It’s now less than one week to Chinese New Year, the year of Rooster. How’s your preparation going? Have you been cleaning up a storm? Baking Chinese New Year cookies? Most importantly, have you decided whether you’ll be eating at home or eating out for the festive period? Well, here’s an option for you, celebrate it at Dynasty Restaurant, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur. Executive Sous Chef Kok Chee Kin and his teamhave specially created Festive Menus that will showcase the finest flavours of Cantonese cuisine from 11 January to 11 February 2017.
“Cantonese cuisine is famously subtle and the cooking techniques are kept simple, guests dining at Dynasty Restaurant will be treated to an interesting array of intrinsically light on the palate dishes whilst emphasizing on a distinct primary flavour” – Chef Kok
We were invited to a review session along with the media and bloggers and first impression of this restaurant: it’s warm, spacious, and definitely inviting with definite oriental touches everywhere. There is even a feature wall with all their past MIGF trophies.
The Festive Menu here features their Treasure Pots (Poon Choi), set menus range from 2 persons to 10 persons with the price range starting from RM288nett to RM3288. We were treated to the Fortune Set which is priced at RM2088 for 10 persons.
Yee Sang is Dynasty offers 6 types of Yee Sang, all featuring a colourful mixture of raw fish or other exotic seafood served with crunchy vegetables, crackers and condiments. You can choose between Salmon, Fruity Fiesta, Jellyfish, Lobster & Salmon, Yee Sang of 5 treasures and Mini Abalone & Salmon. The fortune set comes with a Salmon Yee Sang so that’s what we had.
Auspicious wishes must be said when tossing the Yee Sang, and the higher you go, the better the luck! Of course in this state of economic most of us wouldn’t mind having more money for the new year. The Yee Sang is on the traditional side, I liked the balance of sweet and tangy in the sauce and the distinct aroma of mandarin peel.
Next on our table was the Fortune Combination Platter, which comes with four types of hot appetizers -deep fried roll with crabstick and salted egg, money bags, gold ingot with dried oyster and stir fried scallops with asparagus and XO sauce. And why is there Crayon Shin Chan on our plate? Hehehehe actually it’s a rather cartoon-like sculpture of one of the Fu Lu Shou Deities, I’m going to guess it’s Fu (Prosperity), as we have lots of golden morsels here resembling money. I quite like the gold ingot with oyster, though the scallops would have to be my favourite.
Our soup course was a Ying Yang scallop soup with dried seafood. It’s packed with different seafood and the soup itself is pretty light, best enjoyed with a touch of vinegar.
The next dish was a pleasant surprise for us, the Dynasty Treasure Pot of Prosperity (RM428nett for 5 person) with whole sun-dried scallops, tiger prawns, siew yoke, fish maw, stuffed dried oyster, fresh scallop, flower mushroom, fu kwei abalone, farm chicken, roasted duck, money bag, sea cucumber, fish stomach and coral clam. Everything is cooked in this umami superior stock, for that extra decadence.
I always love a simple steamed fish and this Tiger-dragon Grouper here is steamed whole with superior soy sauce, topped with scallion and ginger. The flesh is so soft and the sauce is a good mix of savoury with the natural sweetness of the fish. Yum!
Dynasty does serve pork and what’s more decadent than a whole Braised Pork Knuckle? Here, it’s served with mushroom and sea cucumber. The pork knuckle is fork tender with gelatinous fat layer and skin. It’s heavenly! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of sea cucumber, though they did cook this well, with a slightly chewy texture whilst taking on the flavours of the broth. Buried at the bottom were some iceberg lettuce, which soaks up that delicious meaty broth too.
Wok Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat might look like Lap Mei Fan, but it’s a whole different ballgame. The rice grains were definitely toothsome, aromatic; and there are plenty of waxed meat to go around. Both of us had seconds!
The Golden Prawns with spicy minced garlic got us hesitating because of the shells, but then again the shell took on a delicious flavour you would want to suck on. The prawns are cooked to perfection too. How do you like to eat your unpeeled prawns by the way? My party trick is to just bite the whole thing then separate the shells with my tongue. Yes I know I’m lazy.
After all the rich dishes, it’s nice to have a warm tong sui to refresh ourselves. We had the Double-boiled dried bamboo cane with aloe vera, fungus and tong yuen. The tong yuens are filled with either red bean paste or sesame paste. I love the bits of aloe vera and fungus, always a winner in my book.
There were also four types of Dynasty’s fortune pastries for us to indulge, and I liked the Nian Gao best.
Thank you Dynasty Restaurant for hosting us!
For reservations or more info, please contact 03-2716 9388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Level 1, East Wing, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
(Parking rate: RM10 flat rate for diners)
Ahhhhh… Bitter Gourd. You either love it or hate it. For me it was love developed overtime. I still remember vividly the first time Bitter Gourd appeared in my household when I was a lot younger. I was not the most adventurous eater back then (sure am making up for lost time now hehe), but my sister was tempted by its beautiful flower-like appearance. But one bite, she was traumatised for life (or at least for many years after). So yes, the taste of Bitter Gourd can take a little getting used to, but it does come with a myriad of health benefits.
Bitter Gourd is a temperate/tropical vegetable originated in South-East Asia, it’s very low in calories, but contains high amount of Vitamin C, folate, ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and Vitamin A. It’s also moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese and Magnesium. Most importantly, it contains a phyto-nutrient called polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s great for people with diabetes too. So in short, all of us would benefit from consuming Bitter Gourd.
There are many ways of preparing Bitter Gourd. My favourite would be Bitter Gourd Omelette. Although I’m also partial to Bitter Gourd and Pork soup. I’d say that Bitter Gourd omelette appears pretty often on our table anyway. But it wasn’t until couple of months ago during our trip to Penang, our mind was truly blown.
Most of the time when we cook Bitter Gourd Omelette, the eggs are fully cooked, achieving a little bit of char for that extra wok hei. But not at this place called Song River Coffee Shop at Gurney Drive Penang.
The egg was runny, and a brown sauce is poured over, providing that extra umami touch. I know it’s super simple, but please give a round of applause to whoever came up with this recipe. It has truly set a new standard for us. Needless to say, this dish was the highlight of our trip and I vowed to never cook Bitter Gourd any other way.
The dish is simple enough though. I’ve since cooked it a few times at home and it’s always the first dish to finish. Here’s my version:
Mine’s a little more cooked than the Song River’s, you can always undercook it a little more. But the idea is to achieve at least 50% runny bit for the ultimate sensory experience.
Bitter Gourd Omelette
Half a medium size Bitter Gourd, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
Light Soy Sauce (around 1 tablespoon)
Fish Sauce (around 1 teaspoon)
Usually, after I sliced the Bitter Gourd, I like to sprinkle some salt over and leave it for 10-15 minutes, as this will draw out excess juice to make it less bitter. You can omit this step if you like it extra bitter. Rinse the salt off well, and set aside. Mix the soy sauce and fish sauce with a little of water and set aside.
Heat a pan on high and add your choice of oil. You need a little more for the eggs to be nice and smooth. Add Bitter Gourd and cook for 2-3 minutes until soften.
Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up the yolks, don’t beat it though because we want to keep the yolk and white slightly separated. Distribute the Bitter Gourd evenly and pour over the egg. Use the spatula to move it a couple of times to distribute the egg. Then let it cook for under a minute, until the bottom is just set.
Pour over the sauce around the side and over the middle just as you turn off the heat, and serve immediately. Best with rice!
As for the sauce, if you have a very good soy sauce which has a balance of sweet and savoury note, you won’t need anything else. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your liking, I sometimes add a touch of Black vinegar too for a little tang.
Do try this at home and let me know what you think!
It’s amazing how with years of cooking vegetables I’m still constantly finding new exciting recipes to try. Recently Kevin and I went to a Chinese Restaurant that serves a huge variety of traditional Chinese dishes called Da Feng Shou (Good Harvest). The tag line mentioned Fu Zhou Home Cooked Dishes which piqued my interest (as you know I’m Foochow), but the menu appears to be a mixture, with a slight bias to Szechuan dishes. No big deal, plenty of things I like anyway.
Kevin spotted Xue Li Hong on the menu and insisted on ordering it. Its Chinese name translate to Red in the Snow, which could be a little morbid come to think of it. But it’s actually a type of Preserved Mustard Green, and it’s super easy to make at home. The dish blew my mind with its explosion of flavours and it goes so well with rice. Needless to say, I decided to try it at home. Here’s my version:
Traditionally, Xue Li Hong is made with Gai Choy, though nowadays Choy Sum is also commonly used. I opted for the latter as it’s easier to find. The process involves just few steps: First you wash the leaves clean and separate the stalks, then you generously sprinkle salt over and gently rub into the leaves, wait for an hour or so until everything softens, then put the whole bunch into a ziploc bag to preserve in the fridge. 1 or 2 days would be enough, checking it from time to time to drain exceed liquid, but 1 week would be more ideal.
When you are ready to cook, simply take the Xue Li Hong out, rinse it well, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop into small pieces. Like so:
I wanted to keep this dish simple yet flavourful, so I’ve chosen to fry it with Pork Lard, Mince Pork and a touch of chili. The ingredients are as follow:
Pork Lard (I cut it off a piece of pork belly I was using the cook another dish)
100g Mince Pork, marinate with a touch of soy sauce, Shao Xing wine and white pepper
Xue Li Hong (of course)
2-3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Chili Padi
First, let’s render the pork lard. Heat the pan and add in the small pieces of lard and cook until brown. You’ll see plenty of oil rendered with just that tiny bit. Keep the crispy bit in the pan of course, it’s like golden treasure.
Bring the heat to high, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add mince pork to cook until no longer pink. Lastly, add the Xue Li Hong to pan along with chopped chili padi (I only add one because our chili padi is rather powerful, feel free to adjust to your taste). Just a splash of water to bring everything together, and you can turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice.
Take note that the Xue Li Hong is already salty, so there’s no need to add anymore salt.
The whole dinner spread:
Pork Belly Adobo and Green Bean Omelette. Simple dishes, maximum flavours, happy tummies!
Taking over the locally well-known Damansara Village Steamboat Restaurant (owned by Patrick Teoh), is Blue House Steamboat Restaurant. The change of ownership occurred somewhere around late last year when the lease ended for Damansara Village. Signboard’s swapped to a bright blue one, the interior refreshed (part of it rebuilt), but the attraction is still Seafood, prepared in the freshest way possible. New kitchen team has Cantonese cuisine as their forte, and the menu here is big, including steamboat and non-steamboat options.
We visited Blue House on their Grand Opening night, having done their soft launch for a couple of weeks prior. It was a rainy evening, no less, which makes for a pleasant dining experience when it comes to open air restaurant like this one. We took our time to ponder over the menu and decided we would go for their Signature Big Bowl Fish, along with 2 other small dishes.
For our appetiser, the “Crystal Chicken” with Cordyceps Flower (Quarter Portion for RM19). I guess they used Village Chicken, for it’s slightly firmer flesh. The skin is lovely aromatic from the herbs and I enjoyed chewing on the cordyceps flowers (which is actually a type of mushroom).
Kevin ordered the Salt and Pepper Tofu (RM8.80) because he’s partial to that stuff, and this is executed well. Perfectly crispy and well-seasoned, what’s more to ask?
Now, the picture of the Big Bowl Fish on their menu does not do justice at all to this dish. To be fair the staff did warn us that the portion is big, and half a fish (RM88) should be sufficient for 3-4 people, but we sure didn’t expect such a massive bowl!
Actually, the word bowl is misleading. We got a basin full of soup with premium ingredients.
Let’s take a closer look.
I think this was my first encounter with 鲩鱼, which according to my research is a type of Grass Carp, a freshwater fish native to Eastern Asia. Here, the fish is simply boiled in the stock. The flesh is lovely soft when it’s cooked perfectly, but do turn a little stringy when overcooked. Those who are not used to freshwater fish might be deterred from the distinctive muddy taste as well, though it wasn’t too evident in this case, as I imagine very fresh fish was used.
Other accompanying ingredients include Prawns, Squid, Clams, Fish balls, Tofu, Daikon Radish, Leek, Preserved Vegetable, just to name a few. And the resulting soup is so full of the natural sweetness of the ingredients combined, I was slurping up bowls after bowls. But even that, 3 of us were struggling already halfway through. We were told that if we wanted we could order some more ingredients to add to the soup. Imagine a side of noodles to soak up that lovely broth! Next time we come here, I’m rounding up a bigger group for sure.
This sure was a memorable meal and we will not hesitate to return for another visit.
Blue House Steamboat Restaurant
1067, Jalan Jenjarum, Off Jalan 23/10,
Taman Sea, 47400 Petaling Jaya.
Opening hours: 11am to 3pm, 5pm-11pm daily
This is the last of Chinese new Year menu review series and it’s none other than the very elegant Tai Zi Heen at the recently rebranded Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre (formerly Prince Hotel). I’ve previously dined at Tai Zi Heen before and was suitably impressed with what they had to offer, and this year’s CNY menu didn’t disappoint either. From 18th January to 22 February, the festive menu this year specially crafted by Chef Michael Wong and his team, with a view to create a harmonious blend of signature Cantonese festive dishes.
Ushering in the year of the Monkey, Tai Zi Heen offers three selections of a 9-course festive set menu packed with must have Chinese New Year dishes which will create a perfect reunion celebration. The festive set menus start from RM1788 per table, with portions for 8 to 10 persons. For the media review, Chef put together a few of the signature dishes from different set menus for our dining pleasure.
This year, Tai Zi Heen introduces its new Crispy Whitebait Yee Sang, where the whitebait is fried to a crisp and golden brown in colour, paired with a variety of condiments and signature sauce which offers refreshing and crunchy bites after the toss. Other choices of Tai Zi Heen’s Yee Sang are Vegetarian, Salmon, Hamachi, Abalone and Four Seasons Prosperity Yee Sang (a combination of butterfish, salmon, tuna and jellyfish).
We liked the Crispy White Bait, and also the hint of blackcurrant in a plum sauce. Never have enough Yee Sang, just toss away for bigger bank account! Haha.
The soup course we got was the Double-boiled Chicken and Vegetable Soup with fish maw and sun-dried scallops. Check out the size of the scallop! Never go wrong with Chicken soup, this one tastes naturally sweet and I enjoyed the slightly crunchy texture of the fish maw.
Here comes the braised sea cucumber dish again. Chef Michael Wong prides himself in sourcing only the best ingredients for his dishes, the bok choy here is imported from Hong Kong (which proved to be extra crunchy) and so are the Dried Oysters. Interestingly, he uses Morel Mushrooms in this dish, which is an extra decadent touch.
We checked out the set menus beforehand and one dish that really jumped out at us was the Crispy Prawns coated with Lemon Dressing, Tropical Fruit Salsa and Tobiko Caviar. And it sure didn’t disappoint. The prawns are juicy and bouncy, the dressing is slightly creamy, slightly sweet with just enough amount of tang. Pairing with tropical fruit keeps it refreshing and it’s a treat to bite into those caviar.
The Steamed Dragon-Tiger Grouper (what a name!) in soy sauce, spring onions and fresh coriander is well executed, with soft sweet flesh and gelatinous skin. I will admit devouring the entire fish head too. Yum!
Interestingly, the glutinous rice is stir-fried and then topped with Chinese-style Preserved Duck. While I enjoy the gooey texture of glutinous rice (I’m always partial to it), I felt that was a little too much sauce thus the flavours are on the heavy side.
Ending the meal with a sweet note. Here we see more Salted Egg Yolk, this time as the filling of Sesame Balls. I’d prefer the filling to be more molten, but it’s tasty nonethless. The Sweet Potato is shaped into little carrots, cute.
Apart from the CNY set menu, Tai Zi Heen offers All You Can Eat Dim Sum brunch during Weekends and Public Holidays. With more than 45 variety of tantalizing dim sum for endless ordering, this is a perfect brunch for family and friends during the Chinese New Year. All You Can Eat Dim Sum brunch is priced at RM60.65 per person.
Tai Zi Heen remains open during Chinese New Year’s Eve and throughout the 15 days of the festival from 12:00noon to 2:30pm for lunch (Mondays to Fridays), 11:30am to 2:30pm for lunch (Saturdays and Sundays) and 6:30pm to 10:30pm for dinner (Mondays to Sundays). Private dining rooms are also available for groups of 12 to 30 persons. Reservations are highly recommended for the Chinese New Year promotions especially for Reunion Dinners. Please call 03-2170 8888 extension 8200 or email email@example.com for reservation.
Tai Zi Heen
Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50450 Kuala Lumpur
It’s exactly one week to go until Chinese New Year! Have you bought all the necessary things (by necessary I mean mostly food) yet? Some of you have been baking up a frenzy, no doubt. Since we finally got a decent oven for this household, I’ve been hardworking enough to churn out some Chinese New Year cookies as well, and this year I’ve decided to try something new: Salted Egg Yolk Cookies!
Salted Egg Yolk (SEY) anything have always been hugely popular in Malaysia/Singapore and people are putting them in everything: ice cream, croissant, waffles, pasta…. you name it and it has been tried. It’s hard to resist the allure of it, of course. It’s the very definition of umami, and adds that extra decadence to your dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Because of the SEY craze, I’ve tried putting it on pizza, pasta and our favourite concoction has to be these melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Easy to make, absolutely delightful to eat. You just can’t stop at one bite!
Here’s the recipe I use with a little bit of adaptation of my own. It’s pretty straight forward and it goes without saying that the better ingredients you use, the better it will taste. So try to get Salted Egg from the market, and best butter you can buy (I’d suggest Kerrygold because I only use Grassfed butter, the cheaper alternative is Anchor). I added milk powder because I like the taste, you can totally omit it if you wish. Let’s get to it!
Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)
125g Plan Flour
10g Corn Starch
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Salted Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Milk Powder
Pinch of Salt
First, cook the salted egg yolks, you may choose to cook the salted egg whole and just scoop out the egg yolks, or steam the yolks alone. What I do is I usually boil the whole egg for about 9 minutes (I’ve tried cooking for shorter time but the egg yolks tend to be undercooked). By the way if you have some fantastic ideas for leftover salted egg whites, send it my way! Mash the egg yolk with a fork and set aside until needed.
Weigh out the ingredients accordingly. I usually do the flour, corn starch baking powder, salt and milk powder together.
In a big bowl, weigh out butter and sugar and mix it together well (you can use a handmixer for this too). Pour the rest of the dry ingredients together along with the salted egg yolks, and mix well.
The dough now should come together easily when you gather by hands.
Flatten the dough to a disc (around 6mm thickness would be ideal) and wrap in cling film to cool in fridge for around half an hour. When you are ready, pick your favourite cookie cutter and cut out the dough. When it’s sufficiently cold, it should be quite easy to handle. If it gets too soft, put it back into the fridge for a while and then continue working.
By now you should have your oven preheated to 170 degree Celsius. This number should yield around 80 small cookies so you can do it in 2 batches. Brush the top with some egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. The egg wash is important here because not only it will give the cookies a nice sheen, it also acts as a glue for the sesame seeds.
Send the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lovely golden. Let cool completely and try not to steal too many of it before storing it in airtight container.
I’ve already made 3 batches of these and there’s barely anything left now (it’s only a 3 person household, mind you). Kevin actually finished the first batch in one seating. So much for watching his diet. Hehe. I guess I need to make some more before next week then.
Si Chuan Dou Hua at PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur is gearing up to usher in the year of the monkey and the team led by Chef Foong Koon Sang has put together a variety of set menus of Yee Sang for diners to swing to a Prosperous New Year. There are 8 menus in total starting from RM388nett for 2 person to RM2188 for 10, so there’s something to suit every budget.
The menu we had the pleasure to sample was RM1988 for 10, so you can imagine the feast we had! Of course, with most Chinese New Year menu, we started with Yee Sang.
We had the Prosperity Sliced Abalone Yee Sang, which comes with plenty of fresh ingredients.
As usual, we muttered all sorts of auspicious wishes. More money, more job opportunities, more happiness and most importantly good health for 2016.
A soup course is to me, the most important part of the dinner and usually for Chinese New Year, really expensive ingredients go into this course. At Si Chuan Dou Hua, they still serve Shark Fin. Personally I don’t eat it due to ethical reasons, and diners may be pleased to know that you can swap your soup course too.
Double-boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallop, Sea Cucumber, Bamboo Piths and Ginseng is definitely nourishing, but the Shark’s Fin free option is equally luxurious.
The 8 Treasure Soup with Seafood comes in a delightful green hue thanks to the addition of Spinach. Little bits of scallop, crab, prawn and more, encased in slightly thickened soup, this is full of umami flavours and definitely satisfying.
Fish signifies abudance so it’s important to eat plenty of them for Chinese New Year. This Tiger Garoupa here is simply steamed and served with Superior Soy Sauce. I love the super tender flesh of the fish, and with such supreme quality, nothing more than a dash of soy to complement the sweetness of the fish.
The Steamed Village Chicken with Chinese Herb was hands down our favourite of the night. The Chicken has just a slight bit of chew, and the skin has absorbed the lovely aroma of Dong Guai. My favourite was the broth, so rich and intense and nourishing. I think we will steal this idea for our reunion dinner.
A prawn dish is also commonly served during Chinese New Year because Prawn is pronounced as “Ha” in Cantonese, so this dish signifies plenty of laughters and happiness for the new year. The Prawns here are deshelled, and coated in a sweet and tangy sauce, not unlike those of Sweet and Sour, but a touch more umami.
Important to note that even though Si Chuan Dou Hua serves Szechuan cuisine, the CNY menu is veered towards Cantonese instead for some reason.
The next course was the Braised Vegetables with Sea Cucumber Dried Scallop, Sliced Abalone, and Dried Oyster. Seems to be a standard dish for any CNY banquet, it’s enjoyable if you love these lux ingredients. For me, it was a good opportunity to fulfill my vegetable intake.
The carb option at Si Chuan Dou Hua this year features this impressive looking Fried Rice with Black Mushroom and Smoked Duck. This is very well done, and totally irresistible as Kevin and I both tucked in double portions.
Our menu ended with double desserts, and the first was the Chilled Grapefruit Sago which was perfect to balance the richness of the meal.
Filled with bits of fruits and sago, the grapefruit and mango cream is delightful to savour.
And if you can fill yourself with more food, these deep fried nian gao with yam will sure end your dinner with a good note.
The 8 Set Menus (including a Vegetarian set) is available from 18th January to 22 February. Besides the above, Chef Foong has also crafted two ‘Poon Choy 7-Course Feast’ set menus which will be complemented by six other courses including a Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang or Wealth Sliced Abalone Yee Sang.Available from 1 January to 22 February, the sets are priced at RM418 nett for 2 to 5 persons and RM988 nett for 6 to 10 persons.
Celebrate Chinese New Year at Chatz Brasserie with a buffet lunch and buffet dinner on 7, 8 and 9 February from 12.30pm to 4.00pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm. All buffets include unlimited flow of juices and soft drinks.
Buffet Lunch – RM88 nett for 1 person, RM160 nett for 2 persons, RM232 nett for 3 persons, RM308 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.
Buffet Dinner – RM138 nett for 1 person, RM248 nett for 2 persons, RM358 nett for 3 persons, RM468 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.
For reservations or enquiries, please call +603 2147 0088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I go to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on a weekly basis because I perform every Thursday (and sometimes other nights too) at one of their dining outlets, Connoisseurs Lounge & Restaurant. From time to time my band also gets invited to perform at special occasions such at CIMB Classics several moons ago. Needless to say, this is almost like a second home to me. There are several restaurants covering different cuisines at KLGCC, and you might be surprised to find out that these are all open to the public (just remember to keep up with the dresscode).
I received an invitation to dine at China Treasures and sample their Chinese New Year menu. Initially I had invited my keyboardist Vicky to come along to just eat, but as luck would have it, I received a call to replace the band that night. So as workaholics we are, we decided to do both anyway. It was my first time stepping into China Treasures and it is everything I expected: sophisticated, elegant but not over the top. The ambience is welcoming and non-pretentious. We left ourselves on the capable hands of Chef Eddie Chua and let’s take a look at the food.
The Yee Sang at China Treasures is kept relatively traditional with Salmon. There are also other options such at Abalone too. After the usual chanting of auspicious phrases, we tossed our Yee Sang with gusto!
Various forms of seafood soup is always present during Chinese New Year feast and here we were treated to a Crab Meat Soup with Braised Seafood.
Letting the natural sweetness of the seafood comes through, this is made perfect with just a tiny splash of vinegar. Of course everyone has their own preference but this is good enough for me to finish.
Well this is probably the most interesting dish of the night. The rectangle you see is actually fish cake wrapped with crispy chicken skin. There are almond flakes too, on the other side. Taste wise, you can tell the freshest fish is used and I just love the fun textural contrast with the smooth paste and crispy skin. Brilliant! In the middle was some black bean chicken presented in a fried vermicelli basket. It was tasty, but nothing to shout about.
The cod is merely steamed to perfected and seasoned with premium soy sauce, placed on a bed of sauteed mushrooms, dressed with the usual spring onion, chili and coriander. Might be simple, but the taste is textbook perfect. Needless to say, it was the most popular dish of the night.
Almost every restaurant serves this dish for their Chinese New Year menu. Why Broccoli? It isn’t really a Chinese vegetable to begin with. But anyway, I wouldn’t say no to some healthy greens. The Oyster rolls themselves are tasty though, with substantial pieces of whole dried oysters encased with fish paste.
The Chinese direct translation for this dish is actually Prawns with “Strange taste”, haha. I guess that probably would scare a few people. But strange taste it was not, the hot and sour (and slightly sweet) notes would appeal to many. Bonus for perfectly cooked prawns with its bouncy texture.
X.O. sauce is always good with carbs and here the fried rice is made decadent with the addition of scallops. Very hearty.
Finishing our feast on a sweet note, the soy bean we were told is homemade. I can’t say I have had this preparation before, although white fungus is commonly seen in Chinese sweet tong sui. This is as comforting as it sounds and nourishing too, especially for us women.
The CNY set menu is available now until the 8th of March. Options of 6 pax and 10 pax, pricing ranges from RM1102.88 to the most premium Wealth Prosperity menu at RM4740.88. Place your reservation now for a wonderful gathering with your loved ones.
I have always been quite fond of Celestial Court, having visited a couple of times in the past couple of years. If you haven’t been, make sure you check out their weekend dim sum buffet (now priced at RM98++ per pax). And having sampled their CNY menu last year, I know that Chef Vincent Loo will not disappoint this year. So I invited my daughter/band mate Vicky with me to toss our first Yee Sang of the year.
It’s now customary to have Yee Sang for CNY and I always love to see creativity with Yee Sang ingredients because you know, after a while every Yee Sang starts to taste the same. Here, we see a couple of unusual ingredients: Swordfish (pronounced without the W by the way), and Arctic Char Fish.
Netherland Arctic Char Fish? Sounds fancy! Mr Google tells me it is closely related to Salmon and Ocean Trout, hence the similarity in facial features and the colour of its flesh. Tastes rather similar too.
After pouring everything into the plate along with auspicious wishes, we were ready to toss. The higher you go, the better! Needless to say, our table was the noisiest, thanks to yours truly, Mr Fatboybakes and Miss Rebecca Saw.
Despite having been to quite a few CNY review, I have managed to miss out on Poon Choi and that was finally rectified this year. Celestial Court offers a Premium Treasure Pot featuring a total of 18 ingredients.
Each ingredient here is cooked separately and then meticulously arranged in layers, and this signifies abundance in the coming year. It’s fun fishing out different ingredients and make sure you taste the superior stock which has been infused with all that surf and turf components.
There are abalones, scallops, dried scallops, sea cucumbers, prawns, sea asparagus, roast duck, roast chicken and various vegetables. Each component is cooked perfectly too, I think my favourite would have to be the juicy prawns and the super tender sea cucumber.
This is such a pretty dish with all that vibrant colours. I am a lover of Asparagus so this instantly grabbed my attention. Interestingly the prawn is cooked with nutmeg, which imparts some sweetness and its distinct pungent aroma to the prawns. The prawns were crispy and I didn’t mind the slight dousing of mayo (my inner kid approves). The smoked chicken induced a round of discussion as KJ insisted it tastes like duck, but I have to agree it’s very well smoked with a nice bite. I’ll say this is my favourite dish of the night, and Vicky agrees too.
More Asparagus and I certainly won’t complain. I like how clean this dish look, and each component tastes of their natural sweetness. My favourite would probably be the pumpkin, and I thought that adding Macadamia nuts is a decadent touch.
Never one to pass up an opportunity for controversy, I very quickly pointed out that Hasma has something to do with Frog’s reproductive organ, and google further confirmed that it is indeed Frog’s fallopian tube. Who discovered this?! Anyway, hasma is considered a delicacy and claims to replenish vital essence in the lungs, kidneys, and improving skin complexion. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. By the way, I had half the refreshing syrup before reading the menu and when Cheng Yi heard “Earl Grey” he literally jumped. Heard that he had a sleeplessness because of this. Hah!
Thank you Shirley and Youhe for another fabulous meal!
Plan your Chinese New Year gathering with your loved ones today at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel.
3. Braised Garden Chicken with Lettuce in Dried Scallop Sauce
Half – RM 60++ Whole – RM120++
4. Combination of Barbeque Premium
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 102++ Large – RM136++
5. Signature Braised Duck with Ginger, Water Chestnut and Bean Curd Stick
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 102++ Large – RM136++
Vegetables & Bean Curd
1. Stir-fried Scallops with Pumpkin, Asparagus, Celery and Macadamia Nut
Small – RM 88++ Medium – RM 132++ Large – RM 176++
2. Home-styled Special Assorted Vegetarian Curry in Claypot
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 57++ Large – RM 76++
3. Braised Vegetarian with Glass Noodle in Claypot
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 57++ Large – RM 76++
4. Braised Bean Curd with Marrow Gourd and Assorted Seafood
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 108++ Large – RM 138++
5. Stir-fried Seasonal Vegetables with Dried Prawn Topping
Small – RM 58++ Medium – RM 88++ Large – RM 116++
Noodle & Rice
1. Braised Rice with Roasted Duck and Dried Scallops in Abalone Sauce
Small – RM 80++ Medium – RM 120++ Large – RM 160++
2. Thai Fried Rice with Tomato, Seafood and Walnut
Small – RM 60 ++ Medium – RM 90 ++ Large – RM 120++
3. Fried Rice with Pickled Cabbage, Minced Chicken and Mushroom
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large – RM 76++
4. Fried Rice with Minced Duck and French Bean in Peanut Sauce
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large – RM 76++
5. Wok Fried Glass Noodle pairs with Rice Noodle with Crispy Cod Fish
Small – RM 80++ Medium – RM 120++ Large RM160++
6. Signature Prawn Consommé with Egg Noodles, Seafood and Enoki Mushroom
Small – RM 60 ++ Medium – RM 90 ++ Large – RM 120++
7. Wok-fried Flat Noodle with Beef, Spring Onions, Ginger in Black Bean Sauce
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large RM 76++
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If I were to choose a few meals to eat before I die, Hainanese Chicken Rice would be amongst the Top 3. I’m not sure when or how I fell in love with this dish (certainly not when I was growing up because Bintulu is deprived of good Chicken Rice), but I can tell you this is something I will never get sick of. In fact, if you want me to get really really fat, just serve me this everyday and I simply would not be able to resist it.
And my love for Hainanese Chicken Rice was reaffirmed during the year I did my Medical Elective in Singapore. For a month, I was stationed in a couple of hospitals and one day, a local friend brought me to this place called Boon Tong Kee, which is famous for its Chicken Rice. Yes I know Tian Tian is supposedly the best in Singapore but I met BTK first! Anyway, I remember there were 3 of us, and we polished off the whole chicken and then some. I’ve never had such smooth skin, such fragrant rice and such complex chili sauce. By the way they also do this superb tofu dish which you must try if you ever visit.
Anyway, from then on everytime I visit Singapore, I insist on going to Boon Tong Kee (a tip for you KL people: If you take Odyssey Bus to Singapore it brings you straight to the Balestier Road branch). I had since tried Tian Tian but it didn’t have the same magic. To each their own right?
So for this month’s Asian Food Fest, what else but Hainanese Chicken Rice for my first submission! This is not a difficult dish to make, but you do have to multitask. From start to finish, it takes about an hour give and take. As I’m the only one in my household who eats chicken, I decided to just go with half chicken so I can get 3 meals out of it. I didn’t go for fancy chicken either, just regular supermarket non-organic one because otherwise I will have to go for whole chicken. There is a trick to ensure smooth skin though, which I will mention later.
This wasn’t the first time I made this dish, but compared to last time, I think I have nailed the rice! Adding the chicken fat and pre-frying the rice really does make a difference. I’ve also made my own chili sauce this time, which proved to be really easy if you have a blender.
3-4 stalks Spring Onion
3-4 slices Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic, smashed
Water, enough to submerge chicken in a pot
1 tablespoon of Shaoxing Wine
1 tablespoon of Sesame oil
Clean the chicken and remove any stray feathers. Rub some salt over the skin and perform a little massage, the skin will be smoother if you do this.
Submerge chicken in a pot of water and add ginger, garlic and spring onion. Bring to boil and start removing the impurities on the water surface with a mesh strainer. Gentle simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. You want the chicken to be just cooked, so remember to use really fresh chicken. If not, then cook for another extra 10-15 minutes to ensure food safety.
Once the chicken is cooked, lift it out gently and then submerge in a pot/large bowl of ice water. This helps stop the cooking process and also tighten the skin. Just before serving, drain all the water and rub the chicken with some Shaoxing wine and Sesame oil. Chop into smaller pieces.
The remaining broth will be served with the chicken rice after tasting for seasoning (just simple salt will do).
1 cups of Jasmine Rice
1 cups of Chicken stock from cooking chicken
Some Chicken Fat (I managed to trim off about 1 tablespoon worth)
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
Few slices Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 pandan leaves, rinsed and tied into a knot
In a pot, render the chicken fat, and then add sesame oil, ginger, garlic, take extra care not to burn them. Add rinsed rice and stir fry for a few seconds, then ladle in the Chicken stock, and place the pandan leaves on top. If you are using a rice cooker, you will need to move everything into the rice cooker pot. I usually cook my rice on the stove top so it’s a matter of turning the heat to lowest, cover and cook until all water is absorbed.
Chilli Dipping Sauce
3 large Chillies, chopped coarsely
1 Cili Padi i.e. bird’s eye chilli (optional), chopped coarsely
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 small knob of Ginger, chopped coarsely
3 large Calamansi Limes, juiced into a small bowl
1-2 tbsp Chicken Poaching Liquid
1/4 tsp salt
Place all the ingredients into a food blender and blitz everything until a smooth paste is formed. Transfer into sauce dishes or a small bowl and set aside.
Topping and Garnish
Thick black soy sauce
1 stalk of spring onion, chopped (Can also use Coriander)
Several Cucumber Slices
You can assemble the Chicken rice according to your preference. As I was cooking for one, I arranged some cucumber slices on a large round place and place the chicken pieces on top, sprinkled some spring onion, then serve my rice next to it, with the chili sauce on the side. I also dish up a bowl of chicken broth garnished with spring onion. Needless to say, it was a satisfying meal.
The smooth soft chicken rice, tender meat, aromatic rice, tangy and spicy chili sauce, and the comforting light broth; I can’t think of a better homecooked meal. Though after this attempt, it will be a while until I do it again to keep my waistline where it should be.