Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thai Food at Food Court @ Tesco E-gate, Penang.

Ever wonder if there is anything delicious and tempting enough for you to patron at a food court in a shopping mall ? Well, here is the interesting part, you can actually find something interesting in this food court situated in Tesco E-gate Penang. There is this stall selling authentic, delicious yet inexpensive Thai food but the variety is quite restricted due to the spaces of their stall, they serve Tom Yum and Thai Laksa particularly. Other than those, they do serve appetizers like Som Tam and desserts like Mango Sticky Rice. The best part is the price ranges from Rm3 to Rm6 only. 

Most of the staff (most probably they are Thai) here do not speak Hokkien (a common dialect in Penang) but they do understand basic Malay and Hokkien, however, the lady boss does speak Hokkien and decent Mandarin.

Som Tam ( Thai Papaya Salad, Rm 5) With just Rm5, the Som Tam comes in an unbelievably huge portion. For those who adore spicy food, you can opt to add more chilies (upon request) if you wish to, the Som Tam will be pretty spicy by default. The sourness was just right based on my liking, the dried shrimps were actually the soul of this dish, they gave the salad an unusual aroma and crunchiness. Recommended.

Thai Laksa (Rm 4) It comes with a big portion with a lot of raw vegetables like bean sprouts, cabbage and cucumber. If you are not used to the pungent smell of those raw vegetables, its advisable to request to the waitress to slightly cook them under the boiled water. A few slices of basil leaves will be topped as garnish as well. Basically other than these, there was much ingredients in this Thai Laksa, the soup was quite creamy and rich, obviously the soup was made from coconut milk and cooked together with fish (sardines mostly). Taste was pretty good for me but it was a bit unacceptable for one of my friend who dislike the smell of coconut milk.

Mango Sticky Rice (Rm 5) Freshly cut mango being laid on a bed of soft and tender glutinous rice and topped with a scoop of fresh coconut milk. The glutinous rice was actually a mixture of sweet and salty, the sweet origins from the cooking process where the saltiness comes from the coconut milk I believe. The mango was just okay, probably the season was not right, it would be ideal if the mango is a bit sweeter. Recommended.

Some Thai Dessert (Rm 3) I could not name this dessert but its a mixture of herbal jelly, sago cubes and jack fruits. Its something similar to water chestnut dessert but they differ from instead of water chestnut, this dessert uses sago cubes instead. The taste was pretty decent but the coconut milk was not fresh enough and it could be better if they could use more jack fruits on this dessert but I have no complaints since its just Rm3.

Taste: 7.5/10
Price: 9.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Parking: 8/10
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: 2nd floor (food court of Tesco E-gate), No 1, Lebuh Tengku Kudin 1, Bandar Jelutong 11700, Penang.
Business Hours: 10am - 10.30pm Daily.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Xuan Xin Steamboat (炫昇串串火锅) @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.

***This restaurant is no longer offering Lok Lok Steamboat but is still opened for business, steamboats and stir fried local/asian dishes are still available***

Xuan Xin group has well-known for offering a variation of Chinese cuisine in their restaurants, from Shanghai-nese dishes, Ramen to buffet steamboat It is famous of its fine quality and satisfying services provided all over their outlets. Recently marked another glorious moment for Xuan Xin group for the opening of their 4th outlet in Gurney Plaza. So the new outlet is situated on 7th floor of Gurney Plaza (Beside SenQ electronics and Next Stop fast food outlet) and it serves Lok-Lok (skewers) steamboat and barbecue skewers. Well when you think about lok-lok, its either standing by the road side or you are cooking your own skewers under the hot weather and temperature. So Xuan Xin has came up with this new concept of bringing customers into this air-conditioned restaurant yet get to enjoy the joy of enjoying delicious lok-lok. The environment is pretty cozy and comfortable no doubt, but it would be very costly to dine in here in my opinion. Moreover, they are charging government tax and service charge. 

There were 3 types of dipping sauces provided for us, the usual sweet and chili sauce used on Chee Cheong Fun, Thai sweet and sour sauce and Satay sauce (X.O. sauce for Hong Kies) Nothing much interesting about the sauces given, it would be even better if they could provide us with more options and choices on the sauce.

The drinks are quite pricey here, the ice mineral water was Rm0.80 and the ice lemon tea was Rm 3.50. 

There are quite a lot of soup bases for you to choose upon, I had tom yum (Rm 5) and chicken soup base (Rm 3), there are other options too, namely Sze Chuan spicy soup base (Rm 5). You always pick more than 1 soup as they are offering 2 sided pot instead, mix soup base which consists of Tom Yum and Chicken soup base cost Rm 6 while Tom Yum and Sze Chuan Spicy soup base cost Rm 8.

Customers can pick their own desired skewers at these fridges, where those skewers will be tagged with different colors of tagging. Colors indicate the price for that particular skewer. Yellow- Rm1, Green - Rm1.50, Blue - Rm2, Grey - Rm2.50, Red - Rm3, Black - Rm6 and Gold - Rm10. Those fridges have  reminders pasted on them which read: food from the freezer are not refundable. However, there were quite a lot of people who do not even bother about this rule. From what I have seen today, customers simply put back what they had taken from the fridge anytime they want. The management should be stricter on this to make sure customers comply with this rule to ensure total hygiene.

 There is this barbecue corner next to the fridges too, where customers can take whatever they like from the fridge and let the chef to grill for them. Things like marinated meat and seafood can be ideal for barbecue.

It took unusual time for the chef to prepare our food at the barbecue corner, we were waiting impatiently for the food to arrive. Yet, the customer flow was quite few that time, I can not imagine what will happens if the place is full of customers.

Pork belly, marinated fish, satay beef/chicken/pork can all be grilled. As for those marinated meat, they were slightly at the salty side to my liking. But no doubt, they were still good.

One must be wise in choosing the skewers, some of them were not that fresh, but most of them were decent. The must-try will be their prawns. They tasted extra-ordinarily crunchy and springy. Something could have been added or done to them but who cares, as long as they taste good, I do not really mind. There were quite a lot of fish balls for you to choose too, from the smaller sized to the bigger sized.

Their dory fillets were quite fresh too as in they do not possess a pungent smell. Simply boil them in the soup and dip with those sauce, their smooth and juicy texture just rule. 

Something rare and fun was their dried squid. I think its meant to be grilled instead, but I have boiled them in the soup. They were quite chewy and possessed a very strong squid flavor. Just something new and fun to try.....

These were their succulent prawns, definitely look tempting and seductive enough right ?

Aside from those skewers, there are quite a lot of small bowls containing other ingredients. From top to bottom, Enoki mushrooms, Japanese Toufu and rice noodles. One can opt for some noodles to savor the delicious soup too.

Hong Kong Shrimp Paste Chicken Wings (Rm 26 for 4) The chicken wings were just okay in my opinion as in they were deep fried and they were a bit dry for me. The shrimp paste flavor was not strong at all, in fact, I would not even know they were marinated with shrimp paste if I did not ask. 

Taste: 7/10
Price: 6/10
Service: 9.5/10
Parking: 8/10
Government Tax: Yes (6%)
Service Charge: Yes (10%)

Additional Information:
Address: 7th floor, Plaza Gurney, Pesiaran Gurney, Georgetown, Penang. (beside senQ and Next Stop fast food)
Business Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am - 10pm
Phone Number: 604- 226 0830

Snowman Dessert (糖伯府) @ Cantonment Road, Penang.

With the recent mushrooming of Hong Kong Dessert in Penang, business gets more competitive, the well-known dessert outlet at Raja Uda has also further expanded their business into this humble island. The demand for dessert has obviously increased a lot for Penangites, this can be seen with all those newly opened dessert outlet such as Bikkuri Station at Bukit Mertajam and Lucky Dessert in Queensbay Mall. The craving of dessert after a scrumptious meal might be one of the factors that contributed to this. Snowman dessert's first branch was opened few days ago and its situated just right opposite to the Pos Malaysia and Maybank at Pulau Tikus. The place was full with people probably due to the well known reputation of its quality dessert, however, those dessert are slightly over-priced in my opinion. Some rants over the poor services provided to us that night, I do understand that they are still new and they are facing some problems or so but they do really need to improve on their services as in the food takes unusual time to reach to us (they were just dessert ?) and we were not informed about some of the menu were no longer available due to high demand. It sort of irritated us as the waitress kept approaching us and asking us to change our orders. 

Snowman dessert has a lot to offer their customers, in fact, I was in dilemma on what to choose instead, most of them are very attractive and nicely presented. They do serve bird's nest (燕窝) and Hashma (雪蛤膏) too as in they are preparing them together with those fresh and colorful fruits. As for chocolate lovers, there is this chocolate steamboat available too. Snacks like Hong Kong Dim Sum and some Taiwanese snacks are available too to satisfy your appetite.

Mango Mini Rice Ball (芒果小丸子,Rm 7.80) The portion was okay and obviously their mini rice balls refer to glutinous rice ball instead, they were included into something like freshly blended-mango-juice. Some freshly chopped mango cubes were added too, the dessert was not sweet at all and it has successfully preserved the flavor of mango. Definitely a must-try for mango lovers. 

Sea Coconut With Soya Bean Curd Pudding (海底椰豆腐花,Rm 5.80) As you might wonder, what was those milky white liquid ? It was coconut milk. The combination looks odd to me at first as I have never thought of mixing coconut milk with Soya Bean Curd Pudding, the taste turned out to be quite okay, at least it was not too bad (should be good for those who adore coconut milk). The freshness of the coconut milk can also be clearly  tasted. The soya bean curd was not shabby to me smooth yet, not too sweet. 

Honeydew Sago (蜜瓜西米露,Rm 5.80) The taste for this honeydew sago was quite normal and average to me (the honeydew flavor was quite strong). I would have expected more but it was still nevertheless, satisfying. It would be even better if they could add in more honeydew cubes as there were only 4 of them in total. Portion was decent considering the price.

Mango Mixed Fruits Ice Cream Louye (芒果亮晶晶捞嘢,Rm 12.80) The word "Louye" comes from Cantonese dialect (捞嘢) which means mixing something together with sauce. The mouth-watering set comes with some freshly cut fruits, namely honeydews, kiwi fruit, mangoes, strawberries, watermelons and topped with a generous amount of Nata De Coco and some home-made jelly which tasted like coconut juice. The "sauce" provided was quite similar to the Mango Mini Rice Ball set, gently pour the mango juice on top of those fruits and they are ready to be served. Its rather fun to play such mix-and-match with all those fruits, somehow I found out watermelon actually does not match with mango based on my liking. 

In my opinion, no doubt Snowman's dessert are very delicious but they are slight at their high price so it would be ideal if they could have slightly reduced their prices. I would definitely go back and try other dessert out.

Taste: 6.5/10
Price: 6/10
Parking: 5/10
Service: 5.5/10 (based on my experience)
Service Charge: Yes (10%)
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: 37D, Jalan Cantonment 10250 Penang. (Directly opposite to Pos Malaysia and Maybank)
Address (For Raja Uda outlet): 42-A-1, Jalan Raja Uda, Pusat Perniagaan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Penang.
Business Hours: 11:00am until 1:00am (daily)
Phone Number: 604- 226 0955