Spice Market

Special thanks to Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa for extending this food review invitation.

The flagship restaurant of Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Spice Market Café, is one of the most comprehensive buffets in Penang, if not the most. Located near the Garden Wing lobby and FIP Lounge, Spice Market features a themed buffet every evening - one of the very few hotel-restaurants in Penang to do so.
What impresses me the most is the fact that Spice Market revises its menu very regularly. This is important because there are long-term guests in the hotel. Today, Spice Market launches the new Seafood Buffet Dinner that is served every Friday and Saturday from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. The new concept is developed under the direction of Executive Chef Leong.
The spotlight of today's Seafood Buffet Dinner is cast on the Giant Pearl Grouper that weighs almost 20 kilograms (they can grow as large as 25 kilograms). The fish is supplied by a fish farm off the eastern coast of Pulau Jerejak. Delivered fresh earlier in the afternoon, the fish is as fresh as it can possibly be. Spice Market certainly brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "no expense spared".
Grouper fillets are prepared on the spot. Guests are free to request how they want their portions to be cooked. I personally feel that steaming is the best way to appreciate the natural taste of fresh fish. There are several types of sauce to go with grouper; my personal choice is fish sauce. If you are a fan of seafood, I am sure that you will find gratification in the grouper.
Fish Head Soup is also prepared from grouper. Having been simmered with the fish's head for two hours, the soup is extremely rich in taste. The soup also goes well with fried pieces of grouper. Meanwhile, Chicken Broth Soup is also recommended. Free-range chicken is double-boiled with a variety of exquisite delicacies like scallops and fish maw. Prawn Bisque Soup and Crab Meat Soup are also available.
Manning the Chinese section of the buffet is Noodle Chef Justin Shi from China. Today, Chef Justin prepares one of his masterpieces, Steamed Oysters With Ginger Spring Onion Sauce. Cooked in a steamer, the oysters produce delectable jus on their shells. Also prepared in a similar manner are Steamed Scallops With Nyonya Sauce.
Herb Crusted Whole Salmon is baked with a coating of crispy crumbs, providing an interesting avenue for its juicy flesh to attain delightful crispiness. Lemon cream sauce goes well with the salmon. Next to the baked salmon are Roasted Rib Eye Of Beef and a variety of sauces. I am particularly fascinated by the truffle sauce.
Seafood Thermidor is a French dish that consists of a creamy mixture of cooked seafood and egg yolks. The mixture is conventionally stuffed into a lobster shell. But in this case, thermidor is baked with a layer of cheese crust.
If you fancy slipper lobsters, there are baked ones with either cheese sauce or curry mayonnaise. Oher seafood items in this section are Prawn Tempura, Fish Tempura and Baked Oyster With Tomato & Cheese.
There are a handful of fresh seafood choices like snow crabs, yabbies, green lip mussels and tiger prawns. Seafood is served over a bed of ice to maintain freshness.
Salmon Gravlax is a Nordic delicacy of salt-cured salmon. Cut into thin slices, gravlax is seasoned with one of three flavors: beetroot, Asian spice and Madras curry. Gravlax has similar appearance and texture as smoked salmon, but the taste is drastically different.
The Japanese counter presents a variety of sushi (寿司) in nigiri (握り) and maki (巻き) forms. If you prefer sashimi (刺身), the chef can also prepare fresh slices of salmon, tuna, butterfish, scallops and more.
Seasoned Japanese food includes Chuka Idako, Chuka Wakame and Chuka Kurage. There are also several varieties of pickled vegetables (漬物).
Malay cuisine frequently takes advantage of local herbs and spices. This explains why many Malay dishes are quite spicy. Malay fare today covers Wok-Fried Crab With Sweet Chili Sauce, Kari Kupang (Mussel Curry), Ikan Masak Lemak (Fish In Coconut Gravy) and Chicken Panggang Percik (Spicy Grilled Chicken).
Yong Tau Foo (酿豆腐) is prepared fresh every day. Fish paste is stuffed into items like okra, bitter gourd and tofu. While some people enjoy eating Yong Tau Foo directly, others prefer to eat with noodles, vegetables and bean sprouts.
Indian cuisine is represented by hot curries like Fish Tikka Masala and Prawn Curry. From the tandoori oven are Tandoori Lamb, Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Pomfret. Lamb and chicken satay are also available as usual.
As for Western food, Lamb Osso Bucco and Braised Beef Cheek With BBQ Sauce are served today. Beef cheeks are notorious for being particularly tough, so they have to be cooked longer until the muscle fibers disintegrate.
Jelly Fish & Baby Octopus Salad, Shrimps With Multi Colored Coleslaw and White Bean, Tuna & Spring Onion Salad are examples of what's prepared at the salad section. There are also individual vegetables and dressings if you would like to prepare your salad from scratch.
I always love the cheese section of Spice Market's buffet. There are exquisite cheese varieties like emmental, brie, gouda, cheddar and blue cheese. Dried fruits, nuts and pickles also go well with cheese.
Next to the cheese section is a variety of breads such as French baguettes, country bread, grissini (breadsticks) and bread rolls.
Proceeding to cakes, this evening's buffet presents the Black Forest Cake, St. Honoré, Chilled Marble Cheese Cake, Baked Cheese Cake With Mango, Blueberry Tart and Cherry Breton Pie. I like the nice chocolatiering presented on Black Forest Cake.
If European pastries are your cup of tea, there are bite-sized ones like Sachertorte, Paris Brest and Bundt Cake. Other sweet treats to satiate your sweet tooth are jellies, crêpes, bread pudding, ice kacang and ice cream. For fruits, there are local ones such as jackfruit, pitaya (dragon fruit), honeydew, papaya and watermelon.
Last but not least, guests may enjoy free flows of Cinnamon Water, Nutmeg Juice, Orange Cordial and Sirap Cincau. Cinnamon Water is rich in antioxidants, making it an excellent remedy to detoxify the body.
Spice Market's Seafood Buffet Dinner is priced at RM198.00 net per adult and RM99.00 net per child. Children below 12 years of age dine for free. On the other days of the week, the restaurant serves International Buffet Dinner instead. Guests enjoy 40% discount on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Name: Spice Market Café
Address: Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-888-8888
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/penang/rasasayangresort/dining/restaurants/spice-market-cafe
Coordinates: 5.47972 N, 100.25466 E
Directions: From Tanjung Bungah, travel west towards Batu Ferringhi. Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is approximately 4.2 kilometers from Tanjung Bungah's floating mosque, located on the right. Spice Market Café is at Lobby level of the Garden wing.

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