Friday, August 24, 2007

Luxurious dinner at CRC Restaurant – Penang

Most of the Chinese would have heard before a famous dishes called “Buddha Jump Over The Wall”. Today we will be introducing this famous dish, not all Chinese Restaurant will cater or prepare this special dish. Buddha jump over the wall is a direct translates from Mandarin to English that is why the name sounds so weird. This dish was so special and it tasted so great and so tempting even Buddha cannot resists it, which is why it was called Buddha jump over the wall.

CRC restaurant is one of the most famous Chinese restaurants in Penang, the restaurant is located at Chinese Recreation Club (CRC) along Macalister Road and Burmah Road. In order to have this dish, we need to call in a week before for reservation as it takes sometimes for the chef to prepare the ingredients and cook. For cooking Buddha jump over the wall, it already takes around 2 days. Buddha Jump Over The Wall is actually a big pot of soup cook with all the expensive Chinese herbs and expensive ingredients. The main Ingredients are Shark Fins, Abalone, Ginseng, Sea Cucumber, Fish Lips, Dried Scallops, Black Chicken, Dried Mushrooms and many other Chinese herbs. As described by the chef, after all the ingredients are ready, they will be placed inside the big pot, seal it and continuously using dim fire to cook it for 2 days. This will ensure all the best parts of the ingredients are absorbed by the soup. The pot in the picture is catered for 10 people and cost us RM 1800.

There are also methods for eating this Buddha Jump over the wall, normally it will be separate into 3 rounds, that means one person will be serve for 3 bowls. The waitress will do the serving for everybody. The first serving will include Shark Fins and dried scallops and second serving will have Abalone, Sea Cucumber and Shark Fins. The final bowl will have Black Chicken, Fish Lips and Mushroom. As you can see the soup is clear and it tasted very nice and sweet. It had the fragrant of Chinese herbs, abalone and shark fins. The Shark Fins used are called “Pao Chi”; meaning that it is an upper class of shark fins where the fins are still attached together. The texture of the Shark fins is so good and you still can feel the crispy of it. The abalone and the sea cucumber were cooked to just nice, not too hard and easy for consumption. Believe me!!! You are going to like it after you tried. This is anytime better than normal double boiled shark fins soup.

After the first dish, everyone is almost 50% full, just imagine 3 full bowls. During the dinner we just ordered 3 dishes as recommended by the chef. Although the pot of Buddha Jump over the wall is meant for 10 people but we had only 8 of us. But luckily we are all big eater, so no problem for us….. hehehe. The second dish was roast baby pig. The dish is just for the sake of eating the crispy skin of the roasted pig. The skin was roasted to very crispy and together with the mini bun and Hoisin sauce it just perfect. We finish the whole thing less than 15 minutes. We also brought along with us a Moet & Chandon champagne, Dom Perignon vintage 1998. We like it very much and most of the time when we (MakanKings) had gathering or celebration going on, we will always have one with us.

The last dishes we ordered was Lobster noodle (Long Har yee mee). The Lobster that used in this dish was real big. The lobster was fresh enough and the meat was so tender, crispy and sweet. You can really taste the lobster sweetness in the soup. This dish was so good, although I am bit full but I still manage to eat for 2 bowls. I really like the soup of the yee mee and the lobster. This dish cost us RM 400 but to me is worth it, because huge portion of lobster was used to cook this yee mee. Next time when I go there, I am going to order this again.Overall I can say that all of us enjoyed our dinner over there. Although this dinner cost us quite a lot, but if the food is nice enough, we are willing to pay. This dinner had become our most luxurious dinner in Penang. We love it….. haha……

Makan King's ratings = 8.5 out of 10

-Wasabi King-

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Part 4 of Trip to Penang 2007 - Seafood @ Bali Hai, Gurney Drive

Finally! Its the last post for my trip to Penang last month. We were actually planning on going to either Gertak Sanggul for our finale. But because we have been stuffing ourselves silly throughout the day, we only started looking for dinner at about 10pm. Gertak Sanggul would definately be closed by the time we found our way there.

A quick call to -Wasabi King- rectified the problem. He said, why drive? Walk down the road from your hotel, find Bali Hai and if its seafood you're looking for, Bali Hai is it!!

True enough, we found Bali Hai just down the road from our hotel (Gurney Hotel). Looked popular as there was alot of people. Whats nice is that they have tanks and tanks of live seafood!! Me and the Canadian were contemplating which lobsters to order but decided not to when the others were looking funny at us! :p Anyway, enough blabbering, on to the food!!

First dish to arrive was the fried squid. A staple favorite at any seafood dinner. The version here was good! The coating flour has specks of black pepper which did wonders for the flavor and the squid itself was cooked to perfection, not too tough and not too underdone as well.

Next dish was the spinach in superior stock (siong tong yuen choy). Unlike other versions that I've had, this one had normal chicken eggs, salted duck eggs and century eggs in them. Was suppose to balance out all the seafood but it turn out to be cholesterol laden. Which is SUPERB!!! Penang folks would say, SUIIIIII!!

The next dish to arrive was the steamed "kappa". "Kappa" is actually a shell fish closely resembling lala. This dish was steamed with lots and lots of breath enhancing garlic and chillies. It was so good we were scooping up the "soup" to eat with copious amounts of rice.

The last dish to arrive was the crabs!! The local mud crabs were cooked in a luscious mixture of salted duck eggs. Another cholesterol laden dish but it was as if we cared!! :D This dish gave the steamed "kappa" a run for its money!!

Now I did say last dish when explaining the crabs didnt I? Let me explain, since we were still quite full, we decided that 4 dishes were enough. But after the crabs, we thought we better order another dish to balance the sinful meal we just had.

So, we ordered the scallops with broccoli!! Actually, to be honest, we ordered this because we say many tables having it and it looked really good! When it arrived, we were quite pleased with the generous amounts of scallops. Every was just cooked to perfection, the scallops were exquisitely fresh, the broccoli nice and crunchy which just made for a heavenly dish.

With this post, the Trip to Penang 2007 series has ended. Its probably the only series that Makan Kings has ever started and finished properly. I hope everyone enjoyed this series and we hope to bring you more in the future.

GPS coordinates:
Its along Jalan Gurney. That should be enough to get you there!! :p

Makan King's ratings = 7.5 out of 10

-BKT King-

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Part 3 of Trip to Penang 2007 - Bak Ki!!!

After breakfast we went straight to the hotel and hung out opposite which is Gurney's stretch of beach. Waited not more than 20 minutes for my bro -Wasabi King- to pick us up and guide the way to the meal that I've been waiting for this whole trip to Penang. Bak Ki!! I cant remember the road name but locals call it "Goh Tiao Loh" (No. 5 road).

My bro had already pre-ordered the dishes and we had a table all ready for us. So basically it was just a case of chatting, catching up and letting breakfast digest a little before the food arrive.

First to arrive was the oyster noodles. It is still as I remembered it, full of "wok hei" and fresh ingredients. There was fish slices, big plump oysters and also bits of greens. I think all at the table would agree its good!

Next to arrive was the oyster glass noodles. Also the same ingredients as the oyster noodles but with a darker, richer sauce. My colleagues loved this. I think Ed the boss man especially enjoyed this whole meal.

Plain fried vegetables to counter all the seafood and meat that we were eating. Normal vegs cooked perfectly. Crunchy, fresh and you can really taste the difference between normal gas stoves and charcoal ones (which is what this restaurant uses).

Next was a plate of fried tofu. Again, a delicious dish with big plump prawns and bits of leek. Its funny how the simplest dish cooked to perfection can bring it into a different level altogether.

The fried oyster omelet that we all have been waiting for. I simply love the Penang style of oyster omelet with the egg and sticky tapioca flour mixture. Abit of the batter and an oyster dipped into the chilli sauce is I think as close to culinary heaven that you can get!!

Now, the moment that everyone has been waiting for. The Bak Ki!! Its really just a simple soup with meat (that has been coated with tapioca flour) and some vegs (cabbage). I still cant put my finger on what makes this sooooo good. I have tried a few other stalls selling the same in KL (one of them is a road side stall next to Fei Por chicken rice) but none can do it like this place does. 2 thumbs up!!

GPS coordinates:
N 5° 24' 15.8"
E 100° 20' 2.1"

Makan King's ratings = 8 out of 10

-BKT King-

Friday, August 03, 2007

New World Park, Penang – Rou Gu Cha King aka Bak Kut Teh King

New World Park is located between the junction of Burmah Road and Swatow lane. In 1970’s to 80’s this place damn famous, it was an amusement park on that time. After that this place had been abandon there for a long long time. Hawkers located on Swatow lane are famous, especially their Ice kacang, Popiah, Laksa, Pasembur and many others. One or two years back, Robert Kwok’s group had decided to redevelop this place. They wanted to make New World Park to become one of the tourist attractions in Penang. Inside this place you can find food, shopping, clubbing, bistro, cyber café and many others. Most of the hawkers from Swatow lane had move into the food court of New World Park. You can get lots of local delicacies here.

1st Aug is the grand opening for the main park, so I had decided to go there to search for some good food. When I reach there, I was sort of disappointed because not all the shops are open. Only 4 to 5 shops opened on that day and most of the shops are still under renovation. Just because there are only a few shops over there, we had notice a shop name Rou Gu Cha King which means King of Bak Kut Teh. The first thing that came into my mind was this shop is good. WHY? Because in Penang, a food heaven and they still dare to claim themselves as King of Bak Kut Teh, this means that they are really something. Furthermore they had an outlet in Shanghai.

We decided to dine in this shop. After enter the shop, we realize that almost all the tables were occupied. The waiter showed us to table, after sitting for 5 minutes, I started to feel uncomfortable because of the hot environment although the shop was equipped with Air-Con but still hot. We complain to the waiter and he told us that their curtain blower for the door is still not ready. By looking at the menu, they have really lots of selection for Bak Kut Teh, they have original, dry, red wine flavored, spicy, BKT Mee, BKT porridge and many others. We were attracted by the menu but we were told not all the things are available yet when we wanted to order spicy BKT. So in the end we ordered Original BKT, Dry BKT and BKT Mee

For 1 person of Bak Kut Teh set meal which includes BKT, rice, bean sprout, Yau Char Kuai and tea is RM 10.90. To me the price is moderate I won’t complain it to be too expensive. When the set was served, the portion is really really small. The BKT was served in a mini size clay-pot with only a few pieces of meat and other ingredients. The soup taste weird because it was a bit on sour site and doesn’t really have the fragrant of Chinese herbs at all.

The service here was really poor as to me all the waiter are fresh and doesn’t have any experience before. As I mention, our set meal included a tea. A few waiters walking by our table keep asking what drink do we wanted to order, we told him we ordered set and include a tea. After a few minutes later another waiter walks by and asked the same question again. We totally were asked for four times and waited 15 minutes just for the tea. The original BKT was served quite fast, but the dry one took around 40 minutes. I am not sure what they are doing in the kitchen. If they don’t improve on their service, soon they will lose their customer. The Dry BKT doesn’t taste any special, is just like Kung Poh, dark soya sauce with dried chilies. The BKT Mee that we ordered was also the same, taste like Kung Poh and no fragrant of BKT or Chinese here.

Overall we were quite disappointed with the service and the food that we received from this shop. Is the first day opening of the shop so that I didn’t blame much, but I do really hope that can improve on their food and also service. I am not sure I will be there again or not …… Maybe when BKT King comes to Penang, I will bring him there as BKT king can go and screw the chef….. hehe

Makan King's ratings = 4 out of 10

-Wasabi King-