Monday, October 20, 2008

Champ's by Mr Chardonnay

This place obviously does not need any further introduction as it is highly reputable for its "luxurious" version of the Penang Prawn Mee (known as Hokkien Mee in Penang). Luxurious because it comes with huge chunks of pork ribs, cooked nicely in a superior prawn base soup with a premium pricing of RM 21! Anyhow, Smooth Aji and I, who both grew up in Penang decided to stroll over to Champ's yesterday night to try out their other Penang delicacies instead. For the uninformed, Champ's is located on the 1st floor of CenterPoint Shopping Centre at Bandar Utama.

Smooth Aji decided to have the Fried Flat Noodles (more commonly known as Char Koay Teow) whilst yours truly decided to have the Soya Sauce Pork Stew (otherwise known as Tau Eu Bak) which is a traditional Hokkien home made dish. Since I am still pretty new to this whole food blogging thing, I forgot to bring a camera with me and hence the photos appended with this write-up are from my mobile. Apologies in advance if the picture quality does not do justice to the actual food :P.

The "Char Koay Teow" was definitely loaded with an array of ingredients. In fact, I commented to Smooth Aji that the ingredients seemed more than the flat noodle itself, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Now, both Smooth Aji and I think that the best "Char Koay Teow" is the one dished out by the notorious "Goggles Lady" at Lorong Selamat, Penang, so we do have a certain level of expectation on our "Char Koay Teow". This one is seriously quite decent by our standards, the flat noodles were skillfully fried with the flurry of ingredients- heaps of cockles, prawns, shredded crab meat, bean sprouts, egg, chives and chinese sausages (lap cheong). Of course, the chef also used quite a substantial amount of lard which definitely enhances the flavour of this dish but it is something that Smooth Aji and I carefully tried to avoid from swallowing. The unique ingredient that we discovered that differentiated this "Char Koay Teow" with the regular ones is that it comes with "Chai Por" which is the hokkien phrase for pickled radish , commonly found in fried egg dishes to go with Teow Chew porridge as well as fried rice flour cakes ("Char Koay Kark"), which is another Penang Hawkers' treasure. The version at Champ's probably cannot compete with the one cooked by the "Goggles Lady" as it was fried over a gas stove whilst the quintessential art of the "Goggles Lady" lies with the fact that she painstakingly fries her "Char Koay Teow' over charcoal stove in individual portions. Nevertheless, the "Char Koay Teow" at Champ's is definitely worth a try.

Next up, was the "Tau Eu Bak" which is not commonly available in Restaurants, even in Penang as it is very much a cook-at-home kind of dish for the Hokkien people. They were very generous with the chunks of pork and one good thing for me was, there were minimal visible fat on the pork in the stew (however, most people might disagree with me as I noticed a fair bit of people do enjoy the fatty pork when it comes to this dish). This dish typically comes with whole Chinese mushrooms and hard boiled egg and the one at Champ's is no exception. Two other must have ingredients in cooking this dish are whole garlics and whole white peppers. Though I detected the taste of garlic and pepper, I think the dish would have been a touch better if there were more whole garlics and peppers. Nevertheless, I would still say that this dish is definitely tasty by general standards.

The "Tau Eu Bak" was served with a plate of piping hot rice, accompanied by a simple cucumber salad (dressed with chili paste and lime juice) and "sambal belacan". The "sambal belacan" adds an interesting twist to the meal and makes the entire dish even more appetizing. However, I did not like the cucumber salad as somehow the dressing did not quite complement the cucumbers and furthermore, the cucumbers did not taste fresh either.

As the portions were generally huge to justify the premium pricing (RM 17 for the "Char Koay Teow" and RM 21 for the "Tau Eu Bak"), both Smooth Aji and I were full to the brim at the end of the dinner, coupled with the fact that we decided to wash down the food with two mugs of beer each :). My verdict is that both dishes definitely warrants a try and rates quite highly in terms of authenticity and taste -this coming from a Penangite himself!

Labels: , ,

5 Comments:

Blogger PureGlutton said...

Champs' food portions are always generous. Tau Yew Bak eaten with sambal belacan will ensure u eat loads of rice, haha! I always have the sambal accompaniment whenever I cook this pork dish at home :)

21 October, 2008  
Blogger Chardonnay said...

You are absolutely right PG. The sambal belacan goes really well with the rice and the Tau Eu Bak.Do you know where we can buy authentic sambal belacan in KL/PJ area though?

22 October, 2008  
Anonymous Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Everytime I go to Champs, I must have the Tau Yu Bak. I grew up on it as a kid, and now that it's not so readily available at home, I hafta find other sources, and you're right, it's not a commonly available dish. It's good, though, as is the prawn noodles.

22 October, 2008  
Blogger backstreetgluttons said...

you r right about the pixs, they are really quite dark and mysterious.

but to compare them with Penang tastes also cannot because Penang pepole will kill the champion for these kind of sky prices when they are actually beach people.

3rdly the last time Jln Alor in KL also got better food , beers and ya (women). We go tgether ok

23 October, 2008  
Blogger JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

pics too dark -__-"
Anyway, it sounds really
luxurios after reading your reviews.Wish i could hv the chance to try it too =)

25 October, 2008  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home