Main Street Cafe

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Cititel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Cititel Penang is a 4-star hotel along Penang Road (Jalan Penang). In spirit of the upcoming Chinese New Year, the hotel lobby is decorated with a centerpiece that features cherry blossoms with Chinese tassels.
In addition, Cititel Penang will be serving a series of buffet lunches and dinners during the festive period. This evening, the hotel is giving us a sneak peek into the upcoming menu. Food is served in Main Street Cafe, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant.
The meal begins with an attractive platter of Salmon Yee Sang. As per tradition, all diners gather around the table and toss yee sang (鱼生) into the air with chopsticks. It is believed that the higher one tosses, the greater success one achieves in the new year.
The buffet spread is dominated by seafood on ice. A towering centerpiece has large prawns held in place by toothpicks. At the base, there are other marine delicacies like oysters, scallops and bay mussels.
The Chinese consider fish to be auspicious especially during Chinese New Year. This belief is reflected in the Shanghai-Style Deep-Fried Fish. The snapper is cut into bite-size fillets for customers' convenience.
Wok-Fried Prawns are served with slices of lychee, whose sweetness I find quite peculiar. Meanwhile, chili flakes provide a lovely touch of spiciness. The dish is also drizzled with sweet mayonnaise.
Soft-Shell Crabs are often served in Japanese restaurants. The oatmeal-crusted crabs are deep-fried until they become crispy. Curry leaves serve to enhance aroma. Personally, I feel that the crabs are not crispy enough. It would also be good if the pieces were made smaller.
Yellow Eel is stir-fried with capsicum, shallots and dried red chili peppers. The dish is moderately spicy as long as you avoid biting chili peppers. Cashew nuts and scallions are used as garnishes.
Japanese cuisine is represented by sushi (寿司), sashimi (刺身) and tempura (天ぷら). Japanese condiments like wasabi (山葵), pickled ginger (ガリ) and soy sauce (醬油) are provided.
Moving on, the cold platter contains delicacies like smoked duck, abalone slices, vegetarian char siew, seasoned baby octopus and seasoned jellyfish.
Prepared from glutinous rice, nian gao (年糕) is typically soft and sticky. A popular way to enjoy this snack is by sandwiching nian gao slices with sweet potato and taro. The sandwich is coated with batter, and then deep-frying until golden brown. Other interesting snacks are sesame balls (煎堆), yam balls (炸芋角) and money bags (福袋).
Diners are spoiled for choices when it comes to Chinese New Year cookies. Available today are pineapple tarts (黄梨酥), peanut cookies (花生饼), green pea cookies (青豆饼), tapioca cookies (番婆饼), beehive cookies (蜂窝饼) and love letters (鸡蛋卷). The cookies are kept in airtight jars to ensure that they remain fresh.
As for Western pastries, there are cheesecake, green tea cake, brownies, éclairs, meringue tarts, crème caramel and dragon fruit mousse.
Diners who enjoy cakes can also help themselves with Black Forest Cake, Orange Shortcake, Red Velvet Cake, Orange Mirror Cake and Fruit Mousse.
Cititel Penang's buffet lunch and dinner are served daily from 31 January 2019 to 10 February 2019, with the exception of Chinese New Year's Eve (4 February 2019) when only the Reunion Buffet Dinner is served. In all cases, yee sang is served at every table.
Name: Main Street Cafe
Address: 66, Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-291-1128
Business hours: 24 hours
Coordinates: 5.42156 N, 100.33247 E
Directions: Cititel Penang is a 16-floor building at Penang Road (Jalan Penang). Main Street Cafe is located at the far end from the main entrance. To park, drive past the lobby and up the ramp to Level 2. Parking is charged at RM4.00 per entry.

Wembley Cafe

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

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

The Wembley is a 4-star hotel at Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine). It is the sister property of Cititel Penang. This evening, The Wembley is introducing its upcoming Chinese New Year buffet menu. The preview event is held at Wembley Cafe, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant on Level 2.
Today's meal begins with a jolly tossing of Salmon Yee Sang. Yee sang (鱼生) comprises of a colorful assortment of ingredients, each of which has symbolism pertaining to its name. For instance, salmon is used because the Chinese word for "fish" (鱼) is a homonym for "abundance" (余).
Braised Mock Shark's Fin With Crab Meat has a similar consistency as actual shark fin soup. Fortunately, no actual shark fins are used. Indeed, the soup's rich flavor comes from the broth itself. Should you prefer something creamy, go for Roasted Pumpkin Soup Scent Of Ginger. Bread rolls are provided.
Baked Fish With Chili Mayonnaise is well received this evening. Sweet-tangy sauce makes the salmon fillet quite succulent. The fish is also garnished with assorted vegetables like zucchini, capsicum and onions.
As for seafood on ice, the marine delicacies are snow crabs, slipper lobsters, crayfish, prawns, oysters, scallops and bay mussels. Lemon slices, Tabasco sauce and other dipping sauces are provided.
Diners who refer hot seafood dishes can start with the Chili Mussels. The bay mussels are pan-fried with garlic and chili peppers. They also go well with crusty bread.
I am quite impressed with Crispy Fried Prawns With Spices. Thanks to intense heat from the wok, fiery aroma is imbued into the shrimps. Other notable seafood dishes are Grilled Fish With Red Pepper Dill Sauce and Steamed Half Shell Scallops With Pickled Lettuce.
Moving on to poultry, Crispy Fried Marinated Chicken is popular among children. The chicken strips are coated in batter and deep-fried to golden crispiness. The dipping sauce is Chinese brown sauce. Its intense tanginess is satisfying indeed.
Chili Spiced Lamb Shanks are delightfully tender. Thanks to clever use of spices, the strong smell of lamb is absent. The dish is garnished with Roma tomatoes and microgreens.
Another crowd favorite is Braised Assorted Seafood & Mushrooms. Dried oysters provide most of the dish's flavor. As a mushroom lover, I am pleased to see a combination of mushrooms: oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms and button mushrooms.
Spanish Lasagna is a creamy mixture of mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. The top crust is essentially melted cheese. If creamy food is your cup of tea, help yourself with Carbonara With Smoked Duck too!
The Japanese section presents several nigiri- and maki-type sushi (寿司). As for sashimi (刺身), there are salmon, tuna and octopus. Condiments like wasabi (山葵) and soy sauce (醬油) are provided.
Moving on to desserts, there is a wide variety Western pastries such as mousse cakes, cream cakes, fruit jellies, tartlets, macarons and pralines. Most of these confections are decorated in Chinese New Year colors. In addition, do not pass up the opportunity to savor crème brûlée at the à la minute counter!
If you are fond of Nyonya kuih, you will be pleased to sink your teeth in layer cake (九层糕), tapioca cake (木薯糕), kuih talam (达兰糕) and pulut tai tai (咖椰蝶豆花糯米糕). Furthermore, check out the Chinese New Year cookies in airtight jars.
The Wembley's Chinese New Year buffet menu is available for lunch and dinner from 28 January 2019 to 10 February 2019, except on Chinese New Year's Eve (4 February 2019) when only the Reunion Buffet Dinner is served. Early booking is highly recommended as available dates are snapped up quickly.
Name: Wembley Cafe
Address: 183, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-259-8123
Business hours: 24 hours
Coordinates: 5.41311 N, 100.32989 E
Directions: The Wembley is located at Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine), just opposite of Hotel Jen and 1st Avenue Mall. Wembley Cafe is located at Level 2 of the hotel. There is a multilevel parking garage at the hotel. Patrons to Wembley Cafe can get their parking tickets validated for a flat rate of RM6.00 per entry.

Sri Tanjung Cafe

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Royale Chulan Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Located at the ground floor of Boustead Building, Sri Tanjung Cafe is the all-day dining restaurant of Royale Chulan Penang. This evening, the hotel is showcasing its Fatt Choy Reunion Buffet Dinner. The actual dinner is supposed to be held in Sri Tanjung Cafe. But due to overwhelming response, the buffet will also be held simultaneously in The Royale Ballroom.
Tossing yee sang (鱼生) has become somewhat a must during Chinese New Year. Yee sang is often served with fish such as salmon. Fish is considered auspicious as it represents "abundance" (of wealth). Royale Chulan's Salmon Yee Sang uses colorful ingredients to spell the word "prosperity" (旺) in Chinese.
Roast Duck is one of the highlights this evening. Besides proper marinade, the duck is also given a waxy glaze to seal the moisture in. As a result, the duck's meat is tender and juicy. It goes very well with sweet-tangy plum sauce (苏梅酱).
Grilled Minute Steak is served au jus. Premium quality tenderloin is used. Cooked to medium doneness, the beef has the perfect tenderness that delights my palate. The dish is seasoned with red, green and black peppercorns. Brussels sprouts, capsicum and onions serve as garnishes.
Another scrumptious dish is Grilled Salmon Fillet. The salmon's red flesh comes with crispy skin, adding an extra level of enjoyment in the mouth. The fillet is dressed with mandarin orange sauce. The sweet and tangy taste is rather satisfying.
Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken is elegantly presented in an edible bowl made of taro. The chicken is served with cashew nuts, capsicum and shallots. I enjoy the fiery taste of black pepper sauce.
Served on ice are chilled seafood such as crab, scallops, bay mussels and prawns. As for cold cuts, popular ones are Seafood Terrine and Chicken Pastrami.
Marinated Spicy Baby Octopus is complemented by mango and pineapple salsa. This exquisite dish is presented in a "sailboat" made from pineapple skin.
Other notable choices at the salad bar are Smoked Duck Breast, Prosperity Kerabu Mango Jellyfish and Orange & Beetroot Salad.
Lunar Crab Salad is served in Nyonya-style "pie tee" cups. The pastry tart shells are dyed in auspicious red color, likely using beetroot juice as coloring. Consume this appetizer quickly before the cups lose their crispiness.
Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to savor a plethora of festive cookies. The choices this evening are love letters (鸡蛋卷), peanut cookies (花生饼), tapioca cookies (番婆饼), beehive cookies (蜂窝饼), almond cookies (杏仁饼), pineapple tarts (黄梨酥), bahulu (鸡蛋糕) and more.
As for Nyonya kuih, seri muka (双色糯米糕), pulut tai tai (咖椰蝶豆花糯米糕) and tapioca cake (木薯糕) are provided.
Last but not least, Western-style desserts include chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, fruit jelly, fruit trifle pudding and coconut pudding.
The Fatt Choy Reunion Buffet Dinner is priced at RM108.00 net per adult, and RM68.00 net per child or senior citizen. For those who are unable to join on Chinese New Year's Eve, Sri Tanjung Cafe is serving Prosperity High Tea on 6 February 2019. Diners are welcome to watch the lion dance performance at the hotel lobby at 10:00am.
Salmon Yee Sang is also available à la carte between 15 January 2019 and 15 February 2019. Two sizes are available: medium (for 6-8 people) and large (10-12 people). One week pre-ordering is required.
On the other hand, customers who prefer to dine in a more formal setting can opt for Royal Chulan's 8-course dinner. This promotion is available from 15 January 2019 to 19 February 2019. Diners can choose between two menus: RM888.00 net and RM998.00 net.
Name: Sri Tanjung Cafe
Address: 1 & 2, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-259-8888
Business hours: 7:00am-10:30pm
Coordinates: 5.41700 N, 100.34401 E
Directions: From the ferry terminal at George Town, turn right and drive along Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld). Royale Chulan Penang is located shortly on the left, at the same block as Made in Penang Interactive 3D Museum. There is a small lane right after the hotel, which leads to the main entrance and multi-level car park. Guests who dine in Sri Tanjung Cafe can get their parking tickets validated for a flat rate of RM5.00 per entry.

Golden Phoenix

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to Hotel Equatorial Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Golden Phoenix (金凤楼) is the Chinese restaurant in Hotel Equatorial Penang. Located one floor below The View, the restaurant has an entrance that resembles a classic Chinese inn (客栈).
The dining area is decorated with fancy ornaments like Chinese lanterns and porcelain tea sets. Further back, there are several fish tanks where seafood is kept live until preparation. Taking the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chinese Chef Lai, who has accumulated several decades of culinary experience under his belt.
For many years, Golden Phoenix has established a good reputation for its daily dim sum (点心). In conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year, the restaurant is introducing several new types of dim sum.
For example, Har Kow With Beetroot Juice (樱花鲜虾饺) is a shrimp dumpling with translucent, vinegar-laced skin. Next, Dried Scallop With Butternut Pumpkin Cake (干贝奶油瓜糕) resembles radish cake (萝卜糕) but is sweeter. Last but not least, Black Sesame Bao With Lava Salted Egg Yolk (黑芝麻流沙包) oozes yellowish paste as soon as the bun is punctured.

In addition to serving dim sum, Golden Phoenix is also offering 8-course dinner every day from 15 January 2019 to 18 February 2019. The dishes this year are specially crafted by Chef Steve, who has served in several prestigious resorts throughout his career. There are three choices in the Forever Sumptuous Set Menu. For the purpose of today's preview, Chef Steve has handpicked a combination of dishes across different menus in order to showcase his masterpieces.
Chinese reunion dinner customarily begins with a jolly tossing of yee sang (鱼生). For the Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang & Pear (三文雪梨鱼生), the appetizer comprises of a plethora of colorful ingredients including smoked salmon, jellyfish, shredded vegetables, snow pears, crackers and crushed peanuts. It is believed that tossing yee sang brings one good fortune.
The next dish, Braised Sundried Seafood With Crab Meat In Brown Sauce (红烧瑶柱蟹肉海味羹), contains premium seafood ingredients like crab meat and dried scallops. A dash of vinegar accentuates the savoriness of this delicacy. The thick soup resembles shark fin soup but does not contain any actual sharks fins.
Roasted Spring Chicken With Szechuan Hot & Spicy Sauce (吊烧麻辣幼子鸡) is the poultry dish today. The spring chicken, imported from China, requires a tedious process to prepare. The chicken is flavored with spicy Sichuanese sauce that contains dried chili peppers, shallots and the infamous Sichuan peppers (花椒). Fortunately, the sauce is not too numbing to my tongue.
Moving to seafood, Steamed Pearl Grouper With Superior Light Soya Sauce (清蒸游水龙虎斑) is a delicacy indeed. Pearl grouper is prized for its refined texture. Flavored with superior soy sauce, the fish is absolutely succulent to the last morsel. The mild taste of soy sauce allows the fish's freshness to truly shine.
Today's main highlight is Oven Baked Baby Lobster With Vegetarian Ham & Cheese (芝士烧焗龙虾仔). Juvenile Australian lobsters are used. Elegantly seasoned, the lobsters are baked with a cheesy crust that strikes a chord with my palate. Despite the amount of cheese, I am surprised that the lobsters are not surfeiting at all!
The next dish to delight my palate is Braised Dried Oysters With Japanese Mushroom & Vegetable (蚝士扒日本太白菇烩双蔬). The abalones, weighing 60 grams each, are gratifying indeed. They are accompanied by Korean dried oysters and Japanese flower mushrooms (花菇). Juicy bok choy (小白菜) serves as counterbalance to the savory ingredients.
Fragrant Rice With Chicken Sausage (腊味饭) fills my nostrils with appetizing aroma. Served with Chinese sausages (腊肠), the fried rice is also garnished with chopped scallions for aesthetic appeal.
Nian gao (年糕) is a traditional Chinese snack that is soft and sticky. It is considered auspicious to have nian gao for Chinese New Year because its Chinese name is a homonym for "higher year" (年高). For today's dessert, Deep Fried Chinese New Year's Cake With Yam & Potato (芋香金薯炸年糕), nian gao slices are sandwiched between taro and sweet potato, and then deep-fried to golden perfection. The sweetness level is ideal.
Golden Phoenix spares no expense in using premium ingredients from around the world. Like other restaurants in Hotel Equatorial Penang, Golden Phoenix does not serve pork.
Alternatively, diners can opt for buffet meals at nada lama and Kampachi.
Name: Golden Phoenix (金凤楼)
Address: Hotel Equatorial Penang, 1, Jalan Bukit Jambul, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-632-7000
Business hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 8:00am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Coordinates: 5.33731 N, 100.28522 E
Directions: Hotel Equatorial Penang is located near the intersection of Persiaran Bukit Jambul and Lebuh Bukit Jambul. Jalan Bukit Jambul is a small offshoot from Persiaran Bukit Jambul near this intersection. Golden Phoenix is located one level below the main lobby. The hotel provides multilevel parking for RM10.00 per entry.