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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122