CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

CRISPY VEGETARIAN DUCK

Posted by Criz Lai On October - 14 - 2012
As the Nine Emperor Gods’ Birthday is nearing this coming Monday, 15 October 2012 (first day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar), most of the Chinese Buddhist would undergo a 9-10 days of meatless diets. There will be many vegetarian food stalls set up all over town, especially in Penang, where the devotees would flock around the temples to welcome the return of the gods from heaven to earth. Although the buying of the food would be easy, I still prefer to cook up something on my own. One of the dishes which I love to make would be the CRISPY VEGETARIAN DUCK. It’s easy to make and yet delicious enough to be shared on the dining table. Let me share with you the traditional recipe that has been in my family for generations.

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INGREDIENTS (Make 6 pieces)
6 sheets of dried tofu skin (31” x 23”)
3 pieces of red fermented beancurd (ang tao joo)
1½ glass water (450ml)
1½ Porcelain spoon fine sugar
1½ Porcelain spoon corn flour
1½ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ teaspoon Five Spice Powder
2 teaspoon pepper
3 Porcelain spoon soy sauce
100gms sesame seed (slightly fry roast to golden brown in wok without oil)
OPTIONAL
6 medium Chinese Mushrooms (Soak, sliced and marinate with some ginger juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and pinch of sugar)
PREPARATION
1. Take a large bowl, mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Add in the roasted sesame seed last.
2. Place the tofu skin on a large tray or a clean table top length wise.
3. Dampen the right half of the skin (approximately a small ladle full or less depending on your ladle size) and fold into two fron left to right (as per diagram below – click on it to enlarge further).
4. Dampen slightly the folded skin. Fold 1/3 downwards and 1/3 upwards (as per diagram).
5. Dampen slightly again and fold 1/4 inwards on both sides (as per diagram).
6. Fold into half and secure with two long bamboo sticks upwards (as per diagram).
7. Heat up a wok with water. When boil, lower fire and place the ready vegetarian duck on a plate and for 10 minutes until bloated up. DO NOT over steam. You might have to steam many times as the “duck” has to be separated apart when steaming and your wok might not be big enough to fit all.
8. Leave aside to cool down. Make sure they are TOTALLY cool down before frying to ensure the fluffiness.
9. Fry in a wok of hot oil and cut according to your preference.(Serves: 5-6)

FOLDING DIAGRAM

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Most people would just serve this with chili sauce but I prefer the traditional way of eating the vegetarian duck with homemade pickle. Just place the pickle in an air tight jar and keep it refrigerated. It would last you more than a week if you are careful enough to use an extremely dry chopsticks to take them out when serving. You can even take them with Pork Roll (Lor Bak) or Liver Roll (Too Kua Kean). Here’s the recipe for the pickle. Marinate it for half a day would be good enough before serving with your dishes.

PICKLE RECIPE
500gms radish
100gms carrot
1 thumb size young ginger
4 Porcelain spoon fine sugar
3 Porcelain spoon lime juice (about 4-5 lime)
1 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION
1. Remove the skin of the carrot and radish. Cut half the carrot and a quarter the radish. Use a kitchen helper to slice them thinly. You can cut some decorations on the vegetables if you want to.
2. Scrape off the skin of the young ginger. Slice thinly and cut into strips.
3. Mixed the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients. Bottle it up.
4. Best served with your dishes when chilled.If you feel that there is too much work involved in coming up with the pickle, here is another sauce recipe. I called it The Lazy Man’s Sauce… LOL!

LAZY MAN SAUCE
Some tomato ketchup
Some pounded peanut candy (khong th’ng / kacang tumbuk)
Some roasted sesame seed

PREPARATION
Mix all in a bowl. Best served with any fried meat or fried tofu end products.

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

 

EXPERIENCING THE INDIAN CUISINE OF KARAIKUDI

Posted by crizlai On March - 27 - 2009

Wait! Before I confused more people, I was not in the city of Karaikudi in Sivaganga District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the capital of the Chettinad region but instead I’m in an Indian restaurant in Penang’s Little India by the name of Karaikudi right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Thanks to PenangTuaPui for inviting me to try out their food. The food in this restaurant is so much different compared to a few others that I had frequent quite regularly. Here, they concentrate more on the fresh ingredients and spices imported all the way from India. That’s the reason why the taste, the texture and the fragrance emitted for the dishes were so pleasant to my senses.

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To get everyone’s appetite moving, we were first served with Mango Lassi (RM4.00) to hydrate and refresh the body after a tiring day. What could be greater than blending fresh mangoes and yogurt to rejuvenate the body? Not only does the beverage contain Vitamin A, B6&B12, C and many more nutrients, it has the necessary dietary fiber to aid our digestive systems. The Mango Lassi served here was one of the best I have tasted. It was thick, creamy and smooth flowing. How I wished they would blend in some ice cubes to make the beverage maintained its chillness.

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Chettinad Style Vegetable Soup (RM3.00) was served to every individual next. The soup was mild in taste with cuts of fresh cauliflower, carrot, French bean and dhal with a light touch of spices. The soup was light and slightly salted to boost up the pungent taste. Non spicy at all and it would be suitable even for kids.

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As appetizer, we were served with some thinly sliced and yet crunchy Bitter Gourd Chips (RM6.00). These were well marinated with chili powder, salt and chickpea flour (Besan) and deep fried to perfection. I love the version here as each piece was sliced so evenly thin and fried without any moisture left within. Moreover, having curry leaves and dried chillies fried together with the bitter gourd had added that special fragrance for the dish. Bitter gourd is also believed to improve the energy level, stamina, eyesight and also to lower sugar level in the blood and urine. This would be a great vegetable dish for diabetics.

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The next dish which is quite common in an Indian restaurant would be the Squid Fry (RM8.00). Slices of squids would be dipped in spicy batter and then deep fried while maintaining the tenderness within while having a crunchy outer layer of batter. It’s better to consume this dish as soon as it had been laid on the table as time would eventually make the fried squids soggy due to the moisture inside.

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Wow! The restaurant sure has a group of hearty people as the next dish which was the Chicken Cutlet (RM6.00) came in the shape of hearts. There were grounded chicken, potato cubes, onions, green chillies, turmeric and chopped coriander inside each cutlet. Seasoned with beaten eggs, these cutlets were coated with bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. It was an indeed a beautifully presented dish for all. Anyone want to celebrate Valentine’s here next year? It would surely get you heated up for many years to come. 😛

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No meal in an Indian restaurant would be complete without trying out their Chicken Briyani (RM9.50). Basmati Rice was use in this dish combined with the necessary spices and it has that hidden tangy taste of tomatoes. A chicken drumstick was hidden right at the base of the fragrant rice with a hardboiled egg above. The rice would go well with the accompanied side dressing such as chutney and raita but I personally felt that the chicken should be above. Somehow, the meat had lost its value hidden under the rice although this would be how any Indian restaurant would serve their Nasi Briyani. Moreover, the meat was not as fragrantly cooked as it should be. Another thing that the restaurant might not be aware of was the presentation. The modern generation might not be so concern about it as it would just be another meal to them. To the older generation, especially the Chinese Taoist, the hidden chicken especially in such a small bowl with an egg on top would meant something taboo which would only be performed in certain rituals. My advice to the restaurant would be to turn it into a clay pot style or present it on a plate.

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If you want something with rich gravy to go with your rice, you should order their Kadai Vegetables (RM9.00). There were assorted vegetables such as green peas, tomatoes, carrots and many more, slowly simmered with freshly grinded spices and water until the gravy became thick. This dish was really good as I can taste the freshness of the ingredients very well such as a touch of garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc. The only difference in terms of style of cooking was the added bean curd cubes. Moreover, the freshly sliced coriander and onions garnishing gave that extra fragrance to the dish.

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The Chicken Kothu Paratha (RM9.00) was something unique. Roti Paratha would be what the Malaysian would address as Roti Canai. It’s made of whole-wheat flour, pan fried in cooking oil or sometimes in ghee for the extra crispiness. The Roti Paratha would be cut into strips (somewhat the thickness of koay teow). On the other hand, the chicken meat would be cooked in curry and then hand shredded into smaller pieces. These would then be stir fried with boiled lentil (urad normally would be used in the cooking of dhal), eggs, tomatoes, onions, spices and curry leaves. This is a great dish and was not that oily too.

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When I saw the Ladies Finger Pepper Fry (RM7.00) on our little “test paper”, I thought it would be those slimy wet version of ladies fingers as the Chinese would cook. To my surprise, the dish came with deep fried thinly slices ladies fingers fried with chopped onion, grinded black pepper with some salt. It was so simply and yet it was so delicious with that peppery taste. In fact, we had ordered for a second helping.

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The Mutton Chukka Varuval (RM18.00) caught most of us by surprise with its powerful spiciness. Simple as it may look, the added curry leaves and chillies sent many seeking for more drinks. I suspected that the garam masala that they had used contained more grounded peppercorns than usual. I had no problem with that as spicy food regardless of Indian, Malay, Chinese or Thai has been quite a norm in my daily meals. Surprisingly, I found this dish to be extremely delicious. The meat just melted in my mouth as it was tender, juicy minus the strong mutton taste.

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The Kashmiri Naan (RM6.00) served here is simple but yet delicious. Normally it would be filled with more nuts and dried fruits such as raisins, pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts, shredded coconuts and many more. Instead of making the naan so complicated in ingredients, the restaurant made it simple by only filling it with desiccated multi colored coconuts some powdered cashew nuts and garnish with some chopped cherries. It was slightly sweetened but it was good as each bite was smooth to the mouth.

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The next dish which was the Chettinad Potato Masala (RM6.00) has been my favorite no matter which Indian restaurant I had patronized. The only difference was that the ones served here was richer in taste. It was a perfect dish with potato cubes being sauteed fragrantly with the presence of cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, poppy seed, dried chillies, curry leaves, tomato and garnished with some coriander. The chef sure knew the secret to a good Chettinad masala.

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The Egg Podimas (RM4.00) was actually the Indian version of scrambled eggs. I cook this dish quite often at home but not as spicy as what the restaurant served. It’s basically beaten eggs fried with onions, chili powder (prapika), turmeric powder, coriander leaves, green chillies, mustard seed, curry leaves, salt and pepper. I normally add in slices of fresh tomatoes to cut down on the spiciness.

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Chettinad Special Dosai (RM4.00) was indeed the colorful version of a plain Dosai. It had a generous spread of chopped beet roots, onions, carrots, cabbage, coriander leaves. This crispy thin Indian pancake tasted well with the accompanied chutney and tomato puree.

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There was a surprise in store for us towards the end of the meal and it was the special creation of the owner’s wife. Sizzling Brownie (RM10) as the name stated came sizzling with a freshly baked chocolate brownie on a hot plate of melted butter, topped with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge and some cashew nuts. This was somewhat like the apple crumble I had at Swensen’s but the ice cream here melted just too fast over here. Although the dessert tasted great with the slightly burn taste of the brownie and cashew nuts combined with the saltiness from the boiling butter, I would advise the restaurant to reconsider the brand of the ice cream. This brand does not really suit the sizzling plate concept. It’s either the suggestion mention or to provide a thicker cake base to distance the sizzling heat from the ice cream. Moreover, the presentation was not as impressive as it should be as you can see on the photo below. It would be better if the sauce would be poured right in front of the customer for that wonderful experience, with the advance provision of a napkin of course.

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After a hefty meal, what would be best than to have a hot cup of frothy “teh tarik” styled in-house specially filtered brew, namely the Chettinad Filter Coffee (RM2.80) just like what everyone in Tamil Nadu would do. The distinct taste of the grounded roasted coffee beans, set in boiling water, filtered, then slightly sugared and with added fresh cow milk was indeed bonus for all.

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Alternatively, if you would love to have tea instead, you could always try out their spicy Masala Tea (RM3.00) or sometimes known as Masala Chai which has a strong taste of cloves, star anise, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. There are many variants to the Masala Tea as sometimes ingredients such as grounded peppercorn, mint leaves, nutmeg or licorice roots would be added too. Some might not like their tea to be so spicy but it was surely an aromatic experience for all of us.

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Overall, the quality of food and service here is good. I shall be dropping by to try out their other dishes soon namely their idly, vadai, paratha, poori, naan with chicken tikka as they are my favorites at anytime of the day. 😛

If you are coming from Lebuh Light (Esplanade/Fort Cornwallis), you would reach a roundabout near Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower with one of Penang’s beautiful stainless steel structure known as “Pinang Dibelah Dua”. Turn 3 o’clock into Lebuh Pantai where all the main banks are. Drive on and keep a lookout for the 5th junction on your right (1st-Lebuh Union, 2nd-Lebuh Bishop, 3rd-Lebuh Gereja, 4th-Lebuh Cina and 5th-Lebuh Pasar). Turn right into Lebuh Pasar (Market Street) and you will see the restaurant on your right. Parking space could be quite limited here during certain peak period and office hours. Try to find some along Lebuh Penang, Lebuh King or Lebuh Queen. If you are having trouble finding parking space, I would advice you to park your car at Sri Weld Car Park (next to Sri Weld Food Court) located along Jalan Pantai directly opposite Lebuh Bishop and walk up to the restaurant.

KARAIKUDIMAP

Name: KARAIKUDI RESTAURANT
Address: 20 Lebuh Pasar (Market Street), 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 1345, 604-263 1359
Business Hours:
11.00am-11.00pm (Closed on Deepavali)
11.00am – 4.00pm (Lunch), 4.00pm – 7.00pm (Snacks), 7.00pm – 11.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.416567, 100.340400

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

Plentiful of nice Penang Accommodation are also available if you plan to visit Penang for all the wonderful and multinational cuisine.

SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 10 - 2008

Note: Every since this beautiful place vanished overnight through ashes, a lot of people has been missing them. Now they are reincarnated as Bora Bora By Sunset. 🙂

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I guessed I might just have to disclose that there was actually a private function during the launching of my food blog on the 4 December 2008. Attendees – two! Some might get the hint from my statement on “Anniversary of Anniversaries” but some may still be in the dark. I could be a real secretive person at times you know. LOL! Anyway, there is no better place for some private moments than at the beach. The luxurious, warm and soft white sandy coastline of the Batu Ferringhi Beach could well be the perfect environment with beautiful panoramic views and privacy to rekindle the sparks or light a new one for years to come.

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Having some soft evening breeze blowing onto your face, while settling down by the sun deck watching over the sunset and listening to the waves lap on the shore, would be an added bonus for romantic trysts. There’s no budgeting for such a memorable moment, although some would prefer a dining table by the beach under a dim candlelight with soft background music that won’t cost too much. Where would be the best place for such event than at Sunset Bistro Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang.

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As you know this is a bistro with music and liquors (RM10 – RM40) all through the night, there’s actually some fruit juice and non-fizzy beverages available too such as the gigantic jug of Fruit Punch (RM9.90) or the Ice Lemon Tea (RM4.90).

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There are also many appetizers, main meals, rice dishes, noodles, finger food, sandwiches, pizza, pastas and desserts to choose from, ranging from as low as RM6.90 (Fried Koay Teow) to RM31.90 (Mixed Grill). The good news is all items are priced nett with no additional taxes. Since we had a late and heavy lunch, we shared out some of the food.

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The Spaghetti Carbonara with Turkey Ham (RM14.90) tasted great. It had this thick yet herb filled taste in it with some shredded parmesan cheese garnished on the pasta. The portion was large enough for both of us to share out.

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Next was the Club Sandwich (RM10.90). The dish came with four slices of fresh white bread, stuffed with a layer of lettuce, a layer of cheddar cheese, a layer of mixed tuna salad, accompanied by some greens and salad, served with some French fries. The sandwich was nothing really special at all as I was expecting the bread to be slightly toasted.

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The last dish to come was the 6” Mauii Pizza (RM9.90). The pizza base was crispy and the topping was beautiful. It had large chunks of chicken meat, mushrooms and pineapple spread over a freshly prepared tomato puree and baked to perfection with lots of mozzarella cheese. The pizza was so tasty that we regretted not ordering a larger 8” one (RM12.90).

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Overall, the simple meal was quite pleasant. Here’s the signboard of some of the food available in this bistro by the beach.

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We ended up strolling along the mile long night market looking for some bargains for items such as shoes, clothing, DVD’s, hand bags, jewelries, wallets, cushion covers, sarongs, luggage, sunglasses, souvenirs, paintings and many more.

Drive all the way up to Batu Ferringhi until you reach Parkroyal Hotel Penang on your right. Turn right into the first junction after the hotel and you will reach the Bayu Senja beach front. When you are at the T junction, turn left. Find a parking space. The bistro is just somewhere further on you right by the beach in front of many beach hostels.

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Name: SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI
Address: 56A, Bayu Senja, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-553 1313 (Ms. Melynda Soon)
Opening Hours:
12.00pm-1.00am Sunday – Thursday)
12.00pm-3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.471436, 100.244333

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

CHA YU KAFEI RESTAURANT

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 8 - 2008

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If I’m not mistaken, this place used to be located in the present 7’s Sister Café & Restaurant premise few years back and relocated to another place at Jalan Arratoon for few years before firming itself at the present premise. With more than 5 years of experience in the F&B sector, the restaurant sure knows how to cater to the taste buds of the public. Moreover, the food served would be halal (pork-free). Upon entering the premise, you would think that they are just another tea house serving some finger food. In fact, they are one of those established restaurant with more than 100 types of dishes for you to choose from. Sadly, they could not come up with photos of all the dishes, as they are always creating new dishes.

One thing you have to take note is that photography taking is quite limited as they have their own set of rules. You would not even be allowed to take shots of the interior and exterior. Please remember that it’s always polite to request the permission from them prior to taking shots, with a name card of course.

I was there recently for a visit to try out some of their newly created tea dishes. As usual, we ordered drinks first. The Soya Bean Milk was RM2.00 whereas the Red Dates was RM1.80.

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There would always be snacks prior to any meal in an Oriental restaurant. Braised Peanuts was at RM2.00 per plate.

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The first dish that came was the Fried Fragrant Tea Rice (飄香茶飯- RM6.90). It was good as the “Wok Hei” (high heat cooking) did make the rice very fragrant. Not oily too. One unique taste in the fried rice was the mild tea taste. The rice was cooked with some tea prior to frying. It has some mixed vegetables, vegetarian char siew chunks, large prawns, eggs and garnished with their in-house fried tea leaves. It’s a must to try out.

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Sesame Fried Abalone Mushroom (芝麻鮑魚菇 – RM6.90) was served next. Some Abalone Mushroom were coated with batter and deep fried, prior to garnishing them with some sweetened chili sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Not bad a dish too if you love crunchy food.

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The Stir Fry Fish Bladder Tofu (魚鰾豆腐 – RM10.90) was appetizing. The gravy itself had all the right combination of sauces. The dish has four pieces of homemade fried tofu, cooked with some fish bladder and mini Chinese cabbage.

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The last dish would normally be the best dish as some said. How true it was for the Drunken Tea Chicken Claypot (茶香醉雞煲 – RM11.90). Choice pieces of a chicken drumstick with thigh were cooked in mild tea, ginger strips, mushroom and wood ear fungus slices, some herbs such as dried Gouqi (wolfberries), dong quai (Chinese Angelica) and a large amount of Shao Xing wine. Some in-house fried tea leaves were sprinkled on the soup. The chicken meat was tender and the soup base was simply rich in herb and wine flavors. A must try for those herb soup enthusiasts.

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An Oriental meal would not be complete without some sweet desserts. Foo Chook Ginkgo Nuts Soya Bean Tang Yuan (腐竹白果豆水湯圓 – RM4.20 per bowl) was served steaming hot. The bowl of dessert had thin soya bean milk, cooked with foo chook (dried beancurd sheet), ginkgo nuts, rock sugar and served with two large sesame filled tang yuan (glutinous rice flour balls). Although a bit pricey for the dessert, it would be worth your money paid.

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On top of the dishes with rice, you can also try out their reputable Hokkien Style Fried Potato Starch (古早味薯粉 – RM6.90). The dish has thinly flavored steamed potato starch fried with fragrant dried shrimps, cabbage, onions, spring onions and prawns. The starch has the color and translucent look of a wood ear fungus but taste springier than hor fun. It was indeed very yummy.

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The Spinach Noodle with Fish Ball (魚滑蚧柳菠菜面 – RM7.90) was somewhat different. A spinach noodle (spinach wan than mee) was cooked in a mild ginger chicken broth, garnished with ingredients such as the chef special fish balls, artificial crabsticks, carrot slices, button mushroom slices and some Chinese cabbage, sprinkled with a bit of fried garlic. The soup taste was fine and the ingredients were a lot.

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If you feel that the noodles were not filling enough, you can also order some side dishes such as the Steamed Egg Rolls (蛋皮巻 – RM5.90 for 5 rolls). Rolls of steamed minced meat, prawns and spinach would be rolled into thinly fried egg skins and garnished with some egg white based gravy. Not bad but I would prefer the filling to be a bit softer.

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Overall, the two of us enjoyed the meal a lot. A 5% tax would be incurred for those orders. The restaurant also caters for indoor and outdoor functions. If you are coming from KOMTAR area/Traders Hotel along Jalan Magazine, turn left into Jalan Gurdwara at the Gama Supermarket traffic lights. Keep to your right after the traffic light and turn right into the small road (Jalan Trang) next to the Gama building. The restaurant is somewhere further up on your left with some beautifully decorated Japanese bamboo gardens.

CHAYUKAFEIMAP

Name: CHA YU KAFEI RESTAURANT
Address: 33 Jalan Trang, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 1028, 012-417 3174, 016-422 1028
Opening Hours: 12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.412600, 100.327395

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)

NEWW BT FOOD COURT @ BURMAH ROAD

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 30 - 2008

Note: This food court is no longer in operation.

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For those who frequent the Georgetown area for food, you would have noticed that there’s a chain of food court by the name of Neww BT Food Court popping up at many places on Penang island as well as some places at the mainland. These food courts are big and have many choices of food available. I have been testing out majority of the food at both the Weld Quay outlet as well as the Burmah Road outlet but to date have barely found one stall that really gave me that oomph for repeat visits.

For the past few weeks, I have been sitting down at the Burmah Road outlet to identify which are those stalls that had the most orders and tried them out. To my conclusion, most of those ordered dishes were barely up to the standard. Maybe I could be wrong as taste bud is something that differs from individuals but from the leftovers on the plates and bowls that I had noticed, I might not be the only one that had the taste problem. Let me share with you my experiences at the food court.

Some people might consider presentation skill of a dish important. As for me, I would rather have tastier food rather than the presentation. Better still, I would prefer if the restaurant or hawker can provide both. I tried out two of the Western dishes on one occasion.

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The presentation on the Black Pepper Chicken Chop (RM7.50) plate was impressive. It had some turmeric colored oil and dark soy sauce as presentation. Even the main meal itself was beautifully presented as you would get from a fine dining restaurant or a 5-star hotel. The most noticeable problem on this dish is the choice of batter and the chicken meat. The crust was too thick and hard and the meat was too soft. There wasn’t any taste or springy texture of a chicken meat bite. Worst still, the black pepper gravy was so diluted and does not have any pepper taste or saltiness in it. This is totally disastrous!

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The Grilled Chicken (RM7.50) had the same problem as the dish above. The taste is totally bland and burnt. You can see how burnt the piece of meat is. The bottom section was even worst with almost 50% was burnt. The recommended gravy was also bad. No sweetness, saltiness or even sourness in it. Moreover, it’s also rather diluted. This was the worst Western dish I had taken in ages.

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Luckily the Pasembur (mixed fritters with boiled potatoes, egg with shredded cucumber and jicama/yambean/sengkuang – RM5) saved the day. At least all the ingredient that I had chosen plus the gravy was quite acceptable although not the best around.

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The two piece of Poh Piah (thin Asian wheat flour crepe with shredded jicama filling) ordered was a disappointment. I expected something better for the RM3 paid. It ended up soggy, tasteless with hardly any filling. There was not even a single piece of crabmeat in it. Each roll has only barely noticeable mashed bean curd and some minced meat. I felt so cheated!

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The next dish was a joke. Baked Cheese Seafood Macaroni was priced at RM9. I expected to see at least some reasonable amount of seafood presented but all I got was barely one button mushroom, less than half a artificial crabstick, 3 pieces of broccoli, four medium sized prawns, a large amount of macaroni pasta with some crushed oregano sprinkled on top. There was hardly any cheese taste and the sauce was sour and diluted. I did not even finish this dish as it was too tasteless for me.

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I saw quite a number of people ordering the Ampang Yong Tau Foo (mixed fish balls, meat balls, tofu related by products and vegetables of your choice – RM5) served with Yam Rice (RM1). When the dish was served, it was always my style to try out the soup first. First taste was quite fine but rather too mild considering that all the richness from the ingredients and the seaweed that I had chosen would have left some sweetness in the soup. The ingredients were like, “Gosh! How long have they boiled them? There wasn’t any taste in every single one!”

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The Yam Rice looked great with all the loose grains with some pieces of yam but the dish was extremely cold. Now you get what I meant about great presentation? The rice was totally inedible. Not only was the rice tasteless, it didn’t even have the fragrance from the soy sauce or dried shrimps in it. I had to force myself to finish it.

There are many other stalls selling Pei Pa Duck Rice, Braised Duck Herb Noodles, Curry Chicken Rice, Fried Belacan Chicken, Satay, Wan Than Mee, Hokkien Mee, Portugese BBQ, Char Hor Fun, Koay Teow Th’ng, etc that I had not tried to comment more. One thing I had noticed, these few stalls were not getting orders as they should. I guessed the consumers would know better right?

If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Burma, drive on until you reach the second traffic lights at Jalan Burmah and Jalan Anson/Jalan Larut junction. BMW Showroom is on your left and Giant Supermarket if on your right. Drive straight amd keep to your right. You can see the food court on your right. Drive into Jalan Arratoon and find a parking space within the ample car park provided by the management.

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Name: NEWW BT FOOD COURT @ BURMAH ROAD
Address: Jalan Burma, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 2.00am
GPS: 5.422672, 100.323300

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 5.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SELERA SIM CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 25 - 2008

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For those working around the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ), especially those from the FIZ Phase IV, should be aware of the where about this hawker center. It is hidden right within some apartments along Jalan Tengah, Bayan Baru. The cafe is Selera Sim Café and will usually be packed with factory workers during lunch time. What I like about this cafe is the large portion of food served at a reasonable price.

Each time I’m up that area, I would surely visit this café regardless whether it’s breakfast, lunch or tea time. There’s one dish that would always be on my table and that’s the Mee Jawa. You can have it served fried or with the sweet potato soup and the owner would not be stingy to top it off with a lot of ingredients, all for a mere RM2.50. A bigger plate with more crackers would only be RM3.00.

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Each plate would come with sliced fried bean curd, boiled potatoes, eggs, prawn fritters and crunchy anchovy crackers, garnished with pounded peanuts and lettuce, and served with half a lime and some chili paste (sambal). The fried one had all the tasty spices seeped into the yellow noodles used and was topped with a little gravy. The soup one was just boiled yellow noodles with more sweet potato gravy. Both the dishes were remarkably tasty.

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Another of the most ordered dish stall (by the look of the crowd lining up for the food) would be The Nest Chicken Rice. This is just not an ordinary chicken rice stall as the chicken were neither roasted with soy sauce nor boiled. The “All drumstick plus thigh” chicken came in three flavors, namely Turmeric Roasted Chicken, KFC Batter-like Fried Chicken and Black Pepper Grill Chicken. Depending on your selection of side dishes which would include salad, fried bean curd, omelette, prawn fritters and fish fritters, each plate would cost you from RM4.50 to RM6.00. I tried out the Turmeric Fried Chicken Special Seafood Platter Set (RM6.00).

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The set came with a whole large piece of fried turmeric chicken served with lemon sauce (you can opt for their other sauce), a prawn fritter, a fish fritter and an omelette on top of a big bowl of rice. The chicken meat was juicy and tender with the nice turmeric taste on it. The prawn and fish fritters were very fresh and the special sauce on the rice blended in real well. I would say the pricing is very reasonable too as a smaller piece of chicken plus rice in a Nasi Kandar shop would have cost me RM5.20.

Each order would also come with free flow of soup. The soup of the day happened to be Seaweed Soup.

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There was quite a variety of food sold there although there was only a row of food stalls with a few more stalls scattered near the entrance of the cafe. From my observance, the two stalls which had the most crowds would be The Nest Chicken Rice and the Tar Hong Kong B.B.Q. Chicken & Duck Rice. I have yet to try the chicken and duck rice from this stall but I guessed the taste buds from the crowds would evidently prove them to be good.

I have not been there for quite some time for tea. There used to be a Chinese lady selling nice and tasty local delicacies (Nyonya kuih and curry puff) opposite the duck rice stall during tea time. I hope she’s still there if I ever to be there again during tea time.

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If you are coming from Gelugor or Jelutong Expressway towards the old Penang International Airport highway along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, you will reach the Jalan Mahsuri traffic light (turn right and it will lead you to Sunshine Square/SunTech Cyber City). Ignore this traffic and drive on until you see the Jalan Tengah traffic light. Turn right into Jalan Tengah and drive on until you see a traffic light. Turn left into Jalan Mayang Pasir and then first junction on your left into the Kampung Gedung Apartments. There would be a lot of lanes between all the apartments. Try to find a parking space near to Block 70, Block 72 or Block 74. The hawker center is just at the ground floor of Block 70.

SELERASIMMAP

Name: SELERA SIM CAFE
Address: Block 70-G-1, Jalan Tengah, 11900 Bayan Baru, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 6.00pm
GPS: 5.318214, 100.286270

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

FRIED SPICY SAGO CAKE RECIPE

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 23 - 2008

When we talk about sago, these uncooked pearl-like 2mm in diameter white balls are usually presented in some of the South Asian cuisine desserts. Being a multi-racial country like Malaysia, we have so many desserts that have cooked sago as one of the ingredients, namely the Abok-Abok, Steamed Sago with Palm Sugar and Coconut Milk, Chilled Blended Honeydew with Sago or even the Mixed Leng Chee Kang with bigger and colorful sago pearls.

Did you notice a similarity in all these desserts? They are all served as sweet desserts. There is one sago dessert in the Teochew community which is fast becoming extinct and it is served salty but spicy. I’m going to share with you the recipe today on how to make this dessert. I call it the FRIED SPICY SAGO CAKE.

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INGREDIENTS:
250gms pearl sago (soak for 10-15 minutes and drain)
1-2 Tspn chili boh/paste (according to your acceptance of spiciness)
200gms bean sprout (peel off roots if possible)
1 Tspn chopped salted turnip (Chai Po)
1 Tspn dark soy sauce
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Oil
Pepper
Salt
Sugar

GARNISH:
100gms of dried shrimps (flat type – fried and drain excess oil)
Some fried shallots
1 stalk spring onions (chopped)
Chillies (remove seed and cut in strips – optional)

OPTIONAL:
Prawns
Squids

PREPARATION:

1. Get a mixing bowl and pour the soaked sago pearl into it.
2. Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and some pepper. Mix thoroughly.
3. Oil a 20cm by 20cm (8”x8”) square baking tray. Put the mixed ingredients into the tray and press down firmly.
4. Heat up some water in a wok and steam for 30-40 minutes under medium fire. DO NOT OPEN THE LID while steaming as the sago might not be cooked properly.
5. Leave aside to FULLY cool down before cutting the sago cake in 3cm by 2cm rectangles.
6. In another wok, heat up 4 porcelain spoons of oil.
7. Saute the chopped salted turnip (Chai Po which is easily obtainable in any Asian stores) for 15 seconds under low fire.
8. Add in the chili paste and stir until you get the fragrance.
9. Add in one Tablespoon of dark soy sauce, one Tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, pinch of salt and sugar, some pepper and stir thoroughly.
10. Put in the diced sago cake and mix well.
11. Add in the bean sprouts and stir until cooked (almost transparent look).
12. Dish out to serve.
13. Garnish with some fried dried shrimps, fried shallots and some spring onions.
NOTE: I did not add too much of salt or soy sauce into the dish as some brands of the dried shrimps can be quite salty. If it’s not salty enough for your taste bud, you can always sprinkle some soy sauce on it. Good Luck!

(Serves: 5-6)

USEFUL TIPS: Do not worry about some tiny white spots left in the center. Leave it awhile as the heat itself would make them translucent. Depending on the freshness of the sago pearls, you might sometimes get 5% of the sago still with spots. You can ignore these as they are still edible.

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

XIN JIANG PEI PA DUCK RICE

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 21 - 2008

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I was quite reluctant to post up this review as the experience there was not so pleasant. If not for the great taste of the Pei Pa Duck, I would have just ignored them. Anyway, it’s better for me to forewarn my readers rather than to let them endure the high pricing, bad taste quality of their other products. I was there on their second day of their night operation. While I was dining half way, the garden lightings went dark. Some short circuit I guessed but while dining there for barely 25 minutes, the whole café went dark. Worst still, twice. I hope they did not employ cheap electricians to handle their wiring as it might be quite risky for the patrons there. Well, this might just be a coincident while I was there.

This was not a big issue for me. The main problem lied on the water quality of that area. The water tasted just like chlorine. Although the drink maker did solve this problem, the duck rice hawker did not. The rice tasted horrid. The taste of chlorine was overpowering for me to finish it. I did inform the boss about that and I hope he would take heed on my complaint before he loses more customers. Anyway, before I knew about the problem, I ordered a quarter of a Pei Pa Duck, a mixed platter of Char Siew, Roasted Pork, Chinese Sausage and Roasted Chicken. It came with a complimentary bowl of Chop Suey. All for RM24 which I considered quite high price for the small portion served for 3 persons.

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The Pei Pa Duck was tasty. I ordered just a quarter to try out and I was lucky enough to have the drumstick. The meat was tender and without the strong taste of duck scent. The skin was fried to perfection and maintained its crispiness. The sauce which came with the duck was tasty and combined real well with the duck meat. Although this is not the best in Penang, it still deserved some mentions.

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The mixed platter itself was a disaster. The roasted chicken was so bland. Even the roasted skin has no flavor on it. The Char Siew was also terrible. It was dry and tasteless as if it was left there for quite a long period of time. The roasted pork was also dry. The skin was so badly roasted that you would need a hammer to break it apart. Worst still, their utensils were so soft that you can perform some magical bending with them. The Chinese sausage had the best taste amongst all but the boss must make more improvement on the dish as it was still a bit too dry.

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I can’t comment much on the complimentary Chop Suey as it was given free but I also hope the boss would make some adjustments to the taste. There was only the thick sour taste of Assam juice and nothing else. The soup lacked of the taste of spices such as dried chillies, ginger and lemongrass.

If you are coming from Bukit Jambul Complex towards the Penang International Airport along Jalan Tun Dr Awang, you will come to a “Y” junction. PISA Stadium is on your left, Public Bank is on your right. Turn right into Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim which will lead you to Sg. Ara district. You will pass 3 traffic lights. Drive on until see S.M.K. Sg. Ara on your left. Keep to your right and you would see another traffic light not far away. Turn right into Jalan Kenari. You will see a sign there stating Desa Ria. Drive on and turn left into the first junction (Tingkat Kenari). Drive on and you would see the café not far away on your right. This place will also serve dim sum (Tien Tien Lye Dim Sum) from 5.00am until noon.

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Name: PEI PA DUCK RICE @ XIN JIANG CAFE
Address: 14A, Lengkuk Kenari, Desa Ria Sungai Ara, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 12.00am
Contact: 016-450 3406
GPS: 5.318031, 100.266983

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

VIETNAMESE STREET FOOD TASTING @ MISS SAIGON

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 16 - 2008

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It was a great experience for some of us here who had never tasted Vietnamese Street Food during the food tasting gathering organized by Miss Saigon, Vietnamese Cuisine at E-Gate, Penang yesterday. We were given the privilege to try out all the items in the pork-free menu prior to the launching of the promotion which would start this coming Friday to cater for those who would like lighter treats. There are all together 31 items in the newly promoted menu, ranging from summer rolls, exotic spreads, salads, rice noodles and sandwiches.

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To start off the event, we were presented with 10 different types of fresh and fried rolls with different kinds of sauces. Those dishes included the Traditional Northern Rolls (RM6.80) with prawns, Traditional Southern Rolls (RM7.80) with chicken slices, Farmer’s Egg Rolls (RM6.80), Mini Prawn Paste on Sugar Cane (RM10.80) to be wrapped in rice paper, Crispy Gourmet Seafood Rolls (RM9.80), Crisp Fried Hanoi Rolls (RM8.80), Fresh Vegetable Rolls (RM5.80), Southern Fish Rolls (RM7.80) and Classic Hor Fun Rolls (Beef – RM10.80, Chicken – RM9.80). Overall, the rice paper wrapped rolls tasted almost the same with lots of fresh vegetables except for the different types of meat in it. The ones that stood out and tasted great for my personal liking included the Mini Prawn Paste on Sugar Cane, Crispy Gourmet Seafood Rolls, Crisp Fried Hanoi Rolls and Hor Fun Beef Rolls.

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The next set of meals was the exotic side of the Vietnamese cuisine. We were presented with 8 dishes, namely the Cinnamon Beef Chunks La Lot (RM11.80), Grilled Chicken T-shaped Wings (RM9.80), Wok Fried Flower Chicken (RM14.80), Wok Fried Flower Beef (RM14.80), Spiced Grilled Eel Cake (RM12.80), Villagers Grilled Snail Cake (RM12.80), Street Style Salty Soft Shell Crabs (RM13.80) and Royal Seafood Skewer (RM10.80). The Cinnamon Beef Chunks La Lot was tender and juicy with that special taste from the Vietnamese spice leave. The Grilled Chicken T-shaped Wings was also nice as they were marinated and grilled to perfection with the chef’s secret BBQ sauce. Other than that, my preference would be the two Wok Fried Flower Chicken/Beef dishes. The taste of the Pergularia wild flowers sure did enhance the dishes which came with a bit of tangy and salty after taste. The Eel and Snail cakes were average. Both tasted like chicken burger expect that the snail version had a bit of springiness in them. The Street Style Soft Shell Crabs was quite nice too except that I found it to be a bit over salty to my taste bud. The Royal Seafood Skewer is nothing special compared to other BBQ skewer dishes but the salmon served was indeed fresh.

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The restaurant’s salad dishes were next on the list. We were served with 5 different kinds of salad namely their most recommended Sour Green Mango Salad (RM7.80), Miss Saigon Salad (RM9.80), Cold Glass Noodle Salad (RM6.80), Crunchy Papaya Salad (RM7.80) and Jelly Fish Salad (RM8.80). The dressing for all the salad tasted almost the same except for the Cold Glass Noodle Salad which has a touch of shredded ginger flower bud added. I love this salad most as it tasted like Yee Sang which would be served during Chinese New Year minus the crunchiness of the fried flour biscuits. The Sour Green Mango Salad and Miss Saigon Salad were also not bad in taste but I would prefer the chef to add in more fresh bean spouts as the dishes lacked of some crunchiness of fresh vegetables.

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The rice noodles dishes were served next. There are all in 6 dishes from the menu such as the Crunchy Eel Glass Noodle Soup (RM13.80), Villagers Snail Noodle Soup (RM13.80), Traditional Southern Beef/Chicken BUN (RM14.80/RM12.80) and the Traditional Vietnamese Chicken/Beef PHO (RM12.80/RM14.80). I found that the eel strips were a bit too small in size after being fried as I could not get the fish taste in it. I normally prefer fresh fish fillet in my noodle soup, although I do take some fried ones which were in a bigger chunks. The Villagers Snail Noodle Soup was not bad. Although the snail meat was not as thinly sliced as I would expect, it blended well with the sour taste of the soup. The soup tasted like our local Laksa minus the pungent taste of the soup. Even the chewy noodles were exactly the same as those in Laksa. Both the Traditional Southern Beef/Chicken BUN tasted great. They looked like our local “Kerabu” and tasted the same too. I quite like the chicken version as sauce blended in real well. The Traditional Vietnamese Chicken/Beef Noodles were normal but the beef version would be quite suitable for those who do not like the overpowering taste of beef.

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The last on the menu were the Frog Curry with Garlic Spiced Baguette (RM10.80) and Vietnamese Street Beef/Chicken Baguette (RM9.80). The latter was nothing but a part of a baguette filled with some beef and chicken cold cuts. The Frog Curry was worth mentioning as the curry was delicious and had a quite unique taste from all the herbs within. Even the garlic topped baguettes combined well with the curry.

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Overall, the taste for the Vietnamese street food could be quite an experience for many but I find the pricing to be a bit too steep for some of the items in the menu. If you are a frequent wet market customer, you would realize that the ingredients used in the preparation of some of the dishes would be around 30% of the price charged, excluding the rental, ambience and worker’s salaries. I would like to advice the management to lower to a reasonable price in order to let more people try out the Vietnamese food. 10% service charge is applicable to all orders and major credit cards would only be accepted for bill above RM50.

The restaurant is situated within the E-Gate building next to Penang’s Tesco along Jalan Tunku Kudin, Gelugor, Penang. It is facing the Jelutong Expressway and is just next to the Old Town Kopitiam.

SAIGONMAP

Name: MISS SAIGON VIETNAM CUISINE
Address: 1-01-15, E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2, 11700 Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00pm – 12.00am
Contact: 604-377 6083, 012-402 2909 (Mr. Leslie Loh)
GPS: 5.376253, 100.315558

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

Other attendees:
Steven Goh from Steven Goh
Allen Ooi from Yummy Station
Michelle & Jason Law from Let’s Chat and Chew
PenangTuaPuis from PenangTuaPui
CK Lam from What2seeOnline
Gill & Jason from Gourmet Garden
Lingzie from Lingzie’s Tummy Treats
Allie & friend from Havenly Allie
Nicholas Chan from Shiok Or Not
Carrie Soon from Cariso Delicacies Corner

ROSLI NASI AYAM @ LORONG KULIT

Posted by Criz Lai On November - 14 - 2008

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The Malay version of chicken rice is totally different compared to the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Instead of roasting with some sauce on the outer layer of the chicken, they would coat the chicken pieces with a thin layer of batter and deep fried them until they become crispy. One of the nicer ones which I had recently was from a stall within the surrounding of the Penang City Stadium along Lorong Kulit. The stall has been there since 1995, serving their yummy chicken rice to all walks of people. The name of the stall is Rosli Nasi Ayam.

You have a choice of ordering the different parts of the chicken meat but as for me I would always like to have the chicken thigh. The Chicken Rice set will come with a large bowl of rice and a bowl of soup and it only cost me RM3.50. Surprisingly, the meat within the crispiness of the batter still maintained its tenderness and was very delicious.

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As for photography purposes, I requested for the specially prepared soy sauce and chili sauce to be separated. The rice which is fragrant and not dry at all also came with a bowl of chicken soup garnished with some sliced lettuce and fried onions.

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If you are driving from Georgetown towards Air Itam along Jalan Dato Kramat, you will reach a traffic light (The Patani Road Police Headquarter is on your left). Drive on until you have reached the second traffic light (Padang Brown is on your right). Drive on until you see another traffic light (Maybank is on your left). Turn left into Lorong Kulit and you will see the stall at the junction of Lorong Kulit and Persiaran Stadium. This place is where the City Stadium is and has a flea market from as early as 8.00am until 1.00pm.

ROSLINASIAYAMMAP

Name: ROSLI NASI AYAM @ LORONG KULIT
Address: Lorong Kulit, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Contact: 016-433 2517 (Kak Min)
GPS: 5.412817, 100.313233

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

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About Me

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

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

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