Golden Phoenix

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

Golden Phoenix (金凤楼) is the Chinese restaurant at Hotel Equatorial Penang. It is located at the same floor as nada lama and Kampachi, but faces the golf course to the east. The restaurant bears resemblance to a traditional Chinese inn (客栈). White walls with ceramic tiles line the sides of the dining area, while Chinese lanterns hang gracefully from the ceiling.
Golden Phoenix serves Hong Kong-style dim sum on a daily basis. There are more than 30 choices on the menu - covering steamed items (蒸点), fried items (炸点) and desserts (甜点). Starting this month, 10 new dishes have been added to the menu. These newcomers are the creative works of Dim Sum Chef Vincent Tan, who joined the crew about a year ago.
Lap Mei Gao Choy Gao (腊味韭菜饺, RM13.00) is a basket of 3 steamed dumplings filled with minced chicken and garlic chives (韭菜). Each piece is topped with a Chinese sausage (腊肠) and wrapped in green dough skin.
Hong Yao Shui Gao (红油鲜虾水饺, RM16.00) is served in orders of 3 pieces each. Whole shrimps are wrapped in flour dough skin, boiled in hot water, and then seasoned with chili oil (红油), chili peppers and soy sauce. The dumplings are then garnished with scallion for aesthetic appeal.
Lor Mai Fan (蛋皮糯米饭, RM15.00) presents of unique way of serving glutinous rice (糯米饭). Cooked with dried shrimps, steamed rice is enveloped in a thin egg crêpe (蛋皮), and then topped with crispy shrimps and chopped scallion.
Lo Pak Gou (香煎萝卜糕, RM12.00) is made from shredded daikon (白萝卜), rice flour, corn starch and chicken sausage. The mixture is steamed beforehand and allowed to cool down first. Then, a block is cut and fried in scalding oil to allow the surface to attain delectable crisp. Lo Pak Gou is garnished with shredded ginger (姜丝) for the extra aroma and crispiness.
Long Shou Guen (带子龙须卷, RM24.00) is distinctively known for its crispy coating of rice vermicelli. Beneath the outer shell is seafood paste made from scallops and shrimps. Caviar, mayonnaise and scallion provide the finishing touch.
Another deep-fried dish is Sin Jook Guen (鲍汁鲜竹卷, RM12.00). Rolled in tofu skin is a mixture of chicken, shrimps and mushrooms. The rolls are deep-fried to golden perfection, and then served with savory abalone sauce (鲍汁). Sin Jook Guen comes in orders of 3 pieces per basket.
Continuing the string of deep-fried items, Sa Lut Har Gok (沙律明虾角, RM16.00) is essentially flour skin with minced shrimp fillings. The dumplings are folded and sealed up by making pleats. Sa Lut Har Gok is eaten with mayonnaise, but I prefer to enjoy without any condiments. There are 4 pieces per order.
Moving on, Gao Bat Lei Bao (煎狗不理包, RM12.00) is a popular delicacy from Tianjin (天津). The name literally translates as "dog doesn't care". According to legend, the bun was popularized by a person nicknamed Gouzi (狗子) who lived during the Qing dynasty. He was so obsessed with perfecting his buns that he neglected his customers. This bun was hence called so.
Gao Bat Lei Bao is filled with diced chicken with seasoning. The bun is coated with black and white sesame seeds. Unlike conventional steamed baozi (包子), this type is pan-fried so it is slightly browned. There are 3 pieces per order.

Daan Tart (贵都鲜蛋挞, RM12.00) is essential in any Hong Kong-style dim sum. Inspired by pastéis de nata (Portuguese tarts) in nearby Macau, the egg tart consists of flaky pastry crust filled with sweet egg custard. As a healthier alternative, butter and milk are substituted for olive oil and soy. Each order of Daan Tart contains 3 pieces.
Mong Go Bou Din (芒果布丁, RM11.00), essentially mango pudding, is served chilled. Within its creamy consistency is pleasant sweetness of mango. Fresh strawberries and blueberries serve as icing on the cake.
Last but not least, Bao Yu Zai Siew Mai (鲍鱼仔烧卖) is a type of steamed dumpling topped with a small slice of abalone. This item is not listed on the regular menu yet, but is complimentary to customers who have liked and shared this Facebook post. To claim a basket of 3 pieces, simply flash your phone to show that you have qualified. This offer is valid for the entire month of July 2017. If the response is favorable, Bao Yu Zai Siew Mai will be appended to the regular menu at a later date.
Golden Phoenix's dim sum is available from 11:30am to 2:30pm on weekdays, and from 8:00am to 2:30pm on weekends and public holidays. The food here is pork-free restaurant, but alcohol is used in the preparation of certain dishes. Despite the painstaking process of preparing dim sum, Golden Phoenix manages to maintain such a wide variety on a daily basis.
Name: Golden Phoenix (金凤楼)
Address: Hotel Equatorial Penang, 1, Jalan Bukit Jambul, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-632-7000
Business hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 8:00am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Coordinates: 5.33731 N, 100.28522 E
Directions: Hotel Equatorial Penang is located near the intersection of Persiaran Bukit Jambul and Lebuh Bukit Jambul. Jalan Bukit Jambul is a small offshoot from Persiaran Bukit Jambul near this intersection. Golden Phoenix is located one level below the main lobby. The hotel provides multilevel parking for RM8.00 per entry.


Special thanks to Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant is a Singapore-based German restaurant chain. There are currently two outlets in Malaysia: in Mid Valley Megamall and Sunway Pyramid. The restaurant specializes in authentic German food with emphasis on Bavarian cuisine. The German word "Brotzeit" literally translates as "bread time" - referring to a traditional Bavarian meal that consists of bread, cheese, sausages, smoked meat and pickles.
The Mid Valley Megamall outlet is located at the exterior section of the mall, facing The Gardens Mall just across the road. The restaurant presents a lively ambience with wood as the primary theme. Customers may also choose al fresco dining, or opt to be seated at the bar where a wide range of Paulaner beers flow from the tap.
Adapting to the modern lifestyle of Kuala Lumpur, Brotzeit offers a breakfast menu which is available around the clock. One of the most popular choices from this menu is the Brotzeit Signature Breakfast (RM32.50). Although meant for one person, the portion is remarkably huge for most people.
The main highlight of this breakfast platter is the Nürnberger Bratwurst. A renowned delicacy from Nuremberg, the pork sausage is served over a bed of kartoffelpüree (mashed potatoes). This wholesome potato dish is made by hand. On the side are two fried eggs that are cooked sunny side up.
Ham, cheese and cherry tomatoes are prepared over two slices of multigrain bread. Streaky bacon and fried onions are presented on the side. The platter is further garnished with chopped scallion, lettuce and arugula (rocket salad). On a separate saucer are 3 types of sauces: mustard, ketchup and honey mustard.
Each breakfast meal includes a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of chilled fruit juice. Coffee is brewed from Caffè Vergnano beans from Italy. It comes with a butter cookie on the side.
Schweinshaxn (RM105.00) is undoubtedly the most recognizable dish from Bavaria. The name is spelled in Bavarian slang, for the proper German word is "Schweinshaxe". This dish calls for the hind leg of the swine; the front limb is seldom used because it is way too lean.
The pork knuckle needs to be marinated upfront to allow the flesh to tenderize. Then, pork is roasted at a low temperature to allow the surface to become crispy without getting burnt. Once cooked, Schweinshaxn has an interesting combination of crispy fatty layers, soft lean meat and jelly-like cartilage. The overall taste is simply heavenly. Scrumptious dishes like this are few and far between.
As per tradition, Schweinshaxn is typically served with sauerkraut and kartoffelpüree. Lettuce, arugula and pickled cucumber are used as garnish. The pork is best enjoyed with gravy. Two types of gravy are presented. The former is the traditional one that is usually served in Germany; the latter is more flavorful and therefore more suited to the local palate. This popular pork knuckle dish is meant for 2 or 3 persons, but half portion is also available for RM68.00.

Germans are known for their affinity for beers. Biermischgetränke is a popular choice among casual drinkers. These beers are mixed with carbonated water in order to reduce their alcohol content. Nevertheless, they still maintain their refreshing character.
Interesting choices of Biermischgetränke (RM33.00 for 500 millilitres) are Apfelbier (Münchner lager with apple juice), Affensaft (weißbier with a mango juice), Russ'n (weißbier with lemonade) and Radler (Münchner lager with lemonade). Radler means "cyclists" and was originally formulated for cyclists.

Brotzeit has an affordable lunch menu which is available from 11:00am to 3:00pm every day - except on Sundays and public holidays. Daily Roasted Pork (RM22.00) is the bestselling dish from this menu. Dressed with delectable gravy, juicy slices of pork are gently rested over a bed of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is a traditional Eastern European food that originally served to preserve vegetables over winter.
Each item from the lunch menu comes with a bowl of tagessuppe (soup of the day), which turns out to be pumpkin soup today. The soup's flavor is quite balanced and does a great job in drawing appetite. A slice of sourdough bread on the side goes well with the soup. The meal also includes a glass of ice lemon tea.
Meanwhile from the dinner specials menu, Quarter Ribs With A Twist (RM57.00) is a great choice for pork lovers. The delicious pork ribs, 5 or so pieces, are marinated with honey and grilled to golden perfection. Thanks to the fine balance between lean and fatty flesh, the ribs are succulent down to the very bones.
The pork ribs are served with schwenkgemüse (sautéed mixed vegetables) and kartoffelhappen (spicy potato wedges). The accompanying saucer of pork gravy is meant to go with pork ribs, but I feel that it also works well with the wedges.
Brotzeit has a wide selection of Paulaner draft beers - all imported from Germany. At Paulaner, beers are brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, commonly known as the German Beer Purity Law of 1516. According to this regulation, beer must be produced from malt, hops, yeast and natural spring water only. It is difficult to find a drink more natural than this.
For novice drinkers, the Paulaner Bier Sampler (RM35.00) offers 4 types of Paulaner beer to begin with. Served on a wooden sampler tray are chilling glasses of Original Münchner Urtyp, Hefe-Weißbier, Original Münchner Dunkel Lager and Dunkel Hefe-Weißbier. Paulaner beers contain around 5% alcohol content, which is sufficiently low to appeal to casual drinkers.
Should customers prefer salad, Backhendlsalat (RM52.00) is a sound choice. The bowl of salad comprises of crispy chicken fillet, kartoffelsalat (potato salad), arugula, lettuce, cucumber, semi-dried tomato and sweet corn. This chicken salad is held together by pumpkin seed oil and tangy dressing. Finely-chopped rosemary helps to elevate aroma. If the serving size is too big for comfort, ask for a smaller portion for RM37.00.
As for alcohol-free beer, try a bottle of Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Alkoholfrei. Using de-alcoholization techniques, alcohol content is reduced to trace amounts without affecting the taste too significantly. This alcohol-free beer goes particularly well with soups and salads.
Moving on to desserts, Weißer Lavakuchen (RM25.00) is the chef's interpretation of chocolate lava cake. Made from white chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar, the cake enjoys soft texture with a subtle layer of crisp on the surface. Meanwhile, the interior of the cake remains runny. Viscous liquid chocolate oozes out as soon as the outer layer is punctured.
The chocolate lava cake is served with chocolate sauce, icing sugar, blueberry sauce and juniper berry sauce. Overall, the individual components integrate well with one another, presenting a scrumptious treat after a satisfying meal.
Name: Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant
Address: G(E)-018, Ground Floor, Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2287-5516
Business hours: 10:00am-12:00am (Sunday), 11:00am-12:00am (Monday-Thursday), 11:00am-1:00am (Friday-Saturday)
Coordinates: 3.11878 N, 101.67734 E
Directions: Brotzeit is located at the Ground Floor of Mid Valley Megamall. The restaurant faces The Gardens Mall and is sandwiched between Grand Harbour and Reminisce. Mid Valley Megamall provides parking at the Basement levels.

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
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)
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)
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.