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Continuing with the buka puasa buffet 2014 series, today we look at the buffet offering at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton hotel. This year, the restaurant is headed by executive chef Ridzuan Malek, who has over 20 years of culinary experience to present a buffet spread of local specialities in unique ‘kampung-style’ stalls and live cooking stations.

The spread here is impressive, and definitely the largest of the lot that I’ve sampled in 2014 with over 300 local delicacies to choose from. You can come back here half a dozen times and not taste the same dish twice.

roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

The Ramadan buffet promotion runs from 7pm to 10pm daily and are priced at RM 139++ per adult and RM 79++for children. For the last five days of Ramadan (July 23 – July 27, 2014), the same spread is priced at RM 119++ per adult.

For the selection you get here, it is worth what you’re paying. On top of the food, there’s also entertainment from a local traditional music group from Bale Bale Entertainment to add to the festivity.

mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak
mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak

Now lets talk about what you’ll find at the buffet spread, I make no attempt to list down all the dishes, but you should get an idea of what they offer.

Pretty much everything you can find at any Ramadan buffet spread, you can find here.

Starting from appetizer, you have Thai beef salad, Vietnamese chicken salad, gado-gado, rojak, over half a dozen types of kerabu (ikan, ayam, kerabu jantung pisang, mangga muda, nangka, perut, pucuk paku, etc).

There’s also a huge selection of ulam to go with sambal belacan, cencalok, budu, sambal gesek, sambal nenas, sambal mangga, and my personal favorite – tempoyak chilli.

If you like the even more traditional appertizer, you can find ikan masin goreng belada, sambal hijau, telur masin, kacang tanah goreng berlada, petai, paru lembu, pedal ayam, hati ayam, and bergedil. These are definitely closer to kampung than the city, I love it.

chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style
chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style

Main dishes too is represented by classics from various states and even international cuisines. There’s fish head curry, rendang tok, ikan bakar melaka, whole roasted lamb Malay style, serawa durian and pulut, kerabu gamat and apam balik.

There’s also Chinese style mushroom and vegetable, curry prawn, asam prawn, nasi briyani, roast chicken, and more.

there's also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food
there’s also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food

I would guess that perhaps about 70% of the dishes available here at Paya Serai consists local cuisine originated from Malacca, Penang, Perak, Kedah, and Johor, with the remaining 30% Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Western, and other origins.

The team of 13 chefs definitely managed to impress.

satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too
satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too

Of the various live cooking stations, I was most impressed with the Mongolian BBQ (not that I actually managed to try all of them, to be honest). Here you basically choose one or many main ingredients such as beef, chicken, or seafood, and the chef will cook it up with an assortment of vegetable such as carrot, celery, mushroom, bell peppers and so forth.

It was a dish that I consumed on regular basis while working for a Chinese restaurant in US, this brought back the memory, and the execution was spot on.

KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night
KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night

To end your buka puasa session for the night, there’s an assortment of fresh fruits, air batu campur (ABC), cendol, a variety of traditional kuih, custards, mini pastries, hot desserts, cendol santan kepala muda, and last but not least – durian!

Yes, they serve durian at buka puasa, which was just brilliant.

If you’re looking for one of the biggest Ramadan buffet spread in town, check out PJ Hilton’s Paya Serai.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Paya Serai Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122 (ext 4260)

A couple weeks ago I was invited to PJ Hilton’s Genji Japanese restaurant for a session of food tasting. Genji is in fact one of the older Japanese restaurants in PJ dining scene, having been in operation for some 30 years now.

Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton
Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton

Thankfully, the interior and furnishing was not the same one since the opening days. The decoration is quite typical of classic Japanese restaurant, simple, classy, and not over the top. For this session, we occupied one of the private rooms with floor seating and sliding doors for that extra feel.

The restaurant is headed by Chef Richard Teoh, a man with vast experience in Japanese cuisine who does not shy away from adding his personal touch to traditional recipe.

Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu
Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu

We started the meal with an appetiser dish specially prepared by the good chef, something that’s usually featured in Omakase Kaizeki meals (RM 300 for 7 course, RM 220 for 5 course menu). We had maki tamago (egg roll with unagi filling), chuka kurage (marinated jellyfish) with yamamomo (mountain berry), and morokyu (fresh cucumber with fermented miso bean).

I love the mountain berry and thought  that the pairing of natto with fresh cucumber somehow worked for me even though I really thought natto is usually quite nasty.

Tokyo salad
Tokyo salad

Tokyo salad (RM 30) came next, a combination of lightly boiled fresh seafood with fresh greens and seaweed. All these is then topped with a home-made sesame sauce that is infused by wasabi, one of Chef Richard’s recipes. I like the mild kick from the sauce that injects extra excitement in this salad dish.

Sashimi/ Sushi Combi
Sashimi/ Sushi Combi

Japanese food isn’t complete without some raw stuff, for this purpose we had the pretty unpretentiously named sashimi/ Sushi combi (RM 240). The selection of seafood in this dish varies, but you’ll usually get salmon, tuna, otoro (tuna belly), sacallop, sea bream, and more. The otoro was absolutely spot on, the sashimi fresh and delicious, with my only comment being that the sushi tends to carry a bit more rice than I like them to have.

The combination is big enough to be shared among 4-5 pax.

Kaizen Mushi - subtle and refreshing
Kaizen Mushi – subtle and refreshing 

Kaizen Mushi (RM 30) represented something from Japanese cuisine which I seldom had – a combination of prawns, salmon, scallop, and mussel steamed with assorted vegetable then served in a light sweet broth. The dish was served with a mixture of ponzu sauce with grated radish, yuzu skin, and a dash of tabasco.

While the sauce itself was quite interesting, it was ultimately unnecessary. The seafood soup was actually plenty good enough to be had by itself, I really enjoyed this dish and thought that it is of pretty good value as well.

Duo Combi - Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki
Duo Combi – Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki 

Our main dish of the night was duo combi  – kaki chilli mayo and gindarai teriyaki, a dish that’s part of the Omakase Kaizeki menu. The oyster chilli with mayo was an interesting interpretation with a local twist (chilli padi), while the cod fish represented the more traditional Japanese fair. I like them both, but wished that I can have another two servings of those sweet delicious cod.

Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki
Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki

We ended the session with azuki banana dorayaki (RM 30), or Doraemon’s favorite dessert with red bean and banana in the middle. A scoop of black sesame ice cream and a couple slices of melon (local) made up the rest of the dessert.

Overall it was a pretty decent dinner, one that sits in the middle-to-high tier of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, something that is a step above your usual restaurant chains but a tad below some finer Japanese restaurants in Klang Valley.

Thank you Sabrina for the invite.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Genji Japanese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

A few weeks ago we were invited to sample Toh Yuen‘s new a la carte menu. Some of you might have read about my previous visit to Toh Yuen back in 2011, well, of all the dishes prepared by Master Chef Lee this time around, only the fried rice and sea cucumber dish were repeats.

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel

Regulars of Toh Yuen will be delighted that Chef Lee still stick by his principle of using the freshest and traditional ingredients with no additives in his cooking. For example, prawns are sourced fresh in the day and finished by the same night without ever being frozen. This ensures that the seafood you get here are some of the freshest one can get from a Chinese restaurant.

The slight down side of this method is that food generally tasted a bit more subtle, and thus might not suite tongues that are desensitized with too much tomyam and other heavily seasoned food, but if you are into traditional Chinese taste, this is worth a visit.

Here are the dishes we sampled:

chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab
chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab

We got started out with three appetizers –  chilled pacific clam with salsa (RM 28), deep fried lamb with cumin and dried chili (RM 28), and deep fried soft shell crab with garlic and chicken floss (RM 22).

Of the three, only the pacific clam is a cold dish, with the seafood sitting atop a bed of “salsa” arranged in a way not unlike tartar. The clams were sweet, but it did take me a while to accept having the pretty soft tasting salsa to go with them. A bold try but one that is still pretty experimental I thought.

The slightly spicy lamb was pretty good, and the chicken floss was an especially great addition to the soft shell crab, giving it an entirely different dimension. A trick I will shamelessly copy should I prepare soft shell crab (or even deep fried prawns) next time. I love it.

double boiled chicken with "shi hu" or "chong cao hua" soup
double boiled chicken with “shi hu” or “chong cao hua” soup

Like any proper 8 or 10 course Chinese dinner, our next dish was soup. we tried the double boiled chicken with “shi hu as well as the double boiled village chicken with “chong cao hua” soup (RM 32 per bowl).

Both were subtle but not lacking in taste. Herbal soup lovers will enjoy this, as I did. These aren’t of quality you find at Elegant Inn, and they weren’t priced as such either.

smoked duck with fruit sauce
smoked duck with fruit sauce

My favorite dish of the night has gotta be the smoked duck with fruit sauce (RM 38). The duck breast has the perfect skin-fat-meat combination that reminds me of  good quality roast pork, except with the slightly more exquisite taste of duck breast. The dragon fruit sauce gives it an extra bit of sophistication as well, I had at least 4-5 pieces (more than everyone :D)

prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili
prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili

Our first main dish was the sautéed prawn with salted egg yolk (RM 50). The freshness of the prawns were evident here, and I liked the fact that they were shelled and thus requires zero effort to consume. The richest dish we had, it was very well executed.

The sea cucumber with flower mushroom and abalone sauce (RM 80) is one of those dishes you often find at wedding dinners, but over here the sea cucumber were fat, juicy, and tasted quite a bit better. Older folks would love this dish for sure, and the sauce goes very well with steamed rice.

steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian "chicken" with yam basket
steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian “chicken” with yam basket

Next came steamed Canadian black cod fish with “yu feng” ginger sauce (RM 32/100 gram). The seafood was again very fresh, and the ginger/soya sauce base would go very well with steamed rice. I particularly love the fish skin and bits of fried garlic/ginger placed on top of the fish. This was a very luxurious dish to me.

Sautéed celery with lotus root & pine nuts (RM 30) is a blend of fresh crunchy vegetable with the texture of pine nuts. A bit bland for me, but a pretty good change of taste from the other dishes.

Our last main dish was the sauteed “gong bao” vegetarian chicken with yam ring (RM 60). This is a dish that I don’t particularly enjoy, and this has nothing to do with the taste but the fact that I usually like chicken to be .. well, made of chicken, and vegetable stayed vegetable, but if you’re those who enjoys fake fish and vegetarian meat, this isn’t a bad choice. The yam basket was delicious.

Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert
Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert

We concluded the night with Toh Yuen fried rice (RM 35) and deep fried banana with strawberry and cheese cake (RM 20). The fried rice was very well balanced and tasted superb without having any ingredients that stands out, Haze over stuffed herself quite a bit trying to have as much as she could.

The dessert was decent, but a little out of place with the dishes that we had, I would probably prefer herbal jelly or snow hasma instead (which they have in their menu as well)

The full menu can be found here.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant

Last week I was invited to a buka puasa dinner at Paya Serai. It is a little bit like going to pasar ramadan at Kelana Jaya, there are over 100 dishes of mainly local delights to choose from, but instead of on a street, you have a comfortable air conditioned dining area, plus you pay a one lump sum instead of having to do so many transactions.

In another word, it is a buffet (duh!)

buffet spread at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
buffet spread at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

For the Ramadan month, the buffet spread at Paya Serai is spearheaded by Chef Noor Hisham, so in addition to the international dishes, there are more emphasis on traditional Malay cuisine, which is entirely appropriate if you ask me.

awesome ulam spread, and sambal tempoyak too
awesome ulam spread, and sambal tempoyak too

I usually start my buffet with cold cuts and oysters (which they serve here too), but at Paya Serai, I can never resist their superb selection of ulam and sambal – especially sambal tempoyak. I don’t know if you can find this fermented durian sambal in any other hotel, it is positively pungent and supremely addictive for those who has a taste on the wilder side.

tempura and such, various kuih muih, ice kacang too
tempura and such, various kuih muih, ice kacang too

A couple dozen types of Nyonya and traditional Malay kuih muih is something not to be missed as well, and over here they have them in small convenient pieces so you don’t over stuffed your stomach too soon.

There’s a tempura stall and some sushi for those who felt like a buffet isn’t complete without Japanese food, but I didn’t have any but didn’t miss them.

paku, curry, and lala
paku, curry, and lala

Among the many dozens of traditional lauk, I was surprised to find paku in the spread, it’s one of my favorite vegetables and was always awesome. Their lamb curry, lala, paru (cow’s lung), and satey were pretty good as well.

I didn’t find baigan bhrata, a Northern Indian eggplant dish to be very delicious, but I guess a couple misses among over 100 dishes is certainly acceptable.

these four plates, and I was stuffed :S
these four plates, and I was stuffed :S

Other than the normal buffet spreads, a few stalls were set up at the front of the restaurant too, offering laksa, nasi lemak, roti jala, and even apom. I tried the nasi lemak and it was pretty good (with beef rendang of course)

The buffet certainly had a lot more dishes than I could bargain for, and we eventually reluctantly leave even though there were more to be tasted. What to do, stomach already completely stuffed, haigh.

more food, and with the guys
more food, and with the guys – Tian Chad, Firdy, Wilson

The buffet is from 7 pm to 10:30 pm. Pricing are as follow:

  • adult: RM 70++, child below 12: RM 49++ for the first 3 days
  • adult: RM 119++, child below 12: RM 60++ for the next 1 week
  • adult: RM 129++, child below 12: RM 70++ after that

Do call for reservation cos it gets packed!

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Paya Serai
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122