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Review: Pearl Palace Restaurant, The Chinese Halal Banquet in Penang

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 16 - 2009 |

UPDATE! The Chef Wong (who prepared the dishes for the review) has left the restaurant sometime in 2011.

On the 1st of October 2009, we attend a arranged review at little know restaurant in Sungai Ara. Pearl Palace restaurant is housed in the former Pearl Island Golf Resort main building which now serves as the sales office and country club for SP Setia. Unless one has attend a wedding banquet there, it would have been foreign to you. It is quite off track from the Sungai Ara main road, which one of the reasons that it is under patronised. The dinner review was prepared by Pearl Palace’s manager cum head chef, Mr. Wong, whom we got to know recently.

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Pearl Palace Restaurant is on the 1st Floor of SP Setia country club. The dining area could easily accommodate 30 tables with plenty of space left for wedding banquets, company functions, etc.

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There is a full view of the Penang International Airport and Bayan Lepas industrial area  from their dining hall during the day time.

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And during the night time, diners can enjoy the night lights of the airport and the surrounding area.

Upon entering the Pearl Palace’s, the interior is full of typical Chinese statues, displays filled with the many dried and canned ingredients used in their dishes, a collection of tea pots and other decorative items.

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After all the attendees of the review arrived, the diner began with their much sort after ‘Fish Pot or Fish Steam Boat’. The main ingredient would be the fish, but without a good stock to begin with would be futile. The ‘Fish Pot’ soup had other than their base stock; there were pieces of deep fried fish bones, fish head, Chinese cabbage and ginger.

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The usual fish used for their ‘Fish Pot’ is the common red snapper, but it was grouper for us as they did not get any nice red snapper for the day. In fact, the fish is determined by the market supply as freshness is of the utmost importance. After the fish has been deboned and sliced, its bones and head are used to further enhance the flavour of the soup.  To compliment the fish fillets, tofu, raw spinach and rice are served with ‘Fish Pot’ set.

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Chunky fresh Grouper fillets laying on a bed of spinach and tofu.

FV-091001-Pearl Palace_34Their friendly waitress is seen here putting the fish, tofu and spinach into the boiling hot soup.

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The fish was fresh, soup was indeed flavorful, smooth and sweet. Good till the last drop! [My rating : 4.5/5]

Before we could stop savouring the ‘Fish Pot’, the ‘Steamed Bean Curd with Prawn and Salted Egg’ was served. It is a light dish but full of flavour. The dish is made up of Japanese round tofu stuffed with fish paste/patty and topped with a unshelled prawn, which is later put to the steamer.  After it is cooked, a starchy sauce is drizzled on and topped with sands of salted duck egg yoke. To contrast the texture of the soft tofu and fish paste, Brussels sprout was used to offer a slight crunch texture to this dish and also a a garnish. But my wife thinks that broccoli would be more attractive in terms of colour contrast compare to the pale color of the sprouts.

Gill in her notes mentioned that the fish paste was kind of bland in terms of taste and colour, and suggested that may be chopped spring onions could mixed into the paste to some colour and flavour. As for the prawn, it was quite fresh and sweet. The salted duck egg yoke gave some sense of savouriness and fragrant, but it was a bit dry.

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Overall the ‘Steamed Beancurd with Prawns and Salted Egg Yoke was a light, sweet with a slight savory dish which would appeal to many if not all.  Price of servings: small  RM25, medium  RM35 and large RM45.  [My rating : 3.9/5]

‘Braised Bamboo Shoot with Enoki Mushrooms’ is a vegetarian dish which looks plain and simple but the addition of tomatoes made it look more attractive to our sense of sight. This vegetarian dish offers more in the area of texture rather than taste as the shoots and Enoki mushrooms do not have much flavour in them. The taste comes from the preparation process and the sauce.

As usual the Enoki mushrooms had an earthy flavour with a light sour after taste. The bamboo shoot was flavourful as it has soaked up the tasty sauce and the texture was what we had experience before, soft and fibres with some crunch to it. But the uncooked tomatoes were exactly complimentary to the taste, but for garnishing is gives colour..

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Overall the Braised Bamboo Shoot with Enoki Mushroom is not something that we personally fond of. Price per serving size: Small RM15, Medium RM22, Large RM35. [My rating : 3/5]

The next dish was what we wanted to have the bloggers try but was shy to request as we knew that it would be quite expensive to ask for. And to our surprise Mr. Wong had arranged for the ‘Braised Dry Abalone and See Product in Clay Pot’.  This claypot dish contains various ‘luxurious’ dry sea products that are synonym to high end Chinese dining. It had small dried Japanese abalone, dried oyster, dried fish maw, sea cucumber, fresh scallop, clams and some vegetables(carrot and sweet peas).
Dried abalone and dried sea cucumber require lots of time to work to prepare, which is one of the reasons dishes that contain them are normally pricey.  The abalone was smooth and firm, but some of the bloggers did commented that some were slightly arduous pieces with a slightly firmer mid section. The taste of the gravy was a bit of a over taste, I and Gill found it to be a dash too salty for our liking. We could also taste a slightly more distinctive taste of oyster sauce  and pepper, which may have led to the saltier taste. We were told that they prefer Japanese abalones due to their firmer texture and quality. And the chef also explain that certain abalones although prepared in the similar method and duration, the texture would still stay firmer than others, after we commented that there some chewy ones.

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Other than some arduous abalones and slight saltier taste, it would have been an excellent dish and the gravy would be great to go with rice or noodles. Price per serving size: Small RM80, Medium RM160, Large RM220. [My rating: 3.8/5]

Chicken was served next, ‘Deep Fried Chicken with Marmite Sauce’. The chicken tenders were lightly batter coated and deep fried until golden in colour, then stir fried in their marmite base sauce. Gill thought they were fish fillets due to the soft texture. The chicken was very tender and moist, but the dish felt a bit dry as the marmite has dried up after the batter coat soaked up the sauce.  She prefer to have more sauce on the dish so that the chicken would not feel dry in our mouth. If too much sauce was applied, then the batter would turn soggy, Mr. Wong explained.  Or just let the deep fried chicken pieces be served as they are without any sauce. Crispy on the surface and tender moist chicken meat inside and serve with the marmite sauce on the side is what we might have tried. But then, the taste would have been different!

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Deep Fried Chicken with Marmite Sauce, a common taste presented differently, was something that we have not tried. Overall the taste was fine, just that some pieces felt slightly drier than others. Price per serving size: Small RM12, Medium RM20, Large RM30 [My rating: 3.7/5]

This time it is really fish, ‘Pomfret in 2 Preparations’. This dish shows the difference between ‘Normal Restaurant’ and ‘Hotel or Five Star style Restaurants’ chef’s cooking experience. Mr. Wong was put to task to make is fish dish that call for the fish to be stir-fried and the other half steamed. It would need a well synchronisation of timing and flavours to have this dish served hot and able to have the flavours differentiated but not overwhelming each other.

The stir fried portion was a thumb up for everyone who was present, except for the nuts that had stale after taste. The smooth fish fillets were stir fried with celery, cashew nuts and carrots, with light gravy to glisten and moisten the dish. But the steam version had some comments that it was dry. I guess this because the steam version’s sauce was not the usual watery type, but of a thicker consistency to have it clinging to the fresh fish fillets for plating. May be the duration of photographing the dish also took its toll on the steam fish.

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Overall a good flavour contrast with more preferences to the stir fried version.  And a barrier between two different preparations would have a better visual effect. Price per serving size would be base on the daily market price of the fish.  [My rating: 4/5]

We are all filled to the brim after the 6th course, but we still have to find ‘parking’ space for their ‘Fried Wet Hor Fun with Sliced Abalone’. The ‘Hor Fun’ had the wok sear or ‘wok hei’ aroma and taste. As for the gravy it was light and sweet with an eggy flavour. After all the photo shooting, I could still find yellowish streams of liquid egg yoke floating in the gravy. Just nice! Accompanying the ‘hor fun’, were shitake mushrooms, chicken slices, sticks of ‘bak choi’ and slices of abalone. The abalone is an optional topping to have. For me simple is gold. Just simple ingredients made or cooked to perfection to have their flavours and texture shine is the best skill a chef could have.

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Overall a well presented simpletons dish made to shine, but the ‘hor fun’ was lumpy and mash up as it was kept in the fridge to prevent contamination. The price per serving size: Small RM12, Medium RM24, Large RM38 [My rating: 3.9/5]

Finally, the last sampling of the night was the dessert. As there more Ying than Yang, the chef made something especially for the ladies, ‘Double Boiled Aloe Vera with Red Dates’. The dessert had Aloe Vera, red dates and wolfberries double boiled and sweeten with rock sugar. It is simple to make but full of nourishment and goodness. The aloe vera was boiled with the other ingredients so that the flavours and goodness are infused and to present a jelly like texture.

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The aloe vera with red dates dessert was a good ending to a hearty meal. But it was a bit too sweet for some. We believe the extra sweetness may have come from the red dates that were used.  The price per serving size: Small RM8, Medium RM18, Large RM30 [My rating: 4.5/5]

The last photos show the chef and manager of Pearl Palace asking for honest feedbacks from the attending food bloggers that faithful night. He also shared some tips and experience he had gain through the years in his line of work.

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To sum up our experience at Pearl Palace Restaurant:

Taste & Texture: 3.8/5
Money Value : 3.5/5
Service: 3.8/5
Cleanliness: 4.5/5 (way to hotel standard)
Atmosphere: 4.5/5 (relaxing place with the airport and seaview, where else you can get? :P)

Personal liking(s):

1. Fish Steamboat

2.  Steam Bean Curd with Prawns and Salted Egg Yoke

3. Fried Hor Fun

4. Double Boiled Aloe Vera with Red Dates

List of attending Food Bloggers:


Allie Food Talk

Buzzing Bee

Cariso Delicacies Corner


Food Promotion



Pearl Palace offers (copy from cariso-food.blogspot.com):
Steamboat packages
RM68++ (max 4 pax per table)
RM128++ (max 7 pax per table)
RM228++ (max 10 pax per table)
Set Meal package
RM48+ (max 2-3 pax per table)
RM118+ (max 4-6 pax per table)
RM228+ (max 7-10 pax per table)
Wedding package at the restaurant
For year 2010 (including ballrooom rental) available in RM368+, RM428+, RM588.
For year 2010 (excluding ballrooom rental) available in RM338+.

Pearl Palace Restaurant

Setia Pearl Island Country Club
8 Persiaran Kelicap, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Tel: 604-643 9888, 644 9355 Fax: 604-645 9888
Business Hour: 11am – 3pm and 6pm – 10pm (Close on Monday)

Fish Steamboat ??

View Bayan Lepas Food in a larger map


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8 Responses to “Review: Pearl Palace Restaurant, The Chinese Halal Banquet in Penang”

  1. NKOTB says:

    very detailed review…
    .-= NKOTB´s last blog ..Home Style Restaurant ???? =-.


  2. buzzingbee says:

    yes very detailed. I also rate the fish steamboat as a must try here 🙂


  3. Steven Goh says:

    very detail review. I love the Steam Boat Fish too… I also love the Abalone and See Product in Clay Pot nice.
    .-= Steven Goh´s last blog ..Exclusive Wedding Dinner Package @ Pearl Palace Restaurant – Setia Pearl Island , Sungai Ara =-.


  4. allie says:

    What a detail review you’ve got here! And thanks again for the invitation!
    .-= allie´s last blog ..Ah Weng Koh Famous Hainan Coffee and Roti Kahwin @ Imbi Market =-.


  5. jmunhoe says:

    wedding receptions package


  6. soleha adenan says:

    i wanted to rent the foodcourt at teluk kumbar for chinese food halal for those interested cal me 013 4541230.


  7. Wan Razali Wan Ismail says:

    We are looking for cooks to run a Chinese Muslim Restaurant in Kota Bharu on Profit Sharing basis. We have a very potential shop in town.

    Interested please email or call 016-8105981.

    Wan Razali


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Please email me your contact number, and I will contact you.


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