Thursday, August 17, 2017


The best testament of how original a particular type of food is when the country’s native citizens show up to eat it. So imagine how chuffed Carmen Loo – owner of Brasaria restaurant was when Peruvian customers showed up to enjoy Pollo a La Brasa, Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken at Brasaria recently.

Opened in February this year, Brasaria has steadily won plaudits for its delicious charcoal-grilled chicken. According to Carmen, the restaurant uses chickens from a halal-certified supplier. The chooks are marinated for 24 hours with the house Peruvian-style marinade.

“We use fresh, locally sourced chillies, coriander, mint and jalapeños among others in our preparation,” said Carmen. “In Peru, Pollo a La Brasa is a popular street-food dish found at almost every corner. The rotisserie grilled chicken is usually served with rice or fries and grilled vegetables.”


In sync with this casual, simple food approach, the owners have kept Brasaria’s interior uncluttered and functional. At the entrance, a whimsical Ilama replica ‘greets’ diners while solid blocks of colour accents evoke vibrant vibes inside.

The straightforward menu proffers grilled chicken in quarter, half or whole servings. Our dining party opted for El Jefe ‘The Boss’ (RM45.90 whole chicken a la carte, RM60.90 whole chicken with large green salad & 2 sides).

We wolfed down the delectable Peruvian chicken within minutes and thoroughly enjoyed every bite of the tender, juicy chicken. For variation in flavour, dip chunks of the meat into the house Aji Mild and Aji Hot sauces. Made using different amounts of aji amarillo peppers with coriander, garlic, vinegar and mayonnaise, some preferred the milder creamy green dip while others went wild over the feisty hot version. There is also fruity BBQ Peruano sauce.

“Most Peruvians will supplement their chicken feast with rice or potato fries and grilled veggies,” explained Carmen. “Our customers prefer the Latin Trio (RM5).” We soon discovered why − the slightly charred sweet potato, plantain and pineapple had such homespun appeal, it was easy to succumb to their basic, comforting taste.

I was also partial to Elote (RM5), grilled corn cob slathered with aji sauce, chilli powder and cheese. The buttery and fragrant Brasaria Rice – Peruvian yellow rice with raisins (RM5) was heartily satisfying. Ditto for the addictive Salchipapas (RM5), deep-fried French Fries (RM5) with strips of fried chicken frankfurters and a choice of house sauces.

Grilled Vegetable (RM5) comprising eggplant, zucchini, carrot and capsicum dices tossed in a piquant sauce made a complementary side to the overall equation.

Pasta lovers may like to sample El Tallarines (RM14.90). A typical spaghetti dish tossed in Peruvian pesto with shredded roast chicken and a sprinkling of cheese, it won the day thanks to the dish’s fresh herbaceous and nutty-savoury accents.

After that stellar line-up, we reckon El Sanguche ‘The Sandwich’ (RM14.90) paled by comparison. Okay, the soft roll filled with hand-pulled chicken with mixed greens, aji sauce and salsa criollo was decent enough but was nothing to write home about.

Since no dessert was available that day, we made do with Agua Fresca (RM5), a refreshing drink made with fresh fruit of the day as the palate refresher.

For reservations, call Brasaria, tel: 03-7627 4626. Address: D-59-G, Block D, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Monday, August 14, 2017


‘Hor Tsang’ is my tongue-in-cheek reference to Chef Justin Hor (left) and Chef Peter Tsang, the dynamic duo headlining the Classic Nanyang Cantonese Cuisine promotion by the Oriental Group of Restaurants. The term sounds like ‘hou zeng’ meaning very good, excellent, amazing or awesome – an apt description for the culinary creations featured.
Being hands on keep culinary skills sharp said Chef Peter Tsang

As part of the Oriental’s 9th Annual Guest Chef Grand Dinner series, the group’s Executive Chef Justin Hor said his collaboration with Chef Peter Tsang of Si Chuan Dou Hua Parkroyal Singapore was inspired by the current One Belt One Road initiative, as well as how Hong Kong chefs have influenced the Chinese food scene in Southeast Asia especially Malaysia and Singapore.
Delicious Liver Sausage & Prawn Rolls to rock you

“Having presented our annual Grand Dinner series back in 2008, we have successfully introduced a wide spectrum of classic Chinese cuisine to the dining public,” said Chef Justin Hor. “It’s a good way of educating them on the cultural significance of the dishes highlighted.”

This year, the chef decided to bank on his long standing working relations and friendship with Chef Peter Tsang. Both chefs collaborated to compose two 8-course menus using carefully selected ingredients and sauces that capture the rich and vibrant culinary heritage of the Chinese community.
Tsang's speciality of Chilled Chicken with Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce

Hong Kong-born Peter Tsang who entered the restaurant industry in 1969 recalled how he worked from the bottom rung of the kitchen hierarchy over the years – from making dim sum and mastering the art of roasting to the many aspects of hot cooking.

Tsang moved to Singapore in the 1980s and even pitched in to open the Shangri-La KL in 1985. Even now, the veteran chef remains in the thick of the kitchen action as he believes “a master chef needs to be hands-on to keep their skills and palate sharp. In Malaysia and Singapore, all the Chinese master chefs still have to work or it’d be hard to win the respect of those working for them.”
Delightful nibbles of Pork Kyuri Rolls with Spicy Sauce

Our lunch preview commenced with numerous dishes of light bites; a myriad of appetisers boasting the bewildering and vast spectrum of Chinese cooking, incorporating notable flavours of the Nanyang (referring to SEA in Chinese) and Far East: salted egg, belacan, spices and wasabi among others. 
Chilled Bitter Gourd with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Outstanding appetisers such as Fragrant Black Sesame Flat Noodle (RM18 per portion), Capsicum & Apricot Mushroom in Miso (RM24 per portion), and Chilled Bitter Gourd in Sweet Chilli Sauce (RM18 per portion) piqued our interest, mainly due to their ingenious simplicity, textural contrasts and winsome flavours.
New twist to old fave of Radish Cake prepared 'bei fung thong' (Typhoon Shelther) Style
Familiar yesteryear faves were reinterpreted using different techniques or condiments, causing us to see and taste them in new light. Liver Sausage & Prawn Rolls (RM24 per portion), Radish Cake ‘Typhoon Shelter’ Style (RM24 per portion), Deep-fried Salt & Pepper Sea Cucumber (RM48 per portion), Pork Kyuri Roll with Spicy Sauce (RM24 per portion) and Chilled Chicken with Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce (RM24) can be group into this category.

Hot on the heels of the light bites was the conversation stopper of the day. Despite its pale creamy appearance, the Doubled-Boiled Snakehead Fish (Haruan) with Fish Maw and Aged Beancurd in Paper Wok was soul-satisfyingly good. The chefs even shared step-by-step preparation of the sweet, slightly gelatinous and milky white broth. Trust me, you’re better off forking out RM38 for a bowl of such salubrious goodness.

Befitting the ducks’ stature, they paired the Treasure Chest Duck with Abalone and Soft Boiled Quail Eggs (minimum a day’s advance notice at RM388 for a whole duck). Old fogeys like yours truly savoured the nostalgia the braised dish evoked. Soft and meltingly tender, the duck meat formed a dream trinity with the toothsome abalone and quail eggs with their runny yolk centres. It took restraint not to lick every single drop of that sublime sauce from the plate!

Served amidst billowing streams of dry ice, the Crystal Wrapped Steamed Soon Hock with Radish and Green Ginger (RM368 each) managed to live up its fanciful presentation. The fish doneness was on point; its natural sweetness soaked up by discs of radish and juxtaposed against dabs of blended ginger with spring onion.

A touch of whimsy emerged in the delicate speciality of Scallop in Golden Egg White Souffle (RM68 per serving for 4 persons). Presented on a bed of blanched spinach, we found the poufy light egg white pouch held an exquisite scallop inside.

Just when we thought it was impossible to top that sumptuous offering, along came the game-changing Ying Yang Rice with Lobster & Crab Meat in Superior Crab Soup (RM138 per serving for 4). A luxurious step up from normal fried rice, both chefs are justifiably proud of this homely dish. We agreed wholeheartedly as the rice was a fabulous canvas to flaunt those exuberant deep-sea nuances.  
Cooling dessert seems ideal in our tropical heat so the dessert of Chilled Peach Resin in Snow Pear (RM9 per person) proved a welcomed option. Its fruity sweetness was the base for poached pear stuffed with jelly-like blobs of peach resin. A rousing end to a grand meal conjured up by two acclaimed Chinese master chefs.

Set menus for the Classic Nanyang Cantonese Cuisine Grand Dinner are priced at RM1,888 nett and RM3,888 nett per table of 10. Some of the culinary creations are also available a la carte from 25 August to 30 September.
For reservations, please visit: