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Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Bukit Tambun

Poon Choi At Ho Ho Food World Seafood Restaurant

Posted by Jason Wong On December - 27 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Our first encounter with Poon Choi was some four five years back, while on a business trip to Kuala Lumpur. And our first home-cooked Poon Choi was in 2009, since then we have been looking and tasting this unique Hakka delicacy when opportunity strikes. There were good ones and bad ones, and there is a variety of versions that are available on offer by many established restaurants.

Poon Choi (盆菜) is traditionally a Hakka dialect delicacy that is myth to have fed a Song Dynasty Emperor who was seeking refuge from the ensuing Mongols.  As the Hakka’s live in the mountainous regions and live was not as well then, they prepared and cooked what was the best ingredient  they could manage or find  and layered them into a wooden basin that was then served to the emperor and his loyal subjects that were with him.  As time goes by, this unique delicacy has found its way to Hong Kong’s Yuen Long (元朗) and made famous by the constant exposure in TVB serials and Hong Kong movies.

Our most recent encounter was at HoHo Food World, where we had the privilege to experience what they could deliver in terms of flavours and ingredient selections at a reasonable price tag with fellow bloggers (invited review) and then with family.

The Poon Choi is made to order by reservation of at least one day before dining. It is all done by their chef who have had years of experience in preparing Chinese cuisines in reputable restaurant in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

HoHo Food World’s Poon Choi has an estimated 15 to 17 different main ingredients that builds up one of their signature dishes that they have on offer at their restaurant.

The most luxurious would be the firm and springy sea cucumber, the flavourful fish maw, the earthy dried scallop and dried oysters, the savoury sea asparagus and freshly fried prawns, and last but not least the smooth firm abalone. Note that they serve individual abalone for each individual diner, and their Poon Choi caters to 5 persons for the smallest order and up to 12 diners for the biggest set available.

Then there was the well prepared creamy yam and chicken, the smoky roast duck and chicken ham, the firm clam slices, the irony green broccoli, and an array of stewed mushrooms, carrots, radish and Chinese cabbage.
The gravy of the Poon Choi has a light sweet, earthy and nutty flavour with a creamy end from the yam used. It is not soupy like those with have encountered previously, it had a thick consistency which we have been searching for.

HoHo Food World

Add: 1301, Bagan Bukit Tambun, 14110 Simpang Ampat, SPS, Pulau Pinang.

Tel: +6016 5205535

Our overall experience:

Taste 3.5/5 (Good) Liked the natural flavours.
Texture 3.5/5 (Good) Good texture in the abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw, prawns, sea asparagus, etc.
Service 3.0/5 (Good) Heard they will be getting in more staff.
Cleanliness 3.0/5 (Good) Clean but due to its location flies are around during day time dining.
Atmosphere 3.5/5 (Good) Scenic view of the river with flocks of bird passing by during the day and evening.
Price 3.0/5 (Average) Comparable or cheaper then the surrounding restaurants.
Portion 3.5/5 (Good) Not bad, but would like to have more to bite on.
Value 4.0/5 (Good) Quality ingredients were provided.
Consistency 3.5/5 (Good) Have been back there for not less than 4 times.
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Many people say that ‘food blogging’ is all fun & play, but I beg to differ. It is a lot of work, but we enjoy every calorie if it. It is more enjoyable when we are hosted by business or people are passionate about what they cook-up and are able accept criticism and suggestion when there is any.

Last week we were called in to sample and give constructive feedback by a 7 month old seafood restaurant in Bukit Tambun, Ho Ho Food World. Our last visit to Tambun, a famous point of interest for seafood in Seberang Perai Selatan, was roughly about 3 years ago. It has been quite a long time and there have been many changes ever since.

In the hosted dinner, we had about 9 different items that were quite tantalizing and have their individual characters. Ying Yang Sea-Starter (YamYeong Leong Mei) RM12 – 20, the blenched Octopus tentacles and body with garlic oil and spring onions were light on taste with a tender springy texture.

The ‘Whelks” or “海囖” were slow blenched or poached at low heat for about 30 minutes to maintain its crunchy texture and size of flesh. The taste of the flesh was slightly sweet with a bit of earthiness.

Then we had unique oyster dish, Oyster Braised Gravy (How suin-chiu) RM$ 5 per unit. They oyster was coated with flour then fried before stir fried in their specially concocted sauce which was sweet and savoury.

Another of their specialties that we tried was their Sea Mixed Spring Roll (Hai choon kuin) RM$ 12 – 20. Shelled succulent prawns wrapped in a nutty bean curd skin deep fried to golden brown and based with a sweet tangy sauce and fragrant sesame seeds. It was one of our personal favourites for the night.
We also had the infamous flower crab that many visitors to Bukit Tambun for seafood would not miss. Though crabs are not my favourite or must have, HoHo’s way of preparing their Sea Flower Crab – IndoStyle (Chit YanLi cha) RM$ 35 – 45 per kg was something that t must be mentioned. The crab is first steamed with Chinese wine before it is added into their English curry base gravy that was fragrant yet not overpowering or too spicy to taste. The crab meat itself was tender and moist, unlike the usual versions where the meat is dry and stringy. The usual method of preparing crab is by deep frying in hot oil or blenched in boiling water, this produces a dryer and stringy texture with a loss of the natural sweetness that live crab has.We were also introduced to their signature Claypot PrawnRice (Tsa-po HeiPui)RM$28 – 38. Due to the shortage of prawns, there were some shortfalls in the texture of the medium size prawns but the taste of the rice itself was good enough for a mention. The rice was moist, well flavoured and fragrant with hint of smoky charred taste.

Mantis Prawn Cantonese Steam (Hei-Ko chui) RM$3 – $8 – $16, were also one of our favourites for the evening. The flesh was firm, tender and yet smooth with a natural sweetness that went well with its soy and fragrant oil dressing. The ease of handling the mantis prawns were also a plus point, the legs were trimmed for easy access to the flesh hidden inside its exoskeleton.Kapar Lime Steamed (Kapar suinkam chui) RM$15 – 25, were equally unique with its tangy and pungent garlicky sauce. The clams themselves were also worth a notice as there were hints of natural sweetness and the taste of the sea .  

Also another one of our favourite dishes that we have sampled so far was their Yummy YamFishHead (Hu – Tao Orr) RM38 – 60. The yam has already broken down and has become part of the soup liquid. Thus, the soup is filled with the sandy texture and sweet creamy taste of the yam. The fish head was well prepared till tender and off the bones. It reminds me of the ‘Fish Head Noodles’ that we had in Jalan Kuchai Lam, rich in texture and taste of pumpkin.

Taste

3.5/5 (Good) The flavours were pleasant although the dishes have been infused with Asian tastes.

Texture

3.5/5 (Good) Basically the dishes we tried nicely prepared with good mouth feels.

Service

3.0/5 (Average)

Cleanliness

3.0/5 (Average) It is typical Tambun setting, but they are planning to do more up keeping in certain areas.

Atmosphere

3.0/5 (Average) Not much to look for as they are not theme or concept restaurants.

Price

3.0/5 (Average) Price are reasonable and are according to current market forces or prices.

Portion

3.5/5 (Good) The dishes that we had were quite standard in portion size.

Value

3.5/5 (Good) The food was flavourful and fresh (as in still alive).

Consistency

NA/5 stay updated.

HoHo Food World

Add: 1301, Bagan Bukit Tambun, 14110 Simpang Ampat, SPS, Pulau Pinang.

Tel: +6016 5205535

 

 

 

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