Xiao Fei Yang

Special thanks to Xiao Fei Yang and Penang Lang for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Restoran Xiao Fei Yang (小肥羊) is a Mongolian-style steamboat restaurant at Tanjung Tokong. This franchised business is based in China where it is hugely popular. This shop is one of the only two outlets in Malaysia; the other is in Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
The name "Xiao Fei Yang" means "plump lamb", which aptly explains its main delicacy: mutton. In the harsh steppes of Mongolia, crop or vegetable farming is difficult. Therefore, Mongolian cuisine tend to emphasize on meats and dairy products which are more readily available.
The stand-alone building offers plenty of indoor and outdoor dining tables. Each table is equipped with an infrared cooker in the middle, where steamboat is boiled and kept warm. In spite of air-conditioning, air in the restaurant is relatively clean without any lingering smoky stench.
Xiao Fei Yang provides two types of soup for steamboat. The Herbal Soup (清鲜锅底, RM26.00), also known as White Soup (白锅), contains over 20 types of Chinese herbs such as scallion (青葱), dates (红枣), female ginseng (当归), poor man's ginseng (党参), wolfberry (枸杞), liquorice (甘草), tangerine peel (陈皮) and Szechuan lovage (川芎). Broiled for more than 12 hours, these medicinal herbs have rejuvenating effect on the human body
The Hot & Spicy Soup (麻辣锅底, RM28.00), alternatively known as Red Soup (红锅), is a spicy Sichuanese concoction of 40 different spices, including cao guo (草果), cumin (孜然), cardamom (白扣), star anise (大茴香), clove (丁香), wolfberry (枸杞), bay leaf (香叶), Sichuan pepper (花椒), skyhawk pepper (天鹰椒) and chili pepper (麻椒). Although the level of spiciness has been reduced significantly to suit local palate, this soup can still be punishing for the unprepared.

If you are indecisive which soup to select, go for Combination Soup (鸳鸯锅底, RM27.00) to try both types!

While waiting for the steamboat to boil, help yourself with some Deep Fried Patin Fish Skin (香炸巴丁鱼皮, RM10.00). The rough nature of the crackers gives excellent mouthfeel. The skin remains crispy even when it cools. This is quite an addictive appetizer.
Another interesting appetizer is Fried Golden Dumplings (黄金煎饺, RM8.00). These deep-fried dumplings contain minced pork inside their crispy skin.
At Xiao Fei Yang, meats are chilled and are served as thin slices. The advantage of thin slices is twofold. First, it allows the meat to cook more rapidly. Secondly, it allows the soup to penetrate the meat more thoroughly.
Mongolian Sliced Mutton (高级蒙古羊肉片, RM25.00) is Xiao Fei Yang's bestseller, although this should not come as a surprise. Using premium grade mutton imported from Mongolia, the meat is tender and not so strong in meaty scent. For best effect, mutton is taken from lambs around 6 months of age. Australian mutton is also available as a cheaper alternative, but I recommend that you go for the Mongolian one instead.
Whenever it comes to steamboat, Sliced Pork (猪肉片, RM10.00) has a special place in my heart. Cooked properly, the natural sweetness of pork is succulent within each chew.
Sliced Pork Neck (猪颈肉片, RM17.00) is another alternative to enjoy pork. The neck is the least fatty section of swine, therefore contains more muscle and feels meatier.
As for Sliced Beef Ribeye (特选牛肉眼肌片, RM18.00), the texture is somewhat between lamb and pork.
As for seafood, Sliced Fish (鲜鱼片, RM16.00) is also available for our enjoyment. Made from grouper (石斑鱼), the thin slices only require a brief dip in the steamboat to cook.
Alternatively, Fried Fish Head (炸石斑鱼头, RM22.00) provides a different presentation of grouper. There is not much meat, so this ingredient is consumed just for the fun of it.
Fresh Scallops (鲜带子, RM28.00) go well with the Herbal Soup. Just a minute of cooking should suffice.
Chinese Dumplings (东北水饺, RM6.00) contain finely-chopped minced pork and garlic chives as filling. I personally think these dumplings work better with Hot & Spicy Soup.
One of my personal favorites tonight is HK Crab Balls (香港蟹子丸, RM10.00), which have delectable crab roe inside. I love how the hot, creamy filling oozes out as I sink my teeth into one.
Meanwhile, HK Mushroom Pork Balls (香港贡丸, RM10.00) are springy meatballs made from genuine pork. This is certainly a succulent delicacy.
Another peculiar steamboat ingredient is Cold Bean Curd (冻豆腐, RM4.50). The bean curd is served frozen so that it retains its structural integrity during cooking.
Similar in appearance as sponge, Gluten (生面筋, RM4.00) is able to absorb copious amounts of soup during cooking. Since the Hot & Spicy Soup is overpowering for my comfort, I prefer to dip this ingredient in Herbal Soup instead.
To enjoy mushrooms in steamboat, ask for a plate of Golden Mushrooms (金针菇, RM4.00). The mushrooms work well in both types of soup.
As for vegetables, our selections tonight are White Cabbage (大白菜, RM4.50), Spinach (菠菜, RM6.00) and Tong Wo (筒蓲, RM6.00). Although vegetables appear plentiful in their baskets, they shrink significantly when cooked. Vegetables are meant to impart a certain degree of sweetness to the steamboat soup.
As for steamboat condiments, there are fermented bean curd (豆腐乳), garlic sauce (蒜蓉醬) and chili oil (辣椒油). The restaurant recommends customers to mix all three sauces in proportion according to their individual preferences.
In addition, Xiao Fei Yang also prepares a special blend of dipping sauce made from chili and parsley. This one has better fragrance but lacks the fermented bean curd sauce which I love so much.
Nearly all ingredients are available on the à la carte menu. Xiao Fei Yang also has several set meals with pre-selected ingredients. For example, the price for a 2-person set meal is RM88.00.
From noon to 5:00pm on weekdays, Xiao Fei Yang provides noodle dishes for the convenience of busy office workers. The recommended type of noodles is Handmade Noodle (手杆面), which I feel is quite delectable. The same Herbal Soup is used for the noodles.
The most basic noodle dish is Small Pork Ball Noodles (小猪肉丸壹碗面, RM8.90) which features five springy pork meatballs.
Moving to higher tiers, Sliced Pork Noodles (猪肉片壹碗面, RM11.90) provides several slices of succulent pork.
As for Pork Ribs Noodles (猪排骨壹碗面, RM13.90), delectable pieces of pork ribs are included for customers to enjoy.
At Xiao Fei Yang, tableware is sterilized and seal-wrapped for hygiene purpose. Each set of tableware (bowl, plate, saucer, spoon and chopsticks) is chargeable at RM1.00. According to the restaurant manager, the only other restaurant in Penang which does so is Chong Qing Xiao Chu.
For regular customers, Xiao Fei Yang has a loyalty program where every bill of RM150.00 is entitled one stamp. For every three stamps collected, the restaurant provides a free dish which varies from month to month.
For unique dining experience of Mongolian-style steamboat, why not head over to Xiao Fei Yang and try both types of soup? Remember to order the bestselling Mongolian Sliced Mutton too!
Name: Restoran Xiao Fei Yang (小肥羊)
Address: 3-X, Jalan Pantai Molek, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-890-0053
Business hours: 12:00pm-12:00am
Website: http://www.xiaofeiyang.com.my
Coordinates: 5.44561 N, 100.30566 E
Directions: From Pulau Tikus, drive northwards towards Tanjung Tokong. At the intersection in front of Caltex gas station, make a U-turn and you will see Xiao Fei Yang shortly on your left. There are parking spaces within the restaurant's compound and at the side of adjacent roads.

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