正斗粥面专家 Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop

I was out early in the morning today. A friend of mine had some errands to run and she needed a big man to accompany her for security reasons, but for some strange reasons, her hubs was not available, so I became her temporary husband for the day.

The errand was done quickly, so we decided to have lunch before heading back. The friend suggested a noodle shop in Gurney Paragon that she said was very famous. I rarely come here for meals (or rather, for anything), so I quickly agreed.

The search for this elusive restaurant was rather stupid, on our part. We didn’t know where the restaurant was located in the mall, and the only piece of information that the friend had was that the restaurant would be visible from the outside. So, we went from the 4th floor (our car park level) to Ground floor, headed outside, and found our target.

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Here, zoom in closer…

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Except our target is on the 5th floor, just directly above where we were at 4th floor. If we had been more attentive to our surroundings, we wouldn’t have needed to make that blind detour.

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Here’s where we went: 正斗粥面专家 Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop. Apparently, this is a very famous noodle chain from Hong Kong, with outlets in Hong Kong, Shanghai and now Malaysia. This outlet in Gurney Paragon, Penang, is their first (and at the moment, only) outlet in Malaysia.

I think fellow blogger Mun was the first to tell me about this restaurant a few months ago. When I saw the words Gurney Paragon, I never really expected to be coming here for a meal at all.

Also, it appears that this restaurant chain has a rather heady title…

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A one Michelin star restaurant, huh? Although I think, it is their main outlet in Hong Kong that has the Michelin star, not this new outlet in Penang. But it did somewhat raise my expectations to extraordinary levels.

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They offer a wide variety of food items in their menu. Noodles and congee (of course), dim sum, roasted meats, and all sorts of Hong Kong/Cantonese cuisine. But really, we came here specifically for this:

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Their wanton… wantun noodles are supposed to be the bomb. If you go to Tasty’s website, you will realize the origin of this restaurant chain is all about wantun noodles. In case you are too lazy to click into their website to read, here’s some snippets.

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Tasty originated from Hung Kee. Tasty’s owner is the son of Hung Kee’s owner.

Throughout our time here, we did experience certain characteristics of Michelin star which I would term bad-assery.

First thing was the ordering of beverages. When I tried to inquire about their selections of Chinese tea, the waiter promptly replied: (translated) “Oh, we don’t carry those different types of tea leaves. We only serve one type of Chinese tea, and it is our own special blend of tea from 香港正斗 Tasty Hong Kong. If you don’t want tea, then the only other thing we have is freshly brewed herbal tea.”

Okay… such arrogance even on such simple matter as tea. Must be a super bad-ass blend or something. So I ordered that special Tasty tea.

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I don’t know. I could not feel the difference between this tea as opposed to, say… Dragon-i’s Chinese tea. Or those 50 cents Chinese tea from food courts. Maybe it is just me. As we all know, my tongue is somewhat broken when it comes to fine dining flavors.

Still, it was just RM 2, so no big deal there. I would’ve been pissed if the tea was RM 20.

Then our noodles, the coveted wantun noodles soup arrived.

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Come on. Honestly, how do you feel when you see this picture above? This is how a Michelin star wantun noodles soup looks like.

The first thing that came to my mind was: “Where the f**k are the wantuns??“. The next thing that came to my mind was: “Why is the bowl (portion) so small??“. The third thing that came to my mind was: “Is this just plain noodles with soup and nothing else??“. And the fourth thing that came to my mind was: “Is this how Michelin star restaurants do their thing??“. Seriously, I was extremely underwhelmed.

Luckily, before I made a scene called the waiter to ask questions, I decided to dig around the noodles with my spoon. The mystery was solved immediately.

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I don’t know why those chefs did this, but the wantuns and chives were hidden beneath the noodles. I counted 5 wantuns. And they were all large wantuns, customary with what you would expect of Hong Kong style wantuns, and the exact opposite of pathetic Penang style wantons. Great! Now we’re talking!

Anyway, I thought this is a decent bowl of wantun noodles. The noodles were slightly on the al dente side, the wantuns were great, and I thought the soup was of good flavor. But I think the elevated expectations did me in. While I felt this is a good bowl of noodles, it did not really blow my mind away. I was expecting a stronger impact, but it did not materialize. Still, this is a million miles better than all those crappy wanton mee that Penang used to serve me. Okay, maybe just a hundred thousand miles.

It is nothing like KL style wanton mee though. To answer Mun’s curiosity: no, this did nothing to ease my cravings.

Oh, yeah. I think I am generally a bad and biased food reviewer. But I do have an independent source of review this time. Apparently, my temporary wife‘s daughter is a resident noodles expert who has ample noodles eating experience. In fact, all day today, after we asked her what she wanted to eat for lunch, she kept repeating “noodles, noodles, noodles”…

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I had to do some privacy protection works here

The resident noodles expert said the noodles here is good, and she liked it. She even gave her thumbs up. So it must be good.

But, as mentioned earlier, it was really small in portion. RM 15.80 for such a small bowl of noodles! Two bowls of these would not be enough to feed two adults and one hungry toddler. So we had to order more food.

These food…

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Pork trotters noodles – RM 15.80 too
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Lau sar pau (steamed bun with salted egg yolk) – RM 9.80

That pork trotters was yum yum in terms of sauce and flavor, but… and this is a big BUT… no meat. They were basically bones and skins. No meat. Man that was disappointing!

The lau sar pau was alright though. As usual, I made a mess when eating this, with the salted egg yolk custard bursting out, much to my chagrin but to the delight of the little one.

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We ordered those buns specifically to make us feel full. Thankfully, they did the job admirably well.

Total damage for the meal?

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I don’t really know how to do the wrap up for this restaurant. Did I enjoy the meal? Yes I did. Is the food good? Yes, I think it is. But I guess, don’t pay too much attention to the words Michelin star. That’s their main outlet in HK, not this one. You won’t get a Gordon Ramsay-esque fine dining experience here.

Will I come back again? That’s a pointless question. It’s Gurney Paragon. I won’t come here unless there are special reasons or special circumstances…

28 Comments

  1. I think they just opened one outlet at 1-U and the decor is so lavishly done like old China’s cafe for Wong Fei Hung! Let me go and compared the name as I remembered seeing “Wantun” too. I must be from the Chiu Kee clan. Muahahaha

    • Huh? I don’t think they are the same. As far as I know, they have not opened any other outlets in Malaysia apart from this one. Even if they do, I think they would stick to similar layout and design for their restaurants. After all, Michelin star is all about quality control.

  2. That picture of the wonton noodles looks good… Let’s see if I can find something similar in the food court during lunch time 😀 But it will have no michelin star for sure, haha.

    • That alkaline taste was there, but I thought it was manageable. The soup was rather flavorful though, so I think maybe the soup is a localized version or something.

      Like you, I prefer KL wantan mee! 🙁

  3. The noodles look good. They look light and they won’t fill you up too full. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of wontons. Dumplings, xiao long baos, yes, but not wontons.

    “a big man to accompany her for security reasons” So life is still like that in Malaysia. Sometimes I feel that way when I want to go to certain coffee shops to eat in KL. Need a big man to come along 😐

    • Unlike you, I am a HUGE fan of wantons. But only if they are done right. Penang style wantons pisses me off.

      Sigh, I don’t think it is a problem unique to Malaysia. Sometimes, you just have to take extra precautions wherever you go. The good thing is a big man can deter some crimes in Malaysia. If you go to certain gun carrying red neck states in the US, big man or not makes no difference. 😐

      • I prefer xiao long baos over wantons any day. Generally I prefer dry meals over soupy meals.

        When I’m back in Malaysia, I seriously hate withdrawing money from ATMs in places like Yulek, where the machine is surrounded by “security glass”. Seriously could use two or more big man during these times and a getaway car nearby 😐

    • Hmm.. Mak’s… I think it is one of the 4 Heavenly Wantun noodles King in Hong Kong mentioned by the website snippet I took.

  4. Last time when i used the word “Tasty” in my blog…a reader commented “Tasty ” means a lot of MSG. *pengsan*. Me too fail la if ask me to do food review.

    RM71 s still okay la…. tarak kena slaughter till one neck blood

  5. When a child tells you something you know you’ve got an honest opinion. Nice job of the coverup to protect the innocent’s privacy. Hee hee! She looks like a serious food critic. 🙂

  6. TQ TQ for answering my questions about this wanton mee place. Too bad it cannot replace KL wanton mee for you. The price is ok, just like wanton mee in Canton-i and Dragon-i. From your photos, it looks like a decent bowl of HK wanton mee, the noodle is thin and al dente.

    About the pork trotters, I think it depends on luck whether you get meat or not. Every trotter is different because got fat pig and got thin pig. Thin pig would have thin hands/feet lor, LOL! The skin is good of collagen goodness, your temporary wife should eat lots of it.

    Your temporary husband service is just available to your circle of married/unmarried female friends? or is it bodyguard for hire?

    I just read about Japan’s “Rose Sheep” today. http://nextshark.com/tokyo-rose-sheep/
    Ok, not related but just the temporary husband thingy make me think of that.

    • Well, a Michelin star restaurant would not let the difference between thin and fat pigs to hinder their food. They would have perfect quality control on every aspect. Or at least that’s what I thought…

      LOL! I am nothing like those highly paid Japanese pretty boys lah! I’m just accompanying my friend as a friend. I used words to make it sound more exciting only! 😀 😀

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