New Formosa - PJ’s bastion of Chinese-Taiwanese cuisine - celebrated its 36th anniversary in September. To mark the milestone, owner Jeanie Lee and husband Lee Weng Eng (also the resto’s chef) came up with special celebratory menus (RM498++ and RM598++ per table of 10 persons) showcasing the resto’s perennial signature specialities.
Ever the genial host, Mrs Lee decided to fete our dining party to handpicked specials from the celebratory menus and popular signature dishes which made New Formosa what it is today.
Big flavours and multi-textures reigned in the opening Formosa Special Combination. The quintet of tasty Yam Balls, 3-cup Squid, Formosan-style Butter Fish Slices, Deep-fried Oysters Taiwanese-style and Stuffed Lotus Root with Special Fish Paste were hard to fault. Some of the offerings stirred up fond memories of old-school wedding banquets while the distinctly Taiwanese ones piqued interest with new tweaks. Overall, it was a substantial platter that left no cause for complaints.
As a kid, I’m a huge fan of chicken meat and the Steamed Village Chicken with Black Fungus took me down my childhood memory lane. Toothsomely tender, the super-succulent chook were raveworthy thanks to the trinity of minced ginger, spring onion and crunchy black fungus blanketing it.
For farn toong or die-hard rice eaters, the Bamboo Rice definitely rose to the occasion. Studded with diced pumpkin, mushroom, dried shrimps, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), minced pork and fried shallot, the aromatic and delectable grains were satisfyingly out-of-this-world.
Crabs are rarely found at New Formosa so when you do encounter them, the critters should ‘grab’ your attention. We couldn’t decide which was better – the fresh, sweet crab claws or the addictive sweet-sour sauce redolent with garlic, spring onion and vinegarish accents which we greedily soaked up with fried mantou.
The piquancy of hot bean sauce in the local seabass dish should please those with a penchant for strong flavours. Surprisingly, the fish’s delicate sweetness remained discernible despite being inundated by a generous helping of tart-salty-hot sauce.
Only available on weekdays, the unique Formosa Stone Fire Pot (RM20 per person, min 3 persons per table) features 22 ingredients. Assorted housemade meat and fishballs, mushroom, corn, pumpkin, cabbage, crabstick, bamboo pith and other ingredients are more than ample to make the speciality memorable. Prawns can also be added (charged according to market price) for that luxe dimension.
A durable ‘stone’ pot placed atop a portable stove is heated up for sautéing garlic and chicken meat. Once the Taiwanese satay-type sauce is added and the meat cooked through, the stir-fried dish is ready to be sampled.
The same heated pot is then reused to partially cook the prawns before steamboat stock is poured in. All the other goodies are then added and slowly brought to boil. Is it any wonder the resultant milieu tasted superbly good and incomparable to normal steamboat?
When it comes to dessert, few diners can resist the resto’s evergreen Sweet Yam in Honey Sauce. Soft and powdery, the chunks of warm yam were coated in caramelised sugar at the table then plunged into ice-cold water. This process turned the outer coating crackly, edged with wispy sugary tendrils, making the yam pieces a joy to eat.
Clean and astringent, the second dessert of marble-smooth Green Tea Pudding with Red Beans also went down a treat. Besides cleansing the palate, it left all of us in a jolly sweet mood to wrap up the night.
For reservations, call New Formosa, tel: 03 7875 7478. Address: 46, Jalan SS2/24, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.