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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

Tonkatsu remains to be one of the latest Japanese foods to be introduced in Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with this Japanese dish, it is basically a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage. In fact, this dish is originated in Japan in the 19th century, so even in Japan it isn’t a particularly old dish.

Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall
Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall

My first time trying tonkatsu was at the version by Wa Kitchen at Pavilion, then probably the first and only tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia in 2011.

Fast forward a few years later, we have another worthy contender in the tonkatsu landscape – Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. We tried to 1 Utama branch (they just opened another branch at Publika) after hearing good things about this place.

so this is how you use those condiments
so this is how you use those condiments

The set up is slightly different from their counterpart at Pavilion, with clear instructions on how to enjoy the dish printed on a little instruction panel on every table. There’s a choice of salt, sweet, and spicy sauce on the side, and of course there’s a sesame grinder and peanut sauce for cabbage as well. You’re also encouraged to consume the accompanying rice with pickle.

Wafu Negioroshi Hire Katsu and Hire Katsu
Wafu Negioroshi Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu

The menu at Ma Maison is rather extensive (check their menu online). There’s the traditional hire (pork filet) and rōsu (pork loin) sets with a few variations, plus deep fried oyster, crab croquette, jumbo prawn, chicken, and so forth.

I tend to stick with the pork, and in particular, pork loin, only because of the layer luxurious pork fat accompanying the meat.

salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect
salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect

Every set comes with pretty good quality miso soup, pickle, and refillable cabbage that goes very well with their version of peanut sauce.

As for the pork, they are glorious. It is lightly salted with very crispy yet light breading and always piping hot when served. Dipping the meat in either the sweet sweet, spicy sauce, or mustard and any pork lover will be in ecstasy. The experience is like the first time you have KFC as a kid.

KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner
KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner

So if you find yourself at 1 Utama, this is definitely a place worth checking out. Average meal would be around RM 30+ per person including drinks.

Happy eating!

Address:
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison @ Eat Paradise
Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, 47800 Selangor
GPS: 3.149080, 101.615896
Tel: 03-7727 3337
HoursSunday to Thursday, 11.00am – 9.30pm;  Friday to Saturday, 11.00am – 10.00pm

Hokkaido Ichiba at One Utama and Mid Valley Gardens are two of the latest restaurants to be opened up by one of the largest Japanese restaurant chains in the country – Super Dining.

The group started out with their Raku Zen restaurants at SS 15 and other locations, then ventured into lower end conveyor belt style restaurants in Sushi Zanmai, a Japanese pasta chain in Pasta Zanmai, a higher end hotel-restaurant in Kura, and now, sitting between Zanmai and Raku Zen – Hokkiado Ichiba.

Hokkaido Ichiba, One Utama branch
Hokkaido Ichiba, One Utama branch

The menu at Hokkaido Ichiba is rather extensive, there are sushi, sashimi, various bento, maki, ramen, udon, and even small side dishes that you normally wouldn’t find in ordinary Japanese outlets.

California temaki, anglerfish liver, spicy oyster ramen
California temaki, anglerfish liver, spicy oyster ramen

For the two of us, we ordered an oyster ramen, a chirashi sushi, California temaki, and something that I haven’t eaten since 5 years ago in Vietnam – anglerfish liver.

The service was pretty brisk on a weekday night at One Utama, and we got our dishes within 15 minutes or so upon ordering.

Hokkaido Ichiba is a bit like an in betweens of Rakuzen and Sushi Zanmai, pricing closer to Rakuzen while quality isn't too far from Zanmai… Tho you do get premium location and nice decoration… #kyeats #japanese #sushi #halal #midvalley

A post shared by KY (@kyspeaks) on

The California temaki was Haze’s appetizer and reportedly quite tasty. The anglerfish liver though, was a tad too dry for me, though still retaining that distinctive taste that I can only describe as a blend of liver with a fishy (in a good way) undertone and has a texture between that of foie gras and pork liver. If you haven’t tried it before, this is a place to do so in an affordable way.

The spicy oyster ramen was a pretty decent dish as well, spicy and rather flavorful, though slightly lacking when compared to dedicated ramen shops such as Santouka or Marutama. This is perhaps due to the home made ramen used in other outlets, or the amount of effort poured into the making of ramen broth.

chirashi sushi, with scallops, amaebi shrimps, salmon, and ikura
chirashi sushi, with scallops, amaebi, salmon, ikura

My chirashi sushi though, was a steal at RM 30. It has two amaebi (sweet shrimps), hotate (scallops), ikura (salmon roe), salmon, and a couple crab sticks. The ingredients were pretty fresh and I thought it was a very good bowl of chirashi sushi especially considering the price point.

Haze and KY at Hokkaido Ichiba Japanese restuarant
Haze and KY at Hokkaido Ichiba Japanese restuarant

Overall, Hokkiado Ichiba really does find a niche in this pretty saturated Japanese restaurant market. The food is pretty good, prices reasonable (RM 77.70 for everything, including green tea). If you are at One Utama or Mid Valley Gardens looking for reasonably affordable Japanese food and not wanting to fight with the crowd at Sushi Zanmai, this is a place worth checking out.

Address:
Hokkaido Ichiba
Lot T-201, 3rd Floor, The Gardens,
Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 KL.
Tel: 03-2283 1060

Hokkaido Ichiba
Lot LG 101, Lower Ground Floor Promenade,
1 Utama Shopping Centre, No 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Bandar Utama Damansara, 47800 PJ.
Tel: 03-7727 0020