JOM MAKAN! Life's A Feast

Sunday, August 30, 2015

SCALLOP & MOONCAKE SENSATION AT LAI CHING YUEN



 
Six types of mooncakes are available to please mostly purists and sticklers of tradition at Lai Ching Yuen from now until 27 September. Packed in a bright red box with floral motifs, you can select your preferred mooncake variants available for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Creamy Milk Tea Paste (RM27-1 pc, RM108-box) is my fave – the filling pleasantly reminiscent of Hong Kong-style lai char (milk tea).
Assorted Fruits & Nuts Mooncake (RM30-1 pc, RM120-box) should delight traditionalists who relish its sticky rich, nutty content. Best eaten in small pieces washed down with some premium Chinese tea.
 
Lotus paste fans will find the Pure White Lotus Paste (RM27-1 pc, RM108-box) and Single Yolk White Lotus Paste (RM29-1 pc, RM116-box) delicately sweet; the lotus seed nuance clearly discernible on the tongue.
Other variants include Red Bean Paste (RM26-1 pc, RM104-box) and Yin Yang Paste (RM27-1 pc, RM108-box).
The ornate and opulent setting of Lai Ching Yuen (think old Shanghai in its heydays) attracts a mostly corporate clientele by day and its own hotel guests and families by night. With regular promos such as the Australian Scallop Sensation which will run until 16 September 2015, they are spoiled for choice when it comes to exquisite Chinese specialities.
Plump and sweet, the Braised Scallops with Crab Roe (RM38 for 2 pcs) come split in half and stuffed with prawn paste. Drenched in a clear unctuous sauce with chunks of crab roe, they are sublime.
For more assertive flavours, try Steamed Scallops with Glass Noodles and Minced Garlic (RM28 for 2 pcs). This dish is best savoured hot to fully appreciate the slippery smooth glass noodles. We like how the minced garlic’s assertive sharpness kicks up the zesty notches for this creation.
Staying true to the Cantonese cooking style is Steamed Egg White with Scallops and Crab Meat (RM38 for 2 pcs). It’s perfectly suited for those who prefer clear, uncomplicated nuances and velvety textures.


Truffle oil amps up the aromatic appeal in the Baked Scallops and Mushroom in Filo Pastry (RM38 for 2 pcs) – the lush muskiness wafting up to greet you when the first mouthful hits the palate. The sliced mushroom's inherent earthiness melds seamlessly with the oceanic sweetness of the scallops.

Available for lunch and dinner, these dishes are ideal for corporate or personal dining, complemented by another dish or two of the restaurant’s signature offerings.

For reservations, call Lai Ching Yuen, tel: 03-2117 4180. Address: Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

WHEN NYONYA MEETS THAI AT BIBIWOK




 
Rarely do you come across a restaurant serving both Nyonya and Thai food so this is the unique factor which makes Bibiwok different. The contemporary space is outfitted with just the right amount of ornate cultural elements, evoking the feel of a Peranakan home without too much kitsch or antiquity.

Our ravenous dining party was happy to nibble on the generous Nyonya Thai Combination EntrĂ©e (RM40) while waiting for the mains to arrive. Laden with Thai Serai Sticks (flavourful minced chicken on lemongrass skewers), Pie Tee (DIY crispy ‘top hats’ with fillings of shredded yambean and omelette), bite-size Vegetable Fritters and a serving of shredded cucumber salad topped with robust chilli sauce), the quartet has enough textural and flavour interest to keep us satisfied and looking forward to the chosen repertoire.

A savoury-spicy-tangy dressing and crunchy dried fish (similar to anchovies but bigger in size) lent the local starfruit salad - Kerabu Belimbing (RM12) – a stimulating lift to whet the appetite further.

Although our visit wasn’t a strictly Thai meal, we can’t bear to omit the Signature Tom Yam Soup with Seafood (RM24 – small, RM41 – large). It was an invigorating choice as the fiery-sour-briny broth brimming with seafood and fresh herbs packed an assertive punch and sweat-inducing heat that ‘singed’ the palate lightly.

Forget about eschewing carbs when you dine at Bibiwok. Most of the homespun dishes call for copious amount of rice. The fluffy Otak Omelette (RM13) and zingy Sambal Brinjal Special (RM12 – small, RM18 – large) were raveworthy enough to induce repeat helpings.

Redolent with complex spicy accents and a touch of citrusy nuance (from threads of fresh kaffir lime leaves), Bibiwok’s sublime speciality of Nyonya Chicken Rendang (RM18) should endear itself to spice fiends who like their curries slightly dry and voluptuously bursting with big, bold flavours.

Less indulgent but equally piquant on the palate was Thai Assam Curry Steamed Fish (RM40 onwards). Immersed in tangy-spicy gravy laden with okra, long beans, eggplant and beancurd puffs, the seabass’s flaky meat was deliciously sweet.

The coarsely sambal blend for the Nyonya Chili Garam Prawns (RM26 – small, RM46 - large) boasted earthier, lusher flavours which went like a dream with the springy crustaceans.

Like two mismatched leads in a movie, the Thai Green Curry Duck (RM26) failed to make any impression no thanks to the dry chunks of roast duck in it. While the aromatic curry passed muster, it was a dish which tasted out of sync.  

If you like something sweet to round off your meal, possible dessert options include Thai Ruby Jack Fruit (RM5.90), Chendol Gula Melaka (RM4.90), Steamed Banana with Gula Melaka (RM7) and Sago Gula Melaka (RM4.90). Again, they weren’t something you’d write home about.

For reservations, call RESTORAN BIBIWOK, tel: 03-8068-6284. Address: 16 Jalan Persiaran Puteri 1, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Puchong, Selangor.