Into the Doorway of Food, where it's all about Eating...

Let's start the journey into my world of food...

Different tastebuds with different tongues; you're the eater and you're the judge...
What I share here is simply the passion towards food and drinks.

Don't hesitate to ctiticize; if you like my articles, encourage me.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Farewell to my Dear Friend, Hooi Lin... at OXO Cafelab

When it's time to say Goodbye to a friend for her decision to join a new company, we've celebrated her farewell dinner in OXO Cafelab that is nearby Queensbay Penang.

It's just alike a norm that people will tend to be late and thus, the early birds - Hooi Lin, Chin Han and I have ordered a slice of Chocolate Banana Cake for our hungry stomachs. I won't know that it actually has banana if its not for the name, as I don't smell or taste the natural sweetness of banana itself.

What should we eat for our main courses? We've decided to do some sharing basis. The starter is the colourful Prawn Cocktail Salad. I like the crunchiness of the green apples, the fresh vegetables and the shell-less prawns that are perfectly dressed up by the thousand island sauce. We've taken two orders of pasta; the Fettucini A La Carbonara and the Chunky Pasta Chicken Bolognese Sauce that are in white creamy and red tomato sauces respectively. Just a quick remark: Don't put high expectation over the freshness of the seafood. The Fettucini is cooked in the white cream sauce with the slices of mushroom and ham but it somehow doesn't turn out to be over-creamy with a just-to-taste saltiness. I do prefer the Bolognese spaghetti that is full with the tiny, chopped chicken meat and the red tomato sauce has actually added a little sourness, to stimulate my appetite.

Another main character is the Hawaiian Chicken BBQ Pizza that I personally think it's tastier than Pizza Hut. I love the thin layer of bread dough that is not only crunchy but also being covered with chicken cubes, pineapples, capsicum; with a rich cheese spreads over the whole pizza. I can't recall the exact names of the next two dishes, but they should be sort of Fisherman Basket and the Chicken Thigh with Cheese in Indian Curry Sauce. The Fisherman Basket is actually a fried seafood platter that consists of prawn, squid and some wedges. The Curry Chicken is the one that catches my attention as it just goes well with the white rice. The curry here may not have a strong taste or nice curry aroma but with a little spiciness and the cheese, it does add on a special taste to experience a curry dish.

OXO Cafelab does not serve very delicious food that has impressed me for a returning visit. However, the ambient is suitable for a long chatting session as we're lazing on the comfortable, soft sofa. Moreover, I do enjoy this gathering with the whole bunch of good friends.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

An Unexpected bump into Siriwan Thai Seafood Restaurant

My friend and I are searching for a restaurant to dine-in for our dinner, before we bump into Siriwan Thai Seafood Restaurant that is located beside Old Town Kopitiam at Sunway Seberang Jaya. There's no customers and it's just too quiet whereby we've wandered for few minutes before deciding to step in for our starved stomach.

Our main character is the Tomyam Seafood Soup that looks so appetizing with its red shiny color. The ingredients include prawn, squid, fish, mushroom and tomato. I'm personally able to withstand extreme spiciness and sourness, thus I'll prefer if the sweetness is reduced. However, I still love the soup that every spoon is a 'kick' to the taste; just nice to make me sweat a little.

Next comes our favourite dish, the Kerabu Mango. It's a simple dish with some peanuts, onions and chili but the taste is superb; sufficient spiciness from the Chili, sourness from the lime juice that we're just falling for this refreshing dish. We've also tried the recommended Fried Kangkong. We're a little disappointed that the Kangkong is not crispy and it's in fact a little bit too soft and oily. Anyway, it does go well with the Thai chili sauce.

We're not going for white rice, thus we've asked for the famous noodle that is called Phad Thai. It's actually the fried rice noodles with egg, chicken, tofu, bean sprout; then the fish sauce and chili as the seasonings; garnished with crushed peanuts. I've to admit that the Phad Thai here is not as delicious as the one that I've tasted in Bangkok, but it's totally a new taste even it's a little alike the Fried Koay Teow in Malaysia. Just a little complaint here, the Phad Thai is too oily.

It's not a too bad experience for us to have our dinner in Siriwan Thai Restaurant. In overall, the taste of the food is good and we do enjoy the 'kick' of the spiciness and sourness of Thai dishes.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Time for Crab; Here We Go... 'Cia Xiang Claypot Crab Rice'

It's been a long time that I've wanted to try out the most famous claypot crab rice and finally, here we go... 'Cia Xiang Seafood Restaurant佳乡海鲜楼' in Bukit Tambun that comes the origin of Claypot Crab Rice. Greatly to say that it must be the original, with the crowd continuously to occupy the restaurant.

Our main character of the night is definitely our Claypot Crab Rice蟹王香饭 that comes with two big Crabs. It seems superb looking at the crabs that have been cooked till red shining color. Some simple steps of the preparation of this crab rice: Firstly, the rice is fried with chopped onions, dried shrimps and barbecued pork with the soy sauces to enhance the aroma; then it's being cooked in the claypot with the big crabs on top. Here goes the serving then, with some green onions as the garnishing. The dried shrimp and barbecued pork is adding flavour to the plain rice; is enhanced with the natural sweetness from the fresh crab itself. However, it's a little disappointment that our pot of rice is not as delicious and as aromatic as our friend's pot; problem seems to be the less onions and dried shrimps in our pot.

Our next dish is followed by the Cai Pu Steamed Fish菜脯蒸鱼. I do enjoy the fresh fish as the meat is very tender and juicy while the most unique is the layer of flat noodle underneath the fish. However, the flavour of the Cai Pu is not maximized whereby the fish is actually covered more with soy taste. Talking about prawn, have you ever tasted the Fried Prawn with Grape葡萄炸虾? The prawn does attract my eyesight but somehow, it's merely just a fried prawn that is added with some grape sauce. Then, our next enjoyment goes to the Lime Juice Steamed Kepah酸柑汁蒸拉拉 that is indeed very appetizing with the sourness, spiciness and freshness from the chopped garlic and chili.

Additionally, we've ordered a Fried Green Beans清炒四季豆 that I prefer if the chef can get it out from the wok a minute earlier, to maintain the crunchiness of the beans.

I've enjoyed the dinner together with a big group of colleagues. If you're a crab lover, do try out the Claypot Crab Rice here; a natural taste without too much artificial flavouring.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Great House of Penang, 'Suffolk House'

'Suffolk House' is one the most important colonial heritage site and it's also called the 'Great House of Penang'. The house was owned by Captain Francis Light, the founder of British settlement in Penang and it got its name by being built in the vast estate called Suffolk.

There's a restaurant inside the Suffolk House whereby they do serve lunch, teatime and dinner; in a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. The concept is much closer to the nature whereby the house is surrounded by green trees and plants that are just reached beyond your eyes. You can choose either to sit inside the air-conditioned dining area or at the comfortable opened area for a nice breathe of fresh air.

The lunch menu is a standard set that consists of an appetizer, a main course and a dessert that comes with the choice of coffee or tea. I've chosen the Green Salad that is served with the seared Tuna while my friend has chosen the Soup of the Day - Green Asparagus Soup. I do enjoy the lightly seared Tuna meat that is soft and tender but the soup turns out to be too creamy instead of the fresh asparagus taste.

For the main courses, I've taken the Baked Cajun Salmon Fillet that comes with Buttered rice. The most wonderful taste goes to the juicy and tender Salmon meat that is just lightly salted and peppered except the rice that is not fully cooked and hard at the inner side.
The Roasted Majo Chicken is such an appetizing dish with a piece of orange to be centered between the chicken breast meat. Oppositely; Guess what, it's such a big mistake as the orange has added bitterness to the chicken. I do actually more enjoy the crispy fried cauliflower.

The dessert of the day is Caramel Pudding that is served with Chocolate Chip Ice-Cream. I dislike this tasteless pudding that has only the sweetness of caramel sugar and I've rather enjoyed the cold ice-cream.

Overall, I'm not impressed by the food here but yet; Suffolk House is a traditional element that has been restored and reserved for a nice dining in a leisurely pace...

Saturday, 7 August 2010

'That Little Wine Bar', a Wine Place that is my Dream Comes True

It's just like a dream comes true when I'm introduced to 'That Little Wine Bar'. It's such a nice wining and dining place that is not to be missed but I'm just too late to discover it whereby it has been opened since end of year 2009. The restaurant owner cum chef, Tommes has started this restaurant with his lovely wife Louise; to offer a relaxed and cozy atmosphere to the guests to enjoy fine wine accompanied by delicious European-inspired soups, salads, sandwiches and tapas in a leisurely pace.
TLWB will organize various events such as wine class, champagne tasting from time to time. On 3rd August, I've joined the Fine Wining session; an evening of deliberation over four old world white wines. This is a discussion that centers around the categories appearance, nose, taste and finish of the wines. Each guest will rate each wine and the bottle of 'customer choice' will be available with 50% discount at the end of the evening.

Our first bottle of wine is the Rive Haute - Cotes de Sauvignon Blanc of vintage 2007. The wine is with a strong apple cider taste at a smooth end. Followed is the Georg Preisinger - Chardonnay vom Heideboden of the year 2008 that tastes alike vegetable spiciness and with a little dryness. Our 3rd bottle of the evening is Danzante Pinot Grigio from the vintage in year 2008. I taste stronger sourness and dryness in this wine. Lastly is the Retour de Saint Jean dÁcre that is from the oldest vintage among the four, of year 2006. This is also so-called the white shiraz whereby it tastes very dry, with a little bitterness and spiciness; the finish is just as old as a red wine. Guess what, the 'customer choice' of the evening is won by Georg Preisinger Chardonnay; also my choice for an easy drinking.

This RM125 fine wining session has also included 5 tapas that are served separately after the first wine is tasted. The dishes start with Tea and Pineapple Gratinee that is cold upon serving. The pineapple is blended and then being mixed with tea before it's frozen in the refrigerator. I've enjoyed this refreshing appetizer with a just-to-taste sweetness. Then, we're served with the delicious Spanish Omelette. I've to admit that I haven't delayed any seconds in guessing the ingredients but it's sort of baked potato, onion and capsicum in the mixture of egg. On the portion of meat, our tapas are the Beef Carpaccio and the Herbal Duck Breast Canapé.
The Beef Carpaccio is instead the thinly sliced NZ tenderloin with Parmesan cheese and being drizzled with olive oil. The beef is sliced so thinly that it's just melting in my mouth. I've to be honest that I'm a non-beef lover but I'm still impressed by this unique dish. The next compliment of mine goes to the duck breast that is served with the black salt. I've no idea on how the duck breast is being prepared but it apparently seem to have been lightly smoked and the greatest fact is the meat is still tender and juicy. Our last dish to go with the wine during the evening is Smoked Salmon and Caviar on Sliced Baguette. This is my first time experience with Caviar; it's salty but goes well with the tasteless cream and crispy baguette. It's a perfect combination that has triggered my eagerness for next Caviar. The fresh salmon is cubed into a proper thickness that it just melts in my mouth.
(Source from Wikipedia: Tapas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtapas]) is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as chopitos which are battered, fried baby squid). In selected bars in Spain and maybe in North America or the United Kingdom, tapas has evolved into an entire and sometimes sophisticated cuisine. In Spain, patrons of Tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.
The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. Also, in some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas.)

TLWB provides different kinds of wining or dining space and menus to their customers. If you've difficulty in deciding your meal, you can actually refer to the blackboard for their special of the day. They've also two private rooms that are just perfect for a gathering of 10 to 12people; the traditional oriental style or the sophisticated western design. Each room is equipped with the Ipod docking station that you can just bring along your Ipod for your favourite play list.

That Little Wine Bar has provided me a comfortable ambient that I've always dreamt for a good wining experience. I'm sharing this story with you, hoping that you can enjoy it as I've...
(From Top Left to Top Right: Bernd, myself, Chef Tommes, Andrea, Anton, Claudia and Frank)