Putien is one of those Chinese restaurants I’d always enjoy patronising as the food has that nice home-cooked taste while the modern, cheery ambiance makes me feel at ease. Service may be harried during peak hours but you can’t fault them for their operation efficiency.
Our recent dinner saw us nibbling on two types of tid-bits prior to dinner: Xiang Ku Dou (broad beans RM3 per dish) and sliced Radish in Orange Juice (RM3 per dish). Definitely a good change from run-of-the-mill peanuts usually served elsewhere.
With summer in full swing, Putien has brought in some seasonal produce all the way from the coastal city of Putian in Fujian, China for their Summer Bliss menu. The selection is available until 31 August 2015 so do check them out.
Known as the birthplace of the goddess of Mazu and the fabled Southern Shoalin kungfu, Putian is blessed with bountiful harvests from land and sea. The people known as Heng Hwa is proud of their fresh, light and invigorating cuisine – a reflection of the pure essence of its produce and culinary heritage.
Back at the resto, the sea-fresh prawns literally jumped through ‘hoops’ in the dish of Stir Fried Lotus Root with Prawn (RM38.90). Threaded through crunchy lotus root slices, the swirly, tender prawns drew praises for their delicate sweetness.
Bursting with juicy savouriness, plump sun-kissed tomatoes were artfully transformed into Pan Fried Tomatoes with Minced Pork (RM5.90 per piece, minimum order of 2 pcs). Sheathed in a gossamer-thin layer of beaten egg, thick tomato slices sandwiched with minced pork were pan-fried to perfect tenderness. Biting into the slices, we were rewarded with a sublime burst of sweet, savoury and faint tartness. Soooo good.
The Iced Abalone (RM37) is a perfect testament to Putian’s top grade seafood. Specially imported by the restaurant, the premium shellfish is treated with reverence; poached in the house superior stock then served whole on crushed ice. Its sensuous, toothsome springiness and muted deep-sea sweetness would leave you tingling with pleasure.
Another speciality we were partial to is Drunken Cockles (RM15.50). Drizzled with a robust garlic sauce and a sprinkling of minced garlic and chilli, this offering is Putien’s perennial best-seller. The only snag is local cockles are now in dire shortage so hopefully the resto would have their own supply source to ensure the availability of this signature dish.
Harvested only after 65 days, top grade 25-mm long seaweed is combined with miniature shrimps from the South China Sea for the house special of Seaweed with Mini Shrimps (RM15.50). Umami-rich in taste, the dark purplish seaweed is slightly crunchy, making it a healthy and nutritious appetiser.
We were also enamoured by Putien Style Oyster Omelette (RM22.50) which resembled a large piece of ‘cucur’ (pancake fritter). Stir-fried on high heat to splendid crispiness, the egg white omelette had fresh oysters enfolded into it.
Our current hot and hazy weather called for Iced Bitter Gourd (RM8.50), another pride of Putien. Served well-chilled on ice, the translucent-thin, ribbon-long slices of crunchy bittergourd tasted refreshingly crunchy; the inherent bitterness tempered by a dish of honey.
Braised Pig Intestine (RM18) may be an acquired taste for the faint-hearted. It is excellent if you like rubbery-soft food with springy resistance. A lot of TLC went into making this humble offering as specially selected foot-long intestines had to be cleaned, looped into nine layers, cooked then braised to perfection in a concoction of 12 spices.
If that doesn’t float your boat, try the traditional Stir Fried Yam (RM20.50). Only the middle part of premium quality yam is diced then skilfully fried to render them golden crisp on the outside and fluffy soft inside. Trust me, you’d be wanting more once you sample it.
Light eaters may like Shredded Meat with Bun (RM6.50/pc, minimum order of 2 pcs) – sautéed shredded pork with slightly caramelised onions stuffed into golden deep-fried half-moon buns embellished with sesame seeds on top. The somewhat indulgent servings are soul-satisfyingly good.
Die-hard pork fans must savour the collagen-rich Deep Fried Pig’s Trotter with Salt & Pepper (RM13/pc, minimum order of 2 pcs). Each seven-inch Australian trotter goes through a tedious 12-hour long prep but the resultant delicacy is comfort food taken to epicurean height. Who could resist salt & pepper seasoned pig skin that’s crackling crisp before giving way to irresistibly gristly and collagen-rich layer beneath?
Our requisite quota of greens was simple but tasty stir-fried Chinese Spinach with Salted Egg & Century Egg in Supreme Stock (RM20.50), to balance the array of seafood and meat served.
Carb lovers must savour Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon (RM21.50), a definitive crowd-puller whisked up from imported hand-milled and sun-dried Heng Hwa bee hoon. The fine, silky strands looked almost translucent, well-endowed in the flavour department by the voluptuous milky pork bone and old hen stock as well as the inclusion of ten different ingredients such as fresh greens, prawns, mushroom slices, peanuts, clams, etc.
Pair that with a bowl or two of Braised Bean Curd with Chinese Cabbage (RM29.00 small / RM43.50 medium). The substantial pot of delicate broth brimming with housemade beancurd, Chinese cabbage, seasonal clams, dried shrimps and dried scallops is chockfull of clear, uncomplicated accents.
Soupy noodle fans would rave about Putien Lor Mee (RM21.50) – slick strands of thick Putian noodles in luscious pork broth with pork belly, prawns and clams thrown into the equation.
Chilled Putien Loquat in Herbal Jelly (RM9) is a contemporary take on gwai lin kou, a dark mildly bitter herbal jelly. Here, juicy loquat – a Putian staple – lent a citrusy tang to blunt that nuance.
We also had a ball with Sweet Potato Balls (RM8/6 pcs), dainty sweet potato mash balls deep-fried until crisp and flecked with sesame seeds. Thankfully, they were light enough without leaving behind an unbearable ‘heavy’ post-meal feeling.
In fact, we managed to share different dessert among our dining party, starting with Purple Sweet Potato with Pumpkin Cream (RM9) – an interesting combo of sweet potato mash and pumpkin puree and Pumpkin Cream with Ice Cream (RM11.50).
Denser on the palate is Hot Yam Paste with Ginkgo Nuts (RM6.50); its mild sweet paste lightened with ginkgo nuts, reminiscent to Teochew ‘orh ni’ (thick yam paste dessert).
Lightest of them all is Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Fruits (RM6.50), an ethereal offering tickling the tastebuds with subtle lemony-gingery nuance and the juiciness of fresh dragonfruit and watermelon dices.
For reservations, call PUTIEN, tel: 03 7722 1539. The main outlet is at G213A Ground Floor, Promenade, 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing), Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Another branch is at Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre.