CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

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)

 

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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)

 

REVISIT TO SUSHI MENTAI ALL SEASONS PLACE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On December - 4 - 2016

Ever since my first visit to Sushi Mentai @ All Seasons Place, Air Itam, Penang, I’ve been quite a regular at the eatery whenever my craving for Japanese cuisine arises. With the affordable yet quality plates of sushi (RM1.80++/ yellow plate or RM2.80++/red plate) on the conveyor belt, one would be pleased with their available options. Let’s have a look at some of their options available on their menus.

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What we ate indeed had the quality required and with such an economical pricing, who could resist not to consume more?

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Sushi Mentai do also serve many other selections such as Appetizer, Salad, Sashimi, Special Maki (special roll), Temaki (hand roll), Yakimono (grill), Agemono (fried), Menmono (noodles), Donmono (rice), Wanmono (bowl) and Beverages. Let’s have a look at some of their hot selling items as below.

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Just look at the thick cuts for the Salmon Sashimi (RM10.80++/5 pieces) or the Tako Sashimi (RM10.80++/4 pieces) and you would realize that both items were really value for money. On top of that, some of the great items would include the huge serving of Tori Katsu Curry Rice (RM13.80++), Chawan Mushi (RM3.80++), Asari Miso Shiru (RM4.80++), Chicken Teriyaki (RM9.80++), Salmon Mentaiyaki (RM14.80++), Tempura Moriawase (RM13.80++), Tori Teriyaki Don (RM12.80++), Kitsune Udon (RM10.80++), Riceless Inari Wrap (RM7.80++), Salmon Mentai Dragon Maki (RM12.80++) and more.

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As for beverages, I opted for a set of hot and cold green tea (RM1++ each). It came with a jug of green tea and a bucket of ice cubes with free-flow of refills.

Overall, I’ve always happy with the quality of the dishes served here at Sushi Mentai, though it may not have the best flavors compared to some other high end Japanese restaurants with proper Japanese chefs. It was good enough to soothe my craving. All orders would be charged with a 6% GST and 10% service tax.

Sushi Mentai @ All Seasons Place is located on the ground floor at the left wing of the building. You won’t miss it as it’s strategically in between Summer Dessert Bakery and Tomyummy Noodle House. You can park your car at the basement car park as you enter the building or right at the front area of the building. If you still do not know how to get there, you can always check out the location maps and use their Waze function.

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Name: SUSHI MENTAI @ ALL SEASONS PLACE
Address: 6G-1-13, All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, 11500 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: For walk-ins only
Business Hours: 12.00pm-9.30pm (Mon-Fri), 11.30pm-9.30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.396963, 100.290707

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: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

I’m sure many have heard about Sushi Mentai, especially those from Klang Valley, Johor and Penang. Through collaborative alliances with strategic business partners, Sushi Mentai’s philosophy is straightforward to the point – To bring affordable and quality Japanese food, mostly Japan imports, to enable everyone regardless of status and income, to enjoy the gastronomical fares without worrying much about the high food bills as experienced in many exquisite Japanese restaurants in Malaysia. With the tremendous success of its first branch at Elit Avenue in Bayan Baru, Sushi Mentai has now opened its second Penang branch at All Seasons Place in Air Itam on 16 October 2015 to cater to the needs of the public. For those from mainland Penang, you would be pampered with Sushi Mentai’s wide spread of Japanese cuisine with the opening of its third branch in Bukit Mertajam real soon~ 🙂

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Though Sushi Mentai’s may look simple with only 25 sushi options for both yellow plate (RM1.80++/plate) and red plate (RM2.80++/plate) category respectively on the conveyor belt, you would be in for surprises as they do occasionally come out with many other interesting and flavorful creations (not from the menu) to tempt the taste buds of its diners. Let me show you some of the recommended ones as well as new signature creations such as their Tamago Mentai (yellow plate – egg), Chuka Kurage (yellow plate – jellyfish), Salmon Mentai (red plate – fish), Ebi Fried Kani Maki (red plate – prawn) and Ebi Tempura Fountain (red plate – prawn). Wow! No wonder the restaurant went by the name Sushi Mentai as their in-house concocted Mentai sauce (a combination of mentaiko aka cod fish roe with mayonnaise and maybe with a light squeeze of lemon juice) surely did sharpen up the flavors in each of their creation. I quite like the distinctive flavors and textures in their Ebi Fried Kani Maki as the crispiness from the added batter fried prawns wrapped in some lettuce combined with the fluffy yet chewy vinegar added Japanese rice was just perfect. It had mild touch of sesame oil added and it made the whole concoction quite addictive in each bite. Another must note would be their Ebi Tempura Fountain, something so simple and yet brought out the real taste of sushi. It had sushi rice stuffed inari (fried bean curd pocket) topped with a whole tempura prawn and drizzle with a light touch of nikiri (Japanese sweet soy sauce) and mayonnaise, then garnish with some ebiko (shrimp roe) and some chopped greens.

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Instead of just sushi, there are many other selections in their menu ranging from Appetizer, Salad, Sashimi, Special Maki (special roll), Temaki (hand roll), Yakimono (grill), Agemono (fried), Menmono (noodles), Donmono (rice), Wanmono (bowl) and Beverages. You can click on the menu link up there for their full range of dishes.

Let me share with you my dining experiences with some of the dishes ordered starting with an appetizer called Chuka Idako (seasoned baby octopus – RM4.80++). You can practically taste all the sweet and sesame oil infused flavors in each of the nicely braised marinated baby octopus. The best part was that the dish was served chilled to my expectation.

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As for sashimi, I would always go for fresh salmon cuts and indeed their Salmon Sashimi (RM10.80++/5 pieces) was really value for money. Other than at some buffet spread where I could eat all the salmon sashimi I ever wanted, I’ve yet to find an eatery serving such thick slabs of sashimi at such a low price.

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Their signature maki set of Salmon Mentai Dragon Maki (RM12.80++) was a hit on my list as the batter fried prawn rolls with torch burned mentai sauce coated salmon slices were heavenly to my palate of quality Japanese dishes.

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For some grilled seafood, I opted for their Salmon Mentaiyaki (RM14.80++) which came with two piece of mentai sauce coated grilled salmon. The taste wasn’t that bad but it could have been better if the fish were to be of a thicker cut. Anyway, I’m not complaining as the price was quite reasonable compared to paying over RM20++ dining elsewhere for such portion served.

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I wanted something light yet fulfilling at the agemono section, thus I tried out their Takoyaki (squid tentacle filled wheat flour ball – RM4.50+/5 pieces). I would say these were some of the good ones I had for awhile as each has just the right juicy bite and were dressed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise plus generously garnished with lots of nori and bonito flakes.

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I had their Tempura Udon (RM13.80++) as my next dish. The dish may look rather simple with some udon in clear soup topped with some nori (seaweed) and two pieces of the Japanese fish cakes, on top of the two tempura prawns but the serving of udon was humongous. Instead of the standard serving of 120g for udon, the serving was almost 170g, which meant it was a big too much for small eaters whom would want to savor their other dishes. However, I would want to compliment them for the soup broth. This was the type of rich flavored dashi stock base I would love to consume with my udon especially on a humid day.

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Sushi Mentai has the reputation of serving great Japanese curry, thus I also tried out their Tori Katsu Curry Rice (RM13.80++). Gosh! I was dumbfounded with the amount served for this dish. Are they sure that this was the portion for one person? The dish had half a plate filled with compactly cooked Japanese rice and the other half filled with loads of potato and carrot chunks in Japanese curry and topped with a whole deboned breadcrumbs fried drumstick. One glance at the dish and I was already feeling full~ LOL~ 😛 Anyway, for those big eaters, you would be happy to order this dish. Maybe it would be also be a great idea to share this dish with another friend so that you can consume more options. I loved the sweetness of both the potatoes and carrots with a light hint of citrus flavor enhanced non-spicy curry powder broth. On the other hand, the choice of using deboned chicken drumstick was ideal for this dish as the meat was moist and tender as it should be. The rice set came with a complimentary bowl of miso soup.

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Instead of ordering the usual Chawan Mushi (RM3.80++) or Miso Soup (RM1.80++) as I normally would do, I saw one dish that was rather unique I have yet to see from other Japanese restaurants. It was their Asari Miso Shiru (RM4.80++). The bowl of soup was basically miso soup with added clams. I had it quite a few times at one Korean restaurant and had fallen in love with the richness and sweetness of the soup and finally I can find it at Sushi Mentai. For the price, it was a hearty bowl of soup filled with lots of juicy clams plus generous amounts of nori and bean curds.

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As for beverages, I opted for a set of hot and cold green tea (RM1++ each). It came with a jug of green tea and a bucket of ice cubes – all free-flow. It was a great bargain.

Overall, I’m happy with the taste and quality of the dishes served here at Sushi Mentai. It might not be the best compared to some other upper class Japanese restaurants with proper Japanese chefs but it was good enough to soothe my craving when I needed some Japanese cuisine. The damage for the whole meal was RM109.75 inclusive of the 6% GST and 10% service tax for two pax. However, the amount of dishes we ordered would be adequate for 3-4 persons. With such economical pricing, do expect huge crowds during peak period of the day, especially during weekends. Please also take note that they would not entertain any prior reservations as their system is on a first come first serve basis. No worries as they do also provide sitting area right in front of the eatery while you wait for your turn.

Sushi Mentai @ All Seasons Place is located on the ground floor at the left wing of the building. You won’t miss it as it’s strategically in between Summer Dessert Bakery and Tomyummy Noodle House. You can park your car at the basement car park as you enter the building or right at the front area of the building. If you still do not know how to get there, you can always check out the location maps and use their Waze function.

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Name: SUSHI MENTAI @ ALL SEASONS PLACE
Address: 6G-1-13, All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, 11500 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: For walk-ins only
Business Hours: 12.00pm-9.30pm (Mon-Fri), 11.30pm-9.30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.396963, 100.290707

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: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine, an upscale restaurant that serves All-You-Can-Eat buffet with specialties ranging from Japanese, Chinese, Thailand and other foreign or ethnic food plus a different concept outlet by the name of Yea Japanese BBQ & Shabu Shabu, has officially opened another branch at Penang Times Square recently on 25 September 2012. The latest branch, which is also a pork-free outlet, was the biggest amongst all the branches and can accommodate more than 150 pax at one time with quite a handful of private cubicles for private functions. Priced at RM46++ for lunch*, RM62++ for dinner* and child (90cm to 140cm in height) having to pay half price, this branch has the most buffet spreads (other than the ones ordered from the menu) amongst all their outlets in Malaysia. Currently, they have an “early bird” promotion where a 10% discount would be given to those who had checked in between 5:30pm and 6:30pm from Monday until Friday.

Important Note (*): Please check the time and price as stated right at the end of this post for more detailed information as they can differ on different days.

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The unique part about dining in this branch compared to their other branches would be that this one has an almost a full buffet spread without even having to order from their ala carte menu. Let’s start by studying what they have to offer at their appetizer section. Firstly, it was the cold section where you have options for fresh mussels, oysters and cooked prawns, followed by a vast variety of sushi for just anyone. Fresh seafood and sushi lovers would surely love this section.

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The next section along the U shaped counter would be the cold cuts and other appetizers. Sashimi lovers would love this section as it had fresh cuts of white & red tuna, salmon, smoked squids. On top of that, there were some sugar coated cashew nuts for you to munch while waiting for your food to be prepared at a later stage. Next to those cold cuts would be some appetizers for the day. Those appetizers would be like chuka wakame (pickled seaweed), salmon salad, salted anchovies with peanuts, honey lotus roots, jellyfish salad, flavored deep fried sakura ebi and 3 layer egg.

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Opposite would be the section for salads and some precooked dishes. You would have some greens and fruit to create your own salad with the dressings provided. There would also be the Oden stove for you to savor those skewers of goodies. Basically the stock was made out of a light soy based dashi stock with additional flavors emitted by the skewers of meat, fish cakes and vegetables. That was the Japanese way of having “Yong Tau Fu” during winter. Two dishes of precooked dishes were provided on that day and they were Sweet & Sour Salmon and Beef Stew.

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The next section was the Kushiyaki (skewer grill) and Teppanyaki (iron griddle cooking) section. There were a large variety of skewed items and raw items at the counter. Just pick whatever you like and the chefs would cook them perfectly to your preference and send to your table.

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Finally, you have the dessert section to pick what you like. There would be the chocolate fountain, pastries, jellies, “tong sui” and King’s ice cream to look out for.

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Now let’s have a look at some of the common dishes that would be available in the Ala Carte Menu throughout all the branches. The menu would have different categories such as cold cut, soup, agemono (fried dishes), yakimono (grilled), itame mono (main dish), nabemono (noodle soup), mushimono (steamed) and temaki (hand roll). Since the buffet spread were already real impressive, we just tried out some of the dishes in the menu. We started with the Abalone Slices. It came with some salad dressing. The dish’s name might be classy and pricey but what we had were actually mock abalone which had the common name “gui fei” abalone. They were processed squid meat, cut to have a standard shape and thickness.

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I quite love the next dish which was the Pickled Papaya Salmon. The slight sour sweet papaya pickles wrapped with a fresh layer of salmon and dressed with a tangy dressing was perfect for my meal.

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I have always been a fan of Chuka Idako (Seasoned Baby Octopus). The preparation was not like those I have tried at other Japanese restaurants. The ones here had a more personal touch with a more coarsely prepared homemade sauce. However, I found them to be lacked of a unique flavor – toasted sesame seeds. This addition would surely boost up the taste further.

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The next dish was the Japanese version of croquette called Cheese Korokke. It was nothing fanciful except for some cheese flavored minced meat and potatoes with an over sprinkles of black pepper.

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Then there was the Coconut Shrimps. It was oily a bit without an underlay kitchen towel to soak the excess oil but can be palatable with some nice dressings.

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We also had some Fried Fish Balls. It was just normal with some fish paste coated with some bread cubes and deep fried until golden brown.

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The Tori Miso Yaki (Grilled Chicken Thigh) was rather impressing as the chicken pieces were well marinated and given a nice caramelized texture on the skin. Delicious!

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Beef Bacon Skewers were served next. It was simple and yet fulfilling with a kani (crab) stick and some enoki mushrooms wrapped within the beef bacon prior to a light grilling.

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We also ordered some Motoyaki Scallops. They were average as the sauce applied was on a saltier side.

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There was also the Kyuri Wasabi Saba (Grilled Mackerel with Wasabi) which had a light grill. It was nicely done with a nice flavor and not fishy at all.

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For lamb lover, you should go for the Teppan Lamb. It was heavenly delicious. I won’t mind having the dish with some garlic rice if not for the wide selection at the buffet line. LOL!

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Carefully prepared with a light touch of spiciness, the Tsubu Gai Itame (Stir Fry Japanese Whelk) would also go well with rice. The chef did a great job of not cooking the sea snail meat to be too rubbery.

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Their Chawan Mushi was simple but nice with light steamed egg. However, I still prefer the ones at Sakae Sushi with added toppings such as vegetarian shark’s fin and shimeji mushrooms.

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Lastly, we tried the Jade Scallops. The steamed scallops had some seasoned glass noodles as base and topped with some sweet paste and chopped spring onions. Somehow, I prefer this version more than the Motoyaki Scallops.

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As for beverages, it would be by order. Cold or hot beverages such as lemon tea, peach tea, green tea, coffee and more would be included in the buffet price. Other beverages may incur more cost into your bill. Please ask carefully on the free flow beverages available for the day prior to ordering.

Overall, I quite like the buffet concept here as I can choose whatever I like to eat at the buffet line (what I can see is what I would get) instead of wondering what I would get from the menu as most of the items are with Japanese names without further descriptions in English. For those Chinese educated diners, you won’t have this issue at all as Chinese names are available. Taste wise, there are still rooms for improvement as some of the dishes in the menu were not up to my expectations. They were rather towards the commercial taste rather than being authentic. Price wise, it’s a bit high for those who could not consume much unless you are a true oyster and sashimi lover to get your money worth. Moreover, there are the confusions of the applicable 2.5 hours time limit and pricing. Please digest the information CLEARLY before dining to avoid any disappointment. The pricing and time limit would differ even during the same dining period but on different days. Please take note of this important information as stated at the end of this post.

If you know how to go to Penang Times Square, you won’t have problem at all to find the Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine. The restaurant is located at the central atrium of Penang Times Square. Just walk towards the escalator within the mall and go up to Level One. You would see the restaurant on your right.

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Name: TAO AUTHENTIC ASIAN CUISINE @ PENANG TIMES SQUARE
Address: Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-228 5826
Business Hours & Price:
WEEKDAYS (Monday – Thursday)
Lunch: 12.00noon – 4.00pm (RM46++)
Dinner: 5:30pm – 10:30pm (RM62++)
WEEKENDS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays)
Lunch: 12.00noon – 4.00pm (RM46++ for Friday ONLY/RM62++ for Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays)
Dinner Session 1: 5:30pm – 8:00pm, RM62++
Dinner Session 2: 8:30pm – 11:00pm, RM62++
Note: Early bird (5:30pm – 6:30pm) entitled for 10% discount. This offer is only applicable from Monday until Friday.
GPS: 5.411728, 100.324879

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

 

APPETIZING SPREADS AT SAKAE SUSHI @ 1ST AVENUE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On June - 13 - 2012

The name Sakae Sushi is already well known throughout the Asian region since its establishment in Singapore in 1997. Today it had expanded to more than 70 branches in Malaysia (Penang, Perak, Selangor & Kuala Lumpur), Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam to as far as China. The menu is ever changing with special theme promotion monthly such as the Anago Promotion for the month of June 2012. Economically priced compared to most of the Japanese restaurants around, it catered to the demands and budgets of locals and tourists alike real well. On top of being the first Japanese restaurant to enrich its sushi rice with Vitamin E, it also flew in fresh supplies of Omega-3 rich Norwegian salmons to ensure the satisfactions of every Japanese food enthusiasts. There are many choices of items available just for anyone, ranging from their Sakae’s Signature Sushi & Sashimi, Appetizers, Tempura, Rice, Udon and Soba to simple yet impressive kids’ meals.

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We started off with a large bowl of Kaisen Salad (海鮮沙拉 – RM16.90++). The tantalizing salad was large enough for the consumptions of 2 persons. It came with refreshing selections of coral green and red lettuces, seaweed, cabbages, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, topped with fresh prawns, tuna flakes, snow crab leg meat, ebiko and dressed with their specially concocted goma dressing. What excelled here was the goma dressing. It had that earthly yet peanut nutty flavor with sesame oil, salad oil, soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar and mayonnaise being added. It was so appetizing that we had to ask for more dressing to coat every part of the vegetables. Thumbs up!

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Well, one of my favorite at most Japanese restaurants would be the Chuka Idako (凉拌小八爪魚 – RM7.99++), a marinated boiled baby octopus flavored with mirin, teriyaki, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, red food coloring with a mix of toasted sesame seeds. The portion served here came with 4 flavorful baby octopuses with a high hint of sesame oil just to my liking.

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Their Sakae Chawanmushi (榮茶碗蒸 – RM3.99++) was also nice as it had that thick high stock flavors. The dish had chicken, crabstick, ginkgo nut and shitake mushroom slices in the steamed egg and garnished with some vegetarian shark’s fin and fresh shimeji mushrooms.

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We were introduced to some of the innovative sushi creations and one of them was the Inari Avocado Ebi (稻禾酪梨蝦 – RM7.99++). It basically came with a sweet bean curd skin filled with some sushi rice and topped with some cuts from a whole prawn mixed with avocado and salad dressing plus a battered coated prawn head. The crispy prawn head can be eaten but do watch out for the spike on the head. The creaminess of the avocado blended in well for this combination.

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The next sushi which was the Sakae Blossom (榮之花 – RM9.99++) not only impressed us with its intricate design but also on its taste. The maki had cucumber and finely cubed crabstick in mayonnaise wrapped in nori (dry seaweed sheet) and sushi rice, rolled with some ebiko (shrimp roe) and topped with a flower shaped mildly grilled salmon, some mayonnaise and a petal of parsley. The whole combination was so smooth flowing in the mouth. 🙂

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Next on the list was the Soft Shell Crab Maki (辣味軟殼蟹卷 – RM5.99++). The maki had cucumber and battered deep fried soft shell crab wrapped in nori (dry seaweed sheet) and sushi rice, capped with sweet bean curd skin and dressed with some spicy mayonnaise. It was not bad but I wished the soft shell crab was a bit crispier.

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Another new introduction was the Ebi Crepe (黃金蝦卷 – RM5.99++). This was a totally out of the norm way of making sushi without nori and/or sushi rice. It had some lettuce, egg mayonnaise with slight butter peppery taste and prawn wrapped in a thin layered crepe. It was nice but too Westernized for a sushi.

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The next sushi which was the Hana Maki (鮭魚花卷 – RM9.99++) was also one of our favorites. It had a little sushi rice ball wrapped with a slice of fresh and appetizing salmon fillet, topped with some mayonnaise, garnished with some ebiko and a petal of parsley. It was heavenly smooth to the bite.

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For scallop lovers, there would be the Hotate Mentaiyaki (香烤明太子扇貝 – RM20.90) to savor. It had 4 half shell scallops topped with a combination of cod fish roes (mentaiko/明太子) extracts, mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese and grilled to perfection. With a mild squeeze of lemon juice, it was rather appetizing.

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On top of those sushi choices, we were served with Kaisen Pirikara Nabe (海鮮泡菜湯 – RM24.90++), an appetizing hot pot with prawns, scallops, squids, salmon, shitake & enoki mushrooms, tofu, onions, cabbages, leeks, carrots, spinach, kimchi (fermented vegetables of specific kind) and glass noodles. Although the soup had a rather red color, it was rather mild on the spiciness unlike those kimchi soup you would get from a Korean restaurant. It would be great if the restaurant have options for the level of spiciness. Moreover, it lacked some shoyu to pep up the salty flavor for the right balance. Overall, it was still an acceptable bowl of soup, considering that the seafood added were extremely fresh.

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We also tasted out their Curry Udon (日式咖哩雞烏冬麵 – RM12.90++). This bowl had quite a large portion of wheat noodles (udon) topped with a mild curry flavored potato stew like gravy. It has a generous amount of chicken meat, some fish cake slices, cubed potatoes and carrots. Personally, I would prefer to have chunks of chicken drumstick meat for the curry rather than chicken breast meat slices as they were rather bland to my liking.

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For those who yearn for some rice, there would always be the bento meals such as the Ebi Ten Jyu (海老天婦羅飯 – RM15.90++). The dish would be served with an onion omelette with sauce on steamed Japanese rice and topped with 3 tempura prawns. I personally found the tempura batter on the prawns to be a bit too thick to my liking, unlike those nice ones I had eaten at Miraku Japanese Restaurant, G Hotel, Penang. Moreover, I had to request for some tempura sauce since it was not provided for this set. At least, the sauce did pep up more flavors for my rice.

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Alternatively, there was also the Haru (春 – RM24.90++) which had salmon and chicken teriyaki served with plain steamed Japanese rice, chawanmushi and miso soup. The finely grilled salmon fillet with a salty sweet taste and the flavorful tender chicken pieces with a slightly sweeter teriyaki flavor went well with the rice. Even the chawanmushi and miso soup were up to their standards.

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Another new introduction was the Kids’ Sushi Meal – Little Sushi Home (RM3.99++). It was a very creative sushi. The triangular sushi which had cucumber and crabstick stuffed nori and sushi rice, rolled in finely chopped parsley, came with a halved breadcrumbs battered scallop topped with some mayonnaise and a petal of parsley. From the side, it really looked like a house. Flavor wise, it was normal.

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We ended up the meal with a selection of 4 flavors of ice cream, namely Dragon Fruit Ice Cream (RM5.90++/scoop), Passion Fruit Ice Cream (RM6.90++/scoop), Goma Ice Cream (RM6.90++/scoop) and Matcha Ice Cream (RM5.90++/scoop). The Goma Ice Cream had the highest vote for being the best amongst the 4 flavors but I personally preferred the more sourness Passion Fruit Ice Cream as it was a great digestion remedy after such a heavy meal.

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Those who would love ice cream more than just a scoop would surely like the Matcha Parfait (RM13.90++). The parfait would also be available in other flavors such as strawberry and chocolate. The 6-layered parfait had corn flakes as the base, followed with sweet red bean, matcha ice cream, corn flakes, whipped cream and matcha ice cream, garnished with some sweetened red bean, whipped cream, strawberry and a wafer. Price wise, it was more economical than having just one scoop of matcha ice cream at RM5.90++ per scoop.

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Overall, those new dishes introduced were better than those common ones I have tasted during many visits. The pricing were also quite economical for diners. Some dishes as mentioned above truly needed that little touch to pep up the flavors further. I hope that more creations would be available soon for those Japanese food enthusiasts. Lastly, I would like to thank Foodsion for giving us the opportunity to try out these new dishes.

There are many branches of Sakae Sushi in Penang but the one we went to was located at 1st Avenue, Penang. Just find your way to the mall, go to Level 4 and you can find the outlet just opposite Carrefour. Alternatively, you can visit the surrounding Penang outlets as stated below or based on the other outstation outlets as shown in their website.

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Name: SAKAE SUSHI @ 1ST AVENUE
Address:
Lot 4-16, Level 4, 1st Avenue Mall Penang,
182 Jalan Magazine, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 2218
Website: http://www.sakaesushi.com.my/
Business Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm (Mon-Fri), 11.00am-10.00pm (Sat & Sun)
GPS: 5.413391, 100.331202

Surrounding Penang Outlets:

Sunway Carnival Mall
UG-28, Upper Ground Floor, Sunway Carnival Mall,
3068 Jalan Todak Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya,
13700 Seberang Jaya, Penang.
Tel : 604-380 3368
Gurney Plaza
170-03-87/88/89, Plaza Gurney,
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang.
Tel: 04-229 5930
Queensbay Mall
2F-49 Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah,
11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Tel: 604-643 0015
Tesco Tanjung Pinang
Lot G4, Tesco Tanjung Pinang, No.1, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang,
Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Tel : 04-899 0063
1st Avenue Mall
4-16, Level4, 1st Avenue Mall
No.182, Jalan Magazine
10300 Penang
Tel : 604-261 2218
Auto City
1815-B Jalan Perusahaan, Auto-City,
North-South Highway Juru Interchange,
13600 Prai, Penang.
Tel : 604-508 0268

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

 

MUMMY’S NIGHT OUT TO NIPPON YATAIMURA

Posted by crizlai On May - 11 - 2009

Although I do get my Mum the best food around town frequently, it was a special day yesterday to bring her out for some live-on-the-spot dinner. After all, it was Mothers’ Day and she ought to be treated like a queen. We ended up having Japanese food at Nippon Yataimura which is located in Pulau Tikus, Penang. From the exterior, it looked like a normal restaurant. As we stepped inside, it was totally another world by itself with lanterns hanging everywhere on little roofs just like in a village. Now I got it why they had named the shop as “日本屋合村”, meaning Japanese House in a Village.

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There were just too many choices available in this restaurant with even a specially created 9-course set meal priced at RM48+ just for Mothers’ Day but we ended up ordering some other set meals with a few dishes from the Ala Carte menu. Let me share with you the set meals that we had ordered. One of the set was Saba Syioyaki (RM25). This is one of the most ordered fish dish in Japan where a small mackerel was grilled to perfection while maintaining the moisture within the fat. The fish had a nice grill and with a squeeze of lemon juice and grated daikon (mild flavored white radish), it was good.

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Next were two sets of teppanyaki (鉄板焼) style dishes. One of them was the Teppan Chicken (RM20). The dish came with some iron griddled mixed vegetables with some toasted garlic slices. The chicken slices were good with their special sauce and they tasted a bit like the spicy version of sate.

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Teppan Salmon (RM24) was the other wonderful dish as the sauce was somewhat unique. It was slightly sweet and mildly spiced up. Even with the crisped sensation I had, the fish managed to retain its juice. It was beautiful.

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Something caught my eyes in the set menu and I ended up ordering Pork Mayonnaise (RM20). The dish was real creamy with the flavors coming from the mayo and a hint of Lea & Perrin sauce. This dish was cooked with lots of sliced big onions. This would be good if taken with rice.

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The above four sets came with side dishes such as a bowl of beautifully steam Japanese rice, Salad, Miso Soup, Chawan Mushi and fruit cuts. The Salad had a mildly gingered chili paste. The Miso Soup was thickly flavored with some tofu cubes and chopped spring onions in it. The Chawan Mushi (Steam Egg) came beautifully decorated and was silky smooth with a few chopped chicken meat pieces within.

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Other than the above set meals, we also tried the Seafood Fried Rice (RM22). The dish came with freshly cooked squids, prawns and fish fillet. Although the taste of the rice was nice, I found it to be wet for my preference. It could be due to my liking for “wok hei” (high heat cooking) style of plain white rice rather than the usage of Japanese rice.

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The next dish which was the Fish Ball Ramen (RM13) may look plain but one sip into the soup and you would yearn for more. The soup was richly flavored with a hint of fresh prawn juice. It was just like the Dobin Mushi I had at Penang Times Square. Even the portion of ramen served was rather filling. The dish came with fish balls, sliced wood ear fungus and some spring onions.

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We also ordered some of the dishes from the Ala Carte menu and one of them was the Ocha Soba (RM13). We had a small serving of cold noodles served with cold soup, raw quail’s egg, spring onions and chopped fried garlic. We indeed left the quail’s egg untouched. One reason was that it was raw and the next was the 3640 calories it will bring into our bodies. The noodle was springy and blended nicely with the soup but somehow I still prefer the Tenzaru Soba I had at Penang Times Square as the soup was more flavorful.

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Next side dish was the Agedashi Tofu (RM6). It was nothing special with some pieces of fried tofu garnished with nori (Japanese seaweed strips), spring onions and daikon, served in a pool of soy sauce but the tofu cubes were indeed silky smooth.

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The Ishiyaki Kinoko Nomori (RM18) was my favorite amongst the rest of the side orders. The shiitake (Chinese black mushroom – 香菇) and enoki/enokitake (golden needle mushrooms – 金針菇) mushrooms were stone-cooked so perfectly with their special sauce while maintaining the fragrant mushroom taste. The gravy for this dish tasted great with my rice. Both mushrooms are believed to be great antioxidants.

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The most wonderful dining experience in this restaurant was their free flow of green tea, either cold or hot at no extra cost.

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I felt that the pricing here is reasonable compared to the quality of ingredients and portion served. After all, I was really filled up with each set meal I had ordered. The service here was good considering that almost all the food came within minutes upon ordering. There are more dishes which I would love to try out next from their ramen (noodles), gohan (rice), sushi (vinegar rice finger food), sashimi (raw cold cuts) and dessert sections.

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There is another branch of this franchise restaurant located within Queensbay Mall up in Bayan Baru, Penang. The main restaurant which I had visited in Pulau Tikus, Penang, is located next to a service road along Jalan Burma. If you are coming from Jalan Burma into Pulau Tikus district, you would see a police station on your right. Drive on until you have reached the Jalan Cantonment/Jalan Burma traffic light. After the traffic light, you would see a row of shop houses. Slow down and keep a watch out for a service road on your left. Turn in the service road and you would see the restaurant on your left just next to Teow Chew Meng restaurant. Parking can be quite limited during office hours and weekends. You can either try finding some behind the restaurant or opposite along Bellisa Row. The worst alternative would be within the Bandar Baru Supermarket car park along Jalan Cantonment and walk back to the restaurant.

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Name: NIPPON YATAI MURA (日本屋合村)
Address: 403-A, Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
12.00noon-2.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm (Weekdays)
12.00noon-10.00pm (Saturday & Sunday – No reservation on these days & Public Holiday)
Contact: 604-226 6018
GPS: 5.432746, 100.310593

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

PULAU TIKUS MARKET SUSHI CORNER

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 29 - 2008

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Suddenly I had an urge to go for sushi after having tasted the delicious sushi brought by CK Lam during the 3rd Penang Floggers Gathering. I immediately headed out to the Pulau Tikus Market where all the yummy hawker stalls are. Hidden from the sight of the main road (Jalan Pasar) was this dimly but beautifully decorated stall selling sushi. The two owners, Boon and Sandy, had manned this stall for many years. Although hidden from where all the crowds were, business remained quite smooth flowing with consistent flow of patrons. What attracted their customers was the 100 over selections available, taste, presentation as well as the price of each sushi. Prices can range from as low as RM1 per sushi to RM5 per sushi with large fish roes.

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You would not believe that I had a 7-piece sushi takeaway such as the Califutomaki, chopped baby octopus, tuna, prawn, crabstick & egg, fish roes and prawn roes sushi as shown above for a mere RM7. Yup! You heard it right! Each sushi costs only RM1. There were more available but I chose what was available as the sky was beginning to drizzle at that time. Here are some snapshots of their other sushi.

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You do not have to worry about the unavailability of your preferences as shown on the menus on the stall as well as on the special order menus as either Boon or Sandy would be more than happy to make them for you. In fact, you can always ask them for their house specialties.

If you are coming from Jalan Burmah into Jalan Cantonment, turn left into the first junction. That’s where the Pulau Tikus market is and that’s also where the night hawker area is. Move further up until you see a small lane beside a bakery on your left. You will see the stall at the corner with two lighted up red Japanese lanterns.

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Name: PULAU TIKUS MARKET SUSHI CORNER
Address: Lorong Pasar, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 5.30pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 016-472 2893 (Boon), 016-532 2066 (Sandy)
GPS: 5.430320, 100.312100

RATING:
Ambience: 6/10 (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: 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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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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