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Tag / yee sang

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

It’s January, Christmas jingles made way to those Chinese New Year songs that seems to always resurrect the career of a few non-Chinese singers who sings in Mandarin but nobody ever care the rest of the year.

To many of us gluttons, this time of the year also means that we can have yee sang (鱼生) again! One of my favorite Malaysian invention (yah, they claim it’s from Singapore, or Hokkien province in China… I don’t care)

Gu Yue Tien at Chulan Square, classy place
Gu Yue Tien at Chulan Square, classy place

My very first lou sang session came with the courtesy of Meena’s invitation to the food review session at Gu Yue Tien in conjunction to the Standard Chartered’s Extravagant 8 Menu.

From 20th Jan to 17th February, Standard Chartered credit card holders enjoy great deals at 8 restaurants with special customized menu priced at RM 888++ per table for 8pax.

my very first yee sang for CNY 2011
my very first yee sang for CNY 2011

First dish was of course, the yee sang I’ve been waiting for since some 11 months ago. The version at Gu Yue Tien is a little different, fresh salad with addition of sengkuang, raisin, crushed nuts, crackers, oil, strawberry sauce, and of course, plenty of fresh raw salmon.

The taste is a bit sweeter and a bit fresher tasting, it was so good quite a few of us had second servings.

Gu Yue Tien soft boil egg with foie gras
Gu Yue Tien soft boil egg with foie gras

Next came the dish I had my eyes set on the moment the menu was sent to me via email – Gu Yue Tien’s soft boil egg with foie gras. According to Chef Frankie, he had the idea to create this dish from a visit to some charity cooking event in New York, East meet West.

It is basically a soft boiled egg, with most of the egg white taken out and replaced with foie gras sauce with chunks of foie gras in it. It was rich, savory, and pure heaven, I had two!

seafood soup with crab roe, salt bake Spanish Iberico pork ribs
seafood soup with crab roe, salt bake Spanish Iberico pork ribs

No real Chinese dinner is complete without soup, and I really give Standard Chartered a big thumbs up for NOT serving any sharks fin in all their Extravagant 8 menu.

So we had seafood soup with crab roe that comes with prawns, scallops, crab meat, and other goodies instead. Tastes better than any sharks fin soup that I had before (I’ve since stopped consuming sharks fin though, and I think you should too.)

Then there’s the salt baked Spanish Iberico pork ribs. I’ve had plenty of ribs before, but boy, this one really tops them all. Slightly salty, tender and juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside, the ribs is superbly flavorful and absolutely addictive. If you go to Gu Yue Tien, this is an absolute must-order dish.

steamed giant grouper, glutinous rice with fresh water prawns and wax meat
steamed giant grouper, glutinous rice with fresh water prawns and wax meat

Fish is another classic dish during CNY, we had steamed giant grouper with minced ginger and yellow bean paste. The fish meat is indeed tender, and I’ve always enjoy the thick but tender giant grouper skin as well. This dish is a good follow up from the ribs, with minced ginger countering the savory pork after taste.

Steamed glutinous rice with fresh water prawn & wax meat was the last main dish of the night. An unlikely combination of seafood with wax meat, but it is one that turned out very well. The wax meat imported from Hong Kong, and fresh water prawn sourced locally, the two ingredients tasted awesome themselves, but also give the glutinous rice a rich and very delicious taste.

pan fried nien gau, chilled mango cream with pamelo
pan fried nien gau, chilled mango cream with pamelo

We wind down the night with the CNY-compulsory nien gau (sticky cake), only this one is pan fried with sesame; and chilled mango cream with pamelo to cool off and try to clear off the super savory+yummy after taste in our mouth.

At this point, my stomach was protesting, and my brain shutting down due to food coma.

KY & Haze, Bald Eagle & Chef Frankie, Mei Yee & Lionel, KK & BabeKL, Meena & Alison
KY & Haze, Bald Eagle & Chef Frankie,
Mei Yee & Lionel, KK & BabeKL, Meena & Alison

For those of you who holds a Standard Chartered credit card (or know someone who does), don’t miss out on this great offer. I throughly enjoyed every dish at Gu Yue Tien, and if your taste bud is anywhere close to mine, I have no doubt you will too.

Chef Frankie is also one of the most friendly and inspiring person, he shared the story of stepping into the kitchen at the age of 13 to becoming an executive chef to owning Gu Yue Tien, amazing stuff.

Now chef, how about some of that ribs again? Gu Yue Tien is located just above Gaucho Grill at Chulan Square.

map to Gu Yue Tien at Chulan Square

Address:
Gu Yue Tien
Lot 5A, Chulan Square
Jalan Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.148518, 101.716114
Tel: 03-2148 0808

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Have you had your Yee Sang yet?

Well I had, in fact, I had it thrice in 3 successive meals last Monday evening to Tuesday night. First one was with ex-uni mates, then a bunch of Chinese colleagues at Ducking, and finally with Mell at Lucky Loke (one of my favorite tai chau places) the very same night after that.


Mell is a yee sang addict

Yee Sang is originated right here in Malaysia and Singapore (yah I know wikipedia stated Sg., but I don’t care). For the uninitiated, the ingredients include raw/smoked fish (usually salmon), daikon, parsley, crackers, capsicum, jelly fish, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Of course, there’s the all important sesame oil, salt and peper, and plum sauce

Toss em up and yell some auspicious verse while leaving the table super messy is a must (I ended up with yee sang on my hair on my first session). Then enjoy, it’s yummy!


the fried pork belly is super yummy at lucky loke

After the very delicious yee sang, we proceed to order the fried pork belly and spinach with herbal soup to go with rice. That was, of course a little bit too much for just the two of us following a pretty big portion of the auspicious dish.

The fried pork belly was as awesome as usual, with 3-layered meat, a bit of cucumber, some onion, green onion, and generous amount of chili padi, it was hot and very addictive. The spinach too was very good.

Meal for two with Yee Sang – RM 45
Having a good relationship with ex – priceless

By the way, I was going into the cinema last night and there was this guy who got stopped at the entrance.

ticketing guy: “ahh you’re not allowed to bring outside food, what are these?”
chinese dude: “this one is.. yee sang, and this one is.. yok kon lor”

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone!

Address:
Lorong SS3/59E
Petaling Jaya
47300 Selangor

GPS: 3.109577, 101.611776

Elegant Inn, unlike the slightly more famed Holiday Inn, is a pretty high class restaurant serving Hong Kong cuisine and not a hotel chain. This is among the things I learn from the invitation to the said restaurant at Menara Hup Seng a couple Saturdays ago.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
classy indoor as and alfresco dining areas at Elegant Inn

The invitation was extended by Millennium Associates, on behalf of Jeanette of Elegant Inn. Mellissa and I were joined by Jasmine (epicuriousgirl) and her friend Jess in this review session. The four of us were seated in a private room as the host insists that we be treated to a full dining experience.

Elegant Inn first started at Taman Connaught before opening this outlet at the heart of KL, explained Jeanette as she suggests what we should have for lunch.

yee sang
yee sang with all natural ingredients

Naturally, we started off with yee sang, the unique Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition. This was my 4th yee sang session and I was more than happy to find out that the yee sang here is slightly different. All natural and most importantly, fresh ingredients are used. Pamelo, raddish, cucumber, smoked salmon, crackers, jellyfish, etc. Auspiciousness in a slightly healthier style.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Appetizer: soft shell crab, fried calamari, seared scallop on tofu

A huge plate of nicely presented dish was then served as the appetizer. There’s the slightly spicy soft shell crab with plenty of onion, a portion of salt and pepper calamari (椒盐鲜鱿),and four lightly seared scallops sitting on tofu.

Scallop is always one of my favorites. The combination of soft tofu and succulent scallop provided the perfect start for this meal. I had the calamari followed by soft shell crabs and they were both very good as well, one salty and crunch while the other spicy and fragrant. By now I was convinced we’re into something pretty special.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
double boiled soup

Next came the pretty impressive double boiled soup. Pork, ribs, tripe, shell chunks, phoenix claws, kampung chicken, scallops, and preserved vegetable boiled for 4-6 hours, the traditional way. End result is a bowl of very rich tasting soup with a hint of pepper and a mixture of sweetness from all the ingredients.

This soup reminds me of the one I had at Sheraton, they’re both at the same high level while not exactly similar in taste or ingredients.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed Australian Jade Perch and stuffed chicken wings

Like any proper Chinese meal, we have fish next. Live Australian Jade Perch is not a fish commonly found in Malaysian restaurant unless frozen, Jeanette told us about one of her many expeditions in sourcing ingredients. The steamed fish was done just right with it’s smooth texture and sweet seafood taste preserved in a very light seasoning. I particularly love the fatty belly portion the waitress expertly boned.

Jeanette insisted that we should try their stuffed chicken wing, and so we did. The wings came out looking like what you would expect, and it wasn’t until cutting it open do you see the wonder of their culinary skills. Gone were the bones and replaced with a mixture of ham, water chestnuts, prawns, and more. Eight ingredients in total. The wings were rather delicious and probably makes for perfect beer tidbits.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
fried rice, bitter gourd with salted vegetable (ham choy), choy sum with waxed goose liver

Bitter gourd with salted vegetable is one Elegant Inn’s signature dishes, and that suits me just fine since I love bitter gourd. The very subtle salted vegetable taste blends with the spiciness of chili and the rather strong version of bitter gourd was very addictive to me, but I hazard it is not a dish for everyone.

The choy sum with waxed goose liver (腊鸸肝) was a very sinful dish. The wax meat tasted something in between dried meat and foie gras, with that sliver of liver bitterness and very rich texture and taste. You could almost feel your arteries contracting but it was impossible to stop having “just another piece”. To me, the choy sum was almost just an excuse to have this sinful ingredient.

Jeanette went into a long and elaborated speech on their dancing fried rice, explaining how they use 2 grades of rice kept in 2 different temperatures, and how the eggs had to be fried first, the wok washed and then top grade dried shrimps from HK fried next, wash the work again and finally add everything in while tossing the rice non stop till it’s cooked.

That just seems like too much work for good old fashion fried rice, and I didn’t see the point until I actually tasted the dish myself. It was simply the best fried rice I’ve had, you can literally taste the individual grain and the distinct flavor added by crab meat and bits of dried shrimps, eggs, and green onion. This is a must-orderdish.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed brown sugar cake, mini egg tarts

As we start to wind down, Jeanette brought out some very tasty mini egg tarts and steamed brown sugar cake (malai kou in Cantonese 馬拉糕). They were both very delicious and properly made traditional Chinese pastries I wish I could have more. We finished them despite the already rather full stomach.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
mango pudding with milk, tong sui (糖水)with mochi

The lunch session was ended on a sweet note. We were served a couple bowls of tong sui (糖水), sweet ginger soup with mochi and the sea coconut with fungus and logan soup. In addition to that, we also had the mango pudding with milk that had chunks of mango in every scoop, just like the way it is supposed to be.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Mellissa, Jeanette, and Yours Truly

I was as overly stuffed as I was impressed with Elegant Inn at this point. It was one of the best lunch experience I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. Quality of food as well as the ambiance were both excellent. I had no idea how much the meal costs and yes, the prices would be on the higher side but considering the experience and quality provided here, it will be well worth it.

Map to Elegant Inn at Menara Hup Seng
Elegant Inn is located at Menara Hup Seng.

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