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Nyonya Cuisine

MyKuali, Penang White Curry Noodle and More

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 14 - 20136 COMMENTS

The recent craze and hype for MyKuali’s Penang White Curry Noodles has brought us their headquarter where we were introduced not just to their famous instant noodle but also to their other range of products, ready to cook “Instant Pastes” used for preparing some of Penang’s local favourites like Sambal Seafood, Chicken Curry Kapitan, Chicken Satay, Hainanese Sour & Spicy Fish Curry and even a paste prepare Hainanese Chicken Rice. In addition to the local Penang flavours, MyKuali also has cooking pastes that caters to the Thai flavours with a Thai Chicken/Meat Curry paste and Thai Fish/Seafood Curry paste.

MyKuali is the house brand held by Sky Thomas Food Industries Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary company to Sky Resources Group. It was formed to diversify its business in the consumer food and beverage industry, where they have found the niche in developing, manufacturing and supplying ready to cook instant cooking paste and instant noodles that represent some of the all time favourite flavours found in Penang and around Asia.

MyKuali’s selection of Penang and Asian Flavoured Instant Pastes are manufactured using natural ingredients, herbs and spices that are blended to optimise satisfaction of the general mass market taste preference and acceptability. Apart from striving to produce near authentic Penang and Asian flavours from natural ingredients, they also strive to provide simplicity in preparing sophisticated Penang and Asian dishes for home cooked meals that not only help saves time spent in the kitchen but also economical in terms of money and cents. And for those who reminiscences the homey tastes and aroma that bellows from their mother’s cooking, it provides some form of relief and comfort with ease. All these have been proven with “The Competition for Traditional Malaysian Ready-To-Cook Paste” organized by Matrade Malaysia Kitchen, where their Chicken/Meat Curry Kapitan paste has been selected as one of the 15 finalists in the ongoing competition.

Other than supplying to the retail market, MyKuali also supports the commercial sector like restaurants, hotels, cafes, caterers and etc with their 1kg commercial packs to maximise the economies of scale for their high-tech equipments acquired for the sole purpose of producing the best quality and consistent products to supply to the ever demanding food and beverage market. To further strengthen their market position, MyKuali has also invested vastly in research and development to produce new products and to enhance the current ranges. Thus, the market would be expecting some new items to be added to its current instant noodle range in the near future. Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles and Tom Yam Noodles!

MyKuali’s instant noodle range is set apart from the common brands of noodles due to its insistence to include “Natural Paste” ingredients and seasoning. Take for instance their currently famous Penang White Curry Noodles, their first instant noodle product, which a packet of air dried noodle includes soup flavour seasoning, creamer and the most important Penang White Curry noodle chilli oil and paste. They try to replicate the original flavours produced by the famous Penang White Curry Noodle sold at the various hawker stalls in and around Penang, in sachets. It is that special blend of chilli and spices that gives that unique spicy, savoury yet sweet taste to a hot bowl of noodle. And not to forget the heat, it was the heat that got it into the spotlight after it was voted the 7th most spiciest instant noodle for the year 2013 by the “The Ramen Rater” blog. It is a first for a Malaysian made instant noodle product and brand.

MyKuali would be one of the newly minted Penang food and beverage brands that we will be paying attention to. Let’s see if they are able to create the same hype and interest with their other products like what they have achieved with their Penang White Curry Noodle instant noodle, and put Penang in the map for all the good reasons.

*For enquiries and information of places to purchase MyKuali’s products, please go to their Facebook Page or call them at +60 (4) 5022 529. 

The interview/article was published in Vouch free magazine in November 2013.

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Penang’s Asam Laksa, A Marriage of Cultures

Posted by Jason Wong On December - 17 - 20122 COMMENTS

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup that was formed through the fusion of Asian cultures. The dish can be found in Malaysia and Singapore, and Indonesia where migrant Chinese and Malays can be found coexisting in harmony irregardless of religion and and race. There are so many varieties of laksa out there, ready to be explored by gastronomist who has a pungent appetite for the ‘stronger’ ASEAN food cultures that have been molded by the demographic migrations, necessity and uniquely available local ingredients . Just in Malaysia itself there is already individually distinctive variations of laksa that lay claim by the state that they were “born” in. Some of the more well known ones other than the famous Penang Laksa:

  • Laksa Kelantan, boiled ‘ikan kembong’ or ‘round scad’, minced then fried with onions, garlic, ginger, datil pepper, belacan, ‘kantan‘ flower, Vietnamese coriander or ‘daun kesum’, lemon grass and dried tamarind slice. It is lastly finished off with coconut milk to transform the fishy soup stock into a thick gravy like soup with lots of body. The Lakas Kelantan is then served with rice noodles and adding ‘ulam‘ or raw vegetables and blended chili on the side.
  • Laksa Johor, is much complicated with the use of not only ‘ikan kembong’ and coconut milk, but also dried prawns, kerisik, lemon grass, galangal and spices akin to curry. Garnishing and condiments include not only slices of onion, cucumber and fresh lime juice; they also make use of bean sprouts, Vietnamese coriander and pickled white radish with a side of sambal belacan. For noodles, the usual cylindrical rice noodles are substituted with spaghetti pasta.
  • Laksa Sarawak , is a love or hate story. The soup base is mainly of  sambal belacan cooked with tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk. The common savings come with rice noodles or vermicelli, omelette strips, chicken strips, prawns, fresh coriander and lime for additional tanginess.

The infamous Asam Laksa that Penang is proud to be home to is the culmination of the Chinese and Malay cooking heritage that also forms the unique Peranakan culture. The Assam Laksa or commonly called Penang Laksa is a sour fish soup served with cylindrical rice noodles, various raw vegetable and herb toppings/condiments. The signature Asam Laksa soup is prepared by boiling either Ikan Kembong, Sardines or Ikan Selar, which we were told was the best type of fish to be used for the soup stock. After which a mixture of herb and spices are combined, pounded and added into the soup stock to spice up the flavours and to give it a dimension of flavours. Then Asam Jawa (tamarind juice) and Asam Gelugor (tamarind peel) are added to transform the sweet savoury soup into a soup filled with a balance of sweetness, acidity, spice, heat and body. A bowl of laksa is not complete without the colour contrasting garnishes and condiments that tops the firm and succulent heap of uniform cylindrical rice noodles. These garnishes do not just add a touch of visual beauty, but also enhances the taste of the steamy bowl of laksa to each individuals preference. They include cucumber, pineapple, Chinese lettuce and onions that constitute the julienned fresh vegetables. Then there is also the finely chopped bunga kantan or ginger bud, sliced red chilli and freshly picked mint leaves. Making the Asam Laksa your own also requires some seasoning of sorts, like adding the Pamersan cheese powder to a plate of pasta or finely chopped garlic into a bowl of thick and silky Hainanese Loh Mee . For Penang’s Asam Laksa, it is the notorious ‘hae ko’ a.k.a the thick and sweet prawn paste made from the simmering process of prawn juices and sugar, thus the creamy richness and sweet caramel taste. With all the above, you are ready to dig into a bowl of laksa that is not only filled with layers of flavour but also a bowl filled with the marriage of cultures and the taste of many years of heritage handed down from generations to generations.

Some of the common or well known tourist hotspots for Penang Assam Laksa are:

  1. Joo Hooi Cafe Address: 475 Jalan Penang, Penang. Bus. Hour: From 12pm to 5:30pm.GPS: N 5.417152, E 100.3306808
  2. Taman Emas kopitiam Address: Jalan Gottlieb, 10350 Georgetown, Penang. Bus. Hours: Daily from 2pm to 5pm, close on Monday. GPS: N 5.433316N, E 100.302864
  3. Air Itam Market Assam Laksa. Address: Jalan Pasar, 11500 Air Itam, Penang. (Beside the Air Itam Market). Bus. Hour : Daily from 11am to 5-6pm. GPS:  N 5.401193, E 100.277999
  4. Kim Laksa @ Nan Guang Coffee shop . Address:67,Jalan Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang. Bus. Hours: Daily from 11am to 5 pm, close on Wednesday. GPS: N 5 21.09204 E 100 14.13564
  5. Ah Teong’s Assam Laksa. Address: Chuan Heong Café, 118,Jalan Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang. Bus. Hours: Daily from 11am to 5pm, close on Monday. GPS:  N 5 21.09204 E 100 14.13564
  6. Mizi’s Tanjung Bungah Assam Laksa. Address: Shamrock Beach, Tanjung Bungah, Penang. Bus. Hours: Saturday & Sundays only from 9am to 6pm. GPS:

Our preferred Penang Assam Laksa joints are:

  •  Air Itam Market Assam Laksa – for its smooth, tender yet springy ‘nai fun’ a.k.a  laksa noodles.
  • Ah Teong’s  Assam Laksa @ Chuan Heong Café – for its balanced spicy(spicy as in filled with herbs and spices), tart and sweet soup base (without prawn paste added) made using traditional Peranakan methods.
  • Mizi’s Tanjung Bungah Assam Laksa – for its Malay & Peranakan fusion soup base that is light and tart, minus the strong fishy taste.

This article was published on Vouch in their Novenber 2012 issue.

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aaaaahhhh………Still remember Ivy’s Kitchen Combo Meal posted a month ago?

I feel a bit bad towards to Mr.Tan & Ivy for owing the a-lar cart dinner post for such a long time. 🙁

Ok now, Ivy’s Kitchen also have available dishes on a-lar-cart order for dinner time besides the lunch combos that cater to the OLs and OMs in the near by office blocks.

At Night they serve Chinese and Nyonya dishes, and the followings are my verdict for some of the dishes served for the invited review dinner do:

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The Big Banner hanging in front of the restaurant is eye catching. Jason has given Mr. Tan some ideas to make the restataurant’s brand name more visible to attract those who drive on Jalan Chow Thye. One of them was to place a extended vertical banner similar to that used by Japanese restaurants to show-off its name because the current banner is slightly out of sight by car drivers.


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Sweet and Sour Flower Crab (market price)

The sauce combination is thick and very flavorful, and i can taste the distinctive sweet crab meat flavor from the first mouthful.

The flower crab flesh was indeed very meaty & fresh, it is a testament to the quality ingredients that they used here. To be frank, is my first encounter with such a meaty flower crab. Usually flower crab ain’t that meaty. The dish is a good mate for a bowl of fragrant white rice.

It was good, but there was a slightly sweet after taste. Light handed on the sugar is necessary.

Rating for the dish: 3.9/5

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Gulai Tumis Chinese Silver Pomfret (market price)

Gulai Tumis usually would be Malaysian’s favourite, when talk and think about the dish one would start begin to experience a  saliva tsunami in the mouth. Hahaha…

What is so special about the Gulai? It is all about the spiciness of the chili paste, sourly taste of tamarind, pungent smell of lemongrass, light perfumery bungah kantan (tourh ginger) to make it became a mouth watering dish.

Above all ingredients, Ivy’s Kitchen version has additional Green Chilies and tomatoes. The Silver Promfret was fresh, but the fish was slightly over cooked because there some late arrivals due to the traffic situation.  I personally would prefer the silver pomfret put into the steaming tray rather into the gulai tumis if the fish still extremely fresh.  🙂

Rating for the dish: 3.7/5

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Assam Prawns (RM20 for 10 prawns)

Look at that divine caramelised colour!

There are 2 types of assam prawn, either with thick gravy or dried.  And here they served dried and crispy assam prawn with wonderful flavors .

I would say this nyonya assam prawn was very authentic to me. Although here in Malaysia there are tones of restaurant serving the same dish, but rarely you would get the same “good” nyonya assam prawn.

But don’t be sad, you can now taste the very nicely marinated and pan fried to perfection assam prawn in Ivy’s kitchen. The tamarind flavour is not overpowering; sweet and sour on the right balance. Thumbs Up!

Rating for the dish: 4/5

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Fried Bean curd with Leeks

This was a simple homey dish with wok hei. It was slightly dried, a little more gravy and leeks should be better.

Again, it was slightly over sweeten.

Rating for the dish: 3.6/5

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Tofu with Seaweed Soup

Seaweed soup with distinctive and clear flavours! This is the freshest seaweed flavour and aroma that I never taste before. No wonder Japanese like it so much. But again it was slightly over sweeten with the seasoning.

The soup come together with sliced carrots, fish balls, cabbages, minced chicken balls and prawns, and of course generous amounts of  the fragrant seaweed 😛

Rating for the dish: 3.8/5

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Fried Snow Pea Shoots with Bean Sprouts

The combination of snow pea shoots and bean sprout stir fried was not popular not until the recent years. I and jason still remember we had our curry fish head in Alor Star and we discovered this combination of stir frying of snow pea shoots and bean sprouts for the first time back in 2006 or 2007. Something interesting, as the friendly curry fish head chef cum owner told us, bean sprout gives the sweetness and evenly match the bitterness and rough texture of the snow pea shoots.

Anyway, the easiest dish is the hardest to master, more skill is needed. This dish in Ivy’s has that homey taste with wok hei.  But the bean sprouts were slightly overcooked, thus, the loss of that crunchy feeling. But the fragrant garlic bits compensated for that..

Rating for the dish: 3.7/5

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Fruits Platter

After all the dishes, big plate of fruits was sent to our table, with chunks of sweet mango, papaya and longan.

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Note: ivy’s kitchen is serves pork free dishes.

Average rating for this place:

2.9/5 for value (slightly over priced for seafood, but it was on market forces)
3.8/5 for taste & texture (taste of home cook meals, but there is still room to excel especially on the handling of certain ingredients and the seasoning)
3.8/5 for service
4.0/5 for cleanliness
3.0/5 for atmosphere (not much of decoration. evening got lots of mosquito due to the neighbours plants but they are looking into environmental friendly ways to get rid of this minor problem)

Location:

Add : 58 Jalan Chow Thye, 10250 Penang. (Next to Isaribi Tei and near by Jemputree)

Tel : 013-433 7878 (Mr. Tan), 016-433 7130 (Ms. Ivy)

Business Hours : Daily 9:00am-9:00pm from Monday to Sunday. Saturday 12:00pm-9:00pm.

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Arranged Review-Ivy’s Kitchen Combo Meals

Posted by Jason Wong On May - 17 - 20097 COMMENTS

For Ivy’s Kitchen, an arrangement was made for some of us food bloggers to sample their spread of a-lar-carte dishes and combo meals. The a-la-carte sampling was held on a Friday night and the combo meals were arranged for on Sunday’s lunch. It was good because we could just waltz in after Sunday Service. The Sunday lunch sampling was mainly to introduce the various sets and combinations that Ivy’s Kitchen can dish out daily. Other than sampling the meals, we were also given the opportunity to put-up some personal feedbacks on the food and also give some thoughts on the possibility to utilise some of our know-how to attract and improve in certain areas ranging from food quality and business management.

As usual we try to make it slightly earlier to capture some kitchen action, thus the following shots were possible.

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The value sets or combo meals are specially created to cater to those who need to grab a quick bite that is value for their money. The combo meals are priced from RM 7.50 to RM 9.00 per set and what one would get is a rice set, a glass of freshly squeeze fruit juice and dessert, and for noodle sets they are accompanied with ‘thong shui’ and jelly dessert. You can say that their combo meals cater to both rice drums(fun tong) and noodle freaks.

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If one does not prefer to get stuffed and just to fill the tank emperor, you could opt for the a-la-carte noodles and porridge offerings.

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Combo A: Chicken Rendang

At RM9.00 per set, one would be served with a piece of tender creamy rich aromatic chicken cut, a  bowl of white rice(not nasi lemak because it would be to rich with all that coconut milk), half an egg, deep fried anchovies and peanuts, papadum and achar or pickles vegetables.

Rendang is a dish which originated from an ethnic group of Indonesia, Minangkabau. In many cases the rendang is mentioned as curry, but authentically the rendang is anything but curry. Rendang is prepared through a slow cooking process of the meat of choice in coconut milk and spices until almost all the liquid is evaporated and the aroma and taste of the spices and creamy richness of the coconut milk are absorb by the meat. And through this slow cooking process it allows the meat to become tender, even beef.

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Combo B: Beef Rendang

The combo of beef rendang and rice shares the same side dishes as in combo A but is cheaper by RM0.50, at RM8.50 per set. Both chicken and beef rendang shared the same characteristics, creamy, rich, and aromatic, but the beef rendang was slightly spicier hot. Although the rendang dish calls for a slow cooked tender chunk of meat, the beef rendang today had some chewy chunks. One of the reasons for this is that the chewy chunks had less or no fatty contents. But yet is not enough of a reason to shun from this dish.

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Combo C: Nasi Lemak

At RM7.50 per set, one could expect a coconut rich fragrant bowl of rice accompany with a halved hard boiled egg, ‘sambal’ anchovies that is prominent with the colour of turmeric and sweet, deep fried chicken wing minus the drum- met, deep fried sardine, crisp anchovies and peanuts and fish cracker. Alternatively, one could substitute the chicken wing and sardine with a bigger fish like the deep fried stuffed cincaru or hard tail mackerel for RM9.00. Personally, I would like to have bigger piece of chicken to fill my tank while still maintaining the price at RM7.50. What are people looking for now is something which tasty, economical and yet able to fill them up.

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This stuffed hard tail mackerel in its raw form.  The stuffing consists various type of herbs and spices, and the predominant taste that one will get to experience from this fish is the sourness of tamarind, the fragrant of Kaffir lime leafs and the heat from the chilli paste. This stuffed hard tail mackerel is sold at RM3.80 per fish.

Combo D: Fish Fillet Noodles in clear soup

This set is for the noodle freaks and light tasting food fans, and it is only  RM9.00 for a bowl of noodle topped with generous amounts of deep fried dory fish fillet and chicken meat balls, accompanied with thong shui and dessert. One could choose from your noodle of choice from instant noodles to rice vermicelli(bee hoon), glass noodles(tang hoon) to plain old rice porridge. The soup is clear and sweet with a noticebale taste  of sesame seed oil as a condiment.  When requesting for the rice porridge version, do expect a more hard hitting sweet taste of ‘tung choy’ (type of Chinese preserved vegetable with sweet and salty taste) in soup. This because by substituting the noodle with cooked rice, the light clear soup would have its taste overwhelmed by the rice, thus the usage of ‘tung choy’ is call for. If you are a person who can’t taste anything lite, it is would not be a good choice to choose combo D.

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Other than the combo meals that are mentioned here, one could also try out their lite snacks and other a-lar-carte dishes.

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Average rating for this place:

3.1/5 for value (slightly above averagely priced for combo meals as comapred to economy rice, but with fresh juice and dessert it should break-even nicely)
3.7/5 for taste & texture (taste of home cook meals, but there is still room to excel)
3.8/5 for service
3.9/5 for cleanliness
3/5 for atmosphere (not much of decoration. evening got lots of mosquito due to the neighbours plants but they are looking into environmental friendly ways to get rid of this minor problem)

Location:

Add : 58 Jalan Chow Thye, 10250 Penang. (Next to Isaribi Tei and near by Jemputree)

Tel : 013-433 7878 (Mr. Tan), 016-433 7130 (Ms. Ivy)

Business Hours : Daily 9:00am-9:00pm from Monday to Sunday. Saturday 12:00pm-9:00pm.

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