Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / soup

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

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

GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

Simple meal for two of bacon fried rice and red spinach soup. This is something that I cooked up last night because bacon was calling my name, and at the same time I wanted to fix something real quick instead of making elaborate dinners.

a complete meal - bacon fried rice and red spinach soup
a complete meal – bacon fried rice and red spinach soup

Total preparation and cooking time is about an hour, but that is because you need more than half that time to boil the chicken bones (for soup) and making rice in the first place. Actual active cooking takes place in less than 20 minutes.

The result is a satisfying meal that has has all your essential dietary needs (I think). There’s meat, egg, vegetable, soup, and rice. As an Asian, that’s all I need. 😀

bacon is the key ingredient here, obviously
bacon is the key ingredient here, obviously

Recipe for two plates of bacon fried rice, ingredients:

  • streaky bacon (150-200 grams), cut them in squares
  •  half a bulb of garlic, chop em up
  • 2 eggs
  • rice for two person (I cooked 1.5 cups)
  • chili padi (optional)
  • 1 table spoon of dark soya sauce
  • 2 stalks of spring onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • minimal cooking oil

open up the rice and crack a couple eggs in there, stir
open up the rice and crack a couple eggs in there, stir

Instructions:

  • heat up a table spoon of cooking oil (you don’t need much since bacon will release more oil)
  • fry bacon, garlic, and chili padi at the same time till bacon is cooked and garlic is fragrant
  • add rice, dark soya sauce, stir
  • after 3-4 minutes, open up the fried rice at center, add half a spoon of oil and crack the two eggs into it
  • let the egg cooked for a bit before stirring it with fried rice for another 3-4 minutes
  • add spring onion, salt & pepper and keep stirring for another minute or two
  • serve while hot

spinach soup is about the simplest soup you can make
the red spinach soup is real simple to prepare

Ingredients and instructions:

  • wash red spinach with plenty of water and pluck off the stems
  • boil 3 bowls of water with chicken bones, wolf berries optional (you might want to pre-boil once to remove impurities, I use chicken bones from chicken chop cut)
  • I boil it while rice is cooking, that took about 45 minutes
  • add red spinach, keep boiling for another 15 minutes (while frying rice)
  • add salt and a bit of pepper and it’s ready to be served

Do check out other recipes if these are thing stuff you like to eat, they are usually pretty simple to prepare. Good eating!

This is one of the fastest soup to prepare that is perfect to clear up sinus problem – the mint and egg soup. Everything can be done in about 10-15 minutes, and makes a perfect companion to another dish, or even to be consumed just by itself.

I’ve always thought that making the mint and egg soup means chucking everything into the pot and just boil away. As it turns out, the process involves a few more steps in between, and here’s how you do it:

the two main ingredients - mint leaves and egg
the two main ingredients – mint leaves and egg

Ingredients (for two as companion dish):

  • a bunch of mint leaves – pluck and use only the leaves
  • 1 egg – lightly beaten
  • ginger – in strips
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • half a chicken cube (or soup stock if you have)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

with some oil, fry ginger, garlic, then the mint leaves
with some oil, fry ginger, garlic, then the mint leaves

Cooking instructions:

  • with a pot, heat up cooking oil then fry ginger as it takes longer to cook
  • a minute or two later, add in garlic
  • when garlic is fragrant, add mint leaves, stir till you can smell the mints, around 1-2 minutes
  • add egg, and cook it to the consistency of soft scrambled egg
  • add 1.5 bowl of water and chicken cube (or soup stock)
  • bring to boil, add salt and pepper  according to taste

make a scramble egg, almost, then add water and chicken cube
make a scramble egg, almost, then add water and chicken cube

So there you go, 2 small bowls of mint and egg soup ready to serve. The frying process, together with the addition of ginger and garlic really brings out the flavor of the soup. The only little tricky part with the mint soup is that mint leaves generally doesn’t last very long in the fridge before turning black and bad. You should always cook it at the lastest 1-2 days after purchasing for best results.

Get cooking! There are more recipes here.

and it's ready to serve after boiling for a couple minutes
and it’s ready to serve after boiling for a couple minutes

P/S: the recipe for prawn dish on the photo above is here.

It’s been a while that this blog features any fancy dining experience, so the invitation from Tanzini Upper Deck came just at the right moment.

Situated at the 29th floor in G Tower, Tanzini Upper Deck features a double volume (ermm.. aka very high ceiling) dining room complete with custom made star-lights which. Coupled with the full view of the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers, the ambiance is about as good as one can wish for.

Tanzini Upper Deck at G Tower
Tanzini Upper Deck at G Tower

Tanzini Upper Deck only offers 4-6 course degustation menu and private functions, if you’re looking for ala carte dining, that would be Tanzini just a level below.

While waiting for everyone to arrive, we started off the night with a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne, a non-vintage champagne comprises 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. I’m not exactly a wine critic, but the fruity aroma and full texture of this drinks makes it one of the better champagne I remember having.

Lollipop Scallops, Halibut-Salmon "Mokume Gane"
Lollipop Scallops, Halibut-Salmon “Mokume Gane”

We tried three types of appetizers, starting with a daring display of creativity in the lollipop scallops. It was in essence, grilled scallop on a stick encased with caramelized sugar. Sweet and savory, a departure from the normal preparation which tends to go towards the salty side. Interesting nonetheless.

Halibut-Salmon “Mokume Gane” is inspired by Japanese mixed metal patterns. In this instance, using halibut and salmon that results in the orange/white pattern. Served with house pickled ginger, lemon grass-calamansi granita, candied hojiso (shiso leaf), and horse radish. The taste was quite distinctly Japanese for me, and in a very good way.

Black Truffle Custard
Black Truffle Custard

Another choice of appetizer is the black truffle custard that comes in three parts – truffled egg-mushi, a squid ink cone with sweet corn, and finally, prawn noodle with trout roe.

This was almost a 3-in-1 dish. I love the truffled egg (kinda reminds me of the foie gras egg in Gu Yue Tien, though they are different) and enjoyed the textures of prawn noodle with trout roe. The final third of the dish though, was overpowered by the sweetness of the corn that very little hint of squid ink was apparent.

"BLT" soup - bacon marmalade, lettuce m-sponge, tempura soft shell crab
“BLT” soup – bacon marmalade, lettuce m-sponge, tempura soft shell crab

Next up was a choice between the two soups we tried.

Chef Eugene’s interpretation of “BLT” was our first soup. Veloute de tomates, bacon marmalade, 30″ lettuce m-sponge, and tempura soft shell crab.

I’ve never tasted bacon, lettuce, and tomato quite this way before, and I gotta say it was very impressive and daring. The soup was like a very supped up (pardon the pun) version of tomato soup. It was quite delicious.

Smoked Oyster Tea
Smoked Oyster Tea

Should you choose the smoked oyster tea as the choice of soup instead, you won’t be disappointed. This dish was a demonstration of the perfect harmony in consomme of oyster, fenugreek (herb), smoked trout roe, ginkgo, and oyster kara-age (similar to tempura).

The soup is poured just before eating, and rightly so, because 2 minutes later the crispy skin of oyster kara-age would’ve become soggy.

Ox Tongue Yakitori - with asparagus kimchi, fried bernaise
Ox Tongue Yakitori and  House Muscovy Duck

After appetizer and soup, we moved onto starters.

Ox tongue yakitori and house-cured muscovy duck were the two dishes to be chosen from the menu.

On one hand, the fancier ox tongue dish comprises of miso-ginger infused ox tongue skewer, fennel in Yuzu dressing, asparagus kimchi, and fried béarnaise. The ox tongue was very good in its delicate taste and texture, fried bearnaise was interesting, but the asparagus kimchi though, was a surprise that wasn’t exactly in a good way. I felt that it was a little bit out of place.

the duck dish, on the other hand, was excellent! Plum sauce, pop rocks & melon galia, truffled potato stuffed bok choi, and litchi glass are the ingredients. Chef Eugene got this one perfectly executed, it just tasted very very good.

Redefined "Aussie Pie"
Redefined “Aussie Pie”

We had an intermezzo in the form of some sorbet which acted as a palette cleanser, after that was the main dishes.

Out of the 3 choices, I selected the Redefined “Aussie Pie” – glazed hilside farm lamb loin in house stock, kataifi, truffled mashed peas, vegemite orb, and sautéed vegetables. This dish was another display of art, and the good news was, it actually tasted rather good. The lamb loin was almost a little too dry for my liking, but that was just me nitpicking a little.

"Uncle Sam" Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Desconstructed English Man's Treat
“Uncle Sam” Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Desconstructed English Man’s Treat

Haze had the “Uncle Sam” Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks – slow braised wagyu in rye stock, grilled king trumpets, dark chocolate crouton, and seasonal vegetable. This turned out to be one of the weaker dish, and we felt that it was actually a little bit of a waste to braise a good piece of meat.  Truth be told, it was a disappointment.

The third main dish was the Deconstructed English Man’s Treat, basically chef’s interpretation of the classic fish and chips, with fillet of marbled goby fish & carbonized batter, violet potato, glazed savoy cabbage, texturized garlic oil, and 62 Celcius organic egg yolk. Eiling, who ordered this dish, had this to say:

“This is a very complicated dish but I like the contrasting textures and the egg yolk certainly is a unique addition.”

Flamed Popcorn Gelato
Sweet Ending: Flamed Popcorn Gelato

The dinner ended with flamed popcorn gelato – hazel streusel, bruleed banana, black elderberry glazed fuji apples, and salted caramel toast.

The presentation of the dessert really placed an exclamation mark to the chef’s creativity. It was served with the smoke from dry ice overflowing the table, and some Grand Marnier poured onto the glazed apple for the flame. The spirit did make the dessert a bit bitter, but I actually love it bitter so that suited me well (not so for the girls).

KY, Eiling, Haze at Tanzini Upper Deck
KY, Eiling, Haze at Tanzini Upper Deck

All throughout the dinner, chef Eugene came out and explained the meaning and intricacy of each dishes, which made a world of difference. Service too was excellent throughout (but this is an invited food review, so your mileage may vary).

Most importantly, you might ask, is the price:

RM 155++ 4 course dinner

  • Chef’s Special
  • Choose one out of Appetizers, soups, or starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert
RM 185++ 5 course dinner
  • Chef’s Special
  • Choose 2 out of Appetizers, soups, or starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert
RM 215++ 6 course dinner
  • Chef’s Special
  • Choice of Appetizers
  • Choice of Soups
  • Choice of Starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert

map to G-Tower, KL

Address:
Tanzini Upper Deck
Level 29, GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1590, 101.7200
Tel: 03-2168 1899