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THE SOFT OPENING OF KAMPAI RESTAURANT AT E-GATE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 19 - 2013

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED OPERATION.

If you are a frequent diner at Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine at E-Gate Penang, you would have realized that they have been undergoing renovation works for some time since early December 2012. Now the restaurant was opened on 19 January 2013 and has been renamed as Kampai. The restaurant has been refurbished to a simple Taiwanese ambience concept with low stools and open space dining areas, serving Pan Asian cuisine ranging mostly of Taiwanese cuisine with a light selection of cuisines from China, Japan, Korea and more. This new concept is another brainchild of the Managing Director, Mr. Jack Suen (孫有恒) who has brought in the new Taiwanese “quick stir fry” dining concept to Malaysia. About 95 dishes would be available from the order menu, of which 70% would consist of dishes priced at RM9.90++ each. The balance dishes from the order menu ranges between RM6.90++ to RM29.90++ per serving.

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On top of the fixed menu, there would also be live seafood available based on market price as shown on the tag displayed. Some of the choices might be Red Lion, Siakap, Tiger Prawn, Kappa, Crab, Lala and more.

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Other fresh seafood would also be available based on the price displayed on the tags. Options might be octopus, cod fish, oyster, white promfret, scallop, prawn, balitung, bamboo clam, salmon head, sea urchin, trichiurus fish, flower crabs and more.

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We started off with some cold cuts such as the Sashimi Moriawase (盛盒刺身 – RM29.90++), an assortment of raw fish which consisted of salmon, tuna, snapper and mackerel cuts.

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Next was the Smoked Duck (煙燻鴨 – RM9.90++) which came in quite a large portion.

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We also fried out the Taiwanese Spicy Chicken (台式椒痲雞 – RM9.90++) which was quite good as the meat was juicy and tender. However, it lacked a bit more chili flakes for my liking.

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The Garlic Pork (蒜泥白肉 – RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite nice with a special sauce. It was one of the Taiwanese’s favorite dishes.

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As for Clams with Ginger Soup (蛤蜊薑絲湯- RM9.90++), the soup was quite nice except for the overpowering taste of added grounded pepper.

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The Garlic Water Frog Soup (蒜味田雞湯- RM19.90++) was just normal to be with a strong hint of garlic minus the fragrant aroma. I would rather have this in my porridge.

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The Taiwanese Roasted Pork (烤鹽豬肉- RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite dry and was rather salty to my liking. Somehow it did not have that sort of nice roasted flavors as on our local version of roasted pork.

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The BBQ Lamb (醬燒羊排 – RM15.90++) was rather tough for me. It was grilled with some quite nicely flavored BBQ sauce but somehow the meat was mot marinated well enough for flavors.

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There was also the Grilled Lemongrass Lamb (香茅羊肉串 – RM15.90++) which to me tasted almost similar to the BBQ Lamb. There was no distinctive lemongrass flavor and was not marinated well enough as the above.

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Again the Grilled Beef Ribs (鹽燒牛小排 – RM19.90++) was quite normal to me. It did not have any special sauce given except for some spices pepped salt for dipping. At least the meat was nicely marinated.

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Next was the Grilled Squid in Sea Urchin Sauce (花枝雲丹燒 – RM15.90++). Nothing special to me and the portion was rather small for us.

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As for stir fry items, we had Kung Bao Chicken (宮保雞丁 – RM9.90++). This was another common dish for me and somehow I felt that it lacked the “wok hei” I was expecting.

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At least, the Stir Fry Leek Chicken (蒜苗鹽豬肉 – RM9.90++) was reasonably flavored to go with a nice hot bowl of steamed Japanese rice (free-flow).

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Lastly, it was the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns (乾燒虎蝦 – RM9.90++). This is so typical Taiwanese style with lots added onions and capsicum in sweet and sour sauce.

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The beverages from this restaurant would basically be canned drinks and beers. Some of the recommended beers would be the Taiwan Beer (RM12++ each) and Taiwan Fruit Beer (RM12++ each). The Taiwan Fruit Beer has 4 flavour such as Lychee, White Grapes, Mango and Pineapple. Other beer brands available would be Budweiser (RM13++), Carlsberg (RM14++), Carlsberg Gold (RM15++) and Asahi (RM17++). For children, there would only be mineral water (RM2++ each) and canned drinks (RM2.50++ each) such as 100Plus, Coke, Sprite, F&N Strawberry, F&N Grape, Iced Lemon Tea, Chrysanthemum, Soya Bean and Grass Jelly.

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You can click below to view a larger photo of the menu available in Kampai Restaurant. The live seafood in the tanks and fresh seafood on ice would be based on market rate and would be charged separately per 100 grams as displayed at site.

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Overall, I personally felt that the dishes served here lacked the authenticity from the actual Taiwanese food I have tried. Though the Taiwanese cuisine we have tried in Malaysia were mostly from the Taiwanese street food scenes, somehow the so called “quick stir fry” dishes served here did not provide me with the type of identity I was expecting to get. 90% of dishes from the menu may consist of name of dishes from the region but they still taste almost similar as what I would get from those stir fry (chu char/大炒) stalls widely scattered all over the country. The only advantage I can see would be its availability to serve late night food hunters up to 2.00am daily with quick food to pair with beers. Another few items not available would be desserts and those milk tea easily available in Taiwan. Anyway, the sitting capacity would only be up to a maximum of 80 pax.

The Kampai restaurant is located within the E-Gate building just next to Subway Sandwiches & Salads facing the main road (Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway). If you know how to go to Tesco E-Gate, you won’t have problem at all locating the restaurant.

KAMPAIMAP

Name: KAMPAI RESTAURANT @ EGATE PENANG
Address:
1-01-05 & 1-01-06, Ground Floor, E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2,
Gelugor, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-658 7826
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-2.00am (Daily)
GPS: 5.375828, 100.315405

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

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.

SQUIDTOMAP

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)

 

AFFORDABLE MEALS AT TAIPEI 101 @ BAYAN INDAH PENANG

Posted by crizlai On August - 6 - 2012

Taipei 101 – Taiwan Cuisine Restaurant has been in operation for almost 3 years and I had just managed to pay them a visit recently. The restaurant would serve quite a number of Taiwanese dishes but tweaked to suit the locals’ taste buds. The food here could be real economical for all consumptions as prices would be in nett.

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The restaurant practically served quite a variety of bento sets just like the one I had at Kim Tavern @ Sunway Carnival, Bandar Sunway, Penang. One of the sets was the Sweet & Sour Garlic Pork Bento (蒜泥白肉便當 – RM9.90nett). The bento set came with some stir fried sweet and sour garlic pork, a bowl of rice, half a braised egg, some vegetables and some bean curd stick and seaweed soup. The deep fried eggplants were somehow rather hardy and the stir fried mixed vegetables were somewhat overcooked, thus losing the crunchiness. The dishes were just some simple home cooked dishes which was nothing much to brag about. It would be better if they could give those pork slices a touch of batter and presented it in a semi dry sauce just like how Kim Tavern mentioned above did.

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The next bento set was the Deep Fried Lemongrass Chicken Rice (檸檬香茅雞腿排飯 – RM9.90nett). The crispy chicken drumstick portion was humongous but somehow the taste was not up to my expectation as it lacked the taste of the lemon and lemon grass marinates as the said name. Maybe some finely chopped lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves added in the batter would have given the chicken choice piece a better flavor. Alternatively, some thick lemongrass gravy on the crispy chicken would be another good solution. This dish also came with some steamed rice with braised pork sauce, spicy chili tofu and half a braised egg. Unfortunately, the sauce did not have the fragrance as in the traditionally served Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice just like the one I had at my favorite Formosa Restaurant. It lacked the lard flavors.

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They do also serve claypot dishes sets which would come with a bowl of rice, some spicy chili tofu and some egg. One of the dishes would be the Spicy Pork Ribs Claypot (辛辣排骨 – RM11.50nett/set or RM9.50nett ala carte). This dish was somewhat like the dim sum version of Steamed Pork Ribs with some fermented black soy beans (黑豆豆豉/tao see) and some spicy spices but with more gravy. Though the pork ribs were tender and packed with flavors, the gravy was rather diluted. The kitchen should simmer the gravy more to thicken it or use less water in the process of cooking. Else, the gravy was quite nice to go with hot steaming rice.

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We were also served with the Braised Pork Trotter Claypot (滷豬手 – RM12.50nett/set or RM10.50nett ala carte). Obviously, some pork belly meat had been added into the dish to create more bulk as pork trotters usually would not contain much meat. The sweet black vinegar based dish had some mushrooms added in too. I personally prefer more old ginger added in to pep up the flavor but overall the dish was still great enough to go with a hot steaming bowl of rice.

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Another claypot dish that you would hardly get at any Taiwanese fast food restaurant chain would be duck dishes. Taipei 101 do serve Braised Ginger Duck Claypot (子姜鴨砂煲 – RM11.50nett/set or RM9.50nett ala carte). The dish had some choice duck pieces braised in ginger and Chinese wine with some wood ear fungus added in. Not a bad dish but the flavors from the Chinese wine might be overpowering for some diners.

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A visit to any Taiwanese restaurant won’t be complete if you did not try out their mee suah (麵線/wheat grass noodles). Taipei 101 has the options for ingredients such as oyster, mushroom, squid, mock abalone, mussel and scallop. We had their Neptune Mian Xian (海皇麵線- RM7.80nett/1 ingredient, RM10.80nett/2 ingredients or RM12.80nett/3 ingredients) with mock abalone (貴妃鮑魚/processed calamari slices). Instead of using the Taiwan imported noodles, Taipei 101 was using a local version which had been deep fried. Thus, the noodles had more al dente than the Taiwanese’s but still flavorful for the dish. The almost miso taste-like soup has a distinctive bonito flakes flavor with additional omelette slices, crabstick slices and some spring onions added as garnishing on top of the mock abalone slices.

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The noodle dish would go well with some dry chilies in oil from the table.

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Snacks most probably play an important part in the lives of any Taiwanese. One of the snacks that I like most was their Deep Fried Kumara Potatoes with Plum Powder (甘梅地瓜 – RM4.80nett). The sweet red potatoes were done with the perfect crispiness and they were generous with the plum powder too.

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Another of their snack was the Popcorn Chicken (鹽酥雞 – RM5.00nett). Great chunks of chicken were used but the batter was not up to my expectation as there were some parts of the coating which were rather hardy. Moreover, the juiciness of the meat seemed not to be in presence as drumstick meat pieces were not used in the preparation. Some seasoning powder with high hints of salt and pepper were tossed into the chicken chunks but it lacked the slight spiciness from some finely grinded chili flakes. I wish they could have done up the dish as great as Formosa Restaurant.

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We were also served with their Taiwanese Sausage (臺灣香腸 – RM5.00nett). There were two sausages given compared to other places with only single serving. It was a great bargain. However, the lightly grilled sausage slices were obviously not handmade as the meat within was rather finely minced. Taste wise, they were still acceptable except for the missing chunky bites.

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As for beverages, the options were rather standard except for some with a slight twist. We tried out their Winter Melon Lemon Tea (檸檬冬瓜茶 – RM3.90nett), Chocolate Pearl Milk Tea (朱古力珍珠奶茶 – RM3.90nett), Mango Smoothie (芒果沙冰 – RM5.90), Ice Blended Red Bean (紅豆冰沙 – RM4.90nett) and Papaya Milk Shake (木瓜牛奶 – RM4.50nett). The own created recipe of Winter Melon Lemon Tea was rather unique.

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Overall, Taipei 101 could be quite an ideal place for a quick and simple meal without worrying much on your budget. Food wise, they are not much into the authentic Taiwanese cuisine but a bit more towards fusion food. There are still rooms for improvements as some of the dishes were a bit out of track with more localized flavors. I also hope the kitchen would improve on their balance in flavors as I found a large amount of their dishes lacked the required usage of ingredients. Let’s hope they could revamp a better menu in the future with the help of some qualified professionals in the industry. Free delivery services would be available for purchase over RM25.

Taipei 101 Taiwan is located just opposite Queensbay Mall. If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the traffic lights. Drive on until you see a stretch of shop houses before the open space car park opposite Queensbay Mall. Taipei 101 is at this stretch of shop houses. The entrance is just before the open car park. Turn left and drive one round to find your parking space.

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Name: TAIPEI 101 TAIWAN CUISINE RESTAURANT
Address: 35G Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-642 1339
Business Hours:
11.00am-3.00pm (Lunch), 5.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner), 11.00am-10.00pm (Weekends)
GPS: 5.334662, 100.307305

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

 

TAIWAN FRANCHISED FORMOSA RESTAURANT HAS SET FOOT IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On April - 15 - 2012

More and more Taiwanese restaurants and dessert houses have popped up in Penang recently with the latest being the Formosa Restaurant (臺灣風味館) which opened two weeks ago at Penang’s first smart office – The C.E.O, Penang. The restaurant is the 7th branch in Malaysia with the other 6 branches based in the central. Some of the best Taiwanese delicacies with some homemade touches would be served here daily. I went over to the restaurant recently and tried out some of their signature dishes. Basically, the menu was simple and consisted of 4 categories – noodles, rice, appetizers and beverages.

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We started off with their signature noodles – Dry Noodles with Bean Sauce (炸醬乾麵 – RM7.90+). The dish has quite a generous amount of nice al dente textured ramen topped with bean sprouts, sliced cucumber and carrot with some sinfully delicious braised pork belly in bean sauce. It had a mild saltiness as there were loads of vegetables in it. Although flavorful with nice bites, the kitchen should take note of the surplus oil at the base. It has chopped spring onion and fried shallots as garnishes.

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There was also the spicy version of the dry noodles – Spicy Dry Noodles (麻辣乾麵 – RM9.90+). The noodles basically was stirred in some spicy chili in oil and garnished with some Chinese cabbage, wood ear fungus, boiled deep fried pork skin, squids and fried shallots. Well, this dish was not in my favorite list as there was only the spiciness in the noodles and nothing else. They should have followed how I Mum Mum Pan Mee handled their cooked noodles by tossing in some dark soy and soy sauce for that extra flavors on each strand of the noodles. There were also too much water taste in the soggy pork skin and the squids were tasteless. Seriously, there should be some soy sauce, pepper and chili oil available on each table for us to tweak the taste to our liking. Maybe I’m an extreme spicy eater as I found the level of spiciness was too low for me.

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I also tried out their Beef Noodles (牛肉麵 – RM10.90+) since I’m also a fan the Taiwanese style of recipe. Since this is a franchised restaurant, there was nothing much that can be done to pep up the flavors further. The ramen noodles were perfect as it should be but the soup base was a bit too mild for me. It lacked the thick flavor that it should have from the herbs and spices used. It practically tasted more towards the soup for tempura dip rather than for a beef soup. There were hints of star anise, soy sauce and some brown sugar without flavors from some dried orange peels, garlic, scallions, ginger and rice wine. The beef slices also lacked the beefy taste as all the flavors had gone into the soup. The kitchen should time the cooking time of the beef better in the future to maintain its flavors. The noodles were served with beef slices, Chinese cabbage, chopped spring onions, pickled mustard greens and some mala chili sauce. The only garnishing missing was the chopped cilantro which would also add in some extra flavors. This dish would be suitable for those who prefer a lighter soup base.

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The next dish which was the Braised Pork Rice (滷肉飯 – RM5.90+) was a hit amongst the diners. It may look simple with just the braised pork plus pickled mustard greens on some steamed rice, but each bite was filled with awesome melting moments from the flavorful pork belly cuts. This is a must have dish for those who would not mind some fatty meat occasionally.

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We also tried out their signature Deep Fried Pork Chop Rice (排骨飯 – RM 10.90+). The dish came with a plate of deep fried pork chop, sprinkled with some seasonings and paprika, a bowl of soup and a plate of steamed rice with four side dishes, namely deep fried eggplant, stir fry cabbage, stir fry celery with carrots and tomato omelette. It was a fulfilling set meal at an affordable price.

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There were also some delicious appetizers available here such as their signature homemade Taiwan Sausage (自製臺灣香腸 – RM6.90+). This plump looking sausage is a killer. Not only were the thinly sliced sausage pieces sweet and flavorful, they were juicy for each bite. The dish would go well with some sliced raw garlic. It would be best if the garlic were to be sliced thinner (7-8 slices instead of the current 2 cuts) for a more delicate presentation.

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The was also the Stewed Pork Steamed Sandwich (割包 – RM4.90+/pc). The delicacy had a piece of specially seasoned steamed pork belly slice sandwiched in between a flat steamed bun, together with some chopped cilantro, pickled mustard greens and some pounded roasted peanuts. The pork belly was actually stewed in a recipe almost similar to the Nyonya Hong Bak (Stewed Pork Belly in Fermented Bean Sauce). The concoction was nice but it lacked a bit of thick sauce on the meat for a more moist bite. It would be better if the meat were to be stewed with red fermented bean curd (tao joo/nam joo/南乳) rather than fermented beans paste (tao cheong/豆醬) for more flavors.

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Another light and refreshing appetizer would be their Century Egg with Tofu (柴魚皮蛋豆腐 – RM5.90+). It had a small block of chilled tofu and four quarters of a century egg, dressed with their homemade sauce and topped with a generous amount of katsuobushi shavings (bonito flakes). The sauce tasted like a concentrated version of the tentsuyu sauce with some hints of dashi, mirin and shoyu. There was a mild taste of kelp (large seaweed), most probably from the dashi sauce which has an extract from the boiling of kelps and bonito flakes. There were requests from diner for additional bonito flakes on the dish but I felt that the abundant cuttlefish taste like flakes overpowered the natural taste of the whole dish. Personally, I would rather go for the delicious Japanese style Agedashi Tofu which would be served in a hot tentsuyu broth.

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Other than the Deep Fried Pork Chop, they also have the Shi-Lin Chicken Chop (士林大雞排 – RM7.90+). I love how they prepared this dish as the coated batter was just right, not too thick and not too thin. Combined with the seasoning and paprika, it was heaven! I prefer this chicken chop more than the pork chop as it was more tender and juicy than the former. It was more delicious than Uncle Bob’s for sure. Beware when you bite it as it may contain some tiny bones which are quite common in Taiwanese chicken snacks.

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For a boneless version, there was the Taiwan Salted Chicken (臺灣咸酥雞 – RM6.90+) that got me munching endlessly. Talk about juiciness and flavors and this dish had it all. Although the coating was similar as the Shi-Lin Chicken Chop, I prefer these cubed chicken pieces more. You can forget about other Pop Pop Chicken as I would call them, this dish rules! It’s a dish not to miss~ 🙂

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Do you fancy glutinous rice? If you do, you can try out their Rice Burger with Sausage (大腸包小腸 – RM9.50+). It had a sausage bun like deep fried glutinous rice mixed with peanuts, stuffed with fresh cucumber and pickled mustard green, topped with the delicious Taiwanese sausage. The dish had a special thick soy sauce (豆油醬) dressed on it. The slightly crisp glutinous rice blended in real well with the vegetables and the sausages, except it was a bit salty due to the dressing. It would be best if the dressing were to be served separately for diners to adjust to their level of saltiness. This dish is best taken when served hot or it would be a bit chewy when cold.

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If you are a fresh oyster lover, the next dish which was the Oyster Mee Sua (蚵仔麵線 – RM6.90+), better known as Oh Ah Misua in Taiwan, might suit you well. The dish had Taiwan imported tan-brown salted wheat grass noodles (misua/mee sua/mee suah) served in a starched broth with some mildly blanched fresh oyster in boiling water with some dashes of pepper, sesame oil and shallot oil. This dish would be best taken hot when served. Although the dish was slightly cold after my photography session, I found the soup base lacked in thick broth flavors. Somehow, it did not have the flavors as I would get in a bowl of rich sharksfin soup with high quality broth (上湯). The usage of some shaoxing wine plus some deep fried shallots/garlic in oil might pep up the taste better. I also found this dish to have too much soup than mee sua. Moreover, they did not serve this dish with some black vinegar.

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As for beverages, there are tea, milk tea and others which you could add on either magic crystal, coffee jelly or pearl at an additional RM1.00 per cup. Obviously, you can see clearly from the photos below that my favorite was the Lavender Milk Tea (RM4.50+). The milk tea had just the right sweetness to my liking with a fragrant lavender flavor coming from the added lavender seeds. This refreshing drink would be great for sleep and relaxation. The next drink that I quite like was the Taro Milk Tea (RM4.50+). The creaminess and sweetness for this beverage was just right for me too. The honey used in this restaurant was rather unique. It had a flowery chrysanthemum after taste in it. The lemon juice too had that sourness unlike the usual ones as I can taste that there were some Calamansi (Calamondin/Limau Kasturi) juice added in. Thus, you should not miss out their beverages such as the Honey Lemon Jasmine Green Tea (RM4.50+) or even the Honey Lemon Juice (RM3.50+). I also tried out the Honey Black Tea with Coffee Jelly (RM3.90+ plus RM1.00+ for add on). It was a perfect combination with a distinctive coffee flavor coming from the al dente jelly cubes.

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Overall, the items served here can be considered real reasonable in price compared to those within malls, considering that only a 5% service fee would be charged. Taste wise, some of the dishes can be real delicious while others were quite common. As a franchised restaurant, it has the necessary standards to please any diner. This restaurant would be a great venue to hang out with family, friends and colleagues over some nice Taiwanese cuisine.

Formosa Restaurant is located just opposite Kayu Nasi Kandar at the ground floor of Penang’s first smart office, The CEO. If you are driving up towards Bukit Jambul via Jalan Yeap Chor Ee/Jalan Bukit Gambier, just take note of the USM traffic lights. Immediately after the traffic lights, take note of the 4th traffic lights (1st traffic lights to Taman Perkaka/USM, 2nd traffic lights to Bukit Jambul/Equatorial Hotel, 3rd traffic lights to Taman Lip Sin/Super Tanker Food Court, 4th traffic lights to Kayu Nasi Kandar/The CEO – Penang’s first smart office). At the 4th traffic lights (Jalan Bukit Gambier/Lebuh Nipah 5), turn left into Lebuh Nipah 5 and drive until the T-junction (Lebuh Nipah 5/Lebuh Nipah). Turn right into Lebuh Nipah and take the first right turning into Lebuh Nipah 7 (as stated in Google map but Kayu address is stated as Lebuh Nipah whereas the opposite CEO address is stated as Lebuh Nipah 5~ A bit of confusion here~ LOL!). You can see the double floors restaurant on your left. In case you cannot find parking spaces surrounding that area, you can park your car at the CEO multi-storey cark behind the restaurant.

FORMOSAMAP

Name: FORMOSA RESTAURANT @ THE CEO PENANG
Address: The CEO, 31-1-16 Lebuh Nipah 5, Sg. Nibong, 11950 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-611 1988, 012-286 9912 / 016-629 1632 (Mr. Brandon Ong)
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.336566, 100.292797

BRANCHES:
Kuchai Lama (HQ):
No. 5, Jalan 10/116B, Kuchai Entrepreneur’s Park, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603-7980 1888
Sunway Pyramid (New Wing):
Unit 167, Asian Avenue, 1st Floor, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
SS Two Mall:
No. 40, Jalan SS2/72 (PT21680), 47000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Sungai Wang Plaza:
TC 037 & 038, Third Floor, Sungai Wang Plaza, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Seri Kembangan:
KG03, Ground Floor, Mines 2, The Street Mall, Jalan Balakong,
Mines Resort City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
Setapak:
25, Jalan Prima Setapak 3, Off Jalan Genting Kelang, 53300 Kuala Lumpur.

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (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: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Ever since the mushrooming of many Thai restaurants in Pulau Tikus, the district has recently become the newest target for local and overseas dessert outlets. Outlets such as Tang Bo Fu (Pulau Tikus), ZenQ (Gurney Plaza), Lucky Desserts (Gurney Plaza) and the latest being BlackBall – Original Taiwanese Tea & Dessert, which would be officially open on 20 December 2011. Ever since its establishment in 2006, BlackBall now stands as one of the biggest dessert chains in Taipei with over 20 outlets and still expanding. Today, our fellow Malaysians would get the chance to savor the delicious desserts and teas from Taiwan at 5 strategically located outlets, starting with the first outlet in SS15 (PJ), followed by KSL City Mall (JB), Sri Petaling (KL), Pulau Tikus (Penang) and Damansara Uptown (PJ).

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I would say this would be one of the first few dessert chains in Malaysia with a state-of-the-art gadget when ordering. Each order would come with a unique gadget which would beep and blink when your orders are ready for collections at a specific counter. What a great way to find yourselves comfortably seated while waiting for your desserts to be prepared.

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As a trade secret, the company would not disclose much information on the compound on some of the ingredients. One thing for sure is that they do use a herbal plant known as Xian Cao (仙草). This magical plant is also commonly known as Jiao Gu Lan (绞股蓝/ Gynostemma pentaphyllum/ twisting vine orchid/ herb of immortality). It’s reputed to lengthen your life with its powerful antioxidant and adaptogenic effects, so much so that it had become a key inclusion in most traditional desserts across Taiwan as well as being made into tea bags. It also had been clinically proven that by consuming Xian Cao, one would have a lower blood pressure and cholesterol, a better body immune system and cancer risk free.

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Basically, the desserts consisted of BlackBall Signature, BlackBall Combo, Signature Drink, Winter Melon Tea Series, Traditional Tea, QQ Drink Series, Smoothie Series, “Jiu Fen” Taro Ball Series and BlackBall Crushed Ice, all within the range of RM4.90 nett to RM6.50 nett. Additional topping would be charged at an additional RM1 per topping. The toppings are Taro Ball (scallop shape), Taro Q (rectangular shape), Pearl, Red Bean, Green Bean, Sweetened Bean, Chinese Barley, Lotus Seed, Coco Jelly, Brown Sugar Jelly (Taiwanese version of a more QQ local “leong fun” cubes), Aloe Vera, Sky (White) Pearl, Sweetened Taro and Fresh Milk. All beverages come in 700cc size. You can enlarge the menu below for a clearer view.

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We had the BlackBall Signature (Hot & Cold – RM6.50) which came with Taro Ball, Taro Q, Pearl, grass jelly and red beans served with some fresh milk. Both the hot and cold desserts were nice with the hot version having a more distinctive herbal after taste. The Taro Ball had a more al dente texture whereas the Taro Q has a more powdery taro taste as lesser potato flour was added in. The orange ones were made from red potatoes and the yellow ones were of sweet potatoes.

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There were also the BlackBall Combo (with Taro Ball and Pearl): BlackBall Crushed Ice (Combo D with additional Chinese Barley & Lotus Seed – RM6.50) and BlackBall Combo (with Taro Ball and Pearl): Grass Jelly Ice (Combo H with additional Green Bean & Lotus Seed – RM6.50). The one with crushed ice came with some brown syrup and this tasted a bit like our Malaysian palm sugar.

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The “Jiu Fen” Taro Ball Crushed Ice (RM6.50) had a special type of pale color sweetened bean added in on top of the Pearl, Taro Ball and crushed ice. The beans tasted quite similar to the sweetened red kidney beans. As usual, anything with crushed ice would come with a small canister of brown syrup.

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As for beverages, we had quite a few choices. We tried out the Fresh Milk with Grass Jelly (RM5.90). This would be a nice choice for those fresh milk lovers. The whole concoction had a slight saltiness but creamy taste from the fresh milk with a mild touch of herbal after taste. Not bad but surely not my kind of unsweetened beverage.

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The Winter Melon Tea with Sky Pearl (RM5.90) was quite a hit amongst some of us. The quite highly concentrated brew went well with the sky pearls.

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Somehow, most of the ladies loved the QQ Cranberry Lemon Juice (RM5.90). Well, some guys did too. Hmm… I thought it would only benefit the ladies only against bacterial infections in the urinary system or commonly known as urinary tract infection? Haha! Well… no worries as cranberry juice would also help to level up the HDL (good cholesterol) against the LDL (bad cholesterol). Moreover, it’s great to destroy some stomach problem causing bacterias. The cranberry juice served here was rather highly concentrated compared to those other brands I obtained from the supermarkets. I love it especially with a mild twist of lemon juice! It came with some pearls and coco jellies.

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The Signature “Xian Cao” Tea with Grass Jelly (RM5.90) had that unique herbal taste, quite similar to having Guilinggao (龜苓膏/Tortoise Jelly),less bitter and in a more diluted form. I love the way this beverage had been prepared without much sweetening.

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The combination of the 3Q Passion Fruit Green Tea (RM5.90) was also special but a bit too sweet to my liking. Maybe I ought to get them to reduce the sweetness for my cup of beverage. This beverage came with some added pearls, coco jellies and jade jelly (愛玉冰/Aiyu Jelly/O-Gio/噢橋) with some traces of the passion fruit pulps and seeds. Note: AiYu Jelly is actually made by rubbing the seeds from a variety of figs (無花果) in which would exude a sticky gel that would form into jelly at certain cool temperature.

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The do have Yoghurt Green Tea (RM5.90) too. The green tea taste was a bit overpowering in proportion to the yoghurt used. I’m not sure if they were using the Japanese probiotic milk/yoghurt-like product named Yakult as it did not have that unique yoghurt taste as the ones I had at Tea Secret, Queensbay Mall, Penang.

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There’s the term “save the best for last” and indeed the last beverage we had which was the Boba Milk Tea (RM5.90) was a hit amongst some of us. This beverage came with some added pearls. The sweetness was just right for me and the tea used indeed blended in well with the fresh milk used.

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Since the 3rd to the 5th Blackball outlets [Sri Petaling (KL), Pulau Tikus (Penang) and Damansara Uptown (PJ)] would be officially open on the same day on 20 December 2011, there would be some ongoing promotions. From 20-28 December 2011, the Damansara Uptown and Sri Petaling outlets would be having the BUY ONE FREE ONE promotion. As for the Penang outlet, there will be the BUY TWO FREE ONE promotion from 20-22 December 2011. You can enlarge the poster below for a clearer view.

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It’s not hard to locate the dessert outlet as it situated along a row of shop houses in Pulau Tikus, Penang. If you are coming from Jalan Burma towards Pulau Tikus, watch out for Lebuhraya Codrington on your left. Immediately after the junction, turn left into the service road (TanMark Bookstore/7-11) and park your car there. The restaurant is just across the road, 3 shoplots away on the right of Sukhothai Beef Noodles House (formerly Strada).

BLACKBALLMAP

Name: BLACKBALL – ORIGINAL TAIWANESE TEA & DESSERT
Address: 232 Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-466 1886
Business Hours: 12.00pm – 12.00am
GPS: 5.429939, 100.313319

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

 

The easy-going and down-to-earth Taiwanese Celebrity Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻) is now in Penang on a mission to savor all the best food in Penang and to come out with his new cookbook entitled Hong’s Style (鴻食代). The former host of the famous Taiwanese TVBS Cooking Program, Ah Hong Cooking Up A Storm (阿鴻上菜), Hong’s Kitchen (阿鴻好主意) and also the author of the best-seller cookbook named A-Hong’s Healthy Medicated Diets (阿鴻養生藥膳), Chef Chen Hong or more affectionately known to his fans as “Ah Hong”, is also dubbed as the Culinary Prince (美食王子) in Taiwan. At a tender age of seven years old, he had already started pepping up impressive dishes. Until today, he’s still famous for his simple, practical and yet healthy recipes amongst the working groups, home makers and senior citizens. He enjoys working with Chinese herbs, traditional ingredients and vegetarian recipes, which is something he picked up from his maternal grandmother at a young age. The ever youthful and charismatic chef is currently the ambassador for many well-known brands and has hosted numerous culinary programs throughout Asia.

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At the press conference held at G Spot, G Hotel today which was graced by Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development and Culture, YB Danny Law and Food Digest Managing Editor, Tracy Lau, Chef Chen Hong was officially appointed as the ‘Penang Food Ambassador to Taiwan’. It was an honor for Penang to have such a seasoned Taiwanese Celebrity Chef to spread the words on all the unique blends of tastes, ranging from Nyonya cuisine to authentic street food to the world.

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During the press conference, specially brought to you by Food Digest Magazine, Malaysia’s No. 1 food and lifestyle magazine, Chef Chen Hong stated that Penangites are the best food critics due to their sharp tongues in deciding whether the food is good or bad. He jokingly stated that you would only need to understand a few phrases in the local Hokkien dialect… “Eh Jiak”, “Bay Jiak” or “Ho Jiak” (can eat, cannot eat or very good food), when seeking food in Penang.

Together with Penang food portal, FoodTok and GG, the Food Digest Team would be bringing Chef Chen Hong on an adventure to some of the recommended food spots in Penang, while playing judge to some of the most famous hawkers and restaurants throughout the little food paradise island of Asia. Try catching his whereabouts on his journey to find great food between 10 June 2011 and 12 June 2011 from as far as Batu Ferringhi, Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus until the heart of George Town, through the Food Digest official site www.twitter.com/myfooddigest.

Also in attendance are renowned Chef Park Tae Yeong (from Korea) and Chef Billy Ng Yih Lee (runner-up of 8TV’s Hot Chef Season One).

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Chef Park took the bold step by leaving that corporate world’s comfort zone of 10 years in Seoul, Korea to pursue his culinary dream. A French graduate from Academie de Toulouse (The Baccalaureat Professionnel Restauration De Cuisine); the chef is a living proof that one is never too old to pursue their dreams. Brilliant in French and fusion style cuisine, he’ll be spending the coming year working on his first ever cookbook, travelling and opening a world of culinary experiences. I love his style of recording all his new creations in pictorial form and in colors too.

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Chef Billy was the runner-up in the inaugural 8TV’s Hot Chef (Season One). He specializes in Western cuisine. Originated from Klang, Selangor, he can converse well in English, Cantonese and Hokkien. He would be the next generation of chef that would follow the footsteps of his mentor, Chef Chen Hong. Currently, he’s an instructor with Berjaya University College of Hospitality.

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UNCLE BOB TAIWAN STYLED SNACKS

Posted by crizlai On February - 23 - 2009

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When you mention about Uncle Bob’s Taiwan Styled Fried Chicken (RM5), most frequent night market (pasar malam) goers would surely heard about them. Being the first to bring in this Taiwanese snack concept to Malaysia, Uncle Bob has been operating this business since 2002, spreading its mobile snack vans all over peninsular and east Malaysia. Well, being a successful pioneer in this food industry has always a drawback. More and more competitors have mushroomed all over the country plagiarizing this successful story. In fact, I had noticed that some competitors even offered more flavors than the existing original and spicy recipes Uncle Bob has.

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What made Uncle Bob so successful in this business? All you can see is just a piece of chicken breast meat or boneless drumstick coated with some bread crumbs, deep fried and sprinkle with some flavoring. That’s nothing special right? What many did not notice is that those chicken meat pieces have their skins and fat removed prior to the frying process. This is a healthier version? Maybe not but at least the consumption of fat would be lesser than most of the existing fried chicken stalls around. Uncle Bob has just two flavors to their bite sized crunchy chicken cutlets, namely original and spicy. The spicy ones were the most sought after.

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On top of the smooth selling product stated above, Uncle Bob has its Research & Development (R&D) group based in Taiwan to find out more products that would the local market. One of the products that launched not long ago was the Sweet Batter Coated Cheese Hot Dog Stick (RM2). It has a jumbo sized cheese filled sausage coated with a specially formulated batter and deep fried to golden brown. The end product has a sweet tasting crispy crust that tasted a bit sweeter than our local pancake (ban chang kuih) base.

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The combination of the sweet and salty taste of the product complimented each other well. The best part would be squirting out some existing juice from the sausages as well as some melted cheese oozing out of your mouth. This is such a cool to snack while exploring more bargains in the night markets!

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As the vans would be on the move each day, I could not provide a specific location map or GPS reading for you to track them down. Maybe a detailed venue of the night markets each day (Penang Island and Mainland) would ease you more in your food hunting expedition. Gook Luck!

Name: UNCLE BOB TAIWAN STYLED SNACKS
Penang Area Contact: 013-4316868 (Mr. David Yong)
Penang Mobile Van Whereabouts: 016-459 4433 (Nee), 016-481 6963 (Wei)

PENANG – ISLAND (NIGHT MARKETS)
Monday– McCallum Street (Opposite Li Tek School entrance)
Tuesday -Tanjung Bungah Market (Next to Bus Station/Market)
Wednesday– Farlim Padang, Air Itam
Thursday-Paya Terubong, Air Itam & McCallum Street (opposite market)
Friday-Taman Kheng Tian (off Van Pragh Road/Hamilton Road)
Saturday-Sungai Dua (opposite Tesco Extra)

PENANG – MAINLAND (NIGHT MARKETS)
Wednesday-Kampung Juru
Thursday-Kampung Valdor
Friday-Taman Permata
Saturday-Mega Mall Food Court (Pacific Shopping Centre) & Kuan Nam Coffee Shop (Chai Leng Park)

OTHER STATES IN PENINSULAR & EAST MALAYSIA
Please check out here for the whereabouts of the mobile vans for each state in Malaysia.

RATING:
Ambience: 5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (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)

MELLANO FOOD CORNER

Posted by Criz Lai On July - 7 - 2008

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED OPERATION

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There are many businesses in Penang that had converted part of their business to food business. The latest being the Mellano Florist along Jalan Dato Keramat. What I do not understand is that how could a restaurant have only 3 main dishes and 3 main beverages to serve its customers. Customers would want more choices when dining in. The 3 dishes mentioned are the Broadbean Delight (RM3.50), Glass Noodles in Chicken Soup (RM3.50) and Shanghai Beef Noodles (RM6.00). The drinks are Mango Yogurt (RM2.50), Strawberry Yogurt (RM2.50) and Root Beer Float (not available)

The Broadbean Delight was just some flour cake (somewhat like our koay kak) cut into strips using wavy chee cheong fun knife. It came with some soy sauce, crushed peanuts and some chicken meat. It looked impressive but the taste was totally not Malaysian and not to my taste bud.

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The Glass Noodles in Chicken Soup came with some chicken strips, wood fungus, and 3 chicken balls. The soup tasted real flat for those who do not consume chili powder. It is very Taiwanese style. Not to my liking as well and the portion was real small.

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The Shanghai Beef Noodles came with only thinly sliced beef and some intestine. This was again without much taste and no side sauces came with it. The soup in fact was too diluted without the sweetness of bones.

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The drinks were normal with the Root Beer Float being not available on the first day of launching. I guessed the owner should look into adding more choices and to ensure the satisfactions of its customers. Overall, it flopped my taste bud totally.

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The restaurant cum florist is located just immediately after the Honolulu Restaurant (previously Federal Theatre) along the main road of Jalan Dato Keramat. Parking can be real scare over here even if you are on a bike. So, be prepared to park behind Honolulu Restaurant and walk up to the restaurant.

MELLANOMAP

Name: MELLANO FOOD CORNER
Address: 373, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-229 6012, 012-411 6012
Opening Hours: 7.00am – 3.00pm (Closed Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412537, 100.319456

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

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About Me

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

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

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