CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

For the whole month of July 2014, Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Peranakan Cuisine Promotion (1-31 July 2014). The Peranakan cuisine or more commonly known as the Nyonya cuisine, is a cuisine combination of Chinese (different origins), Malay and other influences such as Thai and Indian into a unique blend of its own. This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Asian Kitchen Chef, Chef Chan Teik Onn.

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Firstly, you would get to savor the Deep Fried Chicken Lobak (炸鸡肉卷), a Nyonya favorite meat roll which consisted of marinated chicken slices in 5-spice powder and some added jicama rolled in dry bean curd sheet. This is one common dish you would find at most economy rice stalls.

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You would also get to savor the super time consuming dish known as the Nasi Ulam (野菜饭食). Sometimes also known as the Jungle Herbs Rice, this dish is definitely a very healthy diet as most of the ingredients are taken raw. This is one of my favorite dishes with the fragrance coming from some added deep fried salted fish and dry shrimps. Though it’s one of the hardest dishes to make, you might want to check out the ingredients in my recipe.

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The next dish which was the Assam Prawns (亚参虾) had nicely marinated prawns with tamarind, a light touch of sugar and soy sauce. However, I still don’t like the idea of using tiger prawns instead of the ideal white/green shelled prawns as it won’t bring out the true flavors of this dish.

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To all the kids, the next dish is everyone’s favorite – the Inchi Kabin (娘惹式炸鸡). In a Nyonya family, everyone has their own secret recipe for this wonderful deep fried chicken. Some would add curry powder with some dashes of coconut milk. Some would just have them with turmeric powder with some added coriander powder. Some would have a bit of each spice which would include cinnamon, fennel, cloves, etc. Overall, no matter how the chicken pieces (mostly chicken wings) were marinated, any piece of freshly fried chicken would surely boost up anyone’s appetite for more.

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You would also have the Jiu Hoo Char (Stir Fried Shredded Dry Cuttlefish with Vegetables/鱿鱼炒蔬菜), a dish consisted of julienned jicama, carrots, Chinese mushroom and French beans stir fried with some dried cuttlefish. This is one of the signature dishes in Peranakan cuisine and best taken with some Chinese lettuce and sambal belacan.

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As for desserts, you would get to savor the Assorted Nyonya Kuih (各式娘惹糕点), which had some resemblances to the Malay kuih.

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Overall, the cuisine served would be quite standard as you would get from the eateries out there. However, Peranakan/Nyonya cuisine can be rather time consuming in terms of preparation, so I guessed we might as well enjoy the chefs’ hard work in storming up those herbs and spiced infused dishes.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

PERANAKAN CUISINE PROMOTION (1-31 JULY 2014)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM50++ (adult), RM25++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 4.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday (28-31 July 2014)
RM50++ per pax

American Express, CIMB Bank, Citibank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard Worldwide, Maybank and UOB Bank card members, guests can enjoy 15% discount for Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday – Thursday from 28-31 July 2014).

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: 6/10 (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)

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Peranakan Cuisine Promotion for the whole month of July 2012 (1-31 July 2012). The Peranakan cuisine or commonly known as Nyonya cuisine, is a combination of Chinese (different origins), Malay and other influences such as Thai and Indian into a unique blend of its own. This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Pastry Chef, Chef Franco Ho.

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We were served with the Nyonya Acar Awak (娘惹阿渣泡菜), a spicy mixed vegetables which consisted of cabbages, carrot, cucumber and cauliflower, stir mixed in a spicy sauce which has hints of shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, coarsely pounded toasted peanuts and toasted sesame seeds and more. The Acar Awak served here was extremely simplified and was not anywhere near the authentic version. Firstly, the vegetables were overcooked. The dish should have fast blanched vegetables rather than cooked vegetable to preserve the mild crunchiness. Moreover, long beans were not added. The overall taste lacked the creaminess from more added pounded peanuts, the fragrance from some added red and green chilies and a more distinctive sourness from some added vinegar.

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The Nyonya Kerabu Ayam (Nyonya Chicken Salad/娘惹涼拌雞肉) was a better choice for me as it had a Thai twist to the authentic recipe without the usage of wood ear fungus. It was creamier than the normal Nyonya version with distinctive flavors from the added ginger flower, lemongrass and toasted desiccated coconut (kerisik). However, the red chilies should be julienned rather than sliced for a more fine display and they should not be too overpowering as served.

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Another appetizer that we had was the Nyonya Kuih Pie Tee (娘惹金杯薄餅) or commonly known as the Singapore Top Hats. The version served here was totally different as it had stir fried minced chicken filled in each cup and topped with some fried shallots and chopped spring onions. I would say they were too dry to my liking as the filling lacked some vegetables such as julienned carrot and jicama for some moist bites.

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As main course served with steaming rice, we had the Itik Tim (Duck & Salted Vegetable Soup/鹹菜鴨湯). The duck pieces had the right tenderness. The soup had the right flavors from the salted green mustard (kiam chye), preserved salted plum, tomatoes, peppercorns, onions, dried chilies and young galangal but it was rather salty. This Nyonya duck soup may look easy to cook but without the right skills to get rid of the excess saltiness in the salted vegetables and the right tuning in saltiness and sourness from the preserved salted plums, the whole dish may end up disastrous. I was also wondering why young galangal were used in this recipe as old ginger would be a better choice to pep up the flavors with a more gingery spice taste. Moreover, this was one great ingredient to get rid of the “gas” as believed in the traditional Nyonya cooking.

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As for the Nyonya Yellow Curry Chicken (娘惹風雞肉黃咖哩), it did not amaze me much as the usage of curry powder was overwhelming. It was not even near Nyonya, Malay or even Indian style of cooking. The flavor was rather flat, sweet and sandy without the prominent flavors from star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom and more. There were no traces of tomatoes too for that mild sourness and a pinch or two of salt would have given the dish a better justice.

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The next dish which was the Assam Prawns (阿參蝦) also had a big twist in the recipe. Other than the normal marinate of tamarind, sugar and salt, the prawns had some shrimp paste (belacan) added in. I won’t say it was a totally bad fusion but it indeed tasted out from the norm. As this is a hotel and having white shelled prawns which were costlier would be quite impossible for their budget, tiger prawns were used instead. It really did not bring out the flavors as I would have expected.

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Their Jiu Hoo Char (Stir Fried Jicama with Dried Cuttlefish/魷魚炒甜蘿蔔絲) would have made my Mum screamed for originality. I would rather have this filled in my Kuih Pie Tee instead. Basically, the dish consisted of unevenly julienned jicama, carrots and French beans stir fried with some dried cuttlefish. The taste was just average considering that no meat pieces were added in and no extra fragrance from some thinly sliced Chinese mushrooms at all. I won’t even consider this dish as Nyonya at all although this is one of the signature dishes in Peranakan cuisine.

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As for dessert, we had some Bee Koh Moy (Black Glutinous Rice Porridge/黑糯米粥) topped with some slightly salted coconut milk. Somehow the dessert lacked some white glutinous rice added in to give it the extra thickness. They could have added in some dried longan as well for some natural sweetness and flavor.

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We also had an assortment of Nyonya Kuih such as the Mini Ang Koo, Cai Tao Kuih (Radish Cake with Pounded Peanuts), Kuih Bingka Ubi (Tapioca Cake), 9 Layers Kuih Lapis (Gao Chan Gou) and Kuih Bengkang (purple color).

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Since it’s still the durian season in Penang now, Chef Franco treated us with his latest creation, Durian Layer Cake. It had a mix of some fresh branded durian flesh added in.

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Overall, I would still prefer the authentic Peranakan/Nyonya cuisine rather than the fusion versions served at Swez Brasserie. This dishes served here might suit the taste buds of foreigners but to us Penangites who were born and bred in the Peranakan influenced tradition, the dishes were too mild. Peranakan cuisine is all about making the best usage of herbs and spices to storm out dishes that would be filled with rich flavors for the palate of a family. Some cuisine can’t be too fusion at all as it would kill the authentic flavors of yesteryears. Personally, my preference would still be Ivy’s Kitchen in the heart of George Town for a more authentic Peranakan cuisine.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

PERANAKAN CUISINE PROMOTION (1-31 JULY 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion (George Town World Heritage Day – 7 July 2012): RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD & VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Peranakan Cuisine Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

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.

EASTINHOTELMAP

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: 6/10 (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)

 

NYONYA STYLE PORK BELLY IN SOY SAUCE (TAU EWE BAK)

Posted by crizlai On May - 21 - 2011

On and off, I would love to cook a big pot of NYONYA STYLE PORK BELLY IN SOY SAUCE (TAU EWE BAK) to go with my meal, whether it’s on hot steaming rice, on some plain instant noodles or just as a dip with some fresh bread or buns. It’s so simple to cook and yet fulfilling for a whole family of adults and children. Let me share with you the delicious recipe.

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INGREDIENTS:
1kg pork (1/2kg of pork belly and 1/2kg of loin meat – cut in huge chunks)
7 porcelain spoon premium soy sauce
2 porcelain spoon premium dark soy sauce
2 porcelain spoon premium oyster sauce
2pcs cinnamon bark (3”)
2 whole star anise
1 porcelain spoon sugar/brown sugar
1 porcelain spoon pepper corn (slightly crush)
1 porcelain spoon five spice powder
1 whole garlic bulb (removes roots only and slightly crush individual bulb)
5-7 porcelain spoon water (depending on the amount of gravy required)

OPTIONAL:
10 hard boiled eggs
5-10pcs deep fried bean curds (halved in triangles)

PREPARATION:
1. Wash the chunks of meat with salt and drain well.
2. Pour the washed meat into a pressure cooker and mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Close lid and cook at HIGH fire.
4. Upon hearing a strong hissing sound from the built-up pressure, lower the fire to MEDIUM-LOW and cook for 15 minutes.
5. Wait for the pressure to be released about 10 minutes later and add in the optional items. Let them soak for about 30 minutes before serving with steamed rice, noodles, bread or buns.

Note:
1. I used a mixture of pork belly and loin meat as I do not want too much of fatty meat for my dish.
2. This version of cooking is very different compared to the Hokkien style as it has thicker but less gravy.
3. DO NOT add in bean curds if you intend to keep the dish for a few days as the bean curd will get spoiled easily under humid weather.
4. For freshness, it’s best in chiller for 3 days. Otherwise, store in freezer up to a week. For reheating, it’s best to steam the dish to maintain the meat’s tenderness. Microwaving the dish would dry up the meat and cause a lot of splatters due to the fat from the meat.

(Serves: 8-10)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

GOING GAGA OVER A NYONYA

Posted by crizlai On June - 14 - 2010

I was at one time crazy over “Little Nyonya – 小娘惹”, a Singaporean TV series being aired on our local channel some time last year. The storyline was based on the lives of a large Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) family during the 30’s where traditions and cuisines played important roles in their daily affairs. What impressed me most were not the great performances by the artistes nor the beautiful arrays of fine dining wares or building architectures but the tedious food preparation time each Nyonya (female) would spend in the kitchen to ascertain that their Baba (male) would be well taken care of. In this modern era, most of the olden methods of using the batu giling (granite grinder) or batu tumbuk (granite mortar and pestle) to get the best flavors and textures out of the many spices available were gradually replaced by the convenience and speedy processing time of the electric blenders. Part of this cooking tradition might be gone but the recipes for these delicious Nyonya cuisines still remained in our generation. One of the restaurants which are real keen in preserving the taste of the good old days is Nyonya Breeze, located right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang.

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The first dish that was served to us was the tedious dish which required much patience in slicing, cutting and chopping of herbs and ingredients – the Nasi Ulam (RM7.00). This healthy dish contained many raw jungle herbs (basically about 6-8 types but different races would have other different add-ons) tossed with cold-down steamed rice plus toasted grated coconut (kerisik), dried shrimps, toasted belacan powder, fried salted fish and other raw spices. You can check out more in detail from my Nasi Ulam recipe here. What was served at Nyonya Breeze was nice, considering that it was meant for commercial consumption. However, some further enhancements could have pep up the taste more. For example, each rice grain could have been a bit more moist and soft to avoid having such dryness in the overall dish. Sliced shallots should be used instead of big onions for that extra spiciness. Dried shrimps and fried salted fish could have been added more generously to bring out the combined fragrance and saltiness in the dish.

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Sambal Goreng (RM14.40 small, RM19.20 large), a deceiving name for a dish that looked rather pale white minus the red color of pounded chilies got us dumbfounded. It was not spicy and the dish had thumbs up from everyone. The unique fragrance emitted from the eggplant and prawn dish clearly shown the existence of lemongrass and thick coconut milk with a trace of some tamarind juice, belacan and blended spices, colored by a few chili slices and garnished with fried garlic and cashew nuts. Simply delicious!

Note: The Indonesian version might add in some deep fried bean curd cubes and tempe (fermented soybean).

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Next on the line up was the Heh Ya Kay Char Bak (RM12.00 small, RM16.80 large – stir fry pork belly slices with fermented krill aka cincalok). Cincalok is actually the fermentation of small shrimps (krill) in salt and rice. What I expected was a dish with the signature saltiness from the cincalok but was presented with one in an overpowering sweetness. I guessed the chef should have added a bit more of the cincalok and reduced the sugar usage for a healthier dish.

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There was also the Inche Kabin (RM12.00 small, RM16.80 large) served with some prawn crackers. The Inche Kabin is actually a type of Nyonya deep fried chicken. Some families would marinate their choice chicken pieces with just Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins) plus some chili or curry powder. Some would add in turmeric powder for that extra spiciness or even some ginger juice to tenderize the meat. Overall, the end result would still be a plate of juicy and crispy fried chicken. The restaurant did a good job here in ascertain the crispiness of the chicken while maintaining the golden brown color of the chicken. As for the taste, it would need more hours of marinating as the chicken pieces were not flavorful enough for my liking. This dish was served with “Ang Mo Tao Ewe” aka Worcestershire sauce and sliced red chilies.

Note: The secret to a crispier fried chicken lies in double frying the chicken pieces in low fire. Dip the fried chicken pieces in the existing marinate for a second time and deep fry it again. You have to make sure your timing right to avoid overcooking the meat. Secondly, you can make your own dipping sauce for future usage if you have the time. It needed the brewing some first grade soy sauce with some mustard powder, cloves and cinnamon barks. For every 3 bottles of soy sauce, you would get only two bottles left after brewing and filtering the spices.

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Assam Pedas Ikan Selah (RM16.80) was also served. Fresh and chubby ikan selah (yellowtail scads) were used in this moderately spiced sweet and sour dish. This taste of the soup was almost similar to that of the Penang Nyonya Laksa but with a more prominent sourness from the sliced pineapple. The ladies would surely love this dish.

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We were also served with Pee Hu Char (RM8.40 small, RM12.00 large & RM2.40 for additional lettuce to wrap in). The distinctive differences between this dish and its sister, Jiu Hu Char, lied in the cutting of the vegetables and usage of the dry seafood. The latter would be in strips, a bit moist and using Jiu Hu Si (cuttlefish strips) whereas every ingredient in the Pee Hu Char would in cubes, a bit dry and using deep fried sole fish (pee hu). The ingredients included pork slices, jicama (sengkuang), carrots, cabbages, onions, Shitake mushrooms and of course the boss of the dish, dried sole fish. What lacked in this dish here were the standard thickness and size cutting of the vegetables and the scarcity of the deep fried dried sole fish cubes. The vegetables should have been a bit smaller in size with equal thickness. It was obvious that they have been using a “kitchen helper” to slice them in a hurry as the vegetables were too thin for bites, especially for this dish. Moreover, the deep fried dried sole fish were chopped into too tiny bits and not sufficient enough for me to taste their presence. Although it’s understandable that dried sole fish fillets are rather expensive in this region, I would suggest that they are cut in bigger cubes sizes. After all, that’s the name of the dish and we should enjoy it as it is instead of having some stir fry vegetable cubes.

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I also did request for an additional Nyonya-style Mee Sua Tao (RM6.00, additional crab meat at RM2.40) to try out their ala carte menu. The dish had some mee sua (salted wheat flour vermicelli) cooked in a broth like soup with some sliced pork, prawns and fuzzy melon/squash (毛瓜/mo kua). Although it did look healthy but it was a bit too bland for my liking. I suspected that they were not using thick stock (上湯) to add more flavors into the dish. I guess my home cooked Mee Sua Tao recipe would be a bit too much to ask for. 😛

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As for dessert, we had Seh Liu Chi (RM2.50), a pomegranate flavored jelly served in ice with jackfruit cubes and coconut milk. This much forgotten colorful Nyonya dessert once dominated the dessert scene when I was a kid until more and more of the fusion desserts came into the scene during the 90’s. As for me, I would prefer Cendol instead as it gave more flavors and bites. Moreover, this dessert would be better if served on shaved ice instead of ice cubes.

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As for beverages, you can try out their hot or cold Ginger Tea (RM2.00/RM2.20), Nutmeg Juice (RM2.00/RM2.20), or Chrysanthemum Tea (RM1.30/RM1.40).

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Overall, the food served here can be much better with a bit more adjustments in the recipes. Moreover, from the point of a seasoned diner, I felt that they should look into the availability of certain dishes and desserts for more options.

If you are coming from Traders Hotel/Komtar along Jalan Magazine, you would reach a traffic light (Jalan Magazine/Jalan Penang/Jalan Macalister). Drive all the way straight into Jalan Macaslister. You would see Menara UMNO on your right next to Jalan Zainal Abidin. Drive on until you see Red Rock Hotel on your right. Turn right into Lorong Abu Siti. About 50m away on your left, you would see the single storey restaurant (directly opposite Red Rock Commercial Centre).

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Name: NYONYA BREEZE
Address: 50, Lorong Abu Siti, 10400 Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 9646
Business Hours:
11.30am-2.30pm (lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (dinner)
Closed every Tuesday except public holidays
GPS: 5.417325, 100.323079

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

Attendees: Criz Lai, Steven Goh, Carrie Soon, Sam Lee

SPICY NYONYA NASI ULAM (JUNGLE HERBS RICE) RECIPE

Posted by Criz Lai On October - 23 - 2008

Cooking Nyonya cuisines which are normally spicy, tangy, herbal and aromatic has always required a lot of patience. In fact, the preparation alone for most of the dishes would take up a long time as it involved so much hard work in slicing, cutting and chopping of herbs and ingredients. Some such examples could be seen in dishes like Laksa, Perut Ikan, Acar Awak, Otak Otak and many more. But there is one dish that even some of the established Nyonya restaurants such as Hot Wok did not have it in their menu as it involved a lot of tedious fine slicing of many herbal leaves – SPICY NYONYA NASI ULAM (JUNGLE HERBS RICE)

This dish is definitely a very healthy diet as most of the ingredients are taken raw. My demised grandmother had made this yummy dish all the time, so have my mother some of the time. Before it ended up in my generation that none of us would even remember the existence of this dish, I would like to take some time to prepare this dish and share with you my heirloom recipe. Although I am not the descendants of the Baba-Nyonya, I would love to see someone pick up this recipe and be proud that it has been part of the Malaysian cuisines.

NASIULAM

INGREDIENTS A:
4 plastic cups of rice (about 1kg of cooked rice)
100gms dried shrimps (soak, dice, fry & cool)
100gms salted ikan kurau (treadfin) meat (cut small thin slices, fry and cool)
1 teaspoon belacan (shrimp paste) powder – Maggi
3 tablespoon kerisik (toasted and pounded grated coconut)
1/2” fresh turmeric (chop finely)
10 mint leaves (daun pudina – chop finely)
3 screwpine leaves (daun pandan – knotted)
Salt, sugar and grounded black pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS B (FINELY SLICED):
6 shallots
1 stalk lemongrass (serai – use the thinner end only)
1/2 stalk torch ginger flower (bunga kantan)
4 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
6 polygonum leaves (daun kesom/laksa leaves/Vietnamese mint)
6 asiatica pennywort leaves (daun pegaga)
2 turmeric leaves (daun kunyit)
15 basil leaves (daun selasih)
4 galangal leaves (daun cekur)
10 wild betel leaves (daun kaduk/Piper sarmentosum)

GARNISHING:
1 cucumber (halves and sliced)
Sambal Belacan (fresh shrimp paste chili sauce)
Some wild betel leaves (optional)
Some mint leaves (optional)

PREPARATION:

1. Cook rice. When cooked, loosen the rice and fold in the knotted screwpine leaves. Leave aside to be fully cool. Make sure the rice maintain the grain shape but still soft.
2. Find a large container (4 times the amount of the rice would do).
3. Toss evenly all the ingredients in A & B and serve.
4. You can eat it just as it plain or garnish it with the above garnishing with side seafood dishes like Assam Prawns, Assam Fish, Grilled Fish or even some dry meat curries. Sambal Belacan and cucumber is a must if you like the dish spicier.

(Serves: 4-6)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

HOT WOK

Posted by Criz Lai On July - 14 - 2008

NOTE: This restaurant has ceased their operation after many decades. The chef had migrated to Perth Australia recently in 2011. Alternatively, you can still try out their traditional Nyonya spread at another outlet – “The Wok” Authentic Penang Nyonya & Local Cuisine, 26 Jalan PJU 5/21, The Strand, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya. 603-6142 7388 / 012-263 5460

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Ever wonder where you would treat yourself or your guests to a sumptuous Peranakan (Straits Chinese) meal with great indoor and outdoor ambience? You should check out Hot Wok, a stunning Peranakan theme restaurant, which has just relocated right into the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Since the Nyonya restaurant started its operation in 1994, they have impressed many locals and foreigners with their quality food and great history on the Peranakan culture.

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Walking into the restaurant is like walking back into time as the interior and exterior of the restaurant are beautifully decorated with intricate wooden carvings and fabricated windows of the heydays. The existence of beautiful marble top coffee tables, wooden chairs, hanging porcelain lamps and many unique artifacts adorning the walls within the restaurant will allow you to experience the feeling of dining as a Nyonya or Baba. If you are observant enough, you may find a few great museum pieces proudly being displayed along the walls. Some are originals as far back as the early 19th Century.

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I revisited the place together with a friend of mine recently and found that the quality of the food served there has not change at all. Hot Wok has been one of the pioneers in Nyonya Cuisine in Penang. In fact, there are many other restaurants booming up to cater to the high demand on Nyonya food recently but what they lack in is the atmosphere and Peranakan experience that Hot Wok was able to provide.

We ordered a few dishes such as the Lobak (RM8), Jiu Hoo Char (RM8) and Curry Chicken Kapitan (RM14) to be taken with rice.

The Lobak (meat roll) is made out of fresh pork marinated in 5-spice powder with other ingredients and wrapped in tofu skin. The end product would then be deep fried to get the crunchiness and golden color.

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The Jiu Hoo Char is a combination of cuttlefish strips stir fried with stripped turnips, carrots, mushrooms, pork and at times big onions. This dish is best eaten when wrapped in a fresh lettuce leaves.

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The Curry Chicken Kapitan was indeed good. Choice pieces of thighs and drumsticks were cooked in blended spices, lime juice, Kaffir lime leaves and thick coconut milk. This dish was good compared to the rest of the places I have taken as the gravy was thick and nice.

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We ordered some great desserts such as the Chilled Sago with Jackfruit (RM3.50) and Chilled Sago with Honey Dew (RM3.50). Both were topped with creamy coconut milk.

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Since the boss also recommended their famous Hokkien Mee (RM4), we tried out a bowl and the dish was great. The sweetness of the soup is incompatible to those I have taken before. I could imagine the amount of bones and long hours they have taken to get the thickness of the soup. You can even have addons such as pork ribs as well as their crunchy roasted pork. The price might come up to RM7 but you sure won’t regret ordering such a quality bowl of Hokkien Mee. Anyway, you do not have to worry too as they will also allow you to use your credit cards on Hokkien Mee purchases. Well, I don’t think I know any other hawker stalls in Penang that provides this sort of services, do you?

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Overall, the total price came up to RM53.70 which included a 10% service charge (RM4.90) for the appetizer, food and drinks. I won’t consider this expensive as Nyonya cuisine required a lot of preparations. Moreover, the food was of quality.

You won’t miss the restaurant as it is situated within two shoplots just between Nagore Place and Giant Supermarket along Jalan Burmah. As for parking, you can always find ample parking spaces within the Giant Supermarket compound or along Jalan Nagore.

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Name: HOT WOK
Address: 124-E&F, Jalan Burmah, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-227 3368
Website: www.hotwok.com.my
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 1.00am
GPS: 5.420987, 100.325378

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: 8/10 (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 excelle
nt)

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