Last weekends I attended an event organized by Open Rice at Grand Millennium Hotel’sLai Ching Yuen thanks to the invitation from Marcky, a friend who is associated with the project, and someone who definitely loves to eat.
chef Kong of Lai Cheng Yuen showing off his skills
Lai Cheng Yuen is famous for it’s dimsum, and our host was the very friendly Chef Kong, a dimsum chef 28 years. Some of chef Kong’s signature dishes are the steamed siew mai with fresh scallop, deep fried bean curt roll with prawns, and mini durian tart.
On that day, however, we were in a treat for something different. Dimsum is usually associated wit seafood and pork as main ingredients, but Chef Kong wanted to show us that you can make yummy dimsum using all vegetarian ingredients too.
we got to try our hands on making dimsum
Even better, right after the cooking demonstration, we got to get our hands dirty and make our own dimsum as well.
The good chef prepared the all important dimsum skin from scratch (they do this everyday at Lai Ching Yuen) using Hong Kong flour as the main ingredient. The filling of the dimsum was prepared from the combination of carrot, mushroom, sengkuang, celery, bokchoi, and more.
these are all vegetarian dimsums
After the cooking demo, we were served 5 different vegetarian dim sum dishes chef Kong prepared on the spot. These were the pan fried soft bun with mixed vegetable, deep fried yam ring with mixed fruits, vegetarian lot mai fan, chee cheong fun, and a transparent sort of sui kao.
vegetarian chee cheong fun, lor mai fan, and the last 2 pieces, we made
The dishes were pretty good, and I suppose as close as you can get to tasting like real dim sum without any hint of meat or seafood ingredients. This is perfect for vegetarians who prefer real vegetarian foods instead of those menu that’s filled with fake meat & fake seafood that is popular in Chinese vegetarian offerings (always irks me especially for those who do it for religious purposes).
the five dimsum dishes we sampled
Unfortunately we did not get to try dim sum from Lai Ching Yuen’s normal menu, but judging from chef Kong’s expertise in this demonstration, I am pretty sure that they won’t disappoint.
At the end of the event, I won a lucky draw – lunch buffet for two at The Mill, Grand Millennium, and Horng walked away with a handsome voucher of RM 800+ from Slimming Sanctuary. Yuki should be happy about it.
Address: Lai Ching Yuen 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang 55100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.14791, 101.71222 Tel: 03-2117 4180
My mom has always been pretty critical about “outside food”, and every once in a while, she would volunteer to chip to my kitchen renovation fund with some of her hard earned money so that perhaps I could cook a little more.
Well, mom, the kitchen will be taken care of eventually, and in the mean time, worry no more, I have finally found the disgustingly healthy hawker food – Lui Cha (擂茶)
Lui Cha – brown rice, nuts, tofu, and lots of vegetable
Lui Cha literally means pounded tea in Cantonese, which described the way the way the soup is made – by pounding mixture of tea leaves and possibly mints to a very minty green tea like liquid. The soup accompanies a bowl of brown rice topped with plenty of nuts (or roast soy beans), chopped long beans, tofu, pickled as well as fresh vegetable.
mix it, eat it separately, drink the soup, it’s up to you
You can now find quite a number of kopitiam and hawker centers selling this traditional Hakka dish, I had my first one at New Yew Sang kopitiam at Kelana Jaya, recommended by Cheesie (there’s another one at Ho Weng Kee at SS2, which also has this nice wan tan mee).
The reason it took me this long to try Lui Cha is basically the fact that it’s all green with no animal killed in the production, but after tasting it, I must confess that I actually find it rather tasty.
The brown rice is quite sweet, the combination of nuts and all that vegetable gives a very fresh and crunchy texture while the pickled vegetable chipping in with a little bit of saltiness for that extra dimension. It was nice.
it was well, quite tasty actually!
I think most people like to mix the dry bowl with the soup, but after experimenting with mixing them in the spoon, I find my taste buds agree more with having the rice and vegetables/nuts separately, and in the end, I didn’t exactly finish the soup. I guess I probably only salvaged 65% of the goodness from the whole dish, but one can never ask for too much.
Address: New Yee Sang kopitiam Jalan SS 6/8
Kelana Jaya GPS:3.106717, 101.598178
On another non related note, check out Joyce’s interview on the new BB curve from Xpax, preregister for one here
Last Friday, the traveling Australian dude Dabido decided to spend a bunch of us to a vegetarian dinner on his last night in Kuala Lumpur. Suan decided that Jade Garden at Bandar Utama Centrepoint would be a good place for such occasion because she knows the food is great, or maybe just because it is a place close enough for her to walk there with her under utilized legs.
acha as appetizer, and the 4 season dish
Dinner was scheduled at 8, but inadvertently we only got to eat at around 9pm. I guess it is a good thing cos we were able to show Dabido the full extend of our culture, including the Malaysian Timing when it comes to having a group dinner. There was 14 of us split into 2 tables, and Suan ordered the food for everyone. Nice and dandy.
imitation luncheon meat, tofu, imitation fish with mango salad, fried vegetable
We had about 7 dishes in total. There’s the 4 season dish with some imitation meat and fake fish balls that actually tasted quite good despite it being a cold dish. The tofu soup was more like a thick broth that goes well with rice, I like the fungus that came with it. Then there’s my favorite, the imitation luncheon meat that tasted almost as good as the real thing minus the oily bit.
kang kung with nuts, tomyam soup, and the bunch of jokers
The imitation fish tasted pretty decent as well, and with no real fish in there, you don’t have to worry about getting your neck pierced by fish bones, which isn’t a particularly nice thing to do, speaking from experience. There’s also a fried kailan that tasted just like any fried kailan you’d expect. Other than that, we also have a fried kang kung dish with nuts and some imitation seafood that I didn’t think tasted very good, slightly too sourish with the imitation seafood a poor substitute for the real thing.
However, the tomyam soup with imitation squid and some very real tomato was an excellent dish. It was actually one of the best tomyam soup I’ve tasted and surely a must-order item if you find yourself at Jade Garden.
In all, it was a very good meal, and the total bill came to about RM 370 for 14 of us. That translate to about RM 26 per person for a pretty good vegetarian meal. The price is just slightly more than the Restaurant Kuan Yin at Seksyen 17 that I went, but with a nicer ambiance and free and easy to find parking spots at Centrepoint.
Thanks Dabido, see you at Perth!
map to BU Centrepoint
Address: Centrepoint, Bandar Utama,
Petalig Jaya, 47800 Selangor GPS:3.137988, 101.610124 Tel:03-7710 2939
After getting to know about this from the ever popular Ho Chak series on 8TV, Kelvin suggested that we give Gopala Indian vegetarian restaurant at Brickfield a try. I didn’t have to drive there, so why not? Although I’m not a huge fan of vegetarian food, I’m always willing to try just about anything.
the restaurant is fairly clean and comfortable, other than the tiny ceiling fans
Located at Brickfield, KL, the restaurant is actually just a stone’s throw away from the Sentral Monorail station and the YMCA building. Gopala is a lot cleaner than most banana leaf or mamak places, which is always a good thing.
excellent satay and the unique Indian style yong tau fu
After looking through the rather extensive menu, we ordered a set of satay, a clay pot yong tau fu, sambal petai, mee goreng, nasi goreng, and a plate of mixed vegetable pakora . The list of items would be very ordinary in any food court, but do keep in mind that we were in an Indian vegetarian restaurant instead.
Of the six dishes that we ordered, 4 of them were rather ordinary, and with the mixed vegetable pakora somewhat disappointing as they actually deep fried the mixed (chopped) vegetable and dahl instead of having many different types of pakora instead. A different interpretation I suppose.
The two other items, however, were surprisingly good. The yong tau foo is not any less tasty than the real thing, and the soup carries a very unique peppery taste (in a good way) that is very different from the non-halal version.
The vegetarian satay too is surprisingly delicious. The peanut sauce has a stronger curry taste to it, and the best part is that you don’t have to deal with the tendons or fats that comes with eating meat. The texture is much more consistent and the taste is similar to very tender meat. It was a revelation. This is definitely the place to go if you were to introduce any of your vegetarian friends to this famous local dish.
The dinner came to be about RM 30+, not exactly cheap, but vegetarian food are never cheaper than the non-vegetarian counterparts anyway. The 5 sticks of satay did costs RM 5, but I think this is still a decent place to go for vegetarians to get a different taste.
Address: 59 Jalan Thambipillay
50470 Kuala Lumpur GPS:3.131999, 101.687683 Tel:012-351 3713
If you have been following this blog, you will suspect that I am mostly a meat person, since this is the first vegetarian food posts, of the 142 done thus far. Truth of the matter is not that I don’t love my vegetables, but rather I have always maintain that we should get our greens served as what they are, not disguised as some fake chicken, fish, or meat… and then I was somehow convinced by this joker to go to Kuan Yin restaurant.
mat salleh loving the char siu
As the name of the restaurant suggests, this place serves Chinese vegetarian food. Not only all the food are prepared with non meat ingredients, neither garlic nor onion are used, this is to satisfy the “rules” of the “religious” vegetarian practiced in this country.
However, if you look at the menu, you will find many titles of meat dishes. All of these dishes are, of course, made from non meat ingredients. Funny isn’t it? How can anyone claim to be a vegetarian but eats dishes that tastes exactly like meat? (my main reason of not visiting vegetarian restaurants)
there is no meat here
For dinner, the four of us ordered a fried vegetable with clear sauce, “mutton” curry, Thai style “chicken”, “Char Siu” with mantou, and a radish soup (free).
To my surprise, the food were actually good. The chicken was a bit “fake”, but tasted decent nonetheless. The mutton curry tasted like very tender mutton, and the curry sauce was great, I had no idea how they can prepare it without using onion and garlic but still maintain the aroma and taste of curry that we are accustomed to.
ahhh, the imitation char siu… slurps
The best dish of the day though, was the Char Siu with mantao. They were in fact, better than most the REAL char siu I have tasted in my life. I will go back there just to have this particular dish.
The bill came to be slightly less than RM 20 per person. Pretty good value considering how much other places charge for similar dishes.
so now you know how to get to seksyen 17
I would not recommend a religious vegetarian to have fake meat and chicken as I think that is principally wrong, but this is an excellent place to bring your Muslim friends to have a taste of Chinese food.
Address: 1084 Jalan 17/29
Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya
46400 Selangor GPS:3.129230, 101.635353 Tel:03-7957 4528