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Tag / hong-kong-cuisine

Several weeks ago we were invited to Private Kitchen at Damansara Uptown. From the outside, this looks to be a very modest little restaurant not unlike many other eateries at the area – air conditioned, clean, and with a contemporary furnishing that seems to focus on function than pure aesthetics.

Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown
Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown

This is, however, not just another local restaurant. The kitchen is led by Chef Lam Fai, an experienced Hong Kong chef who was trained both in Western and traditional Hong Kong cuisine, and it is this unique background of Chef Lam that results in some rather creative dishes we sampled during this food review session.

While waiting for food to be served, we snacked off long spring roll with shrimp paste (RM 10). The taste of shrimp paste is not unlike shrimp balls, and the deep fried spring roll skin gives it some crunchiness. A different interpretation of spring roll, easy to eat off your fingers, and I believe, would make excellent beer food.

beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day
beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day

Our first dish then, was shredded chicken with Private Kitchen “ma la” sauce (RM 12). The shredded chicken sits atop cucumber that’s seasoned with vinegar, a decent cold dish to prepare the stomach, but not one that I’m overly impressed with though.

Like any Chinese/HK restaurant, soup is a must in any meal. The soup of the day was carrot & radish with lean meat soup (RM 6). Very homey, flavorful, and certainly excellent value for money for this type of setting.

Then came one of my favorite dishes of the night – stir-fried prime beef fillet in strawberry & black pepper sauce (RM 28). According to the chef, the beef is prepared and tenderized using Western cuisine techniques, and he chose strawberry to add a different dimension to this black pepper beef dish after some experiments (Chef Lam jokingly said that banana wasn’t a good idea). The result was excellent, if you are “elite” and like to dismiss fusion food, this dish may very well change your stance.

HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass
HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass

Hong Kong style sand ginger chicken (RM 25 for half bird) went through some half a day’s work of preparation (boiling in broth, preparing the skin with a bit of turmeric for that color, etc) and was delicious and smooth. I especially enjoy the ginger + spring onion sauce that came with this dish.

The next dish looks almost like mantis prawns, but was actually strips of pan-fried pork chop with lemongrass (RM 25). The pork carries pretty strong lemongrass and ginger taste, and tasted pretty decent with chili sauce, but I thought is one of the weaker dishes in this session.

typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce
typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce

No HK cuisine is complete without typhoon shelter dishes, and at Private Kitchen, we were served typhoon shelter tiger prawn (RM 38). The preparation method was as I remembered the last time I had typhoon shelter crab at Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas – plenty of garlic and chili, the aroma was superb, and the prawns did not disappoint. Now I wonder if this would be a good way to prepare squid, hmm.

Sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce (RM18) was our token vegetable dish, even though there’s pork belly in it. I thought it was slightly sinful, but pretty tasty though.

amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice
amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice

Another soupy vegetable dish that we had was amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup (RM 16). Most of us would recognize it by the common name Chinese spinach. This is another very homey type of dish, a comfort food.

The Portuguese style fried rice with braised pork belly & seafood (RM 16) wasn’t a dish that looked very good in its presentation, it was sorta brownish overall with little color contrast, but don’t let the apparence fools you. The fried rice was very flavorful, and with prawns, squid, and pork belly, they didn’t skimp on ingredients at all. I had a bowl even though I was already stuffed by then, highly recommended.

deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop
deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop

The deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce (RM32) is another unique fusion food by Chef Lam that works well. The ribs were tender and juicy, and the slightly sourish and fruity salad sauce, while a bit unorthodox, worked well in this instance. I really enjoyed it too.

Our last “extra” dish of the night was a bowl of typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop in chili & garlic soup (RM15). This is a dish fit for single person consumption and comes with a generous portion of pork chop and the noodle in a soup that has some kick. I tried a spoonful (was stuffed already), and from what I could tell it was pretty decent.

Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze
Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, KY, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze

Most of the dishes we had at Private Kitchen were pretty consistent and for the lack of a better description – tasty. The prices are reasonable as well. The only downside of the place is, well, the location and challenging parking situation at times. Saying that this place is sort of a poor-man’s Elegant Inn would not be incorrect. Worth visiting though, for sure.

map to Private Kitchen restaurant at PJ Uptown

Address:
Private Kitchen Hong Kong Cuisine
103 Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama (Uptown) 
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.13451, 101.62378
Tel: 03-7728 8399
Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm, closed on Mondays

Elegant Inn, unlike the slightly more famed Holiday Inn, is a pretty high class restaurant serving Hong Kong cuisine and not a hotel chain. This is among the things I learn from the invitation to the said restaurant at Menara Hup Seng a couple Saturdays ago.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
classy indoor as and alfresco dining areas at Elegant Inn

The invitation was extended by Millennium Associates, on behalf of Jeanette of Elegant Inn. Mellissa and I were joined by Jasmine (epicuriousgirl) and her friend Jess in this review session. The four of us were seated in a private room as the host insists that we be treated to a full dining experience.

Elegant Inn first started at Taman Connaught before opening this outlet at the heart of KL, explained Jeanette as she suggests what we should have for lunch.

yee sang
yee sang with all natural ingredients

Naturally, we started off with yee sang, the unique Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition. This was my 4th yee sang session and I was more than happy to find out that the yee sang here is slightly different. All natural and most importantly, fresh ingredients are used. Pamelo, raddish, cucumber, smoked salmon, crackers, jellyfish, etc. Auspiciousness in a slightly healthier style.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Appetizer: soft shell crab, fried calamari, seared scallop on tofu

A huge plate of nicely presented dish was then served as the appetizer. There’s the slightly spicy soft shell crab with plenty of onion, a portion of salt and pepper calamari (椒盐鲜鱿),and four lightly seared scallops sitting on tofu.

Scallop is always one of my favorites. The combination of soft tofu and succulent scallop provided the perfect start for this meal. I had the calamari followed by soft shell crabs and they were both very good as well, one salty and crunch while the other spicy and fragrant. By now I was convinced we’re into something pretty special.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
double boiled soup

Next came the pretty impressive double boiled soup. Pork, ribs, tripe, shell chunks, phoenix claws, kampung chicken, scallops, and preserved vegetable boiled for 4-6 hours, the traditional way. End result is a bowl of very rich tasting soup with a hint of pepper and a mixture of sweetness from all the ingredients.

This soup reminds me of the one I had at Sheraton, they’re both at the same high level while not exactly similar in taste or ingredients.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed Australian Jade Perch and stuffed chicken wings

Like any proper Chinese meal, we have fish next. Live Australian Jade Perch is not a fish commonly found in Malaysian restaurant unless frozen, Jeanette told us about one of her many expeditions in sourcing ingredients. The steamed fish was done just right with it’s smooth texture and sweet seafood taste preserved in a very light seasoning. I particularly love the fatty belly portion the waitress expertly boned.

Jeanette insisted that we should try their stuffed chicken wing, and so we did. The wings came out looking like what you would expect, and it wasn’t until cutting it open do you see the wonder of their culinary skills. Gone were the bones and replaced with a mixture of ham, water chestnuts, prawns, and more. Eight ingredients in total. The wings were rather delicious and probably makes for perfect beer tidbits.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
fried rice, bitter gourd with salted vegetable (ham choy), choy sum with waxed goose liver

Bitter gourd with salted vegetable is one Elegant Inn’s signature dishes, and that suits me just fine since I love bitter gourd. The very subtle salted vegetable taste blends with the spiciness of chili and the rather strong version of bitter gourd was very addictive to me, but I hazard it is not a dish for everyone.

The choy sum with waxed goose liver (腊鸸肝) was a very sinful dish. The wax meat tasted something in between dried meat and foie gras, with that sliver of liver bitterness and very rich texture and taste. You could almost feel your arteries contracting but it was impossible to stop having “just another piece”. To me, the choy sum was almost just an excuse to have this sinful ingredient.

Jeanette went into a long and elaborated speech on their dancing fried rice, explaining how they use 2 grades of rice kept in 2 different temperatures, and how the eggs had to be fried first, the wok washed and then top grade dried shrimps from HK fried next, wash the work again and finally add everything in while tossing the rice non stop till it’s cooked.

That just seems like too much work for good old fashion fried rice, and I didn’t see the point until I actually tasted the dish myself. It was simply the best fried rice I’ve had, you can literally taste the individual grain and the distinct flavor added by crab meat and bits of dried shrimps, eggs, and green onion. This is a must-orderdish.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed brown sugar cake, mini egg tarts

As we start to wind down, Jeanette brought out some very tasty mini egg tarts and steamed brown sugar cake (malai kou in Cantonese 馬拉糕). They were both very delicious and properly made traditional Chinese pastries I wish I could have more. We finished them despite the already rather full stomach.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
mango pudding with milk, tong sui (糖水)with mochi

The lunch session was ended on a sweet note. We were served a couple bowls of tong sui (糖水), sweet ginger soup with mochi and the sea coconut with fungus and logan soup. In addition to that, we also had the mango pudding with milk that had chunks of mango in every scoop, just like the way it is supposed to be.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Mellissa, Jeanette, and Yours Truly

I was as overly stuffed as I was impressed with Elegant Inn at this point. It was one of the best lunch experience I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. Quality of food as well as the ambiance were both excellent. I had no idea how much the meal costs and yes, the prices would be on the higher side but considering the experience and quality provided here, it will be well worth it.

Map to Elegant Inn at Menara Hup Seng
Elegant Inn is located at Menara Hup Seng.

Address:
2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block,
Menara Hap Seng,
Jalan P.Ramlee,
50250 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.153034,101.70752
Tel: 03-2070 9399

A few weeks ago the three of us: Rachel, Kelvin, and myself were doing some shopping around the city that somehow brought us to Bangsar Village Shopping Centre. It was almost dinner time, so we were starting to look into potential places for dinner. After the unpleasant experience at Kim Gary, I would normally not look at another HK style restaurant, but the picture of the DongPo Pork (東坡肉) dish proved too difficult to resist…

Dongpo Pork, 東坡肉 Chatterbox at Bangsar Village
glorious DongPo pork

Background on this dish:
DongPo Pork is said to be created by accident when the famous poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) started to cook pork out of boredom, his friend came and challenged him a game of chess which took his mind away from the cooking until the fragrance of pork came out from the kitchen. Viola! the famous dish is created. According to one recipe, the dish takes about 4 hours to cook.

Chatterbox at Bangsar Village
nice ambiance at an up-class shopping mall

The DongPo pork did not disappoint, it was truly a mouth watering dish especially for a pork lover. The texture is very soft and tender, you can easily pry the meat apart with your spoon or even just chopsticks. Broccoli offsets the texture and tastes of the pork fat and everything goes very well with rice. However, the 3 pieces of giant pork belly proved too much for my stomach, and I will recommend anyone to share the dish instead. I would have finished it if I had a bigger stomach.

Chatterbox at Bangsar Village
the other dishes, including noodle and pork patties with salted fish

The other two noobs had some sort of noodle and pork patties with salted fish rice. They rated the dishes favorably, and we also had a plate of vegetable to share. I remember that the DongPo pork was RM 18 while the other dishes are comparable to any other HK style restaurants, usually priced at around RM 8-12. If you are a pork belly lover, don’t miss out this good stuff.

Map to Bangsar Village
bangsar village

Bangsar Village Shopping Centre is located at Bangsar’s famous Telawi Road, just a stone’s throw away from the Laksa Sarawak stall that I blogged about last year.

Address:
Lot F9, 1st Floor,
No 1, Jalan Telawi
Bangsar Village Shopping Centre
Bangsar Baru, 59100 KL

GPS: 3.130435, 101.670088
Tel: 03-2287 8833