I miss blogging about my hometown’s food. For those who don’t know where I am from, it’s Bukit Mertajam – a small town on the mainland of Penang. Now that I am home for the holidays, it is time for food hunting again. There is a saying in the Chinese community that good food can always be found near temples. Come to think of it, that saying is quite true especially in small towns, like mine.
The most famous temple in BM would be Pek Kong Cheng which is situated right in the center of the town, just next to the wet market. In the morning, there are plenty of food stalls in the catering for the local marker goers and workers with some being the most famous ones in town like the white wantan mee, koay chap, prawn noodle and many more. Come night, it turns into a popular supper spot with new food stalls that operate until midnight.
My latest discovery is a Fried Oyster stall that is manned by a young man in his 20s. I seldom return to BM nowadays so I didn’t even realize the stall which he has been operating for almost 5 years. His style of fried oyster is true to the northern Malaysian style, in which the eggs are fried into thin pieces then folded on top of each other followed by the oysters. The smallest portion costs RM7 and consists of two eggs and roughly 8-10 oysters. There are a few large sized oysters while the rest are medium to small but nothing too tiny, so not bad at all.
It is a shame that a nice restaurant such as Engka Portobello had disappeared from Changkat Bukit Bintang. Their all day breakfast was one of the best around and most importantly does not cost a bomb, which is commendable considering their prime location.
Now that our favorite is gone, we settled at the Magnificient Fish & Chips Bar located just a stone’s throw away. Besides their famous Fish & Chips which some say is the best in town, they serve all day breakfast and other English dishes too. By the way, this is a bold name for a restaurant don’t you think? And looking at their expensive menu prices, their food better be ‘magnificient’ or else.
Fish & Chips is the obligatory order since that is their signature food here. And for that you basically have five types of fishes to choose from: Silver Cod (RM46), Parrot Fish (RM38), Barramundi (RM36), Plaice (RM30) and Butterfish (RM28) I had the Barramundi and it comes with a lot of chips placed on top of a scrunched up newspaper which is separated by a thin sheet of white paper for hygiene. Presentation wise it seems pretty much like the real deal and looks authentically English enough, but that is all about it.
Munakata is one of the very few Japanese restaurants in town that serve Cod Fish as part of their ala-carte buffet menu. That alone is a major reason why I would still go back to them. While it is true that their ala-carte buffet menu is not as extensive as the rest, I have been to Japanese buffets many times enough to know that quality matters more than quantity.
After my last visit, Life Centre went under a much-desired renovation and many questions were posed asking if Munakata was still open, as the scaffolding pretty much hid the restaurant from sight hence creating an impression that they were closed during that period. Well, the answer should be pretty obvious now that you are reading this. Truth is, they were never gone and to sweeten that fact, Munakata’s “buy three, pay for two” ala-carte buffet dinner promotion is back again. If you are wondering, this is the same promotion I had when I first went to Munakata a few years back.
But firstly, let me address some of the common complaints I have received about Munakata. Variety wise, I have said this again and again – if you are looking for hundreds of things to order in your buffet, then please head elsewhere like Tenji or Jogoya. Food portion wise, I really can’t comprehend why would anyone even complain about it.
Take the sashimi for example. If you already know that per person’s portion is 3 slices and you were expecting maybe like 30 slices, you can always place another 10 orders. This is just simple maths, no? I really can’t see how this is a valid complaint. It is not like they are placing a restriction on how many orders you can place on each food. And just to be clear, I am not deliberately trying to defend Munakata. But the way I see it, some (read: *SOME*) of you just like to place the blame on others if anything goes wrong, either the restaurant or the blogger.
OK, enough of my long winded rant and let’s get back to business. Since this is my third post about Munakata and the buffet menu remains very much the same, I am just going to highlight on the items that are worthy of ordering. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not saying the rest are bad. But in a buffet I think you gotta be smart and get the good and higher valued stuff, right? Please be a smart consumer.
Salmon is the only choice of sashimi being served here, which is bad news for those who are expecting more like tuna or squid. Well the good thing is they still taste great and personally, that is all that matters to me since salmon is the only sashimi I truly enjoy anyway.