BY CK Lam
The first Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop in Southeast Asia had its soft opening on the 5th floor of Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang on 9th February 2015. The restaurant originated from Hong Kong has a total of nine outlets, with one awarded with one Michelin star for seven consecutive years.
The a la carte menu offers Cantonese cuisine with a mix of congee, wantun mee combined with barbecue meat and an enormous selection of dim sum.
Mr. Stephen Ho Kun Ming, Chairman of Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop from Hong Kong spent a few hours at an interview with us. Together with his wife, they shared an overview of the outlet.
The business known as Ho Hung Kee is first established in 1946 by Ho Kun Ming father, the senior Ho Chiu Hung. Being the second generation, Ho Kun Ming took over the humble business, and in 1996 he transforms it to the present Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop.
We sampled the ever-popular House Specialty Wonton Noodles in Soup. The bowl of noodle has five fluffy succulent wantun in a rich soup which is slow boiled for three to four hours with sweetness of shrimps and pork.
House Specialty Wonton Noodles in Soup RM15.80
Wantun, literally translated as swallowing a cloud is a combination of minced pork, pork fat, prawn and seasoning. “The wantun is especially made to a reasonable size with a thin wrap. You have to pop it whole into the mouth to enjoy all the flavors in one bite,” Mrs Ho said.
Alternatively, try the Noodles in Soup with Chi-Hau Brisket of Beef or the Noodles with Spicy Shredded Pork in Soy Bean Paste. The latter served with the soup on the side has slight spicy overtone.
We experienced a noodle making demonstration by Mr Ho. The thin egg noodle with springy and chewy texture is made from scratch, using flour (imported from Canada), duck eggs and water.
Diners can catch the chef perform theatrical stunts while rolling out the noodle with a huge bamboo pole at the working station.
There is a huge list of congee to choose from. “Among the ten over choices, the Salted Lean Pork & Preserved Egg Congee is our most popular choice in Hong Kong,” said Mr Ho. Strips of fresh ginger added a nice touch to the silky smooth congee.
Alternately, the more adventurous diners can go for the congee with selection of pork innards -kidney, intestines, liver or stomach. Congee prepared with two selections cost RM15.80 while three goes for RM18.80.
Salted Lean Pork & Preserved Egg Congee RM15.80
For many craving for barbecue meat, the five types include roasted duck, steamed chicken, crispy roasted pork belly, barbecue pork ribs and honey glazed barbecued pork. The barbecue meat is also available in a choice of combo to satisfy all cravings. There is the two combo (RM28), three combo (RM40), four combo (RM56) and five combo (RM98). Half a roasted duck is priced at RM39 and half portion of steamed chicken goes for RM40.
Our plate of four combination barbecue meat arrived at the table with three types of dips – Chinese mustard, ginger and plum sauce. The latter lent a zesty tang to the tender duck meat.
Four combination barbecue meat
Two combination barbecue meat
The Traditional Rice Sausage is also a specialty at this restaurant. Available whole year, the dish comes with assorted preserved meat along with some blanched vegetable and flavorful rice. It is great for sharing, with a small pot (serves six to eight) at RM78, and the larger one (serves eight to ten) at RM98. Do allow some preparation time for this dish.
Traditional Rice Sausage
You will also find other stir-fried rice and noodles such as Fried Rice with Dried Scallop and Egg White, Fried Rice in Yangzhou Style, and Braised Rice Vermicelli with Shredded Duck. The latter with plenty of capsicum is an acquired taste for some.
Braised Rice Vermicelli with Shredded Duck RM24.80
Dim sum lovers can look forward to an extensive selection of steamed, pan-fried, baked and deep-fried items. The morsels of Steamed Shrimp Dumping with juicy plump prawns goodness just needed a light touch of chilli sauce.
Steamed Shrimp Dumping (4pcs) RM13.80
We tried two different steamed buns: Steamed Bun with Custard and Egg Yolk Filling and Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun. The custard and egg yolk bun is rich and creamy while the barbecued pork bun is filled with juicy sauce and pieces of meat. These buns are not to be missed.
Steamed Bun with Custard and Egg Yolk Filling (3pcs) RM9.80
Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun (3pcs) RM9.80
For pan-fried items, you could try the Pan-fried Turnip Cake with Dried Scallops and the House Special Pan-Fried Yam Cake. Both versions are first steamed then pan-fried. Packed with plenty of ingredients, and pan-fried with crispy sides, the cakes are addictive, and I did not stop at one piece.
Pan-fried Turnip Cake with Dried Scallops (6pcs) RM12.80
Besides the pan-fried choices, you will see other deep-fried and baked items, like the Deep-fried Stuffed Taro, Egg Tart in Hong Kong Style, Baked Barbecued Pork Puff Pastries and Crispy Shrimp Rolls with Sour Ginger & Preserved Century Egg.
Deep-fried Stuffed Taro (3pcs) RM10.80
Egg Tart in Hong Kong Style (3pcs) RM8.80
Shrimp Rolls with Sour Ginger & Preserved Century Egg RM13.80 & Baked Barbecued Pork Puff Pastries RM10.80
Sweet desserts cravings will be left cold at the moment as there are only three choices, namely: chestnut soup, red bean sweet soup and Teow Chew style jelly cube.
The Chestnut Soup served cold with pieces of chestnut and egg is a light concoction that is delicately sweeten.
Chestnut Soup RM7.80
Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop with its numerous awards has gained a following among the Penangites, with the numbers increasing by the day. The restaurant is open daily and there is a spacious dining hall and a private room for diners to retreat to.
Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop Awards
Hong Kong Tourism Board – Best of the Best Culinary Awards (Chinese Classics)
Gold with Distinction Award
Hong Kong Tourism Board – Quality Tourism Services Scheme
2009 – 2015
The Bib Gourmands and One-starred Restaurant
Tasty private room for 10
Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家
Level 5 Gurney Paragon Mall
Business Hours: 11am – 9.30pm
* Many thanks to Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop for extending this invitation.