Man Shan Restaurant

Special thanks to Man Shan Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

Tonight's dinner brings me to Man Shan Restaurant (满膳食馆) at Jalan Phuah Hin Leong. Also known as "Purple House", the restaurant's unique color scheme stands out prominently against other houses along this less traveled road. Orchid and other climbing plants cover the front awnings, giving the restaurant a unique outlook from the outside.
Man Shan Restaurant specializes in Klang-style bak kut teh (肉骨茶). The recipe is formulated by one of the proprietors after several decades of experimentation. A Chinese herbal pharmacist by profession, he has assembled 18 herbs such as dong quai (当归), dang shen (党参) and goji (枸杞) to produce what he considers authentic bak kut teh.
Signature Bak Kut Teh (满膳招牌肉骨茶) is served in claypots of different serving sizes (RM14.00, RM26.00 and RM38.00). Ingredient choices include pork ribs (排骨), pork belly (三层肉), pork shoulder (夹心肉), pork leg (猪脚), pork stomach (猪肚), pork intestines (粉肠), meat balls (肉丸) and tofu skin (豆枝). Thanks to the use of premium herbs and a fine balance between "heat" and "cold" elements, the soup does not cause unpleasant heatiness to the body. I must emphasize that this claypot of bak kut teh is tasty to the last drop.
Meanwhile, Spicy Garlic Bak Kut Teh (蒜香焖肉骨茶) uses a similar recipe as the original version, but is braised with a copious amount of garlic. The gravy is reduced to be substantially thicker than the original version, although not quite as dry as the wok-fried version. The distinctive pungency of garlic brings a whole new level to the enjoyment of this herbal soup. Nevertheless, I still think that the traditional version appeals better to my palate. Also available is Basil Yam Bak Kut Teh (芋香焖肉骨茶), which I am not able to try this evening.
Braised Pork Knuckles With Special Chef Sauce (红酱卤猪蹄, RM48.00) is a new item on the menu. Taking advantage of jelly-like texture of cartilage, the pork knuckles are braised in thick savory gravy that tantalizes my palate in an intriguing manner. Working in harmony with pork and gravy are juicy shiitake mushrooms. As the restaurant only prepares a limited number of pork knuckles every evening, it is highly recommended to order one day in advance.
Moving on to side dishes, Signature Crispy Mushroom Balls (满膳爆炸香菇丸, RM7.90) are made from minced pork and chopped shiitake mushrooms. The meatballs are deep-fried to scrumptious crispiness. This dish is particularly well-received by children.
Given that most dishes here are based on meat, it is good to have some vegetables as counterbalance. Assorted Vegetable With Lemon Onion Hot Sauce (凉拌酸辣菜, RM9.00) is newly introduced to the menu. Onions and leaf lettuce (油麦) take advantage of tangy sauce in drawing appetite. Hard-boiled eggs are also included in this juicy dish.
You Tiao (油条, RM2.00) goes well with Signature Bak Kut Teh. In order to retain their aroma and crispiness, the breadsticks are fried to order. For the best effect, briefly dip each piece of breadstick into the herbal soup such that it remains crispy. At Man Shan Restaurant, You Tiao is supplied by a family member of one of the proprietors.
In line with the proprietors' philosophy of serving food of utmost quality, Man Shan Restaurant uses top-grade rice from Noble Pine Crane (松鹤香饭, RM1.50). This brand of rice is seldom used because it is prohibitively expensive. Should customers prefer, fried shallots go well with rice (葱油拌饭, RM2.00) too.
As for drinks, Man Shan Restaurant specializes in scented tea (花茶) that is blended by hand. Hot tea is served in glass teapots and teacups, and each teapot is ideal for up to 3 persons.
If you love lemongrass (香茅), be sure to try the Blue Fairy (蓝精灵, RM6.90). The blue color is attributed to butterfly-pea flowers (蓝花) which the restaurant grows within its compound. Pandan (香兰) is also added for the fragrant aroma.
Meanwhile, Blink Blink Chrys (亮晶晶, RM7.90) consists of chrysanthemum flowers (菊花), wolfberries (枸杞), red dates (红枣) and strips of winter melon (冬瓜). This scented tea is slightly sweet due to the presence of honey.
Although Man Shan Restaurant has been operating for 2 years now, the restaurant is relatively unknown because there is little publicity until just recently. Instead, the proprietors focus their efforts in delivering wholesome food and building a loyal customer base over time - a strategy that has been paying off lately. Therefore if home-cooked food, premium ingredients and affordable pricing sound good to you, I cannot recommend Man Shan Restaurant highly enough.
Name: Man Shan Restaurant (满膳食馆)
Address: 6, Jalan Phuah Hin Leong, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-226-6584
Business hours: 11:00am-2:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 6:00pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/manshan369
Coordinates: 5.42345 N, 100.32263 E
Directions: Driving along Burmah Road (Jalan Burma) from New World Park, turn right to Jalan Phuah Hin Leong. This small road is somewhat opposite of Union Primary School. Man Shan Restaurant is one of the shops on the right. Limited parking space is available in front of the restaurant.

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