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Tag / CNY menu

Chinese New Year is around the corner, so I guess it is appropriate to participate in at least one CNY dinner review session, and since Intercontinental Hotel is nearby my workplace as well as having a sterling reputation in their culinary department, I decided that paying a visit to their Tao Chinese Cuisine for this very purpose should be a rewarding experience, and indeed it was.

Tao Chinese Cuisine at Intercontinental KL, with Chef Wong Lian You
Tao Chinese Cuisine at Intercontinental KL, with Chef Wong Lian You

Tao is headed by Chef Wong Lian You, who joined Intercontinental since 2012 to develop the concept behind this restaurant. The good chef has a long list of awards won in competitions, but above all, he is also humble character who does not shy away from being bold with his culinary inventions.

The CNY menu starts from 11 January to 22 February, 2016 and priced from RM 1,888. There’s also a 20% discount with payments made before 18 January 2016, but I guess this article is a little too late for that.

For our session, we tasted the Opulence set menu 3, priced at RM 2988 for a full table. A bottle of wine comes compliment with the dinner.

Bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang
Bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang

We started out with a rather special yee sang dish invented by Chef Wong – bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang. Other than traditional yee sang ingredients, there’s deep-fried salmon skin and bird’s nest in the mix, the use of fresh passion fruit as the base instead of palm sauce also made the experience rather unique.

I find myself enjoying it a bit too much actually.

Double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup
Double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup

Next up was double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup. The soup is served in individual bowl and packed with flavors  – there’s scallop, abalone, mushroom, chicken, and of course, fish maw. Certainly very satisfying, and beat the radish soup from my own kitchen by about 26.2 miles.

Braised eight treasureS duck
Braised eight treasures duck

Braised either treasure duck show cases the chef’s skill in combining different traditional ingredients in a duck braised to perfection. I don’t want to attempt to pretend that I remember the different individual ingredients, and was too busy chomping down the dish while other more serious journalists were taking notes.

Steamed Soloman star garoupa, stewed abalone with sea cucumber
Steamed Soloman star garoupa, stewed abalone with sea cucumber

CNY dinner menu is never complete without fish, and for this we have steamed Soloman star garoupa with braised tangerine skin, ginger, garlic and mushroom sauce. The fish was good and certainly packed with flavor, the tangerin skin gave it a bit of sophistication not usually associated with Chinese style fish. Part of me still want to have the good old old fashion steamed variety with soya sauce though.

Another classic dish served was the stewed abalone with sea cucumber and bean curd skin bag. This dish was executed as good as any I’ve tried in the past, and abalone is never disappointing.

Wok-fried AlaskaN king crab leg with salted egg sauce, lap mei fan
Wok-fried Alaskan king crab leg with salted egg sauce, lap mei fan

Fifth dish in the 7-course dinner is one that combines luxury with modern, perhaps Malaysian Chinese style of cooking – wok-fried Alaksan king crab leg with salted egg sauce.  Rich, strong tasting, and certainly delicious, the crab leg is also easy to handle and a definite joy to eat.

The penultimate dish was chef Wong’s lap mei fan – steamed glutinous rice with preserved duck leg, salted egg yolk and dried oyster. If you still have space left in your stomach by then, this dish will fit the bill just nice, if not, packing it home for next day’s breakfast is certainly a good alternative.

Pan-fried “ninko” with sesame seeds, salted bean paste dumpling served with chilled peach gum, papaya, snow fungus and glutinous dumpling in soya bean
desserts to end the night, KY & Xing Yi

For dessert, we had pan-fried “ninko” with sesame seeds, salted bean paste dumpling served with chilled peach gum, papaya, snow fungus and glutinous dumpling in soya bean, which actually sounds like two different dishes to me. I absolutely loved the ninko which carries a taste not entirely unlike salted caramel mixed with lotus paste + nian gao, you have to try it! The soya bean dessert also served as good and slightly sweetish ending to the awesome 7-course dinner.

I want to thank Lisa & Justina for the invitation, and Xing Yi for being the stand-in partner in crime for this session.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Tao Chinese Cuisine
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

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
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
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
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
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 with black moss
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
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
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.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Grand Imperial Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808, 101.667448
Webwww.grandimperial.com.my
Tel: 03-2283 1118

Seems to be like Xmas was just a couple weeks ago, and all of a sudden we’re faced with Chinese New Year in only about a month’s time. The thing that I like about Chinese New Year (since angpow money is now in negative territory) – Yee Sang and Chinese New Year dinners!

Chinese restaurants around the country are busy preparing Chinese New Year menus just about now, and we’re lucky to be invited by Siobhan to sample a few dishes from Ritz Carlton’s Li Yen and JW Marriot’s Shanghai restaurants.

Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel
Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel

Li Yen serves traditional Cantonese cuisine, the variant of Chinese food that is more prevalent among the high end Chinese restaurants in Malaysia, while Shanghai restaurant, like the name suggests, entice customers with traditional Shanghainese dishes.

As per usual YTL standards, both restaurants are tastefully decorated and provide excellent ambiance. There are also private dining rooms in addition to the common dining hall.

Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze
Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze (at Li Yen)

We started the night with my very first Prosperity Yee Sang for 2013, and this one comes with a touch of luxury with abalone slices instead of of the more common raw salmon. The ingredients were fresh, and it sure tastes like CNY is just around the corner. Li Yen also provide you with those extra long chopsticks, real handy when it comes to Lou Sang time.

Huat ahhhhhh!

double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce
double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce (at Li Yen)

When it comes to traditional CNY Chinese course dinner, I always love to start with a bowl of good soup. Li Yen didn’t disappoint. The double boiled chicken soup with dried scallop and Chinese cabbage was one of the best I’ve had. Subtle, sweet, it gives you that homey warm, comfort feeling.

The stir-fried prawns with supreme soya sauce too was a top notch. Huge fresh prawns completely shelled (they should do this more often, I don’t want to deal with the shells), the seasoning isn’t over powering and you can eat it on it’s own. Sweetness of seafood complimented well with the hint of saltiness from supreme soya sauce.

braised Shanghainese pork,  xiao long bao
braised Shanghainese pork,  xiao long bao (at Shanghai)

After the three dishes we moved to Shanghai restaurant just a short walk away.

Greeting us on the table were the beautiful braised Shanghainese pork, xiao long bao, and the traditional CNY dessert – glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds.

The braised Shanhaginese pork looks a bit like “tong por” pork, but in truth it’s a more sophisticated dish. The bottom half of the dish is a mixtures of prawn paste, pine nuts, and vegetable. It was soft, succulent, and delicious. Would be even better with a bit of rice I think.

Xiao long bao here is top notch as well, with plenty of soup and skin that’s just thick enough to hold everything in.

pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds
pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds (at Shanghai)

We ended the night with pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds, they’re sweet and crunchy on the outside from the sesame. Perhaps not one of my favorite desserts, but it shouldn’t disappoint anyone who likes glutinous rice cake (I prefer mine deep fried between sweet potato, old school)

The set menus start from RM 1388++ per table of 10 persons, click on the link below to see the menus.

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Li Yen @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

Shanghai

My 4th CNY Yee Sang dinner for the year of Rabbit happened at Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, this time thanks to the invitation from the good people at Create Studio. Yes, I thank my lucky star on privileges like these. 😀

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, Chef Lee

Toh Yuen is headed by Chef Lee, whose philosophy in cooking is plenty simple – traditional style with good (if not the best) ingredients, and without any addictives such as MSG. Tasty but healthy food is the emphasis around here.

To welcome the year or Rabbit, Toh Yuen is offerring 3 special set menus – Happiness (RM 888++), Fortune (RM 1188++), and Longevity (RM 1388++) for 10 pax. On this review, we sampled the Longevity menu.

another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone
another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone

As usual, yee sang was our the very first dish, and on the get go, it was already unmistakably luxurious – we had the “Fatt Choy” abalone yee sang (also sold seperately for RM 180/260/300).

Some might say this is a bit of a waste so far as the method of serving abalone goes, I must confess that it actually was rather good. Abalone surely beats Alaskan salmon in my book.

braised shark's fin soup with crab meat & roe
braised shark’s fin soup with crab meat & roe

Next on the set menu was the sharks fin soup. I’ve already made my stance and say no to sharks fin soup, so I gave it a pass. Unfortunately, I was the only one on the table to do so. Looks like more work needs to be done for the awareness in this front.

You can substitute the sharks fin soup with double boiled chicken soup, according to Chef Lee. Alternatively, the Happiness & Fortune set menu does not come with sharks fin soup either.

deep fried chicken with two tastes, stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce
deep fried chicken with two tastes,
stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce

So I really got started on the deep fried chicken with two tastes. A dish that is only as fancy as the name suggest, which isn’t much at all. There’s the roast chicken ala chicken rice style, and kung pao chicken in the middle. For the lack of fanciness, however, the chicken turns out to be very good where it matters – taste.  The meat was smooth, juicy, with the sauce done just right too.

We then had stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce. The chef explained that this type of prawn, with its softer shell, is best eaten whole (perhaps except the head) instead of peeling the skin off. This way it allows different texture of meat and shell to be enjoyed with the pineapple sauce, pretty old way of having prawns, quite unique.

steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce
steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce

My favorite of the night has got to be the steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce. I’m positive that even my mom (who helps sell fish at wet market and usually leave the best pomphret for themselves) would approve of this beautiful specimen. Something like this can easily cost over RM 100 at wet market, especially during pre-CNY period.

Chef Lee explained that they source the fish locally instead of getting them from Thailand, which would be cheaper but of lesser quality. A lengthy lecture of the subtle differences in meat/shape/taste of pomphret from various parts of Malaysia and other places is given while we were busy enjoying this brilliant fish. It was so good, smooth, fatty, and absolutely tasty.

stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce
stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce

The stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli is another dish found in many Chinese New Year set menu. Over here at Toh Yuen the dish is prepared as good as anywhere else, and the sea cucumber was very good.

However, I would personally leave out the carrot slices as I don’t think I was the only one that sees that as a semi-failed attempt in giving the otherwise awesome dish some color (does not affect the taste).

The seafood fried rice with XO sauce is served with plenty of prawns, green onions, carrots, eggs, chicken, and other ingredients that were all somehow agreed to each other brilliantly. One of the better fried rice I had, the underlying taste of XO sauce really adds to the overall flavor too.

Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY
Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY

We concluded the  night with a classic Chinese dessert – chilled honeydew with hasma. For the uninformed, it’s just a wikipedia article away for you to find out that hasma is actually fallopian tubes of frogs. Nice isn’t it? I still eat them, they tastes good. *slurps*.

The set dinner (other than the fins) turns out to be pretty good, now does it worth the RM 1388++ for 10 pax price tag? The ingredients certainly suggests so, but I think a large part of it has to do with the sharks fin, something I try to get people not to consume. Draw your own conclusion.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

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

GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122

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