Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gurney Drive At The Gardens

Walking from MVM to the Gardens is like going from one world to another....that passageway is a porthole of sorts. Exclusive as the Gardens may be, if I were a retailer, I'd much rather be in the world that MVM is in, ie, lots of human traffic, etc. You see, I'm not a very exclusive person. Don't believe in branded stuff, and all that hoitty toitty-ness. The Gardens generally repel me the way Shelltox repels a cockroach, or the way cake repels an anorexic supermodel.... and ordinarily, I would not bother venturing through its hallowed halls. It's a bit like Bangsar Village II, which doesn't interest me in the least. I merely use it as an aircond walkway to get to the old wing of Bangsar Village, where I frequent the Village Grocer.

It was one of those RARE saturdays when I had nothing on the diary. So much so, had planned a pok kuat session for later that night, (dead gin...I still need players, hallo, anyone out there). Then inlaws called to say they were at the Gardens, so we decided to join them for dinner. My inlaws love Penang, and visit a couple of times a year, so they have a pretty good preconception what Penang food should be.

To be honest, (bracing oneself for the onslaught), I find Penang hawker food overrated. That chendol in that alley, that supposedly famous Cha Kueh Teow, ..... it's good la, but really, I'm sure if you look hard enough, there's are other fare, probably in KL even, that's just as good, if not better.

I've been meaning to try the Delights of Gurney Drive, on the 3rd floor of the Gardens, a glorified but comfortable food court of sorts, offering a dizzying array of delights from Penang. So I was quite pleased to finally have the chance to dine here.

The orr chien, aka known as Cholesterol Platter Deluxe, was quite good. Egg, and oyster. Two of God's most wonderful culinary creations. Well, the oyster portions were generous, and rather plump. I'm not sure where the golden standard is in Penang, but for what it was worth, it tasted rather good. Then again, how wrong can you go, with oyster and egg. It's like botching up bread and butter.

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I felt like something soupy, so I went for Cholesterol Bowl Deluxe, which was Pork Intestine and Other Spare Parts, in soup with meehoon. Flavoursome, and did not taste terribly unhealthy. In fact, the clear soup was rather devoid of excess floating fat, which was good. The meehoon texture was great, I like this kind of meehoon. Very fine, and aromatic. Yet, not overcooked. I hate soft mushy meehoon....

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The supposedly famous chendol. Gone are the days of the 20 sen a bowl, from the mamak who uses that ice shaving bench, in his knee length sarong. My mother never ate mamak chendol again after she saw her usual chendol vendor pop over to the nearest tree to wee wee, and came back and nonchalantly continued shaving the ice....this is a true case of IGNORANCE IS BLISS. I remember in St John's, the chendol man used to be in front of the AIA building. 15 sen a bowl. 20 sen for some addition. [mind floating on a cloud to nostalgia land....dreamy, glazy look in eyes].

So yeah, whatsit now? RM4.50 a bowl? This particular one was la, at any rate. Argh, just talking about chendol has given me cravings. [Pops head out the window to see if pasembor van is around] I notice these fancy smancy coffee shop cendols have santan thick enough for you to stand your spoon in... (hor, can see in the background ya, the standing spoon). The caramelly gula melaka is usually very fragrant, and viscous. Incidentally, I hate those red kidney beans. And I hate places that serve ABC with that instead of our traditional red beans. DEATH TO THE KIDNEY BEAN! Bring back the azuki, I say.

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MIL's assam laksa was a disappointment, and she wasn't the first to say so. Pretty sad when Penang Laksa isnt up to scratch at a Penang food establishment. No pictorial evidence as I was tucking away happily into my intestines. (not MY intestines, but those in my soup)

The acid test that is to become the mother of all benchmarks, Penang Char Kueh Teow. Checklist. Chinese sausage, check, kerang, check, prawns, check, taugeh, check, kueh teow, check, egg, check, age old residue of gunk from 50 year old wok, NO CHECK. Aitelyu, that is why all these high class places cant replicate hawker food in its full glory. The armpit sweat, the years of tempering with the wok, the saliva, ...... the absence of all these condiments ensure that hawker food in fancy places are never the same.

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But the taste is okay. Not bad. I wouldn't really complain.

The good news is, for most dishes in Gurney Drive, they've now come up with two sizes, large, and not large. And its a large differential. Eg, my intestines, is about RM12 for large, and RM8 for not large. For RM4 more, I'm wondering if its more meehoon, or intestines, or soup.

But things like CKT, only one size.

Well, do check it out, it's not too bad.

20 comments:

Paprika said...

I have to agree with you that its Penang hawker food is mostly overrated. Apart from the maybe 4-5 outstanding stalls, you may as well go hang out with the tourists in Jalan Alor. Gurney Drive SUCKS!

That bowl of char kway teow doesn't look as good as the one in Little Penang and that one is halal. How can?! Witty post as usual! See you later!

kennymah said...

I'll have a Cholesterol Platter Deluxe, please... To be honest, I haven't had any good ho cheen outside of Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka. Will try dig some up when I head down to JB and Singapore this weekend. (No prizes for which city I'm more likely to get a decent serving of this dish.)

Ditto what Paprika said. Cya tonite! :)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I can do without the armpit sweat, thank you.

The or chien, I thought was more egg than oysters, so didn't think it justified the price.

Talking abt price, I'm glad they brought it down to an average of RM12.80. Previous prices of about RM18 was a bit scary.

I thought the CKT was very good. Nicely fried and not too oily.

Nic (KHKL) said...

eh, you from St. John's ar? so, we're both La Sallians lar...hoohoo...

honestly, i'm quite sceptical about hawker food served in restaurants...unless the hawker decided to open one himself lar...usually it's their children's idea lar...air-con and ckt dont mix well, me think. like croissants at mamaks...hehehe

have fun 2nite, ppl! *sigh*

JOjo said...

*high five* I dislike kidney bed, so hard, so big! I prefer my red bean to be mashed and small and sweet~

Agree with nic, CKT & restaurant don't match, like pork with muslim...haa...

breadpitt said...

love the ice kacang so much with loads of red bean.....

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

hahah *see you all tonite eh*...shit i m gettin the jokes late!!! thank the stupid afternoon back to back meetings..

eh cholestrol deluxe or supreme..we have to enjoy wat rite?

Precious Pea said...

The ice kacang at the roadside now selling at RM2 oledi if you tarbau and probably 20 sen cheaper if you have it there. Agree...those kidney beans sucks so i usually ask which type they serve before i order. I love cendol with pulut too.

fatboybakes said...

precious pea, ya, i love cendol with pulut. wonder why is tahpau more exp, afterall, surely a plastic bag cant cost 20 sen.

nipples, ...what can i say.

breadpitt, which red bean you talking about?

jojo, yalor hor, dunno since when they started using kidney beans. when i was a child, no such thing.

nickhkl, i was in st johns primary only. left at std 6. you leh?

LL, really? my or chien had lots of oysters wor.

kenny mah, i had luverly hor chien in klang once. nice plump fat oysters...

paps, i meant penang food in general is overrated, not just at this place....

Paprika said...

I know, am agreeing with you. I meant gurney drive in Penang. I haven't been to this one at the gardens.

Nic (KHKL) said...

me not so up there lar...la salle sentul only...still la sallian also lar...haha!

audreycooks said...

Hey FBB, what happened to your pagenation. Your 'about me' overlapping to your post? Are you blogging on MAC?

fatboybakes said...

hey audrey, how's baby? what pagenation? looks okay on my pc...which is not a mac. what browser you using?

nickhkl, what up there? st john's very up there meh? cheer cheer and courage display. (is it the same song?)

paps, yalor, but dont let those penang flers hear us. they very territorial about their food leh... saying bad things about it is like one step short of cursing at their mothers...

kennymah said...

Btw, was wondering about the petai from dinner (exotic Malaysian bean, wassit?) and so googled it. Apparently possible English names for it include Petai bean, Twisted cluster bean, Stink bean.

Cheers,
Curious, Wordy Kenny

Big Boys Oven said...

the char kueh teow looks awesomely good, the prawns look so huge! walio they cen really melts me! I want to die oledi!

breadpitt said...

i mean the azuki bean . but still im ok with kidney beans .just cant get enough those azuki beans .

Spot said...

Kidney beans = nemesis. Seething hate.

Have you found that unsalted butter is going extinct??? We might as well go out of business...sigh.

Nic (KHKL) said...

cheer, cheer, and courage display,
all you la sallians join in the fray...

yeah, yeah, that's the song.
oh, there's also "hail! alma mater" and "all through our classes"...hehe

fatboybakes said...

nickhkl, i only know the first one. wonder if its still the same song or is it some malay song now.

SPOT, where have you been?!! no, not really wat, can still get at bake with yen, although different brand. the prices are getting absurd right!!! yay, glad got others who hate kidney beans.

breadpitt, yar, haagen daz used to bring in azuki ice cream, but i think no market. i LOVEDDDD it.

BBO, the CKT OK only la, not to die for. for that price, they can jolly well afford to chuck in a few prawns man!!!

kenny mah, thank you for that enlightening piece of info.

breadpitt said...

adzuki beans ice cream sounds good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!will try to make my own adzuki beans tart in future, lol!