Saturday, December 10, 2011 By: Chan

YEA Japanese BBQ & Shabu Shabu (野) @ Penang Times Square


I'm sure many of you are familiar with the TAO name, the pretty-fancy restaurant that first offered Penangites the ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT buffet with full table service, focusing on quality rather than on price. Tao quickly gained fame among Penangites as a place with good food at a very reasonable price, and it's no surprise - the restaurant's offerings include specialties such as Japanese, Chinese, Thai cuisine.

Now the management of Tao have gone and done it again - the YEA Japanese BBQ & Shabu Shabu restaurant (野) has recently opened its doors in Penang Times Square. Featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet, similar to the Tao concept, Yea is an upscale restaurant which is perfect for all gatherings, no matter big or small. The size of the restaurant is immense, with a seating capability of 300 pax. I know some may think - another BBQ buffet place? However, Yea has an edge over the rest - they are the first to introduce the concept of BBQ-ing using a crystal-stone grill, instead of the traditional grill that we are familiar with. What the heck is a crystal stone grill, you ask? Well, read on and you'll find out..

First, the most important point - Yea's buffet is priced at RM48++ (Adult), RM24++ (Children with a height between 90~140cm). Kids with a height of 89cm and below will get to eat for FREE. Yea is currently running a special opening promotion - after 10PM, the second person will get to enjoy a 50% discount on the buffet price. Upon entering the restaurant, you'll have a duration of 2.5 hours to enjoy the buffet. You'll need every single minute of that 2.5 hours - there are 100++ food items to choose from! 

YEA ~ don't you just want to do a V (^.^) when you call out the name :) Want to know why it is called Yea? According to the founder, Jack (who is American-Taiwanese), this word in traditional Chinese refers to the natives in Taiwan from whom the crystal stone way of cooking originated. During World War II, the Japanese discovered this and went on to introduce it to the rest of the world. The crystal stone grill was then made famous by both the Japanese and Koreans. As a Taiwanese, Jack felt that he had a mission of introducing this to Malaysia before either a Japanese or Korean competitor does.

Now let me take you on a tour inside Yea - the ambiance of the restaurant is simply amazing.. and let me first tell you, it is a MUST for you to enjoy the ambiance as I am told the management spent nearly RM2 Million on renovations and interior design.

The outside entrance of Yea.  
Penang Times Square main entrance to Yea.. it felt like I was in a Japanese Garden when I was hanging around the entrance.
Random shots around the restaurant.
More random shots.
These was taken at the smoking area of Yea, which located outdoors. Yea has several little "capsules" which are great because you and your friends will have your own private little space to enjoy the food and company. The pretty bright picture on the bottom left was a shot taken inside one of the capsules.
Shots taken around the restaurant.
Samples of decorative pieces you'll find throughout the entire restaurant.

An impressive and HUGE piece of wall decor.. pretty isn't it?
That's Jack giving us a short introduction of the concepts and background behind Yea. He talked about the history of Yea, the crystal stone grill, the method of cooking with the crystal stone, and the sauces he picked with his chef. You can see the crystal stone grill in the bottom of the picture above.

Now on to the food.. enjoy all the pictures of the various food items available below!

The various sauces available.
Clockwise: 1- Chopped raw garlic. 2- Fresh chopped chillies. 3- Seafood chilies sauce. 4- Spring onion.
Clockwise: 1- Spicy shiyaki sauce. 2- Cumin sauce. 3- Miso sauce. 4- Chilies bean sauce.
Clockwise: 1-Sacha sauce. 2- chilies beancurd sauce. 3- Thousand island. 4- No-name sauce (kidding, there wasn't a tag for this sauce so I don't know what this is).
Fresh whole salmon.
Clockwise: 1- Tour with Jack at Yea. 2- Raw meat slicing by the worker. 3- Cold salad corner. 4- Salad corner.
Clockwise: 1- Fresh fruit in a stick. 2- Chocolate fondant. 3- Fresh meat corner. 4- Ice cream corner. According to Jack, he decided to have individual ice-cream cups or cones and not the big tubs of ice-cream because he feels sorry when he spies small kids trying to scope some ice-cream on their own and having a heck of a hard time doing it. It's also more hygienic :). 
Close-up shots of the food choices for the shabu-shabu.
Shrimp paste & fish paste, presentation is super cute!
The huge freezer which houses all the good stuff (meats, seafood) - raw, which can be cooked using either the BBQ or shabu-shabu style. Everything is arranged nicely in little square bowls. Credits to Criz for this photo.
Yea's custom-made tableware & cutlery.
Grill grill away.. good quality charcoal in a metal box, fired up and ready to go. 
A slab of man-made crystal stone is then placed above the charcoal. This is your BBQ grill! Why use man-made and not natural crystal stone? This is because man-made crystal stone is stronger and better compared to natural crystal. It's been tested and proven by Koreans that it is safe to consume food grilled on the crystal stone. This crystal can maintain a steady temperature for a very long time, but it needs about 10~15 mins to get properly heated up before you can start to cook. It's also easier to grill food on it as it is perfectly level surface. As for the taste, does it taste better then the conventional way of BBQ-ing directly above the charcoal? For me personally, I still prefer my BBQ to be grilled directly above the charcoal, because it gives you that lovely charred BBQ-burnt goodness and taste. Of course many will argue that the BBQ-burnt areas are really bad for health, and I concur, so a very good thing about the crystal stone grill is that it's definitely healthier, because it's almost impossible to burn your food on this grill.
Since it was a buffet I got to pick all my favorite food items to eat all I can :)
Clockwise: 1- My dinner. 2- Hot corner, just in case you are a self-proclaimed lousy cook :) 3- Dishes from hot corner. 4- Wanted to try all the sauce but we failed that mission since there are just too many sauces available. Of everything we tried, the miso sauce was our favorite.
These are all the sauces available for marinating your BBQ items while it's on the grill. Soy sauce, pepper & salt, cheese powder, lemon juice, black pepper, wasabi powder and Japanese 7-taste chili powder. There is also a bottle of water for you to wash & clean your crystal stone in between each grilling session. We were told that the soy sauce served at Yea is one of their secret recipes. You can grill your meat, plain, and just dip it into the sauce. I tried that, and that simple combination tasted so good. The soy sauce is a high grade soy sauce, slightly sweet. The cheese powder is a mixture of milk power, icing sugar and cheese - the explanation for this combination was that it tones down the richness of the cheese (too rich a cheese may spoil your appetite). The wasabi powder had just a mild taste of wasabi, and goes well with seafood. Finally the lemon juice - it's important to remember that the lemon juice should only be used right before you remove the food from the grill. If you use the lemon juice early on in your grilling, it will spoil the taste of the food, as the lemon juice is pretty concentrated.
The picture on the left above is our Shabu-Shabu wok. You can choose from 5 choices of soup base - shabu-shabu, miso soup, hot & sour soup, tomyam soup, and salted vegetable & duck soup. We picked the Shabu-shabu soup base, which was a good choice because it was delicious. The crystal stone for our BBQ. Picture on right, our seafood grilling merrily away..
And this is the way you clean the crystal stone. Just pour in some water and scrape all the debris away.
Besides the BBQ & shabu-shabu, diners also have a wide selection of ready-to-eat dishes - there's a cold corner, hot corner, salad corner, dessert corner and drinks. There's also bibimbap, a Korean rice dish served in a sizzling hot stone bowl - this is available via a-la-carte order at no extra charge. Yea also serves sake at RM10 nett for a 150ml jar or RM130 nett for a 1.8L bottle. Beers are at RM50 nett for a bucket of 5 bottles. 

So what are you waiting for? Grab your family and friends, and head on down to Penang Times Square to enjoy the buffet spread that's waiting for you at YEA.

Yea, Japanese BBQ & Shabu Shabu
Ground Floor, Penang Times Square
Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.

GPS: 5.411728, 100.324879

Business Hours:
6.00pm – 1.00am (Mon – Thurs)
12.00pm – 1.00am (Fri – Sun & Public Holidays)
Current on-going promotion: After 10PM, second person will get to enjoy 50% off.

Contact: 604-229 7826


Disclaimer: This is a personal food blog. The opinions expressed here are my own, based on my personal taste buds; others may have different opinions. Also, as we all know, qualities & standards of individual restaurants/food may change over time, so do note the time stamp on this review.

25 comments:

jennifer said...

Is the special opening promotion still available ????

jacgy said...

Hi Jennifer,

Please contact them at 604-229 7826 to confirm. I am not sure whether they still have the promo or not.

Anonymous said...

if we go after 10pm and get 50% promotion......the food item and quality will change or not eh??

jacgy said...

Hi,

I don't think quality will change since they are big F&B company. You can ask them to let you go in and check out the food before you pay them.

I'm not sure this promo still available or not, please call in to confirm.

Contact: 604-229 7826

Anonymous said...

Why the Number no one pick up?

jacgy said...

Hi there,
They are close during the day time.
Business Hours:
6.00pm – 1.00am (Mon – Thurs)
12.00pm – 1.00am (Fri – Sun & Public Holidays)

Call during business hour.

Anonymous said...

Ok Noted. And Thanks For the Help =)

Anonymous said...

Is Upside better or downside better?

jacgy said...

Downstairs better near to FOOD :)

Btw had u tried PORK BURGER B4?
http://jcwalkwalkfindfood.blogspot.com/2012/05/yummy-juicy-homemade-pork-burger-43.html

Anonymous said...

hi, may i know how much does it cost per pax? and also got any discount for senior citizen?

jacgy said...

Hi,

The last time i went pricing was at RM48++ (Adult), RM24++ (Children with a height between 90~140cm). Kids with a height of 89cm and below will get to eat for FREE. No senior discount but you can call in and inquiry whether they give discount for senior citizen or not.

Contact: 604-229 7826

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Do I need to call in for reservation on June?
I did call the no but nobody is pi ck up the phone.
Pls help on it???? Thx

jacgy said...

Hi there,
They are close during the day time.
Business Hours:
6.00pm – 1.00am (Mon – Thurs)
12.00pm – 1.00am (Fri – Sun & Public Holidays)

Call during business hour.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jacgy,

Appreciate your help.
I got the call for reservation a minute ago.
Thx

Anonymous said...

Is there any birthday free meal?

jacgy said...

Don't think they have :)

williamchew said...

do u have any special offer for student?

jacgy said...

Previously don't have now i am not sure you can call to confirm :)

SAM LAI FUN said...

Good in service, delicious, only one word to describe - YEA.
If you haven't taste it before, you will be regret!

Enqvist said...

Eat liao, not so good le. so so nia, maybe i am not good at cooking.




Enqvist latest review: Top Japanese Food Restaurant in Penang

jj said...

not mention the food in which category is that Halal or non-halal...

jacgy said...

Sorry about it, it is non-halal

Jessie Teo said...

Need to reservation or just walk in.

Anonymous said...

The serve person are all Nepal awful

Choon Khiang Tan said...

april 21 is my gf birthday,
i want help her celebrate,
can i get discount?

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