Home Food ReviewsCuisineChinese Restoran Zi Zai at Paya Terubong, Penang

Restoran Zi Zai at Paya Terubong, Penang

by Bangsar Babe

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Zi Zai Restaurant in Paya Terubong is known for its Poon Choi and tai chow (big fry) dishes. While I have yet to try the Poon Choi, I was told it was quite good and reasonably priced. That evening, I was introduced to Hock Chai, the owner of Zi Zai Restaurant and he dished out some of his specialty dishes for us.

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Assam Prawns

Assam Prawn is a popular Nyonya dish and is predominantly sweet and tangy. Cooking style differs between cooks, but Hock Chai’s version sat well with me. The gravy boasted a nice balance of sweet, sour and savoury, and coated the prawns well. The prawns could have been fresher, but I’m just particular as the other diners found it acceptable.

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Belacan Chicken Wings

Belacan Chicken Wings were crisply fried and fragrant from the fermented dried shrimp. You either love belacan or you don’t. I remember cooking belacan fried rice in the UK and my flatmate thought something died in the kitchen. Suffice to say, I didn’t give her any belacan when she came down for my wedding.

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The chicken wings made a lovely snack, but I would have preferred a bit more belacan presence.

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Fried Sambal La La

We also had the Fried Sambal La La which packed quite a punch. The small clams were fresh and lightly chewy. I liked the addition of ginger in the gravy as it helped offset the briny flavour of the clams.

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Assam Fish

The Assam Fish was not as spicy as it looked, and fragrant from the chopped bunga kantan garnish. Again, I would have preferred it to be spicier. More oomph. Will definitely let Hock Chai know when I visit his restaurant next.

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Fried Lettuce with Fermented Beancurd

Simple or not, the Fried Lettuce with Fermented Beancurd was good stuff. I love beancurd and can eat two cubes of it with plain rice. Most places are stingy with the beancurd, but Zi Zai was pretty generous with the amount.

On a whole, I enjoyed the food at Zi Zai Restaurant. I wouldn’t say it’s the best tai chow I’ve had, but I like how simple and hearty the dishes are. That’s what good Chinese cooking is all about, don’t you think?

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The bill came up to slightly over RM100 for the above. Pretty reasonable, I feel. While the portion about would usually feed 4-5 pax, there were 6 of us that evening. I was too full to eat more as I had two bowls of asam laksa an hour before dinner.

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Ambiance: 5.5/10
Price: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Pretty good tai chow dishes and reasonable prices.

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Restoran Zi Zai
1239-G Ground Floor,
Jalan Paya Terubong
11060 Air Itam, Penang.
Tel: 04-8265713
Business Hours: 5pm to 10.30pm
Closed Tuesday

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