June 28, 2011

'Hoo Thau Bee Hoon' (Fish Head rice-noodles)

With the durians in season now, dinner is usually durians.  After the durian stint, both of us craved for something with soup.  Hubby suggested that we drive to Chew Kee.  We arrived at Chew Kee and as it was drizzling, we decided to go inside the kopi tiam (coffee shop).  We have been here a couple of times before but I have not written anything about this stall.  I decided to as I found out that there were no other stalls that served Hoo Thau Bee Hoon this good (to my liking).   
If it is not drizzling, you should seat yourself in front of this stall.  You will be 'entertained'  by this husband and wife team.  They do not stop bickering and I found them to be amusing.  Another thing, be prepared for their attitude. They can be rude at times and, remember to tell them where you are seated.  They tend not to pay attention.  Ah Chek and Ah Ee (uncle and auntie) overlooked our orders as we were seated inside the 'kopi tiam'.
The 'Chau Hor Fun' (fried flat rice noodle) arrived and the aroma soothed every angry nerves in me. In the picture, the flat noodles are hidden.  Ah Chek fried every plate of hor fun individually and  'kau hueh' (enough heat).  Ooh, it was aromatic and smoky in taste.  The meat, prawns, liver and jiu hoo (cuttlefish) were so fresh I wished I had asked for extras.  The gravy was not too thick (I hate too much cornstarch) and not too liquid.  It was just nice and tasty.  The only thing that was missing was the egg.  Hubby decided to try it without the egg.  I thought it was a bad idea.
The 'Hoo Thau Bee Hoon' (Fish Head Rice Noodles) was what made us drive all the way down to town.  Ah Chek ran out of fish meat by the time we reminded him of our order.  We settled for the fish head instead.  After all, as hubby said, it is Hoo Thau Been Hoon.  I preferred the fish meat but had no choice.   The bowl of noodles arrived.  I took a bite of the crispy, well-seasoned pieces of fish head and wow, it was a good choice.  The pieces of fish head were well deep-fried and it tasted fantastic.  The stock was what made this stall different. The sweetness was not from sugar or MSG added.  It was from slow boiling of pig bones to make the stock.
As I devoured the noodles and pieces of fish head, I pointed out to hubby.  What made the bowl of noodle so special (stock aside) were the generous pips of sautéed garlic and pieces of ginger.  It added oomph to the simple bowl of soup noodles.  We finished every single bit served.
Look. I did not lie. We finished every single bit of everything.  Oh, we could not chew the fish bones or it would be gone too.  We both felt so satisfied. :o)
Chew Kee is located quite near the T-junction of Chulia Street and Carnarvon Street. It is at the end of Carnarvon Street and along the same road as Teksen.  This stall closes on every Wednesdays and Thursdays.  That is how good the business is.

June 24, 2011

The Bungalow @ Lone Pine Hotel

We took a drive up to Batu Ferringhi to check out Lone Pine Hotel.  Closed for refurbishment, Lone Pine Hotel has since re-opened (been nine months since).  The hotel looked very different and it was beautiful.  We had to walk past the swimming pool to get to The Bungalow restaurant. 
It was a pleasant walk to the restaurant.  Trees, lights and the swimming pool, everything was so beautiful at night.  
We opted to dine alfresco with the sea breeze and moonlight.  The whole place looked tidy and clean. It was so different from the old restaurant.  Even the roof was changed.  I mentioned the roof as the last time I was here it leaked.  It was raining very heavily and the floor was wet.
The place looked deserted and we were the second table occupied.  The items listed in the menu looked quite the same.  This used to be a restaurant well known for their Hainan's dishes.  A check with the waiter confirmed that it is still.
We were there to check out the restaurant.  As both of us were not specific in our choices, we settled for what the waiter recommended. We just wanted some snacks.
The Bungalow now and the restaurant before were well known for their Choon Pniah (spring rolls).  The spring rolls arrived but we were disappointed that it had shrunk in size (portion served). It was rm16 for the two rolls with some vegetables.  The filling was still tasty but it was little. 
I am a vegetable person and I need to have them.  Instead of the usual green salad, hubby suggested the Baked Vegetables.  The plate of vegetables made up of a few pieces of shitake mushrooms, a few pieces of potato, zucchini and eggplant.  It was topped with feta cheese.  The plate of vegetables was good, that was to me only. Vegetables dribbled with olive oil, baked and with feta cheese on top.  At rm20 per plate, hubby thought it was expensive. He commented that it was nothing special except for the cheese.  You can actually count the number of pieces of the vegetables..LOL.  This plate of vegetables could be expensive because of the feta cheese (?).
I recalled that this restaurant used to be synonymous with macaroni pie.  The macaroni pie (rm26) arrived and I could not wait to plunge my spoon and start scooping.  The top made up of egg white meringue looked delicious.  There are very few restaurants in Penang that has macaroni pie on their menu.
A bite and taste of the filling had me say this...Ow!  It did not taste that good.  The macaroni was little and the filling was with too much fluid.  It was not as delectable as I had expected.
Hubby decided that he could do with a bowl of soup to go with pie.  We agreed to an order of Boston Chowder (rm14).  Ooh, the chowder was deliciously filled with prawns, mussels, scallops and mushrooms.  I loved it to the last drop and licked the spoon clean.  Hubby just smiled when I asked if he liked it.
I told the waiter before the bill was paid.  The hot bun served, it was stale and dry.  I wanted  to take-away some bread from this place but changed my mind.  This place supposedly has nice bread from their kitchen.  
The Bungalow, Lone Pine Hotel, 97 Batu Ferringhi. 11100 Penang.  Tel : 604-8868686. **10%Service charge & 6% Government Tax.

June 19, 2011

Dinner @ Delicious

We finally made it to Delicious @ Straits Quay (another new restaurant). We had wanted to on many other occasions but never made it.  This restaurant occupies the whole ground floor. I liked what I saw as we approached the restaurant. The colour scheme looked pleasant in white and different shades of blue. The restaurant stretched from one end of the block to the other end. In simple words, it is humongous compared to the others at this place. The birdcages lightings looked beautiful and attractive. If you are a non-diner, there is the lounge area for some light snacks. At Delicious you can find both Western and Asian food. There are chicken curry, steamed chicken and many others. It is an East meet West kind of restaurant.Hubby ordered the Pan-seared cod served with sautéed prawns on ratatouille (rm48.90). There was nothing special about the dish except the portion served. It is just simple dish prepared with little oil. We would describe it as healthy cooking for healthy eating. Oil was used sparingly in the preparation of the fish. Even the potatoes were cubed and deep-fried slightly.
I had the Pan-seared Crispy skin salmon. That was something different as the skin of the salmon was crispy and it was well seasoned. Other than the skin, the others were just normal.We felt that a little bit more of the vegetables would justify the price charged. The thing we noted was the salmon and cod were very fresh (rm39.90). There was a break in communication and our soup order was not noted. Thus, it arrived after the main course. The cream of mushroom soup had me disappointed. I would say both of us were not happy. The soup was thick and had plenty of chopped mushrooms. The unpleasant taste about the soup was it was not creamy thick. It was 'starchy' thick. We were fortunate to have ordered only one bowl (rm13.90).We had a 'fight' (LOL) between salad and another main dish. Hubby felt that his main course was a too little. We settled for another main dish. It was homemade pesto pasta (rm19.90). We added rm6.90 for the grilled chicken slices. I loved the pesto pasta and the shredded cheddar gave an extra taste. However, hubby did not like the pesto pasta. The pesto suited me wonderfully. I enjoyed it to the last strand and last bit of sauce.There was a wide array of desserts on sale at Delicious. There were tiramisu, chocolate moist, mousse, apple crumble, different types of cup cakes and many others. I felt sinful just looking. Both of us gave the desserts a miss as one had too much soup. The other had too much pesto pasta.We decided that on our next visit, we would dine alfresco. The view of the marina was beautiful at night. DELICIOUS is located @ 3C-G-3 & 3A. Ground Floor, Straits Quay. Tel Contact: 04-8998555. Open 10am-12am (Weekdays). 9am-12am (Weekends & Public holidays). :o)
Delicious is located at 3C-G-3 & 3A Ground Floor Straits Quay, Penang. Tel No: 04-8998555. Open 10am-12am (Weekdays). 9am-12am (Weekends & Public Holidays). :o) **10% Service Charge & 6% Government Tax.

June 14, 2011

Finnegan's Pub (Irish) @ Straits Quay

The night we went to Straits Quay for dinner, it was raining heavily. As it was the school holidays season, this mall was full of people. Most of the eateries were packed. Actually, both of us were looking for Oh Sushi. We could not locate it. Thus, we found ourselves at Finnegan's Pub (Irish). Hubby had been here not for the food but for a drinking session. He told me he liked the place. All I wanted was food as I was knackered and hungry that night.Both of us settled for the same order. A plate of Lamb Hock each and a bowl of French Onion soup.The first thing that got my attention was this big blob (see picture above). I poked at it and found that it was mashed potato. The chef had the mashed potato coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It was mashed potato of a different kind.The serving of Lamb Hock was generous. It was one big piece of meat and large chunks of cauliflower and carrots. However, the taste was not to my liking. It was braised lamb hock served with tomato puree as sauce. The sauce made of tomato puree was prepared lightly and dribbled over the meat. As much as I love lamb hock (shank), I was disappointed. Hubby was impartial. He just ate and finished the food. The French Onion soup came served with a piece cheese on toast. That was a welcome sight, as I loved cheese on toast.
The soup was rather thick and it was not clear soup. I have not tasted French Onion soup prepared in this way. The taste of the soup was different. A bit creamy but not bad. Irish cooking? The waiters who served us were friendly and that sort of made up for my disappointment. Finnegan's Pub is located @ Straits Quay, Unit 3E-G-1, Penang. Tel No: 04-8981688. Fax :04-8908688 ** 10% Service Charge & 5% Government Tax. [There is a promotion going on for the month of June. You can call for more details.]