Monday, June 12, 2017

READY, SET, LUNCH AT PAK LOH CHIU CHOW



Few working people especially office workers has the luxury of time to waste during lunch. With just an hour or less to spare, they descend on eateries like hungry locusts to grab a quick bite before returning to the workplace in a jiffy.
Preferred lunch fare for them has to be speedy, filling and reasonably priced. It’s one of the main reasons why Executive Chef Alex Au and his team at Pak Loh Chiu Chow are proffering Weekday Set Lunch from 12 noon to 3 pm.
The choices available are varied and substantial enough for sharing, based on what we sampled. Each set lunch includes a glass of juice, a delicious appetiser of Roast Duck with Butterfly Bun before your choice of main course arrives and wraps up with a serving of fresh fruit. Light eaters may wish to share as some of the rice-based dishes are rather generous or small groups may want to supplement the meal with a signature dish or two.
Chiu chow cuisine is homely and hearty so the dishes are soul-satisfyingly good and should leave you replete. Traditionalists who hanker for simple, home-style cooking will find the scrumptious Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Mui Choy with Rice and Seasonal Vegetable (RM45) spot-on in this aspect.
A familiar and timeless favourite in many Chinese homes, Chef Au’s version of course boasts richer and more complex flavour dimensions. After listening to his detailed explanation on its painstaking preparation, we appreciate the humble offering even more. The proof is definitely in the eating.
We reckon the closest offering to upstage that would be Rice with Baked Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs and Seasonal Vegetables (RM45). The winsome sweet and sour sauce (which incorporates the famed Zhenjiang vinegar as a key ingredient) tastes delicate yet lushly balanced; bestowing the delectable meaty ribs with a nice, glistening sheen.
The millennial crows would prefer Lemon Chicken Chop with Rice & Seasonal Vegetable (RM35). The tender yet crisp chicken fillet doused in tangy lemon sauce is already a popular crowd-pleaser according to the chef.
By comparison, the Fried Rice with Barbequed Pork, Prawns and Seasonal Vegetable (RM35) seems almost underwhelming. If you’re big on this perennial fave, everything’s par for the course.
Those of you who prefer noodles, fret not as the big bowl of La Mian Soup with Bacon and Seasonal Vegetable (RM35) is an irresistible option. We like how the smoky, slightly salty bacon lends voluptuous indulgence to the broth. Hand-made onsite, the springy noodles prove excellent too.
Not into soupy stuff? Stir-fried La Mian Noodles with Pork & Seasonal Vegetable (RM35) may be more appealing then. Again the prevalent flavours are unmistakably of hearth and home so singletons craving for mom’s cooking will find much comfort from the dish.
Chef Alex Au is rightly known for his repertoire of jiu phai choi or house specialities among Pak Loh Chiu Chow’s regulars. Among the standard-bearers from day one is Slow-Braised Goose with Pork Fillet, Pork Intestine, Pig’s Ear, Egg and Bean Curd (RM45 small, RM80 regular).
 A traditional speciality no true-blue Chiu Chow will ever tire of eating. The secret to the dish’s deliciousness boils down to the mother stock known as lou sui – literally translated as braising water coupled with the ensemble of different textural interests.
The natural sweetness of three types of fresh fish takes the limelight in the comforting serving of Pomfret Rice Porridge (RM45). A firm staple in Chiu Chow homes, the soupy porridge is accentuated with ground dried sole powder and chopped coriander thus further boosting its homely appeal.
Being in the soup is not such a bad thing here when it’s old-skool Double-Boiled Pork Tripe with Pepper and Salted Vegetables (RM25) on the menu. An unpretentious, wholesome broth that Chinese tycoons and plebs would readily succumb to.
If you’re old enough like me, major Chinese festivals mean the appearance of heartwarming dishes similar to Braised Spring Chicken Stuffed with Glutinous Rice, Garlic, Ginger and Straw Mushrooms (RM45). A sublime speciality that reinforces Chef Au’s masterful skills as a capable proponent of Chiu Chow cuisine.
Both the Stir-Fried Kailan with Fresh Lily Bulb and Halibut Fish (RM40), and Honey Barbecued Pork (RM40) are eclipsed by the show-stopping offering; their simplistic albeit palate-pleasing traits bringing reliable substance to the table.
For reservations, call Pak Loh Chiu Chow restaurant, tel: 03 – 2782 3856. Address: Feast Village, Feast Floor, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. www.feastvillage.com

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