CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Not many people are aware that along the quiet road of Jalan Pintal Tali (formerly named Rope Walk) housed a 130-year-old hotel building from the late 80’s. After refurbished and given a new lease of life, the hotel is now named 1881 Chong Tian Cultural Hotel, the first and the only Chinese heritage hotel in Malaysia with 7 differently designed rooms for rental and a private museum with all the artifacts from the era. Within the premises of this hotel lie two restaurants – Chinese and Western. I had the privilege to try out their Chinese cuisine recently.

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The Chinese dishes served here had a light touch of fusion, created by the experienced chef throughout his culinary journey. He’s none other than Chef Wah Seong (Wah Ah Keat).

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The first dish served was the Braised Duck With Preserved Mustard Cabbage (梅菜扒肥鴨- RM30++ for 1/2 Duck, RM60++ for Whole Duck). The dish was extremely good, considering that the flavors from the well managed preserved mustard cabbage (Mui Choy) was not over salty and the duck meat was juicy and tender. This is a must try dish~ 🙂

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The next dish was the Stir Fry Assorted Mushrooms with Fish Cake (潮州小炒皇). Other than Shitake and Bunapi Shimeji (White Beech) mushrooms being stir fried with their signature homemade fish cake, the dish has also some pickled Chinese cabbage, chive flowers and added chili slices to pep up the overall taste. It’s still a nice plate of dish although I prefer to have it minus the pickled cabbage but with added deep fried Chinese cruller (you tiao).

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We were also served with a claypot full of Fragrant Spicy Lime Prawns (香辣青檸蝦 – RM20++ Small, RM40++ Medium or RM60++ Large). This dish tasted almost like the Thai version of Lime Prawns with less herbs and spices used. Basically, there were lots of chopped garlic being used, some chili paste, sugar, lime juice with some roughly smashed up bird’s eye chilies. The overall taste was fine except that I found the spiciness was not up to my level~ Haha! 😛

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Another dish we had may look simple but it had the best flavors presence. It was the Fried Bean Curd with Minced Meat & Shrimps (辣子爆豆腐 – RM15++ Small, RM25++ Medium or RM35++ Large). Laced on the plate were some deep fried homemade bean curd topped with the chef’s specially concocted recipe – spicy sauced minced meat, chopped shrimps with hints of some dried shrimps being added and garnished with some chopped spring onions. I can have bowls of rice with just this dish. Thumbs up!

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As Chinese New Year is approaching real soon, you can also make your reservation for your family, friends or colleague gathering at 1881 Chong Tian Hotel. The package which I had tried earlier was RM588nett. It was a 8-course dinner. Overall, it was quite reasonable in terms of flavors.

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1881 Chong Tian Hotel is located along the center part of Jalan Pintal Tali. If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Lebuh Campbell, drive on until you have reach the third junction on your right. Turn right into Jalan Pintal Tali and you would see the brightly lighted up heritage hotel on your right. There would be some reserved parking spots for you (upon availability) in front of the hotel if you were to dine there.

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Name: 1881 CHONG TIAN HOTEL
Address: 38, 40, 42, Jalan Pintal Tali, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 1881
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.417247, 100.33412

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

 

During the recent Penang Food Hunting Trip 2011, organized by Food Digest Magazine, Malaysia’s No. 1 food and lifestyle magazine, Taiwanese Celebrity Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻), together with renowned Chef Park Tae Yeong (from Korea) and Chef Billy Ng Yih Lee (runner-up of 8TV’s Hot Chef Season One) were bought to a little Chinese restaurant down town in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. The restaurant by the name of Chin Bee Tea Restaurant, coincidentally, was also my most recommended restaurant in 2009 as well as in 2010. The chefs were glad that they had the privileges to meet up with the last remaining of the top few Chinese cuisine chefs in Penang, Sifu Malai Chong, 68 years old. With over 5 decades of cooking experiences locally and internationally, the Sifu managed to capture the chefs’ hearts with his creative culinary skills and dishes.

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Three signature dishes from the old chef’s own creation were presented namely the Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures (八寳豬手 – RM80nett), Dry Fry Grouper Head (生炒石斑魚頭 – RM30nett) and Five Continents Under the Moonlight (月光照五洲 – RM30nett). All the chefs were impressed with the “Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures” as it was rich in flavors and without the strong pork smell, evidently stated by Chef Chen Hong during his audio interview with the bloggers. He even tried to survey more on the ingredients used in the dish. I’ll brief more on the ingredients and preparations in our recent interview with the Sifu below. The “Dry Fry Grouper Head”, on the other hand, was specially marinated in the chef’s secret sauce and dry fried in the fish’s own juice, WITHOUT ANY DROP OF WATER. It had some vegetables such as carrots, onions, snow peas and the pungent taste from the added chilies. The “Five Continents Under the Moonlight” was actually the chef’s smooth and silky steamed egg with five different types of toppings, namely mussels, prawns, grouper fillets, squids and century eggs.

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Other than the three main dishes, Chef Chen Hong was also introduced to two of their signature noodle dishes such as the Hong Tu Mien (鴻圖面) which had Ee Foo Noodles (伊麵), in a sharksfin soup like broth with chopped prawns, chicken slices and eggs, served with black vinegar and the Gui Hua Mien (桂花麵) which also had Ee Foo Noodles but stir fried with a generous amount of crab meat, scallops, prawns and egg, garnished with lots of sliced lettuce, served with the chef’s own concocted fragrantly fried chili paste (sambal).

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In a recent interview with Sifu Malai Chong, we had the Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures (八寳豬手 – RM80nett) recreated to check out what made Chef Chen Hong so impressed with this dish. I would say I was as equally impressed as the chef with the rich taste and quality of the ingredients within the stuffed pork trotter.

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The Sifu had really put in all his time, effort and passion into this dish and at RM80nett, this is super cheap. To get rid of the normal strong pork smell, the pork trotter was soaked and washed many times. After ridding of the excess water, a layer of seasoning was applied to the trotter and then deep fried to perfection. When cool down, the Sifu carefully deboned the trotter, while reserving the meaty parts to be added back into the dish. The stuffing actually consisted of a combination of stir fried meat cubes from the trotter (豬手肉) plus eight other treasures such as scallops (乾貝), sea cucumber (海参), mushrooms (花冬菇), Chinese water chestnuts (馬蹄), Chinese chestnuts (栗子), lotus seeds (蓮子), carrots (紅蘿卜) and glutinous rice (糯米). These stir fried ingredients were then stuffed back into the deboned trotter, sewn up and steamed up to 6 hours. The remaining juice from the steamed trotter together with some corn flour, dashes of Shao Xing wine would then be used to make the gravy with some additional pre-marinated steamed scallops. The taste of the filling was like the Chinese savory dumpling, rich and delicious. You would need to order this dish in advance to avoid disappointment.

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You can have a look at how many bones there were left on trotter. There was only one left and the rest are just cartilages, full of collagen, a protein that is commonly found in the body of mammals. It’s believed to slow down the aging processes and keep you young although there’s no proven medical research that it would really help. It’s just a trend, especially amongst the ladies who would want to try out anything just to be wrinkle free. Anyway, collagen is harmless as it would just break down into amino acid just like any other protein.

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Here’s a short video on the interview with Sifu Malai Chong by our podcaster, Mr. Willy Wah. It’s in Cantonese and is up in Mobile Radio Hong Kong now.

The chef also came out with two more of his self created dishes. One of them was the funny named Granny Asking Direction (婆婆問路 – RM20nett) which I had introduced last year. It’s a poor man’s way of having an expensive sea cucumber dish. The Sifu steamed the fuzzy melon/squash (毛瓜/mo kua) in thick broth (上湯) and seasoning to make the melon looked just like sea cucumbers and the dish had some seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, scallops and sliced chicken sausages. The whole presentation was rather exclusive. This dish would suit the elderly too as the “sea cucumber” aka melon would not be as tough as the real one. Moreover, the thick gravy matched well with the rest of the ingredients.

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The next dish also had a bombastic name – the Iron Net Golden Dragon (鐵網金龍 – RM3.50nett/pcs, Min order 2 pieces). It’s even cheaper than most of the Thai items I had tried before. As for this dish, there was again the hardship in getting the dish out as it was not as simple as it looked to get that shape. Each piece would be molded into a pear-like shape with a “dragon” aka prawn wrapped with salted duck egg and “gold nugget” (金錢肉) as the ones I normally get from Choo Choo Heng during Chinese New Year. This shaped item would then be rolled into some frying flour, wrapped in the chef’s secret “iron net” and then rolled again into frying flour prior to being deep fried. The secret “iron net” which is actually a pig’s caul fat netting (猪油網), a very thin lacy membrane that surrounds the viscera of a pig, is a traditional Chinese way of containing a loose product prior to deep frying. It shaped the product when the fat melts away, leaving that extra fragrant that would be simply delicious. The end products were sliced into halves and served with some coriander, chopped pickled ginger (調味醋姜片), pickled Rakkyo bulbs (酸甜蕎頭) and Thai chili sauce.

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If you are coming from Trader’s Hotel along Jalan Magazine, keep to your left and drive on until you have reach the second traffic light. Turn into the first road on your left (Jalan Gurdwara – left of the Gama Supermarket) and then the first left turning into Lebuh Noordin. The shop is just somewhere in the middle on your right within a row of heritage houses. In fact, this shop is just two houses away from another recommended confectionery manufacturer by the name of Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading. Please make sure you call up for reservation as this place could be packed during lunch or dinner hours.

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Name: CHIN BEE TEA CAFE
Address: 124, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 1761, 012-499 9972 (Mr. Ong)
Opening Hours:
12noon – 3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.30pm (Closed Alternate Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412361, 100.329541

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

 

HOMECOOKED DISHES AT CLAYPOT RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On July - 3 - 2011

It has been quite awhile since I last visited Claypot Restaurant for some warm home cooked dishes. Even though the restaurant has switched to a different ownership for almost two years plus now, the food still managed to maintain its quality and taste. There are barely many changes in the ambience with cozy indoor dining areas and cooling al fresco areas for diners.

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As the name has suggested, most of the dishes would be presented in claypots from dishes such as poultry, seafood, meat, vegetables, soups, eggs, tofu, rice sets, porridge to desserts. Some of the recommended meat dishes would include Claypot Salted Fish Chicken, Claypot Herbal Chicken, Claypot Ginger Chicken, Claypot Vinegar Pork and Claypot Ginger Beef.

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The Claypot Salted Fish Chicken (RM8) was quite nice but could be a bit spicy with the usage of lots of dried chilies for those non-spicy food takers. At least the salted fish bits they used were of a better quality which did not give that overpowering fishy taste and the gravy went well with rice. The only think I detested was the seeds from the dried chilies. They should have removed them before cooking as it would lead to appendicitis in the case of unlucky diners.

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The Claypot Herbal Chicken (RM10) has a strong dong quai (當歸/Angelica sinensis/female ginseng/Chinese ginseng) flavor, with the sweetness coming from some red dates and Chinese wolfberries (枸杞/Goji berries/kay chee). Dong Quai is traditionally used to fight against tiredness, anemia and high blood pressure whereas Chinese wolfberries have high nutrient value and antioxidant contents. Together cooked with chicken, this dish would be highly recommended for those with a busy lifestyle.

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The Claypot Ginger Chicken (RM8) has that nice ginger flavor with a hint of some sesame oil. Nicely braised together with some slices of Chinese mushrooms, this dish would be ideal for all ages. The gravy itself was very appetizing and would go very well with hot steaming rice.

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The Claypot Vinegar Pork (RM8) has that slightly sweet taste from the black vinegar used with mild taste from some ginger slices. The pork trotter cuts used were tender enough but contained a lot of fat and bones, which might not be suitable for those health conscious diners although there were still a substantial amount of meaty parts given. Though flavorful, it lacked the strong taste from old ginger, especially those grown within the Air Itam region.

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The Claypot Ginger Beef (RM9) was a lovely dish with tender beef slices slowly braised with ginger and garnished with spring onion stalks. The beef slices have obviously been marinated with ginger juice as tenderizer to get that tenderness. This would be a nice dish to go with rice.

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On the other hand, some of the recommended vegetable/soup dishes would include Claypot Brinjal with Minced Pork, Claypot Spinach Soup with Century Eggs, Stir Fried Chinese Chives Flowers with Shredded Meat, Stir Fried Long Beans with Prawns and Sambal and Stir Fried Dou Miao.

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The Claypot Brinjal with Minced Pork (RM8) has just the right flavors from the sautéed minced meat. The brinjal (eggplant) cuts maintained its juiciness and were not overcooked.

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The Claypot Spinach Soup with Century Eggs (RM8) has that nice flavor from the baby anchovies stock but somehow I could not find any traces of century eggs being used here. Either they have been eaten up before the dishes came to me or the kitchen has forgotten to add them in before presenting to us.

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The Stir Fried Chinese Chives Flowers with Shredded Meat (RM11) was another confusing dish for me as there were prawns everywhere minus the traces of shredded meat. The taste was right with the fragrance coming from the sautéed chopped garlic but the vegetables were a bit too fibrous for my consumption. They should have chosen less mature ones with more flowers for this dish.

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The Stir Fried Long Beans with Prawns and Sambal (RM10) was the group’s favorite as the long beans had the right bites with the flavorful sambal and fresh prawns. Ideally, there’s another dish with the same value and taste that got me yearning for more. If you are a lover for buah petai (stink beans), kacang botol (goa beans) and lady’s finger, you should also try out their Three Beautiful Ladies (三大美人).

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The Stir Fried Dou Miao (RM8) or also known as pea sprouts was a normal dish stir fried with chopped garlic. It can be rather fibrous for many if consumed jut by itself. Normally, I would combine them 50:50 with bean sprouts to make the dish more palatable for all. It did not strike my mind to ask the chef if they would allow such a combination. They would be no harm asking too since both dishes are priced the same.

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There are a few herbal drinks that you can order here such as the Luo Han Guo with Chrysanthemum (RM2.50), San Cha with Apple (RM2.50) and White Nutmeg Juice (RM2.50) from their beverages menu. Luo Han Guo (Siraitia grosvenorii/Buddha fruit/longevity fruit) acts as a natural sweetener and together with Chrysanthemum, are traditionally used to treat sore throat, chronic cough, heat stroke and to enhance immunity. San Cha (Crataegus pinnatifida/Hawthorn Berries) together with green apples is primarily used as a digestive aid in flushing out unnecessary fat after a hearty meal, relieve constipation, lowering blood pressure and more. It’s a great drink but DO NOT OVER CONSUME the beverage, constantly or with an empty stomach as it also acts as a sleep sedative when overused. PREGNANT LADIES are discouraged from drinking this drink. I have my recipe here if you would like to brew your own. White Nutmeg Juice is actually blended fresh nutmegs with sugar added compared to those reddish ones which has been brewed for hours with sugar. Nutmeg has strong antibacterial properties which would effectively kill a number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth as well as to treat excessive stomach or intestinal gas, aid digestion and improve appetite. It’s also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat impotence and liver disease.

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It’s quite easy to locate the restaurant as it’s situated nearby the Mutiara Selera Food Court at the base of Pearl Hill, Tanjung Bungah, Penang. To go to this restaurant, just drive towards Batu Ferringhi. When you reach the Penang Swimming Club on your right, drive ahead until you see Caltex petrol kiosk on your left. Just a few meters away, you would reach a traffic light (Mutiara Selera Food Court just in front). Turn left into the road and at the first Y junction, turn right. At the second Y junction, turn left. That’s Jalan Sungai Kelian. Drive ahead and you will see the restaurant on your right opposite Jalan Loh Poh Heng.

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Name: CLAYPOT RESTAURANT
Address: 48 Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bunga, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 7987
Business Hours: 12.00noon-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.464046, 100.289667

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

BALANCING YOUR YIN AND YANG QI AT YOU SHAN FINE SOUP HOUSE

Posted by crizlai On May - 15 - 2011

Penangites finally have the opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle with the opening of You Shan Fine Soup House, located at Auto World Complex, Penang. The restaurant was officially opened on 14 May 2011 by our YB Ms. Betty Chew, wife of the Penang Chief Minister, YB Mr. Lim Guan Eng. The one and only of such restaurant in Penang, would help diners to balance their Yin and Yang Qi, two hidden forces that would cause illness if found to be out of balance. This is something that most of us ignored with our hectic lifestyles as we find the lack of time in spending hours brewing nutritious soup for our own health. Leave it to the experts to help you in your food therapy as the restaurant has the strong backup of their advisor, Mr. Chew Hock Eam, a Chinese Physician, who has over 3 decades of experience in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medication), to help you in seeking out the healing powers from their selected soups.

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There will be over 60 types of soups, whether savory or sweet, available at this restaurant, ranging from as low as RM5 to as high as RM68. Most of the soup would need to be preordered at least 24 hours before dining. This would enable the kitchen to slowly select the best herbs to brew up your personalized bowl of nutritious soup. You don’t have to worry too if you missed out ordering your favorite soup as they would also be having 3 different types of soups available each day. To avoid the disappointment, I have attached below the full menu of the soups. Please do click on the individual photo for a clearer view of your PREORDERS.

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Two soups were served during the opening day. One of them was the Fine Soup King which contained sea cucumber, fish maw and scallop. This soup would help in relaxing the body muscles, promote blood circulation and delay the process of aging. It would be suitable for those with bone degradation and high blood pressure. The other soup was the Yang Xin Ning Shen Soup. The rejuvenating soup has the citrus flavor of tangerine to strengthen the stomach and lily bulbs to reduce the body heat.

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You might think that this is just a soup house from the name but you are wrong as they do serve dishes just like any other Chinese restaurants. There would be options such as fish, crabs, frogs, prawns, squids, pork, chicken, venison, vegetables, tofu to general soups. The price, depending on serving size, would range from RM8 to RM 30 or based on market rate for some seafood dishes.

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If you think the items from the ala carte would be a bit too much for a small group, you should also check out their daily set lunch and set dinner deals. Each set would come with individual portion of 3 dishes, a soup plus a drink, ranging from RM12 to RM19.

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If you are coming from Penang Bridge towards the North-South Highway, you would see the Juru Rest Area on your left. Drive further a bit and you would see an overhead bridge which would lead you to the Juru Interchange. Do not drive up the overhead bridge but turn left instead until you see a traffic light. Turn right into Jalan Kebun Nenas. Drive on until you see the second traffic lights at a T-junction (Jalan Kebun Nenas/Jalan Perusahaan). At the traffic light, turn right into Jalan Perusahaan. A few meters away, keep a look out for Maybank at Kompleks Auto World on your right. The restaurant is just on the left of the bank.

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Name: YOU SHAN FINE SOUP HOUSE
Address:
1797-G-12, (Beside Maybank), Kompleks Auto World,
Jalan Perusahaan, Juru Interchange, 13600 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
11.00am-2.00am (Lunch), 2.00pm-5.00pm (Tea), 5.00pm-9.30pm (Dinner)
Contact: 017-488 3400
GPS: 5.33994, 100.429605

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: 7.5/10 (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)

THE LATEST RESTAURANT FOR BANQUET AT TIANYI RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On October - 19 - 2010

Despite so many restaurants around Penang that can cater for ala carte menus as well as to hold banquet functions, there emerged another one right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Barely in business for two months and located within the compound of the Loh Si Tong Chong Seah, is a newly opened restaurant by the name of Tianyi Restaurant. The heritage style building can cater up to 50 tables (about 500 pax) at one time. On top of the 8-course meal (RM388 nett, RM438 nett and RM588 nett) and the ala carte menus, you can even order a simple meal of fried rice, noodles or roasted chicken/pork rice (RM10 and above from the stall at the entrance).

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Since it was a birthday function with a few dozens of celebrators, we opted for the most expensive of the 8-course lunch meal at RM588 nett. Let’s judge how long this new establishment would excel in catering to the needs and taste of its patrons. The first dish that arrived was as usual the starter as what any wedding banquet would have or many more. It was the Five Hot & Cold Combination (五福喜臨門). It had a cold salad and four hot dishes. There was the Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Fresh Scallops & Chinese Crullers (油條/youtiao). This was rather nice as there was the freshness of the scallops and the slight crunch from the water chestnuts and Chinese crullers. The next dish was the Deep Fried Sea Cucumber with Black Pepper. It had the right combination of flavor except that it would not be suitable for children with the overpowering black pepper usage. I was hoping that the Cold Jelly Fish Salad would not fall short to my expectation but indeed it was the only item left on most of the plates on each table as majority of the senior citizens detested the hotness and sourness of the dish. The Prawn Dumplings has the beauty of Snow White but the taste of flavored water. They were totally bland. Even the gravy was almost colorless. Luckily the Breaded Meat Balls saved the day as it had the nice crisp from the rolled bread cubes over the juicy meatballs.

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The next course was the Shark’s Fin Soup with Special Eight Treasures (八珍燴生翅). For one thing, I don’t think real sharks fin would be used nowadays due to the strong protest worldwide against the killing of sharks for their fins. Anyway, those served here did not taste real. The soup was done quite well considering that it had a strong hint of Angelica sinensis (當歸/dong quai) in rich stock. The only problem I had was to identify the 8 treasures. Out of the 3 bowls I had taken to hunt for the “treasures”, I could only manage to detect a strong trace of dried scallops, crab meat, prawns, mushrooms and of course the mock sharks fin. Although the taste was superb, this dish lacked the value as the one I had taken from Starview Restaurant which was fully filled with ingredients.

We also had the Roasted Whole Suckling Pig (出骨南乳豬). The piglet was not really well prepared as the skin could really be tough for weaker teeth and the meat was not as tender and flavorful as I would have expected. Starview Restaurant still remains my best choice for this dish after numerous try out at other restaurants.

Steamed Chinese Pomfret Fish in Hong Kong Style (港式蒸斗底) was served next. You would never go wrong with steamed fishes unless your over steamed it. Fortunately, the restaurant did a great job in getting the right texture for the priced fish. The only few preferences that I like would be the addition of some deep fried chopped garlic and a dash of Shaoxing wine. Sliced young ginger is quite irrelevant if you have fresh fish such as at my most recommended restaurant in Penang, Chin Bee Tea Café. Moreover, you can really taste the differences in the quality of soy sauce used at Chin Bee compared to the one used in this restaurant.

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As usual, there would be a braised dish in every restaurant’s 8-course menu. We had the Stewed Vegetables with Sea Cucumber & “Bai Ling” Mushrooms (海參白靈菇). Bai Ling Mushroom or scientifically known as Bai-ling Pleurotus Ferulse Lanze is a rare species of valuable edible mushroom which originates from the desert of northwest China. When these sliced mushrooms are being used in dishes, they resemble abalone slices. What we had was some broiled broccoli, sea cucumber, bai ling mushroom slices with added shitake mushrooms. The gravy was rather bland and the shitake mushroom had too much sugar added in the marinating process. What a waste indeed.

The Pan Fried Prawns with Nutmeg Sauce (豆蔻爆大蝦) was quite tasty but some had that sandy texture, meaning that these prawns were not thawed properly prior to cooking. Moreover, the back of the prawns were not sliced at all, leaving us hell of a time trying to peel them with chopsticks. LOL!

The Fried Seafood Ee-Fu Noodles was a laugh. It had barely a few strands of Chinese chives flowers (ku chai hua). Where are the rest of the vegetables? On top of that, it had some prawns and squid stir fried in minimal gravy and poured over the over soaked Ee-Fu noodles, with some deep fried onions garnished at the side. I won’t be serving this lazy way of cooking to my customers if I were to be the chef. The chef should have done something unique such as my ever favorite Gui Hua Mien (桂花麵).

One thing you have to admit is that the restaurant sure has a unique recipe for dessert – Chef’s Specialty Dessert aka Blended Sweet Peach with Ice Cream (蜜桃冰淇淋). When everyone thought that it was the usual honeydew with sago dessert, but it turned out to be something different. In fact, the color was yellowish instead of greenish. The dessert had scoops of vanilla ice cream, blended sweet peach, sago with a light squeeze of lemon juice. Truly unique!

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Overall, I did not think that the dishes served here is valued for money, considering that I could have better quality and tastier dishes served elsewhere by paying only tens of ringgit more. Maybe they are still new and needed more time to accustom to the taste buds of the public. Let me try them out a few months from now to see if my verdict was wrong all the way.

If you are coming from Komtar/Prangin Mall area through Jalan Burma towards Gurney Drive, drive until the Jalan Anson/Jalan Burma traffic lights (Giant Supermarket is on your right). Turn left into Jalan Anson, keep to your right and drive all the way up to the second right T-junction (Methodist Girls’ School is at the junction). Turn right into Jalan Logan and drive all the way to almost the end of the road and you would see the restaurant on your right within the compound of Loh Si Tong Chong Seah Clan House. The Specialists Centre (formerly known as Loh Guan Lye Hospital) is diagonally opposite the restaurant. Please also note that this restaurant is managed by the former major shareholder of Tian Tian Restaurant at Red Rock Hotel.

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Name: TIANYI RESTAURANT
Address: 34 Jalan Logan, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 8828
Opening Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm
GPS: 5.421056, 100.318497

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

DISHES THAT WOULD FIT A KING AT CHIN BEE TEA CAFE

Posted by crizlai On June - 24 - 2010

I have written some time back in early 2009 when Chin Bee Tea Café first opened up its door to give the best of what Chinese cuisine was all about. It’s time for me to share with you in depth why until today I still claim them as my most recommended restaurant in Penang as this restaurant is not just any Chinese restaurant you would find scattered all around Penang island but one that would provide you with a personalized dining experience (私房餐廳). Thanks to the last remaining of the top few Chinese cuisine chefs in Penang, Sifu Malai Chong, I was able to have so many wonderful dining experiences.

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Over the last one year plus, there were endless streams of famous people such as dignitaries, celebrities and food critics patronizing this small and simple restaurant located along the secluded area of Georgetown. From then on, it had not stopped anyone from coming back to try out more of their delicious dishes. To some, dining here would be quite exorbitant but I can assure you that quality is the main virtue of this restaurant. All ingredients used are of high standards and freshness. Even the teas they served were of a higher grade since they are also one of the main distributors of tea leaves in Penang. Their Ginseng Tie Kuan Yin would always remain as my energy booster. Simply refreshing!

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Let’s start with the introduction of one of the most sought after dishes that even the Hong Kong food critic, Mr. Hugo Leung Man-to aka Toto would not deny during his visits to Malaysia. Can you guess what would be the main ingredient in that dish? It’s the most expensive freshwater fish in Malaysia – the Empurau (wild mahseer/ 忘不了aka unforgettable). What made the Empurau so different compared to its other mahseer family members, namely the Kelah? It’s a slowing growing fish, living in the natural habitat in Sarawak and would take around 5-6 years to reach a “so-called” recommended 3kg dining size as it’s believed that the flesh would be firmer from 3kg onwards. This omnivorous fish’s diet consists of smaller fishes, algae, crustaceans, insects, frogs and also fruits, namely from the endemic irregular fruit bearing engkabang (illipe/Shorea macrophylla/light red meranti/pontianak illipe) trees. It’s the flavors from the fruits that gave the fish that unique fragrant, even when uncooked. The price for a cooked Empurau would range safely between RM800 and RM1000 per kilo, depending on where the fish comes from. Wild Empurau would fetch a higher price compared to those reared ones. By having prior booking, the restaurant would assure you the best Wild Empurau you would have in your life by serving you with their signature Steamed Empurau (上湯浸忘不了). As you can see from the RM2200 Steamed Empurau dish below, even the scales are edible. They were carefully scraped off the fish and given some deep frying. It was like biting onto some crunchy crackers. You can even see that the bones were uniquely constructed. Nature’s wonder right?

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If you feel that the above fish dish would be a bit taxing to your budget, you could always check out what’s new in their fish menu. Anything that’s not fresh or having a muddy taste would surely not be served on your table. At times, you might even get some exotic freshwater fish that even I could not get any scientific name for it, namely the Steamed Ngan Wu (上湯浸銀湖). Depending on the weight, a cooked fish would cost between RM100 and RM150. From the outlook, the freshwater fish resembled a cross between the shape of a Chinese pomfret (tao tay/斗底魚/正鯧) and the color of a golden pomfret (金昌) but with bigger eyes. The flesh of the fish tasted just like the smoothness you would get in a Chinese pomfret, except that it was thicker and meatier. I love the simplicity of this dish with only some quality soy sauce, a dash of Shao Xing Wine, some garlic oil and a generous garnish of chopped coriander.

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Although many people are against the brutal killing of sharks for their fins but there still existed some limited supplies for the consumption of those sharksfin lovers here. The Dragon & Tiger Sharksfin (龍虎扒翅: RM250-RM300) was another unforgettable seafood dish. Porcelain spoons of stir fried mixed shredded vegetables with eggs combined with sharksfin were steamed to be in shape. These would then be displayed in the center of a large plate and topped with a generous amount of sharksfin, crab meat, scallops and prawns in a thick stock of gravy. This dish is the most value for money dish I have ever encountered so far.

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Another of the exotic seafood dishes that you can try out here would be their Spicy Fish Bladder (甘香魚鰾: RM100-RM150). The fish bladders were not just any ordinary fish bladder but of a higher quality ones. They were rare eel bladders. This mildly spicy dish was a hit amongst us as it had the chewiness from the fish bladders and the crunchiness from the added vegetables. The whole combination was perfect!

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If you feel like having some lighter dish in between your meal, you can preorder some Fragrant Crispy Duck (香酥鴨: RM80-RM120). This is another way of serving compared to the normal roasted Peking Duck style. Instead of roasting, the duck meat pieces were marinated in their special sauce and deep fried until crispy. These would then be sliced into smaller bite sizes and served with some chopped pickled ginger, shredded cucumber, Chinese wheat flour crepe (popiah skin) and some lining sauce. This was a fun DIY dish and the combined taste was remarkably delicious.

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The next dish had a funny name – Granny Asking Direction (婆婆問路 – RM20). Haha! In another word, it’s another poor man’s dream of having an expensive sea cucumber dish. The sifu did a good job in braising the fuzzy melon/squash (毛瓜/mo kua) to look just like sea cucumbers and the dish had some seafood, vegetables and mushrooms. The whole presentation was rather exclusive. If I did not take a bite into the melon, I would think those were sea cucumbers instead. As for taste, the thick gravy matched well with the rest of the ingredients. Unfortunately, the chewy bite on the “sea cucumber” was not there. What would you expect from a braised melon right? 😛

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This restaurant seemed to have many catchy names for their dishes. The next dish was a common dish but the name can be quite bombastic – United Nation Mixed Vegetables With Tofu (聯合國炒菜與豆腐 – RM20). I always love the Cantonese way of preparing stir fry mixed vegetables as they have a way of preserving the bright colors of the vegetables and at the same time giving them a taste of its own. The accompanied deep fried tofu slices were the specialty of the restaurant as well. They would simply melt in your mouth. It was simple and yet very appetizing.

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Do you know that there’s one dish that would almost always appear in my dining receipt? It’s another of my recommended Special Spareribs (家好骨 – from RM12 onwards). Each piece of the spareribs was specially selected for this dish with a bit of fat and lean meat still attached to the bones. In fact, the ribs came from the best part of a pig. I always have a phobia of ordering sparerib dishes as some would be too tough to bite. However, the way the ribs were prepared here got me yearning for more. From each bite, you could feel the crispiness of some mildly coated batter on the surface while the meat within maintained the tenderness, juiciness and right flavors.  Even the fatty parts melted in my mouth. There were strong hints of Lea & Perrins Worchester sauce and tomato sauce being used here. Yummilicious always!

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Another of the signature dish you would get here would be their Mixed Seafood Curry (from RM30 onwards). This is another of the sifu’s concocted chili paste recipe. Other than being very fragrant and appetizing, the prawns and fish fillet within were real fresh. Do keep a watch out soon as the sifu has every intention to market his special chili paste to the public.

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Other than the restaurant’s smooth and delicious Three Jewels Steamed Egg (三黃蛋), there’s another dish that the sifu cooked up impromptu for me – Hot Plate Egg Wrapped Mixed Vegetables (蛋包炒菜 – RM20). Wow! I’m impressed! Although it did look like any egg wrap dishes but the amount of vegetables and ingredients used were very generous. Even the gravy of the stir fry vegetables complimented each other well. Delicious!

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Chin Bee Tea Café does not only serve dishes with rice. In fact, you could also order ala carte dishes (upon availability of noodles) such as Oriental Fried Rice, Hot & Spicy Fried Rice (特色炒飯), Hong Tu Noodles (鴻圖麵), Seafood Noodles (海鮮炒麵) and many more. My favorite would always be their Gui Hua Mien (桂花麵 – from RM15 onwards). The noodles were of a deep fried noodles (Ee Mee/伊麵), skillfully stir fried with generous amount of crab meat, scallops, prawns and egg, garnished with lots of sliced lettuce. I must admit. I’m so stuck with this delicious and flavorful plate of noodles.

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Another flavorful noodle choice would be their Fried Glass Noodles (炒冬粉 – from RM12 onwards). Each strain of the noodles was evenly flavorful with the right wok hei (high heat fragrance) and the ingredients used were generous too.

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My post title may have sounded like the restaurant is meant for the rich and famous. Do not get me wrong as there are many more dishes available here to fit the budget of any income group earners. You would surely not regret stepping into this restaurant ever after.

If you are coming from Trader’s Hotel along Jalan Magazine, keep to your left and drive on until you have reach the second traffic light. Turn into the first road on your left (Jalan Gurdwara – left of the Gama Supermarket) and then the first left turning into Lebuh Noordin. The shop is just somewhere in the middle on your right within a row of heritage houses. In fact, this shop is just two houses away from another recommended confectionery manufacturer by the name of Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading. Please make sure you call up for reservation as this place could be packed during lunch or dinner hours.

CHINBEEMAP

Name: CHIN BEE TEA CAFE
Address: 124, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 1761, 012-499 9972 (Mr. Ong)
Opening Hours:
12noon – 3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.30pm (Closed Alternate Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412361, 100.329541

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

FAMILY DINNER AT STARVIEW RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On March - 26 - 2010

My family members (7 adults & 2 child) recently had a dinner at the Starview Restaurant, located right within the New World Park premises. This restaurant has been in establishment for many years and specialized in Chinese cuisine. One of the more famous dishes would be their delicious fish steamboat that had endless streams of loyal patrons.

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Do you know what attracted me most during the start of a meal in any Chinese restaurant nowadays? It’s the tidbits. It’s neither the fried or roasted peanut, crackers but the braised peanuts. I’ll never have enough of these nicely flavored peanuts. It was a bonus at Starview Restaurant as they do serve both the peanuts. 🙂

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The first dish that was served was the Four Treasures (四寳 – RM80). In fact, it had a fifth dish on the palate which was some mixed fruits and vegetables salad. Refreshing! The first dish was Fried Sweet & Spicy Fish Balls. The handmade fish balls was nicely stirred in some fragrant secret sauce and presented on a bed of deep fried crabstick strips with some toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on. Delicious! The next dish was their popular Stuffed Aubergine in Egg White. I was so much in love with the stuffed aubergine as the filling of minced prawns and pork were just right and the egg white gravy flowed smoothly into my mouth as if consuming some silky smooth tofu. These were served on a bed of deep fried glass noodles. Wonderful! The third dish was Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Fish Bladder. I loved this dish especially when it had some much of crunchy asparagus in it and the fried fish bladder indeed added the extra flavor. Slurps! The last of the combination consisted of Deep Fried Vietnamese Rolls. The mixed vegetables rolls had coats of batter. I find these to be a bit common on the palate.

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Scallops with Seafood & Sharks Fin Soup (乾貝海味翅 – RM100) was served next. Whichever time I dine in this restaurant, the taste of the soup served here has never fail my taste bud. The chef sure did a great job in preparing their tasty stock (上湯). If you had notice in the photo, I would say that there were more ingredients than the broth. Haha! Other than the over generously serving of crab meat, there were traces of diced prawns, sliced fish bladder, fish lips, sharks fin and deep fried scallops as garnishing. Simply delicious!

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The Suckling Piglet (片皮乳豬 – RM138) served next was simply irresistible! What’s the secret? Go there early to get served with the choice piglet that just came out from the roaster. 😛 The skin of the roasted piglet was real crispy. So was the tender and juicy meat with the right amount of baby fat. This dish came with some flower-shaped mantou (steam buns) for stuffing in the roasted pork slices.

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The actual way of eating this dish would be by spreading some of the specially prepared sweet sauce onto the meat, together with a stalk of spring onions, wrapped in the mantou. One bite on this combination and you would see yourself yearning for more. Perfect!

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With all the meat from the last dish, we needed something not so meaty fat. We had Sweet & Sour Fried Red Fish (甜酸紅獅 – RM45). The red fish which looked quite identical to the red snapper family was around 1kg and it was real fat. The chef did a great job in frying the fish with a mild touch of flour with the outer layer having the crisp while the inner flesh remained its juices. The gravy poured onto the fish was just right. It had the right sourness from the mildly used tomato ketchup and sweetness from the fresh chopped tomatoes, onions and capsicums. Beautiful!

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When I thought that would be the last seafood dish we would have for the night, we were served with the Salted Egg Yolk Prawn Balls (金皇蝦球 – RM50). This was just a simple recipe with some smashed salted egg yolk, combined with some pepper, flour and deep fried until golden brown but the chef had added in some sliced bird’s eye chilies and curry leaves to make the dish more fragrant. These were served on a bed of sliced iceberg lettuce. Amazingly tasty!

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Finally, we had the last dish for the night which was Chilled Blended Honey Dew Sago with Lychee (蜜汁西米荔枝- RM25). We were lucky that the honey dew used that night was ripe enough to produce the natural sweetness for this dessert. I like this combination even without the added canned lychee.

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Overall, the food here would be a bit pricey but real delicious if you know how to order. I had heard many good and bad reviews on this restaurant but I have yet to face any problems. Sometimes, I would say it’s the combination of dishes one would order due to their own preferences but I always left the ordering to my favorite supervisor as she would know better. Do seek Ms. S. W. Ng to recommend your dishes as she had never let me down ever.

It’s real easy to locate the restaurant as it’s just within the New World Park premises. The best way and the nearest way to reach the restaurant would be by the Jalan Burma entrance. Immediately after you had passed the Tune Hotel Downtown Penang on your right, slow down and keep a watch out for the entrance a shop away. Drive in and you would see the signboard not far away on your left. Find a parking space nearby and take note that you can pay for the parking ticket through the many automated ticket machine located strategically within the premises.

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Name: STARVIEW RESTORAN SDN. BHD.
Address:
102-B-1 to 102-B-4 New World Park, Jalan Burma, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 04-226 6544, 226 5213, 227 4507
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.30pm
GPS: 5.420106, 100.327153

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

CUISINE EXTRAVAGANZA AT CHIN BEE TEA CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 12 - 2009

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Who would have expected hidden amongst some of the heritage houses in Georgetown would have a tea café that served quality choices of tea as well as food? Of course, that would be Chin Bee Tea Café, an established tea supplier to most of the restaurants and hawker centers in Penang. I found out about this place a few months’ ago when they were still undergoing renovation works and this place ended up as a treasure to me and I would strongly recommend them to my friends. I have even lost count of how many visits Steven Goh, whom I had first introduced this cafe, had brought his family along to patronize this place.

From the exterior of this place, most people would just assume it as a place serving solely tea and some light bites as most tea houses. If you look into the clear glass panels, you would even see rows of cupboards and urns filled with tea leaves and flower tea buds. Anyone would surely have that wrong perception.

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Going into the café is like moving into a place filled with hospitality. You would be served by the members of this family run business with all smiles. The service is remarkable. You would be given a menu with a list of tea which you would like to have as well as a simple menu for the food.

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Do try out their quality Chrysanthemum bud tea which would give you the unique sweet after taste as well as their Ginseng Tie Guan Yin which would energize your moods and alertness.

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Do not be fooled by the simple list of food as shown in the menu as there are still many other wonderful dishes that the over 60 years old Sifu (Grand Master of the Kitchen), Mr. Malai Chong, have under his sleeves. I was truly surprised on how impromptu and creative this Sifu was in coming up with dishes that will make anyone drool just by looking at it. This showed that with his seasoned experiences, he could just combine any ingredients in the kitchen to make great dishes. What else would you expect from a chef who had work in overseas restaurants such as Ireland and UK, and also in reputable Malaysian hotels and restaurants for the past 40 plus years?

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Let us now looked at some of the dishes the café is famous for such as the Special Pork Ribs (RM3/pc). The inner part of the ribs will always been soft while the outer layer has that crunchiness from the chef’s secret formulated flour. The dish would be served in some sweet and delicious sauce. This dish is highly recommended for those who would not mind some fatty layers on the belly cum ribs portion of pork.

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The next dish was a surprise. I wanted something nice mixed with some greens. The Sifu concocted a new dish called the Smooth Journey (一帆風順 – RM12). From the outlook of the long and round food on the plate, I was not sure what they were until I sliced open both of them. The long one appeared to be stuffed capsicum with some juicy minced pork and prawns. It was unique and yummy. The round one appeared to be stuffed button mushrooms with the same type of fillings. The slightly sweet and sour sauce made both simply irresistible.

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I wanted something lighter next and the Sifu recommended a homely dish called Three Jewels Steam Egg (三黃蛋 – RM8). It had three types of eggs, basically chicken eggs, salted duck egg and century eggs, all whipped up with some seasoning and steamed to perfection. The dish would then be garnished with some quality soy sauce, some fried garlic & oil and chopped spring onions. It was marvelous too as the texture of the steamed egg was without much bubbles and it was as smooth as consuming Japanese tofu.

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Next, I got my “sort of personal chef now” (LOL!) to serve me with some chicken dish that he did not have in his menu. Again I was stunned by how well he had presented in the next dish which was the Sweet & Sour Chicken (燒汁雞 – RM10). It was basically a large chicken drumstick (the size as you would get from Western food) but the preparation was ten times tastier than I have tasted anywhere. I guessed the Sifu used only the best sauce to come out with something as great as this dish. The batter coated chicken was very crispy. It blended real well with sliced onions, chillies, sugar snap peas (mange tout) with some touches of sweet and sour sauce.

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The next dish which was the Rakkyo In-house Tofu (蕎光豆腐 – RM12) was another eye opening dish for me. When I thought it was just the usual fried in-house made special tofu cooked with minced meat and mixed vegetables, the taste was totally not as I had expected. It was so appetizing. It has that unique sweetness combined with quality Chinese wine. The added sliced sugar snap peas, carrots and button mushrooms made the dish real colorful.

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Do you want to know the secret behind the appetizing dish? Here they are. The dish has finely sliced pickled ginger (調味醋姜片) and pickled Rakkyo bulbs (酸甜蕎頭). You might want to know what Rakkyo is. It is a native plant in South East Asia, mostly grown in China, Japan and certain parts of Malaysia (Cameron Highlands) where the bulbs would me made into pickles. It also believed to have some medicinal properties such as the prevention of thrombosis, treatment of heart diseases in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), remedy for fever, stomachache and eye infections. There are many names to this midget spring onion or allium-like plant such as the widely used English term which sounded so Japanese – Rakkyo, Japanese scallion or Allium chinense.

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Another dish that the Sifu had specially prepared for the Chinese New Year season would be the Dried Oyster, Scallop & Black Moss Stew (大蠔燉乾貝髮菜 – RM20-40). This is a wonderful dish as the dried oysters and scallops were braised in some seasonings such as ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and Shao Xing wine until soften. These would then be simmered along with some young lettuces and black moss. This specially prepared dish would normally be served in family reunion dinners on the eve of Chinese New Year.

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On top of the above dishes with would be taken with rice, you could always opt for something lighter. They have only rice or Ee Foo noodles. Either you can ask the Sifu to cook Fried Ee Foo Mee or their famous Hong Tu Mian (鴻圖面 – RM8-15). This would be best taken with some black vinegar.

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If you feel that you would like something drier, you can try out their Yong Chow Fried Rice, Egg Wrapped Fired Rice or my favorite Hot & Spicy Fried Rice (特色炒飯 – RM5-RM15). The “Wok Hei” aka high heat frying for this fried rice dishes is real good.

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Overall, Chin Bee Tea Café is a great place to buy various quality tea leaves/flower teas as well as for family dine-in. There would always be surprises for you as you would not know what other delicious food the Sifu would stir up for you. The price for the food is reasonable, so are the selections of quality tea drinks. I will surely drop in to try out their other reputable dishes such as the exotic deer meat and fish head curry. By the way, the Sifu would also like to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year in the coming Ox year.

MALAICHONG

If you are coming from Trader’s Hotel along Jalan Magazine, keep to your left and drive on until you have reach the second traffic light. Turn into the first road on your left (Jalan Gurdwara) and then the first left turning into Lebuh Noordin. The shop is just somewhere in the middle on your right within a row of heritage houses. In fact, this shop is just two houses away from another recommended confectionery manufacturer by the name of Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading. Please make sure you call up for reservation as this place could be packed during lunch or dinner hours.

CHINBEEMAP

Name: CHIN BEE TEA CAFE
Address: 124, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 1761, 012-499 9972 (Mr. Ong)
Opening Hours: 12noon – 3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.00pm (Closed Alternate Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412361, 100.329541

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

 

HOT WOK

Posted by Criz Lai On July - 14 - 2008

NOTE: This restaurant has ceased their operation after many decades. The chef had migrated to Perth Australia recently in 2011. Alternatively, you can still try out their traditional Nyonya spread at another outlet – “The Wok” Authentic Penang Nyonya & Local Cuisine, 26 Jalan PJU 5/21, The Strand, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya. 603-6142 7388 / 012-263 5460

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Ever wonder where you would treat yourself or your guests to a sumptuous Peranakan (Straits Chinese) meal with great indoor and outdoor ambience? You should check out Hot Wok, a stunning Peranakan theme restaurant, which has just relocated right into the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Since the Nyonya restaurant started its operation in 1994, they have impressed many locals and foreigners with their quality food and great history on the Peranakan culture.

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Walking into the restaurant is like walking back into time as the interior and exterior of the restaurant are beautifully decorated with intricate wooden carvings and fabricated windows of the heydays. The existence of beautiful marble top coffee tables, wooden chairs, hanging porcelain lamps and many unique artifacts adorning the walls within the restaurant will allow you to experience the feeling of dining as a Nyonya or Baba. If you are observant enough, you may find a few great museum pieces proudly being displayed along the walls. Some are originals as far back as the early 19th Century.

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I revisited the place together with a friend of mine recently and found that the quality of the food served there has not change at all. Hot Wok has been one of the pioneers in Nyonya Cuisine in Penang. In fact, there are many other restaurants booming up to cater to the high demand on Nyonya food recently but what they lack in is the atmosphere and Peranakan experience that Hot Wok was able to provide.

We ordered a few dishes such as the Lobak (RM8), Jiu Hoo Char (RM8) and Curry Chicken Kapitan (RM14) to be taken with rice.

The Lobak (meat roll) is made out of fresh pork marinated in 5-spice powder with other ingredients and wrapped in tofu skin. The end product would then be deep fried to get the crunchiness and golden color.

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The Jiu Hoo Char is a combination of cuttlefish strips stir fried with stripped turnips, carrots, mushrooms, pork and at times big onions. This dish is best eaten when wrapped in a fresh lettuce leaves.

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The Curry Chicken Kapitan was indeed good. Choice pieces of thighs and drumsticks were cooked in blended spices, lime juice, Kaffir lime leaves and thick coconut milk. This dish was good compared to the rest of the places I have taken as the gravy was thick and nice.

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We ordered some great desserts such as the Chilled Sago with Jackfruit (RM3.50) and Chilled Sago with Honey Dew (RM3.50). Both were topped with creamy coconut milk.

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Since the boss also recommended their famous Hokkien Mee (RM4), we tried out a bowl and the dish was great. The sweetness of the soup is incompatible to those I have taken before. I could imagine the amount of bones and long hours they have taken to get the thickness of the soup. You can even have addons such as pork ribs as well as their crunchy roasted pork. The price might come up to RM7 but you sure won’t regret ordering such a quality bowl of Hokkien Mee. Anyway, you do not have to worry too as they will also allow you to use your credit cards on Hokkien Mee purchases. Well, I don’t think I know any other hawker stalls in Penang that provides this sort of services, do you?

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Overall, the total price came up to RM53.70 which included a 10% service charge (RM4.90) for the appetizer, food and drinks. I won’t consider this expensive as Nyonya cuisine required a lot of preparations. Moreover, the food was of quality.

You won’t miss the restaurant as it is situated within two shoplots just between Nagore Place and Giant Supermarket along Jalan Burmah. As for parking, you can always find ample parking spaces within the Giant Supermarket compound or along Jalan Nagore.

HOTWOKMAP

Name: HOT WOK
Address: 124-E&F, Jalan Burmah, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-227 3368
Website: www.hotwok.com.my
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 1.00am
GPS: 5.420987, 100.325378

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

BM YAM RICE

Posted by Criz Lai On July - 4 - 2008
When you feel like taking Yam Rice in Penang island, you will normally ended up at Yong Tau Foo stalls or stalls that sells Pig Stomach Soup, Egg Soup, Cabbage Soup and so on. Most of the time, you do not even see any yam or dried shrimps in the rice. I have frequent this specific Yam Rice stall right in Chai Leng Park, mainland Penang for the past eight years or more and the standard still maintained the same. Each time I am in mainland, I will visit this stall without fail regardless of eating in or takeaway. Why not? It is the best Yam Rice I have taken in Penang. Who knows? It might be the best in Malaysia too.

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Together with a client of mine (my Chinese clients will always end up with me here. :P), I visited the place again. As usual I will order the big bowl of Salted Lettuce (Kiam Chai) Soup with my own selection of lean meat, belly meat, pig stomach and meat balls. You can even add in other parts such as intestines, liver and so on. The soup, a bowl of Stewed Pork Legs and Beancurd in Dark Soy Sauce and 4 bowls of yam filled rice cost us only RM13.40. Don’t you think that’s really cheap? By the way, their combination of specially prepared chili paste in dark soy sauce really blends in well with the rice. Here are what we ordered.


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If you are coming from the Butterworth Ferry Terminal, just turn right as you come up to the traffic light junction and drive towards the “mini Penang Bridge”. You have to pay a toll of RM1 if you are driving a car. Just follow the sign to Prai and Chai Leng Park towards Megamall/Pacific. If you are coming from the Penang Bridge/North-South Highway, turn into Jalan Baru where Megamall/Pacific is, drive towards an overhead bridge and make a U-turn to reach Chai Leng Park. When you see Pearl View Hotel on your left, turn left into the junction (Jalan Kurau). Turn left at the first junction, right at the first junction and right again into Lebu Kurau Satu. You will see the stall on your right in Kedai Kopi Chin Heng. The stall is in between another Yam Rice stall (I have tried before but not as good as this one. Just follow where the most crowds are. They are usually not wrong) and a vegetarian restaurant. You can also visit their other branches (call up and enquire where about) in Jalan Raja Uda and Bukit Mertajam areas. All of them carry the same name “BM Yam Rice”.

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Name: BM YAM RICE @ CHAI LENG PARK
Address: 45 Lebuh Kurau Satu, Chai Leng Park, 13700 Prai, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 012-429 3567, 012-401 3147
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 3.30pm
GPS: 5.412537, 100.319456

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

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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.

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