Queens Hall @ Queensbay Mall

There was a food court on the top floor of Queensbay Mall that was my frequent weekend brunch place. A few months ago, that food court has been closed down for renovation. It took forever so I thought maybe they were going to close down the food court for good and do something else instead.

And then, for the past two weeks or so, some friends and colleagues have been asking me: “Eh, did you know the top floor food court in Queensbay Mall has been reopened? Have you tried the food there yet?

And then, a couple days later, the same friends and colleagues told me: “Eh, that new food court in Queensbay Mall, the food there is very expensive!! Not worth going!!

When people say DO NOT do something, then you DO it. That’s how humans should behave. And the last time I checked, I am a human.

So I went and checked things out yesterday morning after I was done with my grocery run. I would’ve expected the place to be deserted since everyone was saying how expensive and not worth it this new food court has become.

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Yeah, right… This was 11 AM, the place was just starting to do business for the day. And the crowds were steadily increasing that by the time I got my food, I had a hard time finding an empty table.

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The food court was previously named Queens Street, now after a round of renovations, they rename it as Queens Hall. Most of the old stalls were still around, and there were some new stalls in this refurbished food court. They even have a fancy location map and directory of all the available stalls and food selection here. But I thought this map was confusing. I was NOT able to locate the stall that I want by referring to this fancy map.

The main reason why my friends seem to think this new food court is so not worth it is because of the new prices for the food. A friend paid more than RM 10 for a plate of chicken rice, and another friend had yong tau foo and paid twice as much as when having it elsewhere.

After giving the stalls a quick tour, I think not all is lost here. Some of the food here are really ridiculously priced, but some still remained reasonable. Reasonable as far as a air-conditioned mall’s food court is concerned. For example, the stuff sold in the [Claypot and Sizzling] stall and the [Penang Wok] stall did not increase much in price. I remember they used to sell a plate of noodles for RM 7.90 and the same noodles dish now goes for RM 8.90. If you factor in GST then it is not such a big leap.

Anyway, I decided to try out one of the new stalls here. I decided to play tourist and go for the Penang Famous Char Kway Teow. Why?

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Because I saw that they have this open kitchen thing which fascinated me. The cook seemed to know what he was doing (even though he is still a Burmese/Nepalese), or rather his stance and methods inspired confidence in me that he knew what he was doing.

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And also because it is one of the cheaper eats here. My plate of char kway teow with egg was RM 7.30. You can opt for duck egg but it would cost a bit more. Well, yeah, it is more expensive compared to having it in a coffee shop or a roadside stall where you can probably get it for RM 4, but like I said, this is a food court inside an air-conditioned mall. You pay a premium for a better dining environment.

My drink was another story altogether. White Coffee used to be RM 2.20 and it is now fucking RM 4.50! While GST is charged at 6%, the coffee here goes up in price by more than 100%! Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK!!

I know, it is my fault. I should have looked at the price before ordering, but I didn’t. Lesson well learned. DO NOT have drinks at this food court

Anyway, let’s talk about my char kway teow now. First, let’s give you a close up view.

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You know how sometimes at indoor food courts, you tend to get food that does not taste like what it should be? This char kway teow is NOT one of those. A true blue Penangite might not agree with me, but I thought this char kway teow was alright. Definitely not the best that I’ve ever had, but it was pretty decent. It had prawns and see hum (cockles) in it, and I thought I bit into a few pieces of pork lard, but surely not? I thought this place is supposed to be halal. It has to be something that crunched and tasted like pork lard but is NOT pork lard, but it did the job of making my plate of noodles wonderful.

Will I come back again? Oh, yes, definitely. I used to have my weekend meals here after my grocery run, there is no reason why I should not do the same again. Only thing is that I need to avoid the really overpriced food items, and I definitely need to avoid the drinks! Fuck the drinks stall!

26 Comments

  1. Lol, swearing so much. But that is really very expensive for drinks in a food court in Malaysia. Same deal in Australia. Some fruit juices sold in air-conditioned food courts costs almost as much as a plate of rice or bowl of noodles.

    This food court reminds me of the underground one at Pavilion KL. Looks very big too. A lot of the food courts fancy shopping centres here in Melbourne here are no where near this big.

    • The one in Pavilion is on a whole different level in terms of food selection and prices. This one here in Penang, is probably half of that..

  2. The vendors make very good profit margin with drinks anywhere. With food, one would be to make wise choices and select the more reasonably priced ones. These days most hawker stalls are manned by foreign workers and as long as the food still taste good, it is alright. I used to enjoy going to food courts because there’s so many choices.

    • You are right! My friend who runs that restaurant in Great Eastern Mall said the same thing. The food is just something that brings the customers in, it is the drinks that make them laugh all the way to the bank! 😀

  3. I read about this food court opening in the papers recently. That char kway teow does look good…I see nice char marks…sign of a good wok hei! 😉 Yeah, you should so boycott the drinks if they bloody increase the price 100%. But on closer inspection, that glass seems taller than the normal ones….is it a bigger glass than you had before? If that’s so, then maybe RM4.50 is not that bad.

    • Hmm.. it was quite long ago… last time the drinks were served in plastic glasses, shorter but fatter. I reckon this taller glass probably has 10 or 15% more drinks in it… Still not worth 100% increase!

    • Then that is consistent with what I paid for the white coffee, which is still bloody expensive and deserve to be banned!

    • I wonder if that will be the case for this food court. It seems like many Penangites are unhappy. Well, if they stay away then great news for me LOL! 😛

  4. The char kway teow reminds me of Pad Thai. Does it taste similar? [Oh, and I had just eaten Pad Thai when I saw your photo on instagram, so that could very well be why I made the connection.]

    And you are like me. If people tell me that I can’t, I will prove it to them that I can. If people tell me not to do something, that will motivate me to do it.

    • Probably not, Thai noodles uses different spices for seasoning compared to us, and the texture of our rice noodles are slightly different. Of course, if you have pad thai and char kway teow in a cafe in Taiwan then they might feel and taste similar as the restaurant would probably adapt them a bit..

      I think humans are generally like that, when people say DON’T, it will only intrigue us to find out “WHY? What would happen if I DO?”. That’s why we always get into trouble with parents when we were kids.

  5. Saw this in somebody’s blog. Nice, clean place. Such places are usually a little bit more expensive than the regular coffee shops but as long as the food is good, it is worth eating in comfort. I would avoid food courts that get too crowded and noisy though, might as well go to a coffee shop, cheaper – this one looks fine.

    • I think this place will not be crowded after a few weeks. Apparently most Penangites hate the prices, which is somewhat surprising to me because some of the stalls here have not increased their prices by much at all compared to before. Anyway, hate means hate, so I think in a few weeks time, only the expats (non Penangites) like me will choose to hang around here..

    • I’m the last person in Penang that you want to get a “must eat” list from. Especially not street food. You’d do much better checking blogs like Ken Hunts Food or something.

      If you really want me to suggest, I would say Khun Thai (Thai food), they have outlets at Teluk Kumbar and mainland Butterworth. The Thai food here is (I think) at times better than the ones you can get in KL. And then, maybe Xuan Xin, you can find this one in either Gurney Plaza or Queensbay Mall. They serve Chinese cuisine which (I think) is pretty decent and in a relatively nice environment. I think you have been to that French cafe and China House before so not gonna suggest it..

  6. very expensive.will never go back.Beef noodle from Sukhotai was not worth the price that cost me rm 13 plus.Very small bowl as compared from the picture from their stall.ice lemon tea and ice milk tea cost me rm 8.not worth going

    • RM 8 ice lemon tea??? Worse than white coffee?? That’s bullshit! They can drink themselves!

      I won’t ban the food here, because like I said, you can still go back to those pre-renovation stalls, I don’t think they change their prices by much. But the new stalls, and the drinks stalls, NO THANKS!

  7. Sedap char kway teow! Price ok too. Cheaper than air cond food court in Lot 10 and Pavilion.

    The location map looks so artistic. Too artistic to be useful gua.

    Hahaha, your friends will tell you, “We told you so” if you tell them about the expensive drink you had.

    I think a few years back I ate at the old food court. Did it have a youtiao stall back then?

    • No need the drinks, they already insist my CKT was way too expensive.. When I said price ok, most of my colleagues stare at me like I’m an imbecile. I guess they refuse to accept that a plate of char kway teow should cost more than RM 4, never mind if it is road side or inside a mall. Oh well…

      That map, it is not just artistic, it doesn’t reflect the actual layout. The locations are agak-agak one.. 😐

      Yes, there was that youtiao stall which I also used to patronize quite a bit, and they are still there now.. 🙂

  8. I read your post word by word ahh, scared got any tricks or not, hehe.. Oh yes I agree with you, people ask u not to do, we peen-peen wana do it.. We want something we cant get too, aiya, human, I’m like that too.. I keep laughing when you were fcuking the drinks, but yeah, RM4.50 for a drink is a bit too much geh, may as well order ice kacang or something..

    • Hahaha! No more tricks lah! XD

      I never expected the white coffee to be RM 4.50, it used to be RM 2.20, so I thought maybe now RM 2.50 or even RM 3 also I tutup sebelah mata lah… but RM 4.50 is WAY TOO MUCH!

  9. I have long never dine in foodcourts inside shopping malls for a few reason: (1) expensive as in worthwhileness, (2) bad ventilation, (3) food way lousier than they look.. foodcourt now aren’t the same as they were when this concept was new, the owner really can cook and not just took franchise and hire “trained workers”..

    • Er.. I think now also the cooks in food court are mostly trained foreign workers. But the food in food court nowadays are better than in the past lah. Not very good, but much better than horrible.

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