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Tag / yee sang

It’s that time of the year again, CNY dinner previews is in vogue, so a few days ago I stopped by Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club to sample what they have to offer for the year of Goat.

Ti Chen is actually under the same management as Saujana KL, situated just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. Parking is quite a hassle free experience, and the restaurant has a nice overview of the lush green lawn and gentle slopes of the golf course, which exudes a very nice ambiance that promotes tranquility out of the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club
Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club

For 2015, Ti Chen offers three different set menus priced from RM 1168++, RM 1468++, and RM 1968++ to choose from. You can also add 200++ to each of those menu to add alcoholic beverages to the package (some pretty good House label wine selections).

For the purpose of this media review, we sampled 9 dishes hand picked from the 3 menus.

For more details on the promotion, head to shr.my/the-saujana-hotel/dining/ti-chen/

Sea Bird's Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce
Sea Bird’s Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce

We started the night with Sea Bird’s Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce (and added some smoked salmon for good measure too).

The Yee Sang here is closer to the traditional type with crispy crackers and colorful ingredients, with the chef’s special cherry sauce separating it from other run-off-the-mill yee sang. It is a little more fruity and interesting, though I still find myself preferring the more modern type of yee sang with fresh fruits and vegetables that is fast gaining popularity.

double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup
double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup

Like all decent Chinese set menu, the second dish is always some type of soup, and I’m again happy to see the departure from the shark’s fins.

The double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup packs a punch. It was overloaded with sweetness from the chicken and dates with a great balance from herbal ingredients. I really enjoyed this.

homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck & steamed sabah sea garupa
homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck & steamed sabah sea garupa

Continuing with another poultry dish was the homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck that I thought went very well with some Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wine compliments the duck rather well. Though I’ve had better pei pa duck, this version could hold its own.

Steamed Sabah sea garoupa with tong kwai soya sauce came next, and this was easily my favorite dish of the night. The fish was steamed just right, preserving the freshness and sweetness from the seafood with the light superior soya sauce and tong kwai subtly giving the dish a little bit of character. I also love the way the way our server expertly carved out 10 different pieces of the fish for everyone. It was delightful.

braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster, wok fried prawns
braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster, wok fried prawns

Braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster and duo mushrooms is another pretty common dish in Chinese set menu, and this version is certainly up to the standard. I particularly enjoyed those thick and juicy “abalone mushroom”.

For those who loves shellfish, there’s wok fried prawns with butter sauce. This version is the wetter and non crispy type that is a little messier to consume, but as a bonus it is also a little more flavorful with the butter sauce seeping into the seafood. I also find that the prawns were very fresh as well.

braised crispy noodle with seafood & crab roe, desserts
braised crispy noodle with seafood & crab roe, dessert

The stomach stuffer in our session was the braised crispy noodles with seafood and crab roe, a pretty luxurious dish that you could have as a whole meal in itself. The seafood, and especially those crab roe were super sinful and delicious, it was too bad that I was rather full by this time.

Like any other CNY set menu, a sweet ending was provided. For this purpose we were served with chilled dried lime and sea cococnut with aloe vera in longan soup (what a long name) and chilled mochi & Shanghai lotus pancake.

I thought the longan soup was perhaps a little bit too sweet, but the lotus pancake, being one of my all time favorite Chinese desserts, was quite awesome. The mochi was not something I remember though.

KY & Kerol at Ti Chen, Saujana Golf & Country Club
KY & Kerol at Ti Chen, Saujana Golf & Country Club

Overall I thought the experience at Ti Chen was pretty positive. Food was right up there with the other big boys and Saujana certainly provides a superior location in terms of ambiance and hassle free parking.

Details of the sets:

  • 9 course auspicious good luck set (RM 1168++): salmon yee sang, braised crab meat seafood treasure soup, steamed river patin with hot & sour sauce, braised seasonal vegetables with dried oyster & duo mushrooms
  • 9 course auspicious good fortune set (RM 1468++): double boiled cordyceps, flower with spring chicken soup, homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck, steamed sabah sea garoupa with tong kwai soya sauce, braised fish maw, sea cucumber & dried oysters with broccoli flower
  • 9 course auspicious good health set (RM 1968++): double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup, stewed chicken with chestnut, shiitake mushrooms and young bamboo shoots, steamed white pomfret with suprior soya sauce, wok fried prawns with butter sauce

The sets are priced for 10 pax, but you can also order them for minimum of 5 pax.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Ti Chen
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

How time flies, while many of us were still contemplating about 2015 new year resolution, the calendar indicates that it is already past mid of January, so I guess it’s time to forget about what you promised yourself one the last day of 2014 and start getting ready for Chinese New Year.

One of the things we worry about when it comes to CNY is the big “sau kong”/reunion/”hoi kong” dinner. Where to have the dinner? Is it going to be awesome? Expensive? Good? etc etc.

I’m quite happy to report that the first of such dinner I sampled this year turned out to be a gem.

Special 2015 CNY Guinness dinner menu at Grand Imperial BSC
Special 2015 CNY Guinness dinner menu at Grand Imperial BSC

I’ve been to Grand Imperial BSC before for a few wedding dinners and generally were quite impressed with their food. So when Guinness invited me to sample their “Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu” that’s available at BSC, I was quite happy to oblige.

Haze performed a caligraphy piece for the opening of the event
Haze performed a caligraphy piece for the opening of the event

Making the trip even more worthwhile is the fact that Haze was the performer of the night, showcasing her Chinese calligraphy skills on the stage. If you want to make your event/annual dinner/etc more interesting, consider hiring a speed painter/calligrapher like her, not only the performance is interesting, you also have a piece of artwork to bring back to the office.

You can contact Haze via artmisfits.com, other than speed painting, they also provide wall murals and other art related services.

yee sang with silverfish
yee sang with silverfish

Anyway, lets talk about food. Here’s the Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu, available for table of 10 and come with 2 large bottle of Guinness for RM 1,888++

  • Yee Sang with Silver Fish
  • Braised Bird’s Nest with Fresh Crab Meat
  • Roasted Whole Suckling Pig
  • Steamed Pomfret “Traditional” Style
  • Fresh Water King Prawn in Casserole
  • Braised Sliced Abalone with Black Moss and Dried Oyster
  • Clay pot Rice with Chinese Sausage and Dried Meat “Hong Kong” Style
  • Chilled Fresh Mango Puree with Sago and Pomelo
  • Deep Fried Nian Gao and Deep Fried Sweet Potato Pastries

The menu is available from January 13th until March 5th, 2015.

braised birds nest with crab meat, roasted whole suckling pig
braised birds nest with crab meat, roasted whole suckling pig

As every CNY dinner goes, we started off with yee sang (which is invented right here in Malaysia). I really liked the interpretation of yee sang here with the usage of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as deep fried silver fish to create a crunchy and fresh feeling starter. the minimal plum sauce used also ensured that the dish did not turned out to be overly sweet. It was a good starter.

The braised birds nest with crab meat, to me, was one of the highlights of the night. The soup was infused with bits of black truffle to give it that distinct aroma, birds nest gave it the character and texture of sharks fin without the environmental impact, and fresh crab meat provided extra sweetness. I loved it!

Suckling pig was roasted to perfection, and I think we finished it in less than the time you’d take to boil a bowl of instant noodle.

steamed pomphret, fresh water king prawns, braised abalone with black moss
steamed pomphret, fresh water king prawns, braised abalone w/ black moss

The huge pomphret was abit of a concern to me as most restaurants tend to over steamed a fish this size, but fortunately the chefs at Grand Imperial seem to know exactly what they’re doing. It was prepared expertly with top grade soya sauce and we really enjoyed the seafood.

Fresh king prawn was a pretty good dish too if not a bit messy to consume. The head of the prawn had all the right juices that’ll clog your artery, but that’s the way we love it.

Braised abalone slices with black moss and dried oyster is another well prepared traditional dish that I always enjoy having, though sometimes I wish there’s a chef somewhere who’d be bold enough to replace those dried oysters with fresh ones, or even with scallops.

clay pot rice with dried meat, Chinese desserts
clay pot rice with dried meat, Chinese desserts

Stomach filler in this CNY menu was the clay pot rice with Chinese sausage and dried meat “Hong Kong” style. The rice was alright, but those dried meat were great! I especially love the darker “lap cheong” that’s made from duck liver. If you haven’t had those, try it! It’s literally like the foie gras of wax meat.

Desserts were chilled mango puree with sago & pomelo as well as fried nian gao and deep fried sweet potato balls. I love the mango puree as well as fried nian gao that was coated with a layer of dried coconut meat, the potato balls pastries though, would be great for afternoon tea time snack instead of dessert.

I think we were the noisiest table at Grand Imperial BSC that night
I think we were the noisiest table at Grand Imperial BSC that night

Overall, it was a pretty awesome dinner, we had plenty of Guinness to go along with those awesome food. There are also other CNY menu available at various Grand Imperial branches, so be sure to check them out.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Grand Imperial Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808, 101.667448
Webwww.grandimperial.com.my
Tel: 03-2283 1118

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

Shanghai

My unwritten policy on food review is that I usually don’t review the same place twice, but when Elegant Inn came calling, there was no doubt that an exception had to be made.

The experience I had at Elegant Inn on the last review was so good I couldn’t possibly pass up another chance. Thank you Meena!

Elegant Inn's chef Wesley Ng & Timothy Johnson of Standard Chartered
Elegant Inn’s chef Wesley Ng & Timothy Johnson of Standard Chartered

As with the previous two posts, this review is  about the Extravagant 8 menu with  Standard Chartered. Basically credit card member from the bank can enjoy this 8 course dinner for 8 person at the price of RM 888++ during the duration of the promotion that runs from 20th Jan till 17th Feb, 2011.

fresh yee sang to welcome the year of Rabbit
fresh yee sang to welcome the year of Rabbit

We started off with yee sang.

While Gu Yue Tien‘s version with its strawberry sauce is pretty new age and Li Yen’s prototypically traditional, Elegant Inn’s yee sang’s philosophy is something in the middle. Every ingredient is freshly prepared on the same day, there’s crushed nuts, plum sauce, oil, and also fresh raw salmon and jelly fish too.

The taste is a little more subtle, but you can feel the freshness. I like it.

double boiled village chicken soup w cordyceps flowers & US top shell
double boiled village chicken soup w cordyceps flowers & US top shell

Then came the double boiled village chicken soup, A whole kampung chicken double boiled with cordyceps flower, US top shell, dried scallops, oysters, cutter fish, and a few other ingredients.

The owner Jeanette leave no secrets as to what goes into the soup for the effort of making one  yourself would worth way more trouble (and cost in ingredients flown from HK & other places) than simply going to Elegant Inn and order a bowl (even if it costs RM 128 on the menu).

The soup of course, was superb. The server separates the ingredients and then presents us the soup as is. I of course, still picks up the chicken, scallops and such and send them to my mouth while enjoying the liquid. No wastage ok.

golden fried estuary grouper with chinese leeks, crystal prawns - signature salted egg yolk style
golden fried estuary grouper with chinese leeks
crystal prawns – signature salted egg yolk style

Next up was a big slice of “long dan”, or estuary grouper (giant grouper). The difference between deep fried and “golden fried” is that the fish is prepared by pouring hot oil over and over again until cooked. This method ensures that minimal amount of oil absorbed by the fish, thus the natural flavor is sealed in.

A deceptively simple looking dish that is really yummy. I’m still dreaming of the grouper’s skin.

Then it was the crystal prawns with signature salted egg yolk style. “Signature egg yolk” style because the chef painstakingly prepare and melt the egg yolks into the prawns instead of leaving them on the shells. This way you don’t have to lick the prawn’s shell for egg yolk and then eat the prawn meat pretty much separately afterwards.

The extra effort obviously paid off, it was delicious.

Haze, golden boneless stuffed chicken with chicken tomato salad
Haze, golden boneless stuffed chicken with chicken tomato salad

Then there’s this golden boneless stuffed chicken, a dish that is so unique I couldn’t have imagined it in a thousand years.

The chicken is basically stripped completely, leaving only the skin. A layer of prawn is then “stuffed” under the skin, and everything is roasted till it looks almost like the skin of suckling pig. The end result? It tasted as good as it is fancy. Crispy chicken skin with succulent prawns makes a very good combination, who would have thought?

The left over chicken meat is served on top of little slices of tomato at the side.

braised sea cucumber with dried oyster, fatt choy & mushroom, KY
braised sea cucumber with dried oyster, fatt choy & mushroom, KY

We had braised sea cucumber with dried oyster next, a classic Chinese dish for CNY. The dried oyster’s imported from Hong Kong, fat and juicy. I’ve always enjoyed sea cucumber, and this one did not disappoint at all.

braised seafood rice w australian scallop, desserts
braised seafood rice w australian scallop, desserts

Instead of fried rice, we had braised seafood rice instead. The rice is wrapped with lotus leaf and cooked with Australian scallop, fresh crab meat, and abalone sauce. At Elegant Inn, abalone sauce really does mean that they made the sauce with real abalone.

I’m usually not a big fan with the rice at the end of an 8 course meal, but I couldn’t help it, I finished my portion this time despite being pretty much full to the brim already.

We wind things down with some desserts – pan fried traditional rice cake & hazelnut cookie and chilled Japanese pumpkin sago with green bean. The two desserts, just like everything we had at Elegant Inn, were pretty good too, but by then I was pretty much deep in food coma already.

map to Elegant Inn, KL
Address:
2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block,
Menara Hap Seng,
Jalan P.Ramlee,
50250 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.153034,101.70752
Tel: 03-2070 9399

2011 kicks off pretty good, it was only mid January and I’ve already had my second yee sang session. Just like the previous session at Gu Yue Tien, this is yet another invited food tasting session from Meena in conjunction with Standard Chartered’s Extravagant 8 menu promotion (20th Jan till 17th Feb.)

For those who did not read about it on the previous post, this promotion basically allows Standard Chartered credit card holder to enjoy special menu priced at RM 888++ for 8 pax at 8 different locations by 8 award winning chefs. Li Yen at Ritz Carlton is the second place I sampled.

yee sang at Li Yen
and we started off with yee sang, what else?

It was during the work week. I went back from work, had a few rounds of slow run at Taman Aman, showered, and then got stuck at traffic for a good 30 minutes to get passed a 300 meter stretch of road in PJ State, drove faster, found parking at Starhill, and arrived at Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The above paragraph was totally unnecessary, but I had to illustrate what a man would do to have his yee sang.

The yee sang served at Li Yen is the traditional type, shredded carrot, marinated vegetable, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, crackers, plum sauce, oil, and of course, fresh raw salmon. Always good.

double boiled assorted seafood soup with bamboo piths
double boiled assorted seafood soup with bamboo piths

Like pretty much all traditional Chinese course dinners, the second dish is a soup. The double boiled soup with assorted seafood and bamboo piths was subtle yet exquisite. I always love soup that doesn’t overpower and spoil the taste of subsequent dishes, nice.

I had actually first mistaken bamboo pith as some sort of fish maw, but apparently it is a type of fungus grown in bamboo forest. hey, learn something new everyday!

Oh, there’s no sharks fins with Standard Chartered promotional menu, thumbs up!

peking duck served with steamed sesame pancakes
peking duck served with steamed sesame pancakes

Next up was a dish that I’ve been waiting for – peking duck in steamed sesame pancakes. The Peking duck roasted to perfection, with it’s skin gleaming with a thin layer of fat calling for me.. ahh.

Our server was an expert who made light work of the duck. *slice slice slice* and within seconds we have the duck skin all tidily wrapped within the soft and warm sesame pancakes. It was as good as any peking duck I had, took extra servings too. 😀

steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce, braised dried scallops with dried oyster and sea moss
steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce,
braised dried scallops with dried oyster and sea moss

After the duck, we were served the steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce. This is a dish that isn’t uncommon but one that requires really good quality fish. The patin was certainly fresh, fat, and tender. Superior soya sauce isn’t your everyday Kikkomon either, it really adds to the flavor and isn’t overly salty even if you drink it on its own.

Another classic CNY dish, braised dried scallops with dried oyster and sea moss, followed. The sea moss actually looks almost like wet hair, but obviously taste very much different from the stuff that clogs your shower drain hole… (ok perhaps that’s not the best way to describe food). The dried shellfish gives the sauce a very sweet, savory taste, very nice.

stir-fried assorted mushroom and asparagus, hokkien fried rice
stir-fried assorted mushroom and asparagus, hokkien fried rice

We had stir-fried mushroom and asparagus to start winding down the dinner. A light dish that is simple yet delicious, I like the contrasting textures of mushroom and the crunchier asparagus.

The last main dish was Hokkien fried rice, which looks and tastes almost like “lam” rice (with similar type of sauce from loh mee). I thought it was a mislabel, but apparently despite being a Hokkien, I didn’t know any better. Hokkien fried rice is actually steamed rice topped with gravy cooked with chunks of mushroom, vegetable, prawns, and other goodies. It was very yummy actually, I had a small bowl since my stomach was already like 98% full at the time.

deep fried yam with lunar cake, salted pork bones for soup
deep fried yam with lunar cake, salted pork bones for soup

Deep fried yam with lunar cake (nian gau) served as the dessert that concludes the dinner. It was sweet, crunchy on the outside while sweet, soft, and comfortably warm on the inside.

See the picture of salted pork bones? That’s the not-so-secret ingredients in that seafood soup, imported from Hong Kong, as revealed by the good chef.

KY, Meena & Chef Leung, Haze
KY, Meena & Chef Leung,
Bangsarbabe, foodpoi, Lionel, Mei Yee, Chocoholic, Bald Eagle; Haze

Li Yen is manned by Chef Leung Kwai Hong from Hong Kong armed with 45 years of experience in kitchens at Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and now Malaysia.

The dishes we had at Li Yen were all positively traditional Chinese, perfect for someone looking for that old school experience, but with style and luxury, of course.

map to Ritz Carlton Hotel

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

GPS: 3.146960, 101.715406
Tel: 03-2141 8000