The name Zi Zai Restaurant has been lingering in our mind sometimes as netizens have been extolling the dishes prepared by the chef - Hock Chai. We often heard of the good quality yet affordable price home cooked style dishes served here. Intrigued by its reputation, we came here for a stomach therapy session.
Note: We revisited Zi Zai again in year 2017 and we accepted the challenge to order 21 dishes, find out more here.
The highly regarded dish - Assam prawns (RM 20 small/ RM 40 big) topped our order list. However, it did not turn up so well for us. Though the sweet and sour assam taste was well balanced and nicely toned to souse up the prawns exoskeleton, it was only minimally imbued into the prawn, resulted rather plain taste after removal of the exoskeleton. The sambal provided was then well utilised to enhance the prawn taste. Nevertheless the dish was rather generous as 8 big prawns were served on a plate.
Fish Meat & Tofu in Claypot (RM 20 small/ RM 40 big) was served piping hot and the claypot did a nice job in preserving the dishes in top condition. The home cook style tofu was smooth in texture while the fishes were deboned and tasted good. We thought the gravy was slightly overdose in the salt, or perhaps an additional teaspoon of monosodium glutamate was mistakenly added?
Sweet and sour pork (RM 12) has been my regular ordering during dine in as the sauce is always a great addition to the rice. Hock Chai's version of sweet and sour pork was rather generous in terms of serving size and the sauce achieved a great balance of sweet and sour taste, with a bit of sourness peaking among the sweet taste. Our mouth muscles was slightly exercised in biting the meat though as we expected it could be more tendered.
Chinese Lettuce cooked with fermented bean curds (RM 8) to balance up the carnivorous meal. Hock Chai did a good job by not masking the originality of the chinese lettuce taste even though fermented bean curds has been added. The fermented bean curds taste have been well embedded within the vegetables, leaving a minimal usual pungent taste in the gravy. A great home cook style vegetable.
Home cook style longan maybe?
Overall, Zi Zai Restaurant offers a nice dining experience and offers a reminiscence of home cook style dishes, as their restaurant signboard also suggests the title "ko zha bi". The taste still lingering in my taste buds during recalling and it truely reflects the authentic home cook dishes. Price and quantity is user friendly at the same time and it would be an excellent choice for family dine in. Plenty of parking spaces available but the numbers of tables in the restaurant is somehow limited but I believe extra tables can be added at the external area of the restaurant.
Apart from that, Zi Zai Restaurant is renowned for its Poon Choi and the pre-order during CNY is beyond your imaginations. In normal days, you may pre-order before 12pm and get your Poon Choi after 6pm on the same day. However, you may pre-order it even 1 month early especially before CNY.
Zi Zai Restaurant
Address: 1239-G, Ground Floor, Jalan Paya Terubong, 11060, Pulau Pinang
+604-826 5713 (Hock Chai)/ 016- 421 7392
Operation hour: 6pm - 10:30pm, Last order at 10pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Zi Zai Facebook page refers here.
Location map refers here.
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