Handcrafted “Dim Sum”@ Jin Yi Restaurant Dim Sum, 3054 Jalan Kampung Baru, Taman Kljang , Bukit Mertajam

Description
A “family-run” dim-sum restaurant that is worth a visit. The first thing that struck me when I walked into the restaurant was the cleanliness of the place which is a rarity in such kind of set-up.

According to the owner, Mr. Ooi, the dim-sums are handmade by his son. My favourites were the eggplant, “ha-kaw”and deep fried yam fritter. Although the dim-sum selection was not extraordinary, the taste and texture of the dough, dumpling skin and filling were pretty well done and tasted good.  They have the original dim sum taste👍🏻. I would definitely have to go back to check out the other selections, and I recommend that you too give this place a try.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Food Quality: 4/5
Pricing: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5
Service: 3/5

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Fresh Lobster @ Jade Garden Seafood Corner, Sungai Rengit, Johor

Description

As the restaurant name suggests, this place serves a wide selection of fresh seafood that you get to pick and choose.  This is where I got to taste one of the best and freshest Lobster at a fraction of the price that I and most people would typically pay in other cities in Malaysia, regardless of whether it is in a Chinese or a Western restaurant.

This place can be be found hidden in a fishing village that is about a 1.5 hours drive from Johor Bahru.  The footprint of the restaurant is awesomely big and although I did not do a count on the number of tables it could fit,  I imagine it could probably fit a hundred tables, or close to that number.  The place appears to be filled with a lot of Singaporean tourists.  The menu offers Chinese cuisine with many choices of cooking style.  I happily went along with the restaurant’s recommendations which were actually the standard recipe that I had tried umpteenth times in other seafood restaurants.  I did that so that I could have a good comparison with the others I had elsewhere, and regardless of the name on the menu, there is always some difference in the style and taste and they never come out exactly the same.  I wasn’t disappointed!!! The freshness was awesome and taste the cooks gave to the dishes was really good.  So, the next time you are in Johor Bahru and you have a craving for seafood, take a ‘road trip’ to this place.  You won’t be disappointed. Oh!, be early because the place is packed during dinner, especially over the weekends.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Food Taste: 5/5
Pricing: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5
Service: 3/5

Two-Brothers “Yaw Char Kwai/Yu Char Koay” (Chinese Cruller) @ Chai Leng Park Wet Market, Perai

Description
油炸鬼 or “Yaw Char Kwai”, the traditional Cantonese name for this snack literally means oil-fried ghost. Perhaps the name is associated to how sinful you will feel after consuming this tasty snack that is often dripping in oil.

The origin of the recipe has never been determined but various versions exist throughout the Chinese culture. In China, it is referred to as “You Tiao”. In Taiwan and in Penang where the Minnan or Hokkien community is predominant, it is referred to as “Yu Char Koay” which loosely translates to oil-fried pastry.

There is no question that the Malaysian “improved” version deserves its own respect although some may argue over the authenticity of its taste. As foodies and consumers, most of us are only concerned about the quality and taste of the final product. When it comes to food, Penang-ites are spoilt for choice so I will be sharing one of my selected stalls in this post.

This food stall is operated by two brothers who learned the trade from their father. From here on, we will refer to their father as Mr. Oily Ghost.  20 years ago Mr. Oily Ghost worked as an apprentice to a local hawker in Taiping, where he learned the recipe. I am uncertain if adaptations have been made to the recipe since then, but I can tell that the stall is a hit with locals. Every morning, long lines of customers can be seen crowding the store for fresh “Yu Char Koay”. The second-generation Oily Ghost brothers are from Bukit Mertajam. Their well-patronized stall is located at Perai and opens at 6am every day (closed only on public holidays).

Malaysians love variety and we can see that being reflected in our language, culture and most importantly, FOOD. The “Yu Char Koay” traditionally shaped into long strips has evolved and taken on creative shapes with a combination of fillings to appeal to the locals.

A quick word with the brothers revealed that they are happy with how well their business is doing but they have no desire to expand their business. What a heartwarming feeling to hear how contented they are! Of course I was also happy to learn that this means I will be able to continue to get my traditional twin-strip “Yu Char Koay” without worrying too much about paying for “branding”.  My family and I happen to think that this stall has the better recipe, better dough texture and taste compared to many others we have tried.  The plain strip “Yu Char Koay” goes well with either Porridge/Congee or over a hot cup of local black coffee.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Food Quality: 4/5
Pricing: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5
Service: 3/5