Chuan Kee Cafe @ Lorong Selamat, Penang

On 9/28/2010 08:54:00 PM Comments
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For char kuey teow lovers and people living in Penang, you'll definitely know about Lorong Selamat. It was quite awhile since I've had the famous yet arrogant Lorong Selamat char kuey teow. However, we arrived early at about 10am and they weren't ready till 11am, so we decided to eat out in Chuan Kee Cafe first.

Chuan Kee Cafe is renowned for their infamous ice kacang and cendol since the 70s. Not only that, there are an array of independent hawker stalls around the cafe offering various popular Penang delicacies ranging from hokkien mee, pork noodles soup, chee cheong fun, oyster omelette, rojak and many more.

Cendol (RM 2.50), the ultimate thirst quencher for many, especially in the hot Penang weather. Squiggles of pandan flavoured cendol in thin coconut milk with smooth shaved ice and a lash of thick fragrant gula Melaka syrup, it was refreshingly good!

Hokkien prawn mee (RM 3), the signature dish of Penang, with noodles soaked in a fragrant prawn based soup made from both fresh prawn, dried shrimp and pork. It's the soup that makes the difference, the sweet prawny essence with the spicy chilly sauce definitely packs a kick!

Pork noodles soup, also known as kuay teow thng (RM 3.50), simple yet tummy-satisfying kuey teow soup with strips of tender pork meat, minced pork meat, pork liver and bouncy fish balls.

Prawn paste chee cheong fun (RM 2), silky smooth chee cheong fun covered in thick prawn paste sauce with a hint of sweetness and sprinkled in a cloud of sesame seeds.

Verdict: Most of the foods in Chuan Kee Cafe are reasonably good but might not be the best in Penang - but I did enjoy their cendol though! You might just want to give Chuan Kee a try if you ever given up waiting for your plate of char kuay teow next door.

82, Lorong Selamat,
10400 Pulau Pinang
Tel: 016-4534 865 (Mr. Lee Chee Chien)
Business Hours: Opens daily from 10am - 5pm. Closed on every Tuesdays.
Pork Free: No
GPS: 5.417302, 100.324989

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Whenever I'm at Ipoh, I only know how to drive to the few popular places for the glorious Ipoh food, and one of it is the Kedai Kopi Kong Heng right in the old street town of Ipoh.

People from all over come to Ipoh for their famous hor fun, chee cheong fun, white coffee and Kong Heng is the one-stop place to start all your food adventures in Ipoh. Kong Heng and it's next door neighbor Restoran Thean Chun, has been around since the 60s and still serves up the whole plethora of great local food till today.

Kong Heng is ever so popular with the locals and tourists alike. Every time we visit this coffee shop, it's a tussle for tables and chairs. Getting a table here is no easy feat, one has to be ruthless and prey like a hungry vulture.

Ipoh sar hor fun, which are rice flat noodles prepared in hard water and served in clear chicken and prawn soup with chicken shreds, prawns and spring onions. In the 50s, Mee Chai perfected the now iconic Ipoh sar hor fun and it is sold today by his disciple in Kong Heng and his son in Thean Chun - they said, if you never try their sar hor fun, you've never been to the real Ipoh yet!

My bowl of Ipoh sar hor fun (RM 3.70), touted as one of the best sar hor fun in Ipoh. It was definitely alot better than most of the hor fun soup I've ever had in KL. The hor fun were very smooth and literally glide down your throat - it probably has to do with the mountain water in Ipoh. The soup was light and sweet but I used to remember it was much better before. It's either the holiday season or my aging taste-bud is dying.

One of the more popular items to order in Kong Heng is the pork satay. Pork satay is a rare commodity in Malaysia, what's more when they have pork innards and coagulated pork blood satay!

Succulent skewers of pork satay (RM 0.60/stick), grilled to perfection and served with spicy sweet peanut sauce. It tasted okay but it wasn't as good as the pork satay from Malacca and Muar towns.

Next on the list was the famous popiah (RM 1.70/each), wrapped with generous filling of the turnips, crunchy fried small prawns and some vegetable fillings. The skin wasn't all soggy, it was fresh, thin and spread with sweet red chili sauce. And they do have the other version of fried popiah for the same price.

Cincau white coffee, the real cuppa coffee that you can't get else where except in Ipoh.

Verdict: If you're a tourist, this is probably one of the best one-stop place for all your famous Ipoh food and it's easy to find your way there! But, they're probably better, cheaper and less crowded coffee shops in Ipoh, the locals would probably know it and avoid such tourist packed coffee shop like Kong Heng and Thean Chun.

74, Jalan Bandar Timah,
30000 Ipoh,
Tel: 017-536 1183
Business Hours: Opens daily from 8am - 3pm
Pork Free: No
GPS: 4.596498, 101.077845

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If you're looking for budget yet satisfying meal of yakiniku (Japanese barbecue), then you must head to Restoran Yakiniku which is located in the heart of Pandan Indah.

I've actually been to Restoran Yakiniku more than 5 times throughout the years but never really gotten the chance to review it yet. So, I'm experienced enough to guide you on what's good and what's worth every single cents for you.

Subtle traditional Japanese influences are apparent in the decor here with bamboo blinds partitions, wooden tables and chairs - well it has your typical yakiniku fare.

On every table, you'll have a huge kitchen hood to suck up the smoke and odour. Sure it works well in keeping the restaurant clean and not smoky, but you'll still leave this place smelling like yakiniku. No matter what, top ventilation with a small exhaust fan will never suck it up completely, unlike the high-tech Daidomon that has an in-built exhaust fan within the charcoal pit that sucks inwards.

Back to the basic by using the old-school charcoal stove for the smoky charcoal-flavored yakiniku experience.

Pork bacon (RM 5.90), a must-order and superbly value for money! At times, we ordered 2-3 plates of pork bacon only and nothing else. Apparently, the owner hasn't increase the price at all since the opening of the restaurant 6 years ago - kudos to such restaurant owners!

Lamb shoulder (RM 6.90), one of the cheapest cut from their menu for lamb (lamb leg RM 9.90 or lamb loin RM 12.90) - nevertheless, it still tasted great and tender!

Taupok (deep fried tofu, RM 2.30), I don't think taupok existed in Japanese yakiniku but who cares if it tasted great after grilling.

Most of the meat are thinly sliced to ensure that they're cooked thoroughly and easily.

Restoran Yakiniku's meats are all marinated with a specialty sauce that makes them taste incredibly delicious.

Yakiniku is best served with a bowl of steaming hot white rice (RM 1), one bowl is never enough here.

The dipping sauce for their yakiniku is definitely a secret recipe of their own - it had a combined taste of sweet and salty which would perfectly complement the grilled meats.

It's time to savor the sweet, juicy and smoky flavor of grilled pork bacon. Itadakimas!

They do burnt quite fast especially the fatty bits and taupok, just got to keep a close eye to the stove while busy eating.

Well, they do have other yakiniku selections like shisamo, New Zealand mussels, squid, Australian strip loin, chicken gizzard, tiger prawns, etc. and non-yakiniku dishes like kimchi fried rice, katsu udon, Japanese chasu don, sushi, etc. But if you're into a budget yet satisfying yakiniku experience, just go for the pork bacon, lamb shoulder, taupok and bowls of white rice.

Verdict: Value for money yet satisfying pork bacon yakiniku! On the flip side, you end up smelling like yakiniku. But to me, it's totally worth it! Hopefully, the owner can maintain the price and quality over the coming years.

20G, Jalan Pandan Indah 4/8,
Pandan Indah,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4295 4833
Business Hours: Opens daily from 12pm - 11pm
Pork Free: No
GPS: 3.131116, 101.753392

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