Wok City

Special thanks to Wok City for extending this food review invitation.

At the heart of Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama of Bukit Mertajam, Restoran Wok City BBQ (锅富城) is the only steamboat restaurant in the immediate vicinity. Open for 10 years now, the name of this restaurant is a parody of popular Hong Kong artist Aaron Kwok (郭富城).
Wok City offers steamboat in an all-you-can-eat buffet setting. On each table is a built-in gas stove with boiling and grilling capabilities. Pertaining the former, the pot is partitioned in halves to allow for 2 different types of soup.
There are several types of meat to choose from. For grilling, sliced pork belly (刷刷肉) is among the most popular choices. There are also bakkwa (肉干), Thai chicken sausage (泰国鸡香肠), Taiwanese sausage (台湾香肠) and ham (火腿).
As for marinated meat, customers can enjoy a decent range of different flavors of fish, chicken and pork. The marinades used include black pepper, curry and New Orleans sauce.
In the seafood section, there are flower crabs (花蟹) served on ice.
Meanwhile, the vibrant color of tiger prawns (虎虾) is also visually appealing.
Other seafood choices are mussels (青口), clams (蛤蜊), bamboo clams (竹蚶) and squids (乌贼).
As for vegetables, there are a handful of choices that include yau mak (油麦), cabbage (包菜) and napa cabbage (大白菜).
All sauces at Wok City are prepared in-house. Of particular mention is five spices sauce (五味酱), which is a special blend of chili, garlic, bulb onion, Welsh onion and parsley. Meanwhile, Thai chili sauce (泰式辣椒酱) provides sharp spiciness which some people find essential while enjoying steamboat.
While waiting for food to be cooked, customers can also help themselves with a number of cooked dishes which vary from time to time. Today, we have abalone slices (鲍鱼片) that are flavored with mayonnaise.
Also included are also assorted sushi (寿司), fried chicken and spaghetti bolognese. Drinks and ice cream are provided too.
A standard meal costs RM29.90 per person (not inclusive of GST). The meal includes chicken soup (鸡汤) as well as tom yam soup (东炎汤). Herbal soup (药材汤) is available for additional RM10.00. Buffet price for children is charged according to height.
While the standard meal provides access to the buffet counter, the VIP price (RM39.90) allows unlimited orders of raw oysters, scallops and Pacific white shrimp. Given the premium quality of such seafood, the additional RM10.00 is worth every penny.
Raw oysters (生蚝) come in quite large pieces. If you are used to eating raw oysters, it is highly recommended that you try some at Wok City. Lime and Tabasco sauce are provided.
Should you prefer cooked shellfish instead, scallops (扇贝) are probably the better choice. Cooked with garlic sauce, the scallops present rich, appetizing flavors that tantalize the taste buds. Some scallops also contain roe which I find to be quite delectable.
Pacific white shrimps (白虾) can be grilled or boiled in tom yam soup. Alternatively, the à la carte menu offers Thai Chili Prawns which I think is a must-try for shrimp-lovers. Stir-fried with Thai chili sauce and Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒), the succulent fresh shrimps are very gratifying indeed.
Name: Restoran Wok City BBQ (锅富城)
Address: 3212, Ground Floor, Jalan Kampung Baru, Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-488-3995
Business hours: 5:30pm-1:30am
Website: https://www.facebook.com/limlimwengkhui
Coordinates: 5.35161 N, 100.47273 E
Directions: Wok City is located at the commercial area of Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama in Bukit Mertajam. The restaurant is on the right when driving along the one-way Jalan Kampung Baru. There are plenty of street parking spaces in the commercial area.

Bingo

Special thanks to Bingo for extending this food review invitation.

Bingo (冰果屋) is a new dessert stall at Bukit Mertajam. It is just several shops away from Sentosa Corner, a popular hawker center in front of Taman Sentosa.
Operated by a couple from Ipoh, the stall has been open for around half a month. The menu offers ice blended drinks as well as several types of light snacks.
An electric ice shaver does the heavy lifting in this shop. Back in the old days, the shaver is operated by a hand-crank.
One of the most popular menu item here is Mixed Fruit Shaved Ice (杂果冰, RM5.00). This dessert is topped with honeydew, mango, papaya, watermelon and nata de coco (coconut jelly). On top of everything is a scoop of chocolate ice cream and sago pearls.
The Ice Blended Peanut (花生冰沙, RM3.00) is a satisfying drink in my opinion. The unmistakable flavor of nuts makes this drink enjoyable to the last drop.
As for food, Rojak (RM4.00) is among the popular ones. The salad contains youtiao (油条), jicama (sengkuang), cucumber, pineapple and guava. Homemade belacan (shrimp paste) provides necessary sweetness while crunched peanuts contributes to mouthfeel.
Name: Bingo (冰果屋)
Address: 2AA, Jalan Kulim, Taman Sentosa, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-702-0737
Business hours: 9:00am-7:00pm, closed on Mondays
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.35380 N, 100.47209 E
Directions: Bingo is located several shops away from Sentosa Corner, which is in turn at the intersection between Jalan Kulim and Jalan Maju. Parking is available at the side of the shop or in front of a nearby wet market.

Roselle

Special thanks to Lexis Suites Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Roselle Coffee House is one of the two restaurants at Lexis Suites Penang, the other being Umi Japanese Restaurant. Like the lobby and atrium, the dining area of Roselle is furnished with marble finishes, giving the place an exquisite sense of luxury.
Besides serving breakfast for hotel guests, Roselle also offers Seafood Buffet Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings (between 6:30pm and 10:30pm). In addition, the restaurant also has an à la carte menu which runs throughout the day.
For the month of April and May 2016, the buffet theme is Peranakan cooking. According to Executive Chef Lim, the restaurant introduces a different theme every two months. Although Roselle is still in the process of getting halal certification, all ingredients are sourced from halal-compliant suppliers.
One of the most attractive aspects of this evening's buffet is seafood on ice. In particular, the snow crabs are agreeable to the eyes as much as they are to the palate. It is certainly worth the trouble to pry the shells open to reach the succulent flesh inside.
Although not as visually prominent as snow crabs, spanner crabs are also quite delectable especially with the presence of yolky roe inside the carapace.

Yabbies are another highlight for this evening. Sourced from Australia, yabbies are delivered live to Roselle's kitchen to ensure maximum freshness.
Other kinds of shellfish include mussels, scallops and shrimps.

Not far away, salmon sashimi (サーモン刺身) attempts to steal some limelight with its vibrant red color. Not surprisingly, sashimi is provided by Umi Japanese Restaurant. As for condiments, wasabi (山葵) and soy sauce (醤油) are provided.
Moving to warm food, Salmon Kulebyaka is very similar in appearance to Salmon Wellington. To prepare this dish, seared salmon fillet and risotto are coated in flaky pastry puff. A small amount of saffron contributes to aroma too. I enjoy the balanced taste provided by Salmon Kulebyaka especially in the presence of risotto.
Baked Lobster Thermidor is a French recipe of lobster meat, egg yolks and cheese. The mixture is baked to provide creamy texture as well as a layer of crust on top. All in all, I feel that the flavor is well rounded thanks to savoriness of lobster meat.
Meanwhile, Oyster Kilpatrick is an English oyster dish baked with cheese, chicken bacon and onion. The lovely aroma is evident the moment the lid is opened. As far as palate is concerned, I find the oysters quite delectable too.
Taking a journey across continental Europe, Seafood Paella is a Spanish delicacy from Valencia. For this dish, rice is cooked with several types of seafood such as mussels, shrimps and squid. Valencians consider paella to be a defining dish which represents their distinctive culture from the rest of Spain.
Stewed Seafood is braised in garlic sauce as well as a hint of saffron and salt. Its lighter taste serves as counterbalance to other heavyweight dishes in today's buffet lineup. Seafood that are used are mussels, shrimps and squid.
Seafood Aglio Olio features shrimps, squid and oysters. Linguine is seasoned with respectable amount of chili flakes, making its spiciness a real challenge not to be trifled with.
Taking a detour to Peranakan cuisine, Chef Lim's developed his very own Cincalok Chicken during his capacity as a chef in Malacca. Cincalok is a unique Malaccan specialty made from fermented shrimps. It is often sold in transparent bottles to boast its alluring pinkish hue. Salty on its own, cincalok is often used as a condiment for ulam or for cooking with meats
Wok-Fried Assam Prawns, also known as tamarind shrimps (亚参虾), is another Peranakan specialty. The shrimps are marinated with tamarind juice, salt and sugar, then pan-fried until slightly burnt.
Kari Ikan Bawal is a curry of pomfret and okra (ladies' fingers). Many pieces are just pomfret head, so you may need to dig around to find a meaty piece.
Roselle's Lobak (卤肉) is made by wrapping minced chicken with bean curd skin, then deep-fried until the skin becomes wrinkled. Prepared in-house, five-spice powder (五香粉) is used to enhance the flavor to greater heights.
Like Nasi Lemak or Roti Canai, Fried Vermicelli (炒米粉) is one of Malaysians' favorite breakfast items. In line with the seafood theme, Roselle's version of this noodle dish contains copious amount of dried shrimps.
As for soups, Lobster Bisque is undoubtedly very intense in flavor. Its creamy consistency and rich seafood savoriness make the bisque very satisfying. Go easy on this dish because you may be surfeited if you take too much.
This is my first encounter with Pong Tau Fu Soup, a Peranakan delicacy made from a mixture of bean curd and tenggiri (mackerel). Served in clear soup, the balls are looser and juicier than regular fish balls. I must say that this dish is highly recommended.
Next to the soups is an assortment of white and brown bread. Butter is provided.
As for Curry Mee, the curry contains tofu puff (豆腐卜) which would be nicer if the curry were not as salty. Other ingredients for Curry Mee include bean sprouts and yardlong beans.
There are also a handful of kerabu (Malay salad) dishes to choose from. I find the fried fish version to be the most appealing.
The salad bar is stocked with fresh vegetables and several types of dressing such as Italian dressing and oil vinaigrette.
For desserts, the Swiss Roll is made from chocolate sponge cake and contains whipped cream inside.
As the name implies, Macaron Tart is topped with attractive pieces of macarons. The cake itself is topped with blueberry jam, strawberry and blueberry.
Other cakes are presented in bite-sizes portions to the convenience of guests in a buffet setting.
I am particularly attracted to a special chocolate treat, which is made from a chocolate shell with chocolate cream inside. The cream is covered by a chocolate chip followed by a small piece of gold leaf.
Moving on, Mango Paradise is a chilled mango dessert and translucent sago pearls. The level of sweetness is soothing, befitting the conclusion of a hearty feast.
Also included in this mango dessert are glutinous rice balls filled with black sesame paste. I am not sure whether this is a good choice because the rice balls do not feel so nice in chilled state. Instead, I think watermelon or honeydew "balls" work better here.

Finally, there are fruits such as watermelon, honeydew and papaya.
Roselle's Seafood Buffet Dinner is priced at RM98.00 for adult, RM45.00 for child and RM68.00 for senior citizen. In addition, guests may also add RM98.00 for free flow of house wine, or RM29.00 for a single glass.
Name: Roselle Coffee House
Address: 28, Jalan Teluk Kumbar, 11920 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-628-2888
Business hours: 6:30am-1:00am
Website: http://www.lexissuitespenang.com/Dining/Overview/Roselle-Coffee-House
Coordinates: 5.28702 N, 100.23251 E
Directions: From Bayan Lepas, drive along Jalan Teluk Kumbar towards the intersection with Jalan Gertak Sanggul. Lexis Suites Penang is the tall building on the left just before the intersection. As the only building more than 3 floors in Teluk Kumbar, it is impossible to overlook this hotel. Roselle is located at the Mezzanine Floor, just above the lobby atrium.