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Joo Hooi Cafe, Penang, Malaysia

Sorry for the lack of post this week, my laptop screen cracked! Dragon didn’t sit on it, I actually managed to crack it accidentally, and am getting it fix soon, so hopefully the blog post will be more frequent! *sigh*

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Now back to my Penang post… one cannot go to Penang and not eat Asam Laksa. I have heard wonderful things about Joo Hooi Café and ‘The Mother’ was on the hunt for the best laksa in Penang.

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Joo Hooi can be found on 475 Jalan Penang Road and you really can’t miss it. Lots of people and well, outside there are hawker stalls that sell cendol and pisang goreng (fried banana). We rocked up before midday and not everything was open yet.

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I really wanted to have some popiah unfortunately, the stall was still closed. I was on the hunt for the best CKT in Penang. Unfortunately I had to order one without the prawns or any sort of seafood as Dragon wanted some. I ordered the simplest CKT – Chinese sausage and egg and I have to say, it was magnificent! Even Dragon loved it, however, the heat really got to her and she didn’t eat as much as she had hoped.

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‘The Mother’s’ assam laksa. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of this as it had shrimp and LOAD of chilli! So had to take ‘The Mother’s’ word. The Assam laksa had thick rice vermicelli in fish broth. It was served with a spoon of delicious shrimp paste which diners get to mix themselves. ‘The Mother’ has never had Assam laksa so couldn’t really compare but he really enjoyed it.

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I was most excited about desserts – cendol! I have heard that the Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol is one of the best in Penang, so no doubt I had to try. Just be mindful that there are another stall right opposite of each other and they are both rivals! The one beside the Joo Hooi Café is definitely much better – yes I had two bowls – sssshhhh

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The cendol was good, not too sweet and even ‘The Mother’ who didn’t want any had half of it! hahahaha

I also got some grass jelly for Dragon in a bag (takeaway) which she absolutely loved.

Outside the Joo Hoi Café, there is an old man that sells pisang goreng – and my goodness – they were excellent! I was too full to have it at the time, so bought a dozen and no doubt we ate it that afternoon and it was still excellent!

Ah, I already miss the cendol and pisang goreng in Penang. We definitely ate well and can’t wait to go back again soon!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Joo Hooi Cafe

475 Penang Road

Penang, Malaysia

Opening time: 12.00pm to 5.30pm (closed on wednesday)

Perut Rumah, Penang, Malaysia

The beauty about the internet is the friends you meet through social media. A friend whom I have met through the social media, S, recommended Perut Rumah to me. She tagged a few photos on instargram to show me the food she ate and I was sold! Perut Rumah can be found in Georgetown, about 25 mins by taxi from where we were staying in Penang.

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Perut Rumah can be found on Jalan Kelawai and it serves Nyonya food. The building is an old heritage bungalow house which has been turned into a restaurant. Inside, it was cozy, and had a very old fashioned style which I didn’t expect. The whole atmosphere was unexpected but in a good way. The menu is vast, lots of delicious Nyonya food and I wanted to try everything I saw. The good thing was pretty much each dish can be served in small, medium or large! We opt for small so we can try more dishes!

I couldn’t go past the popiah which was deep fried and absolutely delicious! It was oily or sickly, it was perfect and was hard to stop at just one.

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‘The Mother’ wanted the prawns sambal which was served with cucumber. Unfortunately, both Dragon and I didn’t have this but ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it.

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The fried chicken was excellent, the skin was crispy and chicken was full of flavour. Even Dragon had more than one chicken!

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The pork slices was a bit of disappointing. It was pretty ordinary, think I could probably whip something like this at home!

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Unfortunately we didn’t have dessert, they had six desserts on the menu, however, only two for the evening and it wasn’t the ones we wanted – mind you I can’t remember what we wanted now! But at the time, we were a little disappointed.

Service was friendly, they definitely kept Dragon entertained. Food overall I thought was good (except for the pork – probably should have picked something else!) but the fried chicken and popiah were definitely my favourites.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Perut Rumah

17 Jalan Kelawei, 10250

Georgetown, 10250, Penang

Ph: +60 4 227 9917

Spice Market at Shangri-la Rasa Sayang, Penang, Malaysia

Sorry for the lack of post last week, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went to Penang for a short gate away. We wanted somewhere relatively close (only 3.5 hours from Hong Kong) and somewhere we can chill and do nothing and that’s pretty much what we did. We tossed the idea of staying in a resort or have a private pool, although in Penang there weren’t many private pool villas so we stayed at a resort – The Shangrila Rasa Sayang to be exact and we stayed most of the time there.

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Traveling with Dragon is different, holidays are never the same again as it is mostly about Dragon and not us. We have to go by HER routine and not ours, but that doesn’t bother us, it just means we have a more relaxing holiday than anything else. More time by the pool, more sleep and more chill time instead of being on the go. However, I guess the most annoying thing would be the food. ‘The Mother’ and I LOVE to eat at hawker centers and on the streets, but with Dragon it is slightly different. We ate probably 50 – 60% of our meals in the hotel, as it was just ‘convenient’ but thankfully they had a really good restaurant that served authentic Malaysian food. We ventured out a few times for lunch and dinner but that was pretty much it. Shame, as I love Malaysian food and I love eating at hawker stalls!

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The Shangrila Rasa Sayang was a beautiful hotel, the pictures really doesn’t do any justice. I am missing the pool already, missing my drinks by the pool and going for a dip whenever I can!

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One of the restaurants that we ate at is called Spice Market, slightly fancy and a little more expensive than Hawker food but it was good! We had two meals there, and for breakfast, this is where they had the buffet.

Started with some popadoms and prawn crackers.

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I couldn’t go past the Hainan chicken rice – good for both Dragon and I and I have to say, it was a generous serving. The chicken was tender, and the sauce was fantastic! The chicken rice was also good, so good that Dragon ate at least ¼ – ½ of the rice!

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We also had the chicken and beef satay (3 each) which was good but I have definitely had better.

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‘The Mother’ had the chicken tikka which was served with rice. The chicken was extremely tender and the flavours were excellent.

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He also had a serving of the garlic naan which was soft and fluffy and delicious.

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On another visit for lunch, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the noodles, with chicken, prawns and lots of chili. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of this but ‘The Mother’ did say that it was fantastic.

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‘The Mother’ absolutely loves young coconut – it is one of his favourite drinks.

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I couldn’t go past the ais kacang – oh my! It was indeed a large serving and it was good! I admit though, I am not used to the ice cream on my ais kacang! I was told it is Penang’s style. Regardless, it was quite good and perfect for a hot day!

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We also ate at the Pinang Restaurant and Bar, which is also at the Shangrila. We had dinner one evening, after our swim. We wanted something relaxing and didn’t want to leave the resort! Dragon and I had the chicken schnitzel which was a little thin for my liking but it was tasty. The salad and chips were a wonderful complement.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the prawn linguini which he enjoyed thoroughly.

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I have heard that the brunch and dinner buffet at Spice Market is excellent. Service was good, the staff knew us WELL! LOL, well the staff knew Dragon as we had breakfast every day there and lunch also.

We really enjoyed our stay at Shangrila Rasa Sayang, the staffs were great and we had a fantastic time! Will definitely come back!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Spice Market, and Pinang Bar and Restaurant

Shangrila Rasa Sayang

Batu Feringgi Beach,

Penang, 11100,

Malaysia

Ph: +60 4 888 8888

Village Park Restaurant, Malaysia

This post is long overdue! I was in Malaysia last year in December for my cousin’s wedding. We weren’t there for long, we were in Kuala Lumpur (‘KL’) for four days, three nights. It’s been a very long time since I went to KL, we didn’t really want to do the tourist-y stuff as we have done that before. All I wanted to do was spend some time with family and EAT! I love Malaysian food, nasi lemak, es campur, kueh – I wanted to eat it all. However, due to family commitments, I didn’t get a chance to eat a lot of Malaysian food! No worries, Malaysia is not that far from Hong Kong, so I am pretty sure we will be back again sometimes soon!

We ate a lot of Chinese food, Chinese banquets mainly. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant where we went first night we were in KL. However, food was excellent, I especially loved the four hot and cold dishes combination, the chicken and fish were pretty tasty. But the dessert – red bean ‘pan cake’ was soooo good!

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We had brunch at Village Park Restaurant in Malaysia – winner of the best nasi lemak in klang valley in 2010!

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We left all the ordering to my cousin-in-law’s parents and they ordered superbly! The base, just the rice – nasi lemak with chili sauce and some peanuts. Loved the fragrant rice which was cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf.

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The fried chicken was seriously one of the best fried chickens I have had. The crispy and thin skin, the tender meat, it was fantastic! We ordered several plates of this, partially because I ate a ½ on my own! It was THAT good!

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The sotong (squid) curry was spicy which really gave it that nice kick! Really enjoyed the sotong here.

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Tempeh – fermented soy beans which was deep fried was nice.

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The spicy eggplant I utterly enjoyed!

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Fried pork floss was crunchy but seriously sinful – pretty sure I ate half a plate on my own!

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The fish curry complemented the nasi lemak well.

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Last but not least, vegetables… I didn’t have a lot of this as I wanted more of the chicken and the fish curry.

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It was an EXCELLENT meal, it was like nasi padang in Indonesia – so many choices I didn’t know where to start. Highlights would have to be the fried chicken, the fried pork floss and fish curry!

I couldn’t resist in getting es cincau (grass jelly) with milk. It definitely went down well, especially with all the spicy food.

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‘The Mother’ managed to get his seafood laksa fix – he said it wasn’t too bad, thinks they are better places though. Think we had this in a shopping mall and I am sure the laksa on the side street would be infinitely better.

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These fancy popsicles I love! I really wanted to try the durian one but they sold out so ended up getting the watermelon which was deliciously refreshing – especially on a hot day.

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Managed to eat es campur at Little Penang Kafe – it wasn’t too bad but I have to say I still prefer the es campur in Indonesia.

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The rojak was a also excellent – had to make sure that they didn’t put any nuts. Fresh fruits, oh how I miss good rojak. The other items on the menu looked pretty good but we were having another banquet that evening so didn’t want to eat too much.

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And of course a Chinese banquet for the wedding.

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Many thanks for inviting us to your special day dear cousin. Hope you had a fabulous time, we certainly did! Here’s to a long and happy marriage! So happy for you guys and can’t wait to catch up again!

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Lots of love xx

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Village Park Restaurant Malaysia

5, Jalan Ss21/37, Damansara Utama,

4700 Petaling Jaya, Selangor D.E

Ph: +60 3 7710 7860

Little Penang Cafe
Lot F001 and 100
First Floor, Mid Valley Megamall
Ph: +60 3 2282 0215

Jackie M Masterclass, Sydney

I have seen posts and pictures of the Jackie M class, if I was in Sydney I would have loved to attend. Learn her secrets on the BEST Char Kway Teow (“CKT”) in Sydney and of course, pandan crepes and roti. Thankfully, my favourite Uncle was invited and he was kind enough to write a post and share some of the photos that he took. I certainly wouldn’t mind having some CKT right now. Here’s what Uncle had to say about the class…..

Where does the time go! I can’t believe 2012 has zoomed by and it’s less than 3 weeks before we roll into yet, another new year. With all the xmas goodies, long lunches (no one has invited me yet) and dinners (see previous point), I know I will be rolling into 2013 for sure (hint, hint!).

Step back into the weekend just gone past, I was fortunate enough to be a guest of Jackie M’s ‘Street Food 1’ masterclass. I had the option to choose from other classes, but I could not go past the one that taught you how to make Lala’s favourite stir fried rice noodle: CKT. We’ve tried lots of CKT here in Sydney. And yeah, I know everyone has different expectation of what a good CKT should be like, but we (Lala, Boo and I) have found Jackie M’s to be the one we rate most highly. So when the opportunity came up to learn from Sydney’s best, I could not say no.

Fast forward to the class: I put on my best pair of summer shorts (the one with no holes) and also my cooking boxers (fire-proof and the one with the good elastic still). I figured, if it’s street food, I should really get into my zone. I also put on shoes for a change. Didn’t want to “drop it like it’s hot…” onto my girlie toes. The event was held at the Grace Hotel – a really pretty art deco hotel with a neo-gothic exterior. All that is missing are some gargoyles and it would be really awesome. Not sure if the Graces Bros who originally built it will agree though. Anyway, here are some pics from the day. I made oyster omelette, the KL Hokkien Mee, CKT and also helped out with some of the pandan crepes for the Kuih / Kueh Dadar. Not DADAH. That has a completely different meaning and if you took some into Malaysia, you’d find yourself in big trouble. So take note when asking for ‘dadar’ in Malaysia. You have been warned.

General tips form Jackie:

-          Malaysian cooking is not an exact science

-          Taste and moderate salt / spice according to your liking: AGAK AGAK (sorta, kinda, approximately, bit of this, bit of that)

Tips for CKT:

-          you need heat to char the ‘K-T’ – > Kway Teow…rice noodles.

-          don’t scramble the egg into the noodles. fold it in gently once it’s cooked a bit.

Tips for oyster omelette:

-          you want to achieve a consistency that is gooey and also crispy

-          be vigilant with how much ‘fire’ you have going…you’d need to up it and reduce as needed to cook the components

It was a fun day for everyone. I had entertaining cooking neighbours: my Instagram buddies: theheardoffood, theveryhungrykaterpilla & aloosh, ramenraff who made it fun and also Vani and Iza from Jackie’s team just making sure everyone had everything they needed.

Here’s some photos from the day. Sorry, once my hands got dirty (cos my sous chef was busy running around distracting people…bad boo), there are no step by step photos.

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What does Boo think? APPROVED!

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If you are lucky enough to live in Sydney, guess what? You can visit Jackie at her restaurant or at one of her many market stalls over the weekend

Jackie M

85 Majors Bay Road

Concord

Email jackie@jackiem.com.au 

Ph: 02-9743 0390 

Fax: 02-9012 0058

Petaling Street, Haymarket

I first noticed Petaling Street whilst I was in Melbourne last Christmas. We didn’t try but it did look good and when I heard they have opened in Sydney I couldn’t wait to try. There are so many Malaysian restaurant opening the last couple of months, we are really spoilt for choice but are they all good is the question?

There are two levels to Petaling Street, street level, which are kitchen and some seated areas, and downstairs, bigger and more seating area. I was catching up T and suggested this place. Petaling Street can be found on George Street, near China Town, opposite Pasteur. I think from memory, it used to be a Vietnamese Restaurant, but I can’t remember the name of it.

We started with the roti which was served with curry ($10.80). It was definitely disappointing, definitely NOT their speciality. I thought maybe it was pre-packaged, it wasn’t fluffy or crispy or even tasty. Mamak’s roti is infinitely better and Jackie M, definitely better!

Nasi lemak ($8.00) – traditional hawker type coconut flavoured rice served with sambal, peanut, cucumber, egg and ikan ibis. It was good but I think Jackie M’s is still definitely better.

T couldn’t go past the mamak mee goreng ($10.50), large serving of Malaysian hawker spicy egg noodles with prawn, chicken, bean curd and bean shoots. I thought this was ordinary, the sauce was too thick and sickly and albeit spicy was not the best mee goreng I have tasted. I thought the indo mie goreng was DEFINITELY better!

They had a very limited Malaysian dessert menu. They did have a menu for other desserts though – by other I mean more Western. We had waffles which were served with green tea and black sesame ice cream and I have to say… it was good! Could potentially be the highlight of the evening for me!

I have heard that the laksa and CKT is very good here, so would definitely have to try it out. What we ordered wasn’t the best I thought, the roti at $10.80 was definitely expensive and ordinary. The nasi lemak was good but I have definitely had better.

My favourite Malaysian restaurant would still have to be Jackie M! However, in saying that, I am keen to try their Asam Laksa though.

GA’s ratings: 5.5 / 10

Petaling Street

760 George Street

Haymarket 2000

Ph: +61 2 9280 1006

Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food on Urbanspoon

Jackie M, Concord

I’m always on the hunt for good Malaysian restaurants. Jackie M has been on my radar for a while now, not sure why it has taken us this long to go, considering Concord is not that far from my parents place. The restaurant is not open every day, from Thursday to Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. Reservations is highly recommended as the place does get extremely busy.

Everything on the menu sounded wonderful. We started with Nasi Lemak ($15, add $5 for chicken / lamb / beef / dhal) – fragrant coconut rice accompanied with dried anchovy sambal, peanuts, egg, cucumber and acar (mixed vegetable pickle). I have always enjoyed eating nasi lemak, the different accompaniments, and the mixtures here are very good. It was accompanied with coconut rice which was deliciously fragrant and delicious.

We opt for the beef rending, and oh my, it was GOOD! Even Mum was impressed, and I have to say, it was right up there with Mums! The beef was incredibly tender, and the gravy delicious, complete with kerisik, which is toasted coconut for extra flavouring.

Chicken curry ($17) – mild and delicious Malay curry with chicken fillets and potatoes were excellent. Tender chicken fillets, the curry was thick, spicy and absolutely wonderful.

Eaten with these roti canai they were magnificent. Jackie makes her own roti from scratch and I have to say, they are definitely better than Mamak and the best I have eaten thus far! They were fluffy, buttery, and oh so delicious! These roti can be ordered with a selection of dips but we just ordered two serve on its own as we wanted to dip it in our chicken curry and beef rendang.

I have eaten Jackie’s Char Kway Teow ($14, add $4 chicken, add $6 for prawns, calamari, and fishcake) at noodle markets and knew we had to get a serving. I think it is one of the best CKT in Sydney – I love the strong work aroma, it doesn’t get better than this!

My brother, F, loves Wat Tan Hor ($22) – stir fried fresh rice noodles with a runny egg sauce with prawns, scallops and baby bok choy. Again not for everyone but this was also good. Similar to the CKT, it has a very strong wok aroma, the prawns and scallops were big and juicy and the egg sauce a wonderful complement.

We were getting full by this stage but I couldn’t go past the ais campur durian ($9.50), shaved ice with red beans, corn and glass jelly topped with sweetened milk, rose syrup and durian! Hmhmh DURIAN!!!! Ais campur is one of my favourites, and in Indonesia you usually get a long more ‘stuff’ in it, including, coconut jelly, avocado, jackfruit, and many more.

The durian was fragrantly STRONG – which I love! It was fantastic and I couldn’t stop eating it by the mouthful! Definitely could have done with more durian!

We also got Ais Cendol ($7) – shaved ice drink with mung bean noodles, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. It was deliciously sweet, not my favourite drink but a little bit is ok.

Dinner was superb! No complaints from Mum which was good – she was highly impressed and definitely keen to go back to try Jackie’s other dishes! My favourite would have to be the CKT and the roti. I wanted to try the Rojak that evening, but they ran out. Not quite sure why we didn’t order the popiah either, supposed to be the best in Sydney. Nevertheless, another reason to go back!

Thanks Jackie for a lovely meal, Jackie even came out to say hi which was very nice of her! We’ll definitely be back soon!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Jackie M

85 Majors Bay Road

Concord 2137

Ph: +61 2 9743 0390

Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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