Yi Kou Fan

For lunch today, our destination is Yi Kou Fan Restaurant (一口饭) at Chime Heritage. Chime Heritage is a new row of shops near One Corner Cafe.
This Chinese restaurant has very limited number of tables at the ground floor. Fortunately, there are larger tables at the upper floor.
Yi Kou Fan Restaurant has several set meal packages for different numbers of people. Our choice today is Value Set Meal B (超值套餐B) for RM59.80. This package allows us to choose any 3 meat dishes and any 1 vegetable dish. This set meal is meant for 4 or 5 persons, but I feel that it is just right for 3 very hungry diners. Rice and Chinese tea are provided in this package.

The first meat dish is Steamed Spare Rib With Taro & Black Bean (芋头豆豉蒸排骨). Chunks of pork ribs are stewed with slices of taro and douchi (fermented black beans). Douchi lends some salty flavor, but I feel that the main contributor of flavor is the savory gravy itself.
The pork ribs are extremely succulent; I cannot stress this point highly enough. The crunchy muscle tissues near the rib bones are particularly tasty as they are good in absorbing flavors from other ingredients. Perhaps my only complain about this dish is that a significant proportion of it is bones.

The second dish is Steamed Fish In Thai Style (暹蒸鱼片). Admittedly, the fish slices are well-cooked such that they are soft and refined. However, I find that the Thai-style gravy somehow does not work so well with the fish. One of the reasons is that the pungent gravy irritates my throat annoyingly. Perhaps this type of gravy is more suitable to be used with whole steamed fish.
The next dish is Deep Fried Prawn With Nutmeg & Mayonnaise (沙律虾球), which turns out to be very appetizing even for children. The shrimp balls are fried to the right level of crisp. Yet, the flavor of shrimps is not completely overwhelmed by mayonnaise dressing, which is well formulated too.
This dish is supposed to contain nutmegs but I do not perceive them. Instead, I think nata de coco is used instead.

Finally for vegetables, the choice is Minced Garlic Broccoli (蒜茸西兰花). Despite the use of garlic, I find the overall taste to be quite bland. But in the grand scheme of things, having a milder-flavored vegetable dish is a good counterbalance against three richly-flavored meat dishes.
My verdict for Yi Kou Fan is generally favorable. Most dishes are above par in terms of flavor. Despite having set meal packages, the pricing is still not at a level which I can afford on regular basis. Nevertheless, I will not be shy to bring visitors to this restaurant if they are looking for Chinese cooking in a relaxed setting.
Address: 5, Jalan Bawasah, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-228-2007
Business hours: 11:00pm-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:00pm, closed on alternate Wednesdays

Taste
Presentation
Ambience
Hospitality
Value

Cafe & Bakery Fair 2015

If you are avid coffee lover or have an unexplained love for cakes, the Cafe & Bakery Fair 2015 is the right place for you! This event will be held from 7 to 9 August, from 10:00am to 10:00pm, at the LG Floor of 1st Avenue.
This year, 1st Avenue teamed up with several prominent cafés and bakeries to allow visitors to taste different wares at the convenience of all being under one roof. Cafés which are present this year are Coffeesmith, Coffee Affairs, Gold Choice Barista Cafe, Sorganic and Juice Me just to name a few. As for bakeries, Pie Harbour, Butter & Olive and others are participating.

To keep visitors entertained, there is a series of events throughout the three days of the fair. For example, renowned Taiwanese barista Betty Lin will be hosting a Latte Art Show. Visitors who love to bake will be delighted to know that Say Cakes is conducting a cupcake decorating session.

In addition, Sorganic and Butter & Olive are giving product samples to early birds on each of the three days. Coffeesmith is sponsoring a free cup of latte for visitors who spend at least RM20.00 on a single receipt at any store in the mall. Visitors who spend RM10.00 or more during the fair stands a chance to win a buffet meal for two at Hotel Jen.

Last but not least, visitors who wish to venture into the F&B business will also find plenty of information on franchising opportunities, professional training and equipment.

Name: Cafe & Bakery Fair 2015
Address: LG Floor, 1st Avenue Mall, 182, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-261-1121
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/1stavenuemallpenang
Coordinates: 5.41345 N, 100.33130 E
Directions: 1st Avenue Mall is located at Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine), which was formerly known as 1st Avenue. The Cafe & Bakery Fair 2015 is located at the LG Floor of the mall. There are ample parking spaces on Level 5, 6 and 7.

Will Western Delight

Special thanks to Will Western Delight for extending this food review invitation.

Will Western Delight used to operate a stall at Kafe Hing Long (兴隆饮食中心) next to Gembira Parade, but very recently moved to a proper shop at Centrio Avenue. Although open for only two weeks, this new location is very popular especially among youngsters. Most tables have been occupied by the time I arrive.
This eatery is named after the proprietor, Will, who is still involved in daily operations of the restaurant. Will started this business around 5 years ago in Island Glades, and has moved several times before settling at this permanent location.
One of Will's crowd favorite is the Chicken Cordon Bleu (RM9.80). To prepare this dish, chicken is first wrapped by a slice of ham and a slice of cheddar cheese. The chicken is coated with bread crumbs, then deep-fried to give it a layer of delightful crisp.
In terms of taste, the cordon bleu is reasonably nice but I feel that the cheese tends to overwhelm the chicken. I think it will be more enjoyable if the choice of cheese were more compatible with chicken.
The Chicken Cordon Bleu comes with crinkle-cut fries, garlic bread and vegetables on the side. Although the garlic bread looks unassuming, I find it quite enjoyable thanks to the lovely taste of garlic butter.
Next, the Grilled Salmon With Sauce (RM16.50) is not a dish to be trifled with. The inch-thick slice of salmon is grilled just right, such that the flesh shines in solid orange while remains juicy overall.
The salmon is succulent throughout all layers; even the skin is enjoyable on its own. A small amount of BBQ sauce is poured over the salmon to enhance its flavor. Tartar sauce and lime are also provided, but I feel that the former is unnecessary here.
Sides of this dish are identical to Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Will Western Delight occasionally offers several specialty dishes due to popular demand. Tonight's specials are Mixed Grill and Lamb Shank, both of which we have the privilege to sample.
For Mixed Grill, there is a choice of either beef (RM23.50), lamb (RM23.50) or pork (RM17.80). Beef is the choice for us tonight. The hearty portion of Australian sirloin beef is accompanied with chicken drumstick fillet and jade perch fillet.
Through patient heating on a gas-fired griddle, the beef is cooked to medium-well. Chicken and fish are reasonably good too. The meats are topped with black pepper sauce, which is one of Will's signature sauces. A sprinkle of chopped thyme helps to improve the aesthetic and aromatic aspects of this dish.
With such a platter of heavyweights, adding more meats seems to be overdoing. But Will does not stop here. A slice of ham, a hot dog sausage and a fried egg are also included to give maximum value to customers.
The Mixed Grill includes the same side dishes as before, but also a piece of grilled corn on the cob. I enjoy the taste of sweet corn kernels especially when they are plump and juicy!
The other special dish today is the Lamb Shank (RM30.00), which is wildly popular among regular customers but is not always available. For those not familiar with steakhouse lingo, "Shank" is a fancy name for the meat around the knee of the lamb.
The shank consists of tender lean meat with fatty tissues along the rim. This makes the shank one of the most gratifying cuts of a lamb. The shank is braised slowly to allow the mutton to soften, then served with a special gravy made from chicken stock, grapes and Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒).
The Lamb Shank shares the same side dishes as the Mixed Grill, except that the serving of fries has been replaced with a generous heap of mashed potato. The mashed potato is made fresh by hand, making its texture quite rough but appetizing nevertheless.
Overall, Will Western Delight serves Western food with comparable quality as more established restaurants. In exchange for a more laid-back dining atmosphere, the pricing is made affordable to most people especially youngsters. Among all dishes tonight that I sampled tonight, I think the Lamb Shank is the most impressive one. I recommend this dish to be placed in the regular menu.
Name: Will Western Delight
Address: 163-1-3A, Jalan Permai 1, 11700 Gelugor, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-413-4330
Business hours: 5:30pm-10:00pm (Tuesday-Friday), 5:00pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/willwesterndelight
Coordinates: 5.37274 N, 100.30024 E
Directions: From Island Glades, drive along Jalan Yeap Chor Ee towards Bukit Jambul. After Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Gelugor on right, go forward at the next set of traffic lights, but turn right after 250 meters. Centrio Avenue is located on the left. Will Western Delight is one of the shops in the middle. There are parking spaces in front to Centrio Avenue.

Bamboo

Special thanks to Bamboo Catering for extending this catering review invitation.

Besides providing cooked food for family and corporate events, Bamboo also specializes in do-it-yourself steamboat packages. Apart from a cooking pot, a stove and tableware, everything else needed for a steamboat meal comes in a box and is delivered right to the customer's doorstep.
Today's steamboat is the "Value" package, which is priced at RM299.00 and is meant for 8 to 10 persons. The steamboat items in this package are:
- Fresh White Prawns (白虾) - 15 pieces
- Fresh Fish Fillet (鲜鱼片) - 500 grams
- Fresh Squid (鲜墨鱼) - 500 grams
- Minced Chicken Meat With Egg (免治鸡肉) - 400 grams
- Salmon Balls (三文鱼丸) - 15 pieces
- Seafood Sandwich Tofu (海鲜三文治) - 12 pieces
- Filament Sticks (蟹柳) - 1 packet
- Square Seafood Taufoo (豆腐鱼丸) - 15 pieces
- Cheese Fish Balls (芝士鱼丸) - 15 pieces
- Hock Chew Fish Balls (福州鸡肉丸) - 10 pieces
- Japanese Beancurd (日本豆腐) - 4 pieces
- Almond Mushroom (杏鲍菇) - 1 packet
- Fresh Enoki Mushroom (金针菇) - 2 packets
- Chinese Cabbage (洋白菜) - 500 grams
- Nai Bai (奶白菜) - 400 grams
- Siew Bak Choy (小白菜) - 400 grams
- Instant Noodles (全蛋面) - 6 pieces
- Chicken Eggs (鸡蛋) - 10 pieces
Note that Bamboo's products are certified halal.

Steamboat soup is provided in sachets of concentrated chicken stock (竹林清鸡汤). The stock, made by simmering chicken bones, includes natural ingredients such as onion, garlic, scallion (spring onion) and salt.
To prepare soup for steamboat, empty a sachet of chicken stock into a pot and add water. Bring the mixture to boil and steamboat items can now be added. Each sachet provides sufficient soup for 8 to 10 persons, so I am not sure whether the second sachet is necessary.
Most of the steamboat items remain frozen upon arrival, so it is advisable to thaw them for a while before the meal. This is particularly true for the Fresh White Prawns (白虾). I learned this the hard way.
The shrimps are surprisingly large in size. Once cooked, the texture of shrimps is still crunchy, a hallmark of their freshness.

As for Fresh Fish Fillet (鲜鱼片), red snapper (红狮鱼) is used. Its refined texture and delectable flavor make the fish another commendable aspect of this meal.
The same can be said for Fresh Squid (鲜墨鱼). Its chewy texture presents an appealing sense of mouthfeel.
As for poultry, the box of Minced Chicken Meat With Egg (免治鸡肉) includes a raw egg, which is meant to be mixed with minced chicken before cooking. Unfortunately due to rough handling during shipping, the egg (as well as many other eggs in a separate box) has been broken. Luckily the container box remains chilled upon arrival; otherwise the chicken would have been contaminated and rendered unsafe for consumption.
I generally skim through processed food in steamboat meals. This is simply because these items can be easily found at supermarket stores. However, Bamboo uses several premium types which I think deserves mentioning.

First, there are Salmon Balls (三文鱼丸) and Seafood Sandwich Tofu (海鲜三文治). The former has a unique taste on its own.
Another container contains Filament Sticks (蟹柳) and Square Seafood Taufoo (豆腐鱼丸). Be careful while biting the latter because the interior can be piping hot!
Cheese Fish Balls (芝士鱼丸) contain cheesy paste as fillings. This item is quite special compared to other processed food, but I ultimately still prefer the fresh seafood and minced chicken.
Hock Chew Fish Balls (福州鸡肉丸) are shells of springy fish paste with minced chicken as fillings. I wish that the fillings were more compact so that there is less "loose" space.
Japanese Beancurd (日本豆腐) is also provided. However its delicate texture causes the bean curd to break easily in the pot. Personally, I prefer firm bean curd when enjoying steamboat.
Mushrooms are among my favorite steamboat items. In this package, two types are provided: Almond Mushroom (杏鲍菇) and Fresh Enoki Mushroom (金针菇).
As for condiments, four types of sauces are provided: special chili sauce (特制辣椒酱), spicy ginger sauce (姜茸酱), onion soy sauce (洋葱酱油), garlic oil (大蒜油).
The onion soy sauce is probably most suited for my palate, although I appreciate the special chili sauce too. Meanwhile, the garlic oil remains frozen over; this explains its peculiar custard-like appearance.
Overall, I think Bamboo's steamboat is reasonably enjoyable by virtue of its fresh seafood and minced chicken. The soup can be overpowering, so I will make it more diluted next time. After all, the soup's flavor tends to become richer as more ingredients are added into the pot.

I find the pricing of Bamboo's steamboat to be somewhat similar to steamboat restaurants. There are pros and cons of do-it-yourself steamboat as compared to steamboat restaurants. On the plus side, you do not need to travel outside especially when there is a large party to feed. On the other hand, there is some preparation work before the meal and cleaning-up afterwards.
Bamboo's steamboat packages can be ordered online. The delivery areas are Penang, Klang Valley, Ipoh and Johor Bahru. Customers can select the desired delivery time, which is anything between 8:00am and 9:00pm. Delivery is also available on weekends and public holidays.

Personally, I advise that you arrange for delivery around 3 hours before the meal. This is to give yourself sufficient time to prepare the soup and allow frozen items to thaw adequately.

Name: Bamboo Catering
Address: N/A
Contact: 04-646-9999
Business hours: 8:00am-9:00pm
Website: http://www.bamboobuffet.com
Coordinates: N/A
Directions: N/A

Todam

Today's lunch brings me to Todam Korean BBQ (토담) near Aeon Bukit Tinggi. The restaurant is located directly above PappaRich.
The ambience of the restaurant is quite relaxing. Since Korean barbecue is the main attraction at Todam, each dining table has a built-in grill. Should customers prefer to dine in a more traditional setting, they may request to be seated at a low table.
Before the actual meal, customers are treated with a variety of banchan (반찬) or side dishes. Banchan types served today are Baechu Kimchi (배추김치, napa cabbage kimchi), Oimuchim (오이무침, cucumber kimchi), Gaji Namul (가지나물, boiled eggplant), Kongnamul (콩나물, boiled bean sprouts), Gangnangkong (강낭콩, boiled green beans), Gogumasun Namul (고구마순나물, boiled sweet potato shoots), Dubu Jorim (두부조림, boiled bean curd) and Gamja Saelleodeu (감자샐러드, potato salad).
For the main meal, our choice is Budae Jeongol (부대전골, RM50.00). The large pot of spicy stew is meant for 2 persons. Similar to jjigae (찌개), jeongol (전골) is prepared using gochujang (고추장, fermented chili paste). The stew is typically eaten with steamed rice.
Budae Jeongol literally means "army stew". This dish was invented during the aftermath of the Korean War when fresh food was scarce. Therefore, the Koreans had to improvise surplus food provided by American soldiers. This explains why sausage, ham and macaroni appear in this dish. Also included in the stew are minced pork and garaetteok (가래떡, Korean rice cake).
Overall, Todam's food has reasonable quality but does not really stand out when compared to other Korean restaurants. The food is rather pricey but this is the norm in similar Korean restaurants. Nevertheless, I feel that the restaurant's ambience and waiting service are commendable.
Address: 2-1A, 1st Floor, Lorong Batu Nilam 21A, 41200 Klang, Selangor
Contact: 03-3318-6955
Business hours: 11:30am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-10:00pm (Monday-Thursday), 11:30am-10:00pm (Friday-Sunday)
Taste
Presentation
Ambience
Hospitality
Value