Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant

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

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant (胡姬) is one of the two eateries in Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang; the other eatery is Terrace Bay Restaurant. Hu Ji is located at the same level as the lobby, which places it directly above Terrace Bay Restaurant. By the way, "Hu Ji" (胡姬) is the transliteration of the word "orchid" in Mandarin Chinese, although the flower is more commonly known among Mandarin speakers as "Lan Hua" (兰花).
Every weekend and on selected public holidays, Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant serves Taiwan Porridge Buffet Lunch from 12:00pm to 2:30pm. There are over 30 types of dishes and condiments every day. Some items are prepared on rotation basis, so there are noticeable differences from day to day. All dishes are pork-free.
The main highlight of the buffet is porridge. Two types, namely Plain Porridge and Sweet Potato Porridge, are always present.
The third type of porridge is revised every month; this month's special is Roasted Duck & Peanuts Porridge. I find this porridge quite appealing, thanks to the presence of savory roasted duck.
Condiments for porridge include Salted Egg, Salted Fish, Anchovies, Peanuts, Fermented Bean Curd, Yu Char Kuih (油炸粿), Pickled Lettuce, Preserved Vegetables, Spring Onion, Chilies and Bird's Eye Chili.
Some of these condiments are quite salty, so just a small amount should be sufficient.
The thing that I like about the porridge here is the ability to customize according to one's preference. For me, I prefer strong flavoring of Fermented Bean Curd and Preserved Vegetables.
As for soup, White Radish & Dried Cuttlefish Soup is the choice today. The soup is quite spicy due to loads of pepper. I think it is wise to tone down the amount of pepper and let guests add more should they prefer so.
There is always a type of rice or noodle dish on the buffet menu. Today's selection is Wok Fried Glass Noodle. The noodle is made from mung bean starch and appears distinctively translucent.
One of my favorite dishes is Baked Char Siu Chicken. The barbecued chicken (叉烧鸡) remains tender and possesses delightful sweet-savoriness that I really enjoy.
Chicken Meatball With Potato contains lots of onion and scallion. I believe most people cherry-pick meatballs over other ingredients, which explains why meatballs are depleted so quickly.
As for Fried Fish, mackerel is garnished with shredded ginger and curry leaves for better aroma.
Chicken Feet is served in black pepper gravy. I think this dish can be further improved by including shiitake mushrooms.
Next up, the dish of Deep-Fried Lotus Roots is enjoyable as the roots are crispy and juicy throughout.
As for Stir-Fried Por Choy, spinach is served with chicken floss (肉松). I think the combination feels a little odd.
For something lighter and colorful, Mixed Vegetables With Tau Pau is a fine choice. Besides bean curd (豆包), there is also an assortment of vegetables such as snow peas, beans sprouts, bell peppers, shimeji mushrooms, wood ear fungus (黑木耳) and cashew nuts.
Moving on to desserts, there are several types of sponge cakes and Swiss rolls. Cakes are prepared by an in-house pastry chef.
Should customers enjoy jelly, there are strawberry and honeydew flavors in today's buffet. Jelly is also available in cocktail glasses.
As for fruits, there is a platter of cut watermelon, pineapple and honeydew.
Guests with sweet tooth cravings can try some Luo Han Guo & Winter Melon Tea. This sweet drink is meant to alleviate heatiness especially during a hot day. The drink also includes snow fungus (银针) to provide a sense of chewiness due to its gelatinous texture.
Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant's Taiwan Porridge Buffet Lunch is priced at RM25.90 and RM15.50 net for adult and child (between ages 4 and 12) respectively. For each group of 10 paying adults, the next person (adult or child) dines for free. For birthday or anniversary parties with at least 10 persons, the restaurant provides a 500-gram sponge cake on the house. Prior booking is requested as the pastry chef requires some time to prepare the cake.

Name: Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant
Address: Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-892-3333
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:30pm, closed on Monday to Friday
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.46727 N, 100.29229 E
Directions: Traveling westbound on Jalan Tanjung Bungah, make a U-turn after the pedestrian bridge near Dalat International School. After the U-turn, Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang is roughly 100 meters past the pedestrian bridge. Hu Ji Chinese Restaurant is located at the same floor as the lobby. The hotel provides complimentary outdoor and indoor parking.

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