Saturday, April 2, 2011

First all-you-can-eat Chinese cuisine dinner in Ipoh

The menu at Hou Choi (Prosperous Restaurant) in Heritage Hotel Ipoh for you to decide what to order to make your RM38 all you can eat dinner worth every single cent! This ain't any typical buffet as you order directly from the service crew and they will prepare the dishes for you in the kitchen. Well, certain terms and conditions applies to prevent them from gulung tikar. Expensive and "luxurious" items mostly came with an order limit.

To kick things up, we had Shark's fin soup with Crab Meat. It was abit cold when served, hence the faint unpleasant fishy smell from the assorted treasures from the sea.

This is the Mini Buddha Jump Over The Wall - consisting of ingredients identical to those found in the sharks fin soup, except the broth is not starchy. The soup has a distinctive layered aroma of herbs, similar to those double boiled black chicken soup. This is result from "shark fins", chicken, dried scallop, mushroom and ginseng. It's my first time drinking this, so there is no benchmark for comparison.

Chicken Sweet Corn Soup and Seechuan Spicy Soup. Things which I wouldn't wanna order, I would go for another bowl of shark's fin since there are under the same category of one bowl per person. Well, we ordered one soup each to share so everybody can savour all 5 flavours offered.

The Lobster and Abalone Combination Appetizer. This only can be ordered once for every 4 dinners. Lobster meat was prepared with the fruity salad method. Abalone slices were done on a bed of brocolli in superior stock. Besides that, you have dumplings done in steamed version and fried ones. See the "nest" over there? =)

A dish which would go well with plain rice or porridge, not on its own. Duck meat stewed with lotus root. Flavourful, but a few pieces is the most I could take when eaten on its own.

Garoupa slices cooked with black pepper. Capsicum and onion added in for that crunch. Fish fillets are fresh. You could opt for other ways of cooking like Sweet and Sour, but one thing for sure. all cooking methods are the saucy types. Again, suits for a meal with rice.

And this is da bomb which made your RM38 worthwhile. Pei Pa Roasted Duck! Normally you will need to splurge abit if you would like to have a whole duck portion in Chinese Restaurants. Even if you are willing to spend, restaurants in Ipoh don't really have this dish. Even if they do serve it, advanced ordering need to done. Roasted duck meat is deboned and the dry flesh served together with egg skin and cucumber and spring onions.

Get abit of everything and most importantly a dollop of piquant bean paste sauce for flavour! Duck meat itself is dry, the cucumber and spring onion added in some crunchiness while the egg skin was thing enough to wrap everything and pop it in one or two mouthful. I found I needed more sauce as the ingredients were kinda bland. The duck meat did not have much flavour and we suspect it was frozen and reheated. Well, do we have another choice for this dish in Ipoh?

Well there are also certain dishes which should be avoided if you would like to maximize your RM38 worth. Egg and taufu dishes are offered as well, and disappointingly, together with vegetables, they hog almost half of the menu list. We skipped the taufu and ordered the Omelette with Shrimps. shrimps were bouncy and succulent enough despite its small-medium size, but the GENEROUS portion of eggs were one attempt of the restaurants to fill our stomachs to the brim!

The fried rice was done very well. Rice grains were fluffy and there and no excess oil was used. Coupled with traces of eggs and chopped spring onions, simple as it may be, but this dish did not lack flavour. We were thankful that it didnt come in a big portion, just nice for 5 of us to have a spoonful or two to savour it.

Satisfied with our carbohydrate fix, we moved on with more meat! Take a break from the usual Pai Kuat Wong, this is the innovated version of Spare Ribs in Chang Jiang sauce. The sauce is robust in flavour, with strong taste of orange peel. The venison with Ginger and Spring Onion was a bit disappointing. The venison meat was not properly cooked or perhaps too much meat tenderizer was used giving a very unpleasant mouthfeel.

Prawns were only made available one portion per person, 4 pieces for a portion. In other words, we can order up to 20 pieces!! However, we only ordered 3 portions - Kon Chein, Japanese Styled Sauce and Chef Special Sauce. I had the most of the prawns, perhaps the ladies are lazy to deshell them. Personally, I find Kon Chein (plain panfried) the best because certain sauce can mask the freshness of seafood.

Fried Battered Sotong. Nothing special. Large sized squid were used hence the need to brace through some jaw exercise.

A call for fibre? They offer various type of vege. One portion of kai lan and one yau mak is more than enough. Actually just to satiate the mandatory list of health freaks.

Fried Kuay Teow with Venison. Yes venison again. Good thing I have a colleague who functions very well as a vacuum cleaner with a bottomless pit to polish this dish up. For desserts, there are 2 type of Tong Shuis - Winter Melon with Longans and Red Bean Black Glutinous Rice (i think) with some fruits, jelly and lackluster sponge cake, self service. To wrap things up, I would say it didn't live up to my expectation. Though RM38 seems a reasonable price to pay to try many items, I wouldn't come for a 2nd trip.

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