Go Noodle House

Special thanks to Go Noodle House for extending this food review invitation.

Go Noodle House (有间面馆) opens a new outlet in Queensbay Mall. Occupying the former premise of Kopitan Classic on Level 3, Go Noodle House is sandwiched between Seoul Garden and Tokyo Secret. This restaurant marks this chain's second branch in Penang - after the one in Gurney Plaza.
Superior Soup (三鲜汤) is the restaurant's specialty. The soup is stewed from several types of fish bones. To enhance flavor, the soup is also infused with a substantial amount of huadiao wine (花雕酒). Saturated with tantalizing flavors, Superior Soup is gratifying to the very last drop.
Superior Soup goes well with mi xian (米线) because the thin noodle absorbs soup more easily. This bowl of Superior Soup With Home Made Fish Paste (三鲜汤手打自制鱼滑, RM10.50) contains delectable pieces of fish paste.

I have not had the opportunity to try the Home Made Spicy Soup (秘制辣香汤) previously, so it is high time to do. This soup has stronger flavor than the Superior Soup. Its spiciness tantalizes the palate from a different approach. It is subjective to say which of these two soups is better. But I can say for certainty that both soups deserve commendation.
Bee hoon (米粉) is the recommended choice of noodle for Home Made Spicy Soup. For this bowl of Home Made Spicy Soup With Bursting Meat Balls (秘制辣香汤浆爆丸, RM10.90), the meatballs are filled with minced pork that oozes savory juice as soon as the outer layer is punctured. As tasty as the meatballs are, use caution because the fillings may be very hot.

Most of the restaurant's meat ingredients are prepared at Go Noodle House's central kitchen to ensure consistency. They can be ordered with noodle or in individual portions. As recommended by the staff, Pork Balls (猪肉丸, RM9.10) also deserve special mention.
Go Noodle House has 3 types of pan mee: thick (粗), thin (幼) and torn by hand (手撕). All 3 types are made from the same flour-and-egg dough; the only difference is how the dough is cut. I personally prefer the torn version where the dough is steamrolled and plucked into thin, bite-size pieces. In any case, pan mee is boiled in hot water until it becomes sufficiently soft.
Trio Special Dark Sauce Pan Mee (祖传鲜油干捞板面, RM9.50) is served in a paw-shaped plate. In this version, noodle is served with sweet-savory dark sauce, kombu (海带) and amaranth (苋菜). Side items include fried onions (油葱), anchovies (江鱼仔) and minced pork (肉碎). As this noodle dish is dry, it is accompanied by a bowl of soup with fish paste.
As for drinks, Herbal Tea (红枣枸杞茶, RM2.80) and In House Pu Er Tea (糯米香普洱, RM2.30) are recommended. These drinks can be served either hot or cold.
In my opinion, the main selling point of Go Noodle House is its Superior Soup recipe. Considering its location in a popular shopping mall, the restaurant's food pricing is reasonably affordable. If you have been turned off by the long queue at the Gurney Plaza outlet, this Queensbay Mall branch serves as a viable alternative.

Name: Go Noodle House (有间面馆)
Address: 3F-01A, Queensbay Mall, 100, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 10:30am-9:30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/gonoodlehouse
Coordinates: 5.33497 N, 100.30623 E
Directions: Go Noodle House is located on Level 3 of Queensbay Mall, sandwiched between Seoul Garden and Tokyo Secret. Queensbay Mall has a multilevel parking garage and several outdoor parking spaces.

Quay Coffee

Special thanks to Quay Coffee for extending this food review invitation.

Quay Coffee is a drinks stall at the entrance of Chew Jetty (姓周桥). Operated by local residents of the jetty, the stall is only open on Sundays and on selected public holidays. Quay Coffee serves iced drinks in reasonably large cups. There are more than 20 items on the menu, but the price is standardized to RM6.00 per cup.
The signature drinks here are Quay Coffee (RM6.00) and Ice Milk Tea (RM6.00). Coffee and tea are brewed on the spot, so it may take a while to get these drinks prepared. In addition, Cocoa Mint (RM6.00) is also quite popular especially if you need something without caffeine.
Customers who prefer fruits can try the Honeydew Juice (RM6.00), Strawberry Juice (RM6.00) or Mango Yogurt (RM6.00). These drinks are made from fruit cordial.
Mocha (RM6.00) gives a pleasant combination of coffee and chocolate. Cocoa + Tea (RM6.00) is another interesting alternative. Meanwhile, Ice Green Tea (RM6.00) and Apple Yogurt (RM6.00) are perfect for quenching thirst.
While visiting Chew Jetty, why not grab a chilling cup of your favorite drink? Trust me, you need something to cool down during a hot day.

Name: Quay Coffee
Address: Chew Jetty, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-213-6164, 018-954-4830
Business hours: 10:00am-6:00pm (Sundays)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/quaycoffee64
Coordinates: 5.41268 N, 100.33973 E
Directions: Quay Coffee is located at the entrance to Chew Jetty (姓周桥). The stall faces a Chinese temple. Parking is available along Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld) and other nearby roads.

Man Shan Restaurant

Special thanks to Man Shan Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

Tonight's dinner brings me to Man Shan Restaurant (满膳食馆) at Jalan Phuah Hin Leong. Also known as "Purple House", the restaurant's unique color scheme stands out prominently against other houses along this less traveled road. Orchid and other climbing plants cover the front awnings, giving the restaurant a unique outlook from the outside.
Man Shan Restaurant specializes in Klang-style bak kut teh (肉骨茶). The recipe is formulated by one of the proprietors after several decades of experimentation. A Chinese herbal pharmacist by profession, he has assembled 18 herbs such as dong quai (当归), dang shen (党参) and goji (枸杞) to produce what he considers authentic bak kut teh.
Signature Bak Kut Teh (满膳招牌肉骨茶) is served in claypots of different serving sizes (RM14.00, RM26.00 and RM38.00). Ingredient choices include pork ribs (排骨), pork belly (三层肉), pork shoulder (夹心肉), pork leg (猪脚), pork stomach (猪肚), pork intestines (粉肠), meat balls (肉丸) and tofu skin (豆枝). Thanks to the use of premium herbs and a fine balance between "heat" and "cold" elements, the soup does not cause unpleasant heatiness to the body. I must emphasize that this claypot of bak kut teh is tasty to the last drop.
Meanwhile, Spicy Garlic Bak Kut Teh (蒜香焖肉骨茶) uses a similar recipe as the original version, but is braised with a copious amount of garlic. The gravy is reduced to be substantially thicker than the original version, although not quite as dry as the wok-fried version. The distinctive pungency of garlic brings a whole new level to the enjoyment of this herbal soup. Nevertheless, I still think that the traditional version appeals better to my palate. Also available is Basil Yam Bak Kut Teh (芋香焖肉骨茶), which I am not able to try this evening.
Braised Pork Knuckles With Special Chef Sauce (红酱卤猪蹄, RM48.00) is a new item on the menu. Taking advantage of jelly-like texture of cartilage, the pork knuckles are braised in thick savory gravy that tantalizes my palate in an intriguing manner. Working in harmony with pork and gravy are juicy shiitake mushrooms. As the restaurant only prepares a limited number of pork knuckles every evening, it is highly recommended to order one day in advance.
Moving on to side dishes, Signature Crispy Mushroom Balls (满膳爆炸香菇丸, RM7.90) are made from minced pork and chopped shiitake mushrooms. The meatballs are deep-fried to scrumptious crispiness. This dish is particularly well-received by children.
Given that most dishes here are based on meat, it is good to have some vegetables as counterbalance. Assorted Vegetable With Lemon Onion Hot Sauce (凉拌酸辣菜, RM9.00) is newly introduced to the menu. Onions and leaf lettuce (油麦) take advantage of tangy sauce in drawing appetite. Hard-boiled eggs are also included in this juicy dish.
You Tiao (油条, RM2.00) goes well with Signature Bak Kut Teh. In order to retain their aroma and crispiness, the breadsticks are fried to order. For the best effect, briefly dip each piece of breadstick into the herbal soup such that it remains crispy. At Man Shan Restaurant, You Tiao is supplied by a family member of one of the proprietors.
In line with the proprietors' philosophy of serving food of utmost quality, Man Shan Restaurant uses top-grade rice from Noble Pine Crane (松鹤香饭, RM1.50). This brand of rice is seldom used because it is prohibitively expensive. Should customers prefer, fried shallots go well with rice (葱油拌饭, RM2.00) too.
As for drinks, Man Shan Restaurant specializes in scented tea (花茶) that is blended by hand. Hot tea is served in glass teapots and teacups, and each teapot is ideal for up to 3 persons.
If you love lemongrass (香茅), be sure to try the Blue Fairy (蓝精灵, RM6.90). The blue color is attributed to butterfly-pea flowers (蓝花) which the restaurant grows within its compound. Pandan (香兰) is also added for the fragrant aroma.
Meanwhile, Blink Blink Chrys (亮晶晶, RM7.90) consists of chrysanthemum flowers (菊花), wolfberries (枸杞), red dates (红枣) and strips of winter melon (冬瓜). This scented tea is slightly sweet due to the presence of honey.
Although Man Shan Restaurant has been operating for 2 years now, the restaurant is relatively unknown because there is little publicity until just recently. Instead, the proprietors focus their efforts in delivering wholesome food and building a loyal customer base over time - a strategy that has been paying off lately. Therefore if home-cooked food, premium ingredients and affordable pricing sound good to you, I cannot recommend Man Shan Restaurant highly enough.
Name: Man Shan Restaurant (满膳食馆)
Address: 6, Jalan Phuah Hin Leong, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-226-6584
Business hours: 11:00am-2:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 6:00pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/manshan369
Coordinates: 5.42345 N, 100.32263 E
Directions: Driving along Burmah Road (Jalan Burma) from New World Park, turn right to Jalan Phuah Hin Leong. This small road is somewhat opposite of Union Primary School. Man Shan Restaurant is one of the shops on the right. Limited parking space is available in front of the restaurant.

Flamingo Café

This article is part of my Ramadan 2017 compilation.

Special thanks to Flamingo Hotel By The Beach, Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Flamingo Hotel By The Beach, Penang is located next to Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort. This 4-star hotel hosts its Ramadan buffet dinner at Flamingo Café. The theme this year is "Kampung Ku" (My Village). At the center of the buffet counters is an elaborate wooden decoration to celebrate the festive spirit of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Starting with ulam-ulaman, the two rattan baskets contain raw vegetables like ulam raja (king's salad), kacang botol (winged beans), petai (stink beans) and more. Also included are jars of jeruk (pickles) namely asam kelubi (palm fruit), buah pala (nutmeg), papaya, mango and grapes. Of course, buah kurma (pitted palm dates) are also essential for iftar meals.
Sauces to go with ulam-ulaman are sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste), cincalok (salty shrimp paste), budu (fermented fish sauce), tempoyak (fermented durian paste) and sambal kicap dengan bawang (soy sauce with onions).
Ketupat is made from glutinous rice wrapped in palm leaves. The dumplings are boiled inside the pouches, causing rice grains to become compressed as they expand. Meanwhile for lemang, glutinous rice is rolled in banana leaves, and then cooked inside a hollowed bamboo stem. Both rice items are often eaten with rendang.
Served on a wooden boat are Kerabu Taugeh Dengan Kerang (bean sprouts & cockles salad), Kerabu Perut (beef stomach salad), Acar Timun & Nenas (pickled cucumber & pineapples) and Obor-Obor Dengan Biji Bijan (jellyfish with sesame seeds).
Keropok lekor is a street snack from Terengganu. The chewy crackers are made from sago flour, ikan parang (wolf herring), sugar and salt. Other types of crackers are keropok ikan (fish crackers), keropok udang (prawn crackers) and papadum (black gram crackers). In case you fancy offal, there are also fried chicken liver and gizzard.
The outdoor grilling station serves a lamb leg or whole lamb on weekdays and weekends respectively. Beef is also barbecued at the charcoal grill. As for seafood, ikan kerisi (snapper), ikan kembung (mackerel) and ikan keli (catfish) are seasoned with delectable chili paste before being cooked. Air asam (tamarind sauce) serves as condiment for grilled food.
Beef and chicken satay are local street snacks where skewers of marinated meat are roasted over charcoal fire. Satay is typically eaten with kuah kacang (sweet peanut sauce). Often accompanying satay are nasi impit (pressed rice), onion and cucumber. Meanwhile, sizzling-hot from the fryer are pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) and ubi keledek goreng (fried sweet potato fritters).
Rendang is a Minangkabau delicacy which has penetrated the mainstream Malay cuisine. In particular, Rendang Tok is the Perakian variant of this dish. Using a unique blend of spice mix, beef pieces are saturated with extremely savory flavors.
Today's poultry dish is Ayam Masak Lemak Dengan Tanghoon. The yellow gravy is formulated from a variety of spices especially turmeric. Besides chicken and potatoes, it is interesting to see glass noodle in this dish too. Made from mung beans, glass noodle is springy and translucent when cooked.
Gulai Kepala Ikan Salmon Dengan Bendi is a curry dish that contains salmon head and okra (lady's fingers). Salmon head still has a substantial amount of flesh, unlike many types of fish. Overall, I find the curry to be quite appealing.
Also presented in a kuali (wok) is a spicy dish called Sambal Sotong. Squid pieces are cooked with fiery chili paste, resulting in pungency which tantalizes the taste buds.
Udang Masak Asam is yet another dish which takes advantage of intense spices. In this case, the thick gravy carries pleasant tanginess of tamarind. On the other hand, I feel that the shrimps are not as crunchy as they ought to be.
The gravy for Mee Rebus is made from curry spices and shrimps, and thickened with corn starch. Mee Rebus is customarily eaten with yellow noodle, hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, tomato and lettuce. Other soupy items this evening are Bubur Lambuk Kambing (mutton soup), Sup Ekor Lembu (oxtail soup) and Sup Ayam Berempah (spiced chicken soup).
Gado-Gado means "mix-mix" in Indonesian. This reflects this dish's mixture of tofu, yardlong beans, bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, hard-boiled eggs and peanut sauce. I would like to suggest adding tempeh to the list.
At the desserts section, there are several types of Malay kuih such as kuih lapis (steamed layer cake), kuih ketayap (rolled pandan crêpe with sweetened coconut), kuih koci (glutinous rice dumpling with sweetened coconut), cucur badak (sweet potato ball with spicy coconut) and agar-agar Milo (chocolate-flavored jelly).
Meanwhile, Western pastry is represented by blueberry butter cake, strawberry mousse cake, cupcakes, Swiss rolls and tartlets.
Other sweet treats include strawberry jelly, honeydew pudding, milk pudding, sago gula melaka and pengat pisang.
The fruits counter presents papaya, watermelon, honeydew, ciku (sapodilla), pitaya (dragon fruit) and green apples. I am particularly thrilled to see ciku on the menu.
Last but not least, diners may also quench their thirst with popular local drinks like teh tarik (pulled milk tea), sirap bandung (rose-flavored milk), soy milk and Milo (chocolate malt drink).
Flamingo Café's Ramadan buffet is served every evening between 28 May 2017 and 24 June 2017. There are 3 rotating menus. On weekdays, the buffet prices are RM75.00 net for adults and RM45.00 net for children. And on weekends, the prices are RM85.00 net and RM49.00 net respectively. The pricing difference is because there are more and better food choices on weekends.

Name: Flamingo Café
Address: Flamingo Hotel, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-892-7167
Business hours: 7:00am-12:00am
Website: http://penang.flamingo.com.my/dining
Coordinates: 5.46752 N, 100.28889 E
Directions: Traveling westbound on Jalan Tanjung Bungah, drive past the pedestrian bridge near Dalat International School. Make a U-turn at the next traffic light-controlled junction and immediately turn left to Flamingo Hotel. Flamingo Café is one level below the lobby. The hotel provides complimentary outdoor and indoor parking.

Kopi Tiam

This article is part of my Ramadan 2017 compilation.

Special thanks to Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang is located between Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Formerly known as The City Bayview Hotel Penang, this 4-star hotel has the distinction of having the only revolving restaurant in Penang (Three Sixtyo). Other eateries in the hotel are Kopi Tiam and Waka Japanese Restaurant.
Kopi Tiam is operated by the hotel itself and serves as its flagship coffeehouse. Besides catering breakfast buffet, Kopi Tiam also offers an à la carte menu that covers primarily local food. As per tradition, Kopitiam is hosting the Ramadan Buffet Iftar every evening. The buffet spread covers Malay dishes with elements of Thai cuisine. Like the previous years, a chef from Thailand is invited over to prepare authentic Thai food during this month-long event.
Roasted Lamb Leg is the main highlight this evening. The lamb is cooked to the right level of juiciness, making the flesh quite delectable. On the side are grilled vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. Black pepper and mint sauces serve as condiments. Thai dry chili sauce (น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว) is also prepared for diners who prefer to spice things up.
The batter for Roti Jala is made from flour, egg, milk and turmeric. Using a special utensil, batter is drizzled on hot griddle surface, resulting in web-like appearance. Roti Jala is usually eaten with chicken and potato curry. In case you are staying in the hotel, Kopi Tiam also serves Roti Jala for breakfast.
Mee Udang is also known as "Hokkien Mee" in Penang. The preference is to use a mixture of yellow noodle and rice vermicelli. Also important to enhance flavor is sambal (chili paste). Other ingredients include shredded chicken, shrimps, boiled eggs, bean sprouts, kangkung (water spinach) and fried onion.
Pasembur is a salad mix of fritters, tofu, boiled eggs, sengkuang (jicama) and cucumber. Pasembur is typically dressed in sweet peanut sauce.
As for hot dishes, Mamu Gulai Ikan Dengan Kacang Bendi is a good dish to start with. The vibrant red color of fish curry is very enticing. Besides being spicy, the curry also carries mild tanginess from tamarind. Besides fish, there are juicy pieces of okra (lady's fingers) to serve as counterbalance to this fiery dish.
If your palate is more attuned to strong flavors, you cannot go wrong with Sambal Ikan Bilis Dengan Ikan Masin. For this dish, salted fish is cooked with anchovies and chili paste. This dish is best eaten with some rice because it is too salty to be eaten directly.
Hailing from Terengganu is a popular street snack called Cucur Lekor. The word "lekor" means "roll" in local Terengganuan dialect. Prepared from ikan parang (wolf herring) and sago flour, the fish paste is made into rolls and then deep-fried in oil. The chewy texture makes this snack particularly popular with children. It would be nice if chili sauce is provided, though.
Merinjau is a popular snack from Indonesia, where it is known as emping. Each piece is made from a belinjo nut - roasted, smashed, dried and then fried. Merinjau is slightly bitter but I think this is its main appeal. Speaking of crackers, keropok ikan (fish crackers) and papadom (black gram crackers) are also available.
Thai is one of the most celebrated cuisines across the globe. One of the best-known Thai delicacy is Tom Yum (ต้มยำ), which is made from Thai spices like chili peppers, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. The fiery soup is unforgiving to the tongues of the unprepared, so go slowly if you are unsure of your tolerance level. Tom Yum can be enjoyed with shrimp, squid and fish - all of which are provided.
Thai Chicken Briyani (ข้าวหมกไก่) is often served in southern Thailand and is quite similar to our local Biryani Rice. Rice is cooked with chicken pieces, chicken stock, ghee (clarified butter) and spices like garlic, turmeric and cardamom. Overall, this rice dish is very satisfying. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Thai Fish Cake (ทอดมันปลา) is made from slices of minced fish that is seasoned with curry paste. Chopped yardlong beans and kaffir lime leaves are also added. Thai Fish Cake is usually dipped in sweet chili sauce.
Another interesting delicacy from Siam is Thai Fried Chicken (ไก่ทอด). Chicken is coated with shredded lemongrass and is deep-fried to golden perfection. The chicken's main appeal is its crispy coating. For the best aroma and taste, consume the fried chicken while it is still sizzling hot.
Thai BBQ Beef (เนื้อปิ้ง) is marinated so well that each slice is saturated with savoriness. Beef slices can be dipped in Thai dry chili sauce.
Som Tam (ส้มตำ) is an interesting appetizer made from shredded papaya. Unripe papaya is preferred to take advantage of its crunchiness. Using mortar and pestle, Som Tam combines the tanginess of unripe papaya, sourness of lime, spiciness of red chili, sweetness of palm sugar and salty-savoriness of fish sauce. Also added to provide crunchy texture are peanuts, yardlong beans and anchovies (sometimes replaced with dried shrimps).
Miang Kham (เมี่ยงคำ) is yet another iconic Thai delicacy. The name means "one bite wrap" in Thai. Raw ingredients for Miang Kham include anchovies, roasted peanuts, galangal, shallots, lime, lemongrass and bird's eye chili. Ingredients are mixed on a wild betel leaf (ชะพลู), dressed with sweet sauce made from palm syrup, and then folded up to be eaten.
Thai Chicken Meat Salad (ลาบอีสาน) consists of chicken, onion, chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice and ground roasted rice. This spicy and sour salad originates in northern Thailand.
While on the subject of Indochina, Vietnamese Spring Rolls (chả giò) are deep-fried to provide crispy appeal. This type of spring roll is drastically different from the familiar gỏi cuốn which most people usually associate with Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
As for sweet treats, buah kurma (pitted palm dates) are essential for Muslims to break fast. Typically, three dates are taken before Maghrib prayer. There are also several types of Malay kuih like Kuih Seri Muka (glutinous rice cake with pandan custard), Kuih Bingka Ubi (tapioca cake) and Kuih Sago (sago cake with palm sugar).
Should diners prefer Western pastry, there is an assortment of cakes in bite-size portions. Also presented are crème caramel, mango pudding as well as several types of agar-agar.
Thai Bubur Cha Cha (ขนมบัวลอย) contains substantially more coconut milk than the local Nyonya version. I suggest that you take this dessert towards the end of the meal or you will be surfeited very quickly. I also think it would be nice if Thapthim Krop (ทับทิมกรอบ) were served too.
Bayview Hotel's Ramadan Buffet Iftar is available from 29 May 2017 to 23 June 2017. Food is served from 6:30pm to 10:00pm. The buffet is priced at RM68.00 net for adults and RM40.00 net for children (ages 6 to 12). Compared to other Ramadan offers around Penang, Bayview Hotel has the distinction of having authentic Thai cuisine on the menu.
Name: Kopi Tiam
Address: Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang, 25A, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-263-3161
Business hours: 6:30am-1:00am
Website: http://bhgp.bayviewhotels.com/en/wine-dine/kopi-tiam
Coordinates: 5.42199 N, 100.33592 E
Directions: Bayview Hotel is located between Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Kopi Tiam is located on the Ground Floor and next to the lobby. The hotel's multi-storey parking garage is accessible from Lebuh Farquhar. Street parking is also available in front of the hotel.