Teik Seng Foodstall @ Carnarvon Street

I have to admit, that while I’m born and bred in Penang, I have the worst sense of direction ever when it comes to roads around Penang Road. All those small, narrow, some of them one way streets off Penang Road (eg Chulia Street, Carnarvon Street, Kimberly Street, Rope Walk…etc) are just a maze to me! And for the life of me, I can never get them quite right…!

So when I drove some of my friends to the famous Teik Seng foodstall along Carnarvon Street, I just drove like I knew where I was going (but was making wild guesses inside my head!) Worse come to worse, I’d have to call my grandpa and ask for directions loh!!

This place has been around for a long time (according to my grandpa) and its always packed. Penangites love their food and would brave the hot sun and the crowd, especially if its cheap and good!

This place is famous for its pork stir fry with soya sauce or “Char Siew Bak” and they can make it spicy (by adding chili padi) if you wished. This dish has been officially dubbed ‘toxic’ by my brother because of the amount of pork fat and oil it has….but I always say “eat first regret later” and trust me, this dish is worth throwing caution to the wind! *salivate*

Next up is the equally delicious curry fish. Since I’m not a fan of fish head, we decided to have it cooked with ‘ikan bawal’ (white pomphret) instead. Another favourite is to cook it with stingray. The curry is just nice, not too spicy with a tinge of sourness. Comes with generous helpings of ladies fingers. I like this curry poured over my white rice!

We also ordered butter prawns and stir fry veggie. The butter prawns were very tasty and the veggie was fresh and not too oily!

All in all it was definitely a tummy treat! Oh and just one other thing I noticed about this place… the owner of this coffee shop must like clocks. Because the whole shop is just full of clocks!! Different wall clocks of all shapes and sizes! Thank goodness, they don’t chime…otherwise, can you imagine what it’d be like when the clock strikes 12?!

PS: Sorry, no photos of the wall clocks…got too distracted by all the good food!!

Seafood Porridge @ Sg Tiram

There is little kopitiam at Sg Tiram (along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, on the way to the airport, after the factories Osram, Bosch and Amphenol) which is famous for its seafood porridge.

This kopitiam is popular with the factory crowd as it is nearby and opens for breakfast. For breakfast, they serve simple items like nasi lemak and fried bee hoon. For some reason, the best seller is their ‘roti bakar’, which is really actually very normal and something you can easily prepare at home. But like I said, for some reason, their toast bread with butter and sugar just sells like hot cakes. In fact, its so sellable that they even have it at night, for dinner! No complaints there, cos I’m a sucker for toast bread with butter!! Yummy!!

During dinner, patrons will go to the counter and pick the various types of seafood that they would like with their porridge, ‘bee hoon’, ‘mee suah’ (rice flour noodle) or yellow noodle soup. You can choose from a variety of fresh fish slices, fish balls, prawns, crabs, fish cakes, pork balls etc… When I was there recently, I picked fish slices with ‘mee suah’ soup. The soup was flavorful and the fish was fresh.

Other choices available include satay and salted chicken. Both items are not bad and tasty.

They enjoy very brisk business and you will need to go early during dinner in order to get a table without having to wait. Some people have commented that their food is not really that special, while some find the seafood porridge/noodles a bit expensive (depending on what you order, but average bowl is about RM6-8). But, business is booming for them!

After enjoying the food here several times, I recently noticed the name of the kopitiam! This signboard is not noticeable from the road, but you’ll be able to recognize the kopitiam from the big “salted chicken” banner outside the shop. Happy eating!

Jiu Jiu Szechuan Restaurant @ Autocity Juru

Was around the Autocity Juru area for work recently and decided to try one of the fancy looking restaurants at the new phase of the Autocity. Actually you can’t really see Jiu Jiu Szechuan Restaurant because its located on the first floor, but its bright interesting looking logo beckoned…

The interior was cosy with red walls and dark wooden chairs. My brother originally thought it was some fast food szechuan place with cheap set lunches…but oh boy, were we wrong!!

Upon walking in, we knew this was no RM10 per set lunch place. I do not know much about Szechuan food but would equate it to hot and spicy tastes. People who can’t really take spicy food will like the fact that the menu advices the customers of the spiciness of each dish, indicated by the number of ‘chilies’ next to each item. After browsing through the rather extensive menu, the 2 of us ordered a “Ant climbing up a tree”, Jiu Jiu’s signature pork ribs, “Xiu long bao” and a long beans stir fry rice set.

The “ant climbing up a tree” (translated literally from the mandarin name) is actually a spicy vermicelli dish that’s stir fried with minced meat. It was really tasty and I loved it! Some might find it a tad bit too oily though.

The signature pork ribs came with chili powder on the side. The taste was rather bland to me (probably overshadowed by the vermicelli dish?) Still, the meat was very tender. And what impressed me was the fact that the waiter actually gave instructions to the kitchen to half the portion, since there were only 2 of us. Very sensible indeed!

Next came the “Xiu Long Bao” or mini steamed meat dumplings. Having tried this dish before in Dragon-i in KL, I must say that I prefer Dragon-i’s version to Jiu Jiu’s. The “Xiu Long Bao” at Jiu Jiu is a bit bigger than normal and the dumpling skin was a tad bit too thick. But biting into the dumpling, you can still taste the burst of flavorful meat inside.

My brother’s favourite is the long beans stir fry with mince meat. This dish has always been a family favourite and I must say that Jiu Jiu does this popular dish justice. The long beans were crunchy enough, salty enough, with just the right amount of mince meat. Yummy!

Jiu Jiu also offers a range of teas either by the pot or by the cup. I love trying out different types of tea combinations and was spoilt for choice here. In the end, we ordered a Pu Er Rose tea and a Long Jing Chrysanthemum tea. Both were lovely.

In the end the bill came up to about RM60++ which was quite reasonable for the service and the food. Like I mentioned before, the waiter was sensible enough to instruct the kitchen to half the portion of the pork ribs (and of course the cost!) to ensure that we didn’t end up with too much food!

I would definitely come back for a second visit!
Jiu Jiu has another branch on Penang Island, at i-Avenue (next to Bukit Jambul Complex).

My Holistic Journey…

Armed with new found zest for a healthier slimmer me… this is my Holistic Journey…so far…

Day 1
Upon waking: 1 cup of warm water with a slice of lemon (as recommended in the book)
Breakfast: Rice Flakes with Rice Milk (both items bought from Cold Storage)
Lunch: Yataimura’s Teppan Chicken with veggie, 1 raw salmon sushi, 1 inari sushi & green tea

Feelings: mid morning near lunch – dizzy (effects of removal of toxins??)
4pm – hungry, eyeing biscuit tin, but resist….

Dinner: 2 muesli bars (too sweet and filled with wheat!!) Was rushing to Kulim for work and just grabbed whatever I could find in the kitchen….

Day 2
Upon waking: glass of water. Was running late. No time for lemon slice or breakfast
Brunch: Half a smoke chicken ham sandwich and chips. With a low fat ice chocolate from starbucks…. Everything didn’t taste as good. Sandwich was too salty. My favourite Ice choc didn’t taste as nice. Being on this diet is supposed to change your palate, so that you don’t crave the foods you used to like. Has my palate changed so suddenly or am I just feeling guilty that I’m eating ‘forbidden’ foods?
Dinner: Reclaim myself by having a banana & yoghurt with a drizzle of honey

Conclusion: This holistic detox diet thingy needs a lot more effort than I thought. My meals will need to be pre-planned and looks like I’ll have to prepare my own meals to bring to work until I figure out places that serve ‘healthy’ foods that I can eat on this detox. Food has always been a big part of my life but its also one that’s always easily overlooked. Most times we don’t spend any time at all thinking about what we’re feeding our bodies with. And we get so used to just eating whatever is convenient or available, which most often than not, are not too healthy for us. Looks like I need a do-over!!

Joshi’s Holistic Detox

Veering slightly off topic here by discussing this holistic diet (still food related!!) I read about recently. Its a book called “Joshi’s Holistic Detox – 21 days to a healthier, slimmer you for life”

Now that sounds like a real good promise aint it? So I read the book over the weekend and in conclusion Dr Nish Joshi’s principles are to return our bodies to its natural alkaline state. He claims our bodies have become unbalanced and acidic due to high consumption of meat, white flour, caffeine, sugars and processed foods. He encourages us to eat foods that are as fresh as possible, thus giving our bodies the best nutrients we can derive from these fresh foods.

So I figured, hey, this sounds quite interesting and since I’ve always been telling myself that I would eat better and healthier, I thought, why not give this a shot?

Therefore, armed with his Top 10 Detox Rules in mind…I set out, very positively, to a healthier, slimmer me…in 21 days!

Dr Joshi’s Top 10 Detox Rules:
1. No red meat
2. No dairy products (goat cheese and live bio yoghurt is allowed though)
3. No sugars and other sweeteners(except honey, preferably organic and raw with no added sugars)
4. No yeast and yeast products
5. No alcohol, fizzy drinks & caffeine (except green tea)
6. No nuts (except seeds and pine nuts)
7. No biscuits, cakes and doughnuts
8. No artificial flavourings and condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegars, mustard etc
9. No breads and pastas (except brown rice)
10. No fruit (except bananas)

Chee Cheong Fun @ Macalister Lane

I must admit that I’m not a big fan of Chee Cheong Fun (rice sheet rolls) unless, the Chee Cheong Fun is from the stall at Macalister Lane. I can’t help it, I’m picky when it comes to my Chee Cheong Fun because, in my humble opinion, not everyone can make a yummy-licious plate of Chee Cheong Fun. It takes a certain skill. The ‘fun’ or rice sheet rolls need to be just the right thickness and not too soft or too dry. Plus, I must make sure that the person who makes my Chee Cheong Fun is willing to ‘open’ the rolls. What do I mean?

Well, first, for those not in the know, Penang Chee Cheong Fun is a world of difference from the KL Chee Cheong Fun. In KL, this dish is served with ‘sides’ like fish balls and stuffed ladies fingers much like Yong Tau Fu. But in Penang, all you get is the ‘fun’. No meats or sides. Some may argue that this means the Chee Cheong Fun has hardly any nutritional value, except maybe carbs… but hey, its not like you eat it every day right?

The Penang Chee Cheong Fun comes with the rice sheet rolls usually mixed with dashes of sesame oil, ‘he ko’ (prawn paste), ‘ti chiao’ (sweet sauce) and chilli sauce, topped with sprinkles of sesame seeds. Some people claim that adding some peanut butter into the mix makes it taste better….but I have yet to confirm this. My favourite Chee Cheong Fun stall at Macalister Lane (the small road right after Hong Leong Bank on Macalister Road) makes a mean plate which looks something like this….

Best of all, the uncle ‘opens’ or unrolls slightly the rolled up noodle just before cutting them up. This way, its easier for most of the noodle to be coated with the sauce. And what you get is mouthfuls of yummy soft and smooth chee cheong fun, slightly salty and slighty sweet!

Best Pan Mee in Penang!

When I was younger, I’d never tasted Pan Mee before. I only discovered this delicious off white homemade noodles made out of flour, when I studied in KL. I remember tasting my first bowl of pan mee at a road side stall along the streets of Wangsa Maju. And have been a fan ever since.

When I came back to Penang, I was most disappointed to find that there were no good Pan Mee stalls in Penang, until…. I discovered this little gem, ‘Hou Mei Yuen’ kopitiam, tucked away in the flats opposite Vistana Hotel, near Bukit Jambul Complex.

This kopitiam only sells Pan Mee, served dried or with soup. The ‘mee’ (noodle) comes in 2 varieties – thick and flat, or thin. I like my Pan Mee thin and will always order the dried version, which looks something like this….

The dried version Pan Mee has mee mixed in yummy black sauce and comes with minced meat, crunchy ‘ikan bilis’ (anchovies), black strips of ‘bok nee’ (dried black tree fungus, ok it tastes better than it sounds!!) and a bowl of soup with fish balls. Best of all, the chilli dip that they serve is also two thumbs up! Its not too spicy and slighty tangy…makes for a great companion to that scrumptious plate/bowl of pan mee!

This being a kopitiam, and a very popular one at that, there are no frills. You write your orders on little stacks of papers and hand the paper with your table number written on it to the girls at the stall. You also have the option of adding extras like ‘ikan bilis’ and fish balls. They usually only serve “leng teh” (cool tea) either hot or cold.
‘Hou Mei Yuen’ is open Monday-Saturdays 8am-3pm. Happy eating!

A Very Special Birthday Dinner

A few years back, a close friend of mine made me dinner. This friend of mine is a guy who loves cooking and trying out new recipes when time permits. We made papaya and green tea ice cream once, but thats another story altogther…. 🙂
And so, for my birthday that year, he whipped up an ‘8-course’ dinner!!

First course…

He called it “Lake of the Forest”. It was a creamy watercress soup…

His special garlic bread with cheese on top…truly yummy!

Mashed potatoes with added mushrooms (because I like mushrooms!)

His version of Chicken Satay (kinda like Batu Maung Satay)

Roasted Chicken Wings

Homemade Fish Balls

“Black pepper surprise”

And finally…Tuna Mushroom Spaghetti!

After all that, we had dessert. I was filled to the brim and couldn’t eat another bite!

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

One of the best Char Koay Teow available in Penang is Ah Leng Famous Char Koay Teow located in a kopitiam (coffee shop) along Jalan Dato Kramat, opposite the old Federal cinema (currently known as Honolulu cafe where Clark Hatch Fitness center is)
Ah Leng has been around for a long time at various locations, this being the latest one.

This Char Koay Teow is so famous that they can charge RM9 a plate and still have customers coming back for more! I once brought some friends from outstation who had 2 plates each at one go! It is value for money because the RM9 special comes with 4 big succulent prawns, mantis prawns and duck egg. (It’s RM8.50 a plate if you swap the duck egg for normal chicken egg).

Having not eaten at Ah Leng’s for about half a year, it was a joy digging into my plate of spicy special and savouring the sweet juicy prawns….(cholesterol? what cholesterol?!)

Ah Leng’s Char Koay Teow with chilli
Without chilli

I’ve noticed that Ah Leng tends to undercook his prawns a little so if you prefer them more cooked, all you need to do is to remind Ah Leng when ordering.
The standard plate is also available at RM5 each. Ah Leng is open during the mornings as early as 8am til about lunch time. Open on Sundays as well.

Dong Hai Tong (Dim Sum) Seafood Restaurant

On the first day of Chinese New Year, we went to one of the few places open for breakfast on that day.The venue of choice was located along Anson Road – a new dim sum restaurant which just opened a few weeks ago. I had spotted that restaurant on the way to work and had been wanting to give it a try. I didn’t have very high hopes for, in my humble opinion, Penang has been honestly lacking in good dim sum places for a very looooong time! As yet, I have not been able to find a place that serves good dim sum… most are just mediocre.

From the signboard, it mentions that they are a (dim sum) seafood restaurant but the morning menu showed mostly dim sum dishes. They are the standard self service type of dim sum restaurant. No push carts as space is quite limited. Instead, you pick your food and order whatever you want from the counter, and later bring it to your own table. They serve a variety of teas and hot water is available at the corner for you to help yourselves.

I do not think that I’m a very picky or fussy eater but somehow, I did not enjoy the food served at this place. The dim sum dishes to me were below par. To be fair, it may be because they are still very new. However, I do not think I will be returning for a second visit…unless I get word that they’ve gotten a new chef/supplier or someone else sings high praises about it. For now, I shall have to turn elsewhere to satisfy my dim sum cravings….