Ah Mah

Special thanks to Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake (阿嬷老字号古早味现烤鸡蛋糕) has taken Klang Valley's F&B landscape by storm lately. Currently, there are nearly 30 outlets in Malaysia including the one at Sunway Giza Mall. Ah Mah's cakes are inspired by Castella sponge cake from Tamsui (淡水) in Taiwan, which is in turn derived from a Castilian cake called Pão de Castela. This is not surprising as Tamsui was a former Spanish settlement in the 17th century.
Ah Mah's recipe has been adapted to suit the local Malaysian palate. The bakery uses natural ingredients only; no coloring or artificial preservatives are added. Its main ingredients are eggs, milk, flour, canola oil and sugar. Water is not added to the batter, so the cake's moisture comes from eggs and milk only. It is also interesting to note that no pork or lard is used. In fact, most cakes are suitable for ovo-lacto vegetarians.
As freshness is key to the cakes' appeal, Ah Mah produces new batches throughout the day. The cakes are baked in a convection oven for around 90 minutes (depending on flavor). Once done, the parchment paper is removed and each batch is cut into 8 equal pieces.
The Original Egg Sponge Cake (原味鸡蛋糕, RM13.00) is very fluffy especially when the cake is fresh from the oven. Ah Mah's cake is much lighter than regular sponge cake. In fact, its softness is very similar to that of chiffon cake. Sweetness is kept minimal in order to draw attention to the taste of eggs.
Next, the Cheese Egg Sponge Cake (起司鸡蛋糕, RM18.00) is similar to the Original version but has layers of molten cheddar cheese inside. In addition, the cake is showered with heavy sprinkles of parmesan cheese. Unlike the Original flavor, the Cheese version tastes better when chilled.
New and seasonal flavors are introduced from time to time. The Chocolate Egg Sponge Cake (巧克力鸡蛋糕, RM18.00) is the most recent addition to Ah Mah's menu. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate provide this cake's appealing color. The cake is also intermittently punctuated by chocolate chips. I feel that the cake's chocolate aroma is at the zenith when it is still fresh from the oven.
Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake has been selling like hot cakes (pun intended) recently. Not only are the cakes great as snacks, they also serve as presentable gifts. Most of Ah Mah's outlets are concentrated in Klang Valley, but the brand has been expanding its presence in other cities nationwide.
Name: Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake (阿嬷老字号古早味现烤鸡蛋糕)
Address: Sunway Giza Mall, 2, Jalan PJU 5/14, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Contact: 03-7620-1477
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/iloveahmah
Coordinates: 3.15091 N, 101.59130 E
Directions: Ah Mah is located at Sunway Giza Mall, right next to Baskin-Robbins. There are parking spaces at the Basement Level of the mall. In addition, there are also street parking spaces along nearby roads.

Capricciosa

Special thanks to Capricciosa Ristorante Italiano for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

What was formerly known as Putra Place has been completely overhauled and reopened as Sunway Putra Mall. The refurbished mall has significantly improved atmosphere and a more modern feel. Natural sunlight pours through the glass ceiling and illuminates the concourse area beneath.
For a mall of its size, Sunway Putra Mall has a particularly large number of restaurants. Located on Level 3 is Capricciosa Ristorante Italiano, part of an international chain of Italian restaurants that originated in Japan. The name "Capricciosa" refers to a type of Italian pizza which contains mushroom toppings.
Capricciosa serves traditional Italian food such as pizzas and pastas. The food here is cooked to order. Capricciosa also has the distinction of being the first halal-certified Italian restaurant chain in Malaysia.
Indoor dining tables are arranged inside the restaurant as well as the space which overlooks the concourse. Meanwhile, the al fresco section allows customers to enjoy the evening breeze in view of the Putra World Trade Centre and Seri Pacific Hotel.
Our meal starts with Rice Croquette (RM11.90), a delicacy from Sicily where it is called "arancino". Stuffed with mozzarella cheese, the fried rice ball is served with Capricciosa's signature meat sauce. Savoriness of fresh tomatoes and ground beef makes this appetizer quite appealing indeed.
The Savory Meat Soup (RM6.90) is also based on the restaurant's signature meat sauce. Made fresh to order, the beef stew contains mixed vegetables and fresh cream too. Natural sweetness of tomatoes makes the soup quite tasty on its own. I think there is no need to add condiments.
Half & Half Pizza (RM34.90 for 12-inch version) allows customers to combine any two pizzas on the menu. The first type, Capricciosa, has toppings like beef pepperoni, streaky beef, portobello mushrooms, bell peppers and mozzarella cheese. Meanwhile, Quattro Formaggi uses 4 types of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and cream cheese. Thin crust is used here. Additional pizza toppings (RM5.90 each) are pepperoni, chicken, tuna, cheese and more.
The pasta menu offers three types of pasta: spaghetti, linguine and penne. One of the more popular pasta dishes is Seafood Aglio Olio (RM32.90). Spaghetti is sautéed in olive oil and seafood such as mussels and shrimps. Meanwhile, garlic and chili flakes carry most of the flavor. I think the amount of olive oil is slightly more than what is necessary for aglio olio to work.
Capri Superstar (RM21.90) takes advantage of homemade tomato sauce. The generous portion of spaghetti is sautéed al dente with garlic and chili peppers. Overall, I find this dish to be reasonably spicy but it is on the saltier side of things. Similar to pizzas, any pasta dish can be upgraded with additional ingredients like meatballs, smoked salmon or mushrooms for RM5.90 each.
In addition to ready-made pasta, Capricciosa also offers two types of freshly-made pasta: fettuccine and pappardelle. For example, pappardelle works well with Creamy Porcini (RM33.90) because the broad pasta takes better advantage of the creamy porcini sauce. I also enjoy the crunchiness of shimeji and eryngii mushrooms. There are six choices from the Pasta Fresca menu; each dish comes with a bowl of soup of the day.
As for desserts, the Chocolate Brownie (RM11.90) is served warm and stands in contrast with a scoop of vanilla gelato on top. The brownie is punctuated with chopped macadamia nuts to provide some degree of crunchiness. Drizzled with chocolate syrup, this dessert concludes the satisfying meal today.
Moving on to drinks, the Tropical Punch (RM11.90) is a fruity blend of orange juice, mango juice and ice. Grenadine syrup not only lends its appealing orange hue, but also provides a pleasing sensation of sweet-tanginess. This fruity drink is topped with lychee fruit and lychee jelly.
As the name implies, Vanilla Choco Mint (RM11.90) combines the flavors of vanilla, chocolate and mint. Using vanilla flavor, the milkshake is blended with chocolate ice cream, and finally topped with whipped cream and mint.
Last but not least, Cappuccino (RM8.90) is prepared from a single shot of espresso with steamed milk. Chocolate powder is sprinkled on top the foam for aesthetic appeal. Since milk is naturally sweet, there is simply no need to add sugar to this cup of cappuccino.
Name: Capricciosa Ristorante Italiano
Address: L3.29, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra, 50350 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-7492-0513
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Website: http://www.capricciosa.com.my
Coordinates: 3.16657 N, 101.69229 E
Directions: Capricciosa is located on Level 3 of Sunway Putra Mall, right between PappaRich and Tealive. The mall provides parking at its basement levels.

J&G Homemade

Special thanks to J&G Homemade for extending this product review invitation.

If you have been to Kedai Kopi New Cathay (新国泰茶室) in Pulau Tikus, you might have seen a stall which sells yam cake. The yam cake is supplied by J&G Homemade, a home-based business which also takes orders from the general public. Apart from New Cathay, J&G Homemade also has a collection point in Jelutong.
Yam cake (芋头糕) is not actually made from yam, but from taro; taro is often mistaken as yam in Malaysia. The yam cake is denser than radish cake (萝卜糕) and is made in a similar way - by steaming. Besides taro, other ingredients are rice flour, dried shrimps, fried onions, red chili and scallion.
There are two types of sauces that typically go well with yam cake. The sweet brown sauce is J&G Homemade's own blend of doubanjiang (豆瓣酱). Meanwhile, the red chili sauce carries a respectable punch of spiciness. J&G Homemade's yam cake is priced at RM28.00 and RM42.00 for a small tray (20 cm x 20 cm) and a large tray (26 cm x 26 cm) respectively.

Glutinous rice (糯米饭) is another homemade product from this home kitchen. Raw rice needs to be soaked in water for several hours prior to cooking. Water is drained and rice is cooked by steaming. Then, rice is fried in a wok with ingredients like Korean oyster mushrooms and dried shrimps. Compared to regular rice, glutinous rice is quite filling. The retail price is RM35.00 for 500 grams and RM42.00 for 1 kilogram.
Other dishes offered by J&G Homemade are Pumpkin Cake (金瓜糕) and Creamy Fusion Spaghetti (中西奶油意大利面). The food is entirely pork-free. To place an order, contact J&G Homemade by phone (019-480-1781), email (ling060703@gmail.com) or Facebook.

Name: J&G Homemade
Address: N/A
Contact: 019-480-1781
Business hours: N/A
Website: https://www.facebook.com/jghomemade
Coordinates: N/A
Directions: N/A

Hamidou Roll

Special thanks to Hamidou Roll for extending this food review invitation.

Mat Toh Yau Dessert & Food (乜都有清补凉糖水) is a drinks and desserts shop in Jelutong. Located at the intersection of Jalan Penaga and Lorong Ipoh, the shop is within walking distance of Jelutong Market (Pasar Awam Jelutong).
Hamidou Roll (哈咪豆) is one of the stalls in front of Mat Toh Yau. Founded in 1992, this home-based business specializes in local street snacks. Originally nameless, Hamidou Roll was branded so when the current proprietor inherited the business from her parents. The Hokkien word "hamidou" is based on a random suggestion from her 5-year-old son.
The signature item here is Penang Chicken Lobak (槟城五香鸡肉卷, RM1.80 each, RM20.80 per dozen). The fried rolls are made from chicken seasoned with five-spice powder (五香粉), which is an inherited family recipe.
Seasoned chicken is wrapped in tofu skin (豆腐皮) and then deep-fried until the rolls become crispy. Unlike the traditional recipe, the rolls do not contain pork. The snack can be eaten with sweet chili sauce and mayonnaise
Hamidou Roll also sells Curry Potato Puffs (恋爱香辣角, RM1.80 each, RM20.80 per dozen). Made from flaky pastry, the puffs are stuffed with curried potato. Potato filling is quite packed, so one puff alone is quite filling as a snack.
Besides selling at Jelutong, Hamidou Roll also vends its wares at several night markets across Penang Island. Larger orders (in frozen form) can be placed by phone or WhatsApp at 016-784-2813. Hamidou Roll also takes online orders on Facebook. Each box of 12 pieces is priced at RM20.00. Shipping is free for 3 boxes and above.
Directly behind Hamidou Roll's daytime stall is another one that serves Western style breakfast. Bread, hash browns, ham and omelette are some of the breakfast foods sold here.
Roti Special (RM6.50) consists of two slices of white bread with grilled sausage, ham, bacon and onions. The entire sandwich is wrapped in omelette. Sweet chili sauce, mayonnaise and Thousand Island dressing are provided as condiments.
Name: Hamidou Roll (哈咪豆)
Address: 22, Jalan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-784-2813
Business hours: 7:30am-11:00am, closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/HamiDouRoll
Coordinates: 5.38981 N, 100.31238 E
Directions: Mat Toh Yau Dessert & Food (乜都有清补凉糖水) is located at the intersection of Jalan Penaga and Lorong Ipoh in Jelutong. Hamidou Roll is one of the stalls in front of the shop. Most people park their cars along nearby roads.

Street Sushi

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

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Chit Chat Corner is a food truck park at the corner of Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia) and Chulia Lane (Lorong Chulia). Street Sushi (道寿司) is one of the several food trucks here. As the name implies, Street Sushi specializes in sushi (寿司) and other Japanese street food. Its menu is entirely pork-free.
The proprietor-cum-chef of Street Sushi has worked as a Japanese chef in Singapore for many years. In Japanese restaurants, the term "omakase" (お任せ) means "leave it to you (to decide)". To handle omakase orders, the chef needs to be innovative in improvising seasonal ingredients and should be familiar with each customer's palate.

Even when operating Street Sushi, the chef sets unusually high standards that are unheard of in the food truck business. For instance, he insists that each piece of sushi must be made to order. Even when dealing with fast-moving items, he refuses to prepare them upfront in bulk because the sushi pieces will not be at their freshest.
Seafood Temari (シーフード手まり, 6 pieces for RM17.00, 12 pieces for RM31.00) is the best way to sample the food here. Compared to regular nigiri (握り) sushi, temari (手まり) uses rounder rice balls. Each order consists of a variety of sushi. Customers can request for specific types, but generally it's better to leave this to the chef.
The chef's choices today are:
- Salmon (サーモン): A fresh slice of salmon over a clump of vinegar-laced rice.
- Squid (イカ): Aburi (炙り) style, garnished with fish roe (とびこ).
- Unagi (ウナギ): Prepared from raw fish, seasoning is based on the chef's own recipe.
- Mackerel (サバ): Too salty for me, not sure whether this is intentional.
- Quail egg (ウズラの卵): Deep-fried with a coating of crispy crumbs, rested over a cucumber ring.
- Scallop (ホタテ): Aburi (炙り) style, pleasantly juicy due to its freshness.
Next, Sushirrito (寿司リトー, RM12.00) is a recent addition and has yet to be listed on the regular menu. It is essentially a very thick roll of sushi rice with fillings like sweet omelette (たまご), crab stick (カニカマ), pickled daikon (沢庵), cucumber, tempura crumbs (天かす), sesame seeds and cheese sauce. The rice roll is wrapped in seaweed (海苔) using a bamboo mat called "makisu" (巻き簾).
One might be inclined to think that such a thick roll will make Sushirrito too dry and bland. But this assumption cannot be any further from the truth. Even eating the Sushirrito without any condiments is quite palatable. Of course, the flavor is significantly improved with some wasabi (山葵) and soy sauce (醤油).
As for vegan sushi, Inari Maki (稲荷巻き, RM4.00) contains no animal products like egg or milk. The main ingredient is sweetened tofu called inari (稲荷). Inari is named after the titular Shinto god who is believed to love eating this food. Compared to other types of sushi, Inari Sushi has more gentle taste.
Sushi Cups (寿司カップ, RM10.00) are not on Street Sushi's menu as these are something that the chef just created on the fly. While being fried in oil, seaweed is shaped into cups by gently pressing the center of each sheet with a toothpick. The rice toppings are cubed salmon, cubed avocado and fish roe. Sushi Cups can be eaten with pickled ginger (ガリ) and wasabi.
In response to popular demand, Street Sushi also sells Chicken Shawarma Sandwich (RM8.00). It is rather odd to see Japanese and Middle Eastern food under the same roof. Anyway, the chicken is first marinated thoroughly, and then cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
As the chicken becomes cooked, the outer layer is shaved off to allow the next layer to become cooked. Chicken slices are fried again to enhance flavor, and then wrapped in homemade tortilla bread. Cheese can be added for RM3.00 more. The beef version of shawarma is also available.
Chit Chat Corner has several colorful wooden tables next to the side fence. But most people still prefer to eat while standing anyway. This casual setting allows passersby to sample food from different food trucks. Besides Street Sushi, the other food trucks sell burgers, Korean food, coconut ice cream and coffee.
Name: Street Sushi (道寿司)
Address: 1, Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-916-6387
Business hours: 5:00pm-12:00am, closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Streetsushipenang
Coordinates: 5.41809 N, 100.33701 E
Directions: Chit Chat Corner is located at the corner of Chulia Street and Chulia Lane. Street Sushi is one of the food trucks here. There are limited street parking spaces along both roads. For more parking, try the further end of Love Lane.

The Ais

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

The Ais is a supplier of homemade ice cream to several local restaurants around Penang. It used to operate from a kiosk inside ie Organic at Pulau Tikus. Several months ago, The Ais moved to this modest shop at Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia).
While the ground floor has only several small tables, there is substantially more dining space upstairs. The walls of the upper floor are decorated with colorful paintings - amateur artwork of the proprietor's daughter. By the way, use caution when ascending the flight of chairs because it is quite steep.
Ice cream is sold in single scoop (RM6.90) or double scoops (RM12.90) portions. Several flavors are considered premium due to higher cost of ingredients; these premium flavors cost RM8.90 and RM14.40 respectively. Customers can also opt for a waffle cone for RM1.50 more. Ice cream is also sold by the pint - at RM29.00 and RM32.00 for regular and premium flavors respectively.

As for dine-in customers who prefer something more filling, go for a serving of Double & Waffle (RM15.90). These Belgian waffles come with 2 scoops of ice cream. Premium flavors only cost RM1.50 more, which I highly recommend that you go for.
The waffles appear dry when eaten directly, but they land on a sweet spot when consumed with ice cream. The dish is garnished with granola, dried cranberries, raisins, marshmallow and icing sugar. The actual presentation varies by the choice of ice cream flavors.

Avocado is one of the few ice cream flavors that contain neither milk nor eggs, making it ideal for vegans. This flavor takes full advantage of avocado's natural creaminess. Made from Australian avocados, it is one of The Ais' premium flavors. For a limited time, a pint of Avocado ice cream is priced at RM26.00, which makes it even cheaper than regular flavors.
I am also fascinated by Redwine Cranberry, which is another premium ice cream flavor. Alcohol actually lowers the melting point of ice cream, making the preparation process quite tricky. I love the soothing coolness that the ice cream bestows upon the tongue, as well as red wine's bitter-sweet aftertaste that follows. This flavor is recommended for people who enjoy alcoholic ice cream.
Snow Bath (RM10.90) is presented as a small cup of kefir with a scoop of Snow White ice cream on top. Made from sorghum wine (高粱酒), the distinctive taste and aroma of the ice cream is tantalizing instead.
Meanwhile, kefir is a fermented milk drink. The culture, which is produced in-house, consists of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Lactose in milk is mostly broken down to lactic acid and ethanol. This makes kefir is a good milk substitute for people with lactose intolerance.

The Ais has more than 40 different ice cream flavors in its recipe book. To maintain freshness, only 16 flavors are prepared at any given time. In addition to those introduced earlier, other bestselling flavors are Matcha Oreo, Horlicks Kit Kat, Charcoal Cheese, Seasalt Caramel and Rum & Raisin. Occasionally, there are also seasonal flavors like Durian.
The Ais believes in giving a helping hand to those in need. A substantial amount of the eatery's proceeds is donated to an orphanage in Thailand.

Name: The Ais
Address: 473, Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-261-0427
Business hours: 2:00pm-10:00pm (Sunday-Thursday), 2:00pm-11:00pm (Friday-Saturday), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/theaisblessings
Coordinates: 5.41955 N, 100.33339 E
Directions: From Penang Road (Jalan Penang), turn onto Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia). The Ais is approximately 100 meters on the right. Street parking is available along Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia) and Leith Street (Lebuh Leith). There is also a private parking lot next to The Ais.

Heng Kei

Special thanks to Heng Kei Homemade Wan Tan Mee & Pan Mee for extending this food review invitation.

Pasar Pulau Tikus (浮罗池滑巴刹) is a popular hawker center in the evening. One of the roadside stalls here is Heng Kei Homemade Wan Tan Mee & Pan Mee (卿记自制云吞面板面). This family business has been operating for more than 40 years.
One of Heng Kei's signature dishes is Wan Tan Mee (云吞面, RM4.50). Wonton (云吞) is the key ingredient here. These boiled dumplings are filled with minced pork and is quite delectable. Char siu (叉烧) also places a crucial role in overall taste. The thin slices of barbecued pork provide a certain degree of chewiness.
Meanwhile, homemade egg noodle is blanched briefly so that it remains springy. However, I feel that the seasoning is too sweet for me. Pickled chili is acceptable but the juiciness can be improved. Soup is provided upon request. This serving is the small size; medium and large portions are available for RM5.50 and RM6.00 respectively.
Claypot Noodle With Deep-Fried Fish & Egg (炸鱼砂煲伊面, RM6.50) is also popular at Heng Kei. The soup is prepared by stewing pork bones, anchovies, sugar cane and seasonings for nearly 3 hours. Served in a claypot, the tasty soup is compatible with chewy texture of yi mein (伊面).
Fried fish uses the flesh of snapper from Vietnam. Meanwhile, the scrumptious dumpling (水饺) is made from shrimps, pork, jicama (芒光) and carrots. Egg, choy sum (菜心), fried garlic and pork lard (猪油渣) are included in this dish too.
Heng Kei's menu also includes Curry Chicken Wan Tan Mee (咖哩鸡云吞面, RM6.00), Mee Hoon Soup With Deep-Dried Fish (炸鱼米粉清汤, RM6.50), Dry Hor Fun (干捞河粉, RM4.50) and several other noodle dishes. This family business also operates a daytime stall at New World Park from 8:00am to 6:00pm every day.
Name: Heng Kei Homemade Wan Tan Mee & Pan Mee (卿记自制云吞面板面)
Address: Pasar Pulau Tikus, Jalan Pasar, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 011-1109-2282
Business hours: 5:30pm-11:00pm
Website: N/A
Coordinates: 5.43036 N, 100.31191 E
Directions: Driving northbound along Cantonment Road (Jalan Cantonment), turn right to Jalan Pasar. Pasar Pulau Tikus (浮罗池滑巴刹) is located immediately on the left. Heng Kei is one of the stalls next to the road. Street parking is available along Jalan Pasar and Jalan Moulmein, but parking spaces may be limited during certain hours.