I just realized I have this post in draft mode since… probably two months ago. So shall I call this, like what Mama Kucing likes to call, basi (stale) post?
[9-Sept-2015: Darn! I just read from their Facebook page, they have closed down permanently four days ago! So you cannot actually try this restaurant out anymore! Tsk… I should’ve made this post earlier, maybe it might bring them more business and save them consequently..]
So, a couple months ago, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from my dad, and he said: “I’m on my way from Ipoh to Penang, I’ll arrive in about 3 hours. I want to see where you are staying in.”
Yeah, my dad drives a van and he drives it within the speed limit for lorries/vans, so he needs 3 hours to drive from Ipoh to Penang… And yeah, he loves ambushing me like this…
So he arrived at about 3.30 PM, I showed him around, and seeing that there’s no air-cond, no TV, no sofa, no nothing… he decided that he’d rather drive back to Taiping (his hometown) to spend the night with my aunts. But he did not have lunch and was hungry. So we decided to go get some food before he made his drive back.
The problem was, I was staying in Bayan Lepas, and as a general rule, restaurants in Bayan Lepas do not operate on weekends at non meal hours. Everywhere was closed, until we finally came to Elit Avenue (yes, Elit Avenue again) and found this restaurant, Dynazty Kitchen, open.
This Dynazty Kitchen is a CMR, a Chinese Muslim Restaurant, the second of it’s kind in the area. I was actually quite intrigued and wanted to try this restaurant out, but you know, I mostly hangout with Chinese people, and as a general rule, a bunch of Chinese only people would not venture into a Chinese Muslim Restaurant. It is nothing about religion extremism. I mean, we do patronize Malay restaurants and Mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurant, but why the f**k should we get halal Chinese food when we can get the real deal if you know what I mean, right?
By the way, if you want to know what was the source of my intrigue, it is because of this photo which I saw in their website.
If you are too lazy to enlarge the photo and read the letter, it is basically a letter from Hyatt Borneo that endorses the chef for having used to work in a team that serves Chinese food to the Sultan of Brunei from various palaces in Brunei. I mean, yeah it is Brunei, but still… how often can you claim to have eaten food from someone who used to serve royalty?
So, anyway, I finally ended being able to try this restaurant out. First thing I noticed is that their entire floor staff consisted of Malay ladies (or women, I don’t know). I guess this is understandable. If you are operating a CMR, you should expect most of your customers to be Malays and Muslims, so having Malay floor staff is more reassuring to the potential customers as opposed to having foulmouthed and vulgar Chinese waiters/waitresses. I know this sounds racist, but… it is what it is… just stating a fact. I did have a quick peek into the kitchen and noticed a Chinese looking man helming the wok, must be the chef mentioned in the letter.
I ordered three dishes for me and my dad. Then we settled down to wait. As we were waiting for our food to be served, I noticed the staff arranging many plates of nice looking dishes at the table beside us. They were doing a photo shoot of the dishes for their Facebook page. I jokingly told one of the waitress: “Kalau nanti I punyer tak serupa cantik macam yang korang tengah ambik gambaq punyer, I tak bayar (If what I am served later is not as nice as the ones you are taking pictures with, I’m not paying)”. The waitress replied me with a smile and said: “Bolehhhhhh (Cannnnn)”.
You might be wondering why I am not pissed off that the floor staff was doing something in the customer dining area like I used to in other cafes/restaurants. See, I get pissed off if the floor staff is doing their own thing, like relaxing and eating lunch. But I consider taking photos for their restaurant’s Facebook page as WORK, and if they are doing work in the customer dining area, I’m fine with it.
Anyway, as we were the only customers in the restaurant at that time, our food was served pretty quickly.
You know, the last time I had halal Chinese food done by a hotel chef was in Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru, and I was mind blown. It was very good in it’s own right, without the “for a halal Chinese food” qualifier. So I actually held a rather high expectation coming here.
Mixed Vege 杂菜 (RM 12.80) – This was… meh. As you can see from the plate, there was too much gravy and too little vegetables. And the gravy was a tad too salty to what a typical Chinese dish would be. I think the chef adapted the recipe for this dish to suit the Malay palate more…
Mini Wok Tofu 煲仔豆腐 (RM 14.80) – This was much better. The gravy was not so salty with this one, and the “liew” (ingredients) was more generous here. We got lots of tofu, button mushrooms and shrimps in this mini wok.
Sweet and Sour Chicken 糖醋鸡丁 (RM 16.80) – Obviously they cannot serve the pork version 咕噜肉 here, so this is the chicken version. The chicken was deep fried till really really crispy on the outside and the meat was tender on the inside. And the sauce was the right flavor. I actually enjoyed this a lot. I think this dish was done perfectly. I mean, as perfect as it can get for the chicken version…
So, let’s see. I think the most enjoyable halal Chinese food experience for me is still from that hotel in JB. But I wouldn’t say the food in this Dynazty Kitchen is worse, because I think the food is pretty nice here. I would say that the style is different. The one in the hotel in JB, the food was more China Chinese food. Understandably so, because the chef is a Muslim from Guangdong, China. The chef in this Dynazty Kitchen, he is a local Penang Chinese Muslim, so his dishes have more of a Malaysian Chinese style to it. That other CMR in Penang, that’s Szechuan Muslim style.
I’m not sure if I will ever come back again, for reasons I mentioned earlier in this post. But I would not hesitate to recommend you to give this restaurant a shot if for some reasons you need a Chinese Muslim restaurant. Heck, if I am going to have a team lunch again in the future, I will recommend this restaurant too. If nothing else, this restaurant will tell you more about Malaysian Chinese cuisine than that other one, in a halal way. 9-Sept-2015: Forget this paragraph, the restaurant has closed down permanently…
And, oh yeah… my dishes… they really did look like the dishes that the staff were using for the photo op. Plus point.
And, oh yeah… they also do not do service charge and GST. Double plus point.