Sunday, October 13, 2019


Free-range, organically raised village chicken is prized for its toothsome, leaner meat texture. This month, Zuan Yuan’s Executive Chinese Chef Tommy Choong Chan Hoo focuses on five different preparations to showcase this chook at its best eating quality.
The notable show-stealing Organic Village Chicken with Chinese Herbs (RM120 per bird) needs to be pre-ordered 24 hours in advance. Thoroughly suffused by the enticing nuances of various Chinese herbs used in its preparation, the fall-off-the-bone chicken is satisfyingly good. Not a single drop of the flavourful herbal broth is wasted either.
According to Chef Tommy, diners may enjoy the village chicken smoked, steamed with cordycep flowers, poached with dried scallop sauce and garden greens or roast with black truffle paste. The various preparations will be available until end October.
Long recognised as Asia’s "Gourmet Paradise" and "World's Fair of Food", Hong Kong holds a special place in Chef Tommy’s heart as the place where his culinary career took off. This month, he pays tribute to this bastion of Cantonese food with a special range of Hong Kong-style specialities.
His Pan Fried Scallop stuffed with Prawn Paste served with Superior Sauce encapsulates the refined spirit of Cantonese cooking perfectly. Lightly dressed with a lush, caramelised sauce, the sea-fresh sweetness of the scallops and prawns easily make this the ‘must have’ dish of the day.
Dried mandarin peel, dried prawns and spring onion are de rigeur when it comes to making fish balls in Hong Kong but for his speciality of Curry Fish Balls and Fish Maw “Hong Kong” Style in Claypot, the chef says he has tweaked the recipe to suit local tastebuds.
Served in a fragrant Indian-inspired curry gravy, the fishballs’ QQ springiness is delicious. Coupled with spongy pieces of fish maw, one can easily be induced to eat more than their fair share of rice.
Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are mixed with chopped onion, butter, milk and superior stock to form a rich stuffing for the Baked Assorted Mushrooms and Crab Meat with Cheese in Crab Shell. It’s an old-school appetiser when cheese was a novelty during the colonial era and the well-heeled preferred to devour crabs without getting their hands dirty.
The Crispy Roasted Duck stuffed with Yam Paste served with Sweet Sauce is a misnomer. In reality, Chef Tommy stuffed the roast duck between a layer of yam paste before deep-frying his creation. Served with drizzle of sweet bean sauce, the outer crust is deliciously crisp with wispy tendrils whilst the inner layer is the meaty part.
Priced between RM36 and RM48, the Best of Hong Kong selection is available for lunch (12noon to 2.30pm) and dinner (6pm to 10.30pm) daily.
For enquiries or reservations at Zuan Yuan, please call tel: 03 - 7681 1157 or email: Address: One World Hotel, First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre, Selangor.


Kambing Guling and Bakwan Malang are two of the interesting dishes
crafted by guest chef Robert Wisnu Untoro (right) for the Indonesian Food and Culture Week at Curate, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

Held from October 7 – 13, the special food and cultural promotion was organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur. The sumptuous daily lunch and dinner buffet features specialities from across the Indonesian archipelago.
Chef Wisnu, who is also as a DJ, kept diners entertained while cooking up a storm with his inimitable flair.  We were smitten at first bite by the tender, spiced-rubbed Kambing Guling – roasted leg of goat sliced on request from the carvery.
Interestingly, Bakwan Malang isn’t unlucky despite its unfortunate name. In East Java, bakwan refers to fried wontons with a mixture of meat or fish and flour filling while Malang is the name of the East Javanese city. Basically, it’s a soupy noodle dish with fried wonton, fish balls, beef ball and fried beancurd. Chopped spring onion, fried shallot and a dollop of  green chilli sambal add subtle pops of flavour to the offering.

Aromatic spices like cloves and pepper are evident in clear, tummy-warming Sop Buntut (Javanese oxtail soup) which has chunky pieces of bones and tender cubes of beef in it.


A plethora of salads such as Urapan Sayur, Lalapan, Tahu Gejrot (fried tofu and beansprouts in sweet spicy sauce), Ketoprak (tofu, shredded vegetables and pressed rice cakes in peanut sauce), Salada Ayam Bumbu Bali, Pecel and Karedok piques our palate before we descend on the main courses. The lightly blanched salads are mostly tossed or served with peanut sauce.

Spicing the meal up are an array of curries; some flaunting lush, fragrant coconut milk-enriched gravy, others accentuated by drier spice blends. Notable dishes worth sampling include Telur Pop (deep-fried hardboiled eggs in pale coconuty gravy), Bebek Sambal Hijau (duck in dry green chilli curry), Ayam Gule (Sumatran chicken curry) and the classic Rendang Daging (beef braised in thick coconut milk, ground chilli and spices).

Different combination of spices are employed with finesse to produce delicious specialities such as Terong Belado (eggplant stir-fried with coarsely pounded chilli), Ikan Bakar Padang (grilled fish with spice rub), Gule Kapau (young jackfruit curry with long beans & cabbage) and Sambal Goreng Uti (stir-fried chicken liver & potato dices with sambal).

Dessert bears close similarity to our local kuih such as the colourful renditions of Kuih Lapis (steamed multi-layer rice cakes) and Kek Lapis (baked Indonesian layered cake enhanced with spices). Simpler street-food delights like Timus Ubi (baked tapioca cake) and Bubur Sumsum (thick gruel of coconut milk with rice flour complemented with palm sugar syrup) are also served.

A showcase of hand-drawn batik, pretty and traditional Indonesian apparel and handicrafts beckon at the mini Indonesian bazaar outside the bright and breezy Curate.

Dinner guests were also entertained by the percussive melodies of gamelan, a musical ensemble combining Javanese and Balinese influences together with the genteel movements of trad dancers.

For reservations, call Curate, tel: 03-23828888. Address: Level 5B, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, KL.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Also known as the Malaysian Battle of the Chefs, Culinaire Malaysia attracts over 1,500 entries with the participation of a thousand culinary professionals competing in various trade and skill competitions over a 3-day period.
Young and experienced chefs as well as culinary arts students put their know-how and skills to the test in every conceivable category; from fruit/vegetable carving and mixology to barista artistry and hot cooking.
After the gruelling rounds, the jubilant victors were presented with medals, trophies, mock cheques and recognition certificates in a glittering prize-giving dinner held at W Hotel Kuala Lumpur this year. MOCAT Secretary-General Datuk Isham Ishak was the guest-of-honour in attendance. Also present was Culinaire Malaysia 2019 organising chairperson and chairperson for Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Perak Chapter, Maggie Ongand her committee.
One of the few regional competitions endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) and the International Food & Beverage Assocation, the event serves to uphold and raise the bar for those in the hotel and F&B sectors. Over the years, Culinaire Malaysia has even drawn participants from Asean and Asian countries to compete. Congratulations to the winners of Culinaire Malaysia 2019:
Crystal Ice Masterpiece
Champion – Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd
1st Runner Up – Dak TR, The Ruma Hotel And Residence
Best Team Fruit Sculpture
Champion – Saigon Professional Chefs Association
1st Runner Up – Kolej Komuniti Malaysia
2nd Runner Up – Transworld University
Best Team Challenge for ASIAN THEME
Inti International College Subang
Best Team Challenge for Tea & Pastries
Berjaya University College
Most Outstanding Barista
Kosal Nisay From Kofi Co.
Malaysian Avant Garde Cuisine Challenge
Champion – De.Wan 1958 From De Wan Restaurant 1958
1st Runner Up – Team N.A.S.A From Academy Of Culinary Art Malaysia
2nd Runner Up – Ecletics From Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd
The MLA Golden Bull Culinary Challenge
Champion – Doubletree By Hilton Kuala Lumpur
1st Runner Up – Royal Brunei Catering From Brunei
2nd Runner Up – Fudehui Group From China
MLA Butcher Chef of Year 2019
Champion – Muhamad Adam Yahya from Sama-Sama Hotel KLIA
1st Runner Up – Muhammad Faizal Mokhzir from Atlas Gourment Sdn Bhd
2nd Runner Up – Mohamad Fauzan Abdul Rahman from Hero Market Sdn Bhd
Most Outstanding Pastry Chef
Shum Ming Ming from Moonlight Cake House      
Most Outstanding Artist
Muhamad Jamalul Hakim Idris from The Ruma Hotel And Residence

Malaysia Junior Tiger Cup
Champion – National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality And Tourism Food & Beverage Management
1st Runner Up -Thailand Culinary Academy
2nd Runner Up – Saigon Professional Chefs Association

Best Dessert
National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality And Tourism Food & Beverage Management

Most Outstanding Apprentice      
Muhammad Zulhelmi Ahmad Azam from Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Most Outstanding Chef
Mohammad Nasrun Mohd Nasri from Movenpick Hotel
Most Outstanding Team in Catering Services
Berjaya University College
Most Outstanding Team in Culinary
Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd

AHRA ASEAN Bartenders’ Championship
Champion – Thanapon Boupien from Thailand
1st Runner Up -Umor Feroz Khan from Singapore
2nd Runner Up – Han Jun Siew from Malaysia

Christina Toh, Area General Manager of Dorsett Grand Subang (second from left) was presented with a signed chef’s jacket for her charitable donation, wrapping up the night’s proceedings.