Rasa Deli

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

If you like the Switch Roll which I made during this contest, or like my blog and wish to support me in general, I really appreciate that you cast a vote on this photo at Rasa Sayang's Facebook page. Please feel free to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you for your continuous support. It really motivates me in my amateur blogging!

Rasa Sayang is renowned for its fine confectionery: cakes, macarons, pastries etc. This is clearly evident from the daily buffet dinner at Spice Market Café.

To cater for customers who seek for quick bites, an easily-accessible kiosk is available to serve this purpose. Formerly a gazebo for mahjong-playing hotel guests, the structure has been repurposed to house the Rasa Deli.

Keeping the tradition of delighting guests with gastronomic surprises, Rasa Deli has been introducing novelty delicacies from time to time. Not too long ago, Rasa Sayang pioneered the Cronut which turned out to be wildly popular. The Cronut, an amalgam of croissant and doughnut, has been emulated by several cafés in George Town ever since.
This time, Rasa Deli is pioneering an all-new pastry treat: the Switch Roll. Switch Roll is an innovation of the ubiquitous Swiss Roll, in which a liberal approach is taken with regards to ingredients. Starting with the familiar sponge cake, the Switch Roll deliberately "switches" the common butter cream with completely different ingredients which are not normally associated to Swiss Rolls.

The Switch Roll is the brainchild of Executive Pastry Chef Dino Wan, who has nearly 3 decades of career on his lengthy résumé. Few people can claim to have served as chef to the Prime Minister; Chef Dino is among the elite few. Formerly based in George Town's Traders Hotel, Chef Dino recently moved to Rasa Sayang to enrich the confectionery menu here.
At present, Chef Dino and his team of professional pastry chefs have created 7 types of Switch Rolls. There are 3 types of sweet flavors plus 4 types of savory ones.

The Chocolate Mango Switch Roll (RM12.00) is a unique pairing of chocolate sponge cake with diced mango cubes. Such ingredients pairing is unheard of till today, but Chef Dino cleverly pulls this off with distinction.
Matcha lovers will be delighted by the introduction of Green Tea Switch Roll With Red Bean (RM12.00). For this dessert, green tea sponge cake is paired with matcha cream and red beans, resulting in the kind of flavor which matcha fans know and love.
Nutella-addicts will be delighted by the Nutella Hazelnut Switch Roll (RM12.00). As the name implies, the roll is filled with buttery Nutella cream and crushed hazelnuts. This Switch Roll uses the tiger-skin sponge cake.
My personal favorite today is Chicken Curry Switch Roll With Potato (RM15.00). Few people have imagined whether a curry dish is compatible with sponge cake, but Chef Dino's creativity is not constrained by any limit. An interesting fact is that the curry is deliberately made drier than usual so that the cake does not become too soggy.
The next savory creation by Chef Dino is the Tuna Mayonnaise Switch Roll With Cheese (RM15.00). Using minced tuna mayonnaise as filling, this Switch Roll is similar to tuna sandwiches except that the cake extends a new dimension of sweetness.
My other favorite today is the Mushroom Cream Switch Roll (RM15.00). Few people in this world would have thought of mushrooms with Swiss Rolls. Once again, Chef Dino proves that imagination is boundless. The diced mushroom is mixed with cream cheese to yield a unique type of sweet-salty-savory sensation. Certainly a one-of-a-kind gratifying treat to the taste buds.
Last but not least, the Smoked Salmon Switch Roll (RM15.00) uses smoked salmon to tantalize your palate with its unique savory taste. Sure, saltiness of smoked salmon may be overpowering, but this does not preclude my enjoyment of this delectable Switch Roll.
In conjunction with Merdeka weekend celebration, Rasa Sayang has invited several enthusiastic bloggers to a Switch Roll Creativity Contest. This event is held on the eve of Merdeka Day (30 August 2014) at the outdoor terrace of Spice Market Café.
This is a creativity contest to determine the blogger whose Switch Roll is the best in terms of creativity, presentation, taste and originality. Different types of sponge cakes have been provided (chocolate, green tea, spring onion, dill and thyme, tiger skin), so no actual baking is involved. A full array of ingredients is provided, which includes fillings (such as salmon, mushrooms and fruits), and condiments (such as cream cheese and Nutella). A number of icing and garnishing ingredients are also available at our disposal.
Since several of us (especially myself) have little experience in preparing Swiss Rolls (let alone Switch Rolls), Chef Dino graciously demonstrated the process. Chef Dino makes the steps look easy, but trust me, the rolling process can be quite tricky indeed!
After 30 minutes of contest period which seemed like an eternity to me, six completed Switch Rolls are laid out for the judges; each with varying degree of success.

Kenneth's creation is based on green tea with crushed macarons and strawberries and fillings.
Jazz prepared a chocolate Switch Roll with fruity fillings and icing.
CK Lam used a tiger-skin sponge cake with tuna and chicken curry.
Shelyn made a green tea Switch Roll with whipped cream and chocolate as icing.
Steven was the speediest contestant and presented a chocolate Switch Roll with Nutella and marshmallows.
Yours truly (me) adopted the tiger-skin sponge cake right off the bat. Besides cream cheese, two of my favorite ingredients are used as fillings: two slices of smoked salmon and half slice of cheddar cheese. The rolling step was not done in a sufficiently compact manner, resulting in a "loose" roll.
For icing/topping, I had to improvise a half-slice of cheese to cover up a broken section of the sponge cake. (I have to be honest why I did what.) Seeing that I already had yellow as a topping, I decided to go for red (raspberry), blue (macaron) and white (white chocolate). You might have guessed: the colors of Jalur Gemilang! What's Hari Merdeka without flying our Malaysian colors?
For side garnishing, it was quite ad hoc without a clear theme in mind. I basically shoved in any ingredient that I thought looks nice: chocolate sticks, chocolate square, bread stick, waffle stick, marshmallow, strawberry, parsley, Nutella and even an entire plum fruit. In retrospect, I should have thought out the theme before starting.
Considering my zero experience in food preparation, this is an uphill battle against several of the more-experienced contestants. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I am a newbie! After all, this is just good old fun; winning is just secondary.

So what do you think of my first ever Switch Roll? Please drop in your generous "LIKE" on the Rasa Sayang's page to show your support!

If you are interested to try Chef Dino's Switch Rolls, Rasa Deli is open daily from 11:00am to 6:30pm. Although not strictly required, phone reservation (04-888-8788) is highly recommended to minimize waiting.
If you like the Switch Roll which I made during this contest, or like my blog and wish to support me in general, I really appreciate that you cast a vote on this photo at Rasa Sayang's Facebook page. Please feel free to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you for your continuous support. It really motivates me in my amateur blogging!

Name: Rasa Deli
Address: Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-888-8788
Business hours: 11:00am-6:30pm
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/penang/rasasayangresort
Coordinates: 5.47927 N, 100.25473 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. Rasa Deli is an outdoors kiosk just outside the Lounge.

De Paella

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

House Of Journey is a guesthouse at Seck Chuan Lane, which is just off the busy Chulia Street. One of the owners of this guesthouse is an ethnic Spaniard, which explains the Spanish theme of its in-house restaurant - De Paella Spanish Homemade.
Owing to the nature of this old heritage building, floor space is very limited here. There are only four 2-seater tables at the dining section.
Make up for space constraint, a makeshift deck is added above the drinks bar. A flight of stairs provides access to this upper deck.
The ceiling is rather low at the upper deck, therefore diners are meant to sit directly on the wooden floor. All things considered, I must say that this is good use of limited floor space.
The menu here is obviously based on Spanish cuisine, but there are several instances of fusion with local recipes. The main highlight on the menu is the Seafood Paella, or "Paella De Marisco" in Spanish. There are options for 2-persons and 3-persons servings, priced at RM55.00 and RM75.00 respectively.
Paella is a traditional Valencian (a Mediterranean district of Spain) dish which is usually prepared for the entire family. Firstly, seafood such as clams and shrimps are cooked in an iron skillet called a "paellera". Once cooked, the seafood is temporarily removed so that only the broth remains. Rice, squid, grated tomatoes and garlic are added to the broth and slowly simmered. Once most water has evaporated, seafood is added back and salted to taste. The dish is served in the paellera itself. A hint of lemon juice is also added for better flavor.
When served, the rice is still moist and quite sticky. The taste of this dish is dominated by tomatoes; sour but fortunately not overpowering. Despite our high expectation, the seafood fail to shine as we find their presence being disconnected from the rice. This is our first attempt on genuine Spanish cuisine, so perhaps we have yet to learn how to appreciate a good paella dish.
For side dishes, we ordered the Tortilla De Patata (RM7.99), which is a baked potato served with egg white and yolk, a piece of ham, and finally topped with a tortilla chip.
Although the ingredients are very similar to a typical Western breakfast, I must say that this dish is nicely prepared. Indeed, this is our highlight for tonight's dinner. Certainly well recommended.
Our next side dish is called Croqueta De Pollo Picante (RM8.99). Croqueta, or croquette in English and French, is a kind of fried roll whose ingredients vary by region.
"Picante" and "pollo" are Spanish words for "spicy" and "chicken" respectively, therefore the fillings in each croqueta is self-explanatory. Despite its name, the spiciness level is insignificant by Malaysian standards. The outer shell is made from flour batter, which lends its crispy texture after being fried in oil.
A saucer of cheese sauce is served alongside the croqueta. In my personal opinion, I feel that the sauce is unnecessary as it inhibits the taste of chicken.
Last but not least, Patatas Bravas (RM8.99) is a popular Spanish comfort food made from potatoes. De Paella's interpretation of this dish is in the form of cylindrical shape with closed-end at the bottom. Each shell is filled with mashed potato, which is then covered by two types of sauces. On the top, powdered chili pepper and spices are gently sprinkled on top.
When it comes to niche restaurants, expect to burn a deep hole in your pocket. Having said so, I feel it is nice to be occasionally adventurous for a change.
Ironically, we enjoyed all side dishes more than the Seafood Paella itself. However without any prior encounters with native Spanish food, it is difficult to make any meaningful comparisons. Perhaps it is time to search for a second Spanish restaurant to compare with?
Address: 45, Lorong Seck Chuan, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-262-1399
Business hours: 7:00pm-10:30pm


Shinny Noodle House

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

In the midst of low-cost flats at Jalan Tengah is a popular lunch spot for Bayan Lepas employees and local residents alike. This is because the food at this hawker center is cheap and choices are plentiful. My favorite stall here is The Nest Chicken Rice which I covered earlier this year.

A new shop has opened its doors recently: Shinny Noodle House (西关竹园面家).
As the name implies, most dishes are noodle-based. In particular, the signature noodle here is Jook-sing noodle (竹升面). Made from eggs and wheat flour, this noodle is similar in appearance as the more common wantan mee (云吞面). Jook-sing noodle is more common in Cantonese cities such as Hong Kong (香港), Macau (澳门) and Guangzhou (广州).
Jook-sing noodle borrows its name from its traditional preparation process. After mixing wheat flour with eggs, the chef uses a long bamboo pole to knead the dough with help of his own body weight. As a Class 2 lever, the bamboo provides mechanical leverage to knead with greater force. If you are confused, just imagine how you can easily remove a bottle cap using a bottle opener.
Besides noodle, this eatery also features several side orders such as wantan (云吞), dumplings (水饺), pork ribs and trotter.
In line with Cantonese tradition, a number of sweet desserts (糖水) are also available. The prices are quite reasonable, probably cheaper than the neighboring shops.
My main dish today is Pork Ribs Noodle (秘汁黄金排骨面, RM6.50) which comes in either soup or dry version. I opted for the latter, but I find that the gravy is quite dilute. Usually, I prefer the gravy to be thicker so that the noodle feels more flavorful. If I have known earlier, I would have gone with the soup version of this dish.
The jook-sing noodle is just moderate in terms of taste and not as springy as I expected. In fact, I feel that the noodle is indistinguishable from regular wantan mee. Although this noodle is not terribly bad, I have come across other noodles which have better flavor and more springiness. I believe the key here is by using higher egg content in the preparation process.
As for the pork ribs which come with this noodle dish, I feel that the meat has not been boiled sufficiently long, therefore still quite tough at places. Exercise caution because there may be tiny bone fragments.
Cantonese cuisine is typically soup-based, therefore I decided to try some soup dishes. There are two choices from the menu: H.K. Style Wanton (港式鲜虾大云吞) and Sui Kaw (水饺). A serving comes in 5 pieces for RM5.00. One can always request a combination of both.
Appearance-wise, the wantan and sui kaw are well-prepared. The translucent skin makes them so tempting to try!
Unfortunately, the taste of sui kaw is not as impressive as I expected. Its filling is lacking in savory flavor, therefore its taste is dominated by the skin instead. Not to say that it is a bad thing, but I prefer my sui kaw's flavor to be centered on succulent fillings.
The wantan is better received among the two. I love the minced prawn fillings which yields its juicy sweetness with every bite.
As for desserts, I ordered a bowl of Barley Fu Chok (腐竹薏米, RM1.00). As the name implies, the main ingredients are bean curd skin (腐竹) and barley (薏米).
In my humble opinion, there is too much barley in comparison to bean curd skin. The level of sweetness should be toned down too. Apart from these, this dessert is enjoyable nevertheless.
Although the food appeal here is generally mediocre at best, the price is pretty attractive considering stiff competition from other stalls around. Another plus point is that the staff is very friendly and accommodating. A smile can go a long way in a customer's eyes.

Address: 70-G-5, Jalan Tengah, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 011-2027-3544
Business hours: 8:00am-9:00pm