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Monthly Archives / May 2012

If there’s a week that Thai food should be in focus, this week might as well be it. There is no particular reason for this, as there isn’t a good reason that it usually rains just when you get ready to leave work for home.

Anyway, we moved up to Penang, and check out this small little Thai restaurant called Ghee Seng that is situated at Weld Quay, a place I am very familiar with having spent big part of my life growing up at my late grandma’s place right here.

Ghee Seng Thai restaurant, a modest shop lot at Pangkalan Weld
Ghee Seng Thai restaurant, a modest shop lot at Pangkalan Weld

According to my sister, who also happens to be a lover of all things spicy and sour  (ie: at the cross hair of that is tomyam), Ghee Seng restaurant serves one of the best white tomyam there is this side of Penang island. So after a karaoke session (more about this later) with my sister, brother, and Haze, we made our way to this familiar old neighborhood for dinner.

Parking at the area can be a little bit tricky, but isn’t anything that a determined mind can’t solve. The restaurant is situated at the ground level of a residential high rise, and can be best described as “old school”. That being said, the place is relatively clean and comfortable.

clear soup tomyam, kung pao mantis prawn
clear soup tomyam, kung pao mantis prawn

For the four of us, we ordered four dishes to share.

First was a big bowl of clear soup seafood tomyam, and over here the tomyam is made with fresh ingredients you can actually see (and chew if you like). There’s ample amount of chili padi, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic, galangal roots, diced garlic, and lime juice making up the soup. It was spicy, original, and because it is the clear soup type – a lot less oily.

We counted over half a dozen decent size prawns, squid, and chunks of fish meat making up the edible ingredients. It was really a very good bowl of tomyam.

The kungpao style mantis prawn was probably the most expensive dish of the night, but it was also positively delicious. This is one dish that needs to be consumed in a hurry. Leave it a little too long and you lose the crunchiness from the deep fried mantis prawns. The kungpao sauce is top notch.

kailan ikan masin, "siam bak" or Thai style pork belly
kailan ikan masin, “siam bak” or Thai pork belly, KY, Melisa, Win Sern, Haze

Another pretty rare dish here is what they called “Siam Bak“, literally Thai meat in Hokkien. It is actually deep fried sliced pork belly topped with chopped shallots, chili padi, and salad. This is a combination of flavor from pork belly, freshness of shallots, and the kick from chili padi. I like it.

Lastly, there’s the customary vegetable, and again we ordered kailan with ikan masin. It was a decent complimentary dish, nothing to shout about.

Other than being a commendable Thai restaurant, two other things stand out for me. Firstly, the first dish was served less than 5 minutes after we made our order, and within some 10 minutes, we have everything already. Lastly, the whole meal for four of us only came to be RM 60 even, and this includes a rather big bowl of tomyam seafood and a mantis prawn dish (known for being pricey). My sister mentioned that usual bill is about RM 30-50 for 4.

 

map to Ghee Seng Thai restaurant at Weld Quay, Penang

Address:
Ghee Seng Thai restaurant
BLK 123-G-06, Wisma KGN,
Jalan Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay),
10300 Penang
GPS: 5.410566, 100.336284
Tel: 016-498 8325, 012-480 8266
Hours11 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 1 am (Closed Wednesday)

Ghee Seng Tomyam Seafood

biggest karaoke room
this karaoke room is a bit massive for 4 person right?

As mentioned earlier, we went to karaoke at 1st Avenue’s Red Box prior to this dinner. Because we could only get 2 hours in the normal room, the front desk officer at Red Box asked if we would like to occupy the VIP room for additional RM 80 so that we could enjoy 4-5 hours of singing.

We agreed, and was shocked at the room given. It was literally big enough to play badminton in (if only the ceiling is tall enough). The screen is massive, and there’s even Wii and another LCD TV on the side for kids.

We had a blast trying our best to have a sore throat from 3 – 9 pm.

Thai Garden Village is about 2/3 correct, it is a Thai food place that has a pretty neat looking garden, but at the same time it isn’t exactly a village. Situated at the less glamourous part of KL that is Kepong, I was first introduced to this restaurant by Kim, who is as big a fan of Thai food as Haze and myself.

Thai Garden Village at Kepong
Thai Garden Village at Kepong

Getting to Thai Garden Village is actually pretty simple, drive along Jalan Kepong either from MRR2 or Jalan Kuching (if you’re from KL) until you see a smallish Shell station, turn into West Road right next to it, and viola, Thai Garden Village is right there, almost disguised as a light industrial factory.

Parking is a pretty simple affair as they do provide ample space, the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor (garden) dining area, and can probably accomodate more than 2-300 diners.

smoked salmon salad, fish cake, tomyam, raw prawn salad
smoked salmon salad, fish cake, tomyam, raw prawn salad

The menu at Thai Garden Village is pretty extensive even though it is a pork free outlet.

For starters, you should never miss the raw prawn salad. This is the only place that I know of serving this in KL, and it doesn’t get any more genuine than this. Over a dozen prawns “cooked” by the acid from lime and served with plenty of cabbage and equal amount of bitter gourd and raw garlic, not for the faint hearted, but it is as rewarding as it is interesting.

They also serve a version of raw papaya salad with smoked salmon, which makes for good “yee sang” substitute if you were to have it over CNY period. Delicious even at non festive season.

The fish cake is another richly flavored affair, and goes well with the familiar Thai chili sauce.

Thai style lala, clear soup tomyam, kai lan ikan masin
Thai style lala, clear soup tomyam, kai lan ikan masin

The tomyam here comes in two versions – clear soup, and the more familiar reddish version. The “normal” version is basically just the clear type with added chili oil. Both are top notch, but ordering them at the same time was an overkill we should have expected.

Another personal favorite of mine here is the Thai style steamed lala that is usually served on an elevated metal plate with fire still burning below. The seafood is succulent, and the spicy, sourish soup was really addictive.

My only experience with vegetables here was limited to kailan ikan masin, which fared pretty well.

KY, Haze, Pearl, David
KY, Haze, Pearl, David

One other interesting dishes here is the flaming chicken, which is literally served burning (fueled by some alcohol, I suspect). While plenty fancy, I found the taste average.

Dessert choices include the standard red ruby and mango with sticky rice. The former gives a proper sweet ending, while the sticky rice could prove to be a little bit overkill on an already stuffed stomach.

Prices at Thai Garden Village is fair, an average meal should cost between RM 20 – RM 30 per person.

Good eats!

map to Thai Garden Village, Kepong

Address:
Thai Garden Village
Lot 32713, 6 1/2 Mile (West Road),
Jalan Kepong,
52000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.2091, 101.6542
Tel: 03-6250 5519

Thai Garden Village Seafood BBQ

Last weekends we organized a family trip to Redang, the island paradise that I’ve been quite a few times, when it comes to Redang, it is always an expectation of bright sun, crystal clear sea, and white sandy beach. In another word – everything that Redang Island Resort is not.

the chalet style rooms at Redang Island Resort
the chalet style rooms at Redang Island Resort

Redang Island Resort is not without its plus points. It is relatively close to the airport and they provide free transfer. You never need to see the beach or get your feet wet to get to the place.

Touted as a 3 star hotel with 98 rooms, the resort usually place you in a block of 4 rooms, with mostly wooden interior that’s masterfully painted in the dullest color imaginable. If you are here to relax your colored eye sight, it is the place to go.

For a resort that is situated at the tropics, the room also comes with air conditioning that takes an hour to reduce one Celsius, be thankful to the ceiling fan provided.

Outside the room, expect a lawn and garden that would fit right in any primary school too, very nostalgic.

beach? what beach?
beach? what beach?

For those who hates beach, this is the perfect place to be. The hotel is built within the jungle at the southern tip of Redang island, on a small hill. To get to the beach, you’ll have to track through some challenging terrain. Climbing down perhaps 50 meters or so, you’ll be rewarded with a small and pretty dismay beach facing the busy harbor. The water is slightly clearer than those in Port Dickson though.

The swimming pool is actually better than the beach, and the swimming pool was quite bad.

For food, there’s a single restaurant at the hotel, I didn’t check if McD would deliver though. Oh, food isn’t included in the package (RM 250 per room via booking.com).

If you want to incorporate a little bit of drinking at night, rest assure that the bar does offer beer for RM 18 per can. No cocktail, whisky, wine, or any of those nonsense.

Other activities offered by the hotel includes a round island trip (RM 800 for up to 7 pax), and even snorkeling (RM 35 per trip or RM 45 for 2 trips, etc.). Bicycles are also available for rental, and I’d think is quite essential as the room and lobby is otherwise a bus ride away.

I would however, advice against their jungle tracking offer since you can just do that by going down to catch a glimpse of the beach.

In short, if you want an experience at Redang that you would expect being in a cheap hotel at Fraiser’s Hill minus the cool temperature, this is the place to go.

It wasn’t the type of holiday we expected, hence we checked out after an hour and went to Redang Holiday Beach Villa, and everything got back on track.

P/S: Berjaya Vacation Club: thanks for the sleight of hand. You got us this time.

I always thought that Mini Apom is only found in but two stalls in Penang situated right outside Union Primary School at Jalan Burma, and every time I went back to the island of good eats, getting my stomach stuffed with these was always in the list of things to do.

Well, now I can do that right here at PJ’s Ming Tien food court.

Penang apom, comes in two flavors
Penang apom, comes in two flavors

The Penang Apom stall is situated on the far right of the food court, manned by an operator from Penang who moved down to KL some 7-8 years ago (and speaks perfect Penang Hokkien, of course).

The mini apom comes either with sweet corns or banana slice in them and you get 5 pieces for RM 3. The taste is as good as those found in Penang, and definitely worth the money paid for. The only downside is that if the apom’s been sitting on the shelves for a while they tend to get cold and wouldn’t taste quite as good. Then again, 15-20 seconds in a microwave would fix that, or you could perhaps insist on freshly made ones.

The stall operates from about 5 pm till late, they also offer regular apom.

chicken porridge - simple comfort food
chicken porridge – simple comfort food

The chicken porridge stall at Ming Tien food court now has a pair of new operators that is familiar to anyone who frequents SS 2 mamak square. The kids that used to help out at the chicken rice stall at SS 2 are now running the show.

I’ve always loved their silky smooth steamed chicken, so it was my dinner choice the other night as I was looking for some comfort food to fill my stomach.

chicken porridge at Ming Tien, originally from SS2 mamak
chicken porridge at Ming Tien, originally from SS2 mamak

The chicken was identical to those offered at their parents’ stall, and the porridge too were quite flavorful in itself, with the dash of sesame oil, white pepper, and soya sauce. Bean sprouts is also offered as a separate dish, and on top of that, there’s chicken liver and gizzards as well.

It’s a shame that they don’t serve chicken rice here (most likely due to presence of other chicken rice stalls at the food court), but if you’re looking for some good chicken porridge, this is definitely one of them.

map to ming tien food court

Address:
Ming Tien Hawker Center
Jalan SS24/8, Taman Megah,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.114334, 101.611658

Penang Apom stall

I was first introduced to Restaurant Uncle Meng by a colleague of mine that simply said “the other day we went to this char siu place, it was good, lets go”, or something to that effect. So on one fine Friday over lunch (2 hours lunch wooho0), we drove all the way to Taman Shamelin for some good old BBQ pork.

restaurant uncle meng is actually a kopitiam
restaurant uncle meng is actually a kopitiam

We ordered char siu (BBQ pork) and roast chicken for the four of us, and like many other chicken rice places, soup is self served, you can take as many bowls as you like. They have roast pork here as well but it didn’t seemed to be their speciality and hence we decided to opt out on that. We also ordered some rice to go with the meat.

glorious char siu, as good as I've ever tasted
glorious char siu, as good as I’ve ever tasted

You get to choose the fattiness of the char siu, we had ours medium and it was glorious! The meat was super tender and you can cut through the fat just by gently slicing it with a blunt spoon. Accompanying the superb texture was the taste that did not disappoint, it was simple one of the best char siu I’ve ever had.

I found out that Meng Brother is actually the younger brother of Meng Kee char siu at Tengkat Tongshin (now at Jalan Alor), which is also the sibling of the equally superb Meng Kee at Shah Alam. The three brothers seemed to have Cheras, KL, and Shah Alam covered so far as awesome char siu goes.

Sheng here was enjoying his lunch to the fullest extend
Sheng here was enjoying his lunch to the fullest extend

As for the soup and roast chicken, they were of pretty decent quality too. If you crave for some good char siu that is priced decently and don’t mind making a drive to Taman Shamelin, check out Meng Brother’s!

map to Uncle Meng char siu at Taman Shamelin

Address:
Restaurant Uncle Meng
Jalan 6/91
Taman Shamelin, Cheras
Kuala Lumpur 56100
GPS: 3.123898, 101.738310

Restaurant Uncle Meng