Sunday, August 21, 2011

Malaysia Food Blog - Taipei 101 (台北101)

Location: Bayan Lepas, Penang Isle

No, this is not about that tall building in Taiwan. This is about a shop situated right opposite of Queensbay Mall, with its yellow sign gleaming through day and night. Indeed, the same establishment was originally called Mommy Wang (王妈妈), and after they started operating for a while they switched to this name which you can see across the street from Queensbay Mall's entrance.

Most of the joints near or in Queensbay Mall are not exactly for one with is not on a splurge. If you are one of those with a limited budget, and still would like to get a decent meal that is different from your usual ones, then I would definitely suggest Taipei 101.

The Place

The shop could be seen across the street from Queensbay Mall. Just look for the eye-catching sign.

If you are having a stroll in Queensbay Mall, then it is not difficult for this shop to catch your sight. Look right out of the entrance (the ones near to shops) and look to the opposite shoplots. The glaring sign written in red and framed in yellow within a white background will beacon hungry diners to visit the joint.

Orange and yellow are the prime colors Taipei 101 employed to decorate the place, an appetizing color for an appetizing place.

Whenever I entered the shop, I felt like I was visiting Taiwan, that faraway place that is unfamiliar to me except in pictures and books. Framed photos of Taiwanese places lined the wall and offered a glimpse of the beauty that is Taiwan, placing the atmosphere of a foreign land on Malaysian soil. 

A captivating orange across the span of the shop, with amber yellow lighting elevating the mood along with the paint job.

The captivating beauty that is Taiwan, framed on a wall and offering visitors of a glimpse of that faraway land while enjoying their meal, imagining themselves seated somewhere in that picturesque place. 

Framed photos of Taiwanese scenery makes me feel close to a place that I have never, but hopefully one day will, set foot on.

The Food

Its name is Taipei 101, so what else do you expect apart from Taiwanese delights? Well, actually they do serve other varieties as well. Japanese and Chinese meals are also one of their selling points, and frankly I do love to try out each of everything from each of its pages.

Douse the heat with your choice of pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶) or milk shake! A remedy for our hot Malaysian sun. 

You wouldn't be consuming Taiwanese food without getting their famous pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶)! Taipei 101's ice blended drinks and cold drinks are a definite must for a hot and sunny afternoon to cool your heat down. I personally loved the Mint Pearl Milk Tea, especially the cooling minty sensation that gets through you from every sip.

There is one small thing that always catches my eyes. You may know of the idiom 'born with a silver spoon in the mouth'. Well, in Taipei 101, you get 'served with a (pair of) silver chopsticks on your bowl'.

Fried Bean Sauce Noodle (炸酱面) (RM6.90) - a funny translation, but a must-try dish. This is another one of the Taiwanese delight, with minced pork and lots of sliced veges covering all over the noodles. You will not see your noodle, and you should mix all of them around before you start to dig in...

...and voila! Out comes the springy noodles that soaked up the ingredients. The minced pork is slightly spicy, so you may want your drinks ready in front of you. Definitely a must try!

There are a few dish within its claypot rice series which I find most satisfying. All of these meals are served with the chowder still bubbling from the hot pot. I loved the Seafood Claypot Rice, which despite its undistinguished English name, belies the deep flavor of this dish. This dish actually could be counted as a Chinese dish instead of Taiwanese, but who is counting anyway.

Seafood Claypot Rice (一品砂煲饭) (RM11.50) - the meager word of 'seafood' does not begin to describe the contents boiling within the pot. You get all sorts of seafood within, from squid rings, prawns, to abalone pieces. The best thing about this is the delicious chowder that is salty and its taste full of seafood, all boiled from the ingredients. Yummy!

Spicy Pork Ribs Claypot Rice (辛辣排骨砂煲饭) (RM11.50) - if you are not tolerant to spicy food, be warned. This really is a spicy dish, with the pork ribs tender and soaking up the sauce. Chew on the succulent meat from the ribs and feel the heat at the tip of your tongue! Get your ice cool drink ever ready...

The large part of Taipei 101's menu is provided in Bento sets (弁当), those rectangular boxed sets which made its way from Japan to Taiwan and became popular in the latter. Unfortunately, I do not find these particularly helpful in my meals, since the rice just kept stuck at the corners where the spoon cannot reach. I guess it's fortunate that the Chinese invented chopsticks... ^^

A large Bento set sure is large, with soup, an iron braised egg and veges to complement the meal. On the other hand, if you are not a heavy eater like me, go for a small Bento set, which comes with less veges, replaced with spicy tofu. The latter set also come with braised pork rice (卤肉饭), instead of the plain rice sparkled with black sesame in a larger Bento set.

Broccoli and Abalone in Seafood Sauce Bento (兰花鲍鱼片便当) (RM11.50) - that's not very expensive for a meal with abalone. The seafood sauce tastes delicious, with the sweet and salty taste of a seafood chowder. The abalone pieces bring that taste along with it, getting the juice into your mouth with your every bite. Thumbs up for this dish!

Sweet and Sour Sauce Meat Bento (咕噜肉便当) (RM9.90) - this is actually quite ordinary locally, so I do not find this special. Still, if you are looking for an ordinary dish to go, you could have this dish of slightly crunchy pork, coated over with sweet and sour sauce. 

Popcorn Chicken Rice (盐酥鸡饭) (RM7.50) - another one of the Taiwanese delights, and despite its English name, this has nothing to do with popcorn. Then again, that could be named so because you feel like popping a piece into your mouth the moment you started. Its crunchy and salty exterior invokes your appetite in ways you couldn't imagine. Really feel like getting one now...

Deep Fried Pork Rib Rice (花莲炸排骨饭) (RM7.90) - not crunchy on the outside, but still tasty on the inside. 

Taiwanese Pork Rice (台式猪扒饭) (RM7.90) - another one of Taiwan's famous food, with a crunchy and slightly salty crust. It says Taiwanese, and it does carry some weight with that name. It's no joke that the Taiwanese love this dish there, and they could line up just to get a piece of this off their favorite stall. 

Taiwanese Fish Fillet Rice (台式鱼扒饭) (RM8.50) - not going for pork? Try out their fish fillet then. Fried to a crunchy finish just like the pork version, with white meat underneath instead of red.

Fried Octopus Rice (桃园花枝饭) (RM7.90) - not exactly as nice as it should be, given that fried octopus is one of Taiwan's local delights. The octopus is not bad, just that it would have been better if the coated crust doesn't taste so much like flour and flake off the little octo before it gets into your mouth. Looks kind of like Popcorn Chicken on this photo, eh?

Sweet Potato with Plum Powder (甘梅地瓜) (RM4.80) - another one of the must try of Taipei 101. This is a famous Taiwanese favorite snack that is covered with salty and slightly sour (at least I don't feel sour) crust, coated over steaming hot sweet potatoes. Imagine McDonald's French fries, Taiwanese style!

If you are just looking for a snack, you could always look to Taipei 101's side dishes. Despite its name, some of these dishes could be taken as snacks, which what most Taiwanese did, while some others could be ordered to complement whatever meal you planned for.

So the next time you are shopping in Queensbay Mall, and left with a limited budget for your dining, why not consider walking across the street and give this a try? At least you do not need to spend a few thousands to get an experience of having a decent Taiwanese meal.

Image courtesy of

View Taipei 101 in a larger map

Suitable for:            celebrations with friends and family, or just enjoy a meal without any ceremony
Cost:                             affordable to occasional; some items could get as low as RM6++, while some could get more than RM20.

Website:                    Facebook page
E-mail:                       You can leave a message at their Facebook page above. They will check on it and reply.

Contact:                     604 - 642 1339
Address:                     35G, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11600 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
                                         Located just opposite of Queensbay Mall

Operating hours:  Mon - Fri:   11.00 a.m. - 2.45 p.m.; 5.30 p.m. - 9.45 p.m.
                                          Sat - Sun: 11.00 a.m. - 9.45 p.m.
Parking:                      The parking lot in front of the shop charges RM0.50 per 1/2 hour. You could opt for Queensbay Mall's parking though, and shop in the mall after meal.

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