Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mamthai Seafood (满泰式海鲜) @ Simpang Amat, Penang.

Operating for more than 15 years, Mamthai is known to serve some of the best authentic Thai food in the neighborhood. The exterior of the place might not be too appealing to some (no fancy, persuasive signage, not fully air-conditioned and the seating arrangement is not impressive at all) but regular patrons just know when and how to make their way back there. The non-elaborate menu can be found on the wall but with limited information (not even the prices); speak to the servers and they will be glad to suggest or recommend the signature dishes. While we did not think their food was mind-blowingly good, the prices were unexpectedly affordable. Not too shabby for a casual family meal.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Make an Informed Purchasing Decision with ProductNation

Malaysians are known as some of the avid travelers in the world, we basically travel a lot and traveling has been part of our lifestyle. On my recent trip to Europe and UK, I have done quite an extensive research to make sure everything runs smoothly during the trip, not only travel electronics but travel tips to remind ourselves on what to pack too. We tend to do more research especially on tech gadgets or expensive goods that we are not familiar with.

Cafe Droptop @ Maritime Piazza, Karpal Singh Drive, Penang.

If you are tired of the usual franchise cafes around, it's high time that you pay a visit to Cafe Droptop, a Korean-franchise brand that has recently landed on Penang. Cafe Droptop has heavy presence in Korea and in recent years, it has expanded its business operations to other Asian countries. Its first outlet in Penang can be found at Maritime Piazza. Like most franchise brands, Cafe Droptop offers a standard cafe menu with a Korean touch. The menu has a delicious mix of beverages and sweet treat; notable items include Maple Honey Toast, Bingsu (Korean Shaved Ice) and Sweet Potato Latte. Prices are on the higher side but the modern-chic atmosphere is comfortable and cozy, definitely a place where you can spend some leisure time with your friends or family. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Amsterdam (阿姆斯特丹), Netherlands (荷蘭) 2017.

Better known as Holland, Netherlands is a European country known for its flat landscape of elaborate canal system and windmills. Its capital Amsterdam, is also one of the most visited places by Malaysian, whether for leisure or business. Amsterdam has plenty of things to offer- Dutch cuisine, breath-taking scenery, vibrant nightlife and exciting happening; it's a busy city blessed with scenic countryside views. On our recent trip, we flew from Edinburgh to Amsterdam (via EasyJet, a low-cost carrier) for a short 3D2N stopover. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium, Gat Lebuh Macallum, Georgetown, Penang.

Packed into an old-defunct sawmill- "The Saw Emporium" in the heart of Georgetown, Swallow is a project/ event founded by Tharin Tan, the 4th generation owner whom decided to turn the enormous space into a multi-concept dining destination, creating a platform for food pop up events. An annex of the 67 year old heritage building has been refurbished and transformed into a space with minimalist set-up yet intriguing at the same time. It currently houses more than 5 renowned and established food and beverage outlets, with some of them being award-winning brands. The top establishments that are currently participating in "Swallow" are Teppei Syokudo (one of Singapore's best Japanese restaurants), SOi 55 (features traditional-contemporary Thai dishes), Embers (offers barbecue delights with a touch of Asian flavors), TAPS Beer Bar (The Bar Awards KL 2017 Best Beer Bar) and Qwenchers (juice bar that offers fresh fruit juices). "Swallow @ The Saw Emporium" is expected to run until Quarter 1 of 2018, till then, there will be some occasional pop up kitchens by guest Chefs or special programs curated by the management; more updates will be shared on their Facebook Page.

Many Thanks to the folks behind Steamships for hosting us that evening.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Viva La Pasta @ iStay Hotel, Rangoon Road, Georgetown, Penang.

With a name like Viva La Pasta, one would expect to see a heavy Italian fare in this newly opened restaurant. It is housed within the new budget hotel- iStay Hotel in the heart of Georgetown. Step in the cafe and you will be pleasantly amazed by how cozy the place is. While every effort was made to ensure the place lives up to the classy Italian theme but we did not think the Italian element was strong enough. In fact, we spotted a wallpaper with Chinese characters. On the menu, it offers quite a wide variety of Italian fare, ranging from Antipasto, Pizza, Pasta, Grills and even classic Italian desserts. Very wallet-friendly price points but as far as authenticity is concerned, we thought the flavors have been localized to suit the local audience. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Edinburgh (爱丁堡)/ Isle of Skye (斯凯岛), Scotland (苏格兰) 2017.

One of the four countries under United Kingdom, Scotland is the second largest of the constituent of the United Kingdom. It shares border with England and is blessed with beautiful nature. The capital Edinburgh, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a busy city with a great number of Gothic architectures. It is also known as the first European City of Literature (not a surprise for us since JK Rowling penned down Harry Potter in this city). The public transport is good with buses and trams linking most key areas of the city but if you have plans to explore the country side of Scotland (especially the highlands), renting a car is possibly a wiser choice. Do note that finding a car park in city center is a great challenge and the rates can be quite expensive so do plan your trip wisely. As part of the United Kingdom, the official currency for Scotland is Great British Pound (GBP/ £). We flew from London to Edinburgh and rented a car to explore the city (for half a day) then off for a road trip to the northern Highlands. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

385 Prawning & Thai Restaurant @ Dato Keramat, Georgetown, Penang.

Seafood lovers out there get to enjoy the best of both worlds at one of the new recreational spots in town- 385 Prawning & Thai Restaurant; where you will not only get to do prawn-fishing but also enjoy a sumptuous Thai Seafood meal at the restaurant. Tucked away from the bustling Dato Keramat, 385 Prawning & Thai Restaurant has become one of the latest hit spots in Penang. For Rm 18, fishing enthusiasts can now hone their skills at this facility; any catch within the purchased time frame belongs to the fisher. We are no fishing devotee and naturally, the Thai restaurant becomes our focus. Only opens for dinner, the restaurant does not offer an extensive menu but with the signature dishes, it is more than good enough to please any diners with stubborn Thai palate. Food is competitively priced and the taste does not disappoint; it can be a good spot for a family dinner.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Brussels (布鲁塞尔), Belgium (比利时) 2017.

Brussels is known as the "capital of Europe" due to its status as the administrative capital of the European Union. The city is not big in size but huge in its offering. It is also a melting pot for culture from all walks of life within the European zone. For travelers, Brussels is often a great pit stop for a short stay before continuing the journey to other European countries. It's fun to explore the modern, hip side of the city yet admiring the beauty of the Gothic buildings in the heart of Brussels. Due to its strategic location between Netherlands and France, both Dutch and French are widely spoken in Belgium. The official currency if of course, Euros. 

In our recent trip to Europe, we had a brief stop at Brussels. The city left us with a deep impression that it is an old city with soaring cathedrals, guild houses and countless of historical sites to visit but if you are not a history buff, proceed straight to its culinary offering. Food aside, the city somehow gave us an impression that it is unsafe, with military soldiers wandering around, beggars asking for money and unfriendly people (not as clean as we would have expected too).

Public Transport: The Metro system links to most places in the city and it is probably the most convenient and cheapest mode of travel. We recommend using the JUMP 10 Journeys ticket, buy 10 journeys in one go for €14, more information can be found here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Yin's Wholefood Manufactory @ Promenade, Bayan Baru, Penang.

Yin's Sourdough Bakery is not a new name in Penang, the bakeshop churns out mouth-watering Sourdough loaves every day but if you wish to savor Yin's secret recipes, the new Yin's Wholefood Manufactory is a good option. Housed in the new commercial building- Promenade at Bayan Baru, the sister restaurant to Yin's Sourdough Bakery is manned by the same people behind the bakery but offers a completely different menu. The health concern will be glad to know that most items on offer are home-made with most ingredients are sourced locally to ensure sustainability. The mix of heavy metal element and wooden structure exudes a relaxing but welcoming vibe. While the menu is not big, especially for breakfast; the newly opened restaurant is still improving on its menu and will be offering more once the operations are stabilized.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ko Cha Mee (古早面) @ Raja Uda, Butterworth, Penang.

The name "Ko Cha Mee" brings evocative images as one would be able to link that to the delicacies we used to enjoy during earlier days. Housed in one of the corner business lots at Raja Uda, Ko Cha Mee is a noodle specialist that offers something similar to "Lam-Mee". For the uninitiated, Lam Mee is closely linked to Nyonya families and often served during birthday celebrations as the dish signifies  longevity; the flavorful broth is usually cooked with Prawns and Pork Ribs/ Chicken, complemented by a dash of home-made Sambal Belacan. Ko Cha Mee offers such a platform to savor the flavors of the past, but if you are looking for a variety, this is not a place for you as the small menu only specializes in noodles (with optional add-ons). Albeit the catchy name, we did not find the food outstanding nor worth the distance to travel all the way to Raja Uda; probably a regular Lam Mee in the neighborhood is on par with theirs.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Great Delight Kitchen (悦为食) @ Phuah Hin Leong, Georgetown, Penang.

Private Kitchen is gaining its popularity in Penang, especially when you want to cut the mainstream restaurants or over-rated franchised brands out there and proceed straight to the basic, traditional flavors; or merely satisfy the particular urge to have some classic home-cooked dishes. While Great Delight Kitchen (悦为食) may operate like an ordinary restaurant, it actually runs on a business model like Private Kitchen. Customization of menu can be arranged with prior notice- simply inform the proprietor on the budget and they are able to customize the menu accordingly. The server proudly shared with us that the existing Teo Chew-influenced menu only covers 5% of what the restaurant could actually offer; as long as you can name it, they can cook it. Tables are limited and with its strong customer base, it is highly recommended that you make advance booking before visiting the place (we visited 3 times without booking and were turned down). The damage for this meal was slightly over RM 100 (for 3 pax), not exactly a cheap meal but we were pleased with the quality.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Snow Story & Chef De Cuisine @ Lebuh Keng Kwee, Georgetown, Penang.

Tucked away from the bustling Penang Road, Snow story & Chef De Cuisine is probably one of the most "international" cafes in Penang... with a partnership consists of more than 3 nationalities. It started off with Snow Story, a shaved ice-focused Japanese dessert parlor manned by a Japanese proprietor (the wife is a local Penangite) and recently, joined by a couple from Hong Kong, who runs Chef De Cuisine. Snow Story offers a small dessert menu but the variety assures authenticity- everything is home-made and that includes the colorful sugar syrup, all made using natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables. For main, turn to Chef De Cuisine; the Michelin-starred restaurant trained Chef offers a unique range of Western dishes... with a delightful Asian touch. While quality is above average, the prices are lower than expected. The only setback is the limited seating, it can be a great spot to hold small lunch meetings or gathering otherwise.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Chee Wah Curry Fish Head (台牛后志华咖喱鱼头) @ Malay Street, Georgetown, Penang.

There is always a spot for curries in every Malaysian and Fish Head Curry is one of the most favorite delicacies (as far as curries are concerned). Chee Wah's Curry Fish Head was once one the de-facto places to visit for Curry Fish Head (we are talking about 2-3 decades ago). At present, there are still regulars patronizing the place frequently, there is no menu available but most patrons here are for their Curry Fish Head. The proprietor has started its economy rice business so diners looking for variety may also opt for "extra order" from the spread. Reasonable price tags but not particularly impressive (as far as taste is concerned).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Dim Sum @ Chong Qing Lao Huo Guo (重庆老火锅), Kelawei Road, Penang.

Chong Qing Lao Huo Guo (重庆老火锅) is not new in Penang, the brand is known to serve Sze Chuan-styled Hot Pot and has resonated amongst night owls looking for late night suppers (the restaurant operates till late night). But it has since introduced something different from their core product (Hot Pot). We were attracted by the flashy banner hung outside of the new branch at Kelawei Road... that says "Dim Sum available in the mornings". So why not? Not only does the place has limited parking slots but also limited tables. While the variety is less-aggressive, the classics are all available with a few uncommonly seen Cantonese Dim Sum dishes. But budget-watchers should take note on the price points, a Dim Sum meal at Chong Qing Lao Huo Guo does not come cheap. Just to give you a glimpse of the price points- a serving portion of Siew Mai is priced at Rm 6.50 while Har Kaw is priced at Rm 8... not inclusive of service charge and government tax. However, Dim Sum dishes are all made-to-order and they will be piping hot when served to the table, so do not expect a cheap and express meal here.