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Tasty Congee and Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家, Gurney Paragon – Overrated or Underrated Dining?

Michelin Guides and Michelin Star rates are a series of annual guide books published by the French company Michelin. “Michelin Star” is a hallmark of fine dining quality. Restaurants that had been awarded or rated by Michelin tend to tout their Michelin Star status.  In Penang there are not many restaurants that had been awarded with Michelin Star. I was a believer in Michelin rating until a recent visit to one of the Michelin-awarded restaurants.

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The Michelin-awarded restaurant that I had visited recently was Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop.

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The location of the restaurant is at the 5th floor of Gurney Paragon.

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The layout of the restaurant was very cosy and the level of cleanliness was high. This place was very family-friendly too.

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The cutleries looked clean and nice but unfortunately they were made from high-quality plastic which looked like they were made from porcelain. It was a huge disappointment for those who prefers non-plastic cutleries.

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House Specialty Wontan Noodles in Soup – RM15.80, the noodle was cooked and drained before it was filled with wantun soup. It was then added with 6 pieces of wantun and sprinkled with spring onions.

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The noodle was al dente and the wontan filling was very fresh. The taste of MSG was not significant, which is a plus point. However, a small bowl of noodle with just 6 wantons, some spring onions and a “non-edible” Michelin star cost a bombing RM15.80 per bowl! I believe there are many stalls in Penang that can prepare a similar or even better wanton noodle than here and the price is only a fraction of this.

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Roast Duck with Rice – RM16.80, well roasted duck served with a bowl of white rice and some green vegetables.

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The taste of the roast duck was good. However, the combination of roast duck with plain white rice only was too dry. It is understood that in Hong Kong most of the people had their roast duck with rice that way but this is definitely not Penangites’ style. Therefore, sometimes to capture the market for that area it requires thorough study of the taste of the local people whilst maintaining the quality and authenticity of the food. My suggestion was to provide an accompanying sauce for this dish in a separate bowl as this serves as an option to those who prefers a sauce for the plain rice or the roast duck.

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Noodles with Barbecued Pork – RM15.80, the barbecued pork slices were placed on top with green veggie and based with dried wontan noodle.

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Among the 3 dishes that we ordered, I still prefer this one. At least, the gravy served as a balance for the barbecue pork slices and also the noodle was not too dry. However, again with the price of RM15.80 for a bowl of wanton noodle was on the high side for the consumption of average Penangites.

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Overall, the place is family-friendly and the car park is not a problem at the mall. The authenticity versus localization on certain dishes need to be re-looked at. Michelin awarded “1 star” for this restaurant and I am also awarding “1 star” to this restaurant for the price of the food.

Editor’s Review (5 Stars Rank):

Taste
Price (more stars, more reasonable)
Food Presentation
Service
Overall

Quick Facts:

Family Friendly
Parking
Pork Free
Alcohol
Credit Card
Smoking
Reservation
Private Room (Private Area)
WIFI Available

Operation hours: 11:am – 10:30am (Open Daily)
Contact: 019- 688 3366
Address: Shop L5-01, Level 5, Gurney Paragon Mall, Pesiaran Gurney, 10250, Penang.
GPS: 5.436282,100.311995d

Goku Sen, Udini Square – Home Style and Reasonable Japanese Food

The trend of Japanese food never fades and is here to stay for many years more judging by the increasing number of Japanese restaurants in Penang. It is fair to say that where ever there is a major complex, you will definitely spot a Japanese restaurant/cafe there. One of the latest addition in town is Goku Sen Restaurant in Udini Square, Gelugor.

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Goku Sen in Japanese means absolute freshness. Therefore, one should expect a certain level of freshness for its food served.

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It is easy to locate this new and upcoming restaurant. If you are driving from Penang bridge towards town direction, you will surely pass by e-gate on your left. Turn left to the direction of egate and keep driving and you will see Udini Square just in front of you. One of the advantages of this place is there are many indoor parking slots and it is free entrance at the moment.

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The surrounding of the restaurant was so cozy and with large fish figures hanging around the restaurant.

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Another advantage of Goku Sen is this restaurant is currently not charging GST 6%.

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The chopsticks paper cover was labelled and written by hand.

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The bottomless Japanese green tea hot/cold is one of the best in town in which the taste and aroma of the tea was very strong even after a few refills.

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Mabo Tafu Set – RM13.80, Minced pork and tofu fried with spicy bean paste sauce. Serving together with the set was Japanese rice, salad, miso soup and fruits.

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For those on the watch out of diet, this would be a great option as it has minimum meat. The bean curd (tofu) was cut into cubes and cooked in a peppery and spicy sauce. The dish was served hot and it was full of aroma. It was really oishii (tasty)!

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Saba Steak Plate Set – RM18.80, Mackarel fish cooked with pepper and onion sauce. Serving together with it was some salad, deep fried crab stick, mayonnaise and rice.

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The taste of the Mackerel (saba) was very fresh. However, the peppery and slight spiciness sauce was slightly too overwhelming which is a waste as the freshness of the fish couldn’t be fully enjoyed. For my personal preference, I would prefer the sauce to be non-peppery to preserve the freshness taste of the fish.

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It was very cute to find that Japanese rice for this set had been molded into a sakura (cherry blossom) shape and then sprinkled with some black sesame.

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Overall, this place serves fresh food in a cosy environment. The price of the food is reasonably-priced. Parking will not be a problem as there are many empty slots in the indoor car park. The only drawback is the taste of the saba steak sauce has covered the freshness of the fish. In my personal opinion, the sauce should be non-peppery or spicy if the fish is fresh.

Editor’s Review (5 Stars Rank):

Taste
Price (more stars, more reasonable)
Food Presentation
Service
Overall

Quick Facts:

Family Friendly
Parking
Pork Free
Alcohol
Credit Card
Smoking
Reservation
Private Room (Private Area)
WIFI Available

Operation hours: 12:00pm – 2:30pm; 6:00pm – 10:30pm (Dining, Daily) & 10:30am – 12:30am (Bar – Fri, Sat & Sun)
Contact: 04-376 3591 / 010-985 9301 (Miyagawa Akira)
Address: Block 2-01-23A & B, Udini Square, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 3, 11700 Gelugor, Penang.
GPS: 5.378265,100.314141

D’ Fat Mona Lisa Cafe, Jelutong – Reasonable and Delightful Breakfast

If I were to ask for a list of cafes in Penang, the popular ones will be the first that pop up in the list and it will never end. However, if I were to ask for cafes that serve breakfast sets with coffee or tea which cost less than RM10 after GST, it will only be a handful.

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So far, this is the only place in Penang that I encountered which served great value breakfast which was less than RM10 per set. This place is no other than D’ Fat Mona Lisa Cafe.

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It is not hard to locate this restaurant. If you are driving from Jalan Masjid Negeri from town area, you will see McDonald’s on your left. As soon as you see McDonald’s, turn into that road which is Jalan Free School. Keep driving for about 200 meters and you will see D’ Fat Mona Lisa Cafe on your left.

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Ki No Me, The One Avenue – Humble and Delectable Japanese Food

One of the places to get good food especially for those staying in Bayan Baru and Bayan Lepas area is at The One Avenue. There are many choices available and for your information, dining there during weekend lunch hours is not that congested compared to weekdays.

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Ki No Me Japanese Restaurant, is one of the many restaurants at The One Avenue. Ki No Me is a very small and humble restaurant which is run by a nice lady boss. At first glance, I thought the lady boss is a Japanese until I was told that she used to work with Japanese for a long period and that could be why she has embraced the humbleness and politeness from the people of Land of the Rising Sun.

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It is not hard to locate Ki No Me. If you are driving from town via Jalan Mayang Pasir, you will come to a traffic light junction that will turn in to Persiaran Mahsuri. Keep driving and after 2 traffic light junctions make a U turn at the second traffic light, The One is located 100 meters on the left Make a left and right turn and drive another 20 meters, Ki No Me will be on your right.

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Croisette Cafe, Tanjung Tokong – Délicieux Homestyle French Dining

Hiding away from the hustle bustle of city, located off the main road in a very quiet and cozy neighbourhood, this is the location of Croisette Cafe. The place serves home style French cuisine. The chef Pierre-M Chaillou, is a famous French chef who is a very humble, low profile and down to earth person.

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Croisette Cafe serves Set Lunch (Tue to Sunday) from 11.30 a.m – 2.30 p.m.

The price for Tues to Fri is RM30 nett, as for weekends & Public Holidays it is RM40 nett.

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It is not difficult to get to this place. However, there is some direction required. If you are driving from town towards Tanjung Bungah via Jalan Tanjung Bungah, you will surely pass by Flamingo Hotel on your right. At the traffic light in front of the hotel turn right. Once turn right, turn left to Medan Tanjung Bungah. Keep driving for another 150 meters, you will see Tanjung Beach Condo on your right. At the corner you will see Sun Flower Cake House. Turn right and after a few houses away you will see Croisette Villa on your right.

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Cathay Coffee Shop, Burmah Road – Tender Steam Chicken

To search for the best food in certain area requires guidance and introduction from others either by searching the internet or by word of mouth. As a permanent resident of Penang, I regret to say that there are many good food in Georgetown which I still have yet to try out. One of the best steamed chicken porridge with soy sauce was introduced to me by a friend of mine recently.

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The location of this stall is next to Kedai Kopi Cathay (Cathay Coffee Shop) in the junction of Jalan Tavoy/Jalan Burma. There is a van which usually parks next to the coffee shop with the signage of “Chicken Porridge”. This stall only operates during dinner time.

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The stall has a long-run history. The first owner passed down the recipe to the next generation and it has been on-going for more than 30 years. The porridge and the steamed chicken has been enhanced and improved from time to time to give the best taste to their customers.

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