Tuesday, July 18, 2006
TERRIFIC TEOCHEW TEMPTATIONS
^Classic Teochew Delight of Stewed Goose
^Traditional dessert of Mung Bean in Syrup
^Signature of Toh Lee - Goma Pudding with Ice-cream
^Superbly nutritious soup of Duck Wing & Preserved Plum
^Alluring Abalone in eight different preparations
^Crispy & Crunchy Deep-fried Mung Bean Spring Rolls
^Unusual but nice...Abalone Smoked with Chang Wood & Tea
Most Malaysians will invariably think of the ever-popular Teochew porridge, Teochew-style steamed fish and that sticky yam dessert known as or nee whenever the mention of Teochew dishes crop up.
In her book titled The Heritage of Chinese Cooking, renowned Australian Chinese author Elizabeth Chong noted that the Teochew or Chiu Chow (as it known in Cantonese) community originates from Shantou or Swatow, an area about 270 km east of Guangzhou. Their predominantly seafood-based cuisine is similar to the Cantonese albeit with more robust flavours from the use of garlic, fresh and dried lemons, fermented beanpaste and fish sauce.
Having worked for a Singaporean Teochew sifu (master chef), Hotel Nikko’s Chinese Chef C Y Chan is quick to second those facts. With close to two decades of industry experience, Chef Chan is not only well-versed in different aspects of Chinese cuisine, he is also a firm believer in doing certain things like basic soup stock the old-fashioned way.
So if you like a sampling of other Teochew delicacies, Chef Chan has created a small but enticing selection of Teochew dishes such as Teochew-style Stewed Goose, Braised Superior Shark’s Fin and Deep-fried Mung Beans Spring Rolls amongst others for diners to try.
"Some are classical delights while a few are updated interpretations," said Chef Chan.
The crispy Deep-fried Spring Rolls (RM8.00++) reflects the latter as it is filled with mashed skinless mung beans, finely shredded wood’s ear fungus, duck meat and Chinese mushroom. The intermingling of textures and delicate flavours made for interesting eating.
This light yet flavourful vein continues in the sublime soup of Double-boiled Duck Wing with Plum (RM35++). A delicious, nourishing broth that will perk you up instantly, it reminded me of grannie's hum choi tong or salted vegetable soup of my childhood. Subtly imbued with the tanginess of preserved plum and sliced lemon, the tasty soup draws its exquisitely sweet flavours from the sea cucumber, black mushroom and chopped duck wing in it.
I have always enjoyed eating Teochew-style braised duck from street side stalls with the accompaniments of tow foo (beancurd) and hard-boiled eggs. So the classic delicacy of Stewed Goose (RM60++ for half, RM120++ for whole) certainly left more than a favourable impression. It is a superbly elegant dish that not only emphasizes the tender and succulent goose, but also the delicious sauce imbued with the aromatic nuances of Chinese spices.
Other noteworthy Teochew specialities which I'm sure you'd find equally agreeable will be Stir-fried Sliced Chicken with Peppercorns, Scrambled Egg with Baby Oysters, Deep-fried Yam Finger Rolls and Sautéed Vegetables with Dried Sole. Head on over to Toh Lee Restaurant before end of July if you wish to discover a bit more about these terrific dishes.
If you have a penchant for abalone, don’t miss the Abalone Promotion which runs concurrently from now until end August 2006. Citibank card holders will have extra incentive to indulge thanks to Toh Lee’s Buy One Free One deal at RM120++ for any of the outlet's abalone specialities. The unbeatable offer is only valid until July 31, 2006 though.
Master Chef Loh Chon Hor has conjured up eight different preparations using premium Australian abalone exclusively for this promotion. The Braised Whole Abalone with Fish Lip and Garlic is a gourmet’s delight as the abalone’s sweet, complex flavour and smooth flesh which is slightly resistant to the bite was amply complemented by a light sauce. A whole pip of smoked garlic, blanched broccoli florets and sliced fish lips bestowed their own distinctive textures and flavours to the dish but stopped short of eclipsing the gastropod.
Another intriguing creation is the Braised Whole Abalone with ‘Chang’ Wood and Tea. This preparation imbued the shellfish with a discernible smokiness which makes it different from the usual abalone dishes you’d encounter. I reckon it is good enough to eat on its own although the accompanying sweet dip served on the side gives it a unique taste dimension.
The remaining epicurean selection includes Braised Whole Abalone in Brown Sauce, Braised Abalone with Venison Tendon, Braised Abalone with Dried Scallop, Braised Abalone with Goma (Sesame) Cream and Broccoli, Braised Abalone with Sea Cucumber and Chinese Scallion, and Mini Monk Jumps Over The Wall.
Two typical Teochew dessert, Chilled Mung Beans in Syrup (RM8++ per bowl) and Sweetened Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts (RM10++) are available to round off your meal nicely. Alternatively, try Toh Lee’s signature Chilled Goma Pudding with Ice-cream comprising a superbly smooth sesame pudding with its delicate nutty aftertaste.
Located on Level 1 of Hotel Nikko, the elegant ambience of Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant makes it a top draw for corporations and discerning Chinese food lovers. Its polished, unobtrusive service befits the outlet’s understated luxurious setting which includes several beautifully appointed private dining rooms.
TOH LEE CHINESE RESTAURANT (pork-free)
Level 1 Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Reservations: 2782 6128.
Business hours: Daily12 noon to 2.30 pm (lunch) and 6.30 to 10.30 pm (dinner)