Into the Doorway of Food, where it's all about Eating...

Let's start the journey into my world of food...

Different tastebuds with different tongues; you're the eater and you're the judge...
What I share here is simply the passion towards food and drinks.

Don't hesitate to ctiticize; if you like my articles, encourage me.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Year End meals... Eat for Wealth, Luck & Prosperity!

Every year before leaving home for Chinese New Year break, it's time for a year end meal. Either lunch or dinner, it's to eat for wealth, luck and prosperity that we call it 收工酒 'Shou Gong Jiu'. But to me, it's actually more alike a chance to gather up with friends for chit-chatting ;)

My 1st 'Shou Gong Jiu' is with Infineon's colleagues whereby it's a treat by LAM vendor. We've the lunch at 万福阁 Full Wealth Restaurant at Kota Kenari, Kulim. CNY is around the corner, everything is decorated in red, with lanterns and with flowers; telling us that autumn 春天 is arriving.

Everyone is a big-eater, the lunch consists of 7dishes and 1dessert. Let's browse to the menu now... The famous tofu 招牌豆腐 is poured with some sticky sauce on top, that you can find crab meat, mushroom and carrot inside. I like this homemade tofu for its smoothness and softness, the sweetness of crab meat is enhancing the aroma of the sauce and being decorated with some green vegetable; this dish is definitely tasty. The deliciousness of the fried broccoli is enhanced by the scallops, however I just feel that the vegetable is little bit over-cooked. Another favourite dish of mine is the clay pot sea treasure 砂煲海味. As its name, I can find mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallop, dried oyster, dried fish bladder and crab meat inside the soup.

天津虾 'Tianjin Prawn' is the mayonnaise prawn that is served on top of a mix of cuttle fish and onion, then inside a flower basket that you can eat it as well. This dish is slightly sweeter and stickier due to the mayonnaise. My friend and I kind of enjoy this, as we don't need to dirty our fingers to remove any prawn shells.

Then, It's a must to have meat for the gentlemen ya! We've 2orders that are black pepper ostrich meat and also a chicken platter that is combination of oyster sauce steam chicken and Thai sauce apple chicken. Ostrich is a healthy white eat and with the just-to-taste black pepper sauce; well... not too salty and it's nice. For the chicken platter, it's nothing to be very great at. Personally, I feel that the oyster sauce is overly too sweet while the fried chicken is too oily and the flour coating is little bit thicker either. What I dislike the most is, this dish is cold when it's being served. I think the chef has taken too long hour to prepare this chicken platter?!!

The main character and it's a must for CNY will be the fish (鱼). 年年有余 (鱼) means we've earnings or savings for this coming year. We've chosen the soy sauce steam fish. The size of the fish should be perfect for the nice tenderness, but too bad that the chef has over-cooked it. Besides, the soy sauce is also too little to give any taste to the fish.

Our lunch is ended with a red bean paste with lotus pancake. The blended red bean paste is smooth, just-to-taste sweetness and it's not too sticky either, making it a good couple with the crispy lotus pancake. Alternatively, they do serve peanut paste as well.

My 2nd 收工酒 is a dinner with a bunch of Infineon's friends at 'Yeow Kee' Restaurant in Taman Selasih, Kulim. This is our usual gathering place as we like the taste of the food here, also for the reasonable price.

The starter of our dinner is a Rainbow 'Yee Sang' (鱼生). Traditionally, people will eat 'Yee Sang' at the 7th day of CNY. It means 风生水起 or bad things turn good, as you're allowed to shout only good words when you mix the dish with chopsticks. Nowadays, we eat 'Yee sang' anytime during the CNY to wish for better fortune. 'Yee Sang' is a mixture of various colourful ingredients with the lime, pepper powder and sour plum sauce as the seasoning. So, the taste will be little sour and sweet as well. Here, the pepper powder is packed in a red 'Ang Pau' packet and we're given a 4-digit numbers inside. Well, I'm not sure if the number appears in any magnum or Toto prizes ;)

Our favourite dish here is the curry fish meat. The curry that is served in 'Yeow Kee' is not very oily, no floating chili oil like what we always see outside. It is not too spicy either and I think they're using skimmed milk instead of coconut, yet the seasoning is just-to-taste to enhance the aroma of the curry. The perfect match is the fresh fish meat that has been cut into thin slices whereby when you bite it, the thin slice will melt with full curry taste in your mouth.

For frying part, we've ordered the Mamit chicken and 'Kam Heong' style prawn mantis. The chicken is dark and sticky because of the Mamit sauce, anyway my friends enjoy the sweetness. 'Kam Heong' style is little bit spicy due to the dried red chili, fried with the curry leaves and dried shrimp; the aroma is enhanced with the correct portion of sugar and salt.

Then, we've ordered a fried vegetable, steam egg and sizzling hot plate tofu. All the dishes are just nice except I dislike to see the black flakes-off from the hot plate.

The food may not as perfect as some famous restaurants, but the friendship bonds that we've built up, making it a wonderful gathering before the CNY.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Heritage of Food... I call it 'Sire Museum'

Have you ever tried to have your meal, a dining experience inside a museum alike restaurant? I'm introducing a Penang's cultural heritage building that is called Sire Museum and they do serve delicious food as well. This building is belonged to Yeap Chor Ee family whereby it is refurbished into a museum and meanwhile, it's also a restaurant for you to dine-in.

My 1st impression after step into the building: the cozy and bright environment is making people feel so refreshing and homely here. Every tables is decorated with the flower of the day, mine is the elegant orchid in a high glass. The dim light from the small candle beside is adding a little romance to the surrounding.

My starter is a healthy Caesar salad; it's decorated with some water-boiled egg, fried to aroma anchovies and Parmesan cheese, just to taste without too creamy or salty. The Mayonnaise fruit salad is as tasty as well, the little sour black vinegar is a good seasoning to enhance my appetite.
Followed by is a Norwegian Seafood soup. Well, I dislike it to be too creamy but the taste is anyhow special with some herbs inside and I find a lot of seafood like mussel, prawn, fish and squid. The soup comes with the cheesy garlic french bread. We love it as it's hot and for the nice aroma of the sticky cheese. I've ordered a vegetarian pasta as my main course. It's very colourful with the carrot, eggplant and tomato, then some parsley and Parmesan cheese as the garnishing. Oh ya, another very healthy concept yet I feel that the pasta is little bit too sour. I think they're adding vinegar for this dish, that I feel it's too strong. My carnivorous friend has asked for a grilled steak that is half-cooked, comes with some mixture of fried vegetable, corn and eggplant. I scare of the bloody meat but my friend claims that the tenderness is just nice for his bite. What to be dissatisfied is the aroma and taste whereby the meat doesn't absorb the herbs and spices completely.

Time for my dessert now. My baked cheesecake comes with a raspberry ice-cream and a mint dark chocolate, nicely decorated with a chocolate stick and raspberry sauce. I enjoy the specially homemade chocolate the most as it's not too sweet with a aroma of the mint. I think I'll be more glad if the cheesecake can be smoother and finer, also with stronger cheese taste.

Behind the restaurant, it's the place whereby all the unique antiques and traditional elements are maintained nicely. After a full meal, you can just walk around to enjoy the sightseeing into the time tunnel back to past and learn to appreciate the historical relics. The food here is not so to my appetite and taste, but it's still a restaurant that is nice to dine-in for a peaceful meal.

Western food inside a traditional, old motel... It's called 'Hitam Manis Corner'

'Hitam Manis Corner' in direct translation, it means sweet blackish corner, what a special name ya! It's located inside an old motel by the roadside of Lunas main road, just at the corner of the 4-junctions of Lunas town.

Imagine a very old shop house with some tiny crack lines and faded paints on the wall, I really never think that I can find a nice meal here. The 1st moment when I step into here, the motel seem to be very old and dark due to the very dim light but honestly, there's a lot of traditional elements here. The wall is decorated with the traditional China paintings; then there's a very big flower pot that's left aside, just in front of the old wooden cupboard; Beside the counter, there's a giant weighing machine with a big safety box on top whereby it's being used to weigh gunny sacks of rice in old time while for tables, they do still have the marble type.

Let's talk about the food now. I've ordered a vegetable salad as my starter. It comes with thousand island sauce on the vegetable of course, also tomato, onion and cucumber. I won't comment much as salad is kind of normal dish anyway. BoyBoy and I have chosen the shark fin soup that costs RM5 per bowl. The rich chicken stock is adding on sweetness to the soup itself and with the black vinegar, the sourness enhances the aroma of this soup. We like it for it's not too thick or sticky. Well, the shark fin is not so plenty but the taste is not bad at all, especially in this small town on a cheap price. Our main course for the night is the Chicken A'la Kiew, it's similar to the chicken cordon bleu whereby the cheese is wrapped inside the chicken meat and then is deep fried till golden crunchy, except the size is longer here. We cut it into halves... Wow, the cheese is blasting out slowly, so yummy! The chicken meat is crunchy on the outside but the inner is tender whereby the sweet juiciness is still 'locked' inside the fresh chicken meat and with the thick, creamy cheese; this 1st bite is so satisfying.

We're seriously prefer to spend on the same dishes here than at Secret Recipe or at any other western restaurants in Kulim.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Shunka Japanese Restaurant in Bukit Mertajam, don't surprise!

Bukit Mertajam is a small town located near Seberang Prai, Penang. You can find a lot of, various Chinese food or hawker centres here, but Japanese food... I'm surprised when I find 'Shunka Japanese Restaurant' that is run by a local in Bukit Mertajam. Well, I never notice this restaurant even it's at the same row as CIMB bank, until I realize that it's a shop owned by a colleague's friend. No worry that you'll miss out the restaurant at night as they have a very bright signboard, but I'm still wondering on the chinese character whether it's a '口' or '日' inside the big 口;)
'Shunka Japanese Restaurant' is not purely serving Japanese food only, but it's a mix of Korean and Western food as well. The cozy ambient with the tidy arrangement of the wooden furniture is making myself to feel here as 'home'; a nice place to enjoy a peaceful, quiet meal. Besides, the dim yellow light is adding on a little romance into the surrounding. If you dislike wooden chairs, you can choose to sit on 'Tatami'; on the floor. For smokers, you can take the stainless steel chairs at the open area, just beside the entrance to the shop. The wall is decorated with the paintings of Japanese ladies and you can also find some magazines to read while waiting for your order to be served.

BoyBoy orders an 'Oriental Chicken Chop' set dinner that comes with a mushroom soup and refillable green tea. Alternatively, you can ask for Miso soup if you prefer Japanese's flavour. The mushroom soup contains few slices of button mushroom and some shredded chicken that adds on a natural sweet taste to the soup itself. It's not too creamy or sticky, and it's definitely better than anything that you can find in Kulim or fast food stalls. The chicken meat is deep fried yet it's tender and not too oily either. We like it, except we find the portion is just too big for BoyBoy and my appetite. Anyway, the set meal is worth at the price of RM 11.90 only.

I ask for a mini 'Kimchi steamboat' and an eel omelette. I love the 'Kimchi' soup as it's on the right taste of spiciness and sourness, then being heated with the petroleum gel inside a ceramic pot, I can drink the soup slowly without worrying if it's will get cold. The 'Kimchi' soup is just like a small treasure box whereby I find prawn, squid, tofu, mushroom and vegetable; what a healthy order that is not to be missed. The eel omelette; you can choose original or cheese flavour if you dislike eel. The eel is wrapped inside the egg sheets layer by layer and when you bite it, the egg layers is actually adding on some bonus about the softness, moist and aroma of the fried egg. Do allow the waiter to serve this dish slowly as they're taking time to hand-roll it by layers ;)

At last but not to be forgotten, a must for a dessert. I've ordered the Japanese Mochi with red bean paste. The taste is little bit weird for me as it seem to contain some mint or sake flavour.

'Shunka Japanese Restaurant' doesn't serve sushi, but you can still find other Japanese specialty like sashimi, tempura or chawamushi or even Korean BBQ here. To me, I personally like here as it's suitable for a couple like BoyBoy and I whereby I prefer Japanese food but BoyBoy eats only Western food. The price is reasonable either, especially the big portion set meal :o