A couple weeks ago we were invited to sample Chef Sam Lu’s menu at Saujana Hotel’s Ti Chen Chinese restaurant. Chef Sam Lu is the new man in charge of the kitchen at Ti Chen, and one with multiple awards under his belt.
Saujana’s Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant with Chef Sam Lu (right)
Chef Sam learnt the fundamentals of Chinese cuisine by attending the Chinese Cooking Course under China Hakka Famous Chefs and was also trained at the China Development Center of Molecular Gastronomy. In this menu, the play between molecular gastronomy and traditional Chinese cuisine is very apparent, and we were lucky enough to be one of the few who got to try his creation at Saujana.
For this media review, we were served the following 7 course menu.
deep fried scallops with banana & taro paste
roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce
The dinner got underway with a pair of appetizers.
Deep fried scallop with banana and taro paste was a bit like an East-meet-West dimsim & dessert marriage. Banana gave the dish a soft and sweet texture, while the scallop contributed to the taste of seafood, pretty interesting.
Roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce had a bit more of a traditional palate with a hint of Korean flavor, I find myself enjoying it quite a bit. The carefully roasted garlic was just an icing on the cake.
double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup
The double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup was the one dish that actually enticed Haze and I to go to this review session. We were spending a lot of time with house renovation and thought a bowl of good soup would do us well, we were not wrong.
According to the good chef, the soup took no shorter than 6 hours to prepare. The fish maw was soft and tender, and the soup positively rejuvenating.
steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs
My favorite dish came next – the steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs. The filet was absolutely fantastic, it was tender, juicy, and just lightly seasoned. I like the presence of wolf berry in the broth, and that foam from the influence of molecular gastronomy.
butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat, roast duck
As with any proper Chinese course dinner, there’s always a dish with carbo, and our version came in the form of butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat. Instead of the traditional dryer and more fluffy type of fried rice, this version takes the cue from Italian risotto and prepared a little wetter. To be honest, I prefer the Chinese fried rice of old, not that this one is bad, it was just.. unfamiliar.
We were also given a plate of roast duck, which was prepared differently from the traditional method. It was tender, juicy, and goes very well with any sort of rice, or just on its own.
Sam’s coffee pudding, bake homemade almond cream bun, KY & Haze
Desserts came in the form of Sam’s coffee pudding and bake homemade almond cream bun. I personally liked the almond cream bun, but almond is a bit of an acquired taste so I think it didn’t find too many fans among the reviewers around the table. The coffee pudding had a better reception for sure, with it’s cute presentation and subtle coffee taste to a sweet ending.
Ti Chen is open from Tuesday to Fridays for lunch (12-2:30pm), dinner (6-10pm) and on Saturdays & Sundays for lunch (9-2:30pm) and dinner (6-10pm).
P/S: check out local accommodations for Saujana Apartments to stay at the area.
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
GPS: 3.106865, 101.575285
Tel: 03-7846 1466
Paradise Group, originally started in Singapore, has been making inroads to the local Chinese restaurant scene as a worthy competitor to the likes of Dragon-i and Din Tai Fung. Definitely a good thing if you ask me.
Last week, I had the chance to sample their Hakka Poon Choi (盆菜), a limited-time CNY special at Paradise Dynasty, Bangsar Village II. The session was organized by HungryGoWhere Malaysia.
Paradise Dynasty at Bangsar Village 2
My previous experience with Paradise group was at Paradise Inn, Sunway Pyramid. While Paradise Inn serves some of the best double boiled soup, classic tea, and desserts along side Chinese dishes, Paradise Dynasty concentrates on northern and southern Chinese cuisine with an innovative touch. There are dishes you find in one but not the other, though there are certainly many that overlaps.
The kitchen is only separated by a few pane of glasses from the public, where you can observe the crafty chefs preparing xiao long bao (小龙包).
modern interpretation of xiao long bao, hot and sour soup
We started the night with their signature 8-flavor xiao long bao (RM 24++). They come in multitude of colors with each consisting different ingredients in them.
- original (translucent white)
- foie gras (orange)
- black truffle (black)
- crab roe (light orange)
- cheese (yellow)
- ginseng (green)
- minced garlic (grey)
- Szechuan (pink)
I tried the black truffle, foie gras, and ginseng variety and found them to be pretty unique and rather well made. While the foie gras/truffle tastes weren’t particularly strong, you can still tell what they are even if eating with your eyes closed. A little gimmicky, yes, but one that works for me.
The hot and soup soup was thick and quite flavorful, though I’d prefer it to be slightly more spicy. I’m glad that this soup that was impossible to find just a few years ago is now quite common in Malaysia, it was one of the dishes I missed from US.
Hakka poon choi, this is what we’re here for
Then came the poon choi, (RM 388++ for 4-6 pax, RM 688++ for 8-10 pax) and what a handsome dish it was. The dish is served in a clay pot to retain heat, and we were explained that since the dish comes with thick abalone broth, having a heat source underneath the pot would burn the dish, which isn’t going to be a good thing.
how many ingredients can you spot here? there are 16 in total
There were 16 different ingredients in all, including abalone, goose feet, fish maw, sea cucumber, fresh scallop, prawns, dried oysters, mushroom, brocolli, and more.
We really enjoyed the dish, and my only minor complain was that the goose feet could perhaps be made just a bit softer, but I finished it nonetheless, it was positively wholesome.
By the way, they are also available for take-away.
crab meat with egg white, crystal prawn with salted egg, spicy chicken with dried chili
We also tried their crab meat with egg white and yolk, a pretty unique dish that is made from egg white, yolk, and some seafood but without any crab. However, it ends up tasting a bit like crab meat, which is rather interesting. As explained by the PR person, this dish was invented because the empress wanted to have crab but it was not in season, hence the chefs came up with this to avoid a head/neck separation incident. I don’t know how true is this but it does make a good story.
The other two dishes we sampled were crystal prawn with salted egg that was good enough to eat with shells and all, and a spicy chicken with dried chili dish (辣子鸡) that I can’t seem to stop putting in my mouth (only I wish there was beer).
KY & May Ying, with HungryGoWhere users and more
Lot 2F-17, Level 2
Bangsar Village 2
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2201 7022