Savoring The Best All Over Town…


Posted by Criz Lai On December - 21 - 2008

Today is the celebration of the Dongzhi Festival or Winter Solstice Festival. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term on or around December 22 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. This year, it’s celebrated a day earlier due to being a leap year. This is the time when family members would gather, making and eating of colored balls of glutinous rice which symbolize reunion. Normally, the Tang Yuan would be taken in a sweet soup broth (plain or brown sugar) with or without a touch of ginger flavor.


What I’m going to share today is the recipe for making this wonderful Tang Yuan in a savory soup version. This is normally home cook in some of the Hokkien families in China and would not be easily obtained in any of the local restaurants. I called the dish the SAVORY TANG YUAN.


250gms glutinous rice flour
250gms minced pork
250gms lean pork
1 small jicama (yam bean/sengkuang)
1 carrot
1 stalk Chinese celery
4 pips garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tbsp salt
Some pepper
3 liter water

Fried garlic oil
Chopped Chinese celery

Pork Liver
Pork Kidney
Pork Intestine

1. Heat up the wok. Add in 3 tablespoon of oil and sauté the chopped garlic until golden brown. Scoop and leave aside to cool.
2. Put the minced meat into a mixing bowl. Add in some pepper, 2 tablespoon each of chopped Chinese celery, chopped carrot, sesame oil, light soy sauce, corn/tapioca starch, and one tablespoon each of oyster sauce and fried garlic. Mix evenly.
3. Oil a metal plate and lay the rolled meat balls and steam for 5 minutes. Leave aside to cool.
4. Cut the remaining carrot, jicama and lean pork into slices.
5. Bring 3 liter pot of water to boil. Add in Item 4.
6. Add in 1/2 tablespoon salt, some pepper, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and sesame oil and boil until left 2/3 pot.
7. Fold in some water, pinch of salt into the glutinous rice flour until dough like. (Note: sprinkle some more water if it’s too dry or lay the dough onto a towel if it’s too wet)
8. Take some dough and roll into a ball. Flatten it with your palm and fill it with a meat ball. Slowly roll it back into a ball. Repeat the same step until you used up all the dough. (Note: Lay a tray and place a towel on it. Place the rolled glutinous rice balls on it)
9. Bring a pot of water to boil and slowly put in all the glutinous rice balls. Cooked glutinous rice ball will float up.
10. Put whatever quantity of cooked glutinous rice balls into a bowl and scoop some soup onto it.
11. Garnish with some fried garlic oil and chopped Chinese celery.

(Serves: 4-6)




Posted by Criz Lai On June - 3 - 2008


While I was down in Kuala Lumpur, I stumbled upon a stall in Low Yat Plaza selling soy milk and douhua (soy pudding). What caught my attention was the Tang Yuan served with soy milk. For your information, I love Tang Yuan and have been seen frequently patronizing the stall along Jalan Magazine in Penang.

The Soya Shop served great Tang Yuan with soy milk. It is a great dessert for the young as well as the old. Not only was the soy milk fresh and hot, you could freely choose either plain syrup or brown syrup of your choice, easily available on the table. This is a great idea for those, especially diabetics, who like it plain or not too sweet. The Tang Yuan comes in four flavors, namely Coconut, Chocolate, Red Beans and Pandan Lotus Paste. All of them were juicy soft and tasted great. Each bowl only cost RM2.80. The products served are completely halal.



I was too full from my lunch before this to try another bowl of douhua. I heard from Masak Masak that they do serve douhua with red kidney beans too but I did not see any publicity from this stall. Maybe they have it in another branch.

Photo Courtesy of Masak Masak

The Soya Shop has many branches in Hartamas Shoppig Complex (2nd Floor), Summit USJ (Ground Floor), Endah Parade (1st Floor), Low Yat Plaza (4th Floor), City Square Food Court (Lower Ground), 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Lower Ground) and Pasarakyat (Ground Floor), Giant Hypermarket, Bandar Kinara (Lower Ground) and many more to be set up soon. I managed to try out the one in Low Yat Plaza, so here is the map for the Bukit Bintang area branch.



Level 4, Low Yat Plaza, Off Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-6275 8803
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm
GPS: 3.143933, 101.709784

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


Posted by Criz Lai On May - 15 - 2008

NOTE: Shifted to New Lane shop house (opposite Sunway Hotel Georgetown)


I thought other than the famous stall down in the town area selling Tang Yuan, there were no other stalls selling this yummy dessert, other than on some auspicious occasions. CK Lam from What2See pointed out that there is another stall down at Perak Road area. This stall is selling Hong Kong Tang Yuan, much cheaper than the ones we get from HK Wong Kok Restaurant.

Each bowl of Tang Yuan comes with two filled Tang Yuan (Peanut & Black Sesame) some smaller Tang Yuan and gingko nuts. You can opt for different soup base such as ginger, kooi hua, soy beans or red beans. All the soups are not too sweet. It is suitable for elderly people and children. The filling for the Tang Yuan is blended very fine, so is the red beans for the soup.

The pricing is very reasonable as each bowl cost only RM2.50. Other than serving Tang Yuan, there have a few varieties of Jelly for you to choose from. The shop is close on Monday and Friday. On Friday, you can get them at the Pasar Malam (Night Market) just opposite the stall as early as 6.30pm.

We ordered two bowls of the Tang Yuan with soy beans and red beans soup base. Here is how they look like.




Finding the stall might be a bit troublesome if you do not know the location well. If you are traveling through Jalan Dato Keramat into Jalan Perak, drive straight pass the Jalan P. Ramlee traffic light, straight again at the Sum Sun Primary School, Jalan Free School traffic light. As you pass the traffic light, you will see the Bomba HQ on your left. Move ahead about 400m and you will see another traffic light. The stall is in front of Kafe Aik Hwa right before the traffic light on your left. Parking might be a problem if you are driving a car but you can always try parking at the lane before the stall.



Address: Perak Road, Penang, Malaysia
Contact: 019-476 3618 (Toh), 012-594 9892 (Ch’ng)
Opening Hours: 7.00pm – 11.00pm
(Closed on Monday and Friday at Pasar Malam)
GPS: 5.399784, 100.315164

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


Posted by Criz Lai On May - 11 - 2008

Note: The stall would be relocated to a few shop houses away at Kedai Kopi Bee Hong on 12 May 2012 to enable some construction works


Maybe some of the foreigners may not know what is Tang Yuan but I can assure you that this dessert is very delicious. Tang Yuan is made out of glutinous rice flour mixed with water and form into small balls, either plain or colored. They can also be eaten unfilled or filled. You can opt for plain syrup or brown syrup cooked with or without old ginger slices. The most common filling would be red bean paste, black sesame paste or peanut paste. My grandmother used to fill them up with minced pork, cook them in boiling water and served them with chicken soup and vegetables. I really missed that and could not find anyone else selling it this way. I guessed the recipe went with her as well.

Anyway, Tang Yuan was originally served only during Lantern Festival, Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year. Today, they can be found easily in the frozen food section of any Asian supermarkets around the world. No matter what, I would still prefer those made fresh as they are softer. It has always been a tedious job and time consuming rolling the glutinous rice flour into balls but now you can just get them easily throughout the year. Where would you find the best Tang Yuan shop in Penang? The stall is right in the heart of Georgetown.

Recently, I visited the famous stall to savor the yummy dessert. My friend and I ordered two different combinations just to show you what Tang Yuan looked like. One bowl was filled Tang Yuan in gingered brown syrup whereas the other was unfilled Tang Yuan in plain syrup.



Just look at the fully filled Black Sesame and Peanut Tang Yuan. Don’t they look yummy?



Do not miss the opportunity to try out this wonderful dessert when you are in town during dinner time. The stall is situated by the roadside just diagonally opposite Traders Hotel, Magazine Road as well as Lebuh Lintang leading to Sushi King Prangin Mall. It is right after the second traffic lights on your left if you are coming from Jelutong Expressway towards town.


Address: Magazine Road, Penang, Malaysia. (Opposite Traders Hotel)
Contact: 016-477 7764 (Ah Hock), 016-454 4031 (Anna)
Opening Hours: 7.00pm – 12.00am (Closed on Wednesday and Sunday)
GPS: 5.413039, 100.330603

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

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