Sunday, August 23, 2015

MID-AUTUMN INDULGENCE FROM TAI THONG GROUP



The first salvo in the annual mooncake sales war has been fired by Tai Thong (TT) Group. Media and blogger friends were roped in to drum up support the Mid Autumn Indulgence press conference cum dinner recently - a full-blown affair complete with Chinese classical musicians, a stilt-walker, a DIY mooncake-making corner and a thunderous drum performance.

Each year, TT Group’s head chef Yiu Wing Keung not only keeps the mooncake-making tradition alive but also introduces new flavours to excite the resto group’s customers – a tall order as the sweet treats have to boast unique taste profiles and look presentable yet retain the essence of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Rising to market demand for healthier options, TT Group has taken a fruit and nut approach for its new mooncake flavours this year. It’s a tricky path to manoeuvre but Chef Yiu succeeded in pulling it off with his Baked Orange Lotus with Palm Sugar & Assorted Seeds, Snow Skin Pineapple Lotus with Jackfruit Mochi, Baked Blueberry Lotus with Dried Fruits & Assorted Seeds and Snow Skin Mango Kiwi with Assorted Dried Fruits.

The Baked Orange Lotus variant comes up trumps in my book for its distinct caramelised citrusy notes and subtle crunch from the added seeds.

Another harmonious pairing is Snow Skin Mooncake with Pineapple Lotus and Jackfruit Mochi. A delightful combination which reminded me of a chewy pineapple tart of sorts with hints of jackfruit thrown into the sunny yellow equation.

Since blueberries are being touted as a super food, it is inevitable they’d end up in mooncakes. Imagine a baked mooncake studded with plumper raisins, bits of dried fruits and mixed seeds – that’s how it taste.

Ephemerally light on the palate, the tropical tanginess of the Snow Skin Mango Kiwi with Assorted Dried Fruits mooncake should please those who eschew the ‘heaviness’ of traditional lotus paste fillings.
 

Of course, if you’re into the King of Fruits, only TT’s evergreen ‘blockbuster’ – the decadent Imperial Musang King Royale (RM78 - 2 pieces) will fit the bill. I guarantee you it’d be love at first bite.
Return of the King...TT's Imperial Musang King Royale mooncakes come with a special 'cooler' bag to retain its freshness. Photo courtesy of Chasingfooddreams  

Tai Thong Mooncakes are HALAL certified by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM), are HACCP compliant and free from artificial colourings and flavourings. Prices start from RM12.80 onwards per piece (West Malaysia) and RM13.30 onwards (East Malaysia).

The resident culinary team at TTG also pooled their ideas to come up with several Mid-Autumn Fest a la carte menu dishes incorporating the same fruits used in their mooncakes.

But first, paving the way was a heartwarming bowl of Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Conpoy, Papaya & Snow Fungus. Sweet, savoury and brimming with homespun goodness, it’s the kind of broth that even mothers would approve of.
The fruity acidity and lush mango sweetness lend extra appeal to the platter of Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Mango & Kiwi Sauce (RM43++); both admirably reining in the cloying richness of the fried stuff.

Interestingly, you’d detect varying degree of sweetness in the inventive creation of Seared Scallop with Blueberry and Apricot (RM58++). We like the juicy bursts of berries mingled with the shellfish’s succulence and crisp romaine lettuce.

Hats off to the chefs for managing to raise the bar even higher with the dual offerings of Stuffed Prawns with Palm Sugar & Fresh Orange (RM38++) and Fried Prawns with Pineapple & Jackfruit Sauce (RM43++). The refreshing fruitiness and toasty caramel-like sweetness are delightful on the palate.

Most of us strove to find tummy space when the Spicy Pineapple Fried Rice with Vegetarian Floss was served. It lacks the necessary ‘oomph’ but let’s not quibble over such a minor thing.

Dinner wraps up on a high sweet note with a fluffy-light Blueberry-cranberry Sponge Cake (RM8.80++) and a delicately fashioned Peony Puff Pastry with Pineapple & Jackfruit, (RM10.80++). 

The special Mid Autumn Festival a la carte menu is available at all TT Group of restaurants (except Spring Garden KLCC) until 27 September 2015.

For more details or reservations, call 1800-88-2338 or visit www.taithong.com.my

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