Monday, March 20, 2017

The Great Harvest Meal, East Ocean Menglembu

大丰收 literally translated in the Big Harvest (or the Bountiful Harvest) could have been circulating in your Facebook news feed off and on, especially you have friends from Ipoh. Yup, you recalled it right - its a huge platter with a "pole dancing" chicken. This unique dining way of presenting Chinese banquet dishes could be savoured in East Ocean Restauran (Tung Hoi)

They have two outlets offering this meal - the one in Menglembu (the one with the reputation of the best among all under the same name) and the one in Chemor. Both offer the same price and items and it comes down to which is nearer to you. I am not sure whether the one in Ipoh Garden South offers this dish as the crowd seems less and rumours have it that they are under a different management.

The famed platter arrived in a trolley and they need two person to transfer it to your table! Served in a multi-tier platter style, perhaps one could start from the top as the lobster salad acts as a great appetizer. The shell of the lobster remained for decoration purpose with small blinking battery operated LEDs attached on it. I really loved the lobster salad alot as it is a refreshing entree. The mayonnaise is not over-cloying in richness and it is well balanced with some mixed fruits (longans!!!!) I can have this everyday for a month without feeling bored. LOL

The tiger garoupa is then filleted and fried. As tiger garoupa is priced above your average fish, fetching up to RM70-80 when ordered individually (depending on size and festive season), having it fried seems to be slightly a waste though. But due to serving time and coordination purpose, I think having it steamed would be less feasible though. Nevertheless, the "buttered" firm fillets of the garoupa made the mark, although far from being piping hot. Having them resting on a bed of mixed stir fried vegetables (shimeiji mushrooms, snow peas, etc) is a bit weird though. The "skeleton" of the fried fish is not put to waste though, more on that later...

The other highlight of the platter goes to the roasted chicken which is "impaled" on a steel rod. He/She does not look very happy though in this picture. :p

There! I found a happier photo of the similar chicken. Though not as photogenic and boastful in the earlier picture, this photo seems more down to earth though. With most part of the chicken chopped for more friendly handling, the chicken breast is then stir fried with diced vegetables (carrots and some beans?) and it should be eaten along the iceberg lettuce (similar to Korean way of eating your dakgalbi ya!). The chicken is slightly tough though, probably free range chicken is used here. The size of the chicken wing itself could be comparable to your average drumstick size!

The fate of the fish goes beyond the buttered fillets, as the legacy is continued in a bowl of tummy warming fish head beehoon! Sourish and savoury at the same time, the comforting bowl of noodles will give you an appetizing carbohydrate fix for this dinner!

Zooming into individual items on the platter! Everyone will get one unit each! No more, no less! All diners are to practice thoughtfulness and remember what items they have "plucked" from the platter as not to cross over other people's portion. This is a "dumpling" containing fish meat paste and prawn in moreish gravy used to lightly braise it. Nothing really spectacular though as this could appear as one of the side dish of the entree platter you normally find as the first dish of a Chinese wedding/banquet dinner. There is another patty of fish paste "dim sum-like" item at the bottom of this dumpling (you can refer to bottom picture, it is actually covered by the inverted wine glass)

Another common sight of an item in the first platter of a Chinese banquet dinner. It contains shredded seafood filling mixed with some vegetables and mayonnaise and coated in some Thai style sweet and sour sauce. Not really to my liking as it tasted very normal.

Moving forward, this is probably something you don't see (well probably you see it now and then but you don't eat this now and then though) often. Each soup spoon contains an abalone with braised fish maw. Needless to say, this is one of the priced item here, so savour it slowly :) At the inner circle, there is another circular assemby of spoons containing a dim-sum like meat paste item (again!)

Okay, here is a close-up shot of the missing items beside the abalone. (Photo credit to my cousin, Chris). Come to think of it. This is deconstructing the whole Chinese banquet meal which usually takes almost 2 hours from the first course all the way to the 8th course by fitting it into one single gargantuan platter. Appetizer platter, fish, chicken, noodles, vegetables! And yes, it is indeed filling! We did ordered a side portion of Assorted Waxed Claypot rice but it was unnecessary as the bowl of meehoon is there to fill the void in your stomach (should there be any)

Standard Chinese banquet dinner desserts - Shanghai pancakes (crispy layered pastry with lotus bean paste filling) and Red Bean soup (the one where is fully loaded with water chestnut, black sesame and glutinous rice balls! These are not included in the Big Harvest meal, pancake was RM12 if not mistaken while the red bean soup is at around RM26?

This is another aeriel view of the Big Harvest platter which carries a price tag of RM799. Speak to the manager in charge and if you pay in cash, they can "make some arrangements" for you. Not convenient for me to disclose in details but I guess you know what I am trying to hint. Signing off with a video below courtesy of my cousin being the ad-hoc videographer while yours truly is busy snapping photo. Have a great week ahead! :)

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