GK Phở

Tucked in a secluded row of Arena Curve, GK Phở Original Vietnamese Noodle Soup is easily overlooked by most people. However, my craving for beef led me to this Vietnamese eatery.
Beef Noodle Soup (Phở Bò) is one of the best-known Vietnamese dishes. The broth is made by simmering beef bones for several hours. Although the soup is reasonably rich, I think there is certainly room for improvement. For customers who do not take beef, Chicken Noodle Soup (Phở Gà) is also available.
Beef Noodle Soup uses a type of flat rice noodle called "bánh phở", which is very similar to koay teow (粿条). There are several types of beef ingredients to choose from. I opted for a mixture (RM10.00) of lean beef, tenderloin, beef stomach and beef meatballs. Other ingredients are Thai basil (húng quế), bean sprouts, coriander and scallion.
It is recommended to add some lime juice into the soup to accentuate the soup's beef flavor. In addition, fried onion does a great job in improving aroma. Customers can also add chili sauce (tương ớt) and hoisin sauce (tương đen), but I feel that these condiments are unnecessary.
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll (gỏi cuốn, RM3.00) is a roll of rice paper (bánh tráng) filled with shrimps, rice vermicelli (bún) and lettuce. Sweet chili sauce (nước chấm) is provided. In my opinion, the rice paper is too rubbery and should be made softer.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Fried Spring Roll (chả giò, RM2.00) is filled with minced pork and then deep-fried until the rice paper turns crispy. The roll's taste and texture are similar to lor bak (卤肉). Personally, I feel that this spring roll is too small to be enjoyed properly.

Address: 72-1-73, Arena Curve, Jalan Mahsuri, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-435-5136
Business hours: 10:00am-8:00pm, closed on Mondays

House Of Kolomee

Special thanks to House Of Kolomee for extending this food review invitation.

House Of Kolomee (砂捞越干捞面专卖店) at D'Piazza has moved several shops away from its original location. The new shop is now on the other side of Coffee Talk Premium. This Sarawakian noodle shop starts operation at its new location in May 2017, which also coincides with its 5th anniversary in business.
Like before, House Of Kolomee adopts self-service model to save manpower. The touchscreen terminal at the first station is where customers enter their food choices. This is also where customers make their payments.
The second station is where customers collect their orders. There are serial numbers on the receipts for customers to refer to. Food is typically ready in less than 5 minutes.
There are several drink dispensers at the third station. Available drinks are orange juice, peach tea, honey green tea and ice lemon tea. For the entire month of May 2017, drinks are on the house.
The signature dish here is Kolomee (干捞面, RM5.00). The egg noodle is cooked by blanching in boiling water. After draining with a strainer, the noodle is tossed with sweet red sauce, soy sauce and pork lard. I like the springiness of egg noodle. It seems to work pretty well with the seasoning.
Other vital ingredients of Sarawak Kolomee are barbecued pork (叉烧) and minced pork (肉碎). Both are quite tasty. Also included are bok choy (小白菜), chopped scallion and fried onion.
Laksa (呖沙, RM6.00) is customarily served with rice vermicelli (米粉), but I opted for kolomee noodle as I like its springy texture. I also enjoy the gravy that Sarawak Laksa comes with. The creamy gravy is very rich thanks to the presence of chicken stock, sambal belacan (chili shrimp paste) and coconut milk.
Sarawak Laksa also includes ingredients like shredded chicken, shrimps, omelette strips, bean sprouts and coriander. Chili paste and lime are provided as condiments. Overall, this noodle dish is quite satisfying.
Although these Sarawakian dishes may look simple, I think they resonate well with the local palate. The pricing is also quite affordable compared other restaurants nearby.

Name: House Of Kolomee (砂捞越干捞面专卖店)
Address: 70-1-58, D'Piazza Mall, Jalan Mahsuri, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-440-9048
Business hours: 10:00am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-9:00pm, closed on Saturdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/houseofkolomee
Coordinates: 5.32632 N, 100.28207 E
Directions: House Of Kolomee is located at D'Piazza in Bayan Baru. The restaurant is near Coffee Talk Premium and faces Olive Tree Hotel at a distance. Outdoor parking and basement parking are available at D'Piazza.

Jing Ding

Jing Ding Hong Kong Gourmet Kitchen (金鼎香港粥面小厨) is a small eatery directly opposite of Belissa Row. There are parking spaces at the front for its customers.
Jing Ding serves Hong Kong-style rice, porridge and noodle dishes. There are hardly any customers when I arrived at this air-conditioned restaurant.
For my dinner, I opted for Set Meal A (套餐A, RM14.80), which is meant for 1 person. For meats, the choices are roasted duck (烧鸭), soya sauce chicken (油鸡), BBQ pork (叉烧) and roasted pork (烧肉).
I went for roasted duck as recommended by the staff. The meat is quite dry and leathery - hardly having any juiciness at all. The taste is also overwhelmingly dominated by saltiness. I think the recipe has to be improved substantially.
As for the soup, available options are lotus root (莲藕), salted vegetable (咸菜) and pig's stomach (猪肚). The bowl of pig's stomach contains chicken feet and lots of peppercorn. Also included in the set meal are vegetable with oyster sauce (蚝油时菜), rice and chrysanthemum tea (菊花茶).
Address: 425B, Jalan Burma, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-218-9322
Business hours: 10:30am-8:00pm


Special thanks to Zuzudo for extending this food review invitation.

Zuzudo Ramen Bar (ズズッド) is the latest addition to the al fresco dining piazza between G Hotel and Gurney Plaza. Opened around 2 weeks ago, this Japanese eatery specializes in ramen (ラーメン). By the way, "zuzudo" refers to the slurping sound that one makes while eating ramen.
While most restaurants prepare their broth from pork bones, Zuzudo differs from the pack in the fact that its menu is entirely pork-free. Zuzudo's noodle dishes use chicken stock that is stewed from torikotsu (鶏骨, chicken bones) for more than 10 hours. Interestingly, the same soup base is used to create all 4 categories of soup: Shiro (white, 白), Kuro (black, 黒), Curry (カレー) and Kara (spicy, 辛).
The Kuro category is essentially the basic broth with additional seasoning such as soy sauce. This bowl of Butter Scallop Kuro (バターホタテ黒, RM19.00) is saturated in umami (うま味) flavor plus a subtle sense of creaminess.
The highlight of this noodle dish is the juicy scallops (ホタテ). The scallops are fresh indeed. Another interesting ingredient is onsen tamago (温泉玉子). Traditionally cooked in hot springs, the yolk remains slightly runny even though the egg white has solidified.
If you prefer something spicy, Ebi Curry (えびカレー, RM21.00) is a sound choice. In general, Japanese curry is only mildly spicy by Malaysian standards. However, this bowl of soup has surprisingly strong pungency through a clever blend of spices. The aroma is very appealing too. I think you should try the curry version if you have an affinity for spices.
This bowl of spicy noodle features two large shrimps (えび). Also included are cooked pumpkin, carrot and potato; these vegetables help to balance the overall taste. Like the previous dish, there is also an onsen tamago to impart additional savoriness to the soup.
Tori Katsu (鶏カツ), or chicken cutlet, looks almost identical to grilled chicken. Unbeknownst to many people, the chicken is actually baked. The chicken's flesh under the browned skin remains quite juicy - nowhere nearly as dry nor oily as actual grilled chicken. Tori Katsu is available with most types of soup.
Zuzudo also makes its own ramen from scratch, certainly not using ready-made ones! The noodle is sufficiently firm to attain the desired degree of springiness. Overall, I feel the noodle dishes here are very satisfying. Although Zuzudo is mostly focusing on ramen now, the restaurant will be introducing more dishes such as Mentai Rice (明太ご飯) and Temari Zushi Ball (手まり寿司ボール) in the near future.

Name: Zuzudo Ramen Bar (ズズッド)
Address: Lot G-04, G Hotel, 168A, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-609-6375
Business hours: 11:00am-11:30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/zuzudoramen.bar
Coordinates: 5.43772 N, 100.31033 E
Directions: Zuzudo is located at G Hotel's outdoor piazza, directly facing Gurney Plaza. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.

Egglette Lab

Egglette Lab Hong Kong Snacks (蛋仔工坊香港小吃) is located on the Level 7 of Gurney Plaza. The kiosk is right next to Max Gourmet (美食之家) and is across the atrium from Golden Screen Cinemas.
Egg waffle (鸡蛋仔) is the specialty snack here. Hailing from Hong Kong, this popular street food is made using a special waffle iron with spherical molds. The novelty here is that each "bubble" on the waffle can be plucked off piece by piece.
Egglette Lab uses a special mixture of batter made from flour, eggs and sugar. The Original Flavor Egg Waffle (RM4.80) gives the closest match to the actual recipe. The waffle has reasonably soft texture with light crisp between bubbles.
A different type of batter is used for each flavor. This is best illustrated by the Tricolor Egg Waffle (RM7.80). The 3 types of batter (Original, Charcoal Cheese and Chocolate) are not truly mixed together. Instead, they are poured into separate sections of the waffle iron. Among the 3 flavors, Charcoal Cheese is my personal favorite.
Overall, Egglette Lab's snack is alright but I see it more of a novelty. In most cases, such food businesses have to innovate continuously in order to keep the hype going. On a separate note, I feel that the Egglette Lab's staff is somewhat slow in preparing egg waffles. This is despite having many waffle irons at its disposal.
Address: 170-07-10, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm

Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight

Special thanks to Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight for extending this food review invitation.

Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight (香雲素食坊) is a restaurant at Vantage Desiran Tanjung. Located just above Kith & Kin, this eatery is operated by the same people as Xiang Yun Vegetarian Hut in Kompleks Lebuh Nipah and Xiang Yun Vegetarian House at Bayan Point.
More so than its sister outlets, Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight presents a relaxing ambience with Zen-like tranquility. Wooden tables and bamboo screens provide a friendly atmosphere for dining with the family. There are also two private dining rooms that can accommodate around 10 persons each.
Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight serves lacto-vegatarian food. Milk is used very sparingly, so for all intents and purposes, the restaurant's menu is suitable for vegans. Conforming to Buddhist vegetarianism, the restaurant does not use garlic nor onion either.
For starters, Soy Satay (大豆沙爹, RM8.90) consists of turmeric-flavored "chicken" made from soy pulp (豆渣). Prepared on skewers, the "chicken" is dressed in sweet peanut sauce. Besides gluten, soy pulp is a popular ingredient to produce meat substitute.
Five Herbs Vege Rolls (五香素卷, RM6.90) is similar to lor bak (卤肉) but minus the pork. Wrapped in fried tofu skin are jicama (凉薯) and konjac (蒟蒻). Konjac is extremely rich in dietary fiber but contains nearly zero calories. In this case, konjac serves to provide similar texture as pork lard.

Moving on to Thai Style Cutlet (泰式香辣余, RM14.90), the "fish cutlets" are made from soy pulp with seaweed wrapped around the circumference. The seaweed coating is meant to resemble fish skin. The cutlets are fried lightly on both sides and then flavored with sweet-tangy chili sauce.
Indian Claypot Curry (砂煲印度咖哩, RM16.90) uses aromatic spices from the Indian subcontinent to appeal to the palate. This Indian-inspired curry is quite spicy and also carries a hint of tanginess.
In the presence of curry, the cutlets can easily pass off as real fish. Besides these "fish cutlets", the claypot of curry also contains okra (lady's fingers) and tomato.
An alternative way to enjoy imitation fish is through the bowl of Teow Chew Steamed (潮州蒸余饭, RM8.90). Also included in the clear soup are tofu, tomato and mushrooms. The soup's soothing taste tends to draw appetite.
Nasi Lemak (招牌椰浆饭, RM7.90) is topped with chili sauce that is blended from fresh chili peppers. The "mackerel" is essentially a piece of soy pulp sandwiched between sheets of seaweed. Also noteworthy are fried "anchovies" on the side; these are made from mushroom stems.
Speaking of mushrooms, you may also like to try the Mix Fungi Rice (麻油杂菌菇饭, RM9.90). The soup contains a variety of mushrooms like shiitake (香菇), enoki (金针菇), shimeji (白玉菇), oyster (鲍鱼菇) and black fungus (黑木耳). The soup has an appetizing sense of pungency thanks to the presence of ginger. This meal comes with a bowl of white rice, which can be upgraded to brown rice for RM1.00 more.
Should customers prefer something of Japanese style, Teriyaki Don (香脆余柳饭, RM10.90) is available on the menu. A piece of deep-fried "chicken" croquette, dressed in sweet teriyaki sauce, is served over a heap of rice. This rice meal includes a bowl of soup with soft tofu.
Salsa Cutlet (莎莎余柳扒, RM16.90) is a Western dish which comes with crinkle-cut fries. Also included on the plate is shredded cabbage with Thousand Island salad dressing.
There are two pieces of breaded "fish" cutlets with fresh tomato dressing. I like how well the sauce complements the crispiness of breaded "fish".
Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight offers the Coffee Hour promotion from 3:00pm to 5:00pm every day. Customers can order two cups of coffee for the price of one. Shown here are Long Black (香浓黑咖啡, RM6.90) and Mocha (摩卡, RM9.90). Vegans may substitute milk with soy milk for RM1.00 more.
If you prefer something other than coffee, try a warm glass of Organic Chocolate (有机巧克力, RM9.90). This drink comes with two pieces of cracker. Latte art is complimentary.
Soy Bean (豆奶, RM5.90) is a rich source of protein especially for people who follow a vegetarian diet.
Hailing from the southern tip of South Africa, rooibos is usually consumed as a caffeine-free alternative to actual tea (Camellia sinensis). This makes the drink safe for consumption during pregnancy. Rooibos leaves are oxidized in a similar manner as black tea. Steeped in hot water, the glass teapot of Rooibos Tea (南非博士茶, RM13.90) is meant for up to 4 persons.
Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight aims to cater not only for vegetarians, but also to the general public at large. It is the proprietors' belief that every vegetarian meal served can save an animal from the slaughterhouse. The restaurant is usually closed on Tuesdays, but remains open if the day falls on the 1st or 15th day of the Chinese lunar calendar. In such cases, the restaurant will be closed on the following Wednesday instead.

Name: Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight (香雲素食坊)
Address: A-1-8, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-496-8085
Business hours: 11:00am-9:00pm, closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/XiangYunVegetarianDelight
Coordinates: 5.45523 N, 100.30755 E
Directions: Vantage Desiran Tanjung as a commercial block on the right side of Jalan Tanjung Tokong from George Town's direction, after Island Plaza but before Tesco. Xiang Yun Vegetarian Delight located above Kith & Kin. There are parking spaces in front of and behind the row of shops.