Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Menglembu East Ocean

As a continuation from the previous post, this write-up will feature my personal favourite and most memorable meal up to date. I am sure some of you have seen pictures going viral or posted by your friends which capture the platter with a “pole-dancing” roast chicken. If you google Menglembu East Ocean, you will have a wide search result of platters with different combinations ranging from premium items such as abalone and lobsters to fried fish and roasted chicken/duck...

If it weren't for some "thanksgiving" dinner with my company's local distributor, I wouldn't have the privilege to enjoy so much expensive stuffs all in one night! Although there  is no "dancing pole chicken", I enjoyed the lobster salad a lot! Not to mention scallop stir fried in mixed vegetables and braised abalone! The mini "wu kok" shaped in a pear is also attractive in terms of craft. The number of times yours truly having lobster and abalone in his nearly 3 decades of life could only amount to that can be count by fingers. So I am indeed blessed :)

Next, this is my first ever Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall. This premium soup got its name as there was an incident whereby traveler was warming his food in a jar containing wine, creating an aroma so tempting that it got the monk, which was supposed to observe a vegetarian diet to literally "jump over the monastery wall" hoping to get a taste of it. No certain recipe was obtained from that incident but it was learned that restaurants reserved a line-up of finest ingredients for this nourishing soup. The version here has fish maw, dried scallops, ginseng, mushroom, sea cucumber, chicken and pork ribs. The ingredients, herbs and condiments may vary between restaurants but one thing for sure is the soup need to be double boiled under slow fire for a long period. Nourishing, energizing and most importantly memorable :)

I forgotten whether was this "7-star Garoupa", this fish lies on the top of the garoupa hierarchy, even pricier than the already premium Tiger Garoupa. If it was a 7-star garoupa, it is indeed my first time indulging in this priced fish. The flesh is firm and flaky. And yes, yours truly managed to get one side of tat cheek medallion. Yummmms!
Big Head Prawn is usually a signature must-order dish from Pusing Public Man Choong Restaurant. All this while I thought they were the best and in their own league when it comes to this dish but oh my! I am so wrong after I dined in here. The freshwater prawns from Tanjung Tualang is so big in size that the head and the body can be made into two dishes with separate style of cooking. You can savour the two most common cooking method when it comes to this delicacy. The head is steamed with ginger shreds, egg whites and some Chinese wine. There is not much “soup” I would say as the water on the plate was probably from the steam and also from the prawns itself. I abit paiseh to scoop all the essence from the plate, what a waste! 

There is no flesh from the head so I guess this portion of the crustacean is for you to suck all the roe within it. Compare the size of the head with reference to my car remote control and you will know why it is only one piece for one person.

Similarly, one person is allocated just one piece of the pan-fried body. Fortunately, one person from my table could not take prawn, so I have the honour to have 2 pieces! And mind you, the portion is indeed big. Succulent and juicy, the flesh is so firm beneath the slightly crispy skin coated with soya sauce reduction. Forget cholesterol, this stuff is da bomb for shellfish lovers!

There were other tantalizing dish such as ginger duck stew, Wat Tan Hor and some gula melaka custard dessert. No photos on that though. Lastly, it was another first in my life to try out champagne! and its the premium Dom Perignon! Although just barely half a glass full, it was indeed an eye-opening (tastebuds opener rather) cause I never had this RM600+ liquor before. Not to mention a Whiskey Maker edition of Macallan whiskey and 18 year Glenlivet which is almost that price.

Seriously, I always have the perception East Ocean is into the “big portion generic meal to typical family” but I did not expect they have WOW-ed me dish after dish. I doubt there will be be less occasions in the future whereby such meal similar to this category is possible. By the way, I was told that the total bill was near RM4k for 2 tables of 10 each. If this is not the most memorable and most exotic feast yet, I do not know what can come near to it :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Palace Chinese Restaurant, Hotel Excelsior

Palace Chinese Restaurant is located on the fifth floor of Excelsior Hotel. They have been in the business for quite some time but I am not sure whether have they undergone a change of management and kitchen team. They used to offer some weekday set dinner to boost business as they rely very much on wedding dinner on the banquet hall.
They definitely have renovated the place. The ambient lighting is warm and not too bright. They have a lot of folding walls to separate a zone for your private function

 It is my first time having Fruits Yee Sang.What made is so different is everything is natural instead of having pickles and dyed stuff you normally find on conventional Yee Sang dish. Pineapples, water apples (jambu air), green apples with some romaine lettuce were the few key ingredients, doused in similar plum sauce. It would be better if they shredded the fruits in thinner slices or smaller cubes. Nevertheless, still a very mouth-watering appetizer to kick start the meal. We were given gigantic chopsticks (those used for deepfrying) to toss this auspicious dish.

This is the Braised Stuffed Sea Cucumber with Abalone. A humongous piece of sea cucumber enough to satisfy the cravings for a table of 10 is stuffed with minced meat. This is what they call as "Gue Poh Sum" grade, am I right?

The filling is similar to “loh bak” with a strong punch of five spice powder. Looks like some giant meat loaf to me with the sea cucumber appearing to be pig skin. I love the gelatinous texture of the flavourful sea cucumber, proof that it was braised for quite substantial time.

Couldn’t recall when was the last time which I had abalone. I may not be the right person to comment on it since it is not my staple diet. But judging from the size, this seems convincing as a "6 head" abalone grade. Just to enlighten how do they measure "head" for abalone grades, I am sure some of you would remember this term after watching the TVB series "Tung Sum Fong Bou (Heart of Greed). The figure of the "head" is the number of pieces of abalone one can find in a 500g packet. If its 6 head means there are 6 pieces in the 500g packet, approximating to around 80grams each. If its those 10 head grade, it means its just merely 50g each. So the bigger the head figure, the lighter weight is the abalone thus smaller in size. So imagine the "seong hao bao" (twin head) grade featured in the TVB series mentioned, its a whopping 250g per piece! Can you recall the scene Moses Chan and family is waiting for the chef to prepare it in the claypot during the first few episodes?

Not just any "pak cham gai" but this is Poached Castrated Chicken. Served with premium soya sauce and drizzle of shallots oil and sesame oil, the flesh is slightly on the tough side. The texture is not like the typical chicken you normally have and the meat has its own distinct aroma. The skin has a darker yellow hue with minimal or absence of fat. I was surprised this dish made its way to the menu list because my students' parents has family business related to this.... and mind you, a famous brand from Ipoh. I shall not disclose it here though :)

The prawns were fresh despite being slightly small in size. It was cooked in sweetish like tomato gravy which I do not really like as the gravy did not complement well with the prawn flesh. Maybe it was meant to complement the fried man tou instead? I still prefer typical styles like pan fry with soya sauce or deep fried with butter cream or salted egg.

The Tiger Garoupa Steamboat is something very unique indeed. Slices of the flesh of the fish were thinly sliced before adding into the soup.

The soup was well flavoured from the balance of fish – the bones, head, tail and fins were fried and added to the broth to boil alongside some other ingredients. Mix in the assorted mushrooms, bean skin (fu chook) glass noodles and fish slices and a scrumptious assemble is complete!

Without waiting long after the few slurps of the fish soup, we were served with the Hakka Noodles. Noodles cooked to near al dente pairs well with a generous topping of minced pork and mushroom. Very good serving arrangement as I can take a sip from the fish soup while filling up the void of the stomach with this carbo-laden dish.

The chilled pumpkin sago dessert which was not overwhelmingly creamy but was refreshing at the same time. I would anytime prefer a chilled dessert over the warm and starchy generic red bean soup anytime.

The duo pastry combination platter comes in the form of baked mini chicken pie and petite mochi with peanut filling. Both were very addictive despite my stomach is quite filled to the brim. I still prefer the chewy mochi over its savoury counterpart. 

This is definitely the top few most memorable Chinese banquet dinner I have ever tasted. I would rate this to be the #2 in my all time list. If I manage to squeeze in the time, I will post another post on the most posh meal in Menglembu East Ocean later this week. Till then, happy eating, stay healthy and stay fit :)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Unique Seafood Ipoh, Giant Bercham

Finally I made a come back to my post after a long 6 months absence. Things were packed with assignments and tuition as I could hardly find any free time to kill. A lot of backlog post and I have to start somewhere now. And this short post is to share with you guys on the set lunch promotion from Unique Seafood. There are no longer operating in their previous premise in MH Hotel as they have been relocated to Giant, Bercham

The Tillapia is not an option as it comes together with the set. You may only choose the cooking style/gravy. I opted for it to be steamed in Nyonya sauce. The sauce lacked punch due to presence of core ingredients like bunga kantan and daun limau purut was not really felt. Overall it is still passable but nothing really spectacular to shout about.

This is the Kam Heong Kepah. The flavourful sauce coating the clams was contributed by good amount of shallots, garlic, curry leaves and not forgetting pounded dried shrimps. As the strong flavours masked the clams, I could not give an accurate verdict on the freshness. Nevertheless this goes well with rice despite there is not much gravy.

The Salted Egg Prawns was quite well executed. Medium size prawns, around 8 pieces altogether were deep fried before dishing it back for a final coating of buttery-salted egg slurry. The melted salted egg manage to soak into the crispy shell a bit and I enjoyed it a lot biting into the crispy shells and legs before spitting them out again to suck all the cholesterol laden elixir! Every set is capped to 1 prawn dish only. 

You are free to maximize the 3 options from the meat/seafood category but the guilt card is playing deep within me to pick a vegetable dish. The Braised Mushroom with Fish Maw seems to be a good pick among all the options under the vegetable category. Not near perfect but this dish is up to standard like how it normally appears in the wedding banquet menu.

Free soup is also served together making it a 4 dish+1soup combination (inclusive of white rice) which is quite substantial for a table for four. As noted in the poster, items such as towels, tidbits and Chinese tea are excluded. The price of RM88 is inclusive of GST and service charge, but after the miscellaneous items are factored in, the bill can shoot up to near RM100.

There is a banquet hall for wedding. If you are opting for PORK FREE banquet (but no Halal cert so it is not effective enough if you with to entertain Muslim guests) you can view their website for more details. Signing off this post. Hopefully I will be more committed in revitalizing my blog :)