Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Khun De Thai Restaurant @ Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, Penang

Thai food has been our all time favorite as a Malaysian, probably due to the influence of our neighboring country-Thailand. There was this newly opened Thai restaurant in my neighboring area - Khun De Thai Restaurant. It caught my attention few days ago when I passed by this road to send my cousin brother to school. The restaurant is somewhere opposite to SJKC Jelutong Penang. You will be shocked to see how many cars will be parked randomly in front of this restaurant. During my visit to this restaurant, I was amazed with the customer flow in this restaurant, they had to even flipped some tables outside the restaurant to handle the demands. The interior decoration for this restaurant has the truly Thailand kind of feeling and to make their customers comfortable, they had erected some LCD televisions which kept broadcasting some Thai commercials. Khun De Thai Restaurant has a lot to offer their customers, particularly Tom Yum itself, they are offering the red and white versions. There were also some special dishes like Stir Fried Glass Noodles with Crab and Miang Kam etc. Most of the dishes were named under Thai language in the menu.

2 types of chilies will be served right after your orders. The upper one was chopped chilies with fish sauce whereas the lower one was sambal chili. Their sambal chili was very spicy and the belacan (prawn paste) flavor was very strong. It makes a good combination with the rice. However, I was quite disappointed with the price of a bowl of rice in this restaurant. It costs about Rm1.50 per bowl and from what me and my family tasted, they were not Thai fragrant rice but the usual rice instead. 

One shall not miss Tom Yum when having Thai cuisine. This was their Red Version of Tom Yum Seafood (Tom Yum Nam Khon, 红东炎海鲜汤, Rm 18 for small). A very impressive Tom Yum that comes with the right amount of spiciness and sourness. They were very generous too in terms of the ingredients, there were 4 prawns, 4 chunks of fish and some squids too. All the seafood were very fresh and were nicely cooked. A burner will be set underneath the pot to keep the Tom Yum soup warm, make sure you had your seafood first as you do not want to overcook them. 

Mango Kerabu (Yam MaMuang, 加拉姆芒果, Rm 8 for small) The portion for this Kerabu (Thai salad) was quite small and from the looks, it does not look promising at all but surprisingly, it was quite spicy. The sourness was just right either, and they added some cashew nuts to increase the crunchiness. A very appetizing dish indeed.

Fried Egg with Onions ( 洋葱煎蛋,Rm 6) Another impressive dish. The egg was so fluffy and from the fluffy texture, it does not taste like egg at all but the egg flavor was still there ! A very suitable dish to go with the rice. Highly recommended.

Stir Fried Kai Lan with Salted Fish (Kana Pad Kern, 咸鱼炒芥兰, Rm 6 for small) The kai lan was cooked till perfection, perfect taste as in not too salty nor its tasteless with perfect texture. The salted fish flavor was not that strong as I did not taste any of them but my family members did.

One of the best and inexpensive steamed fish I ever had ! Steamed Fish with Spicy Lemon Sauce (Plah Neung Manow, 酸辣酱蒸鱼, Rm38) The fish was very fresh indeed, similarly to the Tom Yum Seafood, a burner will be placed below the pot to make sure the fish will remained warm all the time. A few slices of lime will be placed on top of the fish too, the soul of this dish was the sauce instead. The sauce was very spicy yet, appetizing and goes perfectly with rice. It makes a good combination with the fish too. No doubt, its definitely the must try dish in this restaurant.

Nangka Dessert (波萝蜜甜品,Rm 4.50). Nangka is the name for Jack-fruit in Malay. The dessert was quite sweet and full with the strong flavor of nangka. Some coconut milk was added too. The dessert was just okay overall.

Taste: 8/10
Price: 8/10
Parking: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: 80C, Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Phone Number: 604- 282 9690
Business Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm; 5.30pm - 10.00pm Daily

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cha Yu Kafei (茶与咖啡) @ Trang Road, Penang

Chinese Tea (Cha,茶) has always been very important to every single Chinese, basically, we use tea as a drink and we even use them in cooking. Cha Yu Kafei is also a place for Chinese tea lovers to learn and taste the real and authentic way in making a cup of nice Chinese tea. As the name of this restaurant suggested, Chinese tea will be included in most of the dishes, as we all are aware that Chinese tea do not only provide and blend the aroma into those dishes but they do reduce the oiliness of the dishes as well. The lady owner here is a very experienced Chinese tea lover that knows how to utilize the aroma of the tea and brings them to her customers. They do not serve pork in Cha Yu Kafei and they do cater for birthday parties and wedding dinners as well.

There is this small column for tea lovers to learn and make their own tea. Tea sets and necessary tools are also available for sale too. 

Cold Red Dates juice (Rm 2.50 each) A very nice and fragrant drink. It does not taste like red dates but it something close to herbal tea instead. Not too sweet either. Highly recommended.

Braised peanuts (Rm 2.50 per plate). This will be presented after you had ordered your dishes. 

Fragrant Tea Fried Rice (茶香炒饭 ,Rm 20.90) The fried rice comes in a big portion and topped with some tea. Although it was being named fragrant tea fried rice, however, we do not taste the fragrant of the tea. The ingredients used were very fresh especially the prawns which possessed crispy and springy texture. The taste and texture of the rice, were fairly good and above average than those ordinary fried rice out there. 

2 Ways Stir Fried Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli, 龙须芥兰, Rm 13.90 ) Some leaf-part of the Kai Lan were deep fried to perfection and maintained a crispy texture, where a stir fired version was covered underneath. The vegetables then topped with a garlic gravy. The vegetables were a bit oily to me but the taste and the flavor of the gravy were quite decent.

Kerabu Deep Fried Enoki Mushrooms (卡拉母金针菇 ,Rm 15.90) As the name suggested, the Enoki mushrooms were deep fried and topped with Kerabu (Mango salad prepared in Thai sauce), the mango salad was okay to me since the sauce was quite sweet and does not seem to be sour enough. The Enoki mushrooms were way too oily for me either, as well as it losses the unique flavor that Enoki mushroom supposed to have. I was rather disappointed with this dish.

Claypot Toufu (沙煲豆腐 ,Rm 15.90), the toufu was served piping hot, the taste for this dish was good, but after some considerations on the price, I think this dish was slightly over-priced since there were only 5 pieces of toufu given and there was not too much of other ingredients. The inner texture of the toufu was not as smooth as I expected either.

Stir Fried Pop Corn Chicken With Garlic Paste (蒜香鸡 ,Rm 18.90) The pop corn chicken was very disappointing, the chicken was deep fried ended up with a dry and oily texture. I would not knew that this dish was cooked using chicken if they did not told me earlier ago. I believe this dish is only suitable for those with exquisite taste buds.

A must try dish in this restaurant, Claypot Drunken Chicken Topped with Tea (茶香醉鸡, Rm 25.90). You will smell the aroma of this dish immediately the time when its being served. A very strong herbal (most likely its the flavor from dang gui, Chinese Angelica Root) and alcohol flavor, using the chicken thigh part as ingredients, you will be guaranteed a smooth and tender chicken. Although the sprinkle of Chinese tea does not seem to be effective as the flavor will be covered by the strong herbal aroma, but its actually a good thing to do from the prospect of traditional Chinese medicine since tea stimulates the effect of those herbals, well I am not going to elaborate more on that. This dish is very recommended.

Stir Fried Udon in Black Pepper Sauce (黑胡椒炒乌冬面) The taste was very similar to Tai Lok Mee (大碌面) out there but of course, the black pepper flavor will be much more stronger than those we can find out there. Overall, it was just okay for me.

Price: 6.5/10
Taste: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Parking: 7/10
Service Charge: Yes (5%)
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: 33, Jalan Trang, 10150, Penang. (Behind GAMA super market and directly opposite to Pinang optics)
Business Hours: 11.30am - 3pm, 6pm - 10.30pm Closed on every Tuesday
Phone Numbers: 016- 442 1028/ 604- 229 1028

Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen @ Chow Thye Road, Penang.

Miss the taste of your mom's cooking ? Finding authentic Nyonya Cuisine ? Seeking for a cheap and good meal ? Well, you find all of them in Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen situated at Chow Thye road. The restaurant's main focus is to offer home-cook dishes to their customers and at the same time, serving authentic Nyonya Cuisine that rarely be found in Penang. Set lunch and set meals that include drinks and dessert are also available in this restaurant, apart from that, they are having this 5-course set lunch promotion, its basically a serving for 2-3 pax with an incredible price of Rm65 !!! 

Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen was also being visited by the famous chef Chen Hong from Taiwan and has been awarded by him as one of the best food outlet in Penang (year 2011). From this award, it proves that this 
restaurant has reached to a certain standard and serves quality food.

Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen does not serve pork. So its definitely safe for our Muslim friends. Their combo meals ranging from Rm10 to Rm12 and the best part is all the prices stated are in net price ! All of their combo meals come with a dessert (jelly) and fruit juice. Its definitely something worth of trying considering the price, the cozy environment, and most importantly, quality food.

Back to the 5-course set lunch, since I've tried it out myself, I would say its suitable for 3 person. Its definitely too much for 2 person unless you are a big eater. Well, for this set lunch, you will be getting Jiu Hu Char and some lettuce for the wrapping of the Jiu Hu Char (fried jicama with shredded cuttlefish), Assam Prawns (4 pieces), Curry Kapitan Chicken (3 pieces), Fish in Gulai Tumis Assam (2 pieces), 2 bowls of white rice and 2 bowls of dessert. 

Curry Kapitan Chicken, it comes with 3 pieces in the set lunch. Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen only serves chicken thigh for this dish, so you do not have to worry about chewing those parts like chicken breast with rough texture. A lot of shallots were added (they are the soul to Curry Kapitan), so the flavor was quite strong, it goes perfectly with a bowl of white rice.

Jiu Hu Char (Fried Jicama with shredded cuttlefish) A very traditional and common dish and I am pretty sure every Penangite has at least tried this dish for once. A more appropriate way of enjoying this delicious dish is to wrap the Jiu Hu Char with a piece of lettuce and pop the whole thing into your mouth. It is also a traditional way of eating, surprisingly this combination works pretty well. Although Jiu Hu Char is commonly seen out there in those economical rice stalls, finding a delicious and authentic ones is never an easy job. Do try Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen's, you will notice the differences.

Ngo Wa (Fish In Assam Pedas) There will be 2 pieces given in the set lunch. I have never been a big fan of Assam fish due to the fishy odor but I was perfectly okay with this dish. Well cooked with Assam, the gravy itself was a bit sour, however, it somehow brought out the flavor and the aroma of one of the soul ingredients in this dish - torch ginger flower. The taste, other wise, similar to Assam Laksa, which can be very appetizing. 

Assam Prawns. One of the best Assam Prawns I have ever had. Highly recommended. The Assam Prawns that we can find out there are normally with gravy or at least moist. The Assam Prawns here are totally different, those we had were totally dry. Nicely coated with the Assam flavor, the prawns were also very fresh and springy. The size was not shabby at all too, although I would not say that the prawns are gigantic nor huge in size, but they were decent. At least I would not describe them as small.

Sambal Belacan will be provided too and I must praise their boss for not being greedy in the sense of offering the sambal to his customers as we all knew, the cost of doing this sambal belacan is fairly high. The sambal belacan here was very spicy to me, but the belacan flavor was also quite strong, I can simply eat a bowl of rice with this sauce. 

Red bean soup as the dessert. The red bean soup was not too sweet and just perfect to my liking and I find it unique and special for the chef to use the dried tangerine peel as an ingredient of the red bean soup. I totally agreed with this idea. As a Cantonese, I just love to add some of these into my dessert to enhance the zesty flavor and blend the flavor into the dessert. Suits me perfectly.

Drinks are not included in the set lunch. Therefore, we had to order our drinks separately. The prices for the drinks are reasonable. We had soya bean milk (Rm 3) that day. 

This dish was not included in the set lunch. It was our side orders instead. Dried Prawn Sambal (Sambal Hae Bi, Rm15) A dried and crunchy version of sambal hae bi. I find this dish was decent only but according to Criz, a better way of enjoying these will be spreading these on a buttered bread. I have no idea how it tastes like but certainly its creative and fun to try.

Perut Ikan (Nyonya Stewed Fish Stomach With Vegetables, Rm 15 for small, Rm30 for medium and Rm50 for large). Again, I am not a big fan of this, I totally do not know how to appreciate this dish but I heard that the preparation for this dish could be troublesome especially for the chopping and cutting of those vegetables. It tasted like Assam Laksa to me.

Another must try in Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen !! Otak-otak (Rm 8 per plate) is a dish that uses banana-leaf parcels that consists of spicy fish mousse and being gently steamed to perfection. It was one of the best Otak-otak that I have ever tried. The mouth watering Otak-otak was served piping hot. The fragrance of the coconut milk can instantly be smelled. Big chunks of fish can also be see inside the Otak-otak. The key to success in making this dish, which I believed, is the using of fresh coconut milk and they did it. Highly recommended this dish to my readers.

Taste: 8/10
Price: 7/10
Service: 8.5/10
Parking: 7.5/10
Government Tax: NO
Service Charge: NO

Additional Information:
Address: 58, Jalan Chow Thye, 10250 Penang. (Few lots away from Jemputree and next to Isaribi Tei Japanese Restaurant)
Business Hours: 9.30am- 5pm, 6pm - 9.30pm, SAT 12pm -  5pm, 6pm - 9.30pm (Closed on 1st and 3rd Monday of the month)
Phone Number: 013- 433 7878 (Mr. Tan)/ 016- 433 7130 (Ivy)
Ivy's Nyonya Kitchen Facebook Page