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Tag / chinese-food

It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.

Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.

Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL

Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.

While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?

four types of steamed dimsum
four types of steamed dimsum 

We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.

My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.

The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.

The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.

crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, crispy salmon & cheese roulade
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade

I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.

I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.

shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks

The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.

The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.

2013 mooncakes from Tai Zi Heen
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection

Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.

Here are the flavors:

  • baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
  • mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
  • baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
  • baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
  • baked pandan paste with melon seeds
  • baked with red bean paste
  • mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
  • mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
  • baked premium durian lotus paste
  • mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake

Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.

KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah

A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.

For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.

map to Prince Hotel KL

Address:
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily

When I first received the invitation email for a food review at Paradise Inn, I was wondering why I haven’t heard about this hotel since it’s located near Sunway Pyramid, an area I’m quite familiar with. As it turned out, Paradise Inn is actually a Chinese restaurant WITHIN Pyramid.

Traditionally, the word “inn” refers to a place where travelers seek food, drinks, and lodging. Paradise Inn provides two out of the three functions, so I guess it is more legit to use the word “inn” than most political parties in forming government.

Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid, yes it's a restaurant
Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid, yes it’s a restaurant

Paradise Inn is a subsidary of Paradise Group Holding, Singapore. While only been in Malaysia since 2011, the group has been operating several F&B brands in Singapore since 2002. The concept of the restaurant is to combine traditional Chinese cuisine with a touch of modern innovation, and serve the resulting dishes at a reasonable price.

The interior of the restaurant reflects that very concept, with decoration true carrying tell tale traditional styling with added modern touches. I find it quite classy.

stewed pork belly with lotus bun
stewed pork belly with lotus bun

We kick started the food review session with one of Paradise Inn’s signature dishes, the stewed pork belly served with lotus bun (RM 4.80). It reminds me of the similar dish at Fong Lye at Mid Valley Gardens, but I like this version even more. It’s more juicy, and certainly very savory and flavorful.

The portion is perhaps a little big for appetizer, but I’m not one with huge appetite, so your mileage may vary.

doubled boil water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple
doubled boil water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple

Like any proper Chinese dinner, soup is of the essence. We tried their double boiled water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple (RM 39.90 per pot), one of the nine different double boiled soups offered here.

The soup is supposed to reduce internal dryness, relieve thirst, and improve metabolism. What I know is that it tastes great, and I’d have never thought that the addition of apple in this otherwise very traditional soup managed to give it a hint of freshness and sweetness that adds to the overall taste. I should try this at home.

coffee pork ribs, eggplant with minced pork, crisp fried prawn in wasabi mayo
coffee pork ribs, eggplant with minced pork, crisp fried prawn in wasabi mayo

Next up was another pretty unique dish that was a first for me, the coffee pork ribs (RM 19.90 onwards). Imagine Guinness pork ribs, now imagine the aroma from the black beer substituted by the smell of coffee. It was different, not better or worse than it’s sibling, but different in itself, people who loves coffee would definitely love it. I quite like this.

Stewed eggplant with minced pork and salted fish (RM 16 onwards) isn’t quite as unique, but something that carries its own and goes well with steamed rice.

Crisp fried crystal prawns in wasabi mayo (RM 29.90 onwards) came across to me like something from a dimsum restaurant with great Japanese influence, minus the dimsum skin. The wasabi mayo and that sprinkle of ebiko really adds to the otherwise straight forward fried prawns.

fried prawns with salted egg yolk, spinach in superior stock, fried shrimp paste prawns
fried prawns with salted egg yolk, spinach in superior stock, fried shrimp paste prawns

Another prawn dish we had was the crisp fried crystal prawns with salted egg yolk (RM 29.90 onwards). This should be quite a familiar taste to most, and execution of the dish here is pretty good. I like how the prawns are shelled.

Poached Chinese spinach with egg trio and minced pork in superior stock (RM 16 onwards) is a bit of a fancy name for the familiar “siong thong yuen choi” dish that is common across most Chinese restaurants. The difference here is that they use century egg, salted egg, and chicken egg all in one dish, which makes for a more interesting tasting soup, but I wish there was more liquid.

Crisp fried shrimp paste chicken (RM 18 onwards) might have been inspired by local Nyonya cuisine (my mom cooks this), and turns out to be quite delicious. Great with some cold beer.

chicken with fragrant herbs, steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk, braised vermicelli with pork trotter
chicken with fragrant herbs, steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk,
braised vermicelli with pork trotter

Another poultry dish we tried was chicken with fragrant herbs in clay pot (RM 18 onwards), this dish isn’t all too different from Taiwanese 3 cup chicken, but with a stronger taste of spices and herbs.

Steamed minced pork with water chestnut and salted egg yolk (RM 18) looks pretty interesting, the flattened egg yolk though, was probably more for aesthetics than practicality. I’m also not sure if water chestnut with pork is my thing and probably prefer the traditional type with salted fish instead. It’s not bad per se, just not really my thing.

Braised vermicelli with pork trotters (RM 19.90) is a dish that must be consumed while piping hot. The collagen and fat from pork trotter melting into those meehun – heaven! One of my favorites.

hasma with red dates & longan, lemongrass jelly w lemonade, mango sago
hasma with red dates & longan, lemongrass jelly w lemonade, mango sago

There are eight different traditional desserts to choose from at Paradise Inn. Hasma with red dates and logan (RM 12), lemongrass jelly with lemonade (RM 6), and chilled mango sago (RM 8) were among the few we tried. The desserts serve as sweet conclusion to the session.

there are lunch sets too
there are lunch sets too, and look at how these bloggers work

To me, Paradise Inn seems to sit right in between the cheaper Chinese “tai chau” and the higher end restaurants in hotels in terms of their price point. Quality of food is pretty high up there, offering very decent value for what they are asking.

This review was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia.

Sunway Pyramid map

Address:
Paradise Inn
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
OB3.LG1.7 & 1.8, Lower Ground One,

Oasis Boulevard
GPS3.07208, 101.60539
Tel: 03-5637 8822

It’s been a while since I posted any home cooked dishes. So here’s one, a simple garlic fried rice with seafood recipe.

This is something that you can prepare in less than half an hour, garlic fried rice is a pretty classic Japanese dish, I just add some seafood to kick it up a notch a bit. While traditionally they also use spring onion, I replaced it with red onion due to availability and that worked out well to add that crunchiness and freshness element to the dish.

garlic fried rice with prawns and scallops
garlic fried rice with prawns and scallops

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup of rice for 2 person
  • 2 large eggs
  • prawns (you can also add squid or other seafood)
  • scallops(optional)
  • 2-3 bulb of garlic, chopped or cut in slices
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of soya sauce, some salt & pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoon of cooking oil

ingredients - garlic, onion, rice, prawns, scallops
ingredients – garlic, onion, rice, prawns, scallops

Cooking instructions:

  • heat up cooking oil
  • fry garlic till a shade before golden brown, remove and set aside
  • using the same oil, fry prawns (with a dash of salt), then remove and set aside
  • sear scallops with shells on, then remove and set aside

the key is to fry the garlic, seafood, and rice separately
the key is to fry the garlic, seafood, and rice separately

Cooking instructions part 2:

  • with the same oil, fry eggs till 80% cooked
  • add rice, and stir for a minute
  • add soya sauce, salt, and some pepper
  • add garlic and continue to stir for another minute
  • add garlic and prawns, stir for another minute
  • serve while hot (arrange your scallops with best of your artistic ability)

start with the egg, then rice, onion, then everything
start with the egg, then rice, onion, then everything

The key to this dish is to have the garlic and seafood fried separately. This allows better control and ensures that each ingredients are cooked properly since they have different cooking time. Try it!

More recipes from yours truly can be found here.

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food, situated next to Giant at Taman Paramount, is one of those restaurants that is somewhat a victim of its location for the fact that it is located just a stone’s throw away from the more established Kong Sai, the famous herbal soup & rice stall that is Meng Kee, and another rather popular outdoor tai chao place – Ming Heong.

This was why it took us all these while before finally giving it a try, and that turned out to be a nice little surprise.

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food at Seapark
Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food at Seapark

Restaurant Goldview has a pretty basic set up, there’s air conditioning indoor and a couple of tables outdoor on the balcony. Interior decoration was done probably in 5 minutes, but it is clean, and the tables & chairs are rather comfortable.

The photos here are from 2 separate visits.

"fa tiu kai", omelete with preserved vegetable, hakka fried pork with black fungus
“fa tiu kai”, omelet with preserved vegetable, hakka fried pork with black fungus

“Fa tiu kai” (RM 19, medium), a type of clay pot drunken chicken cooked with Chinese wine, is as good here as anywhere I’ve had. The flavor seeps its way through the poultry and mixing those sweet, fragrant sauce with steamed rice will leave you wanting for more.

We also love the simple “choi poh fried egg”, or omelet with preserved vegetable (RM 6, small), though usually taken with porridge, it goes pretty well with rice as well.

Hakka fried pork with black fungus (RM 12, small) is one of my favorite dishes in Hakka cuisine (New Grand View’s wantan mee has this), but the version here was just passable in taste, perhaps the pork we had wasn’t fatty enough, or that the taste of namyu (preserved red bean curd) was not as strong as I prefer.

salted steamed chicken, "mui choi kao yok"
salted steamed chicken, “mui choi kao yok”

Hakka salted chicken (RM 12, small) is a steamed chicken dish that carries a hint of saltiness, goes pretty well with rice, and would have been better with a more superior (chili) sauce or other condiment. This is something that Kong Sai fared better, but truth be told, it didn’t disappoint.

We love the “mui choi kao yok” (RM 12, small) here, the cut was excellent. Those glistering fats in between layers of meat topped with that perfectly cooked skin, oh my. I can have this pretty much every meal. I suspect that their “wu tao kao yok”, or yam with pork belly, should be equally as good.

and the spicy soup "lat thong" was superb! KY, Winnie, Horng, Yuki
and the spicy soup “lat thong” was superb! KY, Winnie, Horng, Yuki

Last but not least, for those who can read the signboard in Chinese, you’d notice that spicy soup is mentioned on their business name. So naturally, we had to order a bowl to share.

There’s a choice of kampung chicken, pork stomach, and lala as the main ingredient. We had wanted to try lala but ended up with pork stomach (RM 14, small) instead due to availability.

The soup was super peppery and spicy, but in a good way. It was one of the bests we’ve tried and I dare say, on par with Kien Kee at Seri Kembangan. If you find yourself here, this is a must order.

map to Taman Paramount

We ended up with less than RM 15 per person for dinner, excellent value for pretty awesome food. This is a place that we surely will visit again. Other dishes that I wanted to try include trotter vinegar, sweet sour intestine with pineapple, salted fish steamed pork, ginger duck, and more.

Hakka food might not be the most popular type of Chinese cuisine, but you should definitely check this place out.

Address:
Goldview Hakka Food Restaurant
26, Jalan 20/16A
Taman Paramount
Petaling Jaya
46300 Selangor
GPS: 3.107092, 101.62475
Tel: 03-8076 8766
Operation Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm (Closed on Tuesday)

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food

A few weeks ago we were invited to sample Toh Yuen‘s new a la carte menu. Some of you might have read about my previous visit to Toh Yuen back in 2011, well, of all the dishes prepared by Master Chef Lee this time around, only the fried rice and sea cucumber dish were repeats.

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel

Regulars of Toh Yuen will be delighted that Chef Lee still stick by his principle of using the freshest and traditional ingredients with no additives in his cooking. For example, prawns are sourced fresh in the day and finished by the same night without ever being frozen. This ensures that the seafood you get here are some of the freshest one can get from a Chinese restaurant.

The slight down side of this method is that food generally tasted a bit more subtle, and thus might not suite tongues that are desensitized with too much tomyam and other heavily seasoned food, but if you are into traditional Chinese taste, this is worth a visit.

Here are the dishes we sampled:

chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab
chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab

We got started out with three appetizers -  chilled pacific clam with salsa (RM 28), deep fried lamb with cumin and dried chili (RM 28), and deep fried soft shell crab with garlic and chicken floss (RM 22).

Of the three, only the pacific clam is a cold dish, with the seafood sitting atop a bed of “salsa” arranged in a way not unlike tartar. The clams were sweet, but it did take me a while to accept having the pretty soft tasting salsa to go with them. A bold try but one that is still pretty experimental I thought.

The slightly spicy lamb was pretty good, and the chicken floss was an especially great addition to the soft shell crab, giving it an entirely different dimension. A trick I will shamelessly copy should I prepare soft shell crab (or even deep fried prawns) next time. I love it.

double boiled chicken with "shi hu" or "chong cao hua" soup
double boiled chicken with “shi hu” or “chong cao hua” soup

Like any proper 8 or 10 course Chinese dinner, our next dish was soup. we tried the double boiled chicken with “shi hu as well as the double boiled village chicken with “chong cao hua” soup (RM 32 per bowl).

Both were subtle but not lacking in taste. Herbal soup lovers will enjoy this, as I did. These aren’t of quality you find at Elegant Inn, and they weren’t priced as such either.

smoked duck with fruit sauce
smoked duck with fruit sauce

My favorite dish of the night has gotta be the smoked duck with fruit sauce (RM 38). The duck breast has the perfect skin-fat-meat combination that reminds me of  good quality roast pork, except with the slightly more exquisite taste of duck breast. The dragon fruit sauce gives it an extra bit of sophistication as well, I had at least 4-5 pieces (more than everyone :D)

prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili
prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili

Our first main dish was the sautéed prawn with salted egg yolk (RM 50). The freshness of the prawns were evident here, and I liked the fact that they were shelled and thus requires zero effort to consume. The richest dish we had, it was very well executed.

The sea cucumber with flower mushroom and abalone sauce (RM 80) is one of those dishes you often find at wedding dinners, but over here the sea cucumber were fat, juicy, and tasted quite a bit better. Older folks would love this dish for sure, and the sauce goes very well with steamed rice.

steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian "chicken" with yam basket
steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian “chicken” with yam basket

Next came steamed Canadian black cod fish with “yu feng” ginger sauce (RM 32/100 gram). The seafood was again very fresh, and the ginger/soya sauce base would go very well with steamed rice. I particularly love the fish skin and bits of fried garlic/ginger placed on top of the fish. This was a very luxurious dish to me.

Sautéed celery with lotus root & pine nuts (RM 30) is a blend of fresh crunchy vegetable with the texture of pine nuts. A bit bland for me, but a pretty good change of taste from the other dishes.

Our last main dish was the sauteed “gong bao” vegetarian chicken with yam ring (RM 60). This is a dish that I don’t particularly enjoy, and this has nothing to do with the taste but the fact that I usually like chicken to be .. well, made of chicken, and vegetable stayed vegetable, but if you’re those who enjoys fake fish and vegetarian meat, this isn’t a bad choice. The yam basket was delicious.

Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert
Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert

We concluded the night with Toh Yuen fried rice (RM 35) and deep fried banana with strawberry and cheese cake (RM 20). The fried rice was very well balanced and tasted superb without having any ingredients that stands out, Haze over stuffed herself quite a bit trying to have as much as she could.

The dessert was decent, but a little out of place with the dishes that we had, I would probably prefer herbal jelly or snow hasma instead (which they have in their menu as well)

The full menu can be found here.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant

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