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Tag / xiao-long-bao

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

One of the things we missed quite a bit after moving to Shah Alam was a good place to have dimsum. In PJ, good dimsum place is a dime a dozen, but Shah Alam and Klang aren’t exactly populated with a lot of Cantonese, so it gets a little trickier when the lady gets her dimsum cravings.

And then we found Yat Pan Dim Sum, a place that was both found by Haze via the phone, and suggested by a reader (as I recalled later, thanks!).

Yat Pan Dim Sum at Bandar Botanic, Klang
Yat Pan Dim Sum at Bandar Botanic, Klang

Yat Pan Dim Sum is located at Bandar Botanic, across the road from AEON Bukit Tinggi and just a couple minutes off Kesas Highway. On the weekend we were there, the entire commercial area was pretty desolate, hence parking was not exactly an exercise of patience like, for example, Jin Xuan in PJ.

xiao long bao, chee cheong fun, scallop sui mai, herbal sui mai
xiao long bao, chee cheong fun, scallop siu mai, herbal siu mai

At Yat Pan, every dimsum is made to order.

You pick what you want from the menu, jot it down on little piece of ordering paper, and then hand it to the server (when they notice you waving frantically). Some 10-15 minutes later (it felt a lot longer, but photo time-stamps never lie), you get your dimsum freshly done and served.

We had xiao long bao (RM 6.50), chee cheong fun (RM 4.50), scallop sui mai (RM 5.50), herbal siu mai (RM 4.50), chasiu bao (RM 5.50 for 3), and for fried stuff, we had golden shrimp salad (RM 4.50) and wu kok (deep fried yam puff, RM 4.50).

char siu bao, golden shrimp salad, deep fried yam puff
char siu bao, golden shrimp salad, deep fried yam puff

Perhaps due to the made to order style, the dishes were actually pretty good (maybe except the golden shrimp salad which was a bit underwhelming). The wu kok was one of the best I’ve had from anywhere, and char siu bao too really sweet and wholesome, the xiao long bao too was worth ordering for sure.

If you are not in a real hurry and dimsum is on your mind, this is definitely one of the places worthy of visit.

yat pan dimsum

Address:
46, Jalan Kasuarina 3,
Bandar Botanik,
41200 Klang, Selangor
GPS2.988380, 101.450211
Tel03-3385 5763

It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.

Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.

Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL

Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.

While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?

four types of steamed dimsum
four types of steamed dimsum 

We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.

My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.

The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.

The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.

crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, crispy salmon & cheese roulade
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade

I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.

I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.

shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks

The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.

The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.

2013 mooncakes from Tai Zi Heen
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection

Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.

Here are the flavors:

  • baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
  • mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
  • baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
  • baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
  • baked pandan paste with melon seeds
  • baked with red bean paste
  • mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
  • mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
  • baked premium durian lotus paste
  • mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake

Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.

KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah

A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.

For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.

map to Prince Hotel KL

Address:
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily

Seems to be like Xmas was just a couple weeks ago, and all of a sudden we’re faced with Chinese New Year in only about a month’s time. The thing that I like about Chinese New Year (since angpow money is now in negative territory) – Yee Sang and Chinese New Year dinners!

Chinese restaurants around the country are busy preparing Chinese New Year menus just about now, and we’re lucky to be invited by Siobhan to sample a few dishes from Ritz Carlton’s Li Yen and JW Marriot’s Shanghai restaurants.

Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel
Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel

Li Yen serves traditional Cantonese cuisine, the variant of Chinese food that is more prevalent among the high end Chinese restaurants in Malaysia, while Shanghai restaurant, like the name suggests, entice customers with traditional Shanghainese dishes.

As per usual YTL standards, both restaurants are tastefully decorated and provide excellent ambiance. There are also private dining rooms in addition to the common dining hall.

Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze
Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze (at Li Yen)

We started the night with my very first Prosperity Yee Sang for 2013, and this one comes with a touch of luxury with abalone slices instead of of the more common raw salmon. The ingredients were fresh, and it sure tastes like CNY is just around the corner. Li Yen also provide you with those extra long chopsticks, real handy when it comes to Lou Sang time.

Huat ahhhhhh!

double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce
double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce (at Li Yen)

When it comes to traditional CNY Chinese course dinner, I always love to start with a bowl of good soup. Li Yen didn’t disappoint. The double boiled chicken soup with dried scallop and Chinese cabbage was one of the best I’ve had. Subtle, sweet, it gives you that homey warm, comfort feeling.

The stir-fried prawns with supreme soya sauce too was a top notch. Huge fresh prawns completely shelled (they should do this more often, I don’t want to deal with the shells), the seasoning isn’t over powering and you can eat it on it’s own. Sweetness of seafood complimented well with the hint of saltiness from supreme soya sauce.

braised Shanghainese pork, xiao long bao
braised Shanghainese pork,  xiao long bao (at Shanghai)

After the three dishes we moved to Shanghai restaurant just a short walk away.

Greeting us on the table were the beautiful braised Shanghainese pork, xiao long bao, and the traditional CNY dessert – glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds.

The braised Shanhaginese pork looks a bit like “tong por” pork, but in truth it’s a more sophisticated dish. The bottom half of the dish is a mixtures of prawn paste, pine nuts, and vegetable. It was soft, succulent, and delicious. Would be even better with a bit of rice I think.

Xiao long bao here is top notch as well, with plenty of soup and skin that’s just thick enough to hold everything in.

pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds
pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds (at Shanghai)

We ended the night with pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds, they’re sweet and crunchy on the outside from the sesame. Perhaps not one of my favorite desserts, but it shouldn’t disappoint anyone who likes glutinous rice cake (I prefer mine deep fried between sweet potato, old school)

The set menus start from RM 1388++ per table of 10 persons, click on the link below to see the menus.

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Li Yen @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

For one reason or the other, I found myself eating at SOHO (新煮意) no less than 3 times in this very young year of 2008. I guess it is appropriate that I write about this restaurant as the first “KY eats” post of the year.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
SOHO 新煮意

SOHO is located at 1 Utama shopping complex, a place with mysterious attraction to pretty much every female (they just want to go there every weekend!). More specifically, the restaurant is situated just between the Jusco supermarket and One World hotel. The mostly white interior decoration of the place is pretty nice, but in the evening, the restaurant tend to be a little too cold.

The menu is rather extensive, they have everything from dimsum to la mien to rice dishes. There’s also a good selection of Chinese tea and other drinks as well.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
glutinous dumpling, creamy and flowy custard, shanghai xiao long pao

So far I have tasted quite a few dishes at SOHO. The glutinous dumpling was really nice, I particularly like the subtle sesame taste and the sweet soup with strong ginger taste. Being a new-age Chinese restaurant, the Xiao Long Pao did not disappoint either, they come in half a dozen. However, my favorite dimsum dish from there has got to be the “creamy and flowy custard”. This thing is like a sweet bun with hot salted egg yolk based cream inside. The combination is superb, little wonder that this is the hot chick‘s must-order item.

SOHO at 1 Utama Shopping Complex
crispy schezuan duck, braised pork ball, porridge, and other dishes

Other dishes I had were the crispy Schezuan duck, braised pork ball, pork and vegetable porridge, fried fish filet, a tofu dish, fried noodle, and a couple types of vegetable. Generally speaking, the taste was not overly strong but still flavorful to the ingredient’s natural taste, I find that quite refreshing. The duck that looked like a pile of mess was actually the work of the waitress who deboned the bird to our convenience.

Price wise, SOHO is pretty similar to Crystal Jade and Dragon-i. A typical meal would be RM25-40 per person. While not the cheapest meal out there, it provides decent value and pretty good taste in a convenient location (ie. every girl’s best weekend hangout place)

Address:
G218 One Utama
Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya
Selangor

GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939
Tel: 03-7722 2155