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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
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
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
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
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.

5-appetizer - chilled chicken, stewed mushroom, pickled radish, deep fried bean curd, caramelized eel
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:

  • stewed mushrooms
  • chilled chicken with “hua diao” rice wine
  • deep-fried vegetarian beancurd skin roll
  • pickled radish
  • 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
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.

"la zhe chi", double boiled hydragea beancurd, sea cucumber, and matsutake soup
“la zhe chi”, double boiled hydragea beancurd, sea cucumber, matsutake soup

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.
GPS3.150050, 101.615939
Tel : 03 7725 8822

Tonkatsu remains to be one of the latest Japanese foods to be introduced in Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with this Japanese dish, it is basically a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage. In fact, this dish is originated in Japan in the 19th century, so even in Japan it isn’t a particularly old dish.

Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall
Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall

My first time trying tonkatsu was at the version by Wa Kitchen at Pavilion, then probably the first and only tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia in 2011.

Fast forward a few years later, we have another worthy contender in the tonkatsu landscape – Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. We tried to 1 Utama branch (they just opened another branch at Publika) after hearing good things about this place.

so this is how you use those condiments
so this is how you use those condiments

The set up is slightly different from their counterpart at Pavilion, with clear instructions on how to enjoy the dish printed on a little instruction panel on every table. There’s a choice of salt, sweet, and spicy sauce on the side, and of course there’s a sesame grinder and peanut sauce for cabbage as well. You’re also encouraged to consume the accompanying rice with pickle.

Wafu Negioroshi Hire Katsu and Hire Katsu
Wafu Negioroshi Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu

The menu at Ma Maison is rather extensive (check their menu online). There’s the traditional hire (pork filet) and rōsu (pork loin) sets with a few variations, plus deep fried oyster, crab croquette, jumbo prawn, chicken, and so forth.

I tend to stick with the pork, and in particular, pork loin, only because of the layer luxurious pork fat accompanying the meat.

salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect
salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect

Every set comes with pretty good quality miso soup, pickle, and refillable cabbage that goes very well with their version of peanut sauce.

As for the pork, they are glorious. It is lightly salted with very crispy yet light breading and always piping hot when served. Dipping the meat in either the sweet sweet, spicy sauce, or mustard and any pork lover will be in ecstasy. The experience is like the first time you have KFC as a kid.

KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner
KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner

So if you find yourself at 1 Utama, this is definitely a place worth checking out. Average meal would be around RM 30+ per person including drinks.

Happy eating!

Address:
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison @ Eat Paradise
Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, 47800 Selangor
GPS: 3.149080, 101.615896
Tel: 03-7727 3337
HoursSunday to Thursday, 11.00am – 9.30pm;  Friday to Saturday, 11.00am – 10.00pm

Having to make a decision for dinner last weekend before a movie, I was trying to be smart and told Lorna (my petrol heroine) that I am bringing her to a pretty interesting place without first giving her the restaurant’s name. We then walked past Sushi Zanmai, and she told me “my sister and I went to another Zanmai place last week, the one downstairs”

Pasta Zanmai?” I asked. She said yah. That was exactly the place I thought I’d surprise her with, so you can imagine what an ass it made me feel. Well the important thing is that we still ended up there and I was able to finally give Pasta Zanmai a try.

Pasta Zanmai
pretty nice interior with an integrated shop

Pasta Zanmai is actually from the same group that runs RakuZen at Subang Jaya, Chulan Square, as well as the Sushi Zanmai branches. I have always had positive impressions at their establishments, so my expectation was rather high stepping into this place.

It was a rather busy Saturday dinner time, we decided to sit at the bar right in front of the glass shielded kitchen rather than wait for a table. The interior decoration was pretty nice, with ample lighting, comfortable chairs, and a busy pace.

Pasta Zanmai
crab meat avocado spaghetti, Japanese curry rice

The menu came accompanied with pictures of most dishes, which makes ordering that much easier. I couldn’t resist the combination of kani (crab) and avocado with pasta, and Lorna ordered the Japanese curry chicken rice. We also asked for ikura (salmon roe) and teriyaki hotate (scallop) as appetizers. A big pitcher of ice fruit tea was shared.

Despite the crowd, food didn’t take long to arrive, and they were good! Ikura was a bit smallish in serving size, but I guess there isn’t much to complain as the quality was good and the price reasonable. My spaghetti was really delicious, good portion of avocado and kani (real crab and not crab sticks) with the slightly salty pasta sauce that wasn’t over powering. The ebiko (flying fish roe) sprinkled on the pasta gave it an added sophistication as well. I really liked it.

Pasta Zanmai
ikura, hotate, and the giant ice fruit tea

The curry chicken rice was true to the taste as well, slightly sweet and not exactly spicy. I like the fact that they use real Japanese rice in this dish. As for the teriyaki hotate (scallop), they were so sweet and succulent I was so glad we ordered them.

Total bill came to Rm 100.05 including tax and service charge. Highest priced item was my RM 25 pasta while the other dishes and drinks ranges from RM 12 to RM 22. Give it a try!

Address:
Pasta Zanmai
G210B, Ground Floor Promenade
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya

GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939
Tel: 03-7728 1210

Others:
Masak-masak
Brought up 2 share
blueepinkk

Pasta Zanmai at Empire for dinner tonight. Spicy scallop pasta & avocado salad for me #kyeats #halal #japanese

A post shared by KY (@kyspeaks) on

I have wanted to try Carl’s Jr. ever since it was reopened in Malaysia last year, but for one reason or another, I didn’t manage to try it until just a couple of days ago when my colleagues suggested that we should have lunch at the joint at Sunway Pyramid. When I saw the tag line on one of it’s posters saying “Screw the Diet“, I started to like the place already.

Think of Carl’s Jr. sitting in between Chilis/TGI and Burger King/McD. While it is set up as a fast food joint, the quality is far above BK & McD, and priced accordingly too.

Carl's Jr Burger
unlimited refill of drinks (including ice lemon tea, coffee) and pickles/onion

Being my first time there, I didn’t really know what to order. I had wanted to get the Portebello Mushroom Burger but they ran out of stock, so I naively followed my colleague and ordered myself a medium size SuperStar double combination, or something like that.

I got my cup and filled it up with some coke while waiting for the burger to be served. The one thing I like about Carl’s Jr. is the fact that other than soft drinks, they have unlimited free refill for coffee, ice lemon tea, pickles, onions, and even slices of lemon.

Carl's Jr Burger
it was a big meal

When the burger came, the size of it makes the Whopper look like a White Castle sandwich. The taste was actually rather good as well, the two charbroiled beef patties were juicy and tasty. While I prefer the real bacon, this halal version did not disappoint either. I actually had to waste more than half of the fries as my stomach was totally stuffed up after finishing the awesome burger.

While the price is a little high at RM 10+ to RM 20+, I think the size and taste factor do make up for it. I’m going to get the Portebello Mushroom Burger next time!

You can find Carl’s Jr. in Sunway Pyramid (new wing), Mid Valley, 1-Utama (old wing), and Pavilion KL. I’ve heard that they’re going to open 40 outlets between Singapore and Malaysia, can’t wait!

GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939 (1 Utama)
GPS: 3.073297, 101.607576 (Sunway Pyramid)

For one reason or the other, I found myself eating at SOHO (新煮意) no less than 3 times in this very young year of 2008. I guess it is appropriate that I write about this restaurant as the first “KY eats” post of the year.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
SOHO 新煮意

SOHO is located at 1 Utama shopping complex, a place with mysterious attraction to pretty much every female (they just want to go there every weekend!). More specifically, the restaurant is situated just between the Jusco supermarket and One World hotel. The mostly white interior decoration of the place is pretty nice, but in the evening, the restaurant tend to be a little too cold.

The menu is rather extensive, they have everything from dimsum to la mien to rice dishes. There’s also a good selection of Chinese tea and other drinks as well.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
glutinous dumpling, creamy and flowy custard, shanghai xiao long pao

So far I have tasted quite a few dishes at SOHO. The glutinous dumpling was really nice, I particularly like the subtle sesame taste and the sweet soup with strong ginger taste. Being a new-age Chinese restaurant, the Xiao Long Pao did not disappoint either, they come in half a dozen. However, my favorite dimsum dish from there has got to be the “creamy and flowy custard”. This thing is like a sweet bun with hot salted egg yolk based cream inside. The combination is superb, little wonder that this is the hot chick‘s must-order item.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
crispy schezuan duck, braised pork ball, porridge, and other dishes

Other dishes I had were the crispy Schezuan duck, braised pork ball, pork and vegetable porridge, fried fish filet, a tofu dish, fried noodle, and a couple types of vegetable. Generally speaking, the taste was not overly strong but still flavorful to the ingredient’s natural taste, I find that quite refreshing. The duck that looked like a pile of mess was actually the work of the waitress who deboned the bird to our convenience.

Price wise, SOHO is pretty similar to Crystal Jade and Dragon-i. A typical meal would be RM25-40 per person. While not the cheapest meal out there, it provides decent value and pretty good taste in a convenient location (ie. every girl’s best weekend hangout place)

Address:
G218 One Utama
Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya
Selangor

GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939
Tel: 03-7722 2155