Category / By Invitation
How time flies, while many of us were still contemplating about 2015 new year resolution, the calendar indicates that it is already past mid of January, so I guess it’s time to forget about what you promised yourself one the last day of 2014 and start getting ready for Chinese New Year.
One of the things we worry about when it comes to CNY is the big “sau kong”/reunion/”hoi kong” dinner. Where to have the dinner? Is it going to be awesome? Expensive? Good? etc etc.
I’m quite happy to report that the first of such dinner I sampled this year turned out to be a gem.
Special 2015 CNY Guinness dinner menu at Grand Imperial BSC
I’ve been to Grand Imperial BSC before for a few wedding dinners and generally were quite impressed with their food. So when Guinness invited me to sample their “Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu” that’s available at BSC, I was quite happy to oblige.
Haze performed a caligraphy piece for the opening of the event
Making the trip even more worthwhile is the fact that Haze was the performer of the night, showcasing her Chinese calligraphy skills on the stage. If you want to make your event/annual dinner/etc more interesting, consider hiring a speed painter/calligrapher like her, not only the performance is interesting, you also have a piece of artwork to bring back to the office.
You can contact Haze via artmisfits.com, other than speed painting, they also provide wall murals and other art related services.
yee sang with silverfish
Anyway, lets talk about food. Here’s the Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu, available for table of 10 and come with 2 large bottle of Guinness for RM 1,888++
- Yee Sang with Silver Fish
- Braised Bird’s Nest with Fresh Crab Meat
- Roasted Whole Suckling Pig
- Steamed Pomfret “Traditional” Style
- Fresh Water King Prawn in Casserole
- Braised Sliced Abalone with Black Moss and Dried Oyster
- Clay pot Rice with Chinese Sausage and Dried Meat “Hong Kong” Style
- Chilled Fresh Mango Puree with Sago and Pomelo
- Deep Fried Nian Gao and Deep Fried Sweet Potato Pastries
The menu is available from January 13th until March 5th, 2015.
braised birds nest with crab meat, roasted whole suckling pig
As every CNY dinner goes, we started off with yee sang (which is invented right here in Malaysia). I really liked the interpretation of yee sang here with the usage of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as deep fried silver fish to create a crunchy and fresh feeling starter. the minimal plum sauce used also ensured that the dish did not turned out to be overly sweet. It was a good starter.
The braised birds nest with crab meat, to me, was one of the highlights of the night. The soup was infused with bits of black truffle to give it that distinct aroma, birds nest gave it the character and texture of sharks fin without the environmental impact, and fresh crab meat provided extra sweetness. I loved it!
Suckling pig was roasted to perfection, and I think we finished it in less than the time you’d take to boil a bowl of instant noodle.
steamed pomphret, fresh water king prawns, braised abalone w/ black moss
The huge pomphret was abit of a concern to me as most restaurants tend to over steamed a fish this size, but fortunately the chefs at Grand Imperial seem to know exactly what they’re doing. It was prepared expertly with top grade soya sauce and we really enjoyed the seafood.
Fresh king prawn was a pretty good dish too if not a bit messy to consume. The head of the prawn had all the right juices that’ll clog your artery, but that’s the way we love it.
Braised abalone slices with black moss and dried oyster is another well prepared traditional dish that I always enjoy having, though sometimes I wish there’s a chef somewhere who’d be bold enough to replace those dried oysters with fresh ones, or even with scallops.
clay pot rice with dried meat, Chinese desserts
Stomach filler in this CNY menu was the clay pot rice with Chinese sausage and dried meat “Hong Kong” style. The rice was alright, but those dried meat were great! I especially love the darker “lap cheong” that’s made from duck liver. If you haven’t had those, try it! It’s literally like the foie gras of wax meat.
Desserts were chilled mango puree with sago & pomelo as well as fried nian gao and deep fried sweet potato balls. I love the mango puree as well as fried nian gao that was coated with a layer of dried coconut meat, the potato balls pastries though, would be great for afternoon tea time snack instead of dessert.
I think we were the noisiest table at Grand Imperial BSC that night
Overall, it was a pretty awesome dinner, we had plenty of Guinness to go along with those awesome food. There are also other CNY menu available at various Grand Imperial branches, so be sure to check them out.
Grand Imperial Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.142808, 101.667448
Tel: 03-2283 1118
Right after participating as a guest speaker at “A Food Biz Workshop” a week ago where I found out that some 80% food business fails within the first two years of operation, I got to attend an event hosted by one that represents the other extreme end – the Martell Pure Gourmet event by the brand that has been in existence since 1715.
Yeap, that’s just a year shy of 300, with perhaps one of the oldest single product, the Martell VSOP being in the market since 1831.
Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015
While last year’s dinner was hosted at JW Marriott, Martell chose the Grand Imperial Chinese restaurant at Hartamas Shopping Centre for this year’s annual Pure Gourmet. I was very delighted and honoured to be invited to this year’s dinner again after having had a very good experience last year.
I was surprised that Malaysia actually happened to be the 2nd largest market in the world for Martell after China, and I guess this is partly due to the way we consume cognac, which, fortunately or not, was in full display during the dinner with many happily cheering each other “Happy Birthday to You” while emptying their glasses as the night went on.
P/S: It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, but we had a lot of fun.
Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop
Anyway, pure gourmet is about the blend of exquisite ingredients, skills, and passion in the creation of inspiring dishes, as with how each bottle of Martell cognac is created, so lets get on with the dinner.
We started out with chilled Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear accompanied deep fried scallop wrapped with German vermicelli rice noodle. A pretty descriptive dish and one that has several characters all rolled into one.
The jelly fish and pigs ear with the softer texture and a more complex taste, and deep fried scallop an explosion of seafood sweetness beneath the the crispy and rawer tasting vermicelli. This was paired with Martell V.S.O.P.
baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu
Next up was a relatively unpretentious baked water king prawn with cheese to go with the very recognizable Martell Cordon Bleu, perhaps the gold standard of cognac.
The execution of the prawn was on the dot, I really dug into the head and savour the juices out of this. Though this is probably the only dish I could come close to replicating at home, it was also one of my favorites.
deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon
Third dish of the night was deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon (also known as Ayu fish).
Found in the rivers and lakes around Hokkaido, this fresh water fish is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, which was brought out to its fullest potential when paired with Martell Cordon Bleu.
pan fried lamb cutlet with chef’s special sauce, paired with Martell XO
Following the fish, we had the pan fried lamb cutlet with Chef’s special sauce to go with Martell XO.
Perhaps I was more accustomed to Western style of lamb cutlet preparation, it took a while to appreciate the more traditional Chinese preparation method of the red meat that is inherently more cooked. In this instance, the sauce takes center stage with the meat playing supporting role.
braised spaghetti w/ sliced abalone, black truffle & mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective
Last dish before dessert was the braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle and mushroom. The hint of black truffle went well with abalone, and the fine angel hair spaghetti was the right choice to soak up the flavour. We just wished that it was a whole abalone instead (who doesn’t?).
The aroma and elegance of Martell Chanteloup Perspective complimented the dish perfectly.
Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra
Finally, we end the dinner with a host of three desserts prepared by Grand Imperial and had the pleasure to pair them with Martell Creation Grand Extra, the silky smooth and yet very powerful tasting cognac. A unique taste to end a pretty unique and special dinner.
and we were cheering to each other “happy birthday to you”.. yes, it’s a “trend”
A big thank you to Siew Kheng for the invitation, and hopefully we’ll have the privilege to be a part of this again next year!
Lot F33 – F35, First Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre
No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.163480, 101.656136
Tel: 03-6201 9777
Steamboat has traditionally been a pretty strong branch of Chinese cuisine in KL. It is something that can be very simple, like just ordering a couple sets, or you can go wild with a bunch of friends by having fancy seafood, meat, and everything in between.
Being the type of dish that is rather mature, how do you have a new steamboat place that everyone wants to go?
Well, The Pot at Kuchai Entrepreneur Park found the answer, and we loved it!
The Pot Steamboat at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
The Pot is the new kid on the block at Kuchai Lama, and like any shops at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, even for a restaurant that is situated at a corner premise closer to the main road.
The restaurant is fully air conditioned, so you don’t need to go there only when it rains, which is nice. In fact, all steamboat places not at Cameron Highland should have climate control if you ask me.
Alaskan Crab, 1.5kg or so for RM 155
The unique thing about The Pot Steamboat is the glorious Alaskan Crab. For RM 155 at about 1.5KG, you get this beautiful crustacean served on a plate ready to be boiled in the steamboat soup and thereby making the broth ever so sweet.
While looking totally bad ass, the shell isn’t actually very hard and can be cut with a pair of culinary scissors to reveal those awesome meat fairly easily. This is a must-order and I believe more than half the tables at The Pot has an Alaskan Crab.
fresh geoduck, have it raw or just slightly blanched, your take
Other than Alaskan crab, the other pretty unique underwater creature they have is fresh geoduck (pronounced as “gooey duck”, thanks Suan!), the rather phallic looking salt water clam that can be eaten either raw (sashimi style) or just lightly blanched for about 2-3 seconds in steamboat soup.
Fresh geoduck isn’t cheap, the serving we had came up to be about RM 200, though it usually cost more in other seafood restaurants. The innards and other parts of the geoduck is also provided at the end of our meal to be boiled with leftover steamboat broth and rice, making a sort of clam innards porridge. This you gotta try to appreciate it.
steamboat set, smoked duck, black fungus, fish ball, meat ball, etc
Of course, as any steamboat place, there’s a host of other dishes to choose from to go with the three types of soup base they serve (sang yu pot, supreme clear soup, drunken wine soup).
The steamboat set goes for RM 17.80 (min 2 pax per table) and on top of that there’s a selection of live seafood from the aquarium that includes prawns, crab, frogs, giant clams, and so forth. Then there’s pork ball, fish ball, meat slices, chicken, mushroom, fungus, and even smoked duck (RM 7.90).
and of course, steamboat is best shared among friends
We had a pretty good time at The Pot and I reckon it is certainly a place you should consider if you’re looking to share a pot steamboat with friends and family while looking at some decent seafood offerings. Traffic and parking situation isn’t ideal, but then again sometimes we can’t ask for everything.
Thank you Ah Yat for the invitation.
The Pot Steamboat
No. 1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 4,
Kuchai Entrepreneur Park, Kuchai Lama,
58200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.091500, 101.686195
Tel: +6016 821 2280
In the last few years, coffee culture in Malaysia experience quite a significant growth.
As I recalled, even just five years ago when I had to go to Le Passione Cafe at Hartamas for a cup of decent (and non-starbucks, non-coffeebeans) coffee. But now, we have plenty, and it’s great!
Cosans Coffee at Subang Jaya SS15
One of the many home brewed cafe chains that sprung up in recent years is Cosans Coffee, and my brother’s friend happened to be one of the persons behind it, which is why you’re reading this today.
I met my brother and a few others at the branch of Cosans Coffee at Subang Jaya a few weeks ago. The cafe is situated at a corner lot with tasteful design that took cues from English architecture, and a chilly air conditioning fitting for hot drinks. I remember when I studied at this part of the world over 1.5 decades ago, the most glamorous shops weren’t a quarter as neat as this one.
love the latte, with my brother Win Sern who’s a medical doctor
Cosans apparently take pride in their process of making coffee (you can find out more details in their website), but what I do know is that their latte tastes as good as anywhere I’ve tried. The milk silky smooth, and the coffee positively strong and aromatic. That’s all I ask for in a cup of coffee, and I like their version here.
In addition to latte, they serve a full range of espresso based drinks, including macchiato, espresso, flat white, cappuccino, mocha, and so forth. Prices of these drinks RM 7 to RM 14. Oh, they have affogato too.
sandwiches at Cosans, they pack a punch
Additionally, what sets Cosans apart from many other cafes is the sandwiches and salad they serve. The sandwiches are priced at RM 18-20 but they are absolutely loaded. I tried the blackcurrant smoked duck and would not hesitate to order again, the New Zealand beef steak sandwich too is something to reckon with. Two sandwiches here is probably enough for 3 person with average appetite.
Salad starts from RM 10 to RM 15, and there’s a selection of cakes to go with your caffeine. I haven’t tried these so to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to comment.
So if you’re around Subang looking for a place to chill out and possibly have a meal with some good coffee, Cosans is worth stopping by.
30, Jalan SS 15/4,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.075284, 101.5875
Tel: 03-5612 9600
with Transitions lens on a cloudy day, while walking back from LRT station after work
A note to those who may wonder why Transitions lenses, including this pair of Transitions® Signature™ lenses in this picture has a tint when it is cloudy, this is due to the fact that UV light penetrate clouds, and hence activating the lenses. This way I’m still protected against the harmful rays even on a cloudy day.
One of the small perks of running this food blog is that sometimes I get invitation to cool events that makes me realized that there are actually people who read this column.
Things got real a week or so ago when I got to meet one of the most recognizable faces on TV, especially for those who loves food. Yeap, we got to sample a four course dinner prepared by Chef George Calombaris, one of the judges of MasterChef Australia.
MasterChef Australia Judge George Calombaris in KL
First, the important bit.
The latest season of MasterChef Australia is aired on Lifetime (Astro Channel 709) every weeknights at 7 pm and 11 pm. If you’re a fan of this show, be sure not to miss it.
George was brought in by A+E Networks who runs Lifetime for a promotional tour of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Jakarta, and a lucky few of us got the privilege to be invited to this event.
A once in a lifetime chance for us to judge the judge, I guess?
chicken parfait with bitter chocolate baklava
The first dish of the night was chicken parfait with bitter chocolate baklava, coffee, cumquat, pickled onion and pumpkin seeds.
Yeap, a pretty weird combination of ingredients, and you could mistaken it for a dessert since the parfait actually looks a bit like a scoop of ice cream in the photo. However, they do compliment each other to offer a pretty interesting experience that I find myself enjoying.
green Greek salad with stir fry abalone
Second dish was green greek salad with stir fry abalone, George Calombaris has a Greek heritage, and Australia produces quite a bit of abalone, so put two and two together, you get this dish.
I love the contrasting texture of the puree, slices of asparagus, crispy kale, and of course, those abalone certainly contributed to add a dimension of richness.
poached chicken with miso hummus and green mango salad
The chef certainly does not shy off from experimenting with food. Our main dish was another creation that has elements of different cuisines all rolled into one.
The chicken meat is marinated before rolled into a cylinder and poached while secured in cling wrap, then there’s the miso hummus that has a hint of horse radish (or wasabi?) to it. Together with the green mango salad, you basically get to taste at least 3-4 different cuisines all in one.
This is a dish that I sorta struggled to enjoy, but I admire the bravery and adventurous nature of the chef, without the trailblazers like him, food would not progress.
My favorite dish turned out to be the dessert, what George Calomboris refer to simply as – chocolate cake. The richness of the chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, dark chocolate soil, chocolate ice cream, and some sweet foam all worked in a wonderful harmony that left us with a very sweet and fond memory, where can I order one of this?
babeinthecityKL and Kelly were among the audience to go up on stage with George Calombaris
The good chef also answered some questions from the audience, with my partner of the night and colleague Kelly asking George about his favorite dishes sampled in Malaysia (rojak). It was a wonderful night and yeap, this guy definitely is very well qualified to be judging anyone’s food.
I would like to thanks Rubini, Janet, Hui Jun, the good people of A+E Networks Asia for this opportunity.