CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Malaysia’s all-time favorite Halal certified Japanese restaurant, Sushi King from nationwide, would be promoting its “Japanese Curry with a Kick” from 1 April 2017 until 30 June 2017. Sushi King is introducing an exclusive Japanese curry menu with added punchy ‘kick’ to suit the local taste buds and spicy enough to fire up any Malaysian’s savory palate. The special menu would be available for a limited time in which various authentic Japanese fare would be merged with a spicy twist and mouthwatering flavors for those adventurous foodies who love to have “spicier” moments in their lives. Do click on the poster below to enlarge for a better view.

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To start off the new introductions, let’s personalize your order. Diners can choose any of the 3 options available for the curry rice, namely Chicken Katsu (deep fried chicken), Seafood Fry (deep fried prawns & fish) or Yakiniku (pan fried beef slices), followed by your choice of spiciness pairing level such as Curry, Tomato Curry and Spicy Curry. Please be warned that even the toughest and most seasoned ‘fiery-food-lover’ do find the Spicy Curry to be such a challenge without triggering the gustatory hyperhidrosis of profuse sweating~ Haha~ 🙂

Summarized Steps:
Step 1: Choose One (1) Main Curry Rice (Chicken Katsu, Seafood Fry or Yakiniku)
Step 2: Choose One (1) Spiciness Level (Curry, Tomato Curry or Spicy Curry)
Step 3: Wait for your personalized dish to arrive

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We were then served with the hot plate style Grilled Cheese Curry (RM13.90++), a heat infused version of the Chicken Katsu Curry Rice as above but with an additional piece of melted cheese. The combination was tasty, giving that extra umami flavor into the dish.

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The next dish which was the Curry Kiryu Udon (RM13.90++) was quite an interesting dish as it’s hardly available outside of Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. The famous smooth textured flat and wide noodles complemented well with the mildly spiced up curry broth, topped with tempura prawn, kani sticks and a few chopped stalks of spring onions. In fact, I felt in love with the dish at first bite~ 😛

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Next on the list was the Agedashi Beef Curry (RM18.90). The dish came with a set of deliciously pepped up fried bean curd, pan fried beef, Shimeji mushrooms and cheese in a nicely spiced up curry base, served with a bowl of steamed Japanese rice, miso soup and chawanmushi. It was indeed a heavenly combination. However, it would be great if the kitchen would have the option for chicken for those non beef consumers.

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Sushi King did also introduce 4 other curry based sushi in this promotion, namely Aburi Curry Tamago (flame grilled egg with cheese and curry mayonnaise – RM3.00++), Curry Tori Katsu Gunkan (deep fried chicken with curry mayonnaise – RM4.00++), Curryfornia Roll (crabstick, cucumber, egg and flying fish roe, served with curry piri-piri sauce – RM5.00++) and Curry Ebi Fry Nigiri (deep fried prawn with curry mayonnaise – RM6.00++). I really could not decide which one out of the 4 items served were the best as each item has their unique flavors.

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We were also introduced to two new desserts in Sushi King, which were the Matcha Ice Cream Doughnut (RM4.90++) and Vanilla Ice Cream Doughnut (RM4.90++). Both were simply refreshing after a hefty meal of curried meals.

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MOTHERS’ DAY GIVEAWAY!

Since Mothers’ Day would be here on 14 May 2017, why not celebrate this eventful day with your loving mother by trying to win yourself some Sushi King cash vouchers? The steps are rather simple as below. Good luck to all~ 🙂

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Step 1: LEAVE a short comment in this blog post. (Eg. Nice giveaway, Great place for family gathering, etc.)
Step 2: Go to SUSHI KING FACEBOOK CONTEST, LIKE, SHARE the post and TAG 3 friends. Please end with the hashtag #MySKCurry (Eg. Name 1, Name 2, Name 3 #MySKCurry)
Step 3: COMMENT on my FACEBOOK POST in not more than 20 words after the next sentence, “I want to win some Sushi King cash vouchers to celebrate Mothers’ Day as my Mum …” and end the sentence with the hashtag #MySKCurry (Eg. I want to win some Sushi King cash vouchers to celebrate Mothers’ Day as my Mum is the greatest in this world. #MySKCurry)

Terms & Conditions:
1. This giveaway is only valid for those residing in Malaysia only.
2. Contest period ends at 12.00pm, 22 April 2017
3. The participant will be disqualified if failed to comply to any of the abovementioned step
4. Each participant can only win ONE (1) prize.
5. Winners will be tagged on the Facebook giveaway post by 12.00pm, 23 April 2017. The most creative comments will win prizes as stated below.
6. The organizer’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained

Prizes:
– Grand Prize: RM100 x 1
– 2nd Prize: RM50 x 1
– Consolation Prize: RM30 x 1

Overall, I’m so happy that finally Sushi King has finally introduced spicier dishes into their menu, though it’s just for a short period of time. I’m sure Malaysians, who are used to various spicy dishes in their daily meals would be pleased with the many options available. The Kiryu Udon is not something that is common in this region and Sushi King made it possible for us to try it out. It was indeed a great experience for all of us.

The Sushi King @ Gurney Plaza is located at level 2 of the new wing. Just use the escalator up to level 2 and you can see the outlet on the right.

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Name: Sushi King @ Gurney Plaza
Address: Lot No. Lot 170-02-58, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-227 5285
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437096, 100.309867

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

About Sushi King: Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd was established in 1995, introducing sushi on the kaiten (conveyor belt) to Malaysia through its well-known brand, Sushi King. This chain of restaurants serves quality sushi and other Japanese cuisine at affordable prices in a warm and friendly environment. What sets Sushi King apart is the personal touch of serving freshly made sushi on the kaiten for customers to pick up and enjoy. From a single outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Sushi King has expanded to 100 outlets and counting throughout the Klang Valley and even covering nearly every state across the nation, making it the largest Japanese kaiten concept chain of restaurants in Malaysia. Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd is a member of the Texchem Group of Companies, being one of over thirty-five subsidiaries under Texchem Resources Bhd (Texchem), a Malaysia-based multinational, listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia. Texchem has four core business divisions – Restaurant Division, Industrial Division, Food Division and Polymer Engineering Division.
 

With the presence of Empire Sushi kiosks conveniently available in most of the major malls throughout Kedah, Penang and Selangor, Malaysians can now purchase a large varieties of halal-friendly sushi fuss-free and speedily. Recently, we paid a visit to one of these kiosks at Gurney Plaza, Penang, and found the texture of the sushi to be at its best quality with the freshest ingredients.

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The kiosk here at Gurney Plaza has at least 78 varieties of hand-crafted sushi and maki, with more options for temaki and onigiri to tempt your Japanese finger food cravings. Just on Inari Sushi itself, there are altogether 17 versions and I can assure you that all of them passed my fussy taste bud. Some of my choices of these versions were Egg, Tuna Cheese, Ebiko, Salmon, Idako, Tempura Ebi, Salmon Mayo and Unagi.

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The rest of the sushi which were out of this world delicious to watch out for would be their Tempura Ebi Roll (RM2.60), Unagi Cheese Roll (RM2.60, Spicy Roll (RM2.40), Chicken Meat Slice Roll (RM2.40), Salmon Roll (RM2.60), Cheese Roll (RM2.40), Tobikko Cheese Roll (RM2.40) and more.

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On top of that, they do have many types of Futo Maki and Maki, each piece priced between RM1.20 and RM2.10 for your basic maki needs.

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There are also at least 4 types of Temaki (RM4.20 each) and 5 types of Onigiri (octopus, crab, tuna, salmon & chicken floss) to choose from.

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You can check out the full menu below by clicking to enlarge for a better view:

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Overall, I do love the many choices of sushi not only due to its freshness but the firmness and juiciness of the vinegar infused Japanese rice. They are so flavorful that you can practically eat it without any additional condiments.

Empire Sushi @ Gurney Plaza is located at the basement of Gurney Plaza, Penang. Just use the escalator down to the basement and you can see the kiosk with a colorful array of sushi choices.

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Name: EMPIRE SUSHI @ GURNEY PLAZA PENANG
Address: Lot No. 170-B1-K7, Plaza Gurney, Gurney Drive, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: N/A
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437951, 100.309815

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: 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)

 

For almost 2 decades after landing in Malaysia, Nando’s has been grilling Malaysian’s taste buds and has since been the top purveyors of spice and flavor through its world-renowned flame grilled PERi-PERi chicken. Recently, we had a try on its latest Mango & Lime PERi-PERi at one of its outlets at Gurney Plaza, Penang. Since its tangy and zesty introduction, Mango & Lime has proven to be a hit in various countries across the globe including United Kingdom and Australia and is now a staple at all Nando’s Malaysia outlets as part of its permanent menu. Be it with the flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken, sides or appeteasers, it’s time to give your taste buds a tongue-tingling time with the Mango & Lime flavor.

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The new Mango & Lime flavor stays true to its Afro-Portuguese roots and brings a new dimension to its range of PERi-PERi flavors. Imported from South Africa, the PERi-PERi flavors currently comes in 4 flaming options, Lemon & Herb, Mild, Hot and Extra Hot Now, fans that are just beginning their spicy journey can enjoy Mango & Lime as it wiggles its way on to the Nando’s PERi-ometer. Mango & Lime’s mixture of flavors undoubtedly appeals to Malaysian’s love for all things sweet and spicy.

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“Our flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken has proven to be a hit with our fans at home and abroad. With our new flavor, we hope to welcome new fans through our doors and ignite Nando’s lovers with sweet, tangy and zesty flavors but with the quirky Nando’s PERi-PERi twist. We are always on the look out to spice up the Nando’s experience while staying true to our identity and the fun combination of Mango & Lime fits the bill perfectly,” said Stephen Chew, CEO of Nando’s Malaysia.

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Nando’s pairs Mango & Lime with a new designer drink, Tropical Fruitea, to complete the tantalizing experience. A thirst-quenching tropical medley of Mango & Lime infused with orange juice and lemon tea makes the perfect partner in crime to the Mango & Lime PERi-PERi flavored meal.

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You can also try out their other main, side dishes and desserts too.

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To find out more on the new addition to the family, log on to www.nandos.com.my or visit Nando’s Malaysia Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nandosmy.

Nando’s @ Gurney Plaza is located at the new wing of Gurney Plaza, Penang. The easiest way to beat the maze is to use the al fresco area of McDonald’s and walk towards G Hotel Kelawai. You can easily spot the restaurant on the right.

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Name: NANDO’S @ GURNEY PLAZA PENANG
Address: Lot No. 170-G-72, Plaza Gurney, Gurney Drive, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +60 1-300-88-6555
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm (10.00am-10.30pm on Weekends)
GPS: 5.436389, 100.309429

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: 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)

About Nando’s Malaysia: The Nando’s cockerel landed on the tropical land of Malaysia in 1998 at Jalan Telawi, Bangsar – the 1st Nando’s restaurant in Malaysia officially opened on 29 June 1998. (The restaurant has since been relocated to Bangsar Village 1). It didn’t take long for the word to get around or for the people of Malaysia to get addicted to spicing things up with a fix of flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken. Thanks to their passion for PERi-PERi, Nando’s spread across the length and breadth of Malaysia, and today, there are more than 50 Nando’s restaurants serving succulent flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken with Afro-Portuguese inspired side dishes.

 

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Malaysia’s all-time favorite Japanese restaurant, Sushi King from nationwide would be promoting several delectable auspicious dishes this festive season to usher in the Rooster this coming Chinese New Year 2017. Quality and Freshness have always been the priorities of Sushi King to ensure the fulfillment of its diners. The promotion would be “Doubly Fresh, Doubly Joyous” from 1 January 2017 until 28 February 2017. More surprises would be shared below.

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To start off a brand new season, do toss to a doubly joyous and prosperous year with the highlight of the season, Prosperity Yee Sang (RM45.88++ for 4-6 pax). The dish is made with fresh quality ingredients rather than those prepacked versions and served with premium Norwegian salmon, harvested from the clear blue waters of Norway. Sushi King’s Prosperous Yee Sang is indeed a version out from the norm as it has all the healthy julienned vegetables plus crunchiness coming from their daily made tempura bits. Moreover, what I like most about this version is that it has both sliced and minced salmon added. Thus, everyone would have a fair share of the delicacy. You would have an option to choose their Tangy Plum Sauce or with a combination of Tangy Plum Sauce & Wasabi Sauce. You can also have their Regular Yee Sang (RM38.88++ for 4-6pax) or Longevity Yee Sang (RM18.88++ for 2-3 pax). However, my preference would still be the Prosperity Yee Sang.

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For those who would like to try out their Yee Sang but do not have the crowd to join in, you can have your personal mini Yee Sang, by ordering their CNY Bento (RM19.90++). The bento would come with deep fried chicken, deep fried salmon and served with fragrant Japanese rice.

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Alternatively, if you do not like Yee Sang, you could also try out their Seafood Bento (RM18.90++). This dish has tempura batter fried salmon, squid, prawns, long bean and korokke (potato croquette), served with fragrant Japanese rice.

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For this festive season, you would also get to try our Sushi King’s own version of Salmon Don (RM8.88++). It has deep fried salmon belly and flying fish roe on top of their fragrant Japanese rice.

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On the other hand, their Ontama Salmon Don (RM8.88++) would be a little different as it has salmon flakes, soft boiled egg and flying fish roe on top of their fragrant Japanese Rice.

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There will also some special sushis exclusively created for this season such as the Spicy Salmon Teriyaki Sushi (RM5++), Salmon Teriyaki Sushi (RM5++), Fried Salmon Sushi (RM5++) and Assorted Sushi (RM6++).

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For dessert, we had Hanjuku Cheese Cake (RM4++/pc), a soft baked cheese cake that caught me yearning for more. It was extremely delicious for everyone, regardless of age, as the sweetness and fluffiness of the cake was just right. I would advise you to request for a chilled version as it was perfect to end any meal.

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Do check out on the current promotion (1 January 2017 – 28 February 2017) as each customer who spends RM68 and above in a single receipt at any Sushi King outlet, can receive an exclusive set of Sushi King Daruma Ang Pows and he/she would also be entitled in the running of the “Win an all expenses paid” trip to Tokyo.

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Overall, I’m contended with the dishes served, especially the fresh air-flown Norwegian salmon dishes. On top of that, the Prosperity Yee Sang with sliced and minced salmon is a great way to enjoy the dish to ensure that everyone has their share of raw salmon. The CNY Bento on the other hand was also a great dish to ensure that each diner would have their own portion of yee sang for the joyous occasion.

The Sushi King @ Gurney Plaza is located at level 2 of the new wing. Just use the escalator up to level 2 and you can see the outlet on the right.

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Name: Sushi King @ Gurney Plaza
Address: Lot No. Lot 170-02-58, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-227 5285
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437096, 100.309867

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

 

Nothing could be merrier than to be reunited with family members and friends during Chinese New Year over great food and company. One such place would be at Hakka Tree 客福家 (Tesco Tanjung Pinang & Gurney Plaza) where they would be promoting their Hakka Tree Poon Choi (RM328nett) and Hakka Tree Yee Sang (RM38nett for 1-2 pax/RM66nett for 6-8 pax). The promotion would last from 15 January 2017 until 6 February 2017. For any enquiries, please call +6016-229 6598 to make your booking. A minimum of 2 days advanced booking is required for the Poon Choi. Please also take note that in order to maintain the standard and quality, the Poon Choi is for dine-in only.

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Let’s take a look at what’s in the Hakka Tree Poon Choi. The uniqueness in this Poon Phoi lies in the long simmering hours of plentiful bones with dried scallops and dried oysters to extract the concentrated stock which is rich in collagen. There would be more than a dozen of quality ingredients used to create this dish but the main attraction would be the generous amount of added pork knuckles, tender and melt in the mouth, on a bed of cabbages, yam, radish, slowly stacking up with deep fried bean sticks (fu chok), dried China-imported oysters, Australian sea cucumbers, New Zealand scallops, Chilean abalones, king prawns, Chinese mushrooms, broccoli, homemade pork tendon balls and topped with “golden” bags, a symbol of abundant wealth in the Chinese belief. The balance combination of meat, seafood and vegetables indeed made this a divine dish to savor during this festive season.

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Other than the Poon Choi, you could also try out their Hakka Tree Yee Sang, a must have dish which symbolizes abundance, prosperity and vigor. The thin slices of vegetable pickles, crackers and more were mixed together thoroughly with some added fresh salmon slices and was further enhanced by a specially concocted sauce with distinctive flavors. What I like most was the generous amount of sauce, coating each and every strand of the ingredients, giving the dish a well balance taste.

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If you have some place left in your stomach, you could always try out their desserts such as Purple Yam (RM8.90) and Fu Chok Yee Mai (RM5.90).

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Overall, I’m happy with all dishes that were served on our table. However, I would suggest that the restaurant should advise their patrons on how to consume the Poon Choi properly, especially when there were abalones served as the abalones might get rather tough after a longer period of simmering in the pot. Moreover, this might deter some elderly patrons from enjoying this wonderful pot of goodness.

Hakka Tree can be located at both Tesco Tanjung Pinang (1st Floor) and Gurney Plaza (Basement). You can check out the address below.

Name: HAKKA TREE @ TESCO TANJUNG PINANG
Address: F27, 1st Floor Tesco Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-899 3887
Business Hours: 9.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.458739, 100.308488

Name: HAKKA TREE @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address: 170-B1-06/07, Plaza Gurney, Solok Gurney 1, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-228 3887
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437987, 100.309818

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gurney Plaza, Penang’s Premier Lifestyle Shopping Mall, had launched their Food Guide 2012/2013 – Your Gourmet Journey at Gurney Plaza yesterday, witnessed by YB Danny Law, Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development & Culture and some attending food bloggers. As Penang has been named as one of the Asia’s greatest food destinations by CNNGo just early this year, the management of Gurney Plaza came about just at the right time to launch this food guide to enable tourists and locals to experience the exquisite journey of gourmet goodness. With the availability of this food guide, diners would be able to savor more than 80 unique and delectable restaurants, specialty retailers and cafes throughout the complex. Just head on to the Customer Service Counter at Level 1 to grab this booklet, while stocks last.

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Four Penang food bloggers have been carefully screened through to assist the Gurney Plaza management to review some of the restaurants within the mall. Amongst them were CK Lam, myself, Steven Goh and Lingzie.

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In attendance were YB Danny Law, Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development & Culture, Mr. Lawrence Teh, Gurney Plaza Centre Manager, Mr. Steven Goh, myself, Ang Kevin & Nicholas Theng, co-founders of www.awesomepenang.com. The Food Guide 2012/2013 was officially launched by YB Danny Law, followed by signature session by YB Danny Law, Steven Goh & myself.

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The “Matterhorn Challenge” organized and sponsored by Euro Deli was held immediately after the launching. 20 participants gathered at the new atrium to decide who would be the biggest eater to finish off the 9”W x 6”H Matterhorn burger within the stipulated time frame of 45 minutes. It was a challenging task to gobble down the approximately 3kg in weight burger in which the pork patty alone was about 1.5kg in weight.

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Just look at how condense those patties were. It would take me a week to consume one such burger. Sweat~

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Here’s the size of the Matterhorn burger in comparison to the size of the trophies.

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Some of the participants even gave up in the midst of the challenge. I tried having only 1/12 of the burger and it was really tough. Having one Matterhorn sized burger would be like having 12 double cheese burgers at one go. Sweat~

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Even YB Danny Law could not resist posing with the huge Matterhorn burger. Gosh! It was even bigger than his face! LOL!

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Nevertheless, Steven Goh would always be in his comical ways in handling food as well.

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The two AwesomePenang co-founders, Nicholas Theng and Ang Kevin did not miss out the opportunity as posers too. Haha!

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Although there were so many huge participants in the challenge, no one was able to finish the huge burger. Eventually, the champion went to a medium-size built contestant, Mr. Wilson Chew, with the least amount left – 1.035kg remains.

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The other 2 winners finished with a marginal 1.075kg and 1.110kg remains. They were 1st Runner-up, Mr. Lee Tat Fong and 2nd Runner-up, Mr. Goh Thain Seong.

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The event ended with us guests and media adjourning to Euro Deli for our dinners.

 

DELICACIES FROM DRAGON-i GURNEY PLAZA PENANG

Posted by crizlai On March - 28 - 2012

Inspired by the delicious spread of cuisine from China especially from the regions of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou, Dragon-i has set up yet another branch at Gurney Plaza to cater to the increasing demands of locals as well as tourists in Penang. There’s a great spread of spicy and non spicy dishes available here for just anyone, ranging from appetizer, soup, la mian (fried & soup), hot stone & steamed rice, fried rice, pork & duck, chicken & beef, seafood (frozen & live), bean curds, vegetables, dim sum, desserts and beverages.

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Upon seated, you would be complimented with some Braised Peanuts. Their version was somewhat different compared to my recipe as there was some thick gravy presence. Although the peanuts were semi soft, they tasted not bad.

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I had something light to start off my meal. The first dish was an appetizer called Chilled Spicy Chicken in Szechuan Style (四川麻辣口水雞 – RM16++). The chilled chicken pieces were smooth and tender, just like those you get from quality Hakka chicken rice shop. It came with some spicy and mildly salted chili flakes in oil with hints of some sesame oil. It was awesome but it might be a bit too spicy for non spicy food diners. The dish also had some al dente type of noodles made out of mung beans flour (綠豆粉) which complemented the overall dish real well.

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Dragon-i is also famous for its la mian (ramen/拉麵). I tried out one of their signature dishes which was the Szechuan “Dan Dan” La Mian in Hot & Sour Soup ((四川擔擔麵 – RM13++). I would say that their portion for the noodles was rather large for a person. It practically came with some minced meat in the chef’s specially pepped up soup stock and garnished with some sesame seeds and pounded peanuts plus some chopped spring onions and cilantros. The hand pulled noodles had that nice springy aka al dente texture. The soup has a rich nutty flavor which I believed was from the addition of some grounded raw peanuts during the process of cooking. The added chili oil gave out that Spanish pimiento like aromatic sweetness and spiciness. This is another hot and spicy dish to watch out for.

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Another of their signature dishes would be the Shanghainese Braised Pork Belly with Bean Curd Leaves (上海百頁結紅燒肉 – RM28++). For pork belly lover, you would love this multi layered piece of meat and fat which has been slowly braised with a selection of quality soy sauce, together with some rock sugar, spring onions, ginger, star aniseeds with a light touch of Chinese wine. It had that awesome melt-in-the mouth sensation. The firmed textured bean curd leaves which has been soaked in the rich and thick gravy was nice. There were some beautifully hand crafted steamed buns (mantou/饅頭) provided.

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The next dish which was the Honey Glazed Duck Breast with Lotus Seeds & Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin (蜜汁燻鴨胸烤雙方 – RM28++) was a heavenly DIY dish. This dish was somewhat different compared to how the Peking Duck dish was served. It did not have any accompanied sauce. Somehow each honey glazed duck slice was succulent enough to be taken all wrapped up together with a slice of bean curd skin, some honey braised lotus seeds and cucumber. The sensation of having the honeyed ham taste like duck combined with the sweet nutty lotus seeds, crispy bean curd skin and crunchy cucumber was a nice experience. My advice would be to halve the lotus seeds prior to wrapping to avoid them falling out.

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One of my favorite dishes here would be the Sauteed Diced Chicken & Prawns with Dried Flower Chili in Szechuan Style (四川辣子雙拼:雞丁,明蝦 – RM35++). Each piece of the deep fried batter crusted chicken drumstick meat plus prawns were tossed sauteed with some chili flake seasoning and stir fried with abundant dried chilies and curry leaves. Although the portion would be large enough for 5-6 persons, I won’t mind finishing up this flavorful plate of delicious combination all alone. Haha! 😛

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A visit to Dragon-i would not be complete if you did not try out their signature Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings (上海小籠包/Xiao Long Bao – RM9.80++ for 4 pieces). The minced meat was perfectly done with hints of some minced Chinese ham, ginger and a slight touch of soy sauce. The soup confined within the pagoda shaped dumpling was indeed rich in flavors. Most people are not aware of the right way of having the Xiao Long Bao and got splattered with juice. The right way (view here) would be to gently pick up the dumpling and place onto a spoon. Nibble a small corner and sip up the soup. Apply some slivers of ginger in black vinegar on it and enjoy the dumpling.

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I also tried out the Shanghai Pan Fried Meat Buns (上海生煎包 – RM9++ for 3 pieces). The light and fluffy bun had exactly the same flavored filling as the Xiao Long Bao with that extra fragrant from the pan frying. Not bad.

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Whenever I’m at any dim sum outlets, I would always go for something cute to share with my reader with children. The Steamed Red Bean Buns (豬仔豆沙包 – RM9++ for 2 pieces) caught my attention. It was nothing special except for the unique design with mildly sweetened and silky smooth red bean paste.

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As for desserts, I went for something different and out of the norm. I tried out the Sweet Glutinous Rice Balls with Osmanthus Sweet Wine Soup (桂花酒釀湯丸 – RM8++). This dessert required an acquired taste as it tasted just like Tapai, a Southeast Asia delicacy made from fermenting a selected rice grain (normally white rice or glutinous rice) with dry yeast biscuit. The dessert has a sweet and sour alcoholic taste with a nice flowery taste from the osmanthus. This dish came with some soft black sesame filled mini glutinous rice balls. To me, it was a nice dessert after having such a heavy meal.

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There are a few nice beverages available here. The recommended ones would be the Dragon-i (龍的傳人 – RM12++). It was made from a concoction of red dragon fruit and passion fruit juices with a twist of lemon juice. The other one would be the Iced Jasmine Tea with Lemon Grass (檸檬香草茉莉花茶 – RM10.80++). The presentation was rather unique. The combination would provide the drinker with a soothing and calming effect.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here can be quite nice except that the price can be a bit high for many as there are the extra 10% service tax plus 6% government tax imposed on all orders. To get to the restaurant, all you need to do is to find your way to Gurney Plaza. Just walk towards the new wing of the mall and walk straight towards the Jalan Kelawei entrance and you would see the restaurant right after the Manila Place.

DRAGON-IMAP

Name: DRAGON-i @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address:
170-G-66 & A1, Ground Floor, Gurney Plaza (New Wing),
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 1686
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm, 10.30am-10.00pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.436617, 100.30945
Website: www.dragon-i.com.my/

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: 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)

 

Located at a secluded corner lot of the newly renovated level 6 F&B section of Gurney Plaza, this unadorned yet quaint little eatery may have been overlooked by many as just another dessert café in the mall. Carrying the name Macaron Café and with a vast display of delicious yet colorful treats, I won’t be surprise that many passers-by would have the misperception. Other than desserts, Macaron Café would also serve other items ranging from appetizers, salads, soups, pastas and many little snacks of the day.

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Indeed as the name depicts, this cafe serves one of the best macarons I have tasted. They were as crispy, chewy and flavorful as they should be. Those served here were to my liking as the chefs had created a version that had the minimal usage of sugar for the best texture. Thus, those macarons were not overly sweet as others. The meringue base confectioneries are practically made out of egg whites, a combination of different types of sugar, almond powder, permissible food flavors and colorings. The café would serve at least one third of the over 30 flavors that would be available daily. Although it would take a skillful chef to come out with great shaped macarons, the dessert is quite versatile for great creativity. You can have it just by itself with butter cream or jam filling or even use it for dessert decorations. One thing I would love to see from this café would be a Macaron Burger since it looked just like one except for the filling. This would surely attract more out-of-curiosity diners for the uniqueness. Hmm… I’m now thinking of macarons filled with fresh/butter cream, fresh fruit cuts with some toasted almond flakes~ 😛 At the time of my visit, there were about 9 flavors of macarons left. My personal pick: Rum & Raisins, Jaffa (orange macaron with chocolate filling) and Chocolate.

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Left – (back to front): Black Sesame, Chocolate & Coffee, Right (back to front): Rum & Raisins, Lemon, Jaffa, Strawberry Bubble Gum, Mint Chocolate and Double Mint. Price Range: 1 pc-RM3.00+, 5pcs-RM14.00+ and 10pcs-RM27.50+

There are a few types of beverages available here such as coffee, tea, chocolate and fizzy drinks. What would be the best beverage to go for with macarons or other sweet treats? It’s none other than latte! I had the Irish Cream Latte (RM8.90+) and it went well with my desserts.

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The café also serves a few different types of cakes daily. The selection varies daily based on the creation of its pastry chef. One of the favorite pick by customers would be the Rainbow Cake (RM8.90+). It has seven layers of colored vanilla butter cakes filled with strawberry jam and butter cream at alternative layers. It was soft and spongy with a mild sweetness. If you had a hard time remembering the colors of a rainbow, here’s a tip. Just remember the first character of this phrase: “Royal Of Yolk Goes Battle In Vain” meaning R-Red, O-Orange, Y-Yellow, G-Green, B-Blue, I-Indigo and V-Violet.

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It happened that the pastry chef had created a new cake for the day and I had the opportunity to try it out. It was the Black Sesame Cheese Cake (RM12.90+). Due to the earthly color of the black sesame combined with the milky white color of the cheese, the presentation might look like a sliced strawberry on a concrete floor but this concoction indeed gave a unique flavor to the cheese cake. The fragrance emitted from the blended black sesame seeds complemented the cheesy cream cheese taste well except that it was a tiny bit on the salty side. It might be a good idea to reduce a bit more salt from the recipe as cheese itself has the existing tad of saltiness. The base for the cheese cake was also handmade. Instead of the normal digestive biscuit texture, it had strusel, the same sandy compound used for crumbles.

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There was also the Chocolate Brownie (RM7.50+) studded with a generous amount of chopped walnuts.

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If you need something lighter, you could always go for the Lamington (RM2.50+). It was just a cuboid shaped sponge cake, coated with a thin layer of chocolate and desiccated coconut.

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As I had mentioned above, Macaron Café do serve other savory items ranging from appetizers, salads, soups, pastas and many little snacks of the day. As appetizer, you can try out the Chicken Roulade (RM10.90+). The preparation was almost similar to the Chicken Cordon Bleu but without the bread crumbs. This dish had pan seared chicken breast meat rolled up with turkey ham, cream cheese and spinach served on a salsa-like salad consisted of diced tomatoes, onions, sweet basil with a squeeze of kaffir lime juice. It was a simple yet fulfilling dish to start a meal.

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As for soup, there was the Forest Mushroom Soup (RM12.00+), topped with some cream and served with 4 slices of toasted garlic bread. The soup had 4 types of fresh mushrooms blended in such as shitake, button, shimeji white and brown. Although the creaminess of the soup was just right but it lacked more earthly mushroom flavors. Somehow I would think that the kitchen should add in more distinctive flavored mushrooms such as the fresh Portobello mushroom aka matured Swiss brown mushroom since I personally considered the pricing to be a bit too high for just a soup. I had better ones before at my regular Western cuisine stall at a much lower price of RM5.00nett.

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The Penne Pollo (RM16.90+) had penne pasta mixed in sauteed shimeji white mushroom, shitake mushroom and chicken slices in a creamy pesto sauce. Sweet basil is the main ingredient in any pesto sauce, all blended in with garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. The café has twisted the recipe a bit by adding in some Thai basil for the extra flavors, thus it had that super strong basil taste which some non basil lovers might detest. Moreover, the dish lacked the color presentation. The whole dish looked rather green and overly sauced. Maybe they should try out what other eateries had done in terms of flavors and presentation such as at Nostalgie along Lorong Stewart, Penang. I personally would prefer pan-fried chicken over sautéed chicken breast meat with some fresh greens such as some cherry tomatoes to suppress the overwhelming taste of basil leaves. This dish was garnished with some parmesan cheese.

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The café would also serve some ad hoc ala carte dishes occasionally such as American Beef Burger (RM16.90+), Chicken Picatta (RM18.90+), Chicken Parmagiana (RM18.90+), Croque Monsieur (RM14.90+), Croque Madame (RM15.90+), Pavlova (RM10.90+) and many more. Overall, the café fair better in sweet treats rather than savory dishes. I guessed they would need more time to balance up the best of both worlds to be a super star in the culinary industry. All items would have a 10% service tax imposed.

If you know how to get to Gurney Plaza, you won’t have any problem finding the café as it’s just next to the escalator up at level 6 of the mall, somewhat hidden behind a big square pillar.

MACARONCAFEMAP

Name: MACARON CAFÉ @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address:
170-06-01A, 6th Floor, Gurney Plaza (Old Wing),
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 4389
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437204, 100.308844

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

 

A GENTLE TOUCH OF FUSION AT KOI JAPANESE GURNEY PLAZA PENANG

Posted by crizlai On March - 22 - 2012

If you need something Japanese and with a touch of fusion by infusing some parts of the Western culture into the Eastern ways, then Koi Japanese would be the ideal place for you. Not only were the dishes prepared in many unique ways, they are also economical for the consumers. Thus, you won’t get your pocket burned when dining here. The design of the restaurant was simple and yet elegant enough for any crowd.

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I had the opportunity to pay a visit to this restaurant to try out some of their signature dishes. The first dish which was the Popeye Salad (RM18.80+) may look simple at the first glance but each mouthful was very refreshing. Who would have thought that just some sautéed dried shrimps and garlic in olive oil plus a mild dash of soy sauce on a big plateful of fresh Chinese spinach would have giving the overall taste such a punch? The crunchy sensation from the slightly salty dried prawns combined with the fragrance from the garlic was a great experience for me. It was indeed a perfect salad for any ages.

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They also serve a number of colorful and tasty signature maki with catchy names such as the Pink Sakura, Surf & Turf, Hawaii, Rock & Roll and more. What caught my attention was the Bread Crunch (RM14.80+/8pcs or RM7.80+/4pcs). The maki stood out amongst the rest as it did not contain any vinegar boosted steamed Japanese rice (sushi rice) but instead it used soft and fluffy bread. It had a piece of bread on a nori (dried seaweed sheet) rolled up with crabstick, cream cheese, ebiko (prawn roe), shredded cucumber, sweetened egg, crunchy butter toasted croutons with a light touch of mayonnaise. Each square shaped maki had some coarsely pounded cheese roasted peanuts garnished on it. I love the slightly chewy yet crunchy bite, especially with some added wasabi~ 🙂 You should not miss out this dish!

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As for the Koi Signature Cold Dishes section, I tried out two of their most ordered items. One of them was the Salmon Kelp Roll (RM24.80+/8pcs). The roll had a thinly and translucent piece of salmon wrapped with crabstick, cream cheese, chopped spring onions and garnished with some ebiko. These rolls were served on a plate with some mayonnaise and the chef’s signature dressing which had a sandy grated daikon (radish) texture plus some sweet soy sauce and vinaigrette. This would be one dish that would be worth ordering, especially when there’s the seasonal 35% discount (RM16.12+ only) until end of March 2012.

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The next of the cold dish would be the Australian Beef Tataki Koi Style (RM38.80+/10slices). For non beef eater, you can have the option for tuna too. The grounded black pepper marinated Australian beef was seared to perfection and cut into thin slices, dressed with a special sauce and garnish with some chopped spring onions and grated daikon. The sauce had some hints of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, grated ginger and most probably with a touch of sake or rice wine as it had that mild sourness.

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As for the Koi Signature Hot Dishes section, I tried out the Tuna Steak (RM28.80+). Other than having the tuna raw for my sashimi, I have yet to try out a thick slab of red tuna fillet seared medium-rare. If you like steak, you would love this meaty black pepper crusted tuna steak. It had that nice and tender rawness to my liking. From the texture of the tuna steak, I’m sure that the fish was seared for barely 2 minutes on each side. Instead of serving plain or with teriyaki sauce, this tuna steak had the chef’s signature sauce with some deep fried garlic slices garnished on it. The sauce had some apple fruity sweetness with hints from some grated ginger, shallots, garlic, radish, soy sauce, mirin sauce, miso paste and some spices. This is one of my favorite fish dishes so far.

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As for the desserts which were quite limited here, I opted for the Ice Cream Tempura (RM6.80+ with either green tea or vanilla ice cream). It tasted just like the fried ice cream recipe I did, except it had that extra tempura crisp. The green tea ice cream was awesome as it was homemade with a rich macha flavor. Unfortunately, the bread use was a bit on the thick side, thus not having that extra crispiness and got soiled easily by the melting ice cream. The chef should have rolled the bread flat before wrapping in order to have a more dense texture to avoid the sogginess issue. Other than that, it was still a nice hot and cold dessert. The dessert was served with a squeeze of honey.

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As for beverages, you can have teas, juices, sodas, floats, soft drinks, beers, sake or even sochu. I tried out the Tokyo Blue (RM5.80+) in the soda section. It had a concoction of blue curacao syrup and pineapple juice, jazzed up by some fizzy soda water. It was quite thirst quenching.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here were quite extraordinary compared to most of the Japanese restaurants I have been to. The culinary team members were quite innovative in incorporating some of the Western spices into the Asian cuisine. Price wise, some of the dishes could be on the high side but they do have seasonal and membership (RM20 per annum) discounts throughout the year to enable diners to savor their dishes comfortably and economically. For more information on their menu and promotions, you can check out their website at http://koijapanesecuisine.com/

I don’t think I would need to describe the way to Koi Japanese as most people would know how to get to Gurney Plaza. Just walk towards the new wing of the mall and go to level 2, above McDonald’s and next to Sushi King.

KOIMAP

Name: KOI JAPANESE
Address:
170-02-59 & 60, 2nd Floor, Gurney Plaza (New Wing),
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 7112, 012-414 5885 (Ms. Daisy Lee)
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.437696, 100.309592
Website: www.koijapanesecuisine.com/

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: 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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