Friday, March 13, 2009

Gook Zay Restaurant, Kampar

Oh, finally I can introduce to you good food from my beloved hometown in Kampar! :) I'm really happy because this is a place with really nice food, reasonable prices and it's rather hidden so I'm sure none of you knew about this place yet! :) Anyway, this place is called Gook Zay Restaurant, situated in between Aston Settlement and Bandar Baru township in Kampar. *sigh* Too bad I don't have a proper map to show you. But if you really go to Kampar sometime and decide to visit this restaurant, do email me and I'll give you detailed instructions. ;) *Sorry for not taking the picture of the shop, it was raining heavily that night. :( Will put it up the next time I visit it!*

So this shop was opened probably about a year ago. Previously the owner actually rented a hawker stall at one of the coffee shops at night and served 'chu char' to the locals. But business went REALLY well with her small stall that eventually, she moved to a whole restaurant of her own! She's a pure Siamese (the locals call her Sim Poh - Siamese woman) who is married to a local Kamparian, hence she can speak perfect Cantonese while her dishes are oh-so-glorious! One thing about her is she only uses the freshest of food to cook! The fish, meat and even vegetables are all fresh from the sea or from the market, because she markets daily. Also, her supply of seafood or meat are limited because of her high standards of freshness, rendering limited choices.

My family and I have visited this restaurant numerous times before, and their specialty is the Tom Yam Goong with prawns! I tell you their Tom Yam is one of the best! Very fragrant, very 'chi kek' (exciting) and very appetizing! And the prawns used are nothing less than fresh. Imagine tantalizing tom yam soup, coupled with big and succulent prawns... Ahh... Splendid! However, during my last visit there, they were out of prawns!!! :((( *super sad* See? I told you their supply of meat/seafood is limited. You have to go there early (6pm) to avoid disappointment. *sigh*

It's ok, there are still tonnes of other stuff to try when you're there. :) This shop is fully operated by family members, namely Sim Poh being the chef, the brother-in-law/brother selling cuttlefish in a stall in front, the husband selling fried noodles in another stall in front and the kids managing the drinks. One big happy family. :) Might I add that their cuttlefish is also very good, springy and has amazing gravy. That night, we ordered a plate to try, but it was so good, we ended up ordering another one!


Look at this picture below, my brother and father co-operating when I asked them to hold up their food. :P

Close up

While waiting for our dishes to arrive, we also ordered one plate of fried noodles because we were all hungry. This stall, as I mentioned, is manned by the chef's husband, who previously also rented another stall in another place. When he moved over to this new restaurant, he brought with him all his old fans, my family included. :) His specialty is fried thick mee(tai luk min) in his special dark sauce. Due to the fact that he uses pork lard in his dishes, they are extremely fragrant and have very good 'wok hei'. But don't expect anything healthy from his stall. :)

Fried noodles

Back to the dishes. Well, apart from the famous Tom Yam, their other dishes also deserve praises. One of the dishes that we never fail to order is the Sesame Seed Chicken (Chi ma kai). Look at how each piece is encapsulated with delicious honey and sesame seeds. The amount of honey and gravy used was not too much until it drowned the chicken, and the taste wasn't too overpowering. It was just a perfect combination, especially with rice. The chicken was initially fried before mixing with the gravy, hence each bite was crispy on the exterior.


Without a doubt, this is my second favourite dish after Tom Yam soup. :)

Sesame seed chicken

Then there was the 'mui choy kau yuk', loosely translated as braised pork with pickled chinese cabbage. I LOVE mui choy! Ever since I was young, I discovered my love for this vegetable and my grandma used to cook this very often so that I would eat more rice. :) This dish really brought me back to my school days. Mui choy is naturally salty, so if the preparation is not right, you'll end up with an extremely salty dish. Luckily, Gook Zay did the dish correctly and it was really good!

Mui choi kau yuk

Then there was the compulsory vegetables that every table would order. For our dinner, we ordered the stir-fried choy sum. Nothing really special about this dish, because it's a straightforward dish with nothing fancy.

Stir-fried choy sum

For those who like petai, this is the place to eat! My father and grandma, both crazy fans of petai, absolutely worship the petai from Gook Zay. I get disgusted by the pungent smell, but I never fail to eat the prawns and the sambal from this dish. ;) Anyway, I trust my dad's sense of taste very much and if he says this is good, I bet you this is really good. :)

Belacan petai

So that was our typical dinner in a Kampar restaurant. Writing about this place makes me crave for its Tom Yam Goong again. *sigh* Next visit I'll make sure to go there by 6pm to satisfy my ever-lasting craving! :)


Yin Hoon said...

I think I know which restaurant you're talking about. It means Sister Kuk in Cantonese, right? Pass by sometimes but never patronise it cuz I have home-cooked meal.

You cannot stand petai? I LOVE petai!! :p

CY said...

u are bcoming a full time food blogger eh. food seemed to be the main agenda in all ur posts.

it's been 1 year since I last ate in Kampar. Post something on the long time favorites of Kampar food!

the CCF at night, CKT, LMF, fishballs, HKC etc...

felt hungry just thinking about them!

meifong said...

I can remember the taste of these dishes through your photos:)

iamthewitch said...

Yin Hoon: Yea, I think it SHOULD mean Sister Kuk in Cantonese. You should go and try it some time! It's not bad, especially if you like petai. :P

CY: Haha only lately I blogged about food. Previously it was Beijing. But I tend to like to share more on food because it makes me hungry! :P Eh I seldom eat all those things that you mentioned! What's HKC???

meifong: You don't have to remember the taste, you can TASTE them when you come back! :))

foongpc said...

I thought your hometown is in Penang! Oh, so it's Kampar!

Never heard of this restaurant before. But I think I would love to try their Tom Yam Goong especially if their prawns are super fresh!

The chi ma kai also looks very delicious! Drooling : )

Unlike you, I love to eat petai! But one of the best petai dish I ever tasted was at a Thai restaurant in PJ Old Town last time - now the restaurant no longer there! So sad, cos could never find one that could replace their delicious petai dish!

foongpc said...

Btw, have you received the Sakae Sushi voucher?

CY said...

iamthewitch: HKC = "ham kok chai"
u noe? the one sold be this guy on a bike. He used to ride it around our housing area. Now he just sit near the market.
to me those food are the true highlights of Kpr!

iamthewitch said...

foongpc: Oh I'm a true Kamparian to the core ;) I am only working in Penang and I'm somewhat familiar with this island since staying here for the past 4 years. And please, if you ever do visit Kampar, I'll be more than happy to bring you around. :) Sakae sushi voucher is safely received, in fact it will appear in my blog soon. :)

CY: Oh, ham kok chai! I thought it's a lady who used to cycle around and yell "ham kok chai" in our area? It's a guy??? Haha... OK I'll write more on the true highlights of Kampar food in the future. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Yujina and am studying at UTAR Kampar. Recently I have been stalking blogs which mention nice food in Kampar and I was led to yours. Lol. Anyway, do you mind explaining to me where is this restaurant located? I stay at New Town but would always cycle to Old Town on Sundays for breakfast. Here's my blog's link: and email:
Thanks and again, nice to meet you. ;D