Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Unique Experience with 'Withlocals" @ You Le Yuen (柚乐园), Love Lane, Georgetown, Penang.

Wish to have a different experience on the locals' cultures on your trip apart from the usual sight-seeing? It is not impossible with Withlocals. Withlocals is a great platform for travelers to experience the culture and lifestyle of a place. The online market space strives to connect travelers and locals through food and experiences; learning disparate cultures on unfamiliar place has never been that easy. Not only do travelers get to pick their preferred time, date, hosts and activities but they can customize their experiences according to their own preferences. Privacy is assured as most "Eats", "Tours" and "Activities" are customized to your needs which offer greater flexibility and a superior experience to your travel. For more information about Withlocals, kindly visit their website.

This blog post is brought to you by Withlocals. 

Navigating the website is easy and straight-forward. To get started, sign up for an account on Withlocals' website and to check what is available on the destination that you are traveling to. Activities include "Eat", "Tours" and "Activities". 

Now that you have chosen the country that you are about to visit, you need to specify which city/ region that you are heading to. For instance, Penang. All "Eat", "Tours" and "Activities" will appear as shown. Prices and further details including photos and descriptions can also be found in the post accordingly. You may also customize your experience and have a chat with the host before making any reservations. 

The next step is to confirm the visiting date. Do communicate with the host to check if the date that you have chosen is available and to see if further arrangement is necessary. On my experience, 20% of the payment was made via Paypal and the remaining 80% was paid directly to the host- Wendy herself. 

The final step is to check the status of the booking (before your visit) and here you go, the entire process is easy, straight-forward and especially convenient. You may access to the page anytime, anywhere (as long as Internet connection is available). More information on Withlocals can also be found on their Facebook Page.

You Le Yuen (柚乐园)

Stepping into You Le Yuen is like stepping into a time portal. The place has the setting just like a few decades ago. The wooden antiques adorning the walls exude a pleasing sense of tranquility; diners get to dine in amid of all these precious antiques and get to experience how did the previous generations dine in during the older days. The warm hospitality from the hosts- Wendy and Alan added a welcoming touch to our dining experience. They were friendly and enthusiastic in sharing about the stories behind the place. Travelers too, get to experience the same thing and I am sure the hosts- Wendy and Alan will be more than willing to share about the culture, life style, food and many other areas that may spark your interest from a locals' perspective and different angle. The restaurant is only available by reservations. You Le Yuen serves home-styled Napalese-Indian food, with a unique personal touch. It is located at Love Lane, opposite to Saint Xavier School and a stone's throw distance away from Budan's Brew at Argus Lane. 

We started with a bowl of comfortingly warm soup- Mussels and Clams with Lemongrass Coconut Soup. It was a little heavy on the palate for a start, the soup was reasonably salted with a strong aroma of Herbs and Spices while the use of Coconut Cream added some creaminess to the soup. The real draw of the dish was the discernible seafood-sweetness. Not too shabby but more marks will be awarded if some bread (French Baguette perhaps) was served to us. 

A very refreshing appetizer- Chef Naresh's Mixed Salad is somewhat similar to Salsa, with Chef's personal touch of course. It consists of some chopped Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Capers, Onions with a little Vinegar. As simple as it may seem, it acted as good palate-cleanser for us refresh our taste buds and continue with the feast. 

Chef Naresh continues to impress us with his Cashew Nut Yogurt Chicken Masala and Gobi Paratha. Three generous Chicken Thighs were beautifully cooked with remarkable depth of flavors and flecked with a generous amount of Cashew Nuts. We were expecting the dish to have a hint of Yogurt-sourness but it turned out to be perfectly balanced. Needless to say, the fall-apart-tender Chicken Thigh was a perfect complement to the premium quality Basmati Rice. Another way to enjoy the Curry- to dip with Gobi Paratha. The Cauliflower-stuff Bread was aromatic and good on its own but it fared better with the Masala. It was a pity that the Gobi Paratha was cold and hard the moment we get to enjoy it; blame it on the unexpectedly longer time for photography.  

Knowing that Pork may not be a common affair in most Indian restaurants in Malaysia, Chef Naresh dishes out his Braised Pork Belly with aplomb. The dish was deftly seasoned and the meat was braised till fork tender. It was good on its own but even better spooned over rice or to go with some Naan. 

The star dish of the day, an Otak-Otak inspired dish- Steamed Coconut Fish; received the unanimous votes as the best dish of the day. It surprised us with an avalanche of flavors; it has a hint of Coconut-creaminess with a mellow and soft spiciness; while the thinly sliced Lime introduces a sleek of acidity to the dish. The cleverly used Herbs enhanced instead of overshadowing the fish. Talk about the freshness of the fish, the pristine white flesh (of the fish) should give you an idea.

A famous traditional Punjabi dish- Aloo Mutter which consists of Potatoes and Green Peas. Flavors were precisely calibrated and seasonings were minimal so that the sweetness of the ingredients was able to speak for itself. It was not outstanding but it was comforting enough on a rainy day. 

Sweet ending was Wendy's Home-made Brownie with Magnum Ice Cream. The Brownie was firm, moist and definitely chocolaty to my liking. It was not sweet on its own, the sweetness comes from the Chocolate Brownie Magnum Ice Cream, a sleight of hand-combination. 

Alan (Left) and Wendy (Right)

Chef Naresh (Left) and Jay (Right)

Many Thanks to the team of four from You Le Yuen for hosting us on that afternoon.

Additional Information:
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 7, Love Lane, 10200, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: By Reservations Only.
Contact Number: 604- 261 1817/ 6013- 492 2125
GPS: 5.420168, 100.337233

Map of 7, Lorong Love, Georgetown, 10200 Pulau Pinang