The Oasis

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

During my short trip to Singapore, I stopped by a local food court near the Jurong East MRT station. It is called The Oasis (海京楼), and is one of the many food eateries at the ground level of HDB flats littered throughout Singapore.

I ordered a bowl of Pork Innards Soup (S$4.50), which comes with a bowl of rice. The soup is too salty to be considered tasty. Maybe it is a ploy to entice customers to order more drinks. The amount of pork innards (e.g. liver, stomach etc) and pork meatballs is reasonable if compared dollar-to-ringgit. But the forex conversion rate reflects the high cost of living in Singapore.
I had a glass of Chrysanthemum Tea (S$1.00). With the exception of barley drink, I noticed that supposedly-cooked drinks in Singapore are prepared using powder. I wonder whether it is mass-produced by factories then cheaply distributed to such food eateries?

Nothing much to say about the food here since it is pretty normal. After all, the food in Singapore is nothing alien to Malaysians. I was here more for the convenience.

Coffee Bean

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is one of the few eateries in the Penang International Airport; the other is McDonald's. I arrived early for my flight to Singapore, so it was a choice between the two. Since I visit McDonald's more often (but still quite rare), I opted for Coffee Bean instead.
Besides getting my shot of caffeine for the day, Coffee Bean also allows me to use the Wi-Fi connection with my laptop computer to kill time while waiting for my flight.
I have not taken any food since I woke up, so the Breakfast-All-Day menu is obviously a good choice. This menu has over a dozen choices ranging from pancakes to bagels. The price ranges from RM10.00 to RM18.50. Each choice is served with Today's Brew - either Coffee or Tea. The drink is refillable until 11:00am, but I will not stay that long anyway.

My choice today morning is the Egg & Salmon (RM17.40). The sandwich consists of smoked salmon and poached egg sandwiched in a muffin bun.
The smoked salmon is very appetizing. It is slightly salty and has a fatty texture, which means that the salmon is not overcooked.
The poached egg is slightly overdone. Ideally, the yolk should still be soft even when the whites has solidified. I prefer the sensation of warm yolk oozing out of the whites when punctured. A light sprinkle of black pepper makes the egg more enjoyable to consume.

The muffin itself is fresh and has a slight crisp. It is also quite fluffy and delightful for my teeth to sink into.
Some lettuce and sliced cherry tomatoes are included. The salad is sprinkled with some olive oil and vinegar.
Since I often have Coffee at Coffee Bean, I thought that I might as well try Tea instead. It comes in a neat teabag in a fancy cup and saucer. Hot water, sugar and milk is available at the self-service counter. The teabag is sufficient for 2-3 cups. The Tea is smooth and refined, but I still prefer the Coffee from Coffee Bean.

Pinang Fisherman Wharf

Pinang Fisherman Wharf (东海渔村餐厅) is a Chinese restaurant in Sunshine Square. Although its food may not be comparable to the likes of Dragon-i, it still has some reasonably nice dishes to offer at very affordable prices.
For the month of September, Pinang Fisherman Wharf is rolling out its Super Value Set Lunch. Given a price tag of RM9.80, the meal consists of three predetermined dishes sufficient for two persons, making this a really attractive bargain. This offer is only available on weekdays, presumably because the restaurant wants to attract more customers when business is slower.

The first dish is the Belacan Fried Chicken (马来栈炸鸡翅), which consists of 3 wingettes and 2 drumettes. The chicken is cooked in a crispy batter infused with belacan (shrimp paste). This dish is very appetizing and can beat Colonel Sanders any day of the week.
Up next, the Braised Bean Curd With Crab Meat (蟹肉烩豆腐) comes with 3 pieces of bean curd drenched with thick gravy made of food starch, chopped crab sticks and egg white. The dish is topped with mixed vegetables such as carrots, baby corns and sweet peas. The bean curd is smooth in texture, and the gravy makes it taste even better.
Finally, the Bean Skin Ginseng Chicken Soup (腐竹洋参须炖鸡汤) is infused with Chinese herbs such as American ginseng (花旗参) and wolfberries (枸杞). Bean curd skin is also used to give the soup a richer taste. The amount of chicken is way less than what was advertised. Considering the price tag, I am not too surprised.
Rice is charged at RM1.20 per person, so feel free to have as many helping as your heart desires or stomach allows, whichever comes first.

Since the dishes for the set lunch have been predetermined, food is served quite rapidly as the dishes are prepared upfront. How is that for efficiency?

To summarize, the food is reasonably good and price is definitely very cheap. This set lunch is highly recommended. Take note that this offer is only available for limited time.

Xian Ding Wei

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Despite the mediocre experience during the previous visit, I had my lunch at Xian Ding Wei Taiwanese Tea Room (鲜定味台湾料理) in Queensbay Mall again. I am hoping to try other dishes to let the restaurant redeem itself.
Since I arrived earlier than most people, the restaurant is still quite empty. It only starts to fill up when my meal is almost over.
Struck with a crave for eel, I ordered the Roasted Eel With Sesame (芝麻烤鳗鱼, RM16.90). This set meal comes with a bowl of rice, a bowl of soup, and three side dishes.
The freshwater eel is grilled and seasoned with sweet sauce, similar to the Japanese dish unagi (うなぎ). This is not surprising as Taiwanese cuisine is influenced by the Japanese due to Taiwan's close proximity and former colony status to Japan.
The eel is garnished with sesame seeds to give it an appetizing effect. For added flavor, shredded ginger and sliced lemon is provided too. Overall, the dish is quite tasty as I am a fan of eel anyway.

The Vegetable Soup (菜汤) is just normal, but at least the vegetable amount is plentiful. It is not too overpowering, so it serves to open my appetite by just a little.
For the sides, I am quite convinced that it varies daily instead of being associated to certain dishes. For today, the three sides provided are Ba-wan (肉丸), Sweet Potato Stripes (番薯条), and Fried Bean Curd With Long Beans (豆腐炒豆角). They are just moderately tasty, similar to the previous visit.
For an extra RM1.00, the white rice which comes with the set meal can be upgraded to Braised Pork Rice (卤肉饭, RM1.00). Very popular in Taiwan, the paste is prepared using minced pork which is marinated and boiled in soy sauce, giving it a thick savory consistency. The paste is then poured on a bowl of white rice so that the taste is not too overpowering. In some Taiwanese restaurants, this dish itself can be considered a proper meal.
There are some condiments provided on each dining table, but they are unnecessary for my meal. The condiments available are Taiwanese Spicy Fish Sauce (台湾辣鱼浆), Taiwanese Fermented Bean Sauce (台湾豆瓣浆), and the omnipresent Soya Sauce (酱油).
For drinks, I had a glass of Champagne Pearl Milk Tea (香槟珍珠奶茶, RM1.00). It normally costs RM4.90, but only RM1.00 with any meal purchase.
Overall, Xian Ding Wei still does not fully impress me, but I would not say that it is horrible in any sense.

Subway

Before my weekend grocery shopping at Tesco Jelutong, I stopped at Subway at Krystal Point for a lunch bite.
For Sundays, the Sub-Of-The-Day is the Chicken Teriyaki 6" sandwich (RM7.50). For an extra RM4.50, I upgraded the meal to include 2 cookies and a carbonated drink.
For the sandwich bread, I usually like to rotate around the handful of choices, except White Bread which I think is a waste of money. For today, my choice is the Honey Oat. As for the veggies, I requested for tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers and lettuce. The sandwich is very tasty due to the fresh juice from the vegetables. Subway means business when they say "Eat Fresh".
For the cookies, my choices are Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin. They are too sweet, in my opinion.

Eighteen

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Eighteen (XVIII) is a Western casual-dining restaurant in Krystal Point, somewhere near the 7-Eleven outlet. It has been open for several years already, so I dropped by to have a try.
There is a set dinner menu, so this is the starting point for my choice of food. There are around 10 different dishes available on the menu, ranging from fish-and-chips to burgers, and baked cheese rice to lasagna. The set meal includes soup and bread, the entrée, and dessert.

The owner is present at the restaurant and serves as my waiter tonight. Since I am his first customer tonight, he graciously offered me a complimentary serving of Fish Cakes (RM8.00).
The two Fish Cakes are served with mayonnaise and cherry tomatoes, then garnished with a parsley leaf. The dish is also sprinkled with some parsley butter sauce to give added freshness.
The Fish Cakes are exquisite indeed. It is a pity that the portions are quite small. Anyway, it is complimentary. Beggars can't be choosers, right?
For soup, I am served with the Spicy Seafood Tomato Soup. The soup is slightly spicy and has the pleasant effect of opening my appetite for more food to come. It contains some seafood ingredients such as squids, clams and prawns.
A piece of Garlic Bread is also provided to enjoy with the soup. The taste of garlic is very strong, unlike the watered down versions served at Pizza Hut.
For the entrée, my choice for tonight is the Linguine Aglio-Olio With Prawns (RM23.80). The choice of pasta is up to the customer. The owner patiently introduced the different types of pasta in Italian restaurants. In fact, he has several jars of raw pasta on display on the shelf. After some deliberation, I selected the linguine, to which the owner commended is a good choice. I have never heard any server saying otherwise. Strange? I think not!
Linguine is a type of pasta similar to spaghetti, but flatter and wider. It is made of wheat flour and has a mild yellowish hue.
The Italian words "aglio" and "olio" mean "garlic" and "oil" respectively. This name is fitting for this dish because garlic and olive oil are the key ingredients to prepare this dish. First, garlic is sautéed with olive oil and red chili flakes, then tossed with the pasta. After sprinkling some pepper, parsley is then added as garnish. The server asked whether I like some grated cheese, which I politely declined.
The prawns used in this dish are quite large and fresh. I just love the taste of fresh prawns with olive oil. Overall, the pasta is smooth and appetizing. It feels like the linguine slithers down my throat like a smooth piece of silk.
For desserts, Ice Cream is self-served and available free-flow. I took several large scoops of different flavors, added a generous amount of chocolate syrup and caramel, then sprinkled some chocolate toppings. It is a nice and delightful creation of my own.
Overall, Eighteen is quite a nice restaurant to dine in, especially when your inner child craves for Italian food. And lots of ice cream!

McDonald's

My colleagues and I have a department event later today morning. We were told to take our breakfast before assembly. So we dropped by McDonald's at Sungai Dua for a quick bite.

Coincidentally, the Triple Cheeseburger (RM11.20) was recently launched last week. I cannot resist the temptation to order one, just for the hell of it.
The Triple Cheeseburger is similar to the Double Cheeseburger, except that it has an extra beef patty and an extra slice of cheddar cheese. In other words, the stack consists of 3 beef patties, 3 slices of cheese and 2 pieces of hamburger bun.
Some onions and pickles are included in a messy fashion. Do not believe everything you see on the menu or on TV; they are "for illustration purpose only". I am not sure what kind of illustration is provided when the photo does not match with the actual product. But our lawyer friends always have a way around the long arm of the law.
My colleague does not want such a heavy meal, so she just ordered a Chicken Burger (RM3.50). Plain and simple. Sometimes this isn't a bad thing.

Dragon-i

Excluding hotel restaurants, Dragon-i (笼的传人) is one of the most expensive Chinese fine-dining restaurants in Penang. The name itself is a play on the word "龙的传人", which is pronounced the same as the former. The latter is the glamorous word for "Chinese people", while the former is a pun which reflects one of Dragon-i's specialty dishes: the Xiao Long Bao (小笼包).
Dragon-i serves mostly Shanghainese cuisine, though its menu also contains other regional dishes such as Sichuanese. It is the sister company of Canton-i which specializes in Cantonese dishes.

There are two outlets in Penang: Gurney Plaza and Queensbay Mall. The outlet that we visited for lunch today is the latter. This lunch is somewhat unplanned. I have an American guest at work today, but since most of my managers are unable to bring him out for lunch, the responsibility fell on my shoulders. This is a good thing, because my lunch expense is paid by my company.
The dish which my American guest requested is the Steamed Rice With Chicken, Mushrooms And Chinese Sausages (腊肠北菇滑鸡蒸饭, RM15.00). This dish is served in a iron bowl, which in turn rests on a wooden pot. The rice is steamed together with other ingredients such as sliced Chinese sausages (腊肠), lean chicken (滑鸡) and black mushrooms (北菇). During the steaming process, the plain rice is infused with sweet essence from each ingredient, making this dish very palatable. The kai-lan (芥兰) is obviously added towards the end, otherwise excessive steaming will make it too soggy. My guest obviously enjoyed the dish very much, and he is glad that I brought him here.
For myself, I ordered a bowl of Fried Mixed Rice With Seafood In Hot Stone Bowl (石锅海鲜五谷米饭, RM20.00). The dish consists of the fusion of five classical Chinese grains (五谷), namely rice (稻), broomcorn (黍), Chinese millet (粟), wheat (麦) and soybeans (菽). Some seafood such as fish, prawns and crab are also added. Overall, the dish is quite filling and satisfying to my palate.
We also ordered a serving of Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings (上海小笼包, RM9.00), which comes in a bamboo tray of four pieces. Xiao Long Bao is renown for the mouth-watering pork encapsulated in the soft, starchy skin. When punctured, sweet savory soup flows out of the skin. Since the dish is best eaten when it is piping hot, care must be taken to avoid burning the tongue. I have to warn my American guest beforehand so that he will not be incapacitated for the rest of the week!
We did not have the chance to try the other specialty in Dragon-i: the La Mian (拉面) or "hand pulled noodles". Dragon-i is so confident of its quality that customers are allowed to watch the chefs skillfully prepare the noodles through the glass panels at the kitchen. Review on Dragon-i's La Mian will have to wait for the next visit.