CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Chinese New Year 2016 approaching real soon and it’s time to celebrate the auspicious occasion with lots of delicious cuisine. I know… time could be bad with the Malaysian currency dropping so drastically against foreign currencies and overspending could be quite an issue if your household finance is not monitored properly. However, it does not mean that you could not celebrate better than the years before. Instead of being squandered by most traders nearing Chinese New Year, let’s take the opportunity to take advantage of the forthcoming Natural Frozen Seafood Mega Sales organized by Golden Fresh Sdn. Bhd. at its warehouse, Butterworth Iceworks Sdn. Bhd., from 10.00am until 7.00pm on 21-22 January 2016. Various seafood and seafood products are up for grab on these 2 days. It’s a “Cash & Carry” sale while stock last. In line with being environmental friendly, please bring along your own carriers.

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To find out what are the items on offer, you can view the 25 slides with 50 items in the slideshow below:




If you are coming out from the ferry terminal, just drive straight into Jalan Chain Ferry and drive on until you see a Shell petrol kiosk on your left (as well as right). Drive up until the traffic lights and turn right into Jalan Kapal. You can see Restoran Nasi Kandar Al-Bismi Maju at the corner unit. Drive on until you see Lengkok Kapal on your left. Drive in further and you can see the Butterworth Ice Works factory on your right. Alternatively, if you are driving via Penang Bridge, turn left into the second exit leading to Megamall. Drive on Jalan Baru until you see a flyover. Drive up the flyover and turn right into Jalan Chain Ferry. Drive all the way, crossing over Sungai Perai until you see a tall metallic silver building (Wisma Unimech) on your left. Drive on until you see the traffic lights and turn left into Jalan Kapal. Perodua Service Center is just opposite at the corner unit. You can also see a sign leading you to Taman Limbungan Indah/Econsave Butterworth. Drive all the way until the end and you would see the factory on your right.

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Name: BUTTERWORTH ICEWORKS SDN. BHD.
Address: 4402 Jalan Chain Ferry, 12100 Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-333 3388
Business Hours: 10.00am-7.00pm (21 & 22 January 2016 only)
GPS: 5.397600, 100.378252

 

Celebrating Chinese New Year with banquet spreads is not something new for Vistana Hotel Penang Bukit Jambul as they have been doing so with tremendous support from the corporate and public sectors for quite many years. However, this year diners would have a bonus as the Hong Kong Master Chef Ng Wing Lam with more than 40 years of culinary experiences from Hong Kong and Asia, has been specially flown in to impress us with his cooking skills. The Chinese New Year Yee Sang Banquet 2016 promotion would start from 18 January 2016 until 22 February 2016 (Lunch: 12.00pm-3.00pm & Dinner: 7.00pm-10.00pm). For more information, you can email [email protected] or call +604-646 8000 for enquiries and reservations.

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You have an option to choose from the menu as shown below with pricing starting as low as RM618++ per table for 10 persons.

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However, the hotel does also provide the flexibility to customize your dishes as what we had earlier. Here are what we had for the 8-course banquet dinner which was priced around RM688++.

Of course the main highlight of the dinner was the Salmon Yee Sang which had additional add-ons such as jellyfish, freshly julienned carrot and radish plus some deep fried julienned yam on top of the usual other ingredients. I quite like the crunchiness of the overall dish minus the overpowering sweetness as you get from some of the eateries out there.

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On the other hand, the Braised Pumpkin Soup with Assorted Seafood was something quite unique. The starchy soup with mild sweetness from the braised pumpkins combined with the sweetness from the added minced chicken, crab meat and prawns plus some tofu cubes, was something simple and yet appetizing.

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We also had Steamed Red Lion Fish with Superior Soy Sauce. No doubt the fish was extremely fresh and the texture was just right. However, the chef might have been a bit light handed as I could not taste the significant sweetness and saltiness from the sauce. Moreover, I would think that a light sprinkle of garlic oil would have given the taste more justice.

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Next on the list was their Home-Style Whole Chicken with Mushrooms. Well, the dish might look colorful and impressive from the first glance with lots of vegetables and mushrooms scattered everywhere. However, I personally felt that gravy lacked the flavors from the roasted whole chicken. It was just another starchy gravy dish in the menu. It would be great if the kitchen could pick up the unused roasted parts of the chicken, simmer to extract the smoky flavors and infuse the juice into the solely oyster sauce gravy to pep up the flavors more.

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We also did try out their Deep Fried Crispy Prawns with Yellow Beans and Mayo. It was indeed an appetizing and palatable dish with a bit of crunchiness from here and there. However, the kitchen should monitor the frying time as some pieces could tend to be a bit chewy to my liking.

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The Braised Garden Vegetables with Assorted Mushrooms might not be an ideal choice to add on into your selection of dishes as it tend to be too much starchy dish with the same flavors in one go. Alternatively, the kitchen should reconsider other type of gravy base instead of the of oyster sauce. It might be wise to use either scallop or abalone sauce instead.

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The Wok Fried Rice with Anchovies and Chicken might look simple but it was a mouthful of flavors. The deep fried baby anchovies garnished on the rice indeed pepped up the dish further. However, it would be great if some chopped spring onion, deep fried shallots or even pounded deep fried sole fish were to be added in to boost up the flavors even more.

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The dessert was just Ginger Tea with Red Dates and Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls. The tea was rather mild from gingery flavor and significant the sweetness from the red dates. Maybe it was my personal preference but I would love a stronger ginger taste. As for the black sesame glutinous rice balls, it would be great if some pounded roasted peanuts were to be added in for that extra bite.

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Overall, the spread of dishes for the banquet could be quite fulfilling considering that the hotel does provide the flexibility to change your dishes to the ones which suit your taste buds better. However, the pricing might differ compared to the standard options in the menu. As for taste, the dishes could be a bit better than most hotels’ banquet courses but more localized in flavors. The ballroom can only cater up to 500 pax at one time, so do email [email protected] or call in +604-646 8000 to make your advance reservations to avoid any disappointment.

The ballroom is located at the left side as you enter the hotel lobby of Vistana Hotel Penang along Jalan Bukit Gambir. You can park your car at the basement which would require you to get a magnetic card from the receptionist to scan your way out.

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Name: GROUND FLOOR BALLROOM @ VISTANA HOTEL PENANG
Address: 213 Jalan Bukit Gambir, 11950 Bukit Jambul, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604- 646 8000
Business Hours: 12.00pm-3.00pm (lunch) & 7.00pm-10.00pm (dinner) – (18 January until 22 February 2016)
GPS: 5.336334, 100.291527

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: 7/10 (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)

 

Let’s start the coming Chinese New Year by having lots of “Lou Sang”, an age-old custom in ancient Chinese tradition and culture, symbolizing “upward” health, wealth, luck and happiness in abundance during each brand new year. This year, Swez Brasserie at Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be offering various dinner packages for your reunions from 6.00pm until 10.30pm on 7-9 February 2016 or even Hi-Tea from 12.00pm until 3.00pm on 8-9 February 2016. It could be a table of feasting with your close associates/friends and family members or it could be fresh seafood spreads with unique dishes buffet. Please take note that for the buffet dinner, advanced booking with full payment before 24 January 2016 would be entitled to a 20% discount.

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Do check out the posters below for more details.

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Let’s have a peep at some of dishes to be served for the buffet dinner promotions below.

At the Salad Bar & Soup Sections, you would get to try out dishes such as the Fortune Yee Sang with Condiments, Classic Szechuan Hot & Spicy, Fresh Greens with Dressings, Hot Bread Rolls, a Variety of Cheese, Pickles, Mixed Salads, Sushi and Sashimi. The Yee Sang was great with fresh salmon slices and the Szechuan Soup was heavenly pepped up with lots of ingredients.

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For seafood lovers, you would be impressed with their Seafood on Ice Section where at least 8 Types of Fresh Seafood with Condiments would be served on the day. Of course, the main attraction would be their juicy and succulent Alaskan Crabs.

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Their Hot Dishes Section would one great area to indulge in many newly concocted dishes such as Curry Leave Thai Sweet Kapar, Romeo Sour Curry Fish, Juliet Coconut Squid, Tandoori Lamb Chop with Cucumber Raita, Pan Fried Fish with Saffron Sauce, Creamy Mix Seafood with Cheese, Angel Hair with Bolognese Sauce, Wok Fried Tiger Prawn with Salted Egg Gravy, Stir-fried Broccoli with Mushroom & Sea Cucumber and Pineapple Fried Rice. Although all the dishes were to my liking, my main preferences would still be the Tandoori Lamb Chop with Cucumber Raita, Angel Hair with Bolognese Sauce and Wok Fried Tiger Prawn with Salted Egg Gravy.

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The Dessert Section could be real abundance with selections such as Assorted Fruit Platter, Nyonya/Malay Kuih, Chocolate Fountain, Berries Mizu, Red Velvet, Classic Cheese Cake, Waffle with Condiments, French Pastries, House Pudding, Sweet Roll in the Heart, Jellies and Lovely Banana Chocolate Crumble with Vanilla Sauce.

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For Yee Sang Takeaway with various toppings, you can check out the poster below.

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If you missed out the dinners on 7-9 February 2016, you could always check out their other offers such as their “Seafood Esplora Il Mare” Buffet Dinner on all Fridays and Saturdays.

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Overall, I do find the buffet spreads under the supervision of the new Executive Sous Chef, Chef Johnno Fong, to be quite extraordinary compared to the buffets I had at the same venue for the past few years. The dishes served indeed did set the whole atmosphere to be in celebrative moods. However, I do find the dessert section lacked of some Chinese influence as most were basically Western and Nyonya/Malay cakes and bakes. They should have come out with something like steamed glutinous rice cakes with grated coconut, lo han guo infused snow fungus with dried longan soup, red beans filled sesame balls, glutinous rice ball in ginger syrup, fish shaped crystal jelly, pineapple tarts, peanuts cookies, fortune cookies and more.

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

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

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

 

Mahatma Gandhi once quoted “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” How true this saying is as our own health lies within our own control. No matter how much materialism one would pursue, without proper health nothing could be accomplished well, physically and mentally. That’s how bad it was for me during the last three quarters of 2014, going through bouts of stress related illness, rather than maintaining a healthier lifestyle. This year, to usher in the Wooden Green Goat for this coming Chinese New Year, it’s all about organic and earthly diets that I have to take heed. Coincidentally, Idealite – Malaysia’s First Wholesome Dining Place had come out with meatless, gluten-free, MSG-free, lactose-free, etc healthy menu for me to kick start a brand new 2015. Let’s start by “Lou Sang”, an age-old custom steeped in ancient Chinese tradition and culture, to wish for “upward” health, wealth, luck and happiness in abundance during this coming Chinese New Year.

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Idealite has a few package options for this Chinese New Year with 2 packages (RM488 and RM688) for a table of 10 pax and 2 set meals (RM128.88 & RM168.88) for 3-4 pax. You can click on the poster below for a clearer view of the dishes served.

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For the abovementioned packages and set meals, each table with be given a complimentary plate of Lou Sang worth RM48.88 and RM28.88 respectively. Instead of the commercialized Lou Sang with dried and pickled items, all ingredients in Idealite’s Lou Sang are fresh produce such as cucumber, pumpkin, carrot, beetroot, red cabbages, jicama, lettuce, tomatoes, mint leaves, pomelo, Mandarin oranges, ginger flower, cashew nuts, seaweed & spring roll crackers and topped with their homemade special sauce. The whole combination was superb.

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To start off the meal, we had the RM488 full course package and a few other notable options from the RM688 package. The starter was the Smooth & Happy Appetizer which consisted of 4 dishes such as the Harmony & Peace Scallops (Eryngii Mushroom), Pattaya Salad (Sea Bird Nest), Happy Mutton (Monkey Head/Hericium Mushroom) and Dumplings.

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Next on the menu was the Nourishing Soup filled with different varieties of mushrooms, some wolfberries, infused with a light herbal flavored soup base and thickened with some egg white. This was one of my favorite dishes in the menu. However, it would be better if the kitchen were to use wet bean curd to keep the dish as vegan as possible.

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The Hong Kong originated Treasure Pot (commonly known as Poon Choi or Phen Cai) was a hit amongst us. If you are a fan of all the different varieties of mushrooms, you would surely love the rich yet earthly flavors from the treasure pot. The dish has about 15 types of ingredients and would be sufficient for me to get my appetite growing.

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The Wealth & Prosperity Taro Fish was one unique dish that I fell in love with. The painstaking hours of combining mashed taro with oat milk and skillfully shaped the concoction into the shape of a fish is worth mentioning here. With a light drizzle of hot oil to make the outer crust crispy while maintaining the moist within, the “fish” combined with a somewhat spicy sweet sauce complemented each other well. The only setback was that the “fish” was too big and very filling. I won’t mind if the kitchen could come out with some stuffing for the “fish” in near future.

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We were also served with the Fortune Claypot Rice. This dish may not look that impressive but it was filled with flavors. It had a light hint of herb flavors, lots of fresh ingredients with some crispy “salted fish”. The whole concoction was not as “sinful” as the name since it did not contain any meat at all.

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Lastly, it was the Fruitful Year, a dessert of the day. We had a nicely simmered snow fungus in a naturally jujubes sweetened soup with added wolfberries.

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We also did try out two items from the RM688 package. The first one was the Ideal Fo Tiao Qiang, an aromatic yet nourishing soup to rejuvenate your body against lethargy and other sickness. The two main herbs found here consisted of ginseng and dang gui which have been traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to maintain the well being of the consumer.

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We also tried out the Auspicious Golden Crispy Salmon which was actually made from a combination of carrots and oat milk. this was served with their homemade condiment of a white sauce.

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Overall, you can be assured that the dishes served here are extremely healthy for the palate of all diners. Compared to when Idealite first started in Penang with only a few selection of dishes, the restaurant now had evolved into a wholesome dining place to be loved by many, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan or a meat eater. Once awhile it’s great to get some detox over here, not solely from the vegetables and fiber served but also to strengthen your digestive systems from their homemade enzyme which can be found in some of their dishes.

It’s not hard to find Idealite at it’s located just two shop houses away from Hotel Waterfall (Little Cottage 2) and next to Double Dragon Inn Restaurant along Jalan Gottlieb. Parking spaces could be rather limited during weekends especially when Little Cottage 2 is having their weekend buffet.

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Name: IDEALITE – MALAYSIA 1ST WELLNESS EDUCATIONAL RESTAURANT(品味舒食 – Beside Waterfall Hotel)
Address: 27C Jalan Gottlieb, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 3650
Business Hours: 8.00am-8.00pm (Closed on Monday)
GPS: 5.430574, 100.299698

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

 

Apart from their spread of dishes inspired by their international acclaimed Chinese chefs, this year Dragon-i Group of Restaurants again would introduce their Spring Festival Special Treasure Pot, a symbol of love and affection during this festive reunion. A few of us recently managed to pay a visit to one of their branches here at Queensbay Mall, Penang, headed by seasoned Chinese cuisine chef, Chef Chau Sze Lun (周泗麟) from China. Dragon-i has a variety of delicious spread of cuisine from China especially from the regions of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou to cater to the increasing demands of locals as well as tourists in Penang.

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During this Chinese New Year 2014, the Dragon-i Group of Restaurants is giving all Malaysians the chance to enjoy the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot, either to dine-in or takeaway to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. The promotion is from 1 December 2013 until 28 February 2014. There will be two options available this season such as the Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM688++) and the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM388++). (Please click on the photo below for a clearer picture)

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The takeaway package for both the Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot and the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot is rather unique. Each selection would have the ingredients frozen in a high quality steel pot, a bottle of the respective high stock, placed in a heat-insulated gift bag. Each bag would be able to sustain the cold ingredients up to 4-5 hours. Thus, you would be able to bring your Abalone Treasure Pot for a long journey at ease, prior to easy reheating before your meal. Please take note that the take away service on 30 January 2014 (Chinese New Year’s Eve) is before 3.00pm. A minimum of 4 days is required for pre-orders. Here’s how the whole takeaway package would look like.

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Dragon-i’s Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM688++ for 8-10 pax) is specially concocted for customers who want something even more supreme and exquisite. It is packed with 18 premium delicacies, namely Braised Premium Chilean Abalone (10 heads), Premium Sea Cucumber, Shark’s Fin, Japanese Dried Scallops, Japanese Dried Oysters, Fish Maw, Goose Web, Roasted Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Pork Balls, Premium Mushrooms, Brazilian Matsutake Mushrooms, Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, Black Moss, Dried Beancurd Skin, Deep-fried Bean Curd Skin and Bamboo Piths in their Special Broth. It weighs a total of 9 lbs.

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What we tried that night was the Prosperity Treasure Pot (RM388++ for 6-8 pax). The Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot was packed with 18 delicacies as well such as Braised Premium Chilean Abalone (12 heads), Sea Cucumber, Japanese Dried Scallops, Japanese Dried Oysters, Premium Mushrooms, “Pantai Remis” Fresh Sea Prawns, Roasted Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Golden Money Bags, Pork Balls, Dried Bean Curd Skin, Yam, Black Moss, Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, Deep-fried Bean Curd Skin and Radish, all cooked in a superior Pork Bone Stock. It weighs a total of 9 lbs.

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Special Discount: For Dragon-i Card and Hong Leong Credit & Debit Card holders, the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot is now available at an amazing price of RM338++ (original price RM388++).

What amazed me more was the superior Pork Bone Stock, a simple clear soup base with rich bone flavors compared to the Poon Choi I had at Zi Zai Restaurant which had rather concentrated and complicated flavors from the flavored ingredients such as fermented beans and fermented bean curd. Overall, both eateries had their own unique soup concoction for this blessed dish.

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On top of that, they also do have Chinese New Year Set Meals at Dragon-i and Canton-i. You can check out the different packages here. This year, Dragon-i Group of Restaurants is also launching their “Blissful Combo” deal for takeaways. It would include seven delicious dishes, namely the two main dishes – Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meats @ RM48++ and Lao Sheng (Raw Salmon Fish with Jelly Fish Yu Sheng @ RM48++/RM68++ or Australian Abalone with Raw Salmon Fish Yu Sheng @ RM98++/RM138++). The other five dishes would include Braised Pork Knuckle Shanghainese Style (RM68++), Braised Chicken with Sea Cucumber and Abalone (RM118++), Traditional Char-Roast Goose (RM118++/RM198++), Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushrooms (RM68++) and Sautéed Mushroom with Five Treasure Vegetables (RM48++). (Please click on the photo below for a clearer picture)

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I would say they have one of the best Lao Sheng (Yee Sang) I have tasted. Not only was the dish filled with colors of prosperity, the fresh raw salmon fish fillets blend in real well with their specially pepped up sauce. On top of that, it had just the right sweetness and moist to my liking.

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On the other hand, there was also the Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meats. Each mouthful, you can practically taste out the premium-quality waxed meats, good grade mushrooms and fresh crunchy vegetables. The skillful “wok hei” frying sure did added in some bonus flavors to this delicious dish.

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We were also served with Braised Pork Knuckle Shanghainese Style. The dish also came with some added deep fried hardboiled eggs and vegetables. The tender and juicy prok knuckle would surely go well with some steamed rice.

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During this Chinese New Year, with every purchase of Dragon-i blissful products which include our Auspicious Glutinous Rice Cake, Radish Cake with Dried Scallops & Preserved Meats, and Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus, we will donate RM10 to World Vision Malaysia. The donation will be used to bring Gifts of Hope in the form of animals and agricultural aid to poor communities living in the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Do check out more on their website at www.dragon-i.com.my.

You can also add in some of their signature dishes such as their Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings/小籠包 – RM10.30++) while waiting for the treasure pot to be heated up or even order their Water Chestnut Cream with Sea Coconut (清潤海底椰焞馬蹄露 – RM8.00++) as after meal dessert.

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Name: DRAGON-i @ QUEENSBAY MALL
Address:
2F-115, 2F-116, 2F-117 & 2F-118, Queensbay Mall, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-646 6888
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm, 10.30am-10.00pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.333482, 100.306757
Website: www.dragon-i.com.my

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

 

With Chinese New Year 2014 coming up real soon, what would be the best thing to do to usher in the Year of the Wood Horse? Of course, we would feast with family and friends at reunion dinners. Where’s the latest place in town to get great ambience and great food to celebrate this auspicious celebration? Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hotel, Bandar Perai Jaya, Penang, would be an ideal choice. The Chinese New Year Promotion would be available from 30 January 2014 until 1 February 2014, 6.00pm-10.00pm. Thanks to the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of Executive Chef, Chef Aikaun Beh and his team, you would get to try out his skillful and tasty “pork free” dishes this coming Chinese New Year.

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To usher in the Year of the Wood Horse, do check out Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hote’s Chinese New Year Prosperous Reunion 8-course Dinner packages. There would be 2 options for the RM698++ and RM888++ packages. Check out the menu below:

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A few of us managed to try out a few dishes from both the packages. As starter, all packages would be having the Ixora Rainbow Yee Sang Platter. Also commonly known as “Prosperity Toss”, the word Yee Sang has a play on Chinese homonyms with carries the meaning of “increase in abundance”, a symbol of “prosperity in abundance”. The salad is traditionally served on Ren Ri (人日/Human Day), the seventh day of Chinese New Year. The dish would consist of thin slices of raw fish (commonly salmon compared to the traditional way of using the limited supply of snakehead/ikan haruan), julienned vegetable pickles, various spices and condiments, tossed as high as possible by diners, another symbol of longevity.

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Another of the mouth slurping dish would be the Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Fish Maw, Black Mushrooms and Ginseng (from the RM888+ package). Each mouthful had the presence of richness with the extracts from the added ginseng for extra energy and alertness. The soup was extremely good.

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There would also be the Traditional Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallops (from the RM698+ package). The usages of dried scallops and high broth stock used, with some crabmeat and fish maw, ensured a bowlful of rich indulgence. This was another great bowl of soup.

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Another impressive dish would be their Deep Fried Boneless Chicken with Kerabu Mango Sauce (from the RM698+ package). The crispiness of the finely marinated chicken pieces combined with the ginger bulb flower infused mango sauce was very appetizing.

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We also had the Wok Fried Oatmeal Butter Prawns (from the RM698+ package). It was nothing fanciful for this dish except that the freshness of the prawn species used by the kitchen scored above the rest in the same industry. The prawns were juicy and succulent with the added fragrance from the butter and oatmeal.

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When I saw the Braised Broccoli with Bailing Mushrooms, Pacific Clams and Sea Asparagus (from the RM698+ package), I had the perception that it was going to be the normal starch filled banquet dish. I was wrong. The flavors were remarkably perfect for my palate. It had hints of garlic and abalone sauce usages, a more premium taste than the common used oyster sauce.

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The Steamed Red Lion Fish with Hot and Spicy Szechuan Sauce (from the RM698+ package) was another perfect dish. The freshness of the fish with a texture of a cross between red snapper and sea bass went well with the sweet and mild sour sauce, garnished with lots of julienned spring onions, red chilies and deep fried young ginger.

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Surely there would be some long noodles to symbolize longevity in such a reunion dinner, namely the Stir Fried Empire Noodles with Seafood and Vegetables (from the RM888+ package). The flavorful and high wok heat filled noodles (皇帝面/Emperor’s Noodles) had some added prawns and batter fried fish fillet. It was delicious.

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Every Chinese dinner would normally end with a sweet dessert to archive our sweet memories for any event. Slow Boiled White Fungus with Ginkgo Nuts Red Dates, Dried Longan & Lotus Seeds (from the RM888+ package) was served.

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On top of the Chinese New Year Prosperous Reunion 8-Course Dinner above, you can also check out their Prosperous Shou Gong Dinner packages, available from 1-29 January 2014, from 12.00pm-10.00pm. There are also 2 options available on the menu for 2 packages – RM698++ and RM798++. Each package can accommodate 10 pax. Do check out the menu below for a clearer view of the dishes available.

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You can also check out their Chinese Style Wok Fried Cuisine Promotion (1 January 2014-28 February 2014, 12.00pm-10.00pm). Portions would come in 2 sizes – Regular or Large with prices starting from RM10.00++/dish onwards. Won’t it be nice to have such a cozy and comfortable place to dine away from the torment of the unpredictable weather? You can click on the menu below for a clear picture of what the kitchen would be offering.

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Here are some of the dishes we had tried earlier. We started off with Fish Ball Seaweed Soup. The flavorful soup with curative properties would be great to start off a meal.

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All of us were impressed by the next dish which was the Crispy Mint Sauce Chicken, a fusion of East and West. The crispy chicken slices went well with the mint and mayonnaise combination of sauce.

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The Stir Fried Fish Fillet with Bean Paste Sauce was also one of my favorites. The fish was juicy within the crusted batter fritters and the sweet salty sauce complemented each other real well.

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We also tried out their signature Deep Fried Prawns with Five Spices. This was another impressive dish with the aromatic spice flavors on the succulent fresh prawns.

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As for dessert, we had some Chinese Herbal Pudding with Honey. The mild bitter herb pudding went well with the sweet honey. However, I personally find that the texture was not as firm and springy as I would have expected.

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Last but not least, we also tried out the Taiwan Chinese Tong Yuen. The dessert had some big sugared sesame seeds filled and small plain tong yuen (glutinous rice balls) in a mildly sweetened syrup soup. Well, I was expecting something more unique for this dessert such as the tong yuen being served with red bean soup, soya milk or even in floral osmanthus concoctions. It would be great if the kitchen can come out with some more unique flavors.

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Overall, the dishes served here in the café can be remarkably interesting and flavorful. Thanks to the chef’s team for excelling in Chinese cuisine with a twist of Western fine dining presentation. For more information, please check out www.ixorahotel.com

Getting to the Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hotel won’t be hard as it’s just located next to the Megamall Shopping Complex at Bandar Perai Jaya. If you are coming from the island via the 1st Penang Bridge, just look out for the second exit on your left upon reaching the mainland. Drive all the way via Jalan Baru until you reach the 1st traffic lights. Turn left into Jalan Perai Jaya 1 and you can see Ixora Hotel at the junction of Jalan Baru/Jalan Perai Jaya 1. Drive straight for about 10m and you can see the basement car park on your left. Park your car and go up Level 1 and you can see the café & lounge there.

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Name: STRAITS CAFÉ & LOUNGE @ IXORA HOTEL
Address: Jalan Baru, Bandar Perai Jaya, 13600 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-382 8888
Business Hours: 6.00am-10.00am (breakfast), 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.00pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.378357, 100.398322

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: 8.5/10 (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)

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Chinese New Year’s Buffet and Chinese Odyssey Promotion for the month of February 2013 (1-28 February 2013). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Chinese Chef, Chef Cheah Teik Huat. You would be offered a variety of Chinese cuisine such as roasted duck spring rolls, braised black chicken with snow pear soup, steamed sea bass with superior sauce and many more to tempt your appetite.

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Of course, each Chinese New Year it’s a must to have Yee Sang. Normally, Yee Sang is to be taken on the 7th day of Chinese New Year to celebrate Ren Ri (人日), the Day of Humankind, when according to the Chinese legend, Goddess Nu Wa created humanity on this day. But today, it’s taken just any day as the act of tossing the mixed ingredients in the air symbolizes “moving upwards” with the wish for our fortune to rise even more during the forthcoming year. The Fresh Salmon Yee Sang (鮮鮭魚撈魚生) would also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013 at RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

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Another appetizer would be their Marinated Jellyfish with Shredded Chicken (海蜇凉拌雞絲). I quite like this dish as the jellyfish had that crunchiness, pepped up with a light spicy sweet sauce. However, the shredded chicken was a bit too dry to my liking due to the lack of dressing sauce. The dish would be better if a bit of coriander leaves being added in.

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The Roasted Duck with Mix Vegetables Spring Rolls (脆皮燒鴨春卷) was actually a disastrous dish for me. The usage of poh piah (spring roll) skin was just not right. The rolls tend to get rather soggy after awhile. I wondered why they did not use those egg crepes as served with Peking Duck.

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We were also served Double Boiled Black Chicken with Snow Pears Soup (雪梨燉黑雞湯). I must admit that the soup was filled with flavors with strong hints of sweetness from the pears and dates plus some usage of dong quai (當歸/Angelica sinensis).

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The Steamed Sea Bass with Superior Sauce (清蒸鱸魚配上等醬油) was simple but yet delicious. On top of the superior sauce being use, some slices of mushroom boosted up the flavor more. It would be great to have some sliced red dates added in too for some extra sweetness.

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The Braised Chinese Cabbage with Black Moss & Dried Oysters (燉白菜髮菜蠔乾) was somewhat different compared to how I would cook it. This dish has more gravy just like the banquet style of dishes. There were some added dried scallops. The dried oysters basically lost all the flavors into the gravy. It would be best if they were pan seared to lock in the flavors.

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Somehow the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns with Golden Pumpkin Sauce (南瓜醬炒大蝦) did not capture the appetite of most of us as the pumpkin sauce was too overpowering and hid the true flavors of the prawns. It would be better to just cook it the Kam Heong (Fragrant Fry) or Har Lok (Sweet Spicy) style where we get to taste the freshness of the prawns. Anyway, I don’t fancy tiger prawns being cooked this way too.

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As for dessert, we had Double Boiled Papaya with Fresh Milk (鮮牛奶燉木瓜). To some, it had a tad of bitterness but it was fine for me. However, I personally felt that the papaya used was rather too ripe. The whole concoction was like missing a bit of bites. Moreover, the dessert tasted rather mushy with traces of coagulated milk.

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Lastly, Baked Mandarin Orange Cheese Cake (烤橘子奶酪蛋糕) was served. Without knowing the name for the cake, I would have praised it heavenly for the balance in the usage of lemon zest was perfect. However, knowing that it was supposed to be mandarin orange flavor, I found it to lack that distinctive mandarin orange flavor. Moreover, only a small amount of orange flesh was noticeable.

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Overall, some of the dishes to be served during the Chinese New Year as well as during the Chinese Odyssey can be rather unique on its own. No doubt a bit of fusion can be quite good for a change but it defeated the purpose of celebrating the festive season with the taste of yesteryears since some of the dishes would only be cooked once a year during this season by many families. Other than that, it’s still a nice spread to welcome in the joyous Snake year.

Chinese New Year’s buffets and performances are listed as below:

Chinese New Year’s eve auspicious reunion buffet dinner with Yee Sang
9 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM98++ (adult), RM52++ (child)

Chinese New Year prosperity buffet dinner with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM88++ (adult), RM44++ (child)

Chinese New Year special dynasty Hi-Tea with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.00pm-3.00pm
RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)

Performances:
Meet & Greet the “Fok Lok Sau”: 9 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Chinese Orchestra Performance: 9, 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Meet & Greet the God of Prosperity: 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.30pm-1.30pm
Lion Dance performance: 11 Feb 2013, 10.00am

Fresh Salmon Yee Sang is also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013
Price: RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

Here’s the summary of the Chinese Odyssey Promotion.

CHINESE ODYSSEY PROMOTION (1-28 FEBRUARY 2013)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – ThursdayRM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank and VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Chinese Odyssey Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

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

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

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

 

HERBAL SOUP FOR YOUR FAVORITE HOT POT

Posted by crizlai On February - 22 - 2010

Instead of the usual stock for hot pot (steamboat) during this Chinese New Year reunion dinner, I had decided to opt for herbal stock. The ginseng enriched stock was a refreshing experience for my family. Are you aware that ginseng could help in stimulating the physical and mental activity of a tired or weak body? On top of that, it’s ideal for defending the body system from the effects of prolonged physical strain as well as a stimulant for the endocrine glands which would include the sex glands. Did I just say that? Haha! Anyway, it’s good for the general health of everyone.

The amazing part of brewing this stock would be that it’s concentrated. You could easily store in small containers and deep freeze it for your future cooking. The stock would be almost gelatin like with no preservative or seasoning. All you need to do is to add half a container of water to a container of stock and put in some pepper and salt to taste. It’s just as simple as that. Let me show you how you could create this HERBAL STOCK for your favorite hot pot. It’s mild anyway for the consumption of all ages.

INGREDIENTS:

Stock:
2kg pork bones (big bones/tua kut)
3 whole chicken bones
50gms ginseng roots (人參鬚/Panax schinseng roots)
20 sweetened dates
10 liter water

Serving:
Dried Chinese wolfberry (枸杞/kay chee/gouci/goji berry)
Pepper
Salt

PREPARATION:
1. Bring to boil 12 liters of water in a 20L pot.
2. Wash all the bones clean with salt and slowly put all of them into the big pot of boiling water. Add in the ginseng roots and dates. Lower the fire, close the pot partly with a lid and let it simmer for about 6-8 hours. Filter out all the bones and you would get about 6-7 liters of stock left.
3. Scoop the required amount of stock for your hot pot into a new pot. Add in half that amount of hot water (2:1). Add in some dried Chinese wolfberry (about less than 1 tablespoon will do as too much will make the soup turn sour). Bring to boil and sprinkle some pepper and salt to taste. NOTE: Try to be lighter in salt usage as some of the hot pot ingredients such as the meatballs and fish balls have salt in them. Thus the longer the hot pot boils, the saltier it will get. Anyway, I will be sharing the dipping sauce recipe next to allow you to adjust to your taste bud.

Recommended Vegetables for Hot Pot:
Crown daisy chrysanthemum leaves (tang oh/茼蒿) and other vegetables such as Chinese Cabbage (菜心/choy sum), cabbage, spring onions (tied up), young corn, mushrooms, etc. Please take note that the usage of too much Enoki mushrooms might cause the soup base to be sour.

Recommended Add-in for Hot Pot:
All types of meat and fish balls which would be available at your location, either fresh or frozen, chicken fillet slices and seafood of any kind such as crab, clam, mussel, squid, cuttlefish, prawn or fish.

Simple Alternative Soup with the stock:
– Chicken fillet slices, white fungus and ginkgo nuts.
– Chicken fillet slices, lotus seed and lily bulb (百合/bai he/ pak hup).
– Chicken with chopped water chestnut balls, cabbage and rice vermicelli.
– Pork dumpling (sui kow/水餃), Chinese cabbage (菜心/choy sum) and wonton noodles.

(Serves: 10 and above)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

MEMORABLE REUNION DINNER FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR 2010

Posted by crizlai On February - 18 - 2010

As you can see, I have been rather busy during this year’s Chinese New Year. There were just too many projects to handle prior to the forth coming long stretch of holidays in which some of my Chinese based suppliers would be closed for business for almost 2 weeks. On top of that, I was mostly in the kitchen preparing some feasting goodies prior to the reunion dinner. Those included a few of my own recipes which included my delicious concoction of oysters and scallops and 30 liters of home brewed Herbal Tea to serve my guests during their visits on a humid day.

This year was one of the rarest celebration moments in my family as it so happen that the Chinese New Year which fell on 14 February 2010 coincided with Valentine’s Day. It’s a FIVE-IN-ONE CELEBRATION for the Lai Family! The celebration included the reunion dinner to usher in the Tiger year, my brother’s birthday on the eve, Valentine’s Day, my brother’s lunar birthday as well as his wedding anniversary which fell on Valentine’s Day. It was indeed a fun-filled celebration.

This year’s reunion dinner dishes were somewhat unique compared to the previous ones. In fact, other than the purchases of different types of meat and fish balls, the steamboat stock was another new creation for the family. It was ginseng roots based herbal stock for the first time in our steamboat reunion dinner history. Simple as it may look but it took more than 8 hours of low fire simmering and tedious filtering just to cook this up. Our steamboat side dishes this year was rather simple as we had other extra dishes as well. They included lots of crown daisy chrysanthemum leaves (tang oh/茼蒿), cabbages, wolfberry, prawns, silver pomfret (tao tay fish), chicken drumstick fillet, hair moss fish balls, vegetable fish balls, squid balls, large meatballs, 3 different types of wolf herring (sai to/ikan parang/西刀) fish balls, prawn & pork dumpling (sui kow/水餃), seafood tofu, Fuzhou fish balls (福州魚丸/Hock Chew fish ball – stuffed with minced meat), fish dumplings (魚餃/hoo keow/thin fish batter skin stuffed with minced meat) and fried chopped garlic as garnishing. The whole experience was rejuvenating after so many days of tiring preparations.

What would be new to most families would be our unique dipping sauce. It’s definitely not any hoisin sauce, chopped garlic with bird’s eyes chilies in soy sauce or bottled chili sauce but a concoction of red sweet sauce (甜醬), ginger and chicken fat. The fragrant gingery sauce with each bite of meat, seafood or balls would surely make you yearn for more.

As it was rare to have my brother’s birthday on such an auspicious gathering, we totally ignored on the fat and cholesterol intakes. LOL! I ordered one of my favorite Korean food – Jokbal (족발 – RM77), glazed pig feet meat slices. I believed that Sa Rang Chae Korean Restaurant is the sole restaurant in Penang to have this wonderfully cooked dish. It caught my brother’s attention immediately as I saw him applying nonstop the accompanied sweet and/or salty sauces onto the accompanied lettuce endlessly. Cool! At least he’s happy. Err… what happened to your diet plan bro? 😛

Now comes the interesting part of the suspense since my last post on reserving some of my home cooked Hokkien Mee stock and chili paste for this new recipe. What would a birthday be without any birthday noodles? Let me introduce you to my latest fusion recipe – Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles! The delicious dish had yellow noodles carefully stir fried in thick prawn stock, dried shrimps, meat, prawns, fish cake and flowering Chinese cabbage (chye sim/chai sim/菜心) with deep fried crab stick strips and fried shallots as garnishing. You can adjust your level of spiciness by adding more of the chili paste. Everybody, inclusive my two teenage nieces could not stop having this dish as it had a unique seafood fragrant. The more you take this, the more you want it for every meal!

I will not touch on the recipes here but I will share the recipes in the next few posts. Wishing everyone one a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year! Do drive carefully if you are traveling! Check out for more update here soon.

REUNION EVENTS FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 28 - 2009

(Warning: This is another long post to cover the many reunions within the last 3 days)

There were so many reunions during the recent Chinese New Year celebration that I had practically lost track of what I had consumed for the last 3 days. LOL! In fact, the meals may look simple but the preparations for all the yummy goodies could be real tedious and tiring towards the end of the day. Let’s just look at the simple beverage itself. Most people would just buy those package/can/bottle drinks to serve their guests. I, on the other hand would brew my own preservative-free beverage to quench the thirst of my guests. Who would resist a drink which would relax the body and purify the blood systems on a hot and humid day? It sounded simple right? Try preparing 20 liters and you would see the amount of sweat dripping furiously down your forehead for the next 3 hours. Haha!

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The beverage is mainly formulated by boiling with water a combination of special grade and/or first grade of chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, liquorice/licorice roots and minimal sugar. Chrysanthemum can be remedies for anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antihypertensive, clears heat, disperses wind, soothes the liver and improves vision. Honeysuckle can clear heat, detoxify, detumescence, improves vision, evacuate chill, cure hot poisonous swollen disease, ache subcutaneous ulcer, hot warm disease, blood dysentery, haemorrhoids, throat aching and fever caused by internal hot or external infection, etc. Liquorice roots are commonly used in herbal formulae to relieve a spasmodic cough, to prevent cavities and to treat canker sores or ulcers.

My family reunion dinner has since switched to steamboat gathering for quite a few years already as it would at least ease my Mum from cooking up too many delicious dishes which would require days of preparations. Well, preparing steamboat dinner could be real tedious as well… for me. It would start from the “simple task” of buying of all the fish and meat balls, seafood, vegetables, boiling of stock and arranging the many varieties of items on small serving dishes. By the end of the day, I was even too exhausted to eat, needless to say to shoot too many photos of the annual event. Just to summarize everything, we had 20 types of fish and meat balls, tofu, mushrooms, chicken meat, pomfret, prawns, cuttlefish, sea cucumber, fish bladder, 3 types of vegetables and spinach noodles and all of them subsequently ended up in a hot pot of gelatin filled chicken/pork bones stock.

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There were a few of the fish balls that would be worth mentioning here. One of them caught the attention of all my family members. “Gosh! Are you going to ask us to eat that disgusting brain-like thing?” Seriously, the way the fish balls were produced, they do look like brains from one angle. If you display it the other way, they looked like cute flower blooms. The fish balls came in two flavors, plain and spinach flavored. In fact, they were not as flavorful as I had expected. They would surely be out from my list next year.

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Another two worth mentioning would be the seafood tofu and cheese fish balls. The seafood tofu pieces were smooth inside with some blended seafood and the cheese fish balls had creamy cheese oozing out with every mouthful.

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That was part of my family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year eve as I do not have more photos to share due to exhaustion. The first day of Chinese New Year went on with the usual visiting to my relatives’ houses. How I wished if not for the economy downturn this year, I would have collected more $$ in the ang pows (red packets). LOL!

Well the next reunion was with Mother Nature. Coincidentally, the first solar eclipse of 2009 fell on the first day of Chinese New Year, 26 January 2009, between 4.30pm and 7.00pm and Malaysians were to be able to watch the eclipse partially. With the bad gloomy weather and clouds of dark clouds floating about, it was a disappointment. All I caught was a patch of sunlight hidden behind some gloomy clouds. Let’s hope I would not miss it again this coming 22 July 2009, where it would be the longest total solar eclipse (almost 6 minutes) of the 21st century in Anji (near Hangzhou and Shanghai), China. Malaysians would be able to watch it partially from 10.34am.

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The night was another reunion with my Singapore friends. It was at another hidden treasure on Penang island itself with cool breeze and nice soothing background music which brought back many fond memories. I won’t touch on that at the moment but you could have a glimpse on how beautiful the place was.

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The second day of Chinese New was another yearly reunion at my aunt’s place with beautifully cooked and rich flavored dishes to yearn for. Being a part of my demise grandmother who was a great cook, my aunt had learned a lot in pepping up great dishes to make everyone craving for more. The first dish was very local – Fried Belacan Chicken (Shrimp Paste Fried Chicken). In fact, this dish is very famous in the Northern part of Malaysia. I would share the recipe in another post. The secret to this recipe is that the chicken had to be marinated with the specific amount of shrimp paste in order not to have the overpowering taste and smell. Secondly, the marinated pieces would have to be fired in high heat to get the crunchiness on the surface while maintaining the juiciness of the meat.

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The next dish may look simple but it has the fragrance from the specially prepared fried wheat vermicelli (mee suah). It has cabbages, Chinese mushrooms, button mushrooms and large prawns in it. It was a hit amongst my family.

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Choon Pneah or Spring Rolls was next. The process to prepare this crunchy dish was indeed very time consuming as it involved a lot of delicate work of chopping, cutting, mincing and frying of the filling before being wrapped together with fresh crabmeat in square spring roll skins. These would then be oil fried until golden. You could image how long it would take to extract the meat from the steamed crabs too. We had two of these spring rolls each as they were too delicious. Even the special sauce served with the spring rolls was specially prepared by brewing special soy sauce with mustard powder and accompanied by cut red chilies. Now you should know why they charged so much for each roll in restaurants. Haha!

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Here’s a glimpse of how the filling and unfried spring rolls looked like prior to frying.

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There was also a bowl of very richly cooked soup for everyone. The stock itself was boiled for hours using more than 6kg of rib bones. The stock was later filtered and boiled with choice chicken drumstick pieces, together with carrots, jicama slices, mushrooms, ginkgo nuts, fish bladder and served with steamed meatballs. Every single spoonful of the rich tasty soup left a sticky sensation to our lips. It was indeed the greatest soup I had in ages.

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As the meal came to the end, we had a simple yet fulfilling dessert – Canned Longan served with Shaved Grass Jelly and ice cubes.

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I would surely look forward to the next gathering at my aunt’s place next year. I wondered what else she would cook up next. After all the feasting during this festive season, I guessed I would have to go for more exercises. Now I know why some of the food bloggers were so busy this season as most of then were so engrossed in eating and having the fiesta of their lifetime… LOL!

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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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