Wednesday, 25 May 2011

TREE MONKEY @ Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang

During one conversation with my friend. She asked me whether I have tried out TREE MONKEY. I told my friend yes, I do. She must be wondering why I never post about it in my blog. Well, as since last year I am already slow down in blogging due to so many works on hand. I think this is just my excuses. ^-^
Anyway, I decided to write up this review since this recall me that my friend birthday this month. And she told me that she had an enjoyable dinner there.
Tree Monkey @ Tropical Spice Garden
Lone Craig Villa, Lot 595,
Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang,
11100 Penang.
Telefax: 604-881 3494
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199
Business hours: Sun-Thur 9am-11pm
Fri-Sat 9am-midnight
Basically it was situated at hill site of Tropical Spice Garden and facing Andaman Sea. Where I enjoyed sunset during my dining @ TREE MONKEY. (Last photos of this blog post) I would say if you like nature, you will certainly love this place.
Restaurant setting
According to the owner - Patt Khor, the restaurant was using no nails at time of building the place. They were trying their best to build it using the timber-framing way style. And the roof top were using thatched alang - alang grass imported from Bali. However, the furniture were imported from Chang Mai.
TREE MONKEY leaflets
It is basically serving North Eastern Thai, Asian and Western Cuisines.
Sunset Paradise - RM10.00 (only available from 6.00pm-7.00pm)
If you visited TREE MONKEY during 6 - 7pm, You can order "Sunset Paradise" for only RM10. It is a very refreshing drink. I believed that its was the combination of pineapple and orange juice. And decorates with cherry and slice of orange. It tastes sweet and sour. Which I like it very much. ^-^
Then we start off with Thai Tapas.
Price ranging from 8pcs @ RM30, 12 pcs @ RM45 and16 pcs @ RM60
(Maximum of four pieces on each item)
There are 12 appetisers to choose from:
THAI TOAST: Crispy toast with minced chicken & sesame
MONEY BAG: Golden fried bag of minced chicken & vegetables
HERBS CHICKEN: Deep Fried chicken drummed with lemongrass
SPRINGS ROLL: Thai crispy vegetables spring roll
PANDAN CHICKEN: Marinated chicken wrapped in pine screw leaves
OTAK-OTAK: Steamed curried seafood paste in banana leaves
MUSSEL SALSA: Half shelled mussel steamed with chili lime salsa
LEMONGRASS STICK: Crumbed minced seafood with lemongrass skewer
PRAWN SARONG: Deep fried prawn wrapped with crispy rice noodle
PRAWN SABAI: Deep fried prawn wrapped with spring roll skin
THAI FISH CAKE: Deep fried curried fish paste with kaffir lime leaves
DARLING CRAB: Half shelled crab stuffed with mixed seafood
(All the above appetizers served with sweet chili sauce)
Thai Tapas
During our dine in we tried 11 varieties out of the 12. We did not get to try on the Darling Crab. From the Thai tapas, you could see the nice combination of colors. I enjoyed most of the Thai Tapas, The prawn was fresh and crunchy after deep fried, the mussel blend well with the chili lime salsa, Thai fish cake were awesome, lemongrass was use as a skewer for the lemongrass stick, nice aroma. Pandan Chicken was nicely done. Crispy Thai vegetable spring roll was crunchy and inside has nice fillings of vegetables and more.......
Next we had the Asian Tapas
Price ranging from 8 dishes @ RM60, 12 dishes @ RM90
(Maximum 2 dishes on each item and it comes with 2 plates of Turmeric Rice)
There are 12 appetisers to choose from:
MANGO SALAD: Green mango salad with shallot & chili lime sauce
SATAY: Grilled marinated chicken skewer
NAM TOK: Beef salad with shallot, chili powder & lime juice
CRISPY HERBS FISH: Deep fried seabass fillet topped with crispy herbs
PRAWN SAMBAL: Stir-fried prawn with roasted chili & shrimp paste
SON IN LAW EGG: Deep fried boiled egg topped with tamarind sauce
SWEET BEAN CURD: Deep fried bean curd with sweet chili sauce
KANG KUNG BELECAN: Stir-fried morning glory with spicy shrimp paste
MASAMAN CURRY: Red curry chicken with potato, onion & peanut
BEEF RENDANG: Red curry beef with kaffir lime & basil leaves
TOMKHA SOUP: Creamy chicken soup with galangal & mushroom
TOMYUM SOUP: Spicy & sour seafood soup with lemongrass & lime juice
Asian Tapas with Turmeric Rice
Please be reminded that Asian Tapas came along with two turmeric rice. Lets start from the centre, it was the mango salad. The mango salad is not too sour for my tastes. Then next we had the Son In Law eggs, which is basically deep fried boiled egg topped with tamarind sauce. Which I found that it was simple and nice. Then the Kang Kung Belachan which are not overly spicy. Sweet Bean Curd are nice which topped with the sweet chili sauce. Satay were tender. Masaman Curry were great with rice. 
TomKha And Tomyum Soup
There are two types of Tom Yam Soup to choose. One is the clear tom yam soup and the other were the red type of tom yum soup. Normally, we saw lots of tom yam soup. And only in certain place they served nice TomKha. Both are my favourites. And the ingredients in there soup were very fresh. I think my gal will enjoy the Tomkha Soup. ^-^
Turmeric Rice
Thai Coconut Ice Cream - RM8.80
After the meal, we had desserts...... that's what I really enjoyed. ^-^ And we had the Thai Coconut Ice-Cream. Basically it was coconut ice-cream topped with jack fruit and attap palm seeds. Very refreshing.
Spice Tea/Coffee with Condensed Milk (Hot or Cold) - RM8.00
After desserts, we sit back and chit chat with the owner and among ourselves. We get to try their spice tea and coffee. If you like spice very much you will loves it. As it has a rich aroma of spice in the tea and coffee.
We were lucky that we were able to see some sunset while dinning at TREE MONKEY. It was an enjoyable and relaxing place for foods. I would like to thank the owner, Patt Khor and Warren for arranging the food review.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Tropical Spice Garden @ Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang

As I mentioned  from my earlier posts, I will do the Tropical Spice Garden post in another post.  So let me begin with my job to show you around the garden.
Water Garden
While waiting for other guest members to join the "English" speaking group. We have the opportunity to take some photos of the water garden with traditional sampan. Basically it was pond filled with large water lily and other plants.
Map of Tropical Spice Garden
This big sign map is locate before the entrance of the Tropical Spice Garden. There are basically 3 interesting trails to begin. Which are Spice Trail, Ornamental Trail and Jungle Trail. 
I have been to the Tropical Spice Garden few years ago with my friend (Visitor). But we just browse through the garden by our self. And did not bother to get any experience tour guide to explained it for us. So I strongly recommend that you get an experienced guide to go around the garden to explained with you the types of herbs uses in our every day cooking and also the almost extinct plants that have been planted in TSG.

Different Palm Tree
Above were our guide, Joseph. Who was an experienced guide from Kuala Lumpur. I really learned lots of knowledge from this tour. Do you know that there are different types of palm trees around the world? And it plays important role in the history and now. There are many products and foods come from the palms. Such as rattan palms in furniture, palm oil used from cosmetics to food cosmetics. We were lucky to have saw one flower blossom from the palm trees (above down left photo). And we also get to see snake. In TSG, they welcome all wildlife animals that came into the garden. If Joseph does not point out the snake, I guessed I would had just missed it. ^-^
Different Palm Tree and Silver Joey Palm (Pokok Payung)
During my first visit to TSG, my friend and I love the gigantic palm tree.Then during this trip, I get to know that this tree has been classify as threatened endemic species due to habitat destruction and illegal collection of seeds to export for ornamental palms. It has enormous leaves up to 3 metres long and 2 metres wide. It was a rear plant because of its spectacular appearance. The palm leaves were very thick and underside of the leaves look stunning and  silvery white. The leaves was used as thatching roofs and walls. It was used as fans to VIPs in the colonial high courts.
Banana Flowers
Assorted Ginger Flowers
Ferns and assorted flowers
Assorted Flowers, Water Lily Flowers, Wild Mushroom and Frog

Spice Trail
Next, let me bring you to the spice trail. Most of the spices that found in the spice trail was used in our every day cooking. It's just the matter of fact that some might not know how the plants and seeds look like. Therefore, come to this garden you can get to know many things. If you have garden, you will probably notice that some of the plants in TSG is also appear in your garden or back yard. ^-^
Citronella which is call Serai Wangi in Bahasa Malaysia. The oil extract is very effective for mosquito repellent. In its natural form it is favoured by the perfumed, cosmetic and flavouring industries around the world.
Lemongrass or Serai
It has a tall perennial grass and citrus flavor. It is widely used as a herb in Asian Cuisine. Such as in Nonya Cuisines, Curries and Soup in Thai Cuisines, Vietnamese salads in Vietnamese Cuisine and etc. Apart from cooking it or eaten it raw. It also can drink as refreshing tea. 
The lemongrass oil are used in perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and shampoo. It is also a good remedy for irregular bowel movements, gastric irritability, use to arrest vomiting, Chronic Rheumatism, sprains, fungal and bacterial infections and the leaves can use for anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger or Halia 
This is  widely used in both local and western cooking. And it has wide range of medical usage such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation and colic. In China, ginger eggs was commonly use at home as a remedy for coughing. And tea brewed with ginger were commonly use as remedy for colds.
Turmeric or Kunyit
Above were the plant of turmeric looks like. It has many medical usage. Such as the juice extracted from crushed rhizome can be applied externally for bruises, sprains, wounds and leech bites. Internally, it can used for treating diarrhoea, colic and jaundice.
Turmeric with milk and sugar boiled is a popular remedy for treating colds.
Torch Ginger or Kantan

Different types of spices - Clove, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper
Clove tree is an evergreen pyramid shaped which grows to the height up to 15M. The leaves when crushed give the aromatic clove smell.  It used to be earliest and most valuable spices to be traded by Egyptians, Romans and Chinese. Clove was used as traditional medication against infections, cholera, tuberculosis and as an anaesthetics.  
Different types of gingers

Trees of Ceylon Cinnamon, Black Pepper and Nutmeg
If you want to buy original Ceylon cinnamon, you can drop by TSG to get one. As the originated Ceylon Cinnamon has different aroma from the normal one that we bought from shopping centre or grocery shops. Cinnamon stick has many benefits such as it helps to improves digestion, relieves spasms, lower fever and blood pressure,  and controls bleeding and infections.  However, it was not recommended for pregnant woman. 
Black Pepper
Nutmeg gives flavour to baked foods, desserts, drinks, meat dishes, vegetable dishes and cheese dishes. The nutmeg oil use to treat rheumatism and other digestive problems.  Nutmeg fruit was used medicinally to relieve air in the bowels.

Assorted Flowers
Resurrection Lily can be commonly found in many gardens. But do you what is the usage? It's rhizome was actually used in curries at Thailand and it's  young leaves were eaten raw with spicy shrimp paste sauce.  Medically, it can used for improve indigestion, anti-bacterial and diuretic effects.

Wild Animals and assorted flowers
For more details of Tropical Spice Garden, please visit :
Tropical Spice Garden
Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595 Mukim 2,
Jalan Teluk Bahang,
11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Telephone: 604 - 881 1797
Facsimile: 604 - 881 3794
Email :

Visiting hours:
Open 9 am to 6 pm daily.
Last admission at 5.30 pm.

Daily guided tours:
Guided Tours available from 9am-5pm daily. Make a booking to avoid disappointment.

Admission Fees:

Garden & Visitor Centre*Self-guided TourGuided Tour
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children):RM 35RM 55
Adult:RM 14RM 22
Child (aged 4-12):
Free for children under 4 years of age
RM 8RM 8
* Information gather from TSG*

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Official Launch of Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School @ Penang on 6th May 2011

Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
I am pleased to get an invitation to attend the official launching of Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School on 6th May 2011 (Friday). The venue of this official launching was taken place at The Pavilion and Cooking School of Tropical Spice Garden.
Our YB Danny Law Heng Kiang, Penang state exco for tourist development and culture and Chef Wan, Food Ambassador of Malaysia were the guests of honor for the launching of Tropical Spice Garden Cooking Class.
Before the launching begin, a group of us were guided by an experience guide, Joseph to the garden. We learned lot of knowledge from this tour. We get to touch and smell all different kind of herbs around the garden which I will elaborate more in my next posts.
After the tour, we were brought to
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
The Pavilion
and waiting for the arrival of the VIPs. While waiting, we had an opportunity to listen to the performance of ENSEMBLE KOSCHKA. It was a chamber music ensembles established in 2008 by Jascha Yasufumi Shimano. The ensemble has been actively performing western classical music and aims to foster young talents and assists professional musicians in their music career.
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
We also take this opportunity to have a look of the TSC Cooking school. It was the first specially designed and hands on cooking classes in Penang. It also equipped with air conditioned. Classes can accommodate 10 persons and each individual has their own purpose-built workstation.
TSG Cooking School guarantee hands on experience for all guests. Students will prepare their meals from scratch. They will need to cut all the ingredients by themselves at their own workstations. Students can also enjoy harvesting fresh spices and herbs from TSG garden.
The benefits of joining this cooking class will include welcome coffee/tea, Cooking School apron to take home, recipe card for the day and guided tour of the spice terraces.
There are three Resident Chefs in TSG Cooking School. They were Pearly Kee which specialised in Nonya & Indian Cuisine. She learned her cooking under the strict guidance of her mentor the renowned Dato Lim Bian Yam.
As for Lily Tan, she was specializes in Chinese Home Cooking and Penang hawker favourites. She taught cooking since 1995 from her home. And her biggest inspirations come from preparing good and healthy foods for her families.
Then we had Azizah Othman which specializes in Malay cuisines. She credits her mother in law for teaching her traditional cooking methods and the correct ways to peel vegetables and prepare meat for specific dishes.
Apart from Resident Chefs, they also have guest chefs from CHOC Artisan, ECCO cafe, Soul Kitchen, Permail Village Cafe, Lighthouse Coffee, Turkish Homecook and SiTigun.
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
Speeches from the Managing Director - Katharine J. Chua, YB Danny Law Heng Kiang, Penang state exco for tourist development and culture and Chef Wan, Food Ambassador of Malaysia.
(from Left to Right)
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
The Managing Director - Katharine J. Chua, YB Danny Law Heng Kiang, Penang state exco for tourist development and culture, Chef Wan, Food Ambassador of Malaysia and all the guest chef and resident chef having the official launching by cutting the red ribbons around the workstation. And each of them have to cut the herbs provided in their workstation for Chef Wan to make "Nasi Ulam".
After the mixing of all herbs in a cold rice. Chef Wan fed Katharine and Danny Law with his prepared Nasi Ulam. Chef Wan said before Danny fed him back, he better fed himself. ^-^
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
Then the signing plaque and also gift presented from Katharine to our YB Danny Law Heng Kiang and Chef Wan. (Sorry for the blur pictures as I am too short to squeeze in the crowd for picture taking. So I just zoom in. ^-^)
If you want to know more about Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School, please visit :
Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School
Lone Grag Villa,
Lot 595 Mkm 2,
Teluk Bahang
11100 Penang, Malaysia.

Tel : 04 8811797 (Cik Azimah)
Fax : 04 8813794
Stay tuned for the Tropical Spice Garden post!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

"Happy Mother's Day 2011"

This year Mother's day fall on today ~ 08.05.2011 (Sunday). The weather is extremely hot at my place. All I wish to do is stay at home with the air condition on. ^-^
This post is to dedicate to all the mothers, mother to be, mother in law, god mother, grand mother, great grand mother and......... We would like to wish all of you "Happy Mother's Day!" and enjoy yourself and get pampered. ^-^
My little gal was having exam this week and she asked me just now, "Mum, today is Mother's Day, so I suppose not to do any revision for my exam." Hahhahaa.... she is just using this excuse to skip her revision. How cheeky of her, right?
Following were the home cooked meal prepared by hubby during Christmas 2009:
Tropical Fruits Salad
We love mangoes very much. And since during Christmas there were lots of mangoes in the market, hubby decided to get some and prepared us some desserts using mangoes and also on fruits salad as well. Apart from mangoes, we also had the tomatoes (red and yellow) - which my gal loves it very much, oranges and lettuce from Jusco.
Special Spare Ribs
We do enjoy spare ribs very much. Especially when it's grill. My gal loves spare ribs that are tender. (Easy for her to chew! Lol) We gave some of this for my neighbors and the family loves it very much. And the credit goes to hubby. ^-^
Marinate Chicken with herbs
Apart from spare ribs, hubby also baked marinate chicken with herbs just in case my gal wants something else.
Mangoes Choco Ice-Cream desserts
When comes to desserts, my gal and I was always the two who enjoys it very much. ^-^
Once again, "Happy Mother's Day" and enjoy your day! ^-^
Best Regards from FoOd PaRaDiSe

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sweet-i (The Sweet Temptation Sweet House) @ Jalan Sg. Dua, Gelugor, Penang.

The weather in Penang is hard to predict. It's raining heavily today and next day it's a hot day which make you sweat. This kind of weather make lots of people fall sick. 
Whenever it's hot weather, I always feel like having some desserts. When I have time, I usually cook some Chinese desserts or herbal tea for my family. 
However, for the past few months I have been really busy and I found a place that I could have different kinds of desserts whenever I feel to have some. I went to this place with my family and try out some of the desserts. And few weeks ago, I revisited with a bunch of friends again to try out the different varieties of desserts offer by Sweet-i.
I would say most of the desserts there are not too sweet compare to other desserts place that I have tested before. And each desserts in Sweet-i were full of ingredients. You can see it for yourself from the following:
Sweet-i desserts all covered inside the pots
Sha Shen Red Dates Medlar White Fungus Winter Melon Soup (糖炒参冬瓜红枣枸杞雪耳) - RM4.50 (each packet), RM4.80 (each container)
I always cook winter melon soup but never try to cook it in desserts basis. And it is something different for me. This Sha Shen Red Dates Medlar White Fungus Winter Melon Soup main ingredients were the white fungus, red dates, winter melon and medlar.
The first thing in my mind is to taste the winter melon. It was shredded like glass noodles. And tastes soft. It was quite special for me. ^-^
Green Bean Sago Sweet Potato Soup (番薯西谷米绿豆沙) - RM2.70 (each packet), RM3.00 (each container)
I have tried this before in my previous visit with my family. I usually will order this while I am outside having desserts. The reasons being that my hubby and gal do not like mung beans. My hubby family mostly take red beans instead of mung beans. However, it's totally different story for my family. I always remember that my mum will always cooked us mung beans whenever we feel heaty inside our body. 
The Green bean sago sweet potato soup have generous amount of sweet potatoes, mung beans and sago. I feel this a bit sweet for me compare from the other desserts. May be due to the sweetness from the sweet potatoes. ^-^
Pumpkin Sago Glutinous Rice in Coconut Milk (南瓜诺密椰香西米露) - RM3.00 (each packet), RM3.30 (each container)
When this appear on the table. Some of us hope that it would be mango sago. As few of us are mango fans. ^-^ However, this was pumpkin sago glutinous rice in coconut milk. It was quite nice. Providing that you love pumpkin. It does not taste too sweet. 
Black Sesame Soup
Black Sesame fans out there. You can drop by to try this out. If you like very thick black sesame soup, you will definitely love this. Hubby had this in his last visit too. But he cannot finished it since it was too thick for him. He tries his best to finish it but he failed. As his stomach started to bloated. ^-^
Ginger Dates Coralline Algae (姜枣海燕窝)- RM3.50 (each packet), RM3.80 (each container)
When this being served, my confinement memory all flash back. It has the aroma of what I used to consume during my confinement period. My MIL will always cooked the black dates tea for me to drink. I don't really enjoy too strong ginger kind of person. If you love ginger very much, please do try this out. However, it is kinda heaty.
Lily Bulbs, Red Dates, Fungus, Coralline Algae (海燕窝百合红枣雪耳露) - RM4.50 (each packet), RM4.80 (each container)
This is another kind of desserts I would order as it's not easy to get all the ingredients together. Many works should be done in order to have all the ingredients together. Ingredients for this bowl of desserts include lily bulbs, red dates, white fungus and Coralline Algae.
Lotus Seeds Ginkgo Nut Red Bean Soup (莲子白果陈皮红豆沙) - RM3.30 (each packet), RM3.60 (each container)
Hubby always cooked us red bean soup whenever we request. I love the combination of this bowl of desserts as it includes not only red beans but also ginkgo nuts, and lotus seed. ^-^
夏枯草桑叶菊花茶 [清肝降火] RM2.00
枣仁菊花龙眼茶 [ 失眠熬夜者饮用] RM3.50
For those who cannot read Chinese. There are 2 different kinds of tea we tested in our review. The first one is the herbal tea with mulberry leaves and chrysanthemum. This tea is to help you to get rid of the heats from your body. When you feel heaty, you can buy some to drink.
The second one is for people that who can't sleep well and work very late at night to consume. It consists of dates, chrysanthemum and dried longan. Both of the teas are great to consume.
 I bought one  bottle each of this back to share with my family and they love it very much. ^-^
Black Glutinous Rice (Bubur Pulut Hitam) (黑糯米粥) - RM2.00 (each packet), RM2.30 (each container)
Any black glutinous rice fans out there? Well, my MIL will definitely love this. As it has rich aroma of black glutinous rice.
Groundnut Cream Soup (生磨香甜花生糊) - RM3.00 (each packet), RM3.30 (each container)
Groundnut cream soup is very rich and has a nice aroma of groundnut. It's improved from my last visit. As I believed that in my last visit, it has some burnt smell which lead to my gal reluctant to consume it further. But during this review, it tastes nice and creamy.
Kelp Red Bean Cream Soup (生磨海带红豆湖) - RM3.00 (each packet), RM3.30 (each container)
I like the red bean cream soup. This is something special. It is added with kelp. I never had kelp inside the red bean cream soup before. Usually will had it inside the soup. ^-^ Something new and special for me. 
Ginkgo Nut Barley Fungus Fu-Zhu Soup (白果薏米雪耳腐竹) RM3.50 (each packet), RM3.80 (each container)
This is also one of the normal desserts you will usually consume in normal household. There are several ingredients in there such as ginkgo nuts, barley, white fungus, and fu zhu.  I believed that's good for cooling effects of the body. ^-^
Tapioca Jelly BoboChaCha (香草薯粉条麽麽喳喳) - RM2.70 (each packet), RM3.00 (each container)
We were told that the green jelly was the popular item in the bobo cha cha here. Many people come here for this. And there are others color too. This is the hot version. And below were the ice version.
Tapioca Jelly BoboChaCha (香草薯粉条麽麽喳喳) ~ Ice Version
黑豆山药糙米粥 (黑豆, 山药, 莲子,海带,香菇,南瓜)全天然,无味精! RM4.50
There are different kinds of porridge offered by the shop. And every day they change to different porridge. And we were honour to try out the above porridge in our last review. And there are many ingredients in there such as black beans, kelp, mushroom, lotus root, pumpkin, lotus seeds and many more........ And most importantly, there are no MSG included. All were from the natural ingredients. I fall in love with it after I tested it. I cannot forget the tastes till today. I will certainly go back to try out different kind of porridge. ^-^
Location: 727-F Jalan Sg. Dua, 11700, Gelugor, Penang.
GPS: N05.351361 E100.298500
It is just located opposite of Tesco Extra Sg. Dua. It shares the same row with the aquarium in the corner. If you know where the pasar malam was situated on every Saturday, you will know where this shop is located. ^-^
Tel: 012 - 4853627 (TA SOON and SY ONG)
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