Friday, September 22, 2017

Chuan Style Steamboat (川谱格调火锅) @ Bagan Jermal, Penang.

More and more China Chinese Steamboat/ Hot Pot restaurants sprung up in Penang recently, Chuan Style Steamboat occupies a prominent spot at Bagan Jermal (T-junction of Mount Erskine and Burmah Road). The restaurant has huge posters on "Sze Chuan Face-Changing Opera" (变脸) and it does not take long for one to figure out what type of cuisine they are serving. The selections here are huge, ranging from the classic Sze Chuan Spicy Hot Pot to some uncommon Soups as well as some familiar Sze Chuan dishes. But most diners are here for its Hot Pot; the price points are however, not as wallet-friendly as budget-watchers would have hoped. A standard meal here is easily more than Rm 50 per pax so the place is more for occasions in lieu of regular meals.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

O House Station Cafe (老厝站) @ Bukit Tambun, Simpang Ampat, Penang.

Cafe hopping is not really a famous thing to do at Bukit Tambun, the fishing village is seafood paradise known for an insane amount of seafood restaurants but what if I told you that you could have both in one go? O House Station Cafe is both a cafe and a seafood restaurant, it promotes home-styled seafood dishes yet in a cafe setting. The quaint cafe is a stone's throw distance away from the junction near Simpang Ampat and Batu Kawan (entrance to Bukit Tambun) and has an old-school, classic interior decor. Do not expect the usual cafe fare here, it offers home-cooked delights and seasonal seafood offering. While simple rice and noodle dishes are commonly ordered here, their seafood dishes are not to be forsaken. They are subject to availability (supply of seafood). Ask the friendly proprietor on the freshest produce of the day and she will be able to recommend a few; make your reservation in advance if you have anything specifically in mind otherwise.

A Short Getaway to Port Dickson?

It’s the time of the travel season again. If your travel bug bites, why not scratch that itch by travelling locally? A short 45 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur will land you at a serene town at west coast of Malaysia. It’s not entirely a destination packed with a lot of tourist attractions but more than good enough for a short family getaway or quick weekend escape from city. The holiday destination houses some of the coolest accommodations you can ever find- Hotel Avilion Admiral Cove, Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson, Bayu Beach Resort, Ancasa Residences Port Dickson and Klana Beach Resort Port Dickson. With Traveloka Malaysia, booking hotels online has never been so easy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam (胡志明市,越南) 2017.

My previous trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was a couple years ago (read my previous entry here), with the newly introduced Penang to Ho Chi Minh route (direct flight via Air Asia); Penangites have better access to the metropolitan city now. It only takes 2 hours to reach Tan Son Nhat International Airport; Malaysians entering Vietnam need not apply for Visa and will be automatically granted a 30-day Visa upon arrival. These attractive features make the place a convenient and most importantly, inexpensive destination for a short family getaway.

Ho Chi Minh City is experiencing rapid development- so many new buildings have sprung up and the economy of the country is picking up, evidently seen from the Foreign Direct Investments, particularly from Japan and South Korea. It is expecting a metro transit network in 2019 but for now, tourists visiting the city may count on Grab and Uber, for easier access to the city's attractions. While Vinasun remains as the most reliable Taxi service-provider, Grab/ Uber typically cuts the margin by 20-30% so it is definitely more wallet-friendly to travel with Grab/ Uber. 

Benh Thanh Street Food Market
Address: 26-28-30, Thu Khoa Huan, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 
Business Hours: 9 am to 11 pm. Opens Daily. 
Prices are nett.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bei Tou Squid Snack (北投鱿鱼) @ The Golden Triangle, Relau, Penang.

While Taiwanese food can be common and familiar to Penangites, there are still some unconventional Taiwanese delicacies that are uncommonly found in Penang. This new kid on the block- Bei Tou Squid Snack (北投鱿鱼), a brand originates from Taiwan that serves fast-casual Taiwanese food; is housed at a quiet corner of The Golden Triangle at Relau, the Taiwanese chain brought along some of the special highlights directly from Taiwan. Unlike most Taiwanese joints around, Bei Tou does not offer a big menu but a series of carefully chosen Taiwanese delights.... so the indecisive will not be overwhelmed by selections. Notable highlights are Taiwanese street-snacks like Dumplings, Scallion Pancakes, braised Tofu, thickened Soup; often ordered over Rice or Noodles. Price points are low-middle range but serving portion is relatively small.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sea Brew Restaurant. Bar. Coffee @ Gurney Drive, Penang.

It's uncommon for Gurney Drive to have new restaurants, the seafront promenade already has a spate of well-established cafes and restaurants. Sea Brew is a rare occasion; previously a hawker place and now turned into a cozy Cafe-Bar space. The facade is inviting, with wide and bright entrance; Sea Brew comes across as a cafe due to its setting but amazingly, the bewilder menu comprises of Steamboat Hot Pot, Western Cuisine and some home-made sweet treats, with options of alcoholic beverages (big menu but not all were available on our visit). But a meal here costs a bomb, expect to pay at least Rm 30 for a main course; while we did enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with soothing sea breeze, we thought the food quality did not quite well-justify the hefty price tags. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Omaya Korean Spiced Chicken @ Queensbay Mall, Penang.

There is no doubt that Korean cuisine is having a certified moment in Penang; one of the biggest names in the Korean food industry- Omaya has finally landed on this northern State of Malaysia. The Korean joint has international presence and has more than 100 branches across 8 countries. The latest addition at Penang marks the brand's fifth branch in Malaysia. Instead of classic traditional Korean restaurant setting, Omaya takes on a younger approach- industrialized workshop interior decor, offering modern Korean delights with a twist. What truly separates Omaya with other Korean food joints (in Penang) is the introduction of gooey melted Cheese into the Korean dishes as well as its signature Seafood Platter or Korean Hot Stew. The selection here is compelling; this is a place suitable for large groups of people so tucking in the abundance Seafood platter or gigantic Korean Hot Stew makes more sense than dining out alone. With the availability of alcohol (particularly their Soju drinks), this place is suitable for gatherings. Omaya Queensbay Mall can be found at 2nd floor, right next to Sakae Sushi in the center atrium.

Many Thanks to Omaya for hosting us that evening.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A.M. Noshery @ Island Glades, Gelugor, Penang.

Unlike any other places that serve Western Breakfast, AM Noshery serves breakfast differently. The 'Breakfast in a Cup' concept is popular in other countries but not in Penang but that is exactly what makes AM Noshery stands out amongst the rest. Leveraged on the brilliant idea of combining Bacon with Egg, the unassuming cafe within the neighborhood of Island Glades has proven to be one of the favorite spots for the parents to convince their young children eating breakfast. Those with stubborn Asian palate are not forsaken here, AM Noshery offers Asian staples like Rice and Noodles but ironically, we found the noodle dish out-shined its signature AM cups.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Relau 88 Assam Laksa @ Relau, Penang.

Penang has never run out of hidden gems, especially when food is concerned. Relau 88 Laksa is one good secret, the Assam Laksa stall housed within a garden supply shop at a corner house along Jalan Paya Terubong at Relau has been serving pleasurable Assam Laksa for months. Since it shares the same place as the garden supply store, the place is surrounded with charming flowers but it does get stuffy under the sultry hot weather. Positive reputation spread through words of mouth, the place is now thronged with patrons in the know. It is particularly busy on weekends, especially for those who yearn for a light, refreshing lunch/ snack. But Relau 88 is not a one trick pony, the locals' favorite icy sweet treats- Cendol and Ice Kacang are also available to cool your summer day.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Spacebar Coffee @ Lorong Toh Aka, Georgetown, Penang.

More reasons for locals and travelers (especially cafe hoppers) to uncover the beauty of laneways in Penang, particularly those narrow alleys seemingly lacked of maintenance. Some cafe proprietors saw the "charm" of this heritage site and have decided to run their businesses there. One of such is Spacebar Coffee, the same brand that runs the cafe housed within Sekeping Victoria. It's latest venture at Lorong Toh Aka, a long-forgotten back-lane behind the bustling Beach Street; has a laid-back atmosphere but the irregular red-bricks on the wall exude a mysterious warmth, making the place pretty amiable for gathering or casual meet ups. Currently in its soft-launch mode, tables are pretty limited so expect to share your table with other visitors. On the menu, it has a few in-house blends (for Coffee) and Tea, with a couple of home-made Cake choices. It does not serve main so unlikely a place to get your breakfast/ lunch settled.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mr. Dakgalbi Korean Restaurant @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.

Dakgalbi, a type of Korean stir-fry dish with Gochujang sauce, has been well-received by Malaysians. One of the biggest players- Mr. Dakgalbi has recently opened a new branch at Gurney Plaza. With its success in central Malaysia, the spread of news on the brand expanding its business operations to Penang was quick; many ardent fans of Korean Dakgalbi were seen queuing patiently over the weekend, just to have their cravings fixed. The franchised restaurant has a small menu dedicated for Dakgalbi but their unique selling point is none other than their alluring Cheese Ring where diners get to enjoy the stir-fried Chicken with pulls of gooey, stretchy melted Cheese.

Monday, September 4, 2017

May Fong (美芳) Ipoh Chicken Rice and Hor Fun @ Kampung Benggali, Butterworth, Penang.

It's no secret that Butterworth is home to a few good restaurants that serve delicious Poached Chicken and one of the oldest names in this "expertise" is May Fong Restaurant at Kampung Benggali, Butterworth. It's impossible to miss the place during lunch hours, the place is often thronged with regular patrons especially during weekends. Families bringing the old and young is a common sight here, it is possibly the de-facto dining place for those living in the neighborhood. The menu is small here, in fact, only Poached Chicken and Wan Ton.... with Rice or Ipoh-styled Hor Fun (with add-ons like blanched Sprouts or Vegetables) but more than enough to entice the crowd. The best time to visit would be around 11 am or expect to wait for at least half an hour before your orders are served. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

All Season Melon Cup Steamboat (四季冬瓜盅火锅) @ Lorong Selamat, Georgetown, Penang.

What's better way to soothe the stomach other than having Hot Pot? All Season Melon Cup Steamboat (四季冬瓜盅火锅) picked the right wet season to start the business in Penang, the newly opened Hot Pot restaurant serves its Hot Pot with style.... using Winter Melon. While this may be the first in Penang but the concept has been long-practiced in countries like China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. It is just like it sounds- diners to cook the Hot Pot ingredients inside the Winter Melon. The cooling effect of the Winter Melon is believed to negate or balance the 'heatiness' of having Hot Pot. Further to that, the Chinese restaurant offers Set orders that can complement the Winter Melon to bring medicinal effects but be prepared that you may be taken aback by the price points (the total damage for 3 of us was close to Rm 200). Not too bad for an occasionally fun and exciting dining experience (and invigorating meal) but unlikely to visit frequently. All Season Melon Cup Steamboat is located next to T&T Prawn Mee Shop (adjacent to the famous Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hua Hee Restaurant (欢喜中餐厅) @ Sungai Ara, Penang.

Opened in late 2016, Hua Hee Restaurant has quick become one of the favorite dining spots for the factory workers nearby and the nearby residents. The restaurant offers plethora of genuine home-styled Malaysian Chinese cuisine; staples are available but parents will be relieved to hear that there are plenty of kids-friendly options. While classics can be found here, expect to see some with a creative twist. Reasonable price points, sincere serving portions with flavorful dishes, the fully air-conditioned restaurant is suitable for any casual family meal, or a quick lunch to fuel your day. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Yuan Wei Restaurant (圆味粥面馆) @ Cintra Street, Georgetown, Penang.

Yuan Wei took social media by storm earlier ago when it was first introduced and made famous by Penang social media players. Many were impressed (visually) by the hearty, home-cooked Cantonese spread but a meal does not come cheap here at Yuan Wei. A basic bowl of Fish Meat Bee Hoon would cost up slightly more than Rm 10 but the portion commensurate with the price tag and quality. Notable highlights include their Fish Meat Bee Hoon with Milky Soup, Tom Yum Noodles, Cantonese Porridge, Stir-Fry dishes and Deep Fried Crispy Fish. Regardless of your age, the big menu would be able to offer something for you; the fully air-conditioned Chinese restaurant is a place most suitable for a casual family meal.