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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

I usually make it a point to not review the same restaurant more than once, but when Kong called me up and told me about the hairy crab menu at Dragon-i, temptations got the better of my crab/crap policy.

The first time I had hairy crab (Chinese mitten crab 大閘蟹) was at Restaurant King Crab almost 2 years ago. It gave me a impression not entirely unlike the first taste of foie gras, the roe/juice from hairy crab has a very unique richness and taste.

hairy crab set menu at Dragon-i
The hairy crab set menu goes for RM128 nett, not for the faint hearted

Hairy crab served at Dragon-i is harvested and air flown weekly from Tai Lake, China. The season starts at around September and runs through December every year.

The set menu is priced at RM 128 nett per person (min 3 pax) with six dishes – steamed Shanghainese hairy crab, steamed Shanghainese crab roe dumpling (xiao long pao), double-boiled superior chicken soup with fish maw & bamboo pith, sauteed fresh vegetable with crab roe, yong chow fried rice, and sesame dumpling with ginger soup.

hairy crabs (Chinese mitten crabs)
the crab is steamed and then masterfully prepared for your consumption

As with most classic Chinese dinners, we started out with the double boiled superior chicken soup with fish maw and bamboo pith. The soup was subtle yet sophisticated, I really love the big slab of fish maw and different texture given by the bamboo pith. Adding a little bit of soya sauce makes it rather tasty.

double boiled superior chicken soup, vegetable with crab roe, yong chow fried rice
double boiled soup, vegetable with crab roe, yong chow fried rice

Next up was the sauteed vegetable with crab roe, a simple and unassuming looking dish that turned out to be very good. The richness and crab roe balanced by fresh green vegetable that is sauteed ever just slightly. A very good combination.

Dragon-i’s famous xiao long pao was served next. Only this time they’re topped with crab roe much like the style more associated with Japanese food. I particularly like the tiny tray with a handle they used to hold the xiao long pao, even the ginger in vinegar is meticulously chopped.  Every strand is equal in length and width.

steamed shanghainese dumplings
cheesie showing the xiao long pao topped with crab roe

Yong Chow fried rice was served just before the hairy crab itself. Although a relatively common fried rice dish you can find basically in any Chinese restaurant in Malaysia, the fried rice at Dragon-i was something else. Prepared by chef Kung Yu Hung who is actually from Yangzhou (that’s Yong Chow in Mandarin) itself, the rice is fried with bits of char siu, egg, green onion, prawn, and of course, hairy crab meat. It is on par with the excellent fried rice I had at Elegant Inn.

hairy crab, sesame glutinous rice dumpling
chef Kung Yu Hung, KY, glutinous rice dumpling with sesame

The main dish of the day, hairy crab, was up next. Simply steamed with no extra ingredients added, the crab is then prepared by our very professional server. The shell is opened, each leg is then cut and the crab meat pushed slightly outwards, the pincers too were cracked for easier consumption.

We had a male crab of about 200+ gram (female for the roe, male has more meat) each. The “kou”, technically not roe since these were male crabs, was supremely rich and savory. They are similar to “kou” found in the mud crab we are more familiar with but several order tastier, for the lack of a better description. The meat too was sweet and very delicious.

group picture at Dragon-i, the curve
Kong (left) and fellow comrades who enjoyed the lunch session

We capped the day by having sesame dumpling with ginger soup as dessert, the ginger soup was something good to wash the tongue off any lingering seafood taste, and the sesame dumpling was rather good too.

Overall it was a very satisfying food review session that was only made better by the company we were with. Meena (who was shortlisted on Nuffnang Awards for best food blog), KampungboyCitygirl, fatboybakes,  Cumi&Ciki, and more were there and everyone had a great time.

Address:
Dragon-i
6 Jalan PJU 7/3
Lot 136 & 137, 1F
Mutiara Damansara, PJ, Selangor

GPS: 3.157699, 101.611540
Tel: 03-7728 6888

The hairy crab menu ca n also be found at Dragon-i outlets located at Pavilion, Mid Valley, 1 Utama, Sunway Pyramid, and Queensbay Mall in Penang.

While I was at work a couple Fridays ago, Mr. Kong, one of my readers who handles PR business for Dragon-i called up

“Sorry for the late notice, but would you be available for a food review tonight at Pavilion? There will be abalone.”

How could I say no to such invitation? After all, it’s not like I get to taste abelone abalone on weekly basis. I grabbed my gears during the extended lunch hours and headed to Pavilion right after work.

Dragon-i at KL Pavilion
Dragon-i’s flagship restaurant at Pavilion

I’ve actually reviewed Dragon-i at 1-Utama almost 3 years ago when it first came up, and been to quite a few of their restaurants over the years. However, this was my first trip to their flagship outlet at Pavilion. Together with me were a few other journalists and photographers from Sin Chew, the Star and China Press, as well as Mr. Kong, his wife, and the CEO of Dragon-i, Mr. Henry Yip.

Cold Dishes, Dragon-i at KL Pavilion
cold dish: five appetizers

Instead of ordering from the menu, we were sampling the special set menu available from 1st to 14th of September to coincide with Mid Autumn Festival.

First to come were the appetizers comprising five dishes. I absolutely love the chilled chicken with rice wine that tasted a little like steamed chicken but with an extra kick from the rice wine. We ended up having to order another serving of this. The edamame with bamboo shoots, while more commonly associated with Japanese food, was very refreshing as well.

Fried bean curd with shredded scallops was both sweet and crunchy. The sesame oil marinated cuttlefish was very fresh and had a very nice texture to chew on. While the cold minced spinach, traditionally prepared with another type of vegetable only found in China, was pretty interesting and provided another dimension for the set. A very interesting way to start our dinner, varying tastes and ingredients.

abelone, xiao long bao, Dragon-i at KL Pavilion
goose web with abalone, xiao long bao

Next up was the famous xiao long bao (Shanghainese meat dumpling) from Dragon-i, served steaming hot with soup within the dumpling. Dipping it with some vinegar and accompanied with some ginger is the way to go, very satisfying.

Abelone and goose web followed the xiao long bao. While I had braised abelone before, this was the first time I tasted goose web. The texture is something like a cross between chicken feet and fish skin (or fish lips you find in big fish head), very soft and slightly chewy while the taste was very good! However, it does taste a little “jelak” and hence they have the asparagus to provide a balance. Very nice.

aromatic duck, sichuan prawn, Dragon-i at KL Pavilion
aromatic crispy duck, sichuan prawn

I guess a traditional Chinese cuisine isn’t complete without duck. The aromatic crispy duck was as good as the one I had at Kensington, Seremban. However, at Dragon-i they served it in pieces instead, I personally still prefer the shredded version. The duck was served peking duck style.

Prawn sauteed with Sichuan sauce came next. It was nice to have something slightly spicy after all the previous dishes. The giant prawns were very fresh and according to Mr. Yip, sourced locally from Pantai Remis in Perak. I like the fact that they’re all peeled too! Again, a very delicious dish.

pomelo mango dessert, cirspy noodle, Dragon-i at KL Pavilion
pomelo mango dessert, crispy noodle with dried scallop and crab meat

The last dish in the main course was deep fried wantan noodle with dried scallops and fresh crab meat on top. I actually finished it despite having a stomach that was already pretty much filled. Crunchy and yet very sweet of the seafood taste from the seafood laden sauce.

Dessert was an over sized glass of mango puree mixed with sago and some fresh pomelo on top. Refreshing. A serving of fresh fruits followed, but I was already too stuffed to have any of it.

KL Pavilion Map

It was a very good dinner indeed, very very satisfying.

Well, this set meal for 10 is priced at RM 1388++, while half a table would be RM 688++. Not exactly light on the pocket, but then again it is fine dining. A box of moon cake comes free with the meal for 10 too.

More pictures of this review here.

Address:
Lot 1.13, Level 1,
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Tel: 03-3224 0888