CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for the ‘restaurant’ Category

THE CHEAPEST DIM SUM IN PENANG?

Posted by crizlai On April - 13 - 2009

After patronizing more than 14 dim sum restaurants within the Georgetown vicinity, I had found one that suited my taste best. Surprisingly, this barely a year old restaurant is the sister company of the famed Restoran Zim Sum along Jalan Anson and they do share the same premise with another sister company named The Steamboat Restaurant along Jalan Macalister, Penang. The name of this restaurant is Dim Sum Food Restaurant.

DSFOODRESTAURANT01

When I mention about being the cheapest, do not have the wrong perception as in monetary terms or on the restaurant serving extremely cheap food. I had based my judgment on the quality, freshness and amount of ingredients used in each of the dishes. Moreover, the food here did fill the two of us here until the beam. Let me share with you my experiences of dining in this restaurant.

Not many restaurants in town would provide quality and delicious dim sum from Shanghai or Hong Kong and at the same time at an affordable price but this restaurant proved me wrong. The have Gyoza (Jiaozi – 餃子) , Egg Dumpling (蛋餃), Shanghai Sheng Jian Mantou (生煎饅頭) and many more at less than RM3 for a plate of threes. Just to try them out without overeating, I just ordered one of each at RM1 per piece. That’s cheap in my context as I had paid RM8+ before just to savor 5 pieces of smaller sized Gyoza in other restaurants.

DSFOODRESTAURANT02

The Gyoza was great and had the mild crisp still on the skin and the filling was well stuffed wile maintaining its juiciness. It went well with lots of young ginger strip soaked in black vinegar. The Egg Dumpling tasted great as well although it looked just like an egg coated dumpling. What impressed me more was the Sheng Jian Mantou (Pan Fried Steamed Bun), a common street food in Shanghai. The filling within was so compact and it has lots of ingredients such as minced pork, chopped shrimps, jicama and mushroom seasoned with a mild fragrant taste from some dashes of sesame oil. This is a must try.

DSFOODRESTAURANT03

Just for information purposes, you might want to know how to differentiate the many versions of the Chinese dumpling, Jiaozi (餃子). Depending on the way these dumplings are cooked, boiled ones are called Shuijiao (水餃), shallow pan fried ones are called Guotie (鍋貼) and steamed ones are called Zhengjiao (蒸餃). Some people may use egg as the wrapper or coat the Jiaozi with beaten eggs prior to frying. These would be called Danjiao (蛋餃/蛋餃子).

Next was the Har Gao (Shrimp Bonnet due to its pleated shape). The skin was so thin that the basket of three looked so translucent. With the freshness of the mildly seasoned prawns, the whole dumpling just melted smoothly inside my mouth.

DSFOODRESTAURANT04

In most of the dim sum restaurants locally as well as those from Taiping, Perak, you would get Siu Mai (Pork Dumpling) as a common item. This restaurant had put in the extra effort to have some prawns in the dumpling, thus making them into Har Mai (Prawns and Pork Dumpling). The best part was that they have four in the basket compared to the normal three I get elsewhere. With the fresh juicy prawn dumpling served steaming hot on my table, they were one of the best around.

DSFOODRESTAURANT05

I also realized something unique in this restaurant. They do not use Kani Kama, artificial crab sticks which have no crab meat in it but processed to resemble snow crab legs with surimi (grounded) white fish meat (pollock or hake). Most dim sum restaurants would use Kani Kama to dress each dumping differently but with the same type of filling just to impress on the look. I guessed this restaurant believed in freshness of each dim sum they serve. I had chunks of fresh crab meat garnished on my richly prawn filled dumpling. Moreover, it’s really cheap at RM4 for a basket of threes.

DSFOODRESTAURANT06

The next order was something that I have not had in ages. It’s Steamed Prawns on Pan Fried Tofu and served with egg white gravy. The minced prawns were mildly flavored and the fried tofu was silky smooth.

DSFOODRESTAURANT07

A visit to any dim sum restaurants would not be complete if you did not try out the Hong Kong Style Prawn/Char Siu Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Roll with Prawns/Honey BBQ Pork). Although the rolls were not as soft and as translucent as they should be, the tasty special soy sauce, fried onions and blended dried shrimp chili paste complimented each other well.

DSFOODRESTAURANT08

The waitress also recommended their hot selling Nam Yu Bao (Red Fermented Bean Curd Roasted Pork Steam Bun). It was superb! Choice pieces of roasted pork belly meat were marinated with red fermented bean curd, sugar, salt and some sauces and steamed until tender prior to rolling them into the steamed bun dough. These would then be steamed until the dough rose up beautifully. This is another must try in this restaurant if you love fatty meat items.

DSFOODRESTAURANT09

The last order which was supposed to be our first order came last. It was a mistake order, not as in quality but in quantity. We did not expect our small order to end up so big. The Fried Grouper Fillet Hor Fun was enough to feed three persons and it was priced at only RM8. The dish had lots of snow peas, carrot slices, cabbages, onions, roasted pork slices on top of the generously garnished fried grouper fillets. The first taste of the gravy was beautiful but we ended up felling disgusted due to the oversized portion of the hor fun (broad rice noodles). The chef should have fried the noodles dry instead of serving them plain. That would have cut down on the soggy feeling.

DSFOODRESTAURANT10

With our tummies being over expanded, we did not manage to try out the remaining fried items out of their over 80 types of dim sum served there. I was also being informed by the chef that they would still be coming out with new items by the end of the week. Although I did have some takeaway, it would unfair to judge them when the food had cooled down but I can assure you that the taste of the brought back items were rich in flavors. Some of the items which I could not manage to capture on shots included the Fish Bladder Prawn Dumpling and Shark’s Fin Prawn Dumpling. Gosh! Those eaters sure know how to grab good food fast. Anyway, I would just share what I had photographed below.

DSFOODRESTAURANT11

Overall, the whole dim sum breakfast meal came up to RM30 nett inclusive of a pot of chrysanthemum tea for two. Do you think the food here is expensive then?

Dim Sum Food Restaurant is just located along Jalan Macalister between Jalan Kek Chuan and Lorong Susu. The most prominent landmark would be Menara UMNO which is directly opposite the restaurant. In case you might miss the restaurant, just look out for The Steamboat Restaurant sign as both share the same premises.

DSFOODRESTAURANT12

DSFOODRESTAURANTMAP

Name: DIM SUM FOOD RESTAURANT
Address: 63, Lorong Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 7273
Business Hours:
9.00am-3.00pm (Monday-Friday)
8.00am-3.00pm (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.415606, 100.324736

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

LOCAL DELICACIES VERSUS FRANCHISED FOOD

Posted by crizlai On April - 7 - 2009

If you were in Penang, where would you dine? Would you go sweating under the humid weather and hunt for yummy street food or just visit any of those air-conditioned franchise fast food outlets for your meal? Again, it will also depend whether you are a local or a tourist but the end results would still be the preferences of individuals. With the current unpredictable weather from skin scorching weather to wet and chilly nights, I had decided to opt for the later by visiting the latest fast food outlet – Marrybrown within the premise of the upcoming Penang Times Square.

MARRYBROWN01

What did I have then? It’s definitely not any of the burgers and fried chickens but a bowl of Chicken Curry Noodles with a medium sized 7-Up set at RM8.50nett. Surprised? Yes, they do serve local hawker food in the 28 years of establishment Malaysian franchise restaurant. I order this dish just to compare how great it would be at that pricing compared to the local street food. Unfortunately, the results had my pocket burning with the size of the bowl of noodles and ingredients within. There were only 4 mouthful of noodles, some not fully cooked long beans, half an egg, 3 thinly sliced fish cake and 4 miserably soggy chicken pieces in the bowl. The soup tasted like curry powder with some coconut milk with not even a single hint of lemon grass or ginger flower. To my taste bud, it’s truly flat and the amount of oil floating would be quite bad for anyone’s health. Although the restaurant has been serving halal (non-pork) dishes ever since its opening, I still prefer to get my Chulia Street Curry Mee with cuttlefish slices, cockles, tofu puff, fish balls with the onion enhanced flavor of the chili paste and a glass of herbal tea at barely RM3.50.

MARRYBROWN04

I also did try out the Spicy Chicken Rice with a topped up 7-Up (additional 90sen for top up) at RM8.90nett. It came as a multi-racial combination in which consist of Malay style rice, salad and soup, Chinese style sweet and sour sauce garnished on sliced Marrybrown crispy chicken piece and Indian papadam. The amount of rice was small and there were nothing really special in the taste except that the chicken slices were quite crispy. The soup was just average too. If only they can provide this dish as the one from Rosli Nasi Ayam at Lorong Kulit. At least this simple type of serving tasted better and priced only at RM3.50 minus a drink.

MARRYBROWN02

Even the soup there tasted richer than this one I had from Marrybrown. The restaurant should really improve on their mildly flavored chicken soup.

MARRYBROWN03

Buck up Marrybrown! It does not mean that you are originated from Malaysia with outlets in Indonesia, China, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Iran and yet we are not getting the best food quality from you.

MARRYBROWN05

The best way to reach the shop would be by using Jalan Magazine (Traders Hotel). Drive into Jalan Dato Kramat (2nd junction at the right of Gama Supermarket) until you have reached Penang Times Square on your left. Find a parking space along the road or within the allocated parking bay. Just walk into the mall and go to the open space area with all the fountains. The restaurant is located a few shop away from Tsuruya Sushi Bar.

MARRYBROWNMAP

Name: Marrybrown Restaurant
Address: 77-G-12, Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 6000
Opening Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.413067, 100.325767

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

A HILLY ADVENTURE TRIP TO BUKIT GENTING

Posted by crizlai On March - 30 - 2009

BKTGENTING01

Ever since my crazy adventurous island trip to Pulau Aman just to try out the famous Mee Udang (prawn noodles), who would have expected that I would go for another two food hunting trips along the river of Sungai Juru on the Penang Mainland district of Juru, i.e. Restoran Kampung Nelayan Kuala Juru and Warung Pak Su. From the island hopping adventure (Pulau Pinang aka Penang to Pulau Aman) and the panoramic river dining, this time I had driven up a hill by the name of Bukit Genting (Genting Hill) on Penang island itself for some dining experience.

Well, I almost did not make it for I was spooked on the way up the sloppy hill. Although it was just 10.30am, I felt a presence watching over my movements. Sure enough there was a moving shadow in sight amongst the trees and it made my hair stood up in fright. Can you guess what made that shadows? It was this playful villain!!

PEACOCK01

I would not have expected such a handsome peacock roaming so freely amongst the area but that was not the only reason I almost did not make it to the top. Well, I almost rammed into another one in the middle of the sloppy track and it almost killed my constantly braked stationed car with overheated engine.

PEACOCK02

Guys! Since when will they stop wooing a lady? LOL! Anyway, the peahen was a beauty too. I saw a few scammed for hiding as my car passed by. In fact, I saw around 8 peacocks and peahens roaming freely as if someone have been breeding them there.

PEACOCK03

Before I knew it, I saw some smokes emitted at the front portion of my car and had to rush all the way up without making any more stops on the tracks. Luckily, the destination was not that far away and the wound was not that serious. My advice, it’s better to get a 4-wheel drive up there. The view there was great. I could see the township of Teluk Kumbar on one side of the hill. It was a surprise how much the place had developed now with sight of some beautiful buildings by the beach front.

BKTGENTING02

On the other side of the hill where the restaurant was situated had another great view. It was the township of Balik Pulau, a haven for durian lovers. You could even see clearly Pulau Betong, the turtle shaped island on the southern west part of Penang.

BKTGENTING03

I had inspected every loops and corners of the leisure park and found them to be real cool during the day. I could not imagine how beautiful it’s going to be when all the lights were switched on during the late evening.

BKTGENTINGVIEW01

You can also have the option to dine in some of the chalet like dining areas by reservation or during bad weather. I guessed there might be a small price to pay for some privacy.

BKTGENTINGVIEW02

Now, let’s look at what the place has to offer for their Thai cuisine. There were just the three of us (myself, a guy and a gal friend who happened to share the same birth date. :P) and ordering a few dishes was not that difficult.

The first order had already given me doubt on the quality of the food we will be getting next. The Luo Han Guo (Siraitia grosvenorii – RM1.20) and Iced Chinese Tea (RM0.70) were so diluted as in taste and color that they were like drinking flavored water. I regretted not ordering canned drinks at RM2.20 per can.

BKTGENTING04

We started the meal with EVERYTHING arriving at the same time. 8 dishes at one go? That was such an express service and I guessed I knew the reason later on. The Pandan Chicken (spiced chicken meat wrapped in screwpine leaves – RM1.30 each) looked impressive but the filling was dry. It tasted just like those frozen ones.

BKTGENTING05

The Spring Rolls (RM1.60 each) tasted normal with not much of filling. Another pre-packed frozen product? It obviously was as there would always be that defrosted dryness especially on certain types of vegetables no matter how well a restaurant would freeze them.

BKTGENTING11

The Pucha (Stuffed Crab Shell – RM3.50 each) somehow had the crab meat lost somewhere. I wondered if it had gone into another dish. The minced chicken meat plus a few chopped vegetables was still fine except that they were over fried as well. I has suspected that the above 3 items were all fried in the same wok, thus the lost of juices in the food.

BKTGENTING10

The next dish which was Fried Kailan with Salted Fish in Oyster Sauce (Chinese Broccoli – RM8) was the worst dish I had ordered. The greenery and crunchiness of the vegetable was gone. It was as though the chef broiled the vegetables for hours in bland tasting oyster sauce gravy. Moreover, the Kailan was old and there wasn’t much presence of any salted fish. They should have used baby kalian instead.

BKTGENTING07

It’s a blessing that the Pineapple Fried Rice (RM6) was still acceptable. At least the pineapple cubes were fresh and the taste was right to our taste buds.

BKTGENTING06

The Gai Pud Pet (Red Curry Chicken – RM12) was the best amongst our orders. The meat was tender and at least the gravy has the taste of a true Thai cuisine but it was rather pricey for just a small quantity of sliced chicken meat curry.

BKTGENTING09

Next was the Yam Woon Sen (spicy glass noodles salad/kerabu – RM8). This dish was filled with the spiciness from all the red and green chilles. It was rather spicy hot of some of us. Moreover, the dish had too much of lime juice in it. At least, this dish was edible compared to the “swollen” ones I had at Yellow Light Restaurant in Georgetown, Penang.

BKTGENTING08

We had also tried out the White Tom Yam Seafood (RM16). The soup had some squids, prawns and perch fillet. The taste was normal. Somehow I felt that the chef has too much of a light touch in throwing in more herbs and spices. If not, this soup would be quite good.

BKTGENTING12

The lunch ended up with some desserts and the list was very limited. We had only 3 options and of course we tried out everything. Tang Yuan in Ginger Soup (RM4) was the most expensive item on the menu. I had two colors (yellow and white) of black sesame filled tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) with some ginkgo nuts served in ginger soup. The ginger soup had the overpowering taste of old ginger and it was not well sweetened at all. In fact, it was bitter. The normal tasting tang yuan was of course frozen ones and the soup broth was misty. I would have thought that the chef would have known that tang yuan should be cooked separately and later added on to the soup base to preserve the clarity of the soup.

BKTGENTING15

Tub Tim Krob (jellied waterchestnuts with jackfruit and coconut milk – RM2.50) was not as creamy and sweet as it should be. There was too much of shaved ice in the dessert that resulted in further dilution in taste. The jackfruit should also be cubed to have a smoother mouthful. This was served in a styrofoam bowl which eventually got my shirt dirtied due to the windy atmosphere. I wonder why they did not use a normal bowl as the rest of the dishes.

BKTGENTING14

At least the Mixed Ice Cream (RM1.50) has the normal standard. There were a scoop each of chocolate and vanilla flavored ice cream, topped with some raspberry syrup and two halved cashew nuts.

BKTGENTING13

Overall, the place would be suitable for those who enjoy the beauty of nature as well as to stay away from the hustle and bustle of city lives. This is a great place for testing out your photography skill.

BKTGENTINGFIONA

For entertainment wise, it’s dead quiet except for the frequent crowd there towards the late evening to watch the panoramic view of the sunset at Pulau Betong. The surrounding small gardens would be quite boring after a short visit as it did not have playgrounds for families with children. I won’t blame them too as it would be quite risky to leave children unattended with cliffs on both sides.

As for the food (as in Thai food), it was just edible. There’s nothing to brag about. Now that made me wonder why this place did not get much publicity and tourism support although it has been in existence for more than 5 years.

There are actually two ways you can use in order to start your journey to Bukit Genting. One way would be using the Jelutong Expressway and drive straight up towards Batu Maung traffic lights and move straight on using Jalan Permatang Damar Laut to reach Jalan Bayan Lepas and turn left towards Teluk Kumbar/Balik Pulau. Another way would be using the old road (Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah/Jalan Bayan Lepas) until you reach the Penang International Airport. Use the flyover (instead of the left road leading to the airport) towards Teluk Kumbar/Balik Pulau.

BKTGENTINGMAP1

It’s going to be just one straight road leading to Bukit Genting. All you need to do would be to watch out for my attched landmarks. Firstly, drive on until you have reached Emerald Park/Krystal Country Homes (MAP A) on your left. From here onwards, all the landmarks would be on your left. You would need to drive until you see the Hai Boey Seafood signboard (MAP B), Sekolah Kebangsaan Teluk Kumbar (MAP C), Restoran Ayam Misai (MAP D) and Pusat Pemeriksaan Kenderaan Berkomputer Teluk Kumbar (PUSPAKOM). The journey after this is going to be a short but winding road to reach your destination. You would see a signboard showing the way to Kem PLKN White Resort (National Service Camp Site – MAP E), constructions of new bridges (MAP F&G). Slow down after the bridge/road and keep a look out for the entrance to Bukit Genting Leisure Park and Restaurant (MAP H). In case you have a GPS installed in your car, here’s the reading for the entrance (GPS: 5.315771, 100.22590). Do watch out and if you see a big and white water tank (MAP I) on your right, it means that you have missed the entrance. The rest would be easy as there would be mini sign boards showing how many kilometers left on your way up to Bukit Genting. (You can click on the maps below for a clearer view.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: DO WATCH OUT FOR THE FREE ROAMING BIRDS!! MAKE SURE YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCE DRIVER AS COMING DOWN ANOTHER ZIG-ZAG CEMENTED SLOPPY TRACK CAN BE REAL SUSPENSE. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE FUNCTIONALITY OF YOUR BRAKES AND WATER IN YOUR CAR BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO GO UP THIS HILL.

BKTGENTINGMAP2

Name: BUKIT GENTING LEISURE PARK & RESTAURANT
Address: Jalan Teluk Kumbar, Balik Pulau, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.30am-10.30pm
Contact: 604-827 9801/5, 019-465 7100
GPS: 5.308917, 100.220533

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

EXPERIENCING THE INDIAN CUISINE OF KARAIKUDI

Posted by crizlai On March - 27 - 2009

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

KARAIKUDIVIEW

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

KARAIKUDI01

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

KARAIKUDI02

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

KARAIKUDI03

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

KARAIKUDI04

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

KARAIKUDI05

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

KARAIKUDI06

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

KARAIKUDI08

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

KARAIKUDI07

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

KARAIKUDI09

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

KARAIKUDI10

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

KARAIKUDI11

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

KARAIKUDI12

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

KARAIKUDI13

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

KARAIKUDI14

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

KARAIKUDI15

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

KARAIKUDI16

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

KARAIKUDI17

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

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

KARAIKUDIMAP

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

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

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

HAVEN DELIGHTS AT PENANG TIMES SQUARE

Posted by crizlai On March - 23 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operations at Penang Times Square and has moved to Gurney Plaza, Penang, under the name of Xiao Nan Guo Cuisine.

UPDATED 26 MARCH 2009: Effective today until a time the management had decided to cease this special promotion, the EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN Daily Buffet would be from 10.30am until 11.00pm. Each person would be entitled to order as many items as he/she could eat within the stipulated 2 hours time frame at RM49.90+ per person. No matter what time of the day you had decided to walk in to have your buffet, count down will start the minute you start ordering your food. Please take note that for every 100gms of food wastage, an additional RM10 would be charge.

Prior to the grand opening of another of Penang’s glamorous landmark, Penang Times Square supposedly scheduled to be in June/July 2009, a few restaurants had already popped up recently within the premises, namely Haven Delights, Express Café and Tsuruya Sushi Bar. One of the notable ones would be Haven Delights, a restaurant that served many varieties of cuisine from Shanghai, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. Strategically located at level one of the mall facing the main road of Jalan Dato Kramat with panoramic view of Komtar, Sunway Hotel, Red Rock Hotel and Grand Continental Hotel, this restaurant has set another great standard within the Georgetown area for serving delicious food.

FACADE

Haven Delights has an extensive range of dishes to tempt your every desire. In fact, the restaurant has over 240 dishes, desserts and beverages for you to choose from. I had also faced a hard time trying to figure out what I should have, especially not all the items have photos shown or they were in some foreign language that I could not understand. The best would be to get those experienced staff to recommend to you what’s the best in the restaurant.

Well, the waiters and waitresses sure knew their jobs well with what was recommended for my dining experience. The first dish which was Red Dragon Prawns with Jammy Sauce (RM20) had already caught me off guarded. The whole presentation was so colorful with balls of dragon fruits, capsicums, carrots, yellow pickled ginger and 4 batter fried king prawns stir fried to perfection with a hint of apple cider, lemon and mustard in the sauce. This is a must to order.

HAVENDELIGHTS01

Chicken Ban Ban (RM10) was next. The presentation was awesome. Big chunks of batter fried chicken meat were topped with crispy fried egg white and seaweed strips. The dish has 3 different types of garnishing sauces such as mayonnaise, wasabi and a spicy sweet sauce. Again this would be another dish not to be missed.

HAVENDELIGHTS02

Suddenly, I sensed a unique seafood aroma moving closer to my table and there was my Soft Shell Crab (RM12). Two whole soft shell crabs were deep fried to crunchiness with a generous amount of salad in the middle of the plate. The salad sauce was quite spicy but sweet. It blended in real well with those crunchy soft shell crabs. I would surely order this dish again during my next visit.

HAVENDELIGHTS03

I had also ordered another a small side dish to try out. The Salted Pepper Mantis Prawns (RM15) was indeed salty as the name but still great for my consumption. It has some crispy fried mantis prawns (tasted more like shrimp paste aka belacan frying flour) stir fried with some chopped chillies, spring onions and ginger. This dish would suit well with rice or noodles.

HAVENDELIGHTS04

To compliment with the above dish, I had ordered a plate of Japanese Yaki Udon (RM12). Before I could finish taking shots of the rest of the dishes, I had to switch to video mode. You know why? MY FOOD WAS ALIVE!! Here’s a short video on what happened.

Basically, the hot steam emitted from the Udon has created a sensational effect on the paper thin bonito flakes (Katsuobushi/dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna shavings) garnished on the noodles. It was real impressive. As for the taste, it was indeed a beautifully sour and salty combination of their secret Japanese sauces. This large plate of Japanese Udon has a generous amount of prawns, chicken meat and vegetables. You should try out this dish too.

HAVENDELIGHTS05

Another of their most sought after rice dishes would be their Hong Kong Fried Rice (RM10). Wow! The fried rice was extremely delicious. The Cantonese sure knows how to fry their rice with enough of “wok hei” (high heat frying). Every single grain of the rice was so flavorfully coated with the right taste. The dish had cut prawns pieces, chicken slices, green peas, cashew nuts and egg, garnished with a generous amount of meat floss, chopped spring onions and fried shallots. This is another must to order.

HAVENDELIGHTS06

If you would like something spicier, you can always try out their Cajun Fried Rice (RM10) as the Cajuns are famous for cooking well seasoned and somewhat spicy food. The dish had cut prawn pieces, chicken slices, corn kernels and garnished with chopped spring onions. No doubt this dish has the right spicy taste but my preference would still be the Hong Kong Fried Rice.

HAVENDELIGHTS07

If you feel like having some side dishes, you can always order their Shanghai Juicy Meat Dumpling (RM8). The filling has all the fragrant taste with the well marinated meat. Somehow I find the skin a bit too thick and they should have more soup in each dumpling.

HAVENDELIGHTS08

You could also order their Potato Salad (RM5) for appetizer. The dish has a large scoop of semi coarsely mashed with the right amount of cream, butter and herbs on top of a bed of finely sliced greens. This would be good for light eaters.

HAVENDELIGHTS09

As for desserts, basically the choices are quite limited with many items being ice cream based. The only warm dessert which happened to be my favorite too was the Silky Egg with Water Chestnut (RM6). The dessert had sliced red dates, white fungus and finely sliced water chestnuts simmered with in a beaten egg white broth, mildly sweetened with rock sugar. This is really good.

HAVENDELIGHTS10

The rest of the desserts was rather common as all had ice cream scoops but with different presentations. The most eye-catching one in the menu would be the Tempura Ice Cream (RM8). It was just two large scoops of vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce, garnished with some loose tempura batter and a sweetened cherry.

HAVENDELIGHTS11

The bombastic named Ice Fire Golden Banana (RM8) was another case. It was just a rainbow colored scoop of ice cream presented with some raspberry sauce and batter fried slices of a banana. I felt that this is a bit pricey for the amount served, especially when it was served on a large plate.

HAVENDELIGHTS13

At least the Kuru Gama Ice Cream (RM8) was rather unique with some black sesame seeds blended into the ice cream. The ice cream was mild in black sesame taste, with lots of crushed peanuts. I also felt this dessert to be a bit overpriced as two scoops would at least justify the amount paid.

HAVENDELIGHTS12

Overall, the food here could be real good if you know how to combine them well especially for a family or group eat out. On top of the Ala Carte Menu, you can also check out their other quality food and set meals such as the Chinese Dome Set with 5 dishes priced at RM46+, Grilled Cod Fish with Potato Cream priced at RM35nett or quality Kobe Beef option namely Kobe Beef Tataki (RM88nett), Kobe Beef Ishiyaki (RM58nett) and Kobe Beef Sashimi (RM88nett).

SIDEORDER

They do also have daily buffet lunch and dinner where you have the options to order anything from their 90+ dishes buffet menu priced at RM49.90+ per adult. Children would be at half price. There would also be free flow of finger food, broth, ice cream, etc of the day at another side table buffet line. If you intend to visit the place, do take note of the 2 hours time frame for the buffet. Buffet hours would be as 12.00noon-2.00pm, 2.00pm-4.00pm, 5.00pm-7.00pm, and 7.00pm-9.00pm daily. Everything in the restaurant would come with a 5% service fee.

Just let me share with you some of the night scenes at Penang Times Square prior to the official launch for Phase 1. Phase 2 would be completed within the next two years.

NIGHTVIEW

The best way to reach the shop would be by using Jalan Magazine (Traders Hotel). Drive into Jalan Dato Kramat (2nd junction at the right of Gama Supermarket) until you have reached Penang Times Square on your left. Find a parking space along the road or within the allocated parking bay. Just walk into the mall and go to Level 1. The restaurant is very prominently located either by mode of escalator or elevator.

HAVENDELIGHTSMAP

Name: HAVEN DELIGHTS
Address: 77-L1-34, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-210 8855, 210 8856, 016-492 1658 (Ms. Angie Ng)
Opening Hours: 10.30am-11.00pm
Buffet Hours: 12.00noon-2.00pm, 2.00pm-4.00pm, 5.00pm-7.00pm, 7.00pm-9.00pm
GPS: 5.414701, 100.331871

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

WARUNG PAK SU MEE UDANG AT BAGAN NYIOR

Posted by crizlai On March - 20 - 2009

WARUNGPAKSU01

Since I did not have the opportunity to visit another seafood restaurant that was much recommended by the Kuala Juru village folks as it was closed during my visit to Kuala Juru earlier, a small group of us decided to go for another food hunt to the small fishing village deep into the outskirt of Juru. This time, I had revisited Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru as well as the much acclaimed Warung Pak Su. I won’t touch much on my earlier trip as I had updated the post itself with some new information and photos. Let me share what I had dined at Warung Pak Su instead. Somehow this visit had a few hiccups as the sky was pouring heavily and the pricing for the food was a bit of surprise to us but these hiccups did not did not deter us from savoring some of the good food around that area.

Being a well established restaurant, Warung Pak Su surprisingly did not provide any printed menus and indeed it was a risk we had to take when ordering a few of the dishes. As most of the seafood items were freshly bought daily, all the items were based on market rate. The first dish that we ordered was the Ikan Siakap Bakar (Grilled Perch – RM30). The fresh fish was cut into halves, marinated with some spices and wrapped in banana leaves and grilled for a certain period of time. The end product was a nicely cooked fish, mild in spices taste and fresh in juiciness. The grilled fish would go well with the special sauce which consists of sliced onions, chili paddy, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar but I personally found the sauce to be a bit overpowering with lime taste.

WARUNGPAKSU02

While waiting for the fish to be grilled, we also ordered some satay to try out. Although we were still quite full from the earlier meal at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru, the juiciness and fragrance emitted from the chicken on skewer boosted up our craving for more. The taste of the large sized satays were great and it was only at 60sen each.

WARUNGPAKSU03

The restaurant will also have Kerang Bakar (Grilled Cockles – RM5/plate) but we did not order them as we were scared of food poisoning after seeing how cockles were harvested. 😛

WARUNGPAKSU04

Since the villagers highly recommended the Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles – RM10) and Mee Goreng Udang (Fried Prawn Noodles –RM10), we decided to order a plate of each. The difference between this restaurant and the one at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru was the use of different species of prawns. Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru uses Udang Rotan (Cane Prawns – thicker shells) whereas Warung Pak Su uses Udang Kertas (White Prawns – paper thin shells).

WARUNGPAKSU05

I found the prawns here to be fresher compared to the ones down at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru but somehow the noodles were not up to my expectation. Both the fried and soup based noodles tasted kind of sweet without the taste of prawns in them. They tasted just like those you can get at any tea time Malay stalls except that here you will have huge cooked prawns being nicely decorated on the noodles. Luckily, the fresh prawns complimented the noodles or else it would be a total disappointment. My preference would still be those delicious prawn taste enriched noodles at Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru.

WARUNGPAKSU06

It would be easier to reach the restaurant if you know your way to Auto City. As you come to the Juru Interchange, you would pass through 3 traffic lights to reach Auto City. At the last traffic light at the T-junction (McDonald’s), turn left and drive all the way up Jalan Perusahaan/Jalan Tok Kangar until you have reach a traffic light at Jalan Juru (Map A), turn right into Jalan Juru (Juru Villa Show House) and drive all the way until the end. You would pass through a few sign boards of the district on your left namely Kampung Sekolah Juru (Map B), Bagan Nyior (Map C), and a sign board showing direction to Sungai Sembilang and Kuala Juru (Map D). At the T-junction (Map E), turn right and you will see the restaurant just on your left (Map F). You can click to enlarge the two maps below for a clearer direction.

WARUNGPAKSUMAP2

WARUNGPAKSUMAP

Name: WARUNG PAK SU MEE UDANG
Address: 385, MK12, Bagan Nyir Juru, SPT, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-10.30pm (Closed Thursday)
Contact: 012-409 0771, 012-493 5771
GPS: 5.326817, 100.414767

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

EXPLORING INTO THE HEART OF KUALA JURU FISHING VILLAGE

Posted by crizlai On March - 7 - 2009

KJMEEKETAM01

Ever since my adventurous trip to Pulau Aman to discover the wonderful and tasty Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles), I have been yearning for the similar dish, if not the best, which would be much nearer to Penang island. Eventually after much searching around, I found a place right within mainland Penang – Kuala Juru, the river mouth of Juru. Located next to Persatuan Nelayan Kawasan Seberang Perai Kuala Juru Jetty, lies a quiet and scenic restaurant by the name of Restoran Nelayan Kuala Juru. This place served fresh and delicious seafood dishes. Let me start by recommending the food here prior to introducing other aspects which also did amaze me.

Coming so far away from the island, I would surely try out their seafood dishes rather than the Malay cuisine which they do also serve. They have Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles) and Mee Ketam (Flower Crab Noodles). Instead of having a plate of both, I had the mixed version with two fresh large prawns and a flower crab in halves. All for RM6!!! That’s real cheap considering the size of the prawns and crab although the noodles were a bit too little for my consumption.

KJMEEKETAM02

The broth with ingredients such as smashed garlic, chillies, cabbage, onion and a hint of tomato puree combined with the sweetness of the fresh seafood was superb. The prawns and flower crab were so fresh that I wanted to order more. I even bought home a few packets and my parents sipped everything until the last drop. You could imagine how delicious the noodles were. It’s a must try for all seafood noodle lovers.

KJMEEKETAM03

Since I was still a bit full with the 5.30am Char Koay Teow breakfast, I managed to try out the second dish which was the Nasi Goreng Udang. Most stalls that I had been to would just fried rice with a few medium sized prawns. The way the restaurant served the dish was totally different. It came with a plate of fried rice which was quite normal to me but the spicy large prawns curry was a real surprise. It may look like it would be a fiery dish from the look of the color but it was not chili hot at all. The thick gravy which consist some freshly grounded spices was very appetizing to be taken with the fried rice. I have a feeling that they did add in some belacan (prawn paste) to have that fragrant and delicious taste. This set was also priced at RM6.

KJMEEKETAM04

In case you might want to find out what else they have in this restaurant, you can click and enlarge the attached menu below.

MENU

**** UPDATED 15 MARCH 2009 ****

It was only during the 2nd visit to this restaurant did I know that the prawns used were neither green prawns nor tiger prawns. It was another species that I had never heard of or common in our wet markets. These prawns are called Udang Rotan (Cane Prawns as translated). They are the same family with the tiger prawns but with a harder shell. No matter what species they are, they sure tasted better than fresh water prawns.

KJMEEKETAM05

On top of the above fried rice and noodles, we also tried out their Nasi Goreng Padprik (Padprik Fried Rice – RM4). The cook sure knew how to use the stove well as the fried rice has the required grainy texture and the high heat cooking was just right. The accompanied stir fry mixed vegetables with fresh squids in some spicy tomato gravy combined well with the fried rice. You should check this dish out.

KJMEEKETAM06

**** END UPDATE ****

Although there are two more such restaurants at Sungai Sembilang and another three restaurants along Jalan Kuala Juru, I like this restaurant the most. Not only was I amazed by the great food and simplicity of the village folks, it’s also a heaven for nature photographers. You just won’t know what you would expect to find along your way to your gastronomic destination. I had seen a few stray otters playfully along the swampy area, a monitor lizard by the roadside, a Haliaeetus leucogaster (white bellied sea eagle) soaring the sky seeking its prey, a low flying stork, hungry looking stray cats and many other unique looking shell fish such as the Horseshoe Crab/King crab along the river banks.

VIEW

One main type of shell fish that you would see here would be the cockles. Kuala Juru is one the many areas in Malaysia that harvests and processes cockles for distribution to the local markets. It was indeed an eye-opening experience to see how cockles were in their original state and the processes to get them clean. I managed to catch the whole action on camera and would like to share with you. As the cockles arrived in sampans, they had that dirty and muddy look mixed with lots of rubbish. After they had been put into a rotating machine that filters out the mud, tiny objects and other dead shells with a constant spray of clean water, they would end up at section where larger objects would be filtered out. Towards the end of the process, these cleaned cockles would be packed in large nylon sacks to be distributed to the local markets. The steps may look simple but it did involve a lot of manpower.

COCKLES

It would be easier to reach the restaurant if you know your way to Auto City. As you come to the Juru Interchange, you would pass through 3 traffic lights to reach Auto City. At the last traffic light at the T-junction (McDonald’s), turn left and drive all the way up Jalan Perusahaan/Jalan Tok Kangar until you have reach a traffic light at Jalan Juru (Map A), turn right into Jalan Juru (Juru Villa Show House) and drive all the way until the end. You would pass through a few sign boards of the district on your left namely Kampung Sekolah Juru (Map B), Bagan Nyior (Map C), and a sign board showing direction to Sungai Sembilang and Kuala Juru (Map D). At the T-junction (Map E), turn right and drive all the way to Kuala Juru (Map F). You would reach a playground not far away (Map G). Find a parking space there as the restaurant is just opposite the playground. You can click to enlarge the two maps below for a clearer direction.

KUALAJURUMAP1

KUALAJURUMAP2

Name: RESTORAN NELAYAN KUALA JURU
Address: Persatuan Nelayan Unit Kuala Juru, MK12, SPT, 14100 Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-11.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
Contact: 012-567 2423, 019-549 7134, 017-446 7194
GPS: 5.340084, 100.408500

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: 9/10 (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)

AUTHENTIC MALAY CUISINE IN THE HEART OF GEORGETOWN

Posted by crizlai On February - 19 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has changed management in 2010. The original owner was said to have shifted to KL. Her where about is unclear.

KUALIKUALICAFE01

“Simply Irresistible! Aromatic! Colorful! Fresh! Delicious!” These were the words that shouted out from my mind when I first stepped into this barely 5 months’ old authentic Malay cuisine restaurant right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, Penang. Kuali-kuali Café, as the restaurant was named, took over the former Craven Café premise located at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister and had since grown to be a favorite eating place for Malay cuisine lovers from all parts of the island as well as tourists. I even saw some factory workers in uniforms from the Bayan Lepas FTZ area patronizing them.

A brainchild of a former St. George’s High School girl, Cik Sharifah Haslina, together with her husband, Encik Mohd Sophian, catered to the needs of its customer from breakfast until supper. As for breakfast, they would prepare some simple dishes such as Nasi Lemak (Steam Coconut Milk Rice) served with fried anchovies, eggs, sliced vegetables and a few types of curries or you can also try out their ingredients filled noodles such as Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli), Mee (yellow noodles) and Koay Teow (rice cake strips).

BREAKFAST

The breakfast dishes may look simple but the taste was great. What impressed me more was their spreads for their lunch and dinner, served with plain hot rice or occasionally with tomato rice. Could you imagine having around 60 dishes served in cute looking mini woks and rattan trays under that rustic village style attap roof buffet line? This would surely be a great experience for many as you would only get this type of buffet spread at the hotels. Moreover, most of the dishes were not as spicy hot as their fiery looking colors and they do change a small percentage of their dishes daily.

KUALIKUALICAFE02

As there were just too many dishes to share you here, I would just brief you on some of the dishes such as their appetizing ulam (Malay salad), seafood, poultry and soup. Let’s start with the salad part. There were many varieties of fresh vegetables and wild herbs served with two types of dressing. One was the Sambal Belacan which has pounded red chillies, chilli paddy, lime juice and some toasted shrimp paste powder. The other was another diluted dressing that would go well with grilled fish. The dressing has some cut red chillies, chili paddy, big onions and tomatoes mixed with some lime juice. Both dressing complimented the vegetables as well as the dishes real well.

ULAM

Do you know that before I went into the restaurant, there was this man outside preparing some grilled fish? The scent coming from the smoke got me even more prepared to jump right into the many varieties of fresh fish dishes they have in there. From the look of the tender yet juicy grilled stingray pieces, you can be assured of its freshness. Even the stuffed hardtail mackerels (ikan cencaru) and chubb mackerels (ikan kembong) had those crystal clear eyes.

FRESH

I can say that they sure know how to prepare their seafood dishes well and with different combination of spices and ingredients. I was surprise to see many seafood dishes that I had not taken for a long time such as the Cockles Salad and Salted Fish Curry. On top of that, the taste of each individual fish curry had its own unique flavors. There were just too many to taste out at one visit. Maybe a slide of the seafood dishes would prove me right.

SEAFOOD

The poultry section was also impressing. They have so many options from a simple Beansprouts with Beef Stomach Salad, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry (Rendang Minang) to their house specialty such as the Red Curry Chicken (Ayam Masak Merah) and Village Style Fried Chicken. The delicious Village Fried Chicken was crispy, a bit like a spicier KFC Original Chicken.

POULTRY

If you feel that there would be too much of seafood and poultry dishes in your meal, you could always check out their little vegetarian corner. There would be around 10 dishes such as tofu, mixed vegetables, and many assorted vegetables cooked in different styles to meet your desire.

VEGETARIAN

Do also watch out for their popular demanded Beef Bone Soup (Sup Tulang Lembu). The aromatic smell of the piping hot soup and the tender meat on the bone is a sure must have dish if you love thick and flavorful soups. Each bowl would cost between RM4.50 to RM6, depending on the amount of meaty bones you have scooped.

SOUP

Well, it took me quite some time to study all the dishes in the restaurant but it’s worth the effort to know more of these wonderful authentic Malay cuisines. I ended up with a plate filled with the different types of gravy to try out their cooking style. Moreover, I had a piece of Chicken Thigh cooked with Sweet Dark Sauce, some Turmeric Fried Tofu cubes, Indonesian Dry Beef Curry and a piece of Onion Omelette – all for only RM5. It’s cheap right? You should try to make a visit there and I can assure that you would not regret the experience.

Note: If you are real adventurous to try out all the gravy – Do not put too much as my plate of rice ended up with too much oil. But then, I did finish to the last bit as the food was simply too delicious. Another thing to take note would be the visiting hours. The best time would be 7.30am for breakfast, 11.30am onwards for lunch as all the food would be out hot and fresh. They do not cook more dishes for dinner. The dishes would be whatever left during lunch but you can always order other items such as fried rice, noodles soup, etc.

MYMEAL

Although the restaurant was located at a heavy traffic area with quite limited parking areas, you could see it filled up with customers any period of the day. It would not be too hard to spot the place as the restaurant would be located just at the junction of Jalan Dato’ Kramat and Jalan Macalister. Prominent landmarks to watch out would be the GAMA Supermarket and KOMTAR.

KUALIKUALICAFE03

KUALIKUALICAFEMAP

Name: KUALI-KUALI CAFE
Address: 2 Jalan Dato’ Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 7.00am-12.00am (Mon-Fri), 7.00am-4.00pm (Sat)
Contact: 016-426 2184 (Cik Sharifah Haslina Mufazzal)
GPS: 5.413997, 100.328167

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: 9/10 (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)

SAM HUI CAFÉ @ PRANGIN MALL

Posted by crizlai On February - 12 - 2009

UPDATED 16 MARCH 2009: The Sam Hui Prangin Mall has ceased its operation and had moved to the ground floor of 1-Stop Midlands Park. Will the standard of the food still maintain as good as in Prangin Mall? You would have to find out yourself. 😛 (More updates on their main branch below – 15 February 2009)

SAMHUI01

The legendary 70’s Hong Kong actor/singer Samuel Hui (Sam Hui) has a food franchise business in Penang? Generally, this is what I have heard from some of the older generations around here. Well, the proprietor is definitely named Sam Hui, a Malaysian. You would not get him to sing to you with his unique voice or break any humor but he would surely impress you with his range of Hong Kong style cuisine. I have tried out one of the franchises recently and was really impressed by their choices of food, tastes, food presentations and pricing. It was in fact better than some of the known Hong Kong style restaurants around town.

The Hong Kong Style Tong Por Pork Rice (RM5.50) tasted real good. It may look like a plate of normal economy rice with some meat and vegetables but one bite into the sliced meat and you would be asking for more. The meat was nicely stewed until soft and tender with their special fragrant herbs and spices. It would just melt right in your mouth. It would have a stewed egg and some vegetable to balance off the meal.

SAMHUI02

Their Orange Fried Fish Rice (RM6.80) was also quite unique. It has quite a generous amount of deep fried tempura based fish slices cooked in mild spicy orange sauce and topped with mayonnaise, served with rice and accompanied with some salad. The taste would suit any ages.

SAMHUI03

You could also try out their Sharks Fin Gravy Rice (RM7). This is another wetter version of rice served with a generous amount of shark fins and fried baby anchovies. The gravy was nothing more than some rich broth with some beaten eggs. It tasted quite normal to me except that the fried anchovies did bring out some fragrance in the dish. Moreover, I was quite skeptical about the amount of shark fins given at such a low price. It could well be mock shark fins as the bite was not as chewy as the real ones. Well, at least some sharks were spared in this process. LOL!

SAMHUI04

I also tried out their Shanghai Noodles with Dried Tong Por Meat (RM5.50). The juicy meat slices were as great as mentioned above and the noodles blended in well with the Tong Por meat gravy and a hint of sesame oil. The Shanghai noodles tasted like a combination of ramen and pan mian. It has a springy sensation and tasted real nice.

SAMHUI05

You should also try out their salad and lighter snacks such as the fried and soup based dumplings, spring rolls combined with different salad dressings. I quite like the Deep Fried Breadstick with Pineapple Salad (RM6.80). Each piece of the sliced breadstick or commonly know as You Tiao or Chinese Crullers were stuffed with some prawn paste and deep fried until golden. The crunchy yet delicious breadstick slices (10 pieces) were then laid on some fresh green lettuce and topped with some pineapple salad and fresh carrot strips. This is a must to have.

SAMHUI06

The café do also serve Siew Long Bao (Little Basket Dumpling – 6pcs) for a mere RM9. Each piece of the dumpling contained some soup with seasoned minced meat mixed with some chopped Chinese celery. Watch out when you take these dumplings as you might spurt some of the juices at your friend. LOL! Anyway, I found those served here to be quite fine except for the minced meat which has a bit too much of corn starch added, making the meat a bit too soft. On top of that, the accompanied black vinegar with ginger strips was a bit too diluted for my liking.

SAMHUI07

The café do not have many choices for desserts as there were only three options such as Sweetened Barley with Egg and Tofu Skin (RM3), Red Bean Paste (RM3) and Fruit Cocktail with Herbal Jelly (RM3.50). I managed to try out the Sweetened Barley with Egg and Tofu Skin. The barley broth was mildly sweetened with rock sugar, accompanied with some barley grains, dried tofu skin and a hard boiled egg. This is an ideal dessert for a hot and humid weather.

SAMHUI08

Overall, the place served some good food at a reasonable price and without any taxes added onto your bill. They also have a few unique ice blended juices such as Markisa (Indonesian Passion Fruit) and Red Plum for you to try out. There are just too many items to introduce here. I will just attach their order menu to let you have a better idea of what they have. You can just click the photo to see the enlarged version.

SAMHUI09

Although the location of the café was at a secluded area of the mall, it’s actually quite easy to find the place. Try to find your way to Prangin Mall Atrium A (where Bread History, Secret Recipe, Starbucks, 7-ELEVEN, etc are). Use the main bubble lift to level 2. Look out for the striking S&J orange signboard or Digi yellow and blue signboard. Immediately after these two shoplots, you would see the café located along an inner lane between the Chocolate Gift & Souvenir and Glantz shoplots.

SAMHUIMAP

Name: SAM HUI CAFE
Prangin Mall Branch:
Level 2-30, Atrium A, Prangin Mall-Komtar,
33, Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.30am-9.00pm
Contact: 016-453 0350 (Mr. Kelvin Khor)
GPS: 5.414814, 100.331286

You can also check out their main branch located within the 1-Stop Midlands Park Centre in Pulau Tikus. Just walk into the main entrance of the mall (Jalan Burma). The café is at level 2 on your left.

1-Stop Midlands Park Branch:
488B-2-26, Level 2, 1-Stop Midlands Park Centre
Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.30am-9.00pm
Contact: 016-458 2979 (Mr. Sam Chong)
GPS: 5.433139, 100.306547

UPDATED 15 February 2009: I thought after having some reasonably nice food at their Prangin Mall branch, the food at the main branch would be even better. My whole family was extremely disappointed with the taste and quality of the food served here. It was real embarrassing to me. To me, it should not the main excuse of us being the earliest patrons there. Moreover, the rude service of certain staff had added to the wound.

SAMHUIPT

The five of us had ordered 5 different dishes and none of those ordered met our expectations. The taste for Shanghai Noodles with Tong Por Meat (RM5.50) was totally different compared to the one I took from the other branch which was filled with flavors. Except for the Shanghai noodles, the meat was hard and the gravy was so diluted with hardly any herb taste in it. The Kimchi Noodles (RM5.50) was a disaster. The wantan noodles used was soggy and the soup was rather tasteless except for the mild chili flavor. The Guangdong Crispy Noodles (RM5.50) was still fine but it was not the best around. It lacked of fragrant. The Pork Rib Rice (RM6.00) was a laugh. It was merely some sliced pieces of pork chop and it was so chili hot that it won’t fit the taste bud of a child. It’s supposed to be sweet and sour and not sweet and spicy. The last order which was Hong Kong Style Roasted Pork Rice (RM5.50) got me dumbfounded. I expected the dish to be somewhat different in taste but ended up with some roasted pork slices fried with fermented beans. I could have cooked that myself instead of visiting a restaurant just for that.

Overall, the food here is way below par compared to any of those roadside stir fry stalls. I would expect the café to look into a better qualified chef than to simply serve the public with such kind of food. If the other branch can provide quality food, why can’t the main branch? I might be wrong in this review but with two seasoned cooks, one elderly father and two children complaining, something is just not right. The menu here was slightly different with an additional 10 set meals priced at RM15. You can click to enlarge the menu below.

SAMHUIPTMENU

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: 4.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

A FUN GATHERING AT LOUIS CAFE

Posted by crizlai On February - 9 - 2009

NOTE: THIS CAFE HAS CEASED ITS OPERATIONS

LOIUSCAFE01

If you are looking for a place where you can savor great food with rich and quality ingredients, you should take note of the latest Western and Asian fusion restaurant in Penang. Opened barely two months ago on 22 December 2008, Louis Café had impressed its customers with its wide arrays of dishes. Most of the dishes served are the own concoctions of their few experienced chefs. Thanks to Lingzie for arranging this gathering yesterday as some of us were able to review on their food quality, taste, flavor and ambience. I would say this is a cool place for group meetings, family functions and a romantic evening for love birds with their averagely lighted atmosphere.

LOIUSCAFE02

Let’s start the food introduction in proper sequence. Salads were first and we were served with three different varieties – Our House Rules Organic Salad (RM15), Classic Caesar Salad (RM18) and Scallop Salad (RM20). The Organic Salad was filled with lots of fresh greens and a mixture of apple cider, olive oil, some herbs and a hint of chopped lemongrass. This would be a great appetizer for those who love crunchy greens but I find the dressing a bit sour to my liking. Maybe a pinch of salt and some raw brown sugar might help pep up the flavor. The Classic Caesar Salad was loaded with lots of fresh greens, fried bacon bits, salmon strips, mixed herbs and garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and toasted croutons. I simply love this salad as it was rich in flavors except that I would prefer the croutons to be oil fried instead. The Scallop Salad was indeed another irresistible choice. On top of the fresh greens, the seared fresh scallops still maintained their juiciness. The searing definitely brought out the flavor in the scallops and with the special apple salsa sauce. This salad was one of the best I had tasted for ages. It even had some chopped onions, tomatoes, apples and chives for that extra bite.

LOUISCAFE03

The next set was the soup served with some dinner rolls. We had the opportunity to try out some of the existing as well as newly created soup. There were all together 5 varieties which included Italianese Wild Mushroom Soup (RM10), Pumpkin Soup (RM9), Cream of Broccoli (RM9), Cream of Cauliflower (RM9) and Cream of Tomato (RM9). All the soups were creamy and tasty in their own ways. Except for my favorite Pumpkin Soup which came with some toasted almonds slices garnishes, I personally find that these could be further improvised by adding some bites into them such as toasted wild mushroom slices, oil fried croutons, chopped tomatoes as all the ingredients were blended too fine.

LOIUSCAFE04

We were then served with another 8 main course dishes such as the Vegetarian Cutlet (RM15.90), Classic Fish Cordon Bleu (RM25), Sirloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce (RM28), Grilled Lamb Chop with Peppercorn Sauce (RM22), Grilled Lamb Chop with Brown Mushroom Sauce (RM22), Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce (RM38), Pan Seared Salmon Steak with Dijon Sauce (RM30), Red Snapper with Cream of Tomato Pulp (RM25) and Baked Stuffed Chicken with Brown Mushroom Sauce (RM20). The Vegetarian Cutlet was unique as it came in the shape of a leaf. It was made from a mixture of buttered mashed potatoes, carrot dices, chopped onions, corn kernels, chopped broccoli, mixed herbs, coated with breadcrumbs and fried to perfection. This would be a great dish for those who like to have a meatless meal. The Classic Fish Cordon Bleu was another hit amongst us. Instead of red snapper fillet, Pacific dory fillet was used. The combination of the fresh fillet with filling such as ham and cheese, was so well balanced that it was gone within minutes. The Sirloin Steak with Red Wine was also a dish that got us drooling as the air flown Australian Striploin maintained its juiciness and tenderness after being grilled medium rare. The red wine sauce complemented the whole combinations perfectly.

LOIUSCAFE05

The Grilled Lamb Chop came in two flavors – Peppercorn Sauce and Brown Mushroom Sauce. Most of us preferred the latter as the former had a rather strong pepper taste which overpowered the natural lamb flavor. The Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce was also nice except for the strong peppercorn sauce as mentioned. The Pan Seared Salmon Steak with Dijon Sauce was also nice combination except for the fillet which I personally find a bit too thick to allow whatever marinates to seep deeply into the meat. The Red Snapper with Cream of Tomato Pulp was grabbed up real fast too. The freshness and smoothness of the red snapper fillet blended in well with the accompanied creamy tomato pulp sauce. The Baked Stuffed Chicken with Brown Mushroom Sauce was another cool dish as the chicken thigh fillet had a whole cheese sausage stuffed inside, breaded and baked until golden. The brown mushroom sauce combined well with this dish.

On top of the main courses, we also had Spaghetti Arrabiata (RM16), Fettucine Carbonara (RM16) and Spicy Chicken Tortilla (RM15.90). The Spaghetti Arrabiata was nice for those who love a spicier version. I personally find the herbs and ingredients were a bit too spicy and over rich in flavors. The Fettuccine Carbonara was my favorite as it had lots of bacon slices, ham strips, chopped onions, sautéed garlic, buttered wild mushroom slices, mixed herbs, cream and grated Parmesan cheese which made the whole combination perfect. Instead of the fettuccine pasta, linguine pasta was used and this made each mouthful even smoother and flavorful. Spicy Chicken Tortilla was a surprise to us as it was not stated in the menu. The filling was marvelous as the chicken pieces and potatoes were mildly spiced with some curry spices and curry leaves. Each bite left us yearning for more.

LOIUSCAFE06

Since all of us were fully stuffed by the café’s management (Thanks to Ms. Teoh), I managed to try out one of the desserts which was the White Fungus with Ginkgo Nuts (RM5). The dessert was marvelous as the soup was mildly sweetened with red dates and rock sugar. The ginkgo nuts were cooked just right and the white fungus still maintained their crunchiness. You can also opt for their other desserts such as Bird’s Nest at RM45 per bowl or the Herbal Snow Jelly at RM10 per bowl.

LOIUSCAFE07

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves dining in the café. With the great Penang Floggers there, it was even more fun and exciting. There would be a 5% service tax applicable to all the meals ordered but you can always check with the proprietor, Ms. Teoh, for group discounts if you would want to hold some functions. Tour groups are always welcome. On top of the Ala Carte dishes as mentioned above, the café do have a different Set Lunch menu daily which consist of appetizer of the day, choice of main course, choice of beverages and free flow of ice cream at only RM18.90+. Set Dinners are also available with an additional soup of the day and the option to choose between beverages and fresh cut fruits at only RM26.90+. Moreover, they also have finger snacks such as Fried Chicken Wings, Deep fried Squid Balls, French Fries, Potato Wedges and Deep Fried Calamari Rings from as low as RM6. If you fancy some local hawker fares, you could also look into their Asian menu which has Seafood Singapore Bee Hoon, Seafood Fried Rice, Thai Seafood Tom Yam Bee Hoon Soup, Seafood Hokkien Char, Seafood Hor Fun, Seafood Ramen and BBQ Pork Ramen (between RM8-RM12).

Finding the restaurant would be easy but not prominently noticeable as it’s situated along a row of pre-colonial houses along Jalan Argyll. The best way to reach the café would still be from Upper Penang Road. Coming in from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah into Upper Penang Road where Hotel Continental, Hotel Malaysia, Cititel are, drive onwards until you see Veenai Odeon Cinema on your right. Turn right into the road, that’s Jalan Argyll. Drive on until you have reach the cross junction (Jalan Transfer/Jalan Argyll). Drive across Jalan Transfer and you would see the café just a few houses away on your left (directly opposite Mingood Hotel).

LOIUSCAFEMAP

Name: LOUIS CAFE
Address: 161-C, Jalan Argyll, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm
Contact: 604-228 7729, 012-470 1666 (Ms. Teoh Chua Tee)
GPS: 5.421778, 100.330472
WIFI: Yes

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

Attended Floggers:
Criz Lai of Criz Bon Appetite
Lingzie of Lingzie’s Tummy Treats
CK Lam of What2See Online
Huat Koay of PenangTuaPui
Rebecca of The Nomad Gourmand
Steven Goh of Steven Goh dot com
Allen Ooi of Yummy Station
Gill & Jason of Gourmet Garden
Carrie of Cariso Delicacies Corner
Mary of Food Paradise
Bee of Buzzing Life
Mr. Lee of Kwong Wah Yit Poh

 

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs