Dragon-i, perhaps the first Chinese restaurant brand that brought proper xiao long boa and Chinese cuisine from the region of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou, has been operating since some 14 years ago, is now relaunching 3 of their outlets to “Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurant“, and I was invited to sample this new dish that they now offer at their 1-Utama outlet.
This was quite interesting for me, as Dragon-i at 1-Utama was one of my earliest food blog entry all the way back in 2005.
Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurant at 1-Utama
Well, compared to 13 years ago, the restaurant has seen quite a bit of an upgrade in its interior decoration. First and foremost, it has a new logo with a little duck by the side, the dining area looks a lot more up-class and comfortable, and most importantly, it also spot an open roasting room for Peking Duck, where you can observe the chef from Beijing expertly prepare the bird for your indulgence.
Peking duck roasting room with Chef from Beijing
As for the duck itself, I was informed that they’re imported from China to ensure consistent quality and standard demanded by the chef. The roasting process is done by employing traditional brick hung ovens and roast for about an hour on controlled fire over fruit-tree wood.
The idea is to employ strict traditional method to get that crispy skin with tender & succulent duck meat that is infused with smoky floral aroma, just like how it should be.
crispy tender peking duck skin, expertly carved
The Peking duck dish comes in two choices. You can choose a “Peking Duck Two-Course Meal” that comes with Peking duck & duck bone soup with soft beancurd. This is a half duck course that feeds two pax and priced at RM 105.
However, if you have 3-4 pax (or a very good appetite), I’d suggest to go for the “Peking Duck Three-Course Meal” that serves a whole duck, the above mentioned soup, and a choice of
deep-fried duck’s bone with salt & pepper
stir-fried duck’s bone in Hunan style
braised rice noodle with black truffle and shredded duck meat
stir-fried shredded duck meat with vegetarian shark’s fin
all at RM 158.
Peking duck 3-course meal
Which was precisely what was served to us, and I’m happy to say that the Peking duck was indeed as described – crispy skin & succulent meat at the same time.
We had it the proper way of wrapping the duck meat with thin pancake skin, sweet sauce, cucumber, leek, and winter melon. The resulting roll is an explosion of taste & texture that no other dish can offer. I love it, and you bet we finished the whole portion.
Signature appetizer platter – chilled chicken, stewed mushroom,
pickled radish, deep fried bean curd, caramelized eel
Other than the Peking Duck, we were also served with some of their other dishes in the menu.
Starting with the Signature Appetizer Platter that consists of five different dishes (RM 83) with the following:
chilled chicken with “hua diao” rice wine
deep-fried vegetarian beancurd skin roll
crispy caramelized eel
You can also order these dishes on its own, and if I had to pick one, it’ll have to be either the chilled chicken or the stewed mushroom. I especially love the rice wine undertone the chicken carries.
braised pork belly with steamed buns, sauteed mixed vegetable, Shanghainese steamed meat dumpling, steamed black pepper duck meat bun
For those who loves some good old fashion porky goodness, there’s the Braised Pork Belly with Steamed Buns (RM 88). The dish is beautifully prepared with the pork belly crafted in a pagoda-liked shape. The portion for this is quite big though, and I reckon should serve at least 4 pax, tender 3-layer meat in those soft steamed buns, the best oriental porky “burger” if you like.
Sauteed Mixed Vegetable (RM 25) provided a good change of pace in texture and freshness, and Steamed Black Pepper Shredded Duck Meat Bun (RM 12) provided yet another way for us to enjoy another different way the duck is served.
Of course, we also took the opportunity to sample the one dish that kick-started this franchise from all those years ago – the Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao (RM 12). Tasted just as it was the first time I set foot in this restaurant.
Additionally, we also tried the Sauteed Diced Chicken with Dried Flower Chili in Szechuan Style (RM 38), or commonly known as “la ji zhi”, 辣子鸡. A dish with quick a bit of a kick that I absolutely adored, if you’re really adventurous, the imported fried chili can be chewed down for that numb and burning sensation (I didn’t try, but one guy over the session did).
And last but not least (actually was the first dish I had), for the soup lover, their Double-boiled Hydrangea Beancurd, Sea Cucumber and Matsutake (RM 38) soup is one not to be missed. The soup was sweet with seafood goodness, and that tofu that’s expertly cut into 2,800 strands is really something to behold.
Over all we definitely had a great time and awesome lunch at Dragon-i. I think it is time we start to look at Peking duck as a delicacy that is to be enjoyed not only during special occasions such as near & around CNY, but all year round too.
Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurants are located at 1-Utama, Pavilion KL, and JBCC Komtar.
Address: Dragon-i Peking Duck Lot S313A, 2nd Floor Highstreet, 1 Utama Shopping Mall, No. 1 Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939 Tel : 03 7725 8822
Sarawak Laksa seems like the flavor of the year, so before the end of 2017 I decided to give yet another highly recommended Sarawak Laksa place a try – SALTed at Mutiara Damansara.
SALTed, Mutiara Damansara
As it turns out SALTed does stand for something – Sarawak Authentic Local Taste Extra Delicious!
The restaurant is located quite deep within Mutiara Damansara, and while it is perhaps only 5 minutes away from IKEA and Curve, you can’t really get there by walking from the big furniture shop.
The Sarawak laksa comes in three different versions, basic (RM 6) comes with chicken stripes but no prawns, original (RM 9) comes with normal prawns, and special (RM 15) gets you some cuttlefish as well as three pretty large size sea caught “meng har” (明虾) prawns.
Special version of Sarawak Laksa with extra prawns & cuttlefish
I went for the “special” and happy to report that the dish definitely did not disappoint. The broth was thick and flavorful, and the seafood perfectly compliments the meehun and all other ingredients. I also enjoyed the pretty hot sambal as well. Will definitely put this in place in my list of recommendations (which I need to create, I think)
simple menu at SALTed
Other than laksa Sarawak, the restaurant also offers kolo mee, belacan meehun, and mee Jawa Sarawak. .My mission was only for the laksa, so no I did not try any of these dishes.
A couple weeks ago we were invited to a special Japanese food event held at Yakitori Fukuda Dining at Evolve Mall, and since I had very good impression with their ten don (deep fried seafood with rice) dishes at Shitamichi Tendon Akitmitsu, it was a no brainer to participate. After all, these two restaurants share the same kitchen that is smacked right in between them.
Yakitori Dining Fukuda at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Evolved Concept Mall, it is one of the newest malls in town and located right next to the Ara Damansara LRT station. You can walk to the mall from the station in 5 minutes. Occupancy at the new mall isn’t quite close to full yet but there’s Jaya Grocer as the anchor tenant, so I assume it’ll do fine.
somen with chicken, eel, shrimp & vege, somen with chicken and lime
We started the day with a demonstration of somen, these are wheat flour noodle that’s pretty fine, almost “mee suah” fine and usually served cold. That proved to be very appropriate on a hot day. It was a good blend of savoury taste with sourish freshness especially for the version with lime. I think I may actually like this more than cha soba, and I do like cha soba on a hot afternoon.
You can also buy these pre-packaged somen and the associated sauce to be cooked at home.
pressed sushi with grilled conger eel
Then there’s pressed sushi with grilled conger eel. Conger eel a different marine species of eel. The texture is a little more firm from unagi, though taste wise they do not differ very far. To be honest, I do like unagi just a little bit more, but anything with a dash of ikura never disappoint, as in this case.
deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed, chicken meatball with grated yam
Finally, we also sampled some of the dishes prepared using the imported Japanese yam. The deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed was my favorite, it was very light and packs a punch in flavors, which I suspect contributed by the seaweed. The deep fried yam in strips was much more muted in comparison.
The other yam related dish we tried was the bowl of rice topped with homemade chicken meatball and grated Japanese yam, which is served with a raw quail’s egg yolk, super creamy and perhaps a bit gooey if you’re not used to those type of taste.
and there’s me with cheesiepetite!
The food at this event was pretty decent, but I would certainly suggest that you try their ten dons first, especially if you’re those in favor for stronger taste. I’d want to go back to Fukuda to try their yakitori.
Yakitori Fukuda Dining EV-G-09, Ground floor Evolve Concept Mall Pacific Place @ Ara Damansara Petaling Jaya Selangor GPS: 3.110532, 101.586864 Tel: 03-7831 9929 Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm; Weekends and public holiday, 11am-9pm
Vietnam is the country I traveled to the most times thanks to my previous job, and while I don’t miss that role too much, one thing that I’ve always missed was some awesome Vietnamese cuisine, which seems to be living in Thai food’s shadow when it comes to offerings from South East Asia.
Over the last few years though, it has starting to make headrooms, perhaps in parallel of the country’s economic expansion, definitely a good thing for those of us who loves variety.
Pho Vietz at Atria Shopping Gallery, almost always packed
One of the latest Vietnamese restaurant that is fast gaining popularity is Pho Vietz at Atria (and now also at Empire Mall Subang). The place is almost perpetually packed, and it’s not difficult to see why, they serve pretty good food in a modern and comfortable setting while being reasonable in price.
Most importantly, it is also one of the very few proper Vietnamese restaurant that offers pork.
traditional spring role, baguette, banh mi
The menu is pretty extensive, there’s snacks such as spring roles, banh mi (baguette), several types of pho, vermicelli, ho fun, and different rice plates with curry, pork/beef stew, and clay pot dishes.
We’ve been to the place twice and tried several of their dishes. The prawn role (RM 8.50) was decent but I found the skin a bit too tough for my liking.
Banh Mi, or baguette (RM 9.90 or 10.90) with pork was an absolute treat with really crispy exterior and soft, airy bread within. It is like Subway but twice as good, especially if you love the mixture of yummy pork and those slightly sweetish sauce with plenty of vegetable. You can also have the baguette separately to go with beef stew (RM 17.90).
pho, stew beef with baguette, spring role with vermicelli
The standard pho (RM 17.90) here had a good soup base and pretty fresh, delicious slices of beef. We asked for more basil and bean sprouts and the restaurant gladly supplied a full plate of greens. That being said, I wished they had beef tendon though.
For those who wants even more greens, the Vietnamese Spring Role Vermicelli (RM 14.90) will not disappoint. There’s basil, mint, cucumber, carrot, bean sprout, and all sorts of healthy bits in the bowl.
caramel sliced pork belly with rice, KY, Haze, Johnson
On my second visit, I had the Caramel Sliced Pork Belly with Rice (RM 19.90) which quickly turned out to be one of my favorites. The “3 layer” belly was properly marinated and perfectly cooked, it was rather strong tasting so finishing the whole bowl of rice is a definite plus. If you’re a pork lover, you’ll definitely enjoy this.
If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, this is definitely a decent hang-out, just don’t go there during peak lunch/dinner hours and expect to have your food served quickly (or get a table immediately for that matter).
I make it a habit to try to start most working days with a good breakfast, and this is achieved by riding to work, which allows me to have quite a bit of freedom in choosing breakfast spots before heading to the office in the morning. See, when you’re stuck in the traffic, I’m having my noms, life’s good.
another breakfast stop for me
I was chatting with one of my colleagues just the other day and he mentioned that one of his favorite kopitiam around PJ where his old folks reside was Golden Kim Wah at Damansara Kim. The very next day, I made the slight de-tour and stop by to grab one of his favorite dishes from the place – Robert’s Char Kuih Teow.
I made the order like how I usually do for CKT – in classic beautiful Penang Hokkien, and to my delight, Mr. Robert answered in the very same dialect, which is always good news for a place that offers Penang dishes.
Robert Char Kuih Teow, legit
The RM 6 plate of char kuih teow from Robert was indeed up to expectation. Good amount of “wok hei” with those tiny charred bits, properly moist and yet not too wet, it also comes with prawns, lap cheong, bean sprouts, chives, and even a few bits of lard.
I’m putting this down as one of the few char kuih teow places worth eating in Klang Valley.
Golden Kim Wah Restaurant,
Jalan SS 20/10, Damansara Kim,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor