between confiture and jam is that confiture contains more fruits and is normally prepared using a whole or chopped up piece of fruits while jam is normally mashed up and cooked until a puree like consistency. Gartien’s Seasonal Crystal Pineapple Confiture is almost near the natural flavors of pineapple with just the right amount of sweetness to make it the perfect, convenient and versatile ingredient to complement with many sweet and savory dishes.

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Before I show you how versatile this confiture is with my own creations, let me show you the many ways you can get your hands on the product. Firstly, you can purchase a bottle off the counter. However, please take note that the crystal pineapple species is seasonal, thus the supplies are quite limited. Secondly, you can try to win yourself a bottle by joining in the simple requirements as listed below.

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The Gartien Crossover Partners are:

Name: ZI ZAI RESTAURANT (自在飯店)
Address: 1239-G, Ground Floor, Jalan Paya Terubong, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-826 5173
Business Hours: 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.387212, 100.274013
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/zizairestaurant
Seasonal Dish Promotion: CRYSTAL PINEAPPLE SWEET & SOUR PORK (RM12)
Other recommended dishes: Poon Choi, Salted Fish Steamed Minced Pork, Sambal Lala, Braised Hammock, Belacan Chicken and more.

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Name: KAI CURRY BAR
Address: 15, Jalan Phuah Hin Leong (Off Jalan Burma), 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-226 0322
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.00pm (Closed Sunday & Monday)
GPS: 5.423637, 100.322570
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kai-Curry-Bar-15-Jalan-Phuah-Hin-Leong-Off-Jalan-Burma-Penang/1513938712195108 and http://www.facebook.com/UmaiKitchen
Seasonal Dish Promotion: CRYSTAL PINEAPPLE JAPANESE CURRY RICE (RM18.90)
Other recommended dishes: There will be options for pork, chicken, fish and hamburg on rice/udon with either pork gravy or vegetarian gravy.

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Name: 43 CAFE
Address: 43, Jalan Sungai Dua, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6016-430 7009
Business Hours: 5.00pm-10.00pm (Daily)
GPS: 5.353265, 100.303813
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/43Cafe
Seasonal Dish Promotion: CRYSTAL PINEAPPLE TOPPING ON HOMEMADE ICE CREAM (RM9)
Other recommended dishes: Dry-aged Pork Belly, Dry-aged Pork Steak, Sous-vide Chicken, Pork Satay, Egg Pecah and a wide selection of homemade alcoholic & non-alcoholic ice cream.

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Name: SOUL CAFE
Address: 12, Jalan Kek Chuan, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6016-430 7009
Business Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.415079, 100.324503
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/yourSoulCafe
Seasonal Dish Promotion: ANANAS PUNCH (RM11)
Other recommended dishes: Linguine al Vongole Pesto, Spaghetti al Amatriciana, Chicken Roulade with Aioli Sauce, Salmon Steak with Mustard Tarragon Sauce, Gula Melaka Cheese Cake and more.

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Since I have some of the Gartien’s Seasonal Crystal Pineapple Confiture around, I created some healthy recipes out of the product and the end products were excellent.

The first creation was Prawn & Meat Ball with Crystal Pineapple Salsa. The prawn and meat ball had a little marinate of soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, sugar, corn starch with lots of chopped onions. The inner part was moist and juicy while the crust had that mild crisp from slow pan searing. The Salsa basically consisted of chopped crystal pineapple confiture, onions, cherry tomatoes, parsley with some light touches of extra virgin olive oil and salt. The whole concoction will be great for tapas parties.

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The next creation was the Crystal Pineapple Mint Tuna Yoghurt on Cheese Toast. As for the bread, I had a piece each of round cut and ring cut wholemeal bread with a piece of cheese stuffed in between. These were oven toast for 5 minutes to bind them into a “cup” base. The filling had yoghurt, chopped mint leaves, dry herbs, tuna chunks in olive oil and chopped crystal pineapple all stirred together to get the right balance in flavors. I had some sprinkles of ebiko and sweet paprika to boost up some colors. This would be another great party idea to impress your healthy guests.

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Since most of us have been indulging in rich meals most of the time, I had decided to come out with a healthy beverage to help you all in detoxification. LOL~ 😛 I called this drink – Healthy Detox Juice with Crystal Pineapple and it’s full of digestion-boosting enzymes. You can either juice or blend the ingredients. However, I only have a blender in hand, thus I just sieved the end product and pour it into a glass filled with a scoopful of the Gartien’s Seasonal Crystal Pineapple Confiture. Just top up with some ice cubes and you can start enjoying your refreshing drink. The recipe is rather easy as you need to blend in just a green apple, 10 mint leaves, a cup of fresh coconut water, a teaspoon of honey and a mini pinch of salt. Sieve and serve chill.

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You can also check out Nicole’s Homemade Delicacies. She came out with a nice Crystal Pineapple Cheese Cake to share with some of us. Nicole is not new in the game of making and baking delicious homemade cakes. Some of her orders include Mango Cake, Belgium Chocolate Cake, Party Cupcakes, Tambun Biscuit, Bak Kua, Bak Hu and so on. Do check out her FaceBook for more information. Please also take not that she’ll also be producing the limited edition of Crystal Pineapple Cheese Cake for the month of May 2015. You can call Nicole Ann Ng at +6012-492 1648 to make your order now~ 🙂

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Overall, I personally feel that this is a great add-on product to ease many kitchens. Not only will it save a long period of time in pepping up some confiture for a dish, it also adds some boosting flavors to many dishes. In short, it’s a miraculous creation for just any dish, from meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables to desserts. I have created some recipes here and let’s see what else you can create with this product. So, go grab a bottle or more at Gartien now before the season is over. Lastly, let’s hope Gartien can keep the supplies ongoing by coming out with other pineapple species as well?

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Name: GARTIEN @ 小田佳園
Address: 380, Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 0068
Website: www.gartien.com
Email: [email protected]
FaceBook: www.fb.gartien.com/
Business Hours: 9.00am-6.00pm
GPS: 5.416298, 100.329380

 

Who would say that no one could ever prosper in local product businesses in Penang? One great example would be Gartien(小田佳園), a local manufacturer of pineapple cakes, which obtained their raw pineapples from nearby plantations throughout the southern part of mainland Penang. The Penang Hokkiens would depict pineapples as “Ong Lai! Ong Lai!”, which would translate as “Endless Flow of Prosperity!” in simple English – a great omen to start any business, especially with pineapple products. Within a short two years, Gartien had expanded from a humble heritage unit to double multi-storey units, with more state-of-the-art equipments to cater to the ever increasing demands of its customer. It was indeed an honor for me to be invited to be present at the grand opening of the new Gartien on 20 July 2014. Gartien – a confectionery company set up by a Penang boy, using Penang’s own natural resources to make Penang’s own pride product to promote to the rest of the world – Gartien Pineapple Cakes. Thumbs up!

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The grand opening of Gartien was officiated by YB Dr. Afif bin Bahardin, Pengerusi Pertanian & Industri Asas Tani, Pembangunan Luar Bandar dan Kesihatan, witnessed by Joseph Tan, Gartien’s Pastry Chef, YB Teh Lai Heng, State Assemblyman of KOMTAR, Tuan Haji Ahmad, Pengarah Pertanian Pulau Pinang, Dato Dr. Kenny Ong, Group Executive Chairman of MTT Group of Companies and Mr. Lee See Hai, main supplier/partner.

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(Left to Right) Tuan Haji Ahmad, YB Teh Lai Heng, YB Dr. Afif bin Bahardin, Joseph Tan, Mr. Lee See Hai & Dato Dr. Kenny Ong

The guests-of-honors also unveiled the new Gartien Mid Autumn edition of the pineapple cakes with vibrant and attractive packaging.

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GARfield, the long distance relative of GARtien, also came all the way to witness the grand occasion~ LOL~ 😛

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The grand opening was witnessed by dignitaries, media, bloggers and invited guests. Finger food items catered by Bamboo Catering were also provided during the occasion.

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What makes Gartien Pineapple Cakes so in demand by its loyal fans? Firstly, each delectable piece of the pineapple cakes is filled with strict quality controlled fresh homegrown pineapples cubes minus the preservative and artificial colorings. Thus, you would have pure bites instead of puree. Secondly, it took the pastry chef months of painstaking research and development (R&D) to come out with the perfect ratio for the perfect bite. Each piece of the pineapple cakes is affectionately handcrafted to ensure the right combination of shortbread pastry and filling based on its strict standard operation procedures (SOP). The end product would be an aromatic, crumbly, buttery shortbread pastry with a healthy level of sweetness from the freshly simmered brunoised pineapples. Each guilt-free piece of the pineapple treats would best to go with a cup of hot and unsweetened tea such as Oolong (烏龍茶), Jasmine (茉莉花茶), Ginseng Tie Guan Yin (人參鐵觀音), Earl Grey with a slice of lemon and more.

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Alternatively, these yummy snacks would also go well with unsweetened flower teas such as Rose, Lavender, Butterfly Pea, Chrysanthemum and more.

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PROMOTION FOR MID AUTUMN 2014:

BY 4 AUGUST 2014:
In order to get your FREE BOX of Gartien 小田佳园 Pineapple Cakes with EVERY 5 BOXES purchased, please submit your pre-order form by 4 August 2014 at http://gartien.com/shop/

5 AUGUST 2014 onwards:
In order to get your FREE BOX of Gartien 小田佳园 Pineapple Cakes with EVERY 10 BOXES purchased, please submit your pre-order form at http://gartien.com/shop/

Note: Each box is fixed price throughout the year. The selling price per box with 10 pieces of pineapple cakes is RM45 (self collect only). A fix courier charge of RM10 & RM40 will be applicable to all deliveries within Peninsular Malaysia & East Malaysia respectively.

So, what did Garfield think about Gartien’s pineapple cakes? Well… He would forgo his favorite lasagna for awhile~ LOL~ 😛

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

Finding the bakery won’t be hard as it is situated right in the heart of George Town, Penang. If you are coming from KOMTAR along Jalan Penang via Jalan Magazine, you would see the outlet just next to the famous Kek Seng Coffee Shop (格成茶室). Parking can be quite limited since it’s a main road. However, the good news is that Gartien had recently worked out a deal with the management of Hotel Central. You can now park your car at their car park via Lorong Bertam and Gartien can stamp your parking ticket for free parking. How convenient it is now, right? 🙂

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Name: GARTIEN @ 小田佳園
Address: 380, Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 0068
Website: www.gartien.com
Email: [email protected]
FaceBook: www.fb.gartien.com/
Business Hours: 9.00am-6.00pm
GPS: 5.416298, 100.329380

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

 

Note: The Pre-order stock at RM38/box for CNY2014 have been sold out. There are only a few boxes left for walk in customers at RM45/box. First come first serve only.

As Chinese New Year 2014 is just around the corner in late January 2014, many families are beginning to jot down their annual customary list of what gifts to present to their relatives and friends. Why not consider Pineapple Cakes? Pineapples carry a deep meaning in the Penang Hokkien dialect – “Ong Lai”, meaning “Prosperity Comes”, a great omen to start a new year. This year, Gartien (小田佳園), a local pineapple cakes manufacturer, located within a heritage house along Lorong Macalister, Penang, took bold steps in coming out with totally new packaging designs. The box is now bigger and dawns in elegant bright red color with gold stampings, while the little pineapple cake packages have Chinese ink printing of Peony (Mudan/牡丹) flowers, the theme set for Chinese New Year 2014. Each box with 10 pieces of freshly made pineapple cakes would be priced at RM45/box effective 30 December 2013 onwards. However, if you make your pre-order before the start of 2014, you would still be given a promotional price of RM38/box. Even before the production of the new packages, more than 500 boxes have been pre-booked. Thus, only a limited quantity of pineapple cakes are left for grabs (Only 250 boxes weekly for 4 weeks effective 30 December 2014). There is also a BONUS for all! For every 10 boxes ordered/bought, you can either opt for another box of pineapple cakes FREE if you collect them yourself or get your postage WAIVED if you are residing within Peninsular Malaysia. Last day for collection is on 26 January 2014. Hurry now to place your order to avoid any disappointment!

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You might ask, “Why Gartien Pineapple Cakes?” The reason is simple. As Malaysians, we ought to support our own local products. The pineapple filling itself is 100% home grown in Nibong Tebal, Penang, carefully handpicked and processed under strict quality control right in the heart of George Town, Penang. Secondly, the pineapples are brunoised instead of blended into puree. You would get pure bites on the texture. Combined with the hand crafted fresh pastry with the right fluffiness plus milky buttery flavors, it’s a snack that would leave many consumers yearning for more. What more it’s a great tea time snack to go with a cup of unsweetened tea.

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

Finding the bakery won’t be hard as it is situated right in the heart of George Town, Penang. If you are coming from KOMTAR along Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, just keep to your left. Immediately when you see Hong Leong Bank, turn left into Lorong Macalister. Drive on for about another 200m and you would see the shop on your left right before Lorong Bertam.

GARTIENMAP

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

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

 

From the largest and famous Fengjia Night Market (逢甲夜市) in Taichung, Taiwan, emerged a delicious new concept Taiwanese snack called Squidto (黄金贼) which had endless queues of seafood enthusiasts lining up nightly to have their boost of the mouth watering snack. This succulent deep fried Argentina-imported giant squid stuffed with seafood baked rice snack has finally arrived with the sole franchise outside Taiwan outlet located at Basement 1 Gurney Plaza, Penang.

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Just take a look at the mock at the counter and you would be amazed at how gigantic each squid snack is in comparison to the pen size. Each of the Argentina-imported giant squid would be evenly sized at approximately 6 inches each. Wow! That would be huge for a snack. Some diners were believed to even consume it as a main meal since it had the 3 basic items such as vegetables (julienned cabbage), protein (deep fried squid) and starch (seafood baked rice).

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Prior to being deep fried in a timely preset fryer, each of the squid would be coated in a specially imported breadcrumbs mixture which gave the snack a crispy exterior while maintaining the moist and juiciness within.

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The stuffing for the squid can be quite filling as it used a special graded rice grains which had the glutinous rice texture. Cooked almost similar to how the Italians would cook their risotto, this creamy stuffing had many secret ingredients added in. Visually you can find some finely diced kani crabstick, baby anchovies, baby dried shrimps, finely chopped squid bits and corn kernels with light hints of sweetness and saltiness coming from some onions, butter and cheese. It was not bad at all as the taste from the stuffing was not too strong to overpower the freshness of the squid.

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Basically, the squids were all coated and deep fried in the same way, except for the choice of different dressings. There are 4 standard international flavors available such as the French Honey Mustard Sauce (法式蜂蜜芥末醬), Japanese Sesame (Goma) Sauce (日式和風芝麻沙拉醬), Thai Hot & Sour Sauce (泰式酸辣醬) and Italian Basil Green Sauce(意式羅勒青醬). Other local flavors would also be available for limited period such as the currently promote Cheesy Sauce (奶酪醬). Though the French and Thai sauces remained the two top favorite in Taiwan, my personal liking would be for the French and Italian sauces. As for visual only, here are the 4 standard flavors as shown in the photo below. You are allowed to CHOOSE ONE FLAVOR ONLY. All the 4 standard orders would cost RM8.90nett each while other flavors under promotion might differ such as the Cheesy Sauce set at RM9.90nett. Other promotion included One Set Plus One Drink at RM10.80nett.

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Here’s a comparison between the flavors for the French Honey Mustard Sauce versus the Japanese Sesame (Goma) Sauce here. The former sauce is definitely the best choice for deep fried and grilled items. The Goma Sauce on the other hand needed some acquired taste. I would personally prefer the latter sauce to be dressed on vegetables rather than protein.

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The Thai Hot & Sour Sauce and Italian Basil Green Sauce were quite acceptable by all. The Taiwanese liked the Thai Hot & Sour Sauce more but I found it to be too mild to my liking. Instead, I prefer the Italian Basil Green Sauce more as I love the taste of herbs and spices more.

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There are only 2 types of drinks available here such as the Iced Honey Green Tea (RM2.90nett) and Iced Winter Melon Tea (RM2.90nett). Both beverages were just at an acceptable level considering that they are not the expert in tea drinks.

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Overall, the flavors for the items are within the acceptable level. It would be best to consume the items at the outlet as takeaways might get cold too soon and affect the quality of crispiness and juiciness.

Find your way to Gurney Plaza and use the escalator to go one level down to the basement. As you reach the basement, turn right and walk towards the middle and you would see the outlet right in between Scallop-Q and Mr Teppanyaki. You won’t miss it as it has a steady flow of customer there almost always.

SQUIDTOMAP

Name: SQUIDTO (黄金賊) @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address: 170-B1-K5, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-481 3832, 017-400 3618
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437391, 100.309453

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

 

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About Me

Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

By the way, you might not notice it but CRIZ BON APPETITE is iPhone/Mobile Compatible. Please do feel free to hop over to http://ip.crizfood.com to get the latest updates! If you want to contact me for any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at crizlai [at] hotmail [dot] com. Spamming would not be tolerated – you are being tracked here!

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