Category Archives: Eats

Breakfast of (local) Champions

They are usually up at the crack of dawn to prepare the batter of rice flour, eggs and sugar for their ‘apom manis’, which is known to locals as apam, apom lenggang and local crepes or pancakes.

Ravi (above) and his wife Devi (below) greet all customers with warm smiles and have no problems with remembering orders or the sequence they are placed.

Bone and I had a lovely time today watching them deftly prepare our special order and place them expertly in plastic containers with their signature banana leaf for styling purposes.

The humble push cart located outside the New Cathay coffee shop in Pulau Tikus, George Town is frequented by locals and tourists from 7.30am till around 11am from Mondays till Saturdays. Takeaways have and continue to be enjoyed by local and foreign royalty, and other dignitaries.

A pack of 5 apom manis is priced at RM4 and no accompaniments are needed as they melt in your mouth. A “premium” or more “atas” version is also available with an egg on top.

Thank you Devi and Ravi for opening earlier than your usual operating hours today, just so that our special visitors to Penang could enjoy your delicious apom manis for breakfast🙏🏼

By-the-Beach

The view from the parking lot at sunset is a warm enough welcome to Penang’s latest accommodation-by-the-sea, Hompton By The Beach.

Dottie and Steph are very blessed to be taking in such beauty when they step into work each day was my first impression when taking in this sunset.

The hotel and its staff are unpretentious , judging from the warm hospitality, genuine smiles and good food served earlier.

The fresh salmon and tuna won me over and were such a welcome from the usual frozen variety found in other establishments.

The festive-themed buffet dinner was all about freshness and good taste and it did not have the taste of the usually mass-produced food found in hotel buffet lines.

Even the Christmas desserts – like the fruit cake and panna cotta – had a home-made touch and taste to it.

The Seafood Galore Buffet Dinner on Saturdays and Sundays from 7pm-10pm is priced at RM108 nett for adults with free flow of beer and red and white wines (senior citizens are charged RM88 nett). The buffet only option costs RM78 nett per person (senior citizens aged 55 and above pay RM58 nett) Kids aged 12 and below dine for free. And the best part is that it is served in the hotel’s sea-fronting Spice Garden outlet on Level 11.

A special promotion currently has buy 3, pay for 2, buy 5 pay for 3 and buy 7 pay for 4 deals respectively.

Call 04-3733233 to book your tasty dinner with an awesome view!

Fay & Food

My first “sighting” of this lovely and funny soul was at The Star Penang newsroom in 1993, when I joined as a reporter and she was the paper’s freelance writer/stringer.

Once she got behind the computer she would remain focussed and quiet as she went about putting together her famous food reviews.

The sub-editors usually found themselves needing to consult the dictionary when clearing her copies (Aiyo Fay, why are you using such big words, you think our readers can understand, meh? was usually conveyed to Fay by Anna Cheah our then chief sub-editor) Fay would simply smile and give some funny retort and everyone would laugh.

Her love for food was legendary. Some of us would join her for quick hawker meals close to the office when she stepped in to meet her deadlines. As most people know, this foodie was just as adept in appreciating fine food and made no bones when any dish did not meet her exacting standards.

When she moved on to other interests, especially in publishing, I used to pick up her nifty card sets with watercolour images of all things Malaysiana and even tried her ‘Miss Khoo’s Asian Deli’ gourmet products at the time, as I heard they had found their way to the shelves of Harvey Nichols in the United Kingdom.

The writer, TV and radio host, publisher, lover of all things nautical and much-loved daughter, always had a kind word for everyone and we missed her laughter and teasing when she left The Star to pursue other projects and adventures.

It was shocking and painful to many of us to hear that Fay, who was then 48, had left us after a brief illness in April, 2017.

Bettina Chua Abdullah and I had a mutual friend in Fay and our stories and friendship with this fun-loving soul are different and yet, the same. Fay shared different friendships with different people and made her mark which can never be erased.

Which now brings us to the third edition of the Fay Khoo Award for Food and Drink Writing which Bettina organised and has been directing to honour Fay’s legacy.

The call for entries has been made and details found below. The 2019 winners will be announced at this year’s George Town Literary Festival which takes place in Penang from Nov 21-24 (please mark your calendars)

Thank you Bettina, for your dedication in keeping Fay’s memory and our friendships alive!

(In addition to written narrative entries for the award, comics and graphic stories are also open to authors and illustrators wishing to submit illustrated narratives)

CALL FOR ENTRIES 2019

The aim of The Fay Khoo Award for Food+Drink Writing is to recognise new and talented voices, and to encourage and develop excellence in food and drink narratives. We believe that there is a space and a need for well-researched and impactful food journalism, because it is through such writing that we can shine a light on people, culture, health, economics and the environment of culinary delight.

This year we hope to present awards to the three best entries, regardless of category. Please read the conditions of entry and submission guidelines carefully, as these have changed from previous years.

The CONDITIONS OF ENTRY are as follows:

• All writing must fall into the categories of personal narrative, reportage or creative non-fiction.

• Entries should not exceed 2000 words.

• Entries must be submitted in English, and must be the sole work of the entrant.

• Entries must never have been published, self-published, broadcast or uploaded on any

website, blog or online forum.

• Anyone over the age of 16 years at the time of the closing date, who is a citizen or resident

of ASEAN countries, may submit up to three (3) entries.

• A fee of RM 20 per submission will be levied to cover administrative costs.

Processing of fees is made by Hikayat Lebuh Pantai, which manages The Fay Khoo Award, upon submission of entry/entries.

Bank details are as follows:

Maybank | Hikayat Lebuh Pantai Sdn Bhd | 557018565194

Please reference your payment with FKA and your WhatsApp number: eg FKA 012-345-6789

If you do not have a mobile phone, please use a landline number.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

• Entries must be saved in Microsoft Word format, and emailed to

thefaykhooaward@hikayat.asia

• Entries need to be double-spaced and the word-count noted at top of the first page.

• Entries must include a WhatsApp or landline number, so that you can be sent a confirmation

that your entry has been received, and we can link submission fees to your entry.

• To protect the integrity of the judging process, entries must not include your name or email address. We will contact you via the WhatsApp or landline number you have provided, for your name and other necessary information.

• Amendments or revised versions will not be accepted.

• Entries will be accepted from July 15, 2019 and must be received by September 15, 2019.

• A fee of RM 20 per submission will be levied to cover administrative costs.

• Entrants who have not turned 18 by November 1, 2019 must provide a parent/legal guardian’s name and contact details.

NOTES ON JUDGING

• There will be three (3) judges for the Fay Khoo Award. The judges’ decision is final.

• The judges will not comment on individual entries.

• The Fay Khoo Award reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.

• A Longlist of up to 15 entries will be announced by October 10, 2019, and writers notified by WhatsApp and email.

• A Shortlist of 6 entries will be announced by October 28, 2019, and writers notified by

WhatsApp and email.

PRIZE-GIVING

• The winning entries will be announced at the George Town Literary Festival between

November 21-24, 2019. Accommodation will be provided for the day of the prize-giving.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

• Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by virtue of submitting an entry, participants are assigning unrestricted right to publish the winning entry, shortlisted entries and long-listed entries in any format. This right is granted to the managers of The Fay Khoo Award, Hikayat Lebuh Pantai Sdn Bhd and its associates in perpetuity, upon submission of the entry for consideration.

• The Fay Khoo Award will retain fully all income generated by publication of the winning entries, shortlisted entries and long-listed entries, while the author will retain all income generated by their publication separate to this.

• In cases where the author of a winning, shortlisted or longlisted entry independently publishes said submission, the author will mention that the piece was a winner or shortlisted or longlisted entry in The Fay Khoo Award for Food+Drink Writing.

PRIZES:

• Each of the three winners receives a cash award of MYR1500, and a book voucher for MYR500

• Shortlisted entries may also receive other supplementary prizes, at the discretion of the organisers.

AMENDMENTS:

• The organisers of the Fay Khoo Award reserve the right to amend these conditions of entry

if deemed necessary. Any changes will be posted on the award’s Facebook page.

• For further information, please email thefaykhooaward@hikayat.asia

(Images courtesy from the FKAward Facebook and Fay’s)

Breakfast @PulauTikusMarket

This market is one which is known for its slightly higher prices since it supposedly caters to the affluent community of Pulau Tikus.

The goods available never fail to thrill and amaze, ranging from the usual wet market offerings to even stalls selling organic products. Factory over run (branded) clothing items can be picked up for a song and over festive seasons, one can even find Spode and Royal Doulton (more factory overruns) tableware.

Meenaka had to come all the way from Singapore to introduce me to the soya sauce shop found in the market and I am now a regular shopper.

Here are some on-the-go breakfast options found on a weekday …

Athene the Spice Girl

I met this purveyor of artisan spices two years ago at her “spice laboratory” in Relau on the island.

The warmth and bubbly personality matched her colourful and aromatic spices as did her passion for cooking and sharing food and recipes.

Faten Rafie (or Athene to family and close friends) is the force behind the ‘Athene Spices’ brand of artisan spice blends and rubs, which are designed and created for home cooks to make easy, yet exciting dishes.

They are all natural, free of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and MSG-free.

Just staring at the colourful contents of her bottled spices is enough to inspire the foodie in all of us and here’s why:

Her recipes are so easy to follow and end up looking like one has slaved for hours in the kitchen!

Befitting its premium tag, Athene Spices products are targeted at those with greater purchasing power and exposed to international cuisines, and also the health conscious, who do not want oil or sodium in the food they prepare and consume.

For this Ramadhan season, Faten has kindly shared some recipes below which include her famous spices which have found their way into Malaysian kitchens and restaurants at home and abroad.

Together with her businessman husband Azizi Hassan, Faten sources her spices like nutmeg pepper locally, and mix them into their distinct products with labels like Hot Chick Spicy Salt, Lemon Lime Pepper Salt, Mandy Spice Mix, Lebanese Za’atar, Moroccan Ras el Hanout and Hyderabad Biryani… to name a few, for retail and wholesale.

Check out her online spice shop at http://www.athenespices.com

If you are in Penang, her spices at stocked at both the Tropical Spice Garden’s gift shop at Teluk Bahang or The Tropical Spice Garden In the City store in George Town.

They make great gifts for Hari Raya open houses or to pop into a festive hamper.

(Images courtesy of Faten Rafie and NST)

On the fringes of the rainforest

Mr Crazy and Creative, Joe Sidek, returns to Borneo for the second edition of the Rainforest Fringe (RFF) in Kuching from 6 to 15 July this year.

“After a successful inaugural festival in 2017, this year’s RFF will showcase a wide range of cultural, contemporary, and traditional events representative of Sarawak’s exciting, complex and many-layered identity,” said Sidek, who has been synonymous with the George Town Festival for close to a decade.

The 10-day festival is set feature both local and international artists,performers, designers, photographers, and speakers.

“Sarawak has so much to offer. Apart from ecotourism, it is also renowned for its diverse cultural identities and traditions. The Rainforest Fringe Festival is all about Sarawak and is for everyone.

“It will be an exciting time for all to come together and be immersed in art, nature, history, tradition, culture and fun,” promises Sidek.

“This year’s RFF will be an all-inclusive and a complete sensorial experience,” he adds, saying that the programme includes:

• SARAWAK: The Indigenous Showcase – Opening the festival, Sarawak’s own creation presents a tapestry of Sarawak’s indigenous groups through dance, songs,

sounds and chants. The performance layers the traditional with the contemporary, featuring New York-based dancer and choreographer Raziman Sarbini.

Also performing will be the celebrated Kuching-born soprano Dewi Liana Seriestha, the first Malaysian to win the Miss World Talent title in 2014, and recently selected as icon and keynote speaker for International Dayak Culture Day in Indonesia.

• A performance of the Paiwan Tribe from Taiwan will add an international element to the evening. The Paiwan Tribe performance, one of Taiwan’s most interesting indigenous showcases, stars Hao-Hsiang Hsu, internationally famous actor (Life of Pi) and theatre director, and Paiwan ancient singer Seredaw Tariyaljan, who performed at the Pre-Grammy Party at the 55thGrammy Awards.

This performance combines cocoon, percussion instruments and aboriginal folk songs to present a pure aboriginal musical performance celebrating the beauty of the aboriginal culture of Taiwan.

• FIRST PEOPLE Party – Introducing the term orang asal, the “first people”; RFF celebrates indigenous Sarawakians with a party hosted at the Black Box, Borneo744. The night is a performance from the electrifying soul band Electric Fields, fresh from WOMADelaide and the Australian Performing Arts Market, alongside Sarawak’s own At Adau and Pete Kallang.

• BAMBOO THAT BINDS & WOOD – This interactive series of programmes, curated by Sarawakian Wendy Teo, aims to encourage innovative use of bamboo and wood:

• The “INSTRUMENT” – A Bamboo Musical Installation. A public interactive installation of bamboo in the shape of the angklung, with musical performances.

Wendy Teo will be working with Indonesian musicians Karinding Attack to create this site-specific music sphere.

• The CREATIVE FORUM welcomes international speakers: Filipino designer to the stars, Kenneth Cobonpue; Malaysian furniture designer Shahril Faisal, whose designs “evoke emotions, provoke thoughts and stimulate the senses”; Taiwanese artist Cheng-Tsung Feng, a designer who explores the contemporary potential in traditional utensils and materials; Indian bamboo textile designer Madhu Jain, a craft revivalist recently honoured by the President of India for her services in design; and Australian architect Jed Long, co-founder of Cave Urban, a collective formed to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design.

* The WORKSHOP – Redesigning Bornean Crafts. 20 days, six designers/craftsmen, three countries. Bringing together three designers from Thailand, three designers from Taiwan and local craftsmen to showcase what happens when international design embraces local craftsmanship. The design teams will combine their skills to create innovative new items over a three-week workshop in June and July, after which they will display their pieces at the festival.

• The MARKET – Borneo 744 plays host to the best of Sarawakian artisanal products: wood and bamboo designs and crafts, antiques, exotic plants, books, fashion, food, and more. For the first time, Big Bad Wolf comes to East Malaysia with their enormously popular book fair at the Market.

• The RAINFOREST STORIES – A set of screenings of films and documentaries that pay homage to Sarawakian culture. A highlight is the intriguing Lost Films series, films that have been lost into the archives, featuring Cinta Gadis Rhimba (director Datuk L. Krishnan), and introducing the Search for the Long House – a project to locate and screen The Long House (directed by Phani Majumdar).

“Making RFF a true sensorial experience, food will feature in our programme, and we look forward to announcing partnerships with local food establishments and putting indigenous and contemporary Sarawakian cuisine on an international stage,” said Sidek.

The Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) began in 2017 and is an annual 10-day celebration of the spirit and energy of Sarawak. Hosted in the heart of Kuching, the festival honours Sarawak’s eclectic culture and vibrancy of the land and the people through music, art, craft, film, photography, and design.

#rff #rainforestfringe #kuching #2018

(all but one image courtesy of RFF)

It’s baaaaaaaack!!!

The annual George Town Festival (GTF) returns for its 9th consecutive round with an international and local slew of events from 4 Aug till until 2 Sept this year.

“George Town will be a hub of entertainment and excitement with both free and ticketed shows available to audiences,” a press statement issued today said.

As in previous editions of the annual fest, the Penang Government has appointed Joe Sidek Productions Sdn. Bhd. to oversee the curation and management of GTF.

The appointed contractor today also expressed its thanks to the state authorities, Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang, the Penang Development Corporation, Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Penang Global Tourism, and George Town World Heritage Incorporated for their continued support.

A ‘Call for Proposals’ for the fest which was initiated last October, has seen some 200 proposals both from Malaysia and abroad come in.

“We expect more will be forthcoming during this last week,” said festival director, Joe Sidek.

“In addition to online submissions, we have also been conducting ‘Proposal Clinics’ to encourage local creative individuals or groups to meet with us to help fine-tune their artistic ideas and to help them submit a proposal for the festival,” he added.

The Eurasian Story

What better way to hear stories, discover or rediscover one’s roots and look to ways of preserving a once-glorious past, than through a celebration of culture, music and food?

The rich history of the Penang Eurasians and their significant contributions to the nation will be showcased this weekend through dialogues, the unveiling of a photo gallery, mouth-watering Eurasian cuisine and music.

The Eurasian Heritage Fiesta 2017 will begin on Saturday with a talk at 2pm on “Discover your roots to preserve Eurasian heritage” followed by the unveiling of a photo gallery at 4.30pm at the Penang Eurasian Association (PEA) House, 107-A, Solok Serani (off Jalan Kelawai), Penang.

Although the Eurasians and original residents of Kampung Serani no longer reside as a close-knit and vibrantly-rich Catholic community next door to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus today, the spirit of their music and parties continue to live on in the PEA House.

The fiesta this year is a collaboration between the PEA and organisers of the Eurasian Fiesta and is part of the 8th edition of the George Town Festival.

The Eurasian community is inviting the public to experience its unique ‘Serani’ cuisine and rich musical talents.

“The new photo gallery,” says the event’s organising chairman and former PEA president Datuk Aloysius Gasper, “will be a proud display of our Eurasian presence nationally and not just remain brief references in the history of Penang and the country.”

On Saturday, food lovingly prepared from recipe books of Penang’s Eurasian families and live music will be available from 7pm to midnight, while on Sunday the event is open from 5pm till midnight.

See you for a bite of sugee cake and pineapple tarts or a spread of devil curries and more this weekend at Kampung Serani in Pulau Tikus!

Here’s a take-away of recipes shared by the generous hearts of several Penang Eurasians …

(Images courtesy of Datuk Aloysius Gasper)

Red, yellow, white & blue (cupcakes)

The bake-off fever continues to rage at Flex Malaysia with a special cupcake wars event to celebrate Malaysia’s 60th birthday.

What better way than to party with the nation and each other, than by baking dainty cupcakes, decorating them meticulously in colours found on the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ and then feeding your colleagues and bosses with these creations?

This is precisely what 36 Flex Johor employees did yesterday at the Senai (medical) facility. The lobby and a portion of the first floor had temporarily morphed into a mini bakery where cupcakes ruled the day! Thank you Alex and Ken for working your magic!

The Flex Merdeka Cupcake Wars was all about colour, creativity, cooperation and consumption (of the cakes!)

Judges Stella, Joe, Rebecca & Ed had the enviable task of eating their way through 18 cupcakes (and fears of going into a sugar coma!) which were lovingly baked and decorated by Flex employees from the Johor sites in Senai, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Skudai.

Theirs was not an easy task as they had to make a second round among all the baking stations set up to be absolutely certain of their deciding votes for the cupcakes.

Val’s decision to acknowledge a surprise category of bakers with an additional mystery prize, is a reflection of Flex’s care and recognition of employees who go the extra mile.

Following very closely to the chosen theme of ‘Colours of Malaysia”, the teams gave their all in attending to the smallest of details, while staying calm and baking on.

The goodwill and new links forged were so apparent when a team had to turn to the other competitors for some extra eggs when theirs became runny and threatened to affect their cupcakes.

Equally heart-warming was seeing a judge help in assisting a team which was having difficulty using an attachment on their baking appliance, while another judge stepped in to assist with the photography set-up.

And the Pensonic products continue to spark joy among all the participating Flex bakers who now have some new baking goodies to call their own.

Happy Birthday, Malaysia!

GT80

This posting speaks for itself via the beautifully-crafted illustrations of a very talented young lady, Vanessa Ho.

The watercolour illustrator was commissioned by George Town Festival (GTF) director Joe Sidek to produce this darling little travel journal called GT80.

It lists the top 80 favourites of GTF, in terms of places to go, things to do, people to see and dishes to eat in George Town.

If there is one souvenir you should buy (RM30 each), during this edition of the GTF, it’s this lil brown book which makes an invaluable guide for anyone pounding the streets of George Town or those overseas who pine for their beloved Penang.

Here’s why ….

You get to rediscover childhood favourites, be they people, food or places or discover new ones and grow to love them.


Copies of the GT80 illustrated travel journal are available at the GTF office (86, Lebuh Armenian, George Town) during office hours.

(All images – but one – are courtesy of George Town Festival)