Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'


Ingredients, raw materials, herds, spices etc used for cooking

Chee Meng Wantan Mee is Back!

Posted by Jason Wong On February - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

After loosing touch with Chee Meng Wantan Mee, we have finally got them back on our radar. They are now back in their old spot at “Tai Wah Cafe” on Agryll Road. After moving out of Thong Seng late last year, they went for a self proclaim holiday until the 7th day of the Chinese Lunar calender. Business is as usual and will be closed on every Tuesdays.


Dhoby Ghuat Wantan Mee At Tong Seng Kafe 洗布桥云吞面

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 16 - 20112 COMMENTS

A different person was manning the Wantan Mee stall during our last trip (6th Feb).

One or two months back we wrote about “Chee Meng Cafe”, but it has since changed to “Tong Seng”. And the Chee Meng Wantan Mee that we have mentioned has moved to a new location that we have yet to find out. Anyway, the replacement wantan mee stall is no lesser in uniqueness as compared to Uncle Chee Meng.

We were sceptical when we approached the shop due to the unfamiliar faces at the shop, therefore we only made an order for a regular single serving of dry wantan noodles. After trying that faithful bowl, we continued with our brunch at Tong Seng. Always keep an open mind when it comes to new eating outlets, the most you will get run over once by the shop! T The wantan noodle stall at Tong Seng is a branch of the “Dhoby Ghuat Wantan Noodle Stall” that has more than 10 years of history. This branch at Jalan Dato Koyah is being manned by Yvonne. The business hours are from 6:30am up till 1:00pm daily except Wednesdays, as the shop rests for a day.

Although the noodles are not as thin as the ones use by Chee Meng, the dark soya sauce dressing for the dry version can compensate for it. It had a sweet caramel, smoky and nutty taste, which reminded us of the good old simple taste of wantan noodles. Nothing complicate, just good tasty dark soya sauce combined with fragrant lard oil tossed into al-dente egg noodles. An easy task but hard to master for many. Even the wantan dumplings also pack with nostalgic flavours.

Tip: As the noodles are not as old or dry, best is to order extra dry with lard bits and savour. Additional moisture would make the noodles lose their crunch.

Then after the first single serving we tried their “Spicy” wantan noodles. The noodles are toss with premix spicy mixture which is supplied some distributor. Same as the previous encounters, the mixture tend to have powdery texture at the end of the serving. But the taste that was delivered at this stall was slightly different with a more peppery taste as we continue eating.

Then we notice that it had stewed chicken feet, one of the must try of this stall! At RM3 per serving of 9 pieces, it all comes down to about 33cents per piece which is similar to the price of this delicacy when I was still in secondary school. The tastes had a good balance of savoury, sweet and spice, which all came from the equilibrium use of star anise (八角), cloves, Chinese cinnamon (肉桂), Sichuan pepper(花椒), and good quality dark soya sauce. The texture of the chicken feet was tender but not too soft with low amounts of oily aftertaste. It was not “sticky” and without the overwhelming feeling that Gill finish the whole bowl of gravy like drinking soup. We even asked Yvonne whether she can throw in some rice vermicelli and flat rice noodles with the gravy. And she did.

When you are dining at Tong Seng, do try out their kopi ‘o’ and also their nutmeg juice.

Business Hours: 6:30am up till 1:00pm daily except Wednesdays

GPS:5.41989, 100.3317

Overall experience:


3.5/5 (Good)


3.5/5 (Good)




3.5/5 (Good)


2.5/5 (Average)


3.5/5 (Fair)


3.5/5 (Good)


3.5/5 (Value)

Notice the old warping bowls that they serve their noodles in! They are at least around 60 years old. The bowls were once used in festive celebrations and meals that were prepared by their grandfather.

Kok Fish Head Curry 国加哩鱼头

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 6 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

During lunch with FoodnTravella last Sunday afternoon, we were told by her friend that there was a fish head curry in the Zim Sum Restaurant premises on Anson Road that operates in the evening. And of cause after getting wind of the stall, we decided to try out the fish head curry a few days ago after running some errands and meeting some clients.  The stall is run by an uncle and his assistant (worker lah), and it offers fish head curry, fish meat curry, fried balacan chicken and omelette.

The curry is made to order and there are a few sizes to choose from in terms of fish head size and pieces of fillet required. The one we had was RM22 and it was quite a big piece of head and belly, as you can see from the following photos. The fish head was bigger than the size of my wife’s palm and there were lots of okra, tomato, onion strips and mint leaves. Taste wise it is not very exclusive or unappealing; it was actually comparable to some of the more “famous” curry fish head businesses in Penang. The curry was predominantly sour with a sweet after taste and was not too spicy. The longer the fish sits in the curry gravy, the thicker it gets. Even though the curry was made from curry powder, the gravy was neither sandy nor grainy in texture.

Other than the curry, we also tried their balacan chicken which ranges from RM5.50 to RM11.00. The chicken is also made to order. The taste of balacan was light and the texture of the chicken was crisp on the surface and tender in the inside. If you are not a fan of fish head curry, you could try their balacan chicken, egg and rice set which I saw quite a few ordering. Address: 35, Jalan Anson 10400, Penang

Business Hours: 7pm to 11pm daily and closed on Wednesdays.

Overall experience:

  • Taste & Texture: 3.0/5
  • Money Value: 3.75/5
  • Service: 2.9/5
  • Cleanliness: 2.5/5
  • Atmosphere: 2.5/5

Savory Tang Yuan for Winter Solstice (Dong Zhì)

Posted by gill gill On December - 21 - 20101 COMMENT

Have you heard or try Savory Tang Yuan before?

It is truly a “Forgotten Recipe” from Hakka & Cantonese Dialect. We have received many readers request about this savory tang yuan recipe since we’ve posted the winter solstice from 2008.
Other than we talk about the sweet version which has tones of fans, we rather share those who are forgotten and unique from the rest.
We have prepare the steps with photo and recipe below, and do enjoy the cooking and happy winter solstice to you & your family 🙂

Step 1 & 2. Begin of the Yellow Bean & Anchovies Soup Base

Step 4. Chicken Gizzard to Give the extra texture
Slice Pork & Spring Onions
Tang Yuan In Bean and Anchovies Soup

Savory Tang Yuan Soup

Tang Yuan:

I don’t really know what and how to make the tang yuan dough, but all I know is using glutinous four to makes it up…heee

The only tips that I can share is, cook the tang yuan in boiling water and wait until its float on top of the water, and its cooked. And throw them immediately into Ice Water. This step is to make the ball springier and doesn’t go lumpy /mushy.

We don’t really measure what we cook for this Soup, and is all according to the taste

Soup base (basic soup base for wonton noodle soup):

  • Handfuls of Dried Soya Bean
  • Handfuls of Dried Anchovies
  • Chicken or Pig born
  • Water for soup


  • Cabbage (coarsely shredded)
  • Chicken gizzard (thick slices)
  • Pork belly 600gm or more (in whole pcs)
  • Spring onion (4cm in length)
  • Home fried shallots

Step by Step:

  1. Put Soya Bean & Anchovies into soup bag/sachet. Don’t insert the bag too full, when it cooks, the beans will be bloated. The ideal portion is 1/3 of the bag. Or put those 2 ingredients in 2 different bags.
  2. After filled in the Soya Bean & Anchovies in the bag, put them all into boiling water and cover the lid, with medium to low heat, and cook about 30min or until you can smell the aroma.
  3. Take out the soup bag. Leave the soup aside.
  4. Boil water in another pot, to poach the whole pcs of pork belly and chicken gizzard until it’s done or tender. Take out and drain. Cut them into thin slices when it’s cooled. Set both aside.
  5. Warm up the Anchovies soup and throw the cabbage in and cooked till tender. Add Salt to taste. Drain the Vege and set aside.
  6. Basically the cooking step is all done.

Eating Step:

Just heat up the soup, scope all the precooked ingredient, tong yuan, cabbage, gizzard, pork belly, spring onion, and pour the steaming hot soup into the bowl and top with some homemade fried shallot. Enjoy!

Those precooked ingredient and soup can keep into the refrigerator and you may heat up for the next day. Except tang yuan, its good when eat its fresh.


Previously we have posted about the infamous ‘Empurau’ fish in mandarin, but up until now I still do not have the time to compile my research on the fish that we did. So to make things easy for those who do not read mandarin you may go to this link to an article which was published by The Star; http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2010/3/28/sundaymetro/5920257&sec=SundayMetro.

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The ‘Empurau’ is freshwater fish which is native in Sarawak, and has its habitat in clean/clear fast moving streams. This fish has tender and rich textured flesh with special aroma which is mainly due to its special diet of ‘Buah Kabang’ or Engkabang(as in The Star). For the fish to be suitable for the table, it needs to be at least 3kg and above so that the flesh would have firm body. Anything below 3 kg would result in soft texture flesh which is due to the high fat content. The older and heavier it gets the flesh would firm up but the essential fats are still maintained.

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The price of this is mainly due to its availability of quality catch that mainly comes from interior areas in Sarawak. The Empurau can be found wild in Bakun and also Kapit, but the later produces the best fish amongst the two. There are also entrepreneurs that are beginning to  farm this fish on the Malaysian Peninsular in view of the price tag that it carries, but the quality of the flesh is yet to be determine. There are also cases where the so called ‘Empurau’ is being imported from our neighboring country, Indonesia.

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So far places that offer ‘Empurau’ in Penang that we heard of are Ocean Green, Bali Hai and Pearl Palace. Our Friend, Wong  has his home town in Sarawak, and thus have the resources to acquire wild ‘Empurau’ from the Kapit region which is said to be to have the best quality fish in Malaysia.

Interested to try out the fish? please contact




Chinese Version:

马来西亚最贵河魚 – Empurau 忘不了, 槟城有得吃!


Hong Kong Day 1 Part 3 – The Seafood

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 19 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Our first night in Hong Kong, we were treated to a scrumptious dinner on a floating fish farm(鱼排) which is just a stone’s throw from mainland China by Gill’s uncle-in-law. The seafood that we had were very fresh, in fact they still swimming in the sea when we were deciding the dishes that we wanted to try.

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When the boat touch base at the floating fish farm, we noticed that one of their clients had just caught a live cuttle fish. And the not so shy me started to get my gears ready to capture the not often seen, live, sea creature in Penang.



After taking a short walk through the fish farm and choosing the ingredients for the night, we settled down to our wobbling table. Each time a boat passes through the area, the whole place would wobble, but not too violently though. To quench our thirst, we got ourselves some beer and soft drinks that were foreign to our eyes. One of the beers that we had was ‘Blue Girl’, a German beer brewed in Hong Kong. This beer was smooth and malty. It had a slight sweetness to its end. Too bad it is not found in Malaysia, or else Carlsberg & Tiger would be knock out of spot by this German lass.


As the drinking started, the dishes also begun its course. The first to come was the poach cuttle fish. The cuttle fish flesh was tender and sweet, and when dipped into their soya sauce the sweetness was even more distinctively brought out by the saltiness of the sauce. In Penang, live cuttlefish is hard to come by the market place!



Then we had freshly harvested clams. The texture was firm and the taste was sweet and earthy, which the sauce did not overwhelm..



I am no a crab person, but when it come to tasting I will get my hands dirty. The crab that we had was definitely fresh as the flesh was still firm and juicy, taste wise it was sweet to the end.


Up next on the table was another clam species. This one was cooked with less heat in it, it had a nutty tasting sauce. This clam is almost similar to the ‘kappa’ that we have in Malaysia. It tasted sweet and earthy with a firm body.



On our diner list there were 2 types of scallops served, one seen here is the more common type that we may find in Penang or Malaysia which is the ‘Fan Scallop’ (扇贝).




Then there is the second type of scallop which shell looks like the horns of a bull and triangular in shape. This scallop dish was prepared by just steaming and then seasoned with their in-house sauce. Savory, nutty and sweet.



Then there is the fish, which we did not put much attention to as were almost full and were busy chit chatting and drinking. The only thing I can remember was that the fish was steam to just near cooked in the mid section. Thus, we were asked to start picking from the sides to the middle.


The ‘kailan’ with salted fish was a bit too salty and the texture was fiberish and chewy.


Chicken was different from our local chicken species. It had a yellowish skin colour and the meat firmer, but the version served here was just average, nothing to shout a bout.


Well that was the end of our first day in Hong Kong. Next up would be Day 2 and our exploration at Tai O and Tai Yu san.


Invited Review: Kang Beef House

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 17 - 20101 COMMENT

On the 5th of March we were invited to review a newly establish specialty shop that sells everything(almost) about beef. The invitation was extended by Steve through Steven Goh to us to try out the beef steamboat and other dishes that focus on beef as the main ingredient. If coming from Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim or the  Jelutong Police Station to Perak Road, the shop is on the right hand side  just a few hundred meters from the junction. Before we began digging into the prepare food, we shared some small talk and we found out that the owner of this Kang Beef House is somewhat related to the other Beef Noodle stalls that we have wrote about previously. There was also an Mandarin version that was written by Gill.

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The star attraction for the night was their beef theme steam boat. But if you are dining alone or light, there are also other choices to choose from. The steamboat is priced at RM20 per head count with a minimum order for 2 persons, and it includes ‘牛腱'( tenderloin, muscle or shank meat), brisket, tripes, tendons, 2 types of beef balls, thinly sliced beef, Chinese Lettuce and Enoki mushroom.

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We have been having this cut of beef in our daily beef noodles, and yet I have yet to find out its true name. Some call it tenderloin, I though is part of the shank or muscle section due to the existence of the transparent gel type casing. But in Cantonese it is call 牛腱 or ‘ngau jin’ (腱子肉是大腿上的肌肉,有肉膜包裹的,内藏筋,硬度适中,纹路规则). Anyway, the meat is tender and the gel type casing gives it a smooth and springy texture after it has been poached in the the accompanying beefy soup.

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Another meaty side dish is portion from the bell which can either come from the brisket, plate or flank area. This meaty portion would contain meat fats and some tendons, thus the texture is slightly chewy and flavorful due to the fats. In Cantonese this part is call 牛腩 or ‘ngau lam’ in general (即牛腹部及靠近牛肋处的松软肌肉)

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Another side dish is the beef tripe. The tripe is usually made from the rumen (smooth tripe) and the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe). These two tripes forms the series of 3 stomachs chanbers. Taste wise is slightly blend and texture is crunchy and slight  chewy.

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Another body ‘parts’ that we had was the beef tendon or 牛筋. It is firm and rubbery, but after poaching it turns to a soft and slight slimy texture, like firm Jello. Taste is also blend.

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Then there the bovines’ balls. It is actually beef meat ball made the Chinese way. There are 2 type on the plate, the darker colored balls have a tastier and beefy taste but rougher on texture;  and the pale color balls are slightly blend but finer and crunchier on texture.

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Then there is the thinly sliced beef fillets. The thickness is standard, thus one does not need to poach it for too long. I my prefer the slices with the egg, but it is there to give it additional smoothness. When the egg was introduced into the soup,it changes the taste of the otherwise light and beefy soup into a sweeter and eggy pot of soup.

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Our Beef Steamboat experience:

2.5/5 for value (assuming the portion that we had were for six persons and per pax is RM20, it is equitable)
2.7/5 for taste & texture (darker beef balls and the tendon was my favourite)

Beef Koay Teow at Kang Beef House goes at RM6, 8, 10, 12, and RM15 for serving size. The soup stock is similar to the steamboats, but without the reddish and Chinese pickled vegetables(咸菜). The one we shared was the largest serving size (RM15).

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Our Beef Koay Teow experience:

2.4/5 for value (slightly out of my means)
2.8/5 for taste & texture (taste better then some of my previous experiences in other places, plus there was less contamination of taste by the noodles)

Actually the steamboat session began, were introduced to a few fried and deep fried items that they serve. We began with the Crystal Beef Fried Rice. there was sufficient wok sear and the rice was individual and the had an infusion of the beefy taste. In addition to the soft gluteny pearls, there were also crispy bits of deep fried rice which gave an additional texture. The beef slice in this rice dish was tender and glistening with juices.

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Our Crystal Beef Fried Rice with Beef Ball Soup experience:

2.5/5 for value (RM12.50 for fried rice is a bit on the high side for me, but with beef balls and soup it may be worthwhile) (we did not see the portioning of the beef balls)
2.9/5 for taste & texture (good wok searing and tender beef slices maintain their juices)

Stir Fried Beef with Black Pepper sauce has serving sizes ranging from small at  RM15 to big at RM28. Texture of the beef slices were soft and tender and the sauce was not overwhelming to many. But I personally do not like heavy a sauce that will cover the natural flavor of the main ingredient. The accompanying capsicum and chili was still crunchy and firm.

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Our Stir Fry Black-pepper Beef experience:

2.7/5 for value
2.8/5 for taste & texture

Their version of Crispy Beef Balls was the only deep fried dish that we had the whole night. Each beef meat ball individually encased in crispy golden brown croutons.

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Our Crispy Beef Ball experience:

2.9/5 for value
2.9/5 for taste & texture (Crispy outer shell and tender soft meaty chunks in side)

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Address: 474, Jalan Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia, 11600

To sum up our experience at Kang Beef House:

Taste & Texture: 3.0/5 (average with room to improve)
Money Value : 2.9/5 (may need to look at the portioning of the steamboat and beef noodles)
Service: 2.5/5
Cleanliness: 3.5/5 (still new, lets wait and see)
Atmosphere: 2.4/5 (noise from the busy traffic and the hot and humid feeling from too many burners turned on)

Most probably I would return for their beef koay teow, Crispy Beef Balls, Crystal Beef Fried Rice, and Dry Stir Fried Hor Fun with beef slice.


FV-100202-Empurau@RM1500 per kilo_39

上个星期接到一个厨师朋友 Wong 的电话, 叫我们夫妻两人去他的餐馆茶。我们去到的他的餐馆, 他就问, 您是否听过, “Empurau”或“忘不了” 鱼吗? 那个香港食神梁文韜(韜韜)来馬來西亞品嚐那条几千令吉的河鱼呀?!

我回答说, 看过一些部落格和网上报刊几篇报道, 倒没见亲眼过如此贵的鱼!

他笑着对我们俩说, 我这里有! 给你独家放上网! 他二话不说就飞进厨房那着那条8公斤的野生“忘不了”出来给我们拍照. 我们瞪了瞪眼, 开心不已, 没想到可以”亲身体验”如此昂贵的鱼!!! 看了一会儿, 我们问, 他有什么特别呀? 别怪我们啊, 咋们不是行家, 看起来只不过是一条普通的鱼, 为什么它的价格会那么超贵?!

黄先生说Empurau翻译后的华文名称有 “忘不了” ,“往不了”,“恩不老”。Empurau是伊班名,英文名是“Mahseer”是大马目前最昂貴的河魚!

这野生Empurau由于愛吃風車果 (buah gabang), 因此其肉質帶有果香味及油脂, 口感極佳,沒魚腥味,肉質鮮美滑嫩香甜,入口即溶,擁有淡水魚中少見的特殊口感. “忘不了”的最佳煮法就是清蒸, 讓人一嚐難忘。而甲必Kapit河捕捉的野生“忘不了”更实属佳品。

野生 “忘不了”是目前最昂貴的河魚,更是每公斤叫價1600令吉至1800令吉。 河魚之王──“忘不了”(Empurau),主要在急流河中生長的生猛河鮮。由于野生河魚越來越少和難以捕捉,即使有錢,也未必吃到新鮮的“忘不了”。

黄先生是砂拉越人, 对这野生“忘不了”是有一定程度的认识。 有些吃过“忘不了”的人, 连它真正的一面也未成见过。 所以很多时候都会被骗, 也避免不了。单是提供给砂拉越人, 皇族和大官贵人已是供不应求, 就算是有錢都未必买得到。更别说是西半岛的我们吧?

黄先生辛托他的砂拉越 – 甲必(Kapit) 朋友先让出两尾 “白色”8公斤的野生“忘不了”, 要不然就寥寥无期。 单是运输就叫你冒汗, 想象一下, 从“忘不了”原產地, 乘搭直升機, 坐几個小時四輪驅動車到詩巫, 乘搭飛機到古晉, 转飛機到吉隆坡,最后才运到槟城。


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Empurau 鱼头,鱼唇,最棒!

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我和Empurau 忘不了, 哈哈哈

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Wong 和 Empurau 忘不了

Penang槟城, 现在有得吃大马最贵河魚 – Empurau 忘不了,还等什么? 现以每公斤1500令吉以上出售野生Empurau 忘不了.要一尝它的滋味? 请联络:






The Most Expensive Fresh Water Fish in Malaysia, Empurau (Mahseer)!












網上業界的譯法是“馬西爾魚”或“紅吉羅”。忘不了魚的用途可多了,它可以充作觀賞魚,魚油含有豐富的Omega成分,魚身曬乾后可制成化妝品。 “在大馬,我們只把這種河魚之王,送到餐桌上或是充作觀賞用途。”







網上業界的譯法是“馬西爾魚”或“紅吉羅”。忘不了魚的用途可多了,它可以充作觀賞魚,魚油含有豐富的Omega成分,魚身曬乾后可制成化妝品。 “在大馬,我們只把這種河魚之王,送到餐桌上或是充作觀賞用途。”






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