2011 kicks off pretty good, it was only mid January and I’ve already had my second yee sang session. Just like the previous session at Gu Yue Tien, this is yet another invited food tasting session from Meena in conjunction with Standard Chartered’s Extravagant 8 menu promotion (20th Jan till 17th Feb.)
For those who did not read about it on the previous post, this promotion basically allows Standard Chartered credit card holder to enjoy special menu priced at RM 888++ for 8 pax at 8 different locations by 8 award winning chefs. Li Yen at Ritz Carlton is the second place I sampled.
and we started off with yee sang, what else?
It was during the work week. I went back from work, had a few rounds of slow run at Taman Aman, showered, and then got stuck at traffic for a good 30 minutes to get passed a 300 meter stretch of road in PJ State, drove faster, found parking at Starhill, and arrived at Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The above paragraph was totally unnecessary, but I had to illustrate what a man would do to have his yee sang.
The yee sang served at Li Yen is the traditional type, shredded carrot, marinated vegetable, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, crackers, plum sauce, oil, and of course, fresh raw salmon. Always good.
double boiled assorted seafood soup with bamboo piths
Like pretty much all traditional Chinese course dinners, the second dish is a soup. The double boiled soup with assorted seafood and bamboo piths was subtle yet exquisite. I always love soup that doesn’t overpower and spoil the taste of subsequent dishes, nice.
I had actually first mistaken bamboo pith as some sort of fish maw, but apparently it is a type of fungus grown in bamboo forest. hey, learn something new everyday!
Oh, there’s no sharks fins with Standard Chartered promotional menu, thumbs up!
peking duck served with steamed sesame pancakes
Next up was a dish that I’ve been waiting for – peking duck in steamed sesame pancakes. The Peking duck roasted to perfection, with it’s skin gleaming with a thin layer of fat calling for me.. ahh.
Our server was an expert who made light work of the duck. *slice slice slice* and within seconds we have the duck skin all tidily wrapped within the soft and warm sesame pancakes. It was as good as any peking duck I had, took extra servings too. 😀
steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce,
braised dried scallops with dried oyster and sea moss
After the duck, we were served the steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce. This is a dish that isn’t uncommon but one that requires really good quality fish. The patin was certainly fresh, fat, and tender. Superior soya sauce isn’t your everyday Kikkomon either, it really adds to the flavor and isn’t overly salty even if you drink it on its own.
Another classic CNY dish, braised dried scallops with dried oyster and sea moss, followed. The sea moss actually looks almost like wet hair, but obviously taste very much different from the stuff that clogs your shower drain hole… (ok perhaps that’s not the best way to describe food). The dried shellfish gives the sauce a very sweet, savory taste, very nice.
stir-fried assorted mushroom and asparagus, hokkien fried rice
We had stir-fried mushroom and asparagus to start winding down the dinner. A light dish that is simple yet delicious, I like the contrasting textures of mushroom and the crunchier asparagus.
The last main dish was Hokkien fried rice, which looks and tastes almost like “lam” rice (with similar type of sauce from loh mee). I thought it was a mislabel, but apparently despite being a Hokkien, I didn’t know any better. Hokkien fried rice is actually steamed rice topped with gravy cooked with chunks of mushroom, vegetable, prawns, and other goodies. It was very yummy actually, I had a small bowl since my stomach was already like 98% full at the time.
deep fried yam with lunar cake, salted pork bones for soup
Deep fried yam with lunar cake (nian gau) served as the dessert that concludes the dinner. It was sweet, crunchy on the outside while sweet, soft, and comfortably warm on the inside.
See the picture of salted pork bones? That’s the not-so-secret ingredients in that seafood soup, imported from Hong Kong, as revealed by the good chef.
It’s January, Christmas jingles made way to those Chinese New Year songs that seems to always resurrect the career of a few non-Chinese singers who sings in Mandarin but nobody ever care the rest of the year.
To many of us gluttons, this time of the year also means that we can have yee sang (鱼生) again! One of my favorite Malaysian invention (yah, they claim it’s from Singapore, or Hokkien province in China… I don’t care)
Gu Yue Tien at Chulan Square, classy place
My very first lou sang session came with the courtesy of Meena’s invitation to the food review session at Gu Yue Tien in conjunction to the Standard Chartered’s Extravagant 8 Menu.
From 20th Jan to 17th February, Standard Chartered credit card holders enjoy great deals at 8 restaurants with special customized menu priced at RM 888++ per table for 8pax.
my very first yee sang for CNY 2011
First dish was of course, the yee sang I’ve been waiting for since some 11 months ago. The version at Gu Yue Tien is a little different, fresh salad with addition of sengkuang, raisin, crushed nuts, crackers, oil, strawberry sauce, and of course, plenty of fresh raw salmon.
The taste is a bit sweeter and a bit fresher tasting, it was so good quite a few of us had second servings.
Gu Yue Tien soft boil egg with foie gras
Next came the dish I had my eyes set on the moment the menu was sent to me via email – Gu Yue Tien’s soft boil egg with foie gras. According to Chef Frankie, he had the idea to create this dish from a visit to some charity cooking event in New York, East meet West.
It is basically a soft boiled egg, with most of the egg white taken out and replaced with foie gras sauce with chunks of foie gras in it. It was rich, savory, and pure heaven, I had two!
seafood soup with crab roe, salt bake Spanish Iberico pork ribs
No real Chinese dinner is complete without soup, and I really give Standard Chartered a big thumbs up for NOT serving any sharks fin in all their Extravagant 8 menu.
So we had seafood soup with crab roe that comes with prawns, scallops, crab meat, and other goodies instead. Tastes better than any sharks fin soup that I had before (I’ve since stopped consuming sharks fin though, and I think you should too.)
Then there’s the salt baked Spanish Iberico pork ribs. I’ve had plenty of ribs before, but boy, this one really tops them all. Slightly salty, tender and juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside, the ribs is superbly flavorful and absolutely addictive. If you go to Gu Yue Tien, this is an absolute must-order dish.
steamed giant grouper, glutinous rice with fresh water prawns and wax meat
Fish is another classic dish during CNY, we had steamed giant grouper with minced ginger and yellow bean paste. The fish meat is indeed tender, and I’ve always enjoy the thick but tender giant grouper skin as well. This dish is a good follow up from the ribs, with minced ginger countering the savory pork after taste.
Steamed glutinous rice with fresh water prawn & wax meat was the last main dish of the night. An unlikely combination of seafood with wax meat, but it is one that turned out very well. The wax meat imported from Hong Kong, and fresh water prawn sourced locally, the two ingredients tasted awesome themselves, but also give the glutinous rice a rich and very delicious taste.
pan fried nien gau, chilled mango cream with pamelo
We wind down the night with the CNY-compulsory nien gau (sticky cake), only this one is pan fried with sesame; and chilled mango cream with pamelo to cool off and try to clear off the super savory+yummy after taste in our mouth.
At this point, my stomach was protesting, and my brain shutting down due to food coma.
For those of you who holds a Standard Chartered credit card (or know someone who does), don’t miss out on this great offer. I throughly enjoyed every dish at Gu Yue Tien, and if your taste bud is anywhere close to mine, I have no doubt you will too.
Chef Frankie is also one of the most friendly and inspiring person, he shared the story of stepping into the kitchen at the age of 13 to becoming an executive chef to owning Gu Yue Tien, amazing stuff.
Now chef, how about some of that ribs again? Gu Yue Tien is located just above Gaucho Grill at Chulan Square.
Address: Gu Yue Tien
Lot 5A, Chulan Square
Jalan Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.148518, 101.716114 Tel: 03-2148 0808
Early last month boo of masak-masak called me up for a year end dinner with a few other food bloggers at Favola. As it turned out, it was a food review session at the new Italian outlet of Le Meridien KL. Thank goodness I had my newly acquired S90 handy with me.
the capable chef Antoine at Favola
The restaurant has a very cheerful mood with its spacious tables, comfortable chairs, and light music further compounded by a very jolly chef Antoine who loves to mingle with diners. Meena, Ciki, and Fatboybakes were among the bloggers who were there.
Like most proper Italian restaurants, we started off with some lovely breads. Other than the standard olive oil with balsamic vinegar, there were guacamole and the very flavorful potato truffle dips. I had to stop myself from eating more of these to save some stomach space, but if you’re on a shoe string budget…
cold (freddo) antipasti, bread with potato truffle dip, and crispy pizza dough
There’s a pretty good selection of antipasti available at Fivola. We had the sampler of five antipasti (RM 35) which had the following:
bresaola – shaved dried beef with rocket salad, figs, lemon and olive oil
bruschetta – cured salmon, portobello mushrooms
seafood salad – garlic, chili-olive oil, lemon juice and italian parsley
Of course, the descriptions and names were copied from the menu as there was no way I could remember all of them. I particularly like the beef as well as the octopus, they were tasty and had a nice texture to it too. This was sorta parellel to the old Chinese cold dish, I think.
warm (caldo) antipasti, Conchiglioni Marinara al Cartoccio
Warm antipasti came next, and we had these little curry puff look alike items that were made with pizza dough calledpanzerotti. They were filled with marinated mushroom, mozzarella and grilled bell pepper and makes perfect beer snacks.
We also had cod fritters, but my favorite has got to be the sardines. Unlike the canned version we’re familiar with, the sardine’s sauteed with onions, raisins, pine nuts, and bell pepper to a crispy texture. They were absolutely delicious.
For pasta, we had the conchiglioni marinara al cartoccio (RM 40), in laymen’s term – shell shaped pasta with seafood, extra virgin olive oil, herbs, and tomato sauce. I’m not a huge fan of conchiglioni, but this tasted pretty good.
They were quite a few main dishes to share among us. For a taste of luxury, we had the risotto con argosta (lobster risotto, RM 45) and lasagna al forno (wagyu cheek lasagna, RM 40) and both dishes didn’t disappoint the ingredients used. The lasagna was especially the yums, Garfield would have approved.
The two veal dishes – veal escalope (one pan seared, one coated with bread crumbs, RM 60) and veal osso bucco (RM 70). They were decent, but to be frank I’m not a huge fan of veal and would probably opt for something else (the lasagna for example) if I had to choose. I prefer the pan seared veal and could give a pass to the bread crumb preparation method though.
veal osso bucco, scallop with cauliflower, mussels with chicken, veal escalope “due modi”
Another two antipasti dishes we had (in full serving instead of sampler) were roasted scallops (RM 20) and fresh mussels (RM 20). The scallops came on a bed of cauliflower and truffles and were absolutely delightful. The mussels had minced chicken stuffing, garlic and tomato sauce. I am quite sure suan would have loved to have this, they were quire good too.
The roasted lamb shoulder (RM 50) was the other meat dish we had. I remember it to be quite rich but couldn’t really recall much otherwise. I think my stomach was already over stuffed at this point.
panna cotta, fruitti di miso, illy coffee inspired tiramisu
Then of course, there were desserts. Illy coffee inspired tiramisu (RM 20) was nice, and the fruitti di miso (ricotta cream and mixed red berries RM 20) gives a jolt to the senses after the heavy meal. However, the panna cotta (RM 20) had to be the recommended choice – almond custard cream, minestrone of fruit sugar veil and orange wafer might not mean anything to me, but it was very delightful. The contrasting tastes of custard with the berries and sugar was just perfect.
Meena, KY, and ciki; potent Grappa
To finish off the dinner, we ordered some grappa, basically grape based pomace brandy (or distilled wine) with alcohol content as high as 60%. These drinks cost anything from RM 20 (Grappa Limonico) to RM 50 (Alexandar Red Rose Grappa). The red rose grappa was quite good, but I can’t say I’d be able to justify the price for it though.
The Grappa Platinum (RM 40) was especially nasty and left a grimace to anyone who’d tasted it. Perhaps it was an acquired taste, I don’t know, and probably wouldn’t ever order this particular type of drinks anytime soon.
By the time we wrapped up, it was already 11pm. I think I still felt full when I woke up the next morning. It was definitely a nice session and Fivola would make a pretty good place if you’re looking for some authentic Italian food. The ambiance is good, the food did not disappoint, and the price is fair too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.