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Blogger Events: 4th Penang Food Bloggers Gathering

Posted by Jason Wong On August - 26 - 200910 COMMENTS

Last weekend, on the 15th of August us Penang Food and Lifestyle Floggers had our much anticipated 4th mass gathering at Vintage Bulgaria in Tanjung Bungah. This gathering saw a three fold growth in terms of attendees compared to the 1st one that we had last year, which was in August too. The first gathering at Hai Nan Town had only 10 floggers from 8 blogs attending. The increase in head count and blog count was all made possible with the team spirit of the “old birds” in the existing group and the hard work of the organiser of this gathering, namely Alan and Allie.

This isn’t my virgin dining experience to Vintage Bulgaria, the first and last time we dined there was on 6th of October last year. The delicacies that we had then and now have somewhat changed. But anyway the night was not really about food, it was mainly about people, exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge and most of all have fun.

Bulgarian cuisine is a representative of South-Eastern Europe, which is famous for its rich salads before every meal, diversity and quality of the use of diary products, variety of hot and cold soups and the different types of  Bulgarian pastries.

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The last we dine there, me and Gill chose the dining area on the lower ground which looks something like the photo below.

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For this gathering, we had the luxury of having the whole second floor to ourselves. I remember that they were mentioning about preparing the second floor for functions and parties last year.

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The event started with the floggers’ arrival from 7:00pm onwards. For those who arrived early were busy mingling around and having their photos taken candidly.

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For the extremes, ass grabbing was also in the list of activities.

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It was thoughtful for the restaurant to prepare a prop table and an extra set of each main course that was on the nights’ set menu that was specially designed for our gathering. The arrangement was of great help in the photo taking session for all the floggers. At least we would not need to go to different tables to get the full set of photos of the dishes served.

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The set menu was custom catered for our gathering, which explains the special price that we enjoyed for the night. On normal days for the three course dinner plus coffee or tea that we had on that night would have cost more. That is why I guess there were many inquiries for the set menu from the public on that particular night. And thus, the restaurant decided to serve all their guess for the night from the set menu. In terms of publicity, the gathering has contributed some awareness for Vintage Bulgaria through our collective power. For this instance, the keyboard is mightier then the sword.

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The three course dinner started with a choice of two soups to choose from, ‘Mushroom Soup with Vintage Garlic Bread’ and Seafood Soup. The Mushroom soup tasted earthy with the loads of mushroom bits infused into it, and rich but not overwhelmingly rich. In short it did not taste like the common commercial canned soup that one would get from an average restaurant. The accompanying Vintage Garlic Bread was something to brag about too. The bread was crisp on the rim, and soft and creamy in the centre with the luscious amount of cheese.  It was well paired to the Mushroom Soup as it gave it that additional kick in terms of flavour.

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Then there was the Seafood Soup which felt more like seafood chowder not because it was thicken with cream or flour, but it was thick because of the vast amounts of tuna, carrot and etc ingredients that were pounded into it. Taste wise as Gill puts it, it tasted full of fresh seafood flavour with the grainy texture of the ingredients found in the soup.

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After the starters then came the main course. I had the ‘Bulgarian Pork Djolan’ and Gill had the ‘Bulgarian Platter’. The Pork Djolan was something different from the German Pork Knuckles that we have tried in Kota Damansara and the Irish Knuckles that we ate at Fennigan’s Pub in Mid Valley. Different from what we have tried in terms of knuckles be it German, Irish or simply Chinese, the Pork Djolan had a more intense flavour, sweeter and saltier with some hint herb or spice. The knuckle was crisp on the skin and moist and tender under it. Due to the heavy flavour on the surface, some may feel that the meat was slightly bland. But then if the marinate had work itself into the depth of the meaty areas, then I might not have tasted the original sweet flavour of the knuckle. In fact the knuckle was already tasty on its, thus there was not a need for any dipping sauce or gravy, especially the accompanying BBQ like sauce which would have murdered the flavours of what the knuckle could deliver.

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Me taking the hands on approach on the 101 ways of enjoying the Djolan Knuckle to the last fibers!

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Gill had the Bulgarian Platter, which we find somewhat dry and salty to our liking.  As we are not foreign to this dish, we have come to a conclusion that the first platter that we had way back last year was more flavourful and tastier. Portion wise the latest version had more to offer with the amounts of potato and vegetable side dishes.

Latest version of Bulgarian Platter

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Last year’s version of the Bulgarian Platter

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Next on the main course choices, was the ‘Chicken Stroganov’, which have its origins starting in the 19th century from Russia. Stroganov is a dish with strips of meat sautéed and served in a sauce that contains sour cream. TheNomadGourmand had this main, which she graciously shared with us. The chicken strips were tender; sauce was smoothly rich and earthy with hints of capsicum flavour in it. To us the best was to have the chicken strips and using the mash to mop up the sauce and enjoy!

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Then there was the Plovdiv Ribs, which I and Gill have tried on our first visit to Vintage Bulgaria. And again, this dish has gone through some changes. Changes that I and Gill did not really wanted except for the increased portion size.  The version served for at the event had a sweeter taste, like BBQ Ribs.

Plovdiv Ribs that were served during the event

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Plovdiv Ribs that we enjoyed last yearfv-081006-vintage-bulgaria-29

The last choice of entrees was the ‘ Baked Cod fish with creamy Mushroom Sauce’ which was left cold and dry to hang. There were no takers for this dish and the tasting was from the plate that was brought out for the photo shoots. We did not indulge in this dish, thus nothing can be commented.

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After the savory main course and the most sort for by the sweet tooth’s, was the desserts. In the list we had a choice of ‘Chocolate Crème Brûlée’ and ‘Chocolate Soup’. As usual we had both choices as there two us. The Chocolate Crème Brûlée was smooth and rich in chocolate flavour. One down side of this dessert was that the top layer of burnt sugar was too thick and coarse. It contributed a big contrast in the texture and sweetness. A finer grain of sugar would have better match to my liking.

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The ‘Chocolate Soup’ was served chilled, which is part of the Bulgarian dining culture, tasted like “high-end” chocolate drink with vanilla ice-cream and choc powder sprinkles. I kind of like it because I like to drink “Milo kau” or thick Milo. It is something good to drink to comfort the soul with. The dessert soup was rich and full that I was filled to the brim after downing the whole mug of it.

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As the desserts were served, we new that it was almost time to bid farewell but that did not stop us to have more fun before the curtain closes for this gathering. Other than the desserts on the set menu list, we also had the privileged to be sponsored with cakes from Dennie Yeap of Winter Butterfly Homemade Cakes and gelatos from Gelatisimo. As I was busy fooling around and chit chatting, I did not have a fair taste of the cakes and am unable to comment on them.

Oreo Cheese Cake

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Chocolate Brownies

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Cream Cheese Mousse Cake

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And with the cakes an ad-hoc decision was made to celebrate the birthdays of the attending floggers’ birth date that falls with in July, August and September.

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As we rich the end of the event we had some group photos taken the Penang Food Flogger way, crazy and wild to the end!

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Bulgarian Meal at Jalan Sungai Kelian, Penang.

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 16 - 20085 COMMENTS
The next day, 7th Oct., will be Gill’s birthday, but we will be preoccupied with preparations for the forth coming discussion at the end of the week, thus we decided to celebrate a day earlier and at place near to home. With much deliberation, at the end we decided to try out a place which CK & Lingzie have tried and blogged about, Vintage Bulgaria (VB).

Vintage Bulgaria is located on Jalan Sungai Kelian, just next to Ingolf Knipes. The proprietors has made some modification to the shop unit there, which was previously two storeys, to make it now two and half storeys. The lower ground floor would be the non-smoking dining area with a low lit ambient environment, which is a good place to go for romantic couples. The upper ground floor has bar and dining area too, thus it would be a bit ‘happening’ area for the energetic person. Then there is the 1st floor, which is still under works, that will will be their function room. Silviya, one of the owners of the place, informed me that the function room/floor may fit up to 60 pax. Therefore, a small party could be held there.

Lower ground dining area(top pix). Ground dining area and entrance(bottom pix).

The first dish that was served was the Shepperd’ Salad, with eggs, black olive, mushroom, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, capsicums and feta cheese. The salad was light and refreshing because it did not come with all the common dressings like Thousand Island, Mayo or other heavy, creamy dressings. Gill and I actually like to have our salads lightly dressed with just olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and season with pepper and salt. Thus, we will be able to taste the freshness and sweetness and feel the texture of the vegetables and its condiments in our mouth. Going back to the Shepperd’s Salad, it was filled with the above, and thus we enjoyed the dish until the very last piece. But the salad is only good if you were forked all the ingredients of salad and eat it in a mouth full. In this way, then the explosion of freshness from the vege, sourness from the tomatoes, creaminess from the cheese, richness from the hard boil egg+yokes and saltiness from the black olives will hit the sense on your tongue and mouth. straight forward but complex experience.


The second dish to come was their Crepe Rila. A very good combination of flavours, salty cheese, earthy mushroom, sweet chicken and rich mayo. But the crepe skin was a bit of a disappointment, not enough egg and slightly on the the thick side. Overall it was a good dish.

For the main course, we had their Plovdiv Ribs and Platter Bulgaria. The Plovdiv Ribs if compared to the ribs from Tony Roma’s, it will a bit of a put off not on taste but on portion. Taste wise it is a total different style from Tony Roma’s, as the ribs (VB) is usually dry without glazing. But it was fragrant, with just enough seasoning meat dish. The meat patties, sausages and pork chop in the Platter Bulgaria should be home made, but they were not juicy nor moist and slightly salty taken on its own. The meat patties brought back memories of the house made pork burger patties my parents used to buy from the old Cold Storage in Penang Plaza, which has disappeared with their initial shut down many many years ago when I was still in Primary. In fact the two meat dishes would be better savoured with more potato, vegetables and pickled baby onions/shallots.


After trying out their signature meat dishes, we decided to try their signature desert the Baklava. It is made of mixed nut caramelised in sugar wrap in ‘Poh Piah‘ skin and drenched in honey. The sweet and nutty taste was just what we needed to cleanse our taste buds of the salty and oily taste and feeling. They have actually taken the effort to improve this desert, but still it needs more work on the texture of the skin and the presentation. The skin was a bit tough and hard to handle. For presentation, it could be decorated with some mint leaves. And for serving, it could be served hot and crispy and accompanied with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make it crispy, and thus easier to handle yet cool enough when taken with the ice cream. But that is only my opinion, which have not been tested.


Although some of the set backs, I would definitely find the effort to revisit the place due to service rendered by their staffs. We like the style of waiting provided by this F&B outlet. The waiter/waitress are allocated to an area and are to wait the table until its guests leave. This enables the waiter/waitress to fully serve the guests and create the relationship with the guests and also get to know their likes and dislikes. I still remember the waitress who waited on us is Queenie who was friendly, informative and helpful, but somewhat shy at the beginning of the service.

On average, I would give this place:

  • 3.3/5 for value (although the total bill was only RM 101.00)
  • 3.5/5 for taste (because of the reduced portion of side vege with the main course and dry meat)
  • 4.3/5 for service
  • 4.5/5 for cleanliness
  • 4.5/5 for atmosphere
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