Tasty Congee @ Noodle Wantun Soup 正斗粥面专家 @ Gurney Paragon Mall, Gurney Drive, Penang!
Penangnites are blessed to have another big name in the international F&B industry coming to open their 1st overseas branch in Southeast Asia. Using a simple name, Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop or more commonly known as 正斗 among its patrons, many shoppers will mistake it as another simple and normal-looking Chinese restaurant. It is actually a recipient of Michelin one star and also Bib Gourmand (this award is for restaurants that offer exceptional good food at reasonable prices) for 7 freaking consecutive years, 2009 – 2015, to be exact. That’s awesome, we would say! 😛 So, how does this one-star Michelin restaurant fares? Let’s check it out! 🙂
Tasty Congee and Noodles Wantun Shop is started by Mr Stephen Ho Kun Ming in 1996 after taking over his father’s business. His father, Mr Ho Chiu Hung started its food business with a small stall and grew it into a big restaurant named Ho Hung Kee. Mr Stephen grew the business and opened 9 outlets whereby Hong Kong has 4 outlets and China has 5 outlets. One of the outlets in Hong Kong is located in Hong Kong International Airport. You can give it a try if you happen to transit there. 🙂 Under Mr Stephen’s leadership, Tasty Congee and Noodles Wantun Shop also received many acclaimed awards such as Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Best of the Best Culinary Awards (Chinese Classics) – Gold with Distinction Award in 2001 and Quality Tourism Services Scheme – Accredited Restaurant in 2004.
It has an Oriental theme for its restaurant.
It is very spacious and some tables have spectacular view of the Gurney Drive.
A very special appetiser with a combination of fried items that you will see everything you dine there. You will definitely finish this before your main course arrives! 😛 KayaButter didn’t manage to get the name of this dish. Anyone can help us here? 🙂 RM5
Since the restaurant is not another franchise, you will notice many of the high requirements and personal touch of the founder. One example is the founder of the restaurant, Mr Stephen’s insistence on using the brown paper that is rather costly in Hong Kong and certain countries that reminds patrons of the old days’ dining experience in Hong Kong.
A very simple and classy dining utensils. One thing that Kaya notices is that the sauces are all written in Mandarin which is a trouble for a banana man like Kaya who doesn’t know how to read Mandarin words. Feedback has been given and hopefully the management will do something about that. One thing to note that Mr Ho imported many of the sauces into Malaysia in order to give Malaysian patrons the authentic taste and dining experience.
Mr Wilson Tsui, the Director & his wife Ms Jesse Lim, HR & Administration Manager posing with their restaurant’s signature dish!
House Specialty Wantun Noodles RM15.80
This is definitely a must-try dish but bear in mind that it is not exactly the same Wan Tan Mee that many of us in Malaysia are accustomed to. It has its own distinctive flavours and taste. The restaurant claims that their wantun noodles follows the authentic recipe that originates from Guangzhou. KayaButter also learnt that wanton noodles actually started in Guangzhou. The taste of wantun noodles has changed ever since it comes to Southeast Asia and has been localised to suit our local taste buds. So, this dish will create some culture shock to Penangnites. Let’s understand the dish more through this casual Q&A:
1. Why does a bowl of wantun noodles cost so freaking much here? (We believe that this question will pop up in most people’s mind, right? Hehe)
Well, you are not dining at the roadside, bro! This a restaurant with air-conditioning, uniformed staffs, good ambience and high-end location. Of course, it will be more expensive la! 😛 Besides this, actually you are paying for a bowl of authentic, good and fresh wantun noodles. The noodles are prepared using a special technique using a huge bamboo stick. The chef will sit and jump on the bamboo stick to press on the flour mixture for 2-3 hours long to create the al-dante and springy noodles. They used imported flour from Canada dan duck eggs to make the noodles. Besides that, you will have 5 pieces of wantun that is filled with fresh prawns, minced pork and pork fat that is made bite-size. According to the founder, you should eat the wantun in one bite to really enjoy the wantun. 🙂 The soup that is prepared 3-4 hours using pork and shrimp.
2. Why does the restaurant put the wantuns all under the noodles? It makes the wantun noodles look so boring and simple. Besides that, patrons might feel that the wantun noodles does not come with wantun!
We actually feel the same way as you too, bro! According to Mr Wilson, the reason that they prepared in such way is to prevent the noodles becoming thick and mushy. They want to ensure you to have the best dining experience and to taste the noodles at its best condition. Hence, the wantuns are all under the noodles. Got it, bro? 😛 That is also the same reason why some Japanese restaurants do not allow take-away for their ramen. It will make the ramen tastes less optimum.
3. Why does the wantun noodles here tastes different than the ones I have in Penang?
The wantun noodles here have very little to no boric acid. They are soaked in water and dried for 1 to 2 days to wash away the boric acid. Hence, you will find that the overall taste of the wantun noodles are very different than what we have in Penang. This is actually more healthy for us too.
Overall verdict is that the noodles are in a different level than the ones we had before. Very al-dante and springy! A new experience definitely. It also take an understanding to fully appreciate this bowl of wantun noodles! 🙂 Mr Wilson also mentioned that wantun noodles is the only noodle that has these two characteristics which are al-dante and springy. Do give it a try! 🙂
Noodles with Spicy Shredded Pork in Soy Bean Paste RM13.80
Noodles in Soup with Chi-Hau Brisket Beef RM17.80
The soup is very rich in flavour. The beef is not too chewy and tasted nice! Again, the noodles used in this dish shine again and help to make the tasting experience of this dish very good! 🙂
Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli in Singapore Style RM24.80
This dish is decent and nothing special to shout about. The portion is big and can be eaten by two small eaters. If you are a big eater, then one plate will be enough for you.
Stir-Fried Noodles with Shredded Pork & Bean Sprouts RM24.80
After being pampered by the al-dante and crispy noodles, Kaya’s expectation for noodles has increased. Haha! This dish is also decent and the noodles stood out with its crispiness. The portion is slightly large and sort of justifies the price that it charges. 🙂
大肚婆炒饭 “Pregnant Lady Fried Rice”
Steamed Chicken (Whole) RM80.00
The Steamed Chicken received rave reviews among the journalist and bloggers present for the food review. Very succulent and juicy chicken. This dish also scores high points for its presentation. Very detailed and meticulously placed. Best taken together with the sauces provided for the extra kick! 🙂
Assorted Meat Congee in Guangzhou Style RM15.80
Their congee is definitely a must try. Very smooth and silky taste. It’s like you are literally drinking the congee. Haha! The pearl rice used are top quality Thai pearl rice that are only for export use. The management cannot purchase directly from Thailand even though they are so near to Thailand now. They need to buy from Hong Kong as the top quality pearl rice is exported to Hong Kong. It comes with friend peanuts and stripes of ginger. There are more than 10 types of congee for you to choose from. You can also choose to have pork innards such as kidneys, intestines and so on if you are pork lover! 🙂
Salted Lean Pork & Preserved Egg Congee RM15.80
This is their most famous or most ordered congee. The preserved egg is directly imported from Mongkok, Hong Kong whereby it is sold by a famous preserved egg seller. Many big name restaurants in Hong Kong also purchase the preserved eggs from the seller. Our verdict? It is very springy and nice to chew on and no overpowering taste of preserved egg! Nicely done! 🙂
This is the fish that they use as the base of the congee.
After taking over the business, Mr Stephen slowly introduced dim sum into their restaurant to fulfil the needs of the his patrons. Dim sum is in the blood of most Chinese. 🙂
Egg Tart in Hong Kong Style (3pcs) RM8.80
Their egg tarts are very soft. They insist on using the original ingredients and avoid using filling to make the egg tarts look hard and springy. KayaButter personally feel that the size of the egg tarts are a bit too small.
Pan-Fried Turnip Cake with Dried Scallops (6pcs) RM12.80
It is slightly different that what we have here whereby we usually deep-fry the turnip cake. It does give a different taste to the turnip cake. Recommended! 🙂 Very soft and nice to chew. The presentation is also very pleasant to the eyes.
Deep-Fried Stuffed Taro (3pcs) RM10.80
We are told that the Deep-Fried Stuffed Taro is fried in a way that the crispy part of the dish goes all the way up. It takes a special technique to do that. We don’t know that they are so strict about the presentation of their dishes. Haha. By the way, this dish is decent. 🙂
Crispy Shrimp Rolls with Sour Ginger & Preserved Century Egg RM13.80
OK! This is a MUST-TRY dish! We are being told that this dim sum dish is no longer prepared by many dim sum restaurant and sort of extinct already. Well, this is also our 1st time trying and our verdict is? Well, you will squiggle once you bite on this dim sum! Haha! A very unique combination of flavours and tasting experience (口感). 🙂
Steamed Shrimp Dumpling (4pcs) RM13.80
A very springy and tasty Steamed Shrimp Dumpling. Our all-time favourite for dim sum! Very smooth and soft skin! It doesn’t disappoint us. What is lacking is our Penang chilli sauce especially Squirrel Brand’s chilli sauce to make the tasting experience even better! 😛
Steamed Bun with Custard and Duck Egg Yolk Filling (3pcs) RM9.80
This is the highlight of the food review! Double thumbs-up! Recommended! You can really taste the rich aroma of the slightly salty duck egg yolk and the sweet custard! A very good combo to bring you to cloud nine! 😛 They insist on using the original ingredients to make this dish and not skimp on the ingredients. Some other restaurants will use pumpkin paste to reduce the cost, hence the different taste. You are paying for great stuff here! ;-P As good as it taste, do not over consume as it is very high in cholesterol. Hehe!
Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun (3pcs) RM9.80
This is also a very nice char siew pau (Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun). Mr Wilson says that they high quality imported flour from Canada that will not cause the bun to stick on your teeth when you chew on the bun. This applies to all the buns that they produce. Mr Stephen is very strict in ensuring high quality dishes. Another test you can do to check whether you are getting high quality bun is to poke the skin of the bun with a chopstick. If the skin of the bun bounces back, this means that the flour used is of high quality. He demonstrated to us and it is true. We really learnt some new knowledge during the food review session. He also shared that another criteria of a good quality Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun is that the sauce of the char siew pau is not too much until it flows out from the bun when you tear it open or too little until the char siew pau is too dry.
Teow Chew Style Jelly Cube RM7.80
This is a near-extinct dessert for Hong Kong patrons. It is a dessert that only the older generations that know how to appreciate it to the fullest. We love the jelly cube. Very QQ and soft. It feels like Konnyaku jelly but it is softer. A very nice and light dessert.
Teasing you all again with its Tasty Congee especially for my late night readers! Haha! It reminds again the silky smooth taste of this congee. Arrgh!
Thank you very much to Selene for the invite and Mr Wilson, Ms Jesse and people of Tasty Congee and Noodles Wantun Shop for hosting us for the food review. 🙂 We really enjoy your sharing session about food and culture of Hong Kong. Our readers, do remember to order the must-try dishes such as the wantun noodles, congee, steamed bun with custard and duck egg yolk filling and so on when you are there! 🙂
Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥面专家
L5-01, Gurney Paragon Mall (Near to Just Food Food Court at the open space),
Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang.
Tel No: +604-218 9368, +604-218 9378
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TastyMalaysia
11:00am – 9:30pm