Zi Zai Restaurant (自在饭店) @ Paya Terubong, Penang.
Operated for three generations, Zi Zai Restaurant's main chef was trained from young to be a very professional chef, strive to offer the cheapest and most delicious food for his customers. A wide variety of dishes available for his customers to choose from, from the usual dishes found in most restaurants to the very uncommon "basin dish" (盘菜) which you need to make reservation few days in advance. The restaurant is always packed with people during weekends. A very good place for family dining and indeed, with a very affordable price, you get a quality meal.
If you are a big fan of pork, then you do not want to miss this dish. Braised Pork Belly (盘菜焖猪肉 ,Rm 12), the meat was cooked till tender, together with the sauce and the melted oil, a very rich and strong flavor were created. The clay-pot was sizzling hot the time it was served. The portion was reasonably huge too which I believed that this portion could serve up to 4-5 people. Ideally, it would be better if they can offer some buns for their customers.
Get to know from their facebook page that this Assam Prawns (阿三虾 ,Rm 15) was one of their signature dishes. The eight prawns come in a rather huge size, the sweet and sour taste were just nice, I just hate those Assam Prawns with extreme and astringent flavour. These were just nice for me. Sambal sauce was provided too, tho I have no idea how it works with Assam Prawns.
Stir Fried Chicken With Gingers And Spring Onions (姜葱炒鸡丁 ,Rm10) Using the best part of a chicken -chicken thigh, the chicken cutlets were very smooth and tender, together with ginger slices and spring onions, the aroma was just irresistible. The sauce was perfect either, a scoop or two with the white rice was just perfect. Nothing works better than this. Highly recommended.
Stir Fried "La-La" (seafood clams炒拉拉, Rm 12). The dish was on the salty side based on my liking, stir frying with chilies can enhance the flavor of seafood and sort of brings out the natural sweetness of the seafood too. Cooking seafood clams has never been an easy job as clams can shrink easily if you over-cooked them. These clams were just perfect in size and the portion was quite big too.
Clay-pot Tou Fu (沙煲豆腐 ,Rm8), I was quite disappointed with this dish, the gravy was rather tasteless and the texture of the tou fu was not as smooth as I thought it would be. Although the tou fu was served in a scorching hot clay-pot.
Fried Egg With Prawns (小九虾, Rm 12). I was introduced by the lady that was serving us, I was also told that this is their signature dish. The presentation of the dish was unappealing, but it comes with a lot of shrimps. The taste was just okay for me, I think it tastes like fried egg with soya sauce topped with chilies.
Parking can be easily done in front of this restaurant. There will be plenty of empty parking spaces available and most importantly, they are free ! The place was very spacious and cozy too. Extra tables can be added along the corridor. So you do not have to worry about the seats.
Government Tax: No
Service Charge: No
Address: No. 1239-G, Ground Floor, Jalan Paya Terubong, Paya Terubong, 11060 Air Itam, Penang. (opposite Bomba Station in Paya Terubong, walk straight for less than 1 minute after passing Shell Petrol Station, Zi Zai Restaurant will be on your left hand side)
Phone Number: 04- 826 5713
Business Hours: Mon, Wed - Sun, 4pm - 10.30pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Zi Zai Restaurant Facebook Page