Friday, June 23, 2017

[Year 2017] Food Hunting- of Cafes/ Must-Eats @ Alor Setar (亚罗士打), Kedah (吉打).

The state capital of Kedah, Alor Setar is approximately 1.5 hours away from Penang island; is home to many good and inexpensive eats. Not only that the place has many fine restaurants, the cafe scene is getting vibrant either. If you are in need of a short get-away or food-focused trip, Alor Setar is definitely a good choice. 

For your planning purposes, we've managed to complete the below food list in 5 hours.

1) SK Kim Chai Por Hu (合莎驰名菜脯鱼)
Non-Halal
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: No. 169-A & B, Kampung Perak, Jalan Putra, 05100, Alor Setar, Kedah.
Business Hours: 8 am to 3 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 016- 431 6655



Steamed Snapper with Deep Fried Pickled Radish/ Chai Por Hu (Rm 40)


Deep Fried Tofu with Thai sauce (Rm 6)


Stir Fried Water Spinach with Sambal/ Kangkung (Rm 5)

Check with any locals on the must-eats in Alor Setar and many would recommend SK Kim Steamed Fish. The Chinese eatery has been in business for years and has garnered an appreciate following. The place is most crowded during lunch hours (expect longer wait) and some of the dishes might be running out of stock if late. The signature steamed Snapper is topped with flecks of deep fried pickled Radish; the tender fish flesh makes a good contrast to the crispy, salty-sweet pickled Radish. It might be overly salty on its own but perfect if spooned over rice. Other common dishes include deep fried Tofu with Thai sauce, deep fried Kangkung and stir-fried Kangkung with Sambal.


2) Caffe Diem
Pork Free
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: Yes 6%
Address: No. 44, Jalan Penjara Lama, Pekan Cina, 05000, Alor Setar, Kedah.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 12 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 04- 730 8895


International Laksa Spaghetti (Rm 16)


Matcha Azuki Cheesecake (Rm 11)


Harum Manis Cheesecake (Rm 12)

Probably the most hipster cafe in town, Caffe Diem has a proud history since its opening in 2014. It was visited by Malaysian's fourth Prime Minister and has since received spotlights from media, particularly on its impressive interior decoration. The fully air-conditioned cafe has a high-ceiling which allows natural light to flood in and it makes a good complement to the red brick wall. Traipse the stairs to second floor and you will be greeted with traditional Chinese interior decoration. The menu reflects the same Western-Chinese blend, dishes are playful and distinctive with wallet-friendly price tags.

The International Laksa Spaghetti is a marriage between Italian pasta with local Laksa flavors. While we thought it was a brave move, the dish needs some refinement as the Laksa character did not shine. It was more of a Tuna Spaghetti sans the essential Laksa flavors (Torch Ginger, Shrimp paste and other spices). The Harum Manis Cheesecake was unique though, a proud Malaysian Mango (native to Perlis) known to possess distinctive and sweet flesh; paired well with the creamy Cheese counterpart. While we were not particularly impressed with the food, we thought the place was picturesque with comfortably relaxing atmosphere.


The Secret (Rm 13.50)


3) Nasi Lemak Ong
Pork-Free
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 24, Ground Floor, Jalan Putra, 05100, Alor Setar, Kedah.
Business Hours: 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Contact Number: 012- 498 3660


Nasi Lemak (Rm 22 for the above serving)

Nasi Lemak Ong needs no further introduction, the place was featured by most mainstream media, including the famous TV food shows- Axian's Food Adventures and Foodie Blogger. Like the name suggested, the place is known to serve some of the best Nasi Lemak in town. Located in the heart of Alor Setar, the place is usually thronged by regular patrons, queuing eagerly for their turn to place their orders. There are aplenty of choices to choose from, and it sort of reminds us of Nasi Kandar in Penang, with a touch of Nasi Lemak sambal; mind you, they are not entirely cheap (though would not cost a bomb).

We had our share at Rm 22 with 2 pieces of Chicken, 1 piece of fried Fish, Sambal Squid and some greens, with our rice heavily doused with curry sauce. The concoction was delicious and bursting with flavors, for those who prefer a spicier note, do mention to the proprietor and he will throw in some hotter ones to spice things up. While we love the curries, we did not like the Chicken and Fish. We thought they were overcooked and too dried to our liking. The meat was tough and hard, fortunately, the greens were there to ease things up. Our recommendation- avoid the deep fried goods and go straight to the curry dishes.


4) Tiffz Coffee Gallery and Skream (Soft-Serve Ice Cream)
Pork-Free
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 33-1, Jalan PSK 1, Pekan Simpang Kuala, 05400, Alor Setar, Kedah.
Business Hours: 2 pm to 12 am. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: 017- 988 9986 (Skream)


Nasi Lemak Ice Cream (Rm 10)


Waffle Belle with Vanilla Oreo Ice Cream (Rm 14)


Haam Tan Pizza (Rm 16/ 8-inches with Squid Ink base)

Netizens went gaga over the Nasi Lemak Ice Cream since its debut in late 2016. The Ice Cream is sold by Skream, a Soft-Serve pop up store previously with Caffe Diem but has since moved to Tiffz Coffee Gallery at Simpang Kuala, a few kilometers away from central Alor Setar. Tiffz Coffee Gallery is one of the famous cafes in the vicinity, it shares some common characters as to "The Owl Cafe" in KL, offering Waffle-focused sweet treats... and some other Western snacks. 

Back to Skream, there are only a couple of flavors at any one time. Fortunately, the famous Nasi Lemak Ice Cream was available on our visit. It was basically Coconut-Milk Soft Serve topped with Nasi Lemak condiments like deep fried Anchovies, toasted Peanuts, halved Quail Egg, Cucumber and flecks of Chili flakes. The sweet-salty combination was odd for the first taste, perhaps meant to be an acquired taste, it gets smoother towards the end. It was a good attempt though I would not sing any praises to it. 

On Tiffz Coffee Gallery, the Waffle Belle did not impress us. A contrary to crispy Belgium Waffle, the Waffle Belle was soft and doughy. It was almost like eating bread instead of Waffle. But the Ice Cream was delicious though... perhaps we have set the bar too high. We were lured by the Haam Tan Pizza but it turned out to be another disappointment. It was seasoned heavily with Curry powder and it over-powered the distinctive fragrance of the Salted Egg. It was okay on its own but we thought it was pretty much... a misnomer. 


5) Kim Hoe Braised Duck Egg Noodles (金禾卤鸭面)
Non-Halal
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 12, Jalan Putra, 05100, Alor Setar, Kedah.
Business Hours: 6:30 am to 2 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Contact Number: 016- 476 8421


Braised Duck with home-made Egg Noodles (Rm 4/ regular)


Wan Ton Soup (Rm 4/ regular)

Across the street from Nasi Lemak Ong is Kim Hoe Braised Duck Noodles, a shop dedicated to serve home-made noodles with Chicken or Duck meat. The shop is known as one of the breakfast places at Alor Setar- most ingredients were running out on our visit slight past noon. Our visit was unplanned but we were more than happy to uncover this hidden gem. The home-made noodles were springy and paired well with the sweet-salty dark Soy sauce (was also used to braise the duck). It was good on its own but even better to add in their home-made spicy-sour Chili dip... for a more refreshing dimension. Other notable highlight includes the home-made Dumpling soup, the silky smooth Dumplings do not disappoint.


Have fun in Alor Setar! 

2 comments:

  1. I just stopped briefly for a night at Alor Setar a long long long time ago on the way to Haadyai via Kayu Hitam. More familiar with Sg Petani.

    ReplyDelete