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CABBAGES & CONDOMS RESTAURANT IN BANGKOK THAILAND

Posted by crizlai On April - 10 - 2015

Many people would have heard of the infamous Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant (C&C) in Bangkok, Thailand, with 5 other local branches in Nakhon Ratchasima, Vieng Pa Pao, Chiangrai, Nangnong plus a resort cum restaurant in Saptai. This themed restaurant is tucked away in an alley in the Khlong Toei district but is quite easily accessible via the BTS Asoke Station. You may ask why the bizarre name as cabbages had nothing to do with condoms at all. The brainchild of this over a decade old establishment, Senator Mechai Viravaidya, had conceptualized this project to spread the knowledge and understanding of contraception throughout Thailand, namely to overcome the reluctance to discuss issues on family planning, sex and HIV/AIDS. Thus, he caught the attentions of the public and eventually condoms became commonly available and as cheap as cabbages. Moreover, part of the profits from these restaurants would go towards supporting the work of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA).

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It happened that I was staying at The Key Bangkok Hotel nearby and decided to check out the restaurant. Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant indeed has a catchy tagline on the menu to create the curiosity amongst diners – “Our food is guaranteed not to create pregnancy”. There are also many sex awareness posters scattered around the pathway towards the sanctuary-like restaurant ambiance plus quite a few condoms and birth control pills created fashionable outfits on the mannequins along the way. What caught my attention was the after dinner souvenirs – FREE CONDOMS. On top of that, you can also get more condom supplies at their free-flow corner, inclusive some water-based lubricant sachets. Cool~ Such convenience~ Well, they indeed won’t give you after dinner mints but you can take a condom instead~ LOL~ 😛

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Anyway, Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant may have a great concept in introducing safe sex and family planning but failed in pepping up great dishes. It may be a great hangout place for Westerners over some barely authentic dishes but not for any Asians whom had years of growing up with herbs and spices. Somehow, I felt that the dishes served were mainly catered for those diners with low spicy tolerance. If you are looking for the Yin Yang balance of the Thai cuisine, this is definitely not the place for you as the basic 5 flavors (wan, kem, brieow, ped & kom/ หวาน, เค็ม, เปรี้ยว, เผ็ด & ขม/sweetness, saltiness, sourness, spiciness and bitterness) were not significantly present. You should have at least 3 of the 5 flavors significantly presence in a Thai dish.

To prove my points, I started out with the appetizer of Kratong Thong (Minced Chicken & Corn in Waffle Cups – THB120++). Basically, it was just some blandly prepared minced chicken mixed with some corn kernels (mixed vegetables version) and served in “Singapore Top Hats” aka “Nyonya Pie Tee” crispy pastries. To give them more flavors, you have to dress them with some Thai chili sauce. So, in my opinion, what is so Thai about this dish?

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Just as an ideal example to judge on the 5 flavors, I tried out their salad, Yum Ma Khue Yaw (Roasted Eggplant with Prawns and Minced Chicken Salad – THB170++). Basically, only 2 flavors popped up significantly… saltiness from a high hint of nam pla (fish sauce) and sourness from the added lime juice. There were no sweetness from added palm sugar, spiciness from some added bird’s eye chilies and even some bitterness from the supposedly roasted eggplant. Even the minced chicken tasted bland. The whole dish tasted rather flat.

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On top of that, they served the worst Gaeng Massaman Gai (Chicken Masamman Curry – THB200++) I have ever tasted with overcooked chicken pieces in super sweet curry. From my experience in cooking and creating many Asian dishes, the texture of the meat was the end result you would get if you have frozen the dish for many days and heat up when needed with a microwave oven. It was so bad until the meat was with powdery texture. It would surely put a shame to the Thai culinary world since it was voted as the #1 dish in CNNGo’s Top 50 Best Food in the World 2011.

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Other than the main dish as above, I have decided to try out their noodle dish which was the Phad Se-Ew Moo (Stir Fry Flat Noodles with Kale & Pork – THB120++). I’m quite a regular for this “hor fun” type of stir fry noodles but the dish served here was horrendous. There were no hints of “wok hei” aka high heat stir frying, balanced flavors and the whole dish had that bitter-like chemical flavors. It was like consuming pesticide without getting murdered.

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Overall, the ambience was quite cool for that themed experience or even bumming out with friends over some drinks. However, the restaurant should at least check on their food quality to ensure returned customers rather than concentrating on the one-time Western tourists. The only thing that I had supported was their many scattered donation boxes towards the welfare of some charitable organizations. There will be a surcharge of 10% service tax (ST) and 7% value added tax (VAT) in your bill.

Name: CABBAGES & CONDOMS RESTAURANT
Address: 6 Sukhumvit Soi 12, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand.
Contact: +662 229 4610
Business Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm
GPS: 13.737885, 100.557966

DIRECTIONS:

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Take the BTS Sukhumvit Line and stop at BTS Asoke Station. Use the Skywalk towards Exit 2 and walk downstairs towards Times Square Shopping Center Asoke. Immediately, after the building, turn left into Sukhumvit Soi 12. You can see a signboard directing you to the venue. Walk around 10 minutes and you can see the entrance within a compound on your right.

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 5.5/10 (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)

 

A GREAT THAI CUISINE AT THAI FOOD RESTAURANT PENANG

Posted by crizlai On August - 1 - 2012

More and more diners in Penang are beginning to appreciate the wonders of Thai cuisine, which has an unquestionable harmonious balance of Yin and Yang. Thus, a new restaurant by the name of Thai Food Restaurant has recently opened its door within the vicinity of Green Lane, Penang to enable diners to enjoy the coexistence of all the major flavor characteristics, namely sweetness, sourness, spiciness and saltiness”. The provincial style of cooking basically came from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, almost similar to those dishes served at Aroy Chang Moo Kata in Pulau Tikus, Penang.

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Instead of starting off with the commonly available Mieng Kam aka One Mouthful, we started with Nam Prik Kapi (น้ำพริกกะปิ/Thai Style Ulam aka Fresh Green Salad – RM9.00nett). I always have phobia having the hot sauce as in the Nam Prik as different provinces in Thailand have their own different level of spiciness. Surprisingly, I felt in love with the version here as the hot sauce has just the balance of sweetness, sourness, spiciness and saltiness to my liking. The vegetables consisted of long beans, cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower.

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Next, we started off with some appetizers. A simple and nutritious Yam Hed (ยามเห็ด -Black & White Fungus/เห็ดหูหนู & เห็ดหูหนูขาว – RM9.00nett/RM12.00nett) would be a great appetizer to start off a meal. The flavors were quite similar to that of Lab Moo Sub (ลาบหมู/Spicy Minced Pork Salad) but minced chicken was used instead. I love the crunch on both the black and white fungus used as well as the well balanced flavors from the onions, chopped chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, spring onions and coriander. This combination would also go well with chicken feet in place of the fungus.

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Another appetizer we had was the Yam Abpen (ยำแอปเปิ้ล/Spicy Green Apple Salad – RM9.00nett/RM12.00nett). The crunchiness of the Granny Smith green apples used combined with chopped chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, fried dried shrimps and garnished with some cashew nuts was nice. Again, the level of spiciness was just right for everyone.

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Another nice dish to start off a proper meal would be the Pak Boong Krob (ปากบุ้งกรอบ/Batter Fried Crispy Morning Glory aka Kangkung – RM8.00nett). It went well with some Thai chili sauce. Instead of serving it just this way, I have seen a few restaurants tossed these vegetables with some sauce and served as a salad.

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The next dish which was the Tod Man Goong (ทอดมันกุ้ง/Shrimp Nugget/Shrimp Cake – RM3.00nett each) was my favorite amongst all those that I had tried elsewhere. The dish was quite simple to make but required the right balance between the usages of minced meat to prawns. The balance here was 1:2 and the patties were coated with breadcrumbs prior to being deep fried until golden brown. These delicious shrimp cakes would be a must order item.

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The Pik Gai Yat Sai (ปีกไก่ญาติซ้าย/Stuffed Otak Chicken Wings – RM3.50 each) is another of the restaurant’s signature dishes. The spicy egg paste or so called otak otak was stuffed into the partially boneless and marinated chicken wings and deep fried to perfection. The combination was great and it could be even better if a bit more of chili paste and sliced kaffir lime leaves were added in to pep up the flavors more.

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Other than the Germans, the Thais are also great cooks for pork knuckles. Instead of having the stewed version, we opted for the Kha Moo Krob (ขาหมูกรอบ/Crispy Pork Knuckle – RM18.00nett). Each bite was amazing crispy and flavorful. Moreover, it was convenient for everyone as they had removed the bones too.

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Sometimes, a simple Thai dish such as the common household dish of Khai Jiu Cha Om (ขายจิ๋วจะออม/Cha Om Omelette – RM8) would please me most. The feathery young shoots of the food plant (also known as climbing wattle/Acacia pennata) are commonly used in omelettes, soups, curries or simply by stir frying in mild sauce in Thai cuisine. The shoots have a unique smell similar to that of the stink beans (buah petai) but with a subtle flavor. It was great to have it with some hot sauce as served with the green salad.

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The Thais loved squids as well and we were also served with Pla Mek Sam Rot (ปลาหมึกสามรส/Squids in 3 Flavors Sauce). The boiled squids were tossed in chopped garlic, chilies/bird’s eye chilies, fish sauce, palm sugar and coriander and served on a hot plate. Even though this was another version of the wetter version with some added stock, it was real appetizing.

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We also tried out their Gaeng Som Pla Grapong (แกงส้มปลากะพง/Gaeng Som Sea Bass – RM25nett-RM45.00nett). The sour and spicy curry may differ in different parts of Thailand but I love this clearer version with just the right amount of sourness from the tamarind as well as a generous portion of vegetables used. However, I would prefer to have fresh fish rather than deep fried ones for my Gaeng Som.

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Their Green Curry Chicken (แกงเขียวหวานไก่/Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai – RM14.00nett/RM20.00nett) was reasonably tasty. The dish was not as spicy as expected as they were using a light amount of sliced red chilies instead of bird eye chilies. There were some bigger version of mini Thai eggplants being used here plus a generous amount of fresh Thai basil leaves. The gravy had a strong hint of coconut milk being used but was a bit less concentrated than I expected due to the chef’s method of cutting down on the level of spiciness from the pre-prepared green curry paste. Alternatively, some long beans could be added in to reduce the spiciness rather than diluting the gravy too much.

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Most people would think that Thai food would always be spicy until the max but not at all as you can still order some oyster sauce based dishes such as the Phat Phak Naw Mai Goong (ผัดพักหน่อไม้กุ้ง/Stir Fry Asparagus with Prawns – RM12.00nett/RM16.00nett). this dish would be served with some prawns stir fried with young asparagus shoot and carrots in light oyster sauce.

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The next dish was something that I almost would not miss out in my list of orders in a Thai restaurant. It’s the Tom Yam. I would normally order the clear version as the red version would only consist of added chili oil. We ordered the Tom Yam Nam Sai (ตมยามนามซ้าย/Clear Tom Yam with Mixed Seafood – RM18nett/RM28nett) instead. It had prawns, fish and squids. The soup was rather mild, considering that the chefs were quite careful in the usage of bird’s eyes chilies which would give a really powerful spicy punch. Although there were traces of fish sauce, lemongrass and galangal found within the soup, I found the soup to be too mild in sourness. It needed a tad bit more of tamarind/lime juice or even some added tomatoes to pep up the flavor more. Moreover, some added oyster mushrooms would be nice too.

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Instead of steamed rice, you could also order their Khao Pad Sapparot (ข้าวผัดสับปะรด/ Pineapple Fried Rice – RM5.00nett/RM12.00nett). This was one of the best pineapple rice dishes I have tasted as the dish had the nice “wok hei” (high heat cooking) and flavors. Moreover, there was the bonus of having some meat floss and chopped coriander as garnishes. It would be great if some chopped spring onions and fried shallots being added in.

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You can also order the Khao Krok Kapi (ขาวกรอกกะปิ/Belacan Fried Rice – RM5.00nett/RM12.00nett). The dish basically had shrimp paste (belacan) fried with rice and served with side dishes such as bird’s eye chilies, onions, egg, mango, cucumber, dried shrimps and meat. Compared to the Pineapple Fried Rice, the former had better flavors.

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To end the meal, we had the Tub Tim Krob (ทับทิมกรอบ/Jellied Water Chestnut Rubies with Jackfruit in Coconut Milk – RM4.50/bowl). It was a decent dessert with added jellies. It would be even better if the coconut milk added was more concentrated.

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Currently, the beverages served here were rather limited but they do serve freshly brewed Lemongrass Tea (RM1.50nett Hot/RM2.00nett Iced). They should consider importing Nam Daeng (red – sala flavored syrup) and Nam Kaew (green – cream soda flavored syrup) and add in some soaked sweet basil seeds in making the drinks. These two drinks have cooling effects for the burning sensation in your mouth whenever you have taken too high level of spiciness.

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Overall, the dishes served here were quite fulfilling for a Thai cuisine hunter like me here. The wonderful thing is that they managed to control the level of spiciness well for the general local consumers. You could always get them to spice up the dishes if you find them to be too mild for you. However, they are not quite close to the homely style of cooking as I had at Annathai-Kitchen yet but some of their dishes served here surely exceeded my expectations.

The Thai Food Restaurant is located just at the back portion of the Batu Lanchang Market Food Court and won’t be hard to locate at all. If you are coming from Jalan Mesjid Negeri towards the Penang Bridge, you would pass by Lam Wah Ee Hospital. Just drive on until you see a Petronas petrol kiosk on your left. Drive on about 100m more and you would see a left turning. Turn left into Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang and drive on until you see CIMB Bank/KFC. Turn left into Medan Batu Lanchang and drive on until the other side of the shop houses and you will see the restaurant just at the back of the food court on your right. Try finding some legal parking spaces here. If you can’t, I would advise you to park your car within the Batu Lanchang Market car park compound as the local MPPP officers could be rather summons happy here. LOL!

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Name: THAI FOOD RESTAURANT
Address: 19L, Medan Batu Lanchang, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-486 9191 (Mr. Christopher Choong)
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.389492, 100.305363

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

 

CHICKEN MASSAMAN CURRY

Posted by crizlai On July - 22 - 2012

Nobody could resist the #1 dish in the world as rated by CNNGo if not for the rich and balanced flavors in sweetness, saltiness, sourness and spiciness. What’s the name of that dish? It’s the infamous Thailand’s Massaman Curry~ Slurps~ You can cook the curry with beef, lamb and poultry with this curry recipe but I prefer chicken as it’s easier to tenderize the meat and faster to heal my hungry tummy! Haha! Anyway, let me share with you my version of Chicken Massaman Curry or commonly known as Gaeng Matsaman Gai (แกงมัสมั่นไก่) in Thailand. Having Thai dishes in the comfort of your home would be a reality now~ Enjoy cooking! 🙂

MASSAMANCURRY

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 chicken drumsticks/500gms chicken breast meat (remove bones & cut into chunks)
2 big potatoes (remove skin, cut into chunks & deep fry until cook)
1 big onion (cut into wedges)
1-2 red/green chili (remove seeds & cut into 6 pieces)
15 cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic (smash & remove skin)
3 leaves kaffir lime leaves
1 1/2 cups tamarind juice (3” tamarind ball in hot water/3 tbsp tamarind paste in water)
1 cup thick coconut milk/cream (use evaporated milk if none)
100gms cashew nuts/peanuts (deep fry until golden brown & keep some for garnishing)
5 tbsp oil
1-2 tbsp brown/palm sugar (Gula Melaka) to taste
Fish sauce & pepper to taste
50gms massaman curry paste (use the recipe below or just buy the Mae Pranom brand aka “lady head” brand from your nearest hypermarket)
Soy sauce

OPTIONAL:
1 round aubergine (cut into bite size)
10 leaves Thai basil/3 bay leaves
5 cili padi/red chili flakes (for spicier version)

GARNISHES:
Cilantro leaves/micro cilantro
Cashew nuts
Tomatoes

PREPARATIONS:
• Marinate your cut chicken pieces with some soy sauce and a light sprinkle of pepper for 30 minutes.
• Heat up some oil and deep fry the potatoes chunks until golden brown. Scoop and leave aside.
• Pour in the cashew nuts and deep fry until golden brown. Place on a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
• Leave about 5 tablespoons of oil and saute the smashed garlic until fragrant.
• Add in 1/4 cup of the coconut cream and cook until the oil surface.
• Add in the massaman curry paste and saute until fragrant.
• Add in the chicken pieces, chilies and onions and stir until the onions look translucent.
• Add in the tamarind juices and cook the chicken until tender.
• Add in the kaffir lime leaves, fried potatoes and balance of the coconut cream.
• When the gravy thickens to your preference, add in fish sauce, palm sugar and pepper to taste. You may add in some hot water if it is too thick due to the starch coming from the potatoes.
• Add in the cherry tomatoes and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.
• Add in the cashew nuts and stir evenly.
• Scoop up on a serving plate. Garnish with some cashew nuts, micro cilantro/cilantro leaves and tomatoes. Serve with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 5-6)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

Massaman Curry Paste Recipe: (Make about 1 cup)

5 cloves garlic (bawang putih)
3 shallots (bawang merah)
1-2 red chilies (depending on your spicy level)
1 stalk lemongrass (serai – mince finely)
1 1/2” galangal (lengkuas – thinly slice)
1 tsp grated kaffir lime skin (kulit limau purut)
1/2 tsp fennel (pokok adas)
1 tsp ground coriander (ketumbar)
1/2 tbsp ground cumin (jintan putih)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (kulit kayu manis)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (bunga cengkih)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (pelaga)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (buah pala)
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tsp toasted/raw shrimp paste (belacan)

Method: Put all in a blender and blend everything into a paste. Put in a jar and refrigerate for future usages.

 

In conjunction with the Thailand’s Songkran Festival, Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be promoting mouth watering Thai cuisine named Tantalizing Thai for the whole month of April 2012 (1-30 April 2012). The Songkran Festival 2012 would be over 3 days from Friday, 13 April 2012 to Sunday, 15 April 2012. Mahasongkran on 13 April 2012 would mark the end of the old year. Wan Nao (14 April 2012) is the day after and 15 April 2012 is Wan Thaloeng Sok, the start of the Thai’s lunar calendar aka New Year Day. The Songkran Festival is also known as the Water Festival where locals as well as tourists would splash strangers on the streets with water, all in the spirit of good fun.

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Some of the dishes in the promotion would include dishes like appetizer such as the Spicy Seafood Salad (Yum Talay/ยำทะเล/泰式海鮮沙拉). The dish would have a seafood combination of cooked prawns, mussels and squids, together with some big onions, tomatoes and spring onions, all tossed in a spicy, sweet and sour dressing. The dressing was simple as it had some chopped garlic, red chilies, green chilies, some sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Although the salad was fresh and appetizing, it lacked the authentic Thai flavors. It would be better if some mint and cilantro leaves were to be added in. Furthermore, the sugar should be replaced with palm/brown sugar for that unique sweetness. I won’t mind having some juicy scallops and fish fillet added in this dish too~ 😛

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Thailand’s Spicy Prawn Soup with Lemongrass & Lime Juice (Tom Yam Goong/ต้มยำกุ้ง/泰式酸辣鮮蝦東炎湯) would be one dish that you should not miss out in any Thai cuisine due to the unique unity of tastes from the 4S – spicy, sour, sweet and salty. If not, the dish won’t be ranked #8 in the Top 50 Most Delicious Food in CNNGO recently. With the teaming of flavors from the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, chilies, fish sauce and lime juice, it was a bowl of heavenly dish. The dish had straw mushrooms instead of the usual abalone mushrooms. The flavor was rather mild for a spicy lover like me but it would be subtle enough for general consumers. I would love to have the dish with a mild touch of nam prik pow (น้ำพริกเผา/Thai chili paste) added in plus some natural fresh taste from some cilantro and fresh tomatoes. This dish had some evaporated milk added in for that extra creaminess. The prawns used were from a harder shelled species. I still prefer mine with white shelled prawns.

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Thai style steamed fish would also be another dish not to miss out as it has all the nice flavors from the freshly used ingredients. We had the Steamed Sea Bass with Spicy Garlic & Lemon Sauce (Pla Kapong Neung Manao/ปลากะพงนึ่งมะนาว/泰式酸辣蒸石甲魚). The dish had cilantro roots flavor boosted sea bass fillet topped with a spicy, sweet and sour dressing. The dressing basically consisted of chopped garlic, red chilies, Serrano pepper fiery like local chili paddy with a mild sprinkle of sugar and lemon juice.

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Great Thai style duck dishes would be quite limited outside of Thailand but Swez Brasserie managed to come out with one flavorful duck dish such as the BBQ Roasted Duck in Red Curry (Gaeng Phed Ped Yang/แกงเผ็ดเป็ดย่าง/紅咖喱燒烤鴨). This curry had a sweet, creamy and salty taste from double coconut cream, red chili paste, sugar and fish sauce, enhanced with flavors from Thai basil, Thai apple eggplant, pineapple, cherry tomatoes and seedless grapes. This was an awesome dish as the roasted duck slices had all the flavors soaked within the meat. Although it was a nice dish to go with hot steaming rice, I found the creaminess to be a bit too thick to my personal liking. Moreover, the sweetness was not close at all to the sweetness from the usage of some natural palm sugar.

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There would always be some Thai street food served during the promotion. One such dish would be the Thai Style Fried Noodles with Prawns (Pad Thai Goong/ผัดไทยกุ้ง/泰式鮮蝦炒粿條). The noodles were Thai made flat rice noodles, soaked to soften to get the right al dente. The noodles were fried with some garlic, shallots, unsalted turnip, dried shrimps, deep fried bean curd, fish sauce, tamarind paste, some sprinkles of sugar and a squeeze of lime juice. These fried noodles would then be wrapped into a thin layer of fried egg and serve with some deep fried prawns. The noodles would be served with some coarsely crushed peanuts, chili flakes, sugar, raw spring onions and raw bean sprouts. You can adjust your level of spiciness and sweetness by adding in the chili flakes and sugar a bit at a time.

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Thai desserts are something to crave about especially when you need some sweetness to boost up your day. We had the Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Mamuang/ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง/香芒糯米粒) which had coconut milk steamed glutinous rice, served with sweet golden Thai mangoes and slightly salted coconut cream. It had some deep fried mung beans garnished for that extra crunch. The whole combination was perfect to end a meal. It would be great if the kitchen would add in some screwpines (pandan) flavored steamed glutinous rice too.

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Overall, the dishes served here were more towards the taste buds of the general consumers. Thai dishes used a lot of fresh ingredients such as fiery hot chilies and fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of its cuisine in which the kitchen did not level up to that extent. It would be good for the general consumption who could not take much spiciness but the dishes were nowhere near to the authentic flavors of the real Thai cuisine such as what I had at my favorite Annathai-Kitchen at Pulau Tikus, Penang. The good news would be that you would be served with lots of fresh seafood.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

TANTALIZING THAI PROMOTION (1-30 APRIL 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday & Sunday
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Sunday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax
Seafood Supreme Themed Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday
RM80++ (adult), RM40++ (child)
Mongolian Grill Themed Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Saturday
RM80++ (adult), RM40++ (child)

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to 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 first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

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

 

DELICIOUS THAI CUISINE & PORK PAN AT AROY CHANG MOO KATA

Posted by crizlai On September - 27 - 2011

This post practically covered the last of the five Thai restaurants within the district of Pulau Tikus, Penang – Aroy Chang Moo Kata which would serve dishes from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces in Northern Thailand. The other four would be home cooked dishes from the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat in Southern Thailand at Annathai-Kitchen, beef noodles from Sukhothai in Central Thailand at Sukhothai Beef Noodles House, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) style Thai dishes at Aroi Thai Restaurant and Wang Thai Restaurant. So, what are the dishes from this one year old Thai Restaurant that had attracted a steady flow of diners? Let’s read on below.

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It’s always nice to start a meal with some salad to boost up the appetite such as the Som Tam (ส้มตำ/Spicy Papaya Salad – RM5), which in Thai means “pounded sourness”. The usage of ingredients varies from different parts of Thailand but basically it would consist of quite similar sauces such as lime juice, bird’s eyes chili, fish sauce (nam pla) and palm sugar. The ingredients in the salad served here included shredded young papaya, tomatoes, yardlong beans, cabbages, dried shrimps and toasted peanuts. The taste was just right to my liking as it was not overly sour and pungent as served elsewhere.

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There are many variations on how you would want your fish dish to be prepared. I had Pla Phat Phet (ปลาผัดเผ็ด/Deep Fried Fish in Spicy Sauce – RM35-RM45) with deep fried sea bass in it. The flavor was rather unique as it had a strong hint of galangal in the sauce, freshly blended spices, Thai basils and some coconut milk just to make it a tad more saucy and fragrant. The sauce was great to go with rice but this dish could be a bit spicy for some. Somehow, the taste of Thai basils was not prominent in the dish as they were deep fried.

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The next dish was something that most diners would not miss out. It’s Tom Yam but the version served here had a clearer soup based and it’s called Tom Yam Nam Sai (ตมยามนามซ้าย/Clear Tom Yam with Mixed Seafood – RM15-RM25). It had prawns, fish, squids, abalone mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and spring onions all cooked in a flavorful hot pot of sweet and sour soup. It tasted almost similar to the Thai style steamed fish with sour plums but with some hints of fish sauce, tamarind juice, lime juice, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal being added in. I also noticed that they did not include the small spicy killer aka bird’s eyes chilies inside. The spiciness was not as strong as the common tom yam with red chilies oil included.

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We were also served the common household dish of Cha-Om Omellete (ขายจิ๋วจะออม /Khai Jiu Ja Awm – RM8). The feathery shoots of this the Thai’s staple food plant (also known as climbing wattle/Acacia pennata) are common used in omelettes, soups, curries or simply by stir frying in mild sauce. Only young shoots are used as the older ones can be rather fibrous, just like the bottom part of an asparagus. The shoot has a unique flavor almost like a much milder version of the stink beans (buah petai). It was just a simple dish but it fulfilled my contentment.

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The restaurant does serve some nice prawn dishes such as the Ma Kam Goong Grawp (มะขามกุ้งกรอบ/Crispy Prawns in Tamarind and Thai Basils – RM3.50 each/Min 6 pieces). Each batter coated prawn had a nice dressing of tamarind paste with a hint of plum sauce added in. The prawns were garnish with some deep fried Thai basils and onion. This is a must try dish! Awesome!

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The next dish which was the Lab Moo Sub (ลาบหมู/Spicy Minced Pork Salad – RM12) was delicious but it has a “wasabi” type of spiciness. It would be best to go with some rice or just complement it with some vegetable cuts to lessen the hotness. This dish can be prepared easily with just some water cooked minced pork, toasted glutinous rice powder, sliced kaffir lime leaves, onions, chili flakes, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and garnished with some spring onions and coriander.

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Instead of having with rice, this dish which was the Khoon Ob Woon Sen (คุณอบวุ่นเส้น/Thai Style Glass Noodles – RM15) can be eaten just by itself. In fact, this was one of my favorites. The delicious glass noodles had all the nice gravy penetrated right into each strand, making each mouthful flavorful. The dish contain a generous amount of sautéed prawns, topped on the glass noodles, which have been simmered with some stock, sweet soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro roots and garnished with some chopped cilantro. Yummilicious!

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Most people would think that Aroy Chang Moo Kata is just the name of the restaurant. Well, they were not wrong. In fact, Moo Kata (หมูกาต๊ะ/pork pan/pork skillet/meat pot – RM30 for 2-3 pax) is actually the Northern Thais’ way of having a feast with a cheaper budget. The moo kata pan would consist of two sections. One part on the dome-like structure would be used for barbequing while the circular shallow area below the dome would allow you to boil-cook some items. Some restaurants such as the BBQ Plaza at Gurney Plaza, Penang would be using gas stove but at Aroy Chang Moo Kata, they were as traditional as can be with the usage of burning charcoal. You would have 3 options of soups here, namely clear chicken stock, tom yam stock or the clear tom yam stock. With the spicy and sour dishes before this meal, we opted for the clear chicken soup. It was indeed a good choice as the soup was very flavorful. The set would come with a plate each of pork and chicken (with 3 marinates such as sesame, tom yam and black pepper), squids, fish, prawns, fish/pork balls, fish cakes, pork bacons and a basket full of vegetables, shitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and some glass noodles. Some pork fat would be given to you to oil the skillet prior to barbequing your food. This is truly a great bargain for such an amount paid.

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The restaurant has only one type of dessert, mainly the Tub Tim Krob (ทับทิมกรอบ/Jellied Water Chestnut with Jackfruit in Coconut Milk – RM2.50/bowl). Somehow, the dessert served here was not to my liking as the mock pomegranate seeds (water chestnut cubes in red colored corn starch) were flavored and colored with rose essence. The dessert lost its originality of its jackfruit flavor as the overall taste was overpowered by the taste from the rose essence. Moreover, the water chestnuts were cubed too finely, resulting in a blob of clumped starch.

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The beverages here are rather limited too. You would get canned drinks, packet tea or beers easily. The only item that was freshly brewed was the Lemongrass Tea (RM2.50). You can either have it hot or iced.

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Aroy Chang Moo Kata can be easily located right next to the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and diagonally opposite Wat Chayamangkalaram, the home of Penang’s Reclining Buddha. As this is a one way street, the best way would be through Jalan Kelawei. If you are coming from town along Jalan Burma towards Pulau Tikus, turn right into Jalan Pangkor when you see a “Y” junction just next to the Chinese Recreation Centre (CRC). Drive further on, keep left and turn left into Jalan Kelawei. Drive alaong Jalan Kelawei and keep a watch out for the fourth junction on your left. When you would see the yellow wall of the Wat Chayamangkalaram, turn left into Lorong Burma. Aray Chang Moo Kata is only 2 houses away after the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple on your left. You can find ample parking space along the road. If not, drive further up to Solok Burma on your left to find more parking spaces.

AROYCHANGMAP

Name: AROY CHANG MOO KATA
Address: 22 Lorong Burma, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 010-379 9852 (Mr. Jerry Lim)
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.431036, 100.313624

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

 

MORE DELICIOUS THAI CUISINE AT WANG THAI RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On September - 8 - 2011

Over the past few months, Pulau Tikus in Penang has become a little Thai cuisine paradise for Thai food lovers. With different style of cooking and flavors from 6 regions with 76 provinces (excluding Bangkok which is the capital city) in Thailand, Penangites now have more options to try out these restaurants. We now have some home cooked dishes from the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat in Southern Thailand at Annathai-Kitchen, beef noodles from Sukhothai in Central Thailand at Sukhothai Beef Noodles House, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) style Thai dishes at Aroi Thai Restaurant and at the newest outlet in Penang – Wang Thai Restaurant.

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It’s quite normal for diners to start off a meal with Mieng Kam (Chiang Mai Leaf-Wrapped Appetizer – RM15), an appetizer originated from the Northern provinces of Thailand. The palate of appetizer would come with wild betel leaves (daun kaduk) to wrap in some dried shrimps (hae bee/har mai), peanuts, cubed galangal, shallots, kaffir lime, chili paddy (bird’s eye chili), toasted grated coconut and topped with some sweet plus salty based sauce. Now you know why this dish is also known as “One Mouthful” as your handy work would be put right into your mouth for that flavorful chewing. One distinctive difference compared to major Thai restaurants elsewhere would be the sauce served here. Instead of the normal caramel looking sauce, which basically consisted of melted palm sugar, fish sauce and water, this version had grated coconut and chopped dried shrimps added in. It’s a superb dish to start a meal.

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Another great dish would be their Yum Pla Duk Fu (Deep Fried Catfish in Spicy & Sour Mango Salad – RM12.90). This dish had deep fried flour coated steamed catfish flakes, topped with a combination of raw mango strips, sliced onions, carrot strips, chili paddy, dressed with some sweet spicy sauce and garnished with some roasted peanuts. This is a must try dish! Just as good as the one I tried at the outskirt of Hatyai, Thailand some years back. Note: Do consume this salad fast in order to have that crispiness from the deep fried catfish.

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An alternative salad would be Yum Cha-Om Tod Krob (Crispy Cha-Om with Thai Sauce – RM12.90). This is another great dish to compliment. Cha-Om (climbing wattle/Acacia pennata) is actually the young leaves from a tropical “coconut leaves lookalike” shrub which had became a staple food in Thai cuisine. These leafy vegetables would be deep fried in batter and laced on the plate, prior to being topped with a sliced onions, carrots, spring onions, chili paddy, dressed with some sweet and sour Thai sauce and garnished with some roasted peanuts. This is a must try dish! Note: Do consume this salad fast in order to have that crispiness from the batter fried vegetables.

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If you want to try out the World’s #1 Most Delicious Food – Massaman Curry from Thailand based on the recent CNN Go results, this delicious dish is also available here. The Gaeng Massaman Gai (two drumsticks – RM12.90) actually had a bit of Indian Muslim influence as some of the ingredients used are quite similar. The gravy looked somewhat like the Nyonya Kapitan Curry without the use of kaffir lime leave and lime juice. Instead, the dish has a more Indian flavor with a distinctive flavor from some blended galangal, palm sugar, cardamom and cassia leaves (Indian bay leaves). This dish had added potatoes and roasted peanuts. Although the taste was still acceptable to many, I personally found that it had a little bitter after taste. It could be due to too high a fire when the chef sautéed the blended curry paste. Moreover, there was this rough ingredient which I had suspected to be some toasted grated coconut being added in. The preparation for this dish is somewhat different here.

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You should never go without a Thai style steamed fish whenever you visit a Thai restaurant. We had a different version called Pla Kra Pong Neung Manow (Steamed Fish in Lime & Chili Marinade – RM35 for small fish). This signature dish has concocted flavors from some lime juice, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, chili paddy, chilies and sugar. Although this dish was rather appetizing, I personally prefer the normal salty steamed ones with just sour plums, tomatoes and tofu as most of the dishes were already having too much of spiciness, sourness and sweetness. We had sea bass here.

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Another dish that was presented differently was the Hor Mok Talay (Steamed Seafood Otak-Otak – RM23.90) served in a fresh coconut. The dish was a wetter version of the Nyonya Fish Otak-otak without the usage of wild betel leaves (daun kaduk) and sliced kaffir lime leaves. I had a feeling the ingredients within the coconut were stir fried rather than steamed as mentioned earlier. It had a heavy usage of Thai basil leaves combined with blended spices, sliced cabbages, onions, fresh coconut milk, prawns, squids and fish with a touch of beaten eggs. The dish was garnished with fresh coconut flesh. Overall, the dish was still acceptable by many.

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I was surprised that they do serve Ped Sam Rod (Deep Fried Roasted Duck with Triple Sauce – RM18.90) as well, which you don’t usually get this dish from elsewhere. The duck meat was rather tender and flavorful. There were strong hints of garlic, tomatoes, chilies and plum sauce being used in the dish.

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Never leave a Thai restaurant without trying out their Tom Yam soup. What we had was the Tom Yam Ruam Mit Talay (Mixed Seafood Spicy Thai Tom Yam – RM21.90). The soup had large prawns, fish, squids, oyster mushroom, tomatoes with some chopped spring onions and coriander. Well, the soup tasted like those easily available tom yam paste with a strong sweetness and lime juice sourness. I prefer Tom Kha, a clearer soup based and not so spicy version. There was a bit of evaporated milk added in this soup for that extra creaminess.

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As for dessert, we had the Tub Tim Krob (Red Starched Water Chestnut & Jackfruit in Coconut Milk – RM4.50). I love the taste of the mildly sweetened concoction with generous amount of cubed water chestnuts and sliced jackfruit given.

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The next dessert was the Khao Neow Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice – RM9.90). The dessert came with a long roll of steamed glutinous rice, garnished with some deep fried mung beans, served with slightly salted sweetened coconut milk and mango slices. The combination was good, except that I would prefer a thicker coconut milk on my glutinous rice dessert. I had tasted a thicker coconut milk version elsewhere, which had some corn starch added in for a thicker and creamier spread.

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Overall, the food here is quite nice if you know how to have some mix and match dishes that would not be almost similar in taste. Most of the recommended signature dishes here are towards a spicy, sweet and sour taste. You should ask the person-in-charge to combine some dishes more of a salty based such as the Gai Hor Bai Toey (Pandan Chicken – RM3/pc), Kar Moo Nan Dang (Stewed Pork Trotter – RM27/RM45.90), Gai Phad Kraprow (Stir Fry Chicken with Basil Leaves – RM12.90/RM22.90) or just a simple sty fry mixed vegetables with prawns/roasted pork (Pad Phuk Ruam Mit Goong/Moo Grob – RM12.90/RM19.90).

It’s not hard to locate the restaurant as it situated along a row of shop houses at the main road of Jalan Burma in Pulau Tikus, Penang. If you are coming from town towards Pulau Tikus, watch out for Jalan Burma/Jalan Cantonment traffic lights. You can see the restaurant diagonally on your right (Pinang Medical Supplies is at the corner lot). Immediately after the traffic lights, turn right into the service road and find your parking space there. It might be a bit hard to get a parking space at certain peak hours, so another option would be go straight into Lintang Burma for more parking spaces.

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Name: WANG THAI RESTAURANT
Address: 294 Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 5168
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm (Closed Monday except on Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.432003, 100.311637

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

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DELICIOUS MEALS AT SUKHOTHAI BEEF NOODLES HOUSE

Posted by crizlai On September - 1 - 2011

Note: This eatery had moved to Gurney Paragon, Penang.

If you are observant enough, you might realize that more and more Thai restaurants have mushroomed within the district of Pulau Tikus, Penang. Hot tourist spots such as the Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple (Reclining Buddha/Sleeping Buddha) and the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, had daily attracted a steady flow of locals and tourists, who by any chance would love to have a taste of some nice Thai dishes. With Thailand having 6 regions with 76 provinces (excluding Bangkok which is the capital city), these restaurants have gone all out to serve diners with their unique specialties from their own province. Some of the notable ones include Annathai-Kitchen, Aroi Thai Restaurant, Wang Thai Restaurant and the latest being Sukhothai Beef Noodles House.

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As the name has been described quite clearly, Sukhothai Beef Noodles House specialized more towards beef noodles and other street food from the Sukhothai Province. The Sukhothai Beef Noodle (RM12.90) would come in 3 options, namely the original, glass noodles or instant noodles. We had the original which had thin Thai noodles, served with a variety of beef chunks (3 different parts of meat), beef balls, bean sprouts and garnished with lots of chopped coriander. Each bowl would come with some additional raw bean sprouts and Thai basil leaves for you to add in. The soup had the taste of some selected herbs (somewhat milder than our local Bak Kut Teh) and a mild sweetness from some rock sugar. The beef chunks were tender to my liking. I love the beef balls the most as they have the bounciness texture. There would be some chili flakes, fish sauce, sugar and Thai chili sauce to pep up the taste of the soup to your preferences but beware of the Thai chili sauce as it could be too spicy hot for many.

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Since having another version of the beef noodles with instant noodles would be a bit too common. We decided to go for the Sukhothai Beef Noodles (RM12.90) with glass noodles. Most of us felt that this version tasted better than the previous one although the soup base was the same. Somehow with the soup seeped right into the glass noodles, the whole concoction tasted better. This is a must try dish!

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There was also the Thai Fried Rice (RM12.90). The chef sure knows how to handle the heat for frying rice well. The dish was awesome with some distinctive taste of fish sauce with a mild sprinkle of sugar. Each grain of rice was well flavored with a nice aroma from the high heat cooking (wok hei). This would be a nice dish for all ages.

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I actually have a phobia for Phad Thai (RM12.90) as most of the ones I had tasted contained too much of sugar to my liking. This restaurant indeed changed my perception on this dish as it had just the right sweetness and taste which suited me well. The dish had deep fried bean curd cubes, prawns, bean sprouts, chopped chives, Chinese sausage slices and a sprinkle of some coarsely pounded roasted peanuts. What surprised me was the usage of the Chinese sausages as I have not seen anyone in town using them. Moreover, the whole presentation looked so much like our local Char Koay Teow, except that they were using the thin Thai noodles instead.

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If you think that having beef noodles or the fried stuff might be a bit too heat strong for your internal organs, do try out their Fish Maw Soup (RM19.90). This soup was starch-like, similar to the Oriental Sharksfin Soup. The outlook was more dish-like than soup-like as it would go well with rice too. The whole mini pot had a generous amount of well flavored fish maw, pork chunks, mushrooms and quail eggs, garnished with chopped coriander, filled with a punch of tasty flavors.

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Although the menu was quite limited to only 4 main dishes, the dessert section which also had limited 3 options did not let us down. The Durian Sticky Rice (RM8.90) was heaven! Instead of using solely the white glutinous rice, the restaurant also combined some black glutinous rice. It had some mildly sweetened coconut milk with almost no fiber and creamy local durian flesh. This is a must have dessert after your meal. Another option would be the Mango Sticky Rice (RM8.90). It tasted nice with ripened mango but somehow it was still incompatible to the smoothness from the former dessert. There was also the Banana Sago (RM4.90) which tasted just as great as the rest. The dish had sago in mildly sweetened coconut milk and steamed banana slices. The banana was from the dwarf Pisang Mas (Bee Chio) breed. Most of the Nyonya households would use steamed Pisang Raja instead for a more sweetened taste. As for beverage, we decided to try out their Sweet & Sour Roselle Juice (RM4.90) and Green Tea (without milk – RM3.90/with milk – RM4.90). All the drinks ordered were thick and nice.

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Overall, the food here is quite healthy as the dish did not have overused of oil and sugar as in some of the Thai restaurants scattered everywhere in town.

It’s not hard to locate the restaurant 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 next to Klinik Bala.

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Name: SUKHOTHAI BEEF NOODLES HOUSE
Address: 238, Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 9262, 016-438 7788 (Joanne Ang), 016-433 5588 (Ce Ang)
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm (Closed Wednesday)
GPS: 5.430093, 100.313247

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 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)

 

LIGHT AND ECONOMICAL MEALS AT ASIAN WHISPER’S

Posted by crizlai On April - 5 - 2011

NOTE: THIS STALL HAS CEASED ITS OPERATIONS

Nowadays, with the increased price of most raw ingredients, dining at a posh restaurant would not be the chosen choice for most families with kids. From my knowledge, more and more families are looking for places with reasonable priced servings and taste just to ease on the family’s monthly food expenses. Just as a comparison, I had a double Bratwurst Sausage served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables at a prominent mall in Penang not long ago. With all the taxes added in, it cost even more than the 5 dishes I had ordered at a stall that I had stumbled upon recently. The only difference is that this place did not have air-conditioning. Let’s look at what Asian Whisper’s located within the Delima Mas Café has to offer.

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The single Bratwurst Sausage (RM7.00 nett/set) served with a huge scoop of mashed potatoes plus delicious brown sauce was far better tasting than the one I had earlier at Straits Quay. Even with a double serving of the sausage, it would only cost me RM11.50 nett/set compared to the one I had at RM20.90 (excluding taxes), which of course came with some extra “discarded” mixed greens. The next dish was the Sausages with Onions (RM5.00 nett). The dish had 2 sliced honey chicken sausages plus one sliced chicken frankfurter sautéed with sliced onions in LP sauce and served with a huge scoop of mashed potatoes with brown sauce. This dish would be quite ideal for those light eaters.

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The next dish was even lighter – Roti Ayam (RM3.00 nett/set – a poultry version of the normally minced pork version). The taste was average, considering that the chef changed her usual preparation methods to suit the taste buds of the local people there. I found the filling to be a bit too moist and there were only some “too finely minced” chicken plus “overcooked” onions in it. This dish lacked the textures and bites. The chef should have added some chopped cabbages and carrots for that extra crunch. Moreover, the minced chicken should be cooked more coarsely rather than having a sandy and no bite like texture. A bit more of the 5-spice powder would also do more justice to the overall taste. The Cordon Bleu de Roti (RM5.00 nett) was normal. It had a piece of chicken ham and cheese clamped between two slices of white bread, dipped in beaten eggs and fried to perfection. Both of the light meals were served with LP mixed with chili sauce.

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I was curious on how the Thai Chicken Burger (RM3.50 nett) would taste like. Well, the preparation and presentation were exactly how you would get from the roadside burger stalls except that the patty was home prepared. It had some hints of turmeric powder with sliced kaffir lime leaves. It was really mild even for kids. I would have expected it to be more spice and herb enhanced but I guessed it was another local preferred taste. Moreover, the patty was a bit too thin for a prominent bite. I actually don’t mind paying a bit extra for a thicker patty but that would be over the budget of the locals here. The choice of bun was perfect. It was almost McD like with sesame seeds sprinkle above.

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You can also get Crinkle Cut Fries (RM3.00 nett) and Hot Dog (from RM2.50 nett onwards) here. What surprised me most is the stinginess of certain district locals. Prices of raw ingredients had gone up crazily and yet they still expect to get the same size of food with the same amount they paid years ago. Thus, you would still have food as all the above mentioned, priced at RM23.50 nett, much cheaper compared to just a dish at a local mall (RM24.25 nett). So, as a household head, would you go for mediocre food that would feed more mouths in your family or one that would feed only yours?

Please take note that this is the place ONLY for early dinner. The shop will close slightly before 10.00pm. Other than this stall, there is a bakery there for fresh buns and cakes. (The mini chicken pie is not bad at RM1.20 each but only on weekends), economy rice, nasi Melayu, nasi kandar, roti jala, char hor fun, bak kut teh, sweet & sour pork rice and chicken rice/hor fun (not bad… all boneless chicken given).

If you know how to get to Genting Café where the famous peanut butter based chee cheong fun is, you would surely know how to get to this café as it’s situated right at the other end of the shop houses. Drive all the way up Jalan Mesjid Negeri towards Penang Bridge. Immediately after Lam Wah Ee Hospital, keep to your right and watch out for the last traffic lights before the underground tunnel to Penang Bridge. At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Delima. Keep to you left and turn left into the first junction (Lorong Delima 6). As this is a one way street, you have to make a left turn into Lorong Delima 3 then right turn into Lorong Delima 5 and another right turn into Lorong Delima 7. Delima Mas Café is just at the corner of Lorong Delima 7 and Lorong Delima 6. You can find some parking spaces along Lorong Delima 6.

ASIANWHISPERSMAP

Name: ASIAN WHISPER’S @ DELIMA MAS CAFE
Address: 2 Lorong Delima 6, 11700 Penang, Malaysia
Contact: 016-443 3304 (Ms. Michelle Tan)
Business Hours: 6.00am-10.00pm (Closed Thursday)
GPS: 5.382081, 100.304172

RATING:
Ambience: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 5/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6.5/10 (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)

 

TAJAI THAI FOOD AT SUNGAI DUA

Posted by crizlai On March - 25 - 2011

With a never ending appetite for Thai cuisine, I have constantly been exploring all those secluded areas in search of delicious spreads. There’s this little Thai food stall, located within the premises of a corner coffee shop, nearby Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Sungai Dua area. This stall has been pepping up nice stir fry (choo char) Thai dishes for many years, mainly to cater to those frequent university students as well as workers around that vicinity. That stall which has been known for its cheap and good (C&G) Thai food, is manned by a few local Thais and goes by the name of Tajai Thai Food.

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I have not been visiting this place for quite some time now and decided to pay them a visit recently. Cheap? I won’t say that, unless you order fried rice/noodles with a sunny side-up, as what those students would do. Good? This is again a topic for debate. Unless you are an expert in combining your Thai dishes, the dishes might not turn out to be how you would want them to be. Your combination might end up to be a bunch of sweet and spicy dishes as the Thais are believed to have sweeter taste buds.

Let’s just have a look at some of dishes I had tried through a few visits. First there was the Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts (Kai Pad Met-Mamuang – RM9.00). Instead of being presented in gravy form, this dish has batter coated chicken fillets with some sliced Kaffir lime leaves, stir fried in some sweet sauce with a light hint of fish sauce. These came with some fried cashew nuts. This dish was not bad, except that it could be quite dry without any gravy. The next dish was the Stir Fried Chicken with Basil Leaves (Kai Pad Krak Praw – RM8.00). This chicken dish has the right combination of Thai basil leaves, shallots, garlic, red chilies, fish sauce, dark soy sauce and many more ingredients. The only difference compared to the others was the usage of chilies. It did not have the spiciness from some smashed bird eye chilies, which made this dish quite ideal for all age groups. You would be surprised that their Thai Onion Omelette (Khai Cheow Homyai – RM3.50) was so simple and yet so appetizing. With high heat and lots of oil, you would get a crispy omelette. The only setback was the excessive oil remains at the base. They should have drained it well. Their Sambal Asparagus (Pad Phak Naw Mai Farang – RM8.00) was a new experience. Instead of using stalks of asparagus, the vegetables were sliced thinly (just like French beans) and stir fried with lots of prawns in a more diluted version of Thai sambal. The dish has more hints of oyster and fish sauces.

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There are all together about 100 types of dishes to choose from the menu. Another of the common ones would be the Special Thai Omelette (Khai Yad Sai – RM7.00), a wrapped omelette with meat and vegetables. I somehow detested the usage of frozen mixed vegetables in dishes. This is the most disappointed dish I had there as it was just some mixed vegetables stir fried with minced pork with a touch of chili sauce and wrapped in a tasteless omelette. I won’t recommend this dish as it did not have any distinctive flavors. Fortunately, the Green Curry Chicken (Gaeng Kheow Wan Gai – RM8.00) was reasonably good. The dish was not as spicy as expected without the usage of bird eye chilies. Instead of the mini Thai eggplants being use here, it has a bigger version and all sliced up. There were some cut long beans being added in too. The Bangkok Pandan Chicken (Kai Bai Toey – RM6.00 for 5 pieces) was another disaster. They were practically swimming in oil. If not with the help of some tissues, I would have put them aside. There were neither traces of any spices nor sliced lemon grass being used here. Each pandan (screwpine leaves) wrapped chicken just tasted sweet with a hint of soy sauce. Banned! Their Fried Prawn Cake (Tod Mun Koong – RM3/pc) was not up to my expectation too. I just do not know how such a simple dish could have that somewhat almost fermented seafood flavor in it. It could be due to the not properly stored lard being used in it too.

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Now I know why most of the students would go for their fried rice or noodles as it could be safer for their digestive systems. I did try out one of their noodles to test on the flavor. Their Seafood Tomyam Glass Noodles (Tomyam Woon Sen – RM5.50) sure had lots of squids in it but it was not my plate of noodles. Somehow the noodles tasted real sweet with the usage of some Thai chili sauce with a dash of fish sauce.

Overall, this stall serves average Thai dishes which would suit common people. If you would like to have a more authentic Thai cuisine, it would be better to go for Annathai-Kitchen or Aroi Thai Restaurant, both shops located in Pulau Tikus, Penang. In fact, Lang Sae Lee Thai Food down at Tan Jetty, Weld Quay, Penang, also serves an above average Thai cuisine but the prices had soared sky high recently and most average income people are avoiding them.

If you are driving up from Gelugor area, drive all the way up Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah towards Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). When you see USM on your right, keep to your right until you reach the traffic lights (Sunny Point Complex on your left). Turn right into Jalan Sungai Dua. Drive on until the third traffic lights (Tesco Extra on your right) and turn left into Lintang Merak. Immediately after the first junction (Jalan Merak), slow down and watch out for a service road on your left. Turn left into the road and you would see the Thai food stall at the far end of the row of shop houses within the premises of Kedai Kopi Paimay. There will be ample parking space there. Do take note that you may encounter parking problem on Saturday as there will be a night market (pasar malam) on that day.

TAJAIMAP

Name: TAJAI THAI FOOD
Address: 23 Lintang Merak, Sungai Dua, 11700 Penang, Malaysia
Contact: 016-469 0305
Business Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm (Closed Last Sunday of the Month)
GPS: 5.349925, 100.298597

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

THE BEST OF THAI DISHES AT ANNATHAI-KITCHEN

Posted by crizlai On December - 14 - 2010

NOTE: The economy rice concept has ceased operation. Currently, they are serving ala carte dishes plus some set meals for LUNCH as well as DINNER.

If you are a Thai food lover but always find that it’s quite a hassle to order many dishes with only two persons or so, you should then check out the Annathai-Kitchen located within the Pulau Tikus district of Penang. You would find that there would be a wide spread of delicious Thai dishes on display daily for lunch (except on Monday) to choose from. In fact, the restaurant is the only Thai restaurant I have known in Penang to serve dishes in “economy rice” style. With the family members originated from Nakhon Si Thammarat in Southern Thailand, you can be assured that the dishes would be rich in usage of spices, fish sauce, palm sugar and thick coconut milk. On top of that, there’s also the little influence from the Teochew community there, thus making the dishes served here having some similarity with our local Chinese cuisine.

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To have a clearer picture of what they have in their daily spread, let me share with you what I have tasted through my few visits there. Firstly, there was the Thai favorite of Chicken with Bamboo Shoot Curry (Kang Nor-Mai Gai/แกงหน่อไม้ไก่). The rich usage of Thai basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce (nam pla) with a hint of palm sugar plus the slight crisp from the sliced bamboo shoot made this dish very appetizing. There was also the Yellow Curry Chicken (Gaeng Ka-Ri/แกงกระหรี่ไก่). This dish was my all time favorite as I love the thick kaffir leaves flavored gravy combined with potatoes to go with my rice. There was also the Spicy Stir Fry Pork (Phat Phet Moo/ผัดเผ็ดหมู). How I wished pork belly meat slices were used instead for a more tender bite in that delicious red curry dish. 😛 The Prawn with Radish Curry (Gaeng Separut Koong/ แกงเขียวหวามนไก่) was perfect. I simply love the usage of kaffir lime leaves to pep up the taste of the curry. The Stir Fry Potatoes with Pork (Phat Mum Farang/ผัดมันฝรั่ง) was somewhat like our home cooked dish but minced meat was used instead of the normal pork slices. I love the usage of some tomato slices and spring onions that gave the dish the extra flavors. The Stir Fry Glass Noodles (Phat Wun Sen/ผัดมันฝรั่ง) was another simple dish. This dish had sliced cabbages, carrots, small shrimps on top of the al dente glass noodles. At least this dish was mild enough for everyone compared to the Spicy Glass Noodles Salad (Yum Wun Sen/ยำวุ้นเส้น) with lots of bird’s eye chilies (chili paddy/cili padi/พริกขี้หนู).

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Another non-spicy vegetable dish that was available was the Stir Fry Celery with Pork (Phat Ton Kin Chai/ผัดตนกินจ่าย), which would be great for those who like crunchy vegetables. Another favorite dish would be the Deep Fried Pork Chop (Moo Thord Ka-Tiam/หมูทอดขาเทียม). Although well marinated and tasty, I found this dish a bit too tough and dry for my liking. The Green Curry Chicken (Gaeng Kaew Wan Gai/ แกงเขียวหวานไก่) was another of my favorite dish. I simply love the taste of fresh ingredients being used here with a mild taste of Thai basil leaves and a touch of kaffir lime leaves. This was another remarkably tasty dish for me, considering that they did not use those pre-packed ingredients with green coloring such as the one I had during a Thai food promotion some time back in September 2010. The next dish was one of the more famous dishes from South Thailand namely the Fish in Sour Curry (Gaeng Som Pla/ แกงส้มปลา). They were using barramundi (siakap/石甲魚) fillet that day and it was indeed fresh to my liking. The sourness of the dish with a touch of lemongrass was lovely. The next dish was the Pork Spareribs Curry (Phat Phet Kra-Duk Moo/ผัดเผ็ดกระดุกหมู). The thick gravy dish had the strong flavor from the kaffir lime leaves, almost similar to the taste of the Nyonya Chicken Curry Kapitan, but minus the strong hint of some kaffir lime juice. If you love catfish, you should not miss out the Spicy Catfish Curry (Phat Phet Pla Duk/ ผัดเผ็ดปลาดุก). Wow! The flesh of the fish was so fine and combined with the spices used, it was perfect. But beware of those hidden “bombs” aka bird’s eye chilies within as they could be real fiery. I saw many people made takeaways with the next dish which was the Pork Leg in Black Vinegar (Kha Moo Phraew Wan/ขาหมูเปรี้ยวหวาน). The dish was indeed delicious with the extra flavor coming from some old ginger slices. Before I could have another helping, the meaty parts were all gone. If you love this hot selling item, I would advise you to patronize the restaurant the first few hours of their operation time.

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Do look out for their Steamed Curry Fish Custard (Hor Mok Pla/ห่อหมกปลา), locally known as “Otak-Otak”. Instead of individually packed in banana leaves like the Nyonya style, these came in small metal cups, laced with wild betel nut leaves (daun kaduk) and topped with some coconut cream. They were delicious. Another common dish you could get here would be the Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Pork (Phat Park Ruam Mit/ผัดผักรวมมิตร). The Spicy Stir Fry Eggplant (Phat Mak Kaer Yao/ ผัดมะเขือยาว) was another dish that I love. Somehow, the textures of the eggplants were just right and not overcooked. The chef, Mdm. Anna, who’s the mother of the proprietor, Mr. Jacky Choong, sure knows how to handle the chili combinations well. The dish came with some medium sized prawns. The Spicy Minced Pork Salad (Lab Moo Sub/ลาบหมู) was indeed appetizing and addictive. The boiled and broken up minced meat clumps were spiked with some lime juice, grounded chilies, fish sauce, salt and sugar before being tossed with some chopped mint leaves, cilantro stalks, shallots and many more. Can I request for some lettuces for wrapping this delicious salad now? 😛

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From time to time, the kitchen would also come up with whole fish dish such as the Thai Fried Fish in Fermented Bean Sauce (Pla Tao Jaew/ปลาเต้าเจี้ยว). There may also be halved fish being served at times. Small barramundi (siakap/石甲魚) was used for this dish. The differences between the Thai and the Chinese style would be that the former uses some tomato slices and more chilies in the cooking. If you have been constantly taking sweet food, then the next dish which was the Stir Fry Bitter Gourd (Phat Park Ma Ra/ผัดปาร์กมะระ) would be great for controlling the blood sugar level. The melon slices maintained their crunch while the adding in of pork slices and squids gave the dish the extra flavors. There was also the Stir Fry Spicy Winged Beans with Prawns (Phat Tua Phoo/ผัดถ้วพู). The Winged Beans are also known locally as Kacang Botol or Goa Beans and are rich in vitamins and minerals. I’m very fond of the Thai Fish Cake (Tod Man Pla/ทอดมันปลา) but the next dish got me asking for more. They were the Thai Prawn Cake (Tod Man Koong/ทอดมันกุ้ง). Each piece was richly filled with well marinated minced prawns and meat prior to being coated with special breadcrumbs and deep fried. Simply delicious! Of course during all dining spreads, there would be the Raw Vegetables served with Pounded Chilies in Thai Fermented Shrimp Paste (Nam Prik Kapi/น้ำพริกกะปิ). Three types of raw vegetables were served, namely cucumber, long beans and stinky beans (buah petai).

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Some people might think that Thai food would only be suitable for those with strong stomachs to withstand spiciness and sourness. Well, not all Thai dishes are fiery hot. The restaurant would also prepare some nice set meals daily that would even suit the taste buds of children, nevertheless adults. I for one loved their Thai Chicken Rice (Khao Mun Gai/ข้าวมันไก่ – RM5). The meat was so tender and flavorful. The specially prepared condiment was so tasty that I did ask for more on top of ordering another bowl of rice. 😛 Another of their most sought after set meals would be the Braised Pork Leg with Rice (Khao Kha Moo/ข้าวขาหมู – RM5). The one served here was indeed much tastier and meatier than the one I had at Genting Café. Moreover, the price here was also reasonable for that many dishes served. While you are there, don’t miss out their Thai Rice Noodles with Fish Curry Paste aka Laksa (Kha Nom Chin/ขนมจีันน้ำยา – RM3). This dish would be served with sliced raw cucumber and long beans. The noodles were of a thinner version and less al dente than those as in the Penang Nyonya Laksa but the taste was great. Another set meal that has raw vegetables added in would be the Southern Thai Style Rice Salad (Khao Yam/ข้าวยำ – RM5). The ingredients included steamed rice, toasted grated coconut, pomelo, sliced kaffir lime leaves, bean sprouts, winged beans, wild betel nut leaves, long beans, lemongrass stalk and bird’s eye chilies. Just mix everything up and apply some of the provided sauce before consuming. Taste wise, I’m not too fond of this dish as there were just too much raw vegetables in it to flow smoothly though my mouth. I still prefer my Nyonya Nasi Ulam recipe. 😛

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Desserts are something that would be very common in Thailand and most of the time they would be rather colorful. A large number of these desserts would be sweet and rich in the usage of coconut cream and glutinous rice. Some of the desserts you can get here would be the Jackfruit with Glutinous Rice (Khao Niao Kha Noon/ข้าวเหนียวขนุน) and Mango with Glutinous Rice (Khao Niao Ma Muang/ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง). Both would be topped with sweetened coconut cream and sprinkled with some toasted sesame seeds. Another one would be the Glutinous Rice with Steamed Custard (Khao Niao Sang Kaya/ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา). The one I loved most was the Mixed Sweetmeat in Coconut Milk (Gaeng Buat Ruam Mit/แกงบวดรวมมิตร), somewhat like our local Bubur Cha Cha. The taste of the added corn kernel had absorbed into the coconut milk thoroughly, thus giving the dessert a sweet corn after taste. A few varieties of steamed sweet potatoes and yam were added in together with some sago and jellied corn starch. You must have this served hot. The Water Chestnut & Jackfruit in Coconut Milk (Tub Thim Krob/ รวมมิตรทับทิมกรอบ) served here had some extra screw pine flavored rice flour jellies (pandan cendol) compared to those I have tried elsewhere. If you are lucky, you might get to try out their Steamed Pumpkin Custard (Sang Kaya Fak Thong/สังขยาฝักทอง) and Steamed Banana in Glutinous Rice (Khao Tom Mat/ข้าวต้มมัด), which would only be prepared on certain days throughout the week. As for the beverage that would cool down the burning sensation in your mouth, do try out their Nam Daeng (red – sala flavored syrup) and Nam Kaew (green – cream soda flavored syrup). Both will be served with tadpole eggs. Huh? You must be joking right? Haha! Those would actually be soaked sweet basil seeds. 😛

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Overall, most of the dishes served here are delicious and reasonable based on market rates. In fact, the ingredients used were of high standards. Even the chicken cuts used consisted of drumsticks and thighs. The only complaints I heard so far were the excessive usage of coconut milk in their dishes and their desserts could be a bit too sweet for many, especially for those who are concerned about their health. Well, there’s always a price to pay for rich food consumption. It’s either you take it or leave it. Anyhow, anything too much would not be good for your body… even healthy diets! 😛 Other than that, there was the “great food ran out too fast” issue, which of course was not an issue if you patronize the place not too near to their closing time. LOL! Anyway, their ala carte dishes during dinner time were superb, especially their freshly cooked Prawn Tom Yam Soup (Tom Yam Koong), Chicken in Turmeric Soup (Gai Tom Ka Min), Spicy Bitter Gourd with Prawns (Phat Ma Ra Koong) and the specialty of the day – Crispy Fried Chicken (Gai Tod).

The restaurant is just located nearby the Pulau Tikus market. To avoid the market traffic in the morning, I’ll direct you through an easier route. If you are coming from town (ex Jalan Perak) along Jalan Burma towards Pulau Tikus district, keep a look out for a Shell Petrol Kiosk on your left. Drive further up and you’ll see the PERKESO (SOCSO) on your left. Immediately after the building, turn left into Lebuhraya Codrington. Drive on until you see the second junction on your right (Jalan Yeoh Guan Seok). Turn right into the road and again right into Jalan Moulmein. There’s a big car park on your right. Park your car there. The restaurant is just opposite the car park.

ANNATHAIMAP

Name: ANNATHAI-KITCHEN
Address: 26 Jalan Moulmein, Pulau Tikus, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-2277 599
Opening Hours: 10.30am-2.30pm (economy rice), 5.30pm-9.30pm (ala carte) (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.429693, 100.312099

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

 

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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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