Sunway Hotel

Special thanks to Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya for extending this food review invitation.

Besides the sister property in George Town, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya is also hosting a month-long Ramadhan buffet dinner in Sunway Carnival Convention Centre. The convention center is located at Level 4 of Sunway Carnival Mall, just a short distance from the hotel itself.
The theme of this buffet dinner is "Jom Buka Puasa Aneka Citarasa Nusantara Sempoi". There are five rotating menus in order to present a different dining experience every day. The kitchen crew is led by Executive Sous Chef Ismail who has 25-years extensive experience in this line.
Following the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, it is customary for Muslims to break fast with kurma (palm dates) and water, followed by Maghrib prayers, after which they may proceed with a proper meal.
Soup is often a good choice to start a wholesome meal. Sup Ekor (Oxtail Soup) is a savory soup which boosts appetite for remainder of the feast. Meanwhile, Bubur Lambuk (Malay Porridge) is another appealing appetizer made from mashed rice, anchovies and spices.
One distinctive characteristic of Malay cuisine is its unique blends of tropical spices to enhance flavor for nearly every dish. One such example is Nasi Bukhairi (Mixed Rice) which uses long-grain basmati rice. Served on banana leaves, rice is flavored by aromatic ingredients such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon and cloves.
"Nice" is an understatement to describe this Nasi Bukhairi. Well-seasoned pieces of chicken increases the appeal of this mouth-watering dish. It is a shame that not many restaurants prepare this rice dish outside Ramadan month.
If beef offal agrees with your palate, the Paru Lembu Masak Jintan Hitam (Beef Lungs With Fennel Flower) is likely to delight your appetite. I like the unique texture of beef lungs and how they are seasoned in a special way.
Fusion between Malay and Italian cuisine culminated in Daging Kambing Stew A La Italy (Italian Style Mutton Stew). While the stew itself is delectable, I think the mutton is too tough to be truly enjoyed.
As for poultry, I feel that the Ayam Panggang Bersos BBQ Pedas (Spicy BBQ Grilled Chicken) is quite bland in taste. I believe the key to improve is through better marinating.
Another chicken dish tonight is Ayam Masak Kismis (Grilled Chicken With Raisin Sauce). I would have enjoyed this dish better if the amount of salt were to be toned down.
I have recently grown fond of catfish - as food, not as a pet. Therefore, I am delighted to find Sambal Ikan Keli (Catfish With Chili Paste) as one of the presented dishes tonight. Although littered by countless tiny bones, catfish flesh has smooth texture and delectable fatty skin.
Meanwhile, Udang Masak Cili Pedas (Braised Shrimp With Chili Paste) is cooked with chili paste with subtle hint of sweetness.
Next up, I feel that the Sotong Masak Kong Poo (Kung Po Stir-Fried Squid) is too tough and chewy for comfort. I personally prefer the squid to be made softer.
As for shellfish, I kind of like the taste of Kepah Hijau Goreng Dengan Tauchu (Braised Mussel With Fermented Bean Paste). I would like to suggest that more fermented bean paste is used to give the mussels stronger flavor.
Isi Ketam Dengan Sos Tomato Basil (Crabsticks With Tomato Basil Sauce) is decently palatable. I seldom commend on processed meat like crabsticks, but the tomato basil sauce certainly makes up for it.
One interesting vegetable dish is Sayur Nangka Ikan Bilis Dengan Kobis Bulat (Jackfruit With Anchovies And Cabbage). Jackfruit is a local fruit which is usually eaten raw, but it is also possible to part of a cooked dish.
Apart from pre-cooked dishes, there are also a number of individual warung (stalls) which prepare specific dishes on request basis.
The main highlight is Kambing Panggang (Grilled Lamb), which is served every day throughout Ramadan. Seasoned with herbs and spices, roasting is done perfectly as the mutton remains pink and juicy in the middle.
Besides lamb, Lembu Panggang (Grilled Beef) is also available at the roasting section. The tenderness of beef is acceptable, although I prefer it to be softer. Black pepper sauce and mushroom sauce are provided should guests prefer extra flavor.
We Malaysians have an affinity for satay, haven't we? Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay) is nicely marinated with several spices including turmeric (kunyit), which also lends its yellowish color. While the taste is good, I think the chicken is quite dry; it must have been left out for some time.
Another favorite delicacy especially in Malay stalls is Sotong Kangkung (Squid With Water Spinach). The main ingredients are boiled squid and water spinach.
In addition, this dish is served with crab balls, fish balls, crab sticks and belacan (shrimp paste).
Laksa Penang is popular for its sour fish broth made from tamarind (asam). The broth is conventionally made from mackerel (ikan kembung), which is first poached then flaked into tiny pieces. Other ingredients are pineapple strips, chopped onion, ginger flower, bird's eye chili, eggs, julienned cucumber, lettuce leaves and mint.
Another crowd favorite among Malaysians is Roti Canai. To prepare this popular snack, flour dough is tossed, stretched and folded over so that it traps air bubbles. The dough is cooked on an iron griddle with palm oil, flipped occasionally to ensure uniform heating. Vegetable dhal (lentil curry) and pickled onions are provided as condiments.
For something quick and easy, the Kari Pap (Curry Puffs) is a viable choice. While the pastry is quite delectable, I feel that the potato curry inside is quite dry.
Meanwhile, Cucur Kodok (Deep-Fried Banana Balls) is another deep-fried local snack that is well-received especially by the Malay community. I actually prefer to enjoy them while they are still piping-hot from the fryer.

Sunway Hotel's buffet also includes a special section where other traditional Malay delicacies are prepared. Many of these dishes are seldom seen in urban cities, so it is a delightful experience to sample them.
The first dish is Kerabu Tanghoon A La Thai (Thai Glass Noodles Salad). This cold salad is made from Thai rice vermicelli, which is translucent and absorbs sourness quite well.
Meanwhile, Kerabu Ikan Bilis (Anchovy Salad) is another Malay salad which features deep-fried anchovies and roasted peanuts.
One should also not miss the Kerabu Nenas (Pineapple Salad). Tangy cubes and pineapples serve to tantalize the taste buds.
For refreshing taste of raw vegetables, try some Kerabu Kacang Botol (Winged Bean Salad) too.
Create your own Pasembur Ubi Kentang (Potato Salad) using ingredients such as baked potatoes, shrimp fritters, bean curd and boiled egg. Sweet peanut paste is provided as dressing.
For something fruitier, Rojak Buah Buahan (Fruit Salad) is a good choice too. This salad is a mixture of raw fruits such as rose apple (jambu air), jicama (sengkuang), guava, cucumber and apple.
Sweet dressing is provided for the fruits. The dressing is made from belacan, chili, lime juice and sugar.
During the monsoon season, the seas are too rough for fishermen to catch fish. Therefore, Ikan Kering (Dried Fish) often an essential food ingredient because it can be preserved for long periods of time. The fish is highly-salted, therefore only a small amount is needed to be consumed with a bowl of rice.
Similarly, Jeruk (Pickles) are preserved vegetables and are meant to be non-perishable. The choices available tonight are papaya, palm fruit (asam kelubi), nutmeg and plum.
Rural Malays are fond of Ulam (Raw Vegetables) due to ease of preparation. This basket contains an assortment of various local vegetables, including ulam raja (king's salad), daun pegaga (Asiatic pennywort leaves), daun gajus (cashew leaves), daun selom (selom leaves), pucuk paku (vegetable fern), petai (stink beans) and jantung pisang (banana flower).
To compensate for the lack of flavor in most vegetables, Sambal (Condiments) are also provided. For tonight's dinner, the condiments provided are cincalok (fermented shrimps), budu (fermented anchovies), acar rampai (pickled cucumber and carrot), air asam (tamarind sauce), sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste) and kicap cili padi (bird's eye chili sauce).
There are also jars of crispy crackers to enjoy, such as papadom (black gram cracker), keropok ikan (fish crackers) and keropok sayur (vegetable crackers).
The dessert section provides a combination of traditional Malay kuih and Western-style pastry. Both types of delicacies serve to pacify your sweet tooth. Some of these goodies deplete quickly, so you may wish to grab them early on.
Kuih Sago are sticky tapioca balls coated with grated coconut. Tapioca flour is dyed red for aesthetic appeal.
Meanwhile, Kuih Dadar are pandan-flavored crêpes which are filled with grated coconut and palm sugar.
Kuih Pulut is a sticky pudding made from glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk.
As for Western-style cakes, the Black Forest Cake is made from several layers of chocolate sponge cake with lots of whipped cream and cherries between layers.
The Coffee Cream Cake boasts an elaborate icing made from whipped cream and colored chocolate sprinkles.
Pandan Cream Cake is cut into bite-size pieces for easier consumption. I enjoy the pleasant scent of pandan leaves amongst the sponge cake.
On the other hand, I feel that the Orange Sponge Cake is overpowered by orange flavor. I think it is better to reduce the amount of orange essence.
Pavlova is a soft meringue with hard, crispy crust. This unique dessert is named after Russian ballerina dancer Anna Pavlova, but was first introduced in New Zealand and Australia.
Although Panna Cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian, the jelly-like texture makes it more like a custard. Panna Cotta is served in small glasses where layers of fruit jelly can be seen.
As for the Semolina Pudding, this dessert is made from durum wheat. The pudding is littered with colorful jelly beans. I personally feel that the pudding is too sweet for me.
In contrast, I feel that the Rose Sago is quite bland in taste. I think some sugar or honey will work better.
The Strawberry Jelly is acceptable in my opinion, although I usually prefer mango and honeydew flavors.
Finally for fruits, there are papaya, honeydew, red and yellow watermelon. The fruits are served on ice to keep them cold.
Sunway Hotel's Jom Buka Puasa Aneka Citarasa Nusantara Sempoi buffet dinner is served from 20 June 2015 to 14 July 2015. The net price is RM78.00 for an adult, RM38.00 for a child (between ages 5 and 12 years) or senior citizen (55 years onwards). There is 20% discount for the first 1,000 customers.

In line with Ramadan spirit of helping the needy, RM2.00 from the proceeds of each ticket will be donated to charity. Meanwhile, each diner also stands a chance to win daily, weekly and grand prizes. The top prize is a vacation package for 2-night stay at Batam View Beach Resort for 2 persons plus airfare.

Name: Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya
Address: Sunway Carnival Convention Centre, 3068, Jalan Todak, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Prai, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-370-7788
Business hours: 6:00pm-10:00pm
Coordinates: 5.39859 N, 100.39828 E
Directions: From Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (North-South Expressway), take the Seberang Jaya exit and head west. After the Petronas gas station on the left, turn left where you will see Sunway Carnival Mall on your left. Sunway Carnival Convention Centre is located at the Level 4. The convention center shares the same parking facility as the mall.

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