Friday, August 25, 2017

Ji Bao Wang (鸡煲王) @ Georgetown, Penang.

It's hard to miss Ji Bao Wang (鸡煲王), not only does the strategic location (at the corner of Larut Road to Hutton Lane and Burmah Road, next to KFC Larut Road or opposite to Hotel Royal Penang) gives the restaurant an edge in exposure, the playful-catchy banner that says "我要叫鸡" has caught a lot of attention as well (shall not be translated into English). As the tagline may suggest, the place specializes in serving various types of Chicken Hot Pot but the signature dish here is the Sze Chuan-influenced Chicken Hot Pot. The dining concept is somewhat interesting- diners will be served a ready-to-eat Chicken Hot Pot, hot soup will then be added when you are done. It then becomes Steamboat and diners may now adjourn to the display fridges to pick up the preferred ingredients to be added to the soup (prices vary according to the colors of the plates). The interior decor is modern and chic but with a touch of China Chinese flair. Price points are high but the quality is less-satisfying, the authenticity is missing (lackluster service and below-par quality, pretty disappointing). Ironically, we then found out that this place is a sister restaurant to Chong Qing Steamboat (at Kelawei Road).

Special Chicken Hot Pot (Rm 49/ small)

Thinly sliced Beef (Rm 12)

Deep Fried Bean Curd Sheet (Rm 4)

[Red Plate] Lobster Balls (Rm 5)

[Red Plate] Sweet Potato Noodles (Rm 5)

[Green Plate] Sze Chuan Noodles (Rm 4)

[White Plate] Home-made Fish Balls (Rm 7)

We opted for medium spiciness but the signature Chicken Hot Pot did not live up to our expectation. Not only that it was not spicy at all, the flavors were subdued. It did not carry any distinctive Sze Chuan flavor but merely a stir-fried Chicken dish overly drenched in oil, literally half of the pot was covered in oil. While we struggled to finish the Chicken (as it was too oily), we quickly requested the server to add in the soup. It did not any better, once we added heavy starch ingredients like the Potato Noodles, the broth turned uncomfortably thick and starchy. With the continuous heating, it was fast boiling and almost burnt (at the bottom of the part). We then requested the server to "top up" the soup but was declined for the reason- "the pot still contained plenty of soup" and he completely ignored the "thickness" of the soup. Soon.... we detected an unpleasant smoky stench (the bottom was burnt). Untrained staff yet unable to understand Mandarin (ironically in a Chinese restaurant) is quite a serious problem to look into. 

Also, some of the ingredients were not as fresh as we would have hoped. The home-made Fish Balls were a disaster. Once we popped them into the boiling soup, they dissolved immediately and were no longer be found. The Beef slices were miserably as well- overly fine yet with dark flecks on them. Pretty disappointing.

Steamboat Dips and Sauces (Rm 2 per head)

Taste: 6/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 6/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%

Additional Information:
Address: 32, Jalan Larut, 10050, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 227 5155