Restoran Tuck Cheong

Today's breakfast at Pudu lands us at Restoran Tuck Cheong (德昌饱饺茶餐室), an old shop within a cluster of low-cost flats. Occupying the ground floor, the shop has indoor and outdoor dining tables. The vast majority of customers here are locals.
This eatery operates in the morning only. The shop mainly serves dim sum (点心), most of which are steamed types. Only limited quantities are prepared daily, so some dim sum types may be sold out earlier in the morning.
From its limited menu, we started with Fried Egg Meatballs (炸鸡蛋肉丸, RM3.40), Tofu Skin Rolls (腐皮卷, RM3.40) and Pork Rind Rolls (猪皮卷, RM3.40).
Next are Siew Mai (烧卖, RM3.40) and Spare Ribs (排骨, RM3.40). These dishes are fairly common in dim sum meals.
In term of baozi (包子), Lotus Seed Paste Bun (莲蓉包, RM2.00) is a popular type due to its sweet filling.
Salted Egg Siew Mai (咸蛋烧卖, RM3.40) carries a mild hint of saltiness from salted egg yolk.
Fish Balls (鱼蛋, RM3.40) are served with chopped scallions. The mouthfeel of the balls is particularly succulent.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Restoran Tuck Cheong also serves Rice Bowls (盅仔饭) and Glutinous Rice & Chicken (糯米鸡). Since today is Friday, we are not able to taste them this round. Overall, today's breakfast is fairly satisfying.
Address: 29, Jalan Kancil, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 6:30am-10:00am, closed on Mondays
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Pacari

Special thanks to Pacari for extending this product review invitation.

Pacari is a premium brand of chocolates from Ecuador. Founded in 2002, this family business uses Arriba Nacional cocoa beans, which only grow in the Andes. To maintain its chocolates' quality, Pacari oversees the entire production process from tree to bar. Cocoa beans are directly sourced from small scale farmers to prevent exploitation by middlemen.
The word "pacari" means "nature" in local Quechua language. True to its philosophy of naturalness, Pacari only uses natural ingredients and its chocolates do not contain any artificial additives. Cocoa trees are also grown through organic and sustainable farming practices.

Pacari's flagship product is the Raw Organic Chocolate 70% Cacao (RM30.00). This single-origin dark chocolate is processed from beans grown in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Meanwhile, Esmeraldas Organic Chocolate 60% Cacao (RM27.00) hails from Esmeraldas, Ecuador's cocoa heartland.
Andean Rose Organic Chocolate 60% Cacao (RM27.00) is infused with geranium roses to present fragrant aroma. Meanwhile, Cuzco Salt & Nibs Organic Chocolate 70% Cacao (RM30.00) is intermittently punctuated by pink salt and crushed cocoa beans. Passion Fruit Organic Chocolate 60% Cacao (RM25.00) takes advantage of tangy fruitiness of the passion fruit.
Pacari has been awarded the World Best Chocolate for every year since 2012. Its chocolates do not contain any milk, soy or gluten. In fact, Pacari's products are 100% vegan. Most flavors are available as 50-gram bars.

Pacari Malaysia's online shopping portal accepts payment by credit card or bank transfer. Delivery fee is waived for orders above RM100.00. Further enquiries can be directed to the Malaysian retailer at hello@pacarichocolate.com.my.

Name: Pacari
Address: 7-5, Jalan 8/146, Bandar Tasik Selatan, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-6177-4465
Business hours: N/A
Website: https://www.pacarichocolate.com.my
Coordinates: N/A
Directions: N/A

Monroe

Special thanks to Monroe Cafe & Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

1926 Heritage Hotel Penang is a boutique hotel along Burmah Road (Jalan Burma). It is just before the junction with Jalan Imigresen and is across the road from Jalan Chow Thye.
Monroe Cafe & Restaurant is one of the two eateries in this hotel; the other is Hainanese Delights. Monroe combines elements of a restaurant and a cocktail bar. Its casual ambience presents a suitable setting for dining with family and friends. There is also a small stage where live bands perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
The restaurant pays homage to Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962). Throughout the dining section are several murals of the American actress including the famous white dress scene from the film The Seven Year Itch. The dining section also contains retro elements like an antique radio receiver, film camera, film projector and typewriter.
Monroe's food menu is predominantly Western with a handful of local Asian dishes. The recipes are crafted by the proprietor himself, who has great passion for cooking long before opening this restaurant.

For starters, Wild Mushroom Soup (RM15.90), Fresh Tomato Soup (RM13.90) and Fresh Carrot Soup (RM13.90) are all excellent choices. Cooked from fresh ingredients, one can taste the wholesome goodness that fresh food has to offer. The soups are drizzled with cream for aesthetic effect. Each bowl of soup comes with a slice of garlic bread.
Oyster Mornay (RM30.00 for 3 pieces, RM54.00 for 6 pieces, RM96.00 for 12 pieces) is another interesting delicacy. The oyster is baked on its shell and is covered with spinach and Mornay sauce. The gratinated crust prevents the oyster flesh from getting too dry. By the way, Mornay sauce is made from cheese and Béchamel sauce (flour, butter and milk).
For something more local, Chicken Satay (RM12.00 for 6 skewers, RM20.00 for 12 skewers) is a safe bet. Chicken is marinated with turmeric and then grilled over fire. Thanks to the lovely marinade, the satay is succulent indeed. As per tradition, satay is served with cucumber and shallots.
Moving on to main dishes, the Mediterranean Lamb Shank (RM46.90) is served with homemade brown sauce infused with red wine. The lamb shank is quite tender and presents pleasant mouthfeel within each chew. This dish is served with mashed potato, diced vegetables and carrot curls.
At Monroe, mashed potato is painstakingly made by hand as opposed to instant, processed ones. During dinner service, mashed potato is replaced with mashed sweet potato. The vibrant purple color is a welcoming sight. Mashed sweet potato has similar texture as mashed potato but the former is slightly sweeter.
The Grain Fed Rib Eye Steak (RM62.90) is grilled just about right; I can still taste the beef's juiciness without feeling too raw. The steak is served with mashed potato and grilled diced vegetables. Extra grain mustard sauce is provided in a separate cup.
Chicken Mushroom Roulade (RM30.90) is made from chicken thigh rolled with mushroom filling. After braising, the chicken roulade is served with Monroe's specialty sauce. Side dishes are roasted baby potatoes, baby-cut carrot, mashed potato and blanched spinach.
Taking a detour to seafood, Grilled Garoupa Fish (RM53.90) is cooked just right. It is crucial not to overcook the fillet as the grouper's flesh is susceptible to dryness. The fish is served with mustard and white wine sauce.
Fried Laksa Spaghetti (RM19.90) combines Italian pasta with asam laksa's seasoning. The fusion is similar to Johor laksa. This fusion dish contains hard-boiled egg, shredded cucumber, pineapple, onion, red chili, bird's eye chili (cili padi), ginger flower and lemon wedge.
Moving on to desserts, Strawberry Tart (RM15.90) boasts its creamy texture and pleasurable sweetness. On the side is a scoop of matcha ice cream with whipped cream. Chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup and rainbow sprinkles serve as decoration.
The coffee drinks, Cafe Latte (RM11.90) and Cafe Mocha (RM12.90), are reasonably good. Meanwhile, non-caffeinated beverages include milkshakes, Italian sodas and fresh fruit juices. Monroe also serves alcoholic drinks.
Food prices quoted above are based on à la carte orders. The pricing is substantially more affordable when the dishes are ordered as part of a set lunch or set dinner. Set lunch is served between 11:00am and 2:30pm daily. The meal comes with soup, dessert and a choice of drink (coffee, tea or fruit juice). Finally, it is interesting to note that Monroe is a pork-free restaurant.

Name: Monroe Cafe & Restaurant
Address: 1926 Heritage Hotel, 227, Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-407-6699
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm (Tuesday-Friday), 7:00am-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/monroecafeandlounge
Coordinates: 5.42386 N, 100.32061 E
Directions: From Union Primary School, drive along the one-way Burmah Road (Jalan Burma) for approximately 200 meters. 1926 Heritage Hotel is located on the left just before the intersection with Jalan Imigresen. Monroe is at the front section of the hotel. Parking is available in front of and at the side of the hotel.

Sushi Kitchen

Special thanks to Sushi Kitchen for extending this food review invitation.

Sushi Kitchen made its debut in 2009 with its first restaurant at Sungai Ara. Today, there are 4 outlets in Penang and 1 more in Alor Setar. The Gurney Plaza outlet is located on Level 3 of the mall's new wing.
Sushi Kitchen specializes in vegan food and borrows many elements of Japanese cuisine. This explains the Zen-like serenity which is often associated with traditional Japanese restaurants. Customers who want to get closer to Mother Nature can be seated outdoors among the numerous potted plants.
Sushi Kitchen believes in using organic food which nourishes the body in a balanced manner. Unlike many vegetarian restaurants, Sushi Kitchen does not use gluten (面筋). Soy pulp (大豆纤维) is used very sparingly. To maintain hygiene, Sushi Kitchen uses vegetable wash to remove pesticides from fresh produce.
The Happiness Couple (RM20.00) assembles five of the restaurant's bestselling vegan sushi. Sushi pieces are presented elegantly on a long plate with wasabi (山葵) and crispy rice noodle on opposite ends. There are 8 pieces in total, making the Happiness Couple just right for 2 persons. For larger parties of four people or more, the 16-piece Happiness Family (RM36.00) is a better choice.
Global Warming Maki is a makizushi (巻き寿司) filled with Japanese short-grain rice, cucumber, carrot and daikon (大根). The roll is lightly fried to impart a layer of light crisp on its surface. Sushi Kitchen's signature vegan mayonnaise is used as the dressing. The creamy condiment contains neither eggs nor milk, but is derived from soy milk instead.
Crispy G-Ken Floss Maki is rolled such that rice faces outward like a California roll. The roll is topped with vegetarian meat floss (素肉松), which is made from soy pulp and attempts to mimic actual meat floss. The rice roll also contains shredded cucumber and carrot.
Rainbow Maki flaunts its vibrant colors thanks to the presence of red cabbage, cucumber and carrot. Held together by sushi rice, the roll is wrapped in seaweed (海苔) and is given a light sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Pure Inari is essentially sweetened tofu pouch resting on a clump of sushi rice. Inari (稲荷) is named after the Shinto god Inari, who is said to be fond of this food. In any case, inari remains one of my favorite types of sushi.
Last but not least, Wakame Gunkan has seaweed wrapped around the sides, making its appearance similar to a warship. This gunkan maki (軍艦巻き) is filled with chuka wakame (中華ワカメ), which is seasoned seaweed with a crunchy texture.

If you are fond of temaki (手巻き), the Vegetable Hand Roll (RM8.00) may appeal to you. Lettuce and preheated seaweed are rolled as a cone, which is filled with shredded carrots, red cabbage, cucumber and vegetarian meat floss. Vegan mayonnaise serves to moisturize the hand roll.
Black God (RM15.90) is named after the titular Japanese-Korean manga Black God (黒神). What I am most impressed with this noodle dish is the soup recipe. Prepared from organic five-grain oat milk (五谷燕麦奶), the soup is cooked to order as opposed being prepared upfront. Sushi Kitchen does so in order to minimize wastage and its footprint on the environment.
The organic charcoal noodle has similar texture as soba (蕎麦). Also included are shiitake mushrooms (香菇), enoki mushrooms (金针菇), carrots, cabbage and organic brown flaxseeds. Soothing aroma comes from sesame oil. Despite its unassuming appearance, this dish is immensely satisfying to the last drop.
Another recommended noodle dish is Red Sea Udon (RM12.90). The soup is only mildly spicy by Malaysian standards. The reddish soup is formulated from local spices such as chili peppers, turmeric, lemongrass and curry leaves. Coconut milk is remarkably absent from the ingredient list. Meanwhile, the springy udon noodle is specially sourced from Japan.
In terms of presentation, Seaweed Fried Rice (RM9.80) scores points in this category. At the center of the large plate is a hemispherical heap of fried rice covered by seaweed. The seaweed dome traps heat emanating from fried rice, which is still piping hot from the wok. As soon as the seaweed layer is punctured, tantalizing aroma permeates the immediate vicinity.
The fried rice is pleasing to the palate thanks to fiery aroma imbued within each grain. Fried rice can be upgraded from white rice to brown rice for RM1.00 more; the latter is more nutritious and has subjectively better texture.
Hailing from Sushi Kitchen's seasonal menu, Golden Age (RM10.00 for 3 pieces, RM17.00 for 6 pieces) brings out the natural sweetness of fresh mangoes in a subtle way. Sushi pieces are also filled with seaweed, carrots, cucumber and "meat floss".
The six pieces of sushi are elegantly presented on a long plate. Sesame seeds and vegan mayonnaise make the rolls more irresistible than they already are. The plate is also garnished with deep-fried spaghetti and daikon strip. It is evident that Sushi Kitchen places great emphasis on aesthetics.
Sushi Kitchen also serves vegan cakes that are baked at its central kitchen in Sungai Ara. The cakes are currently available at the Gurney Plaza outlet only. For only RM15.00, customers can enjoy a slice of vegan cake (7 choices available) and a cup of organic coffee. Ordering separately costs RM20.80, so this is an attractive deal indeed.
Name: Sushi Kitchen
Address: 170-03-82, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-373-1402
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/sushikitchengurney
Coordinates: 5.43682 N, 100.30964 E
Directions: Sushi Kitchen is located at Level 3 of Gurney Plaza's new wing. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.

The Canton

Special thanks to The Canton for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

The Canton (广饮广食农家菜) is a small restaurant at Jalan Rangoon. This air-conditioned eatery provides a comfortable setting for family meals. Its Chinese name "广饮广食" literally means "Cantonese food and drinks", and is also the name of a gourmet television program in Hong Kong.
The Canton specializes in Cantonese-style home-cooked food (私房菜). Food recipe is inherited from the proprietor's grandparents who were farmers. Many of the restaurant's dishes are braised in claypots, where prolonged heating helps to enhances aroma and flavors of raw ingredients.
The Signature Curry Chicken (招牌咖哩鸡, RM11.90) is inspired by fiery flavors of Indian spices. Fortunately, this dish is well within the tolerable range of pungency of most people. Also included in the curry are potatoes and scallion (青葱). Overall, the curry chicken strikes a chord with my palate.
The next dish is Signature Braised Pork Ribs In Fermented Black Bean Sauce (招牌豉汁焖排骨, RM12.90). In this dish, pork ribs are cooked with douchi (豆豉), which results in a substantial degree of saltiness. The claypot also contains tofu, ginger, scallion and coriander (香菜). Overall, I find this dish acceptable but pales in comparison to the previous one.
Braised Trotter With Mixed Spices (五香焖蹄膀, RM12.90) has just been introduced to the menu recently. Pork is served in dark gravy using the restaurant's signature spice mix. I personally enjoy eating pig's trotter for its unique jelly-like texture. This dish also contains slices of juicy daikon (白萝卜) to serve as counterbalance to pork.
Scalded Fresh Vegetable (葱油菜心, RM5.90) is one of the few vegetable dishes on the menu. Choy sum (菜心) is the choice of vegetable due to its soft leaves and juicy stems. Fried onions contribute appetizing aroma especially when this dish is still hot. On the other hand, I feel that the amount of onion oil is way more than necessary; less oil would have been nicer.
Considering the fact that MSG is not used in cooking, The Canton's home-cooked food is fairly delectable. The pricing is also pretty reasonable compared to other similar restaurants. Besides this shop, the proprietor also operates hawker stalls at Kuta Bali Cafe, Kedai Minuman Dan Makanan CF and Sg. Pinang Food Court.

Name: The Canton (广饮广食农家菜)
Address: 28, Jalan Rangoon, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-475-9774
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:00pm-9:30pm, closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheCantonMalaysia
Coordinates: 5.41928 N, 100.32530 E
Directions: The Canton is located on the right side of the one-way Jalan Rangoon. It is approximately 150 meters from Burmah Road (Jalan Burma). Street parking is available along Jalan Rangoon and Lorong Selamat.