Sunday, September 20, 2020

LE MEI’S WASABI-SPIKED AND NUTTY MOONCAKES #FTW


The fleeting yet noticeably zingy presence of wasabi was inescapable the minute I bit into the wedge of Low Sugar White Lotus Paste with Wasabi and Pistachio Nuts Mooncake from Le Mei, Le Meridien Putrajaya.

I was hooked at first bite as the tantalizing taste had me returning for more. Since wasabi and pistachios aren’t the norm in mooncake-making, I applaud the chefs at Le Mei for daring to push the envelope when it comes to creating new variants of the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival confection.


The mooncake’s subtle sweetness also scored with me as did the smooth lotus-pistachio paste. Handcrafted by the Le Mei team, the signature mooncake is priced at RM33 each and needs to be ordered 3 days in advance.

Another nutty variant comes in the form of Pandan Paste with Hazelnut Mooncake (RM30 each). Again, the thin baked skin encasing the fragrant pandan-scented filling flecked with hazelnut bits was palate-pleasing. The mooncake also had a nice glossy shine to it.

To please purists who prefer the tried and tested, I’d recommend the White Lotus Paste with Single Egg Yolk Mooncake (RM33 each). The confection is on-point, ticking all the requisite boxes and should leave no room for complaint.


Two other flavours: Assorted Fruits and Nuts (RM38) and Mini Snow Skin with Raspberry and Cashew Nuts (RM20) are also available. The Signature Mooncakes of Le Mei have to be ordered 3 days ahead of your desired collection date.


Available until 1st October, Le Meridien Putrajaya’s Mid-Autumn Festival gift box features a sturdy laminated gift box with a magnetic flap, clad in a mosaic of colours and rabbit motifs reflective of the celebratory Mid-Autumn Festival.

For more information, please call Le Meridien Putrajaya, tel: 03 8689 6888 or email: dining.lmputrajaya@lemeridien.com 

Friday, September 18, 2020

PETITE PRESTIGE MOONCAKES BY PLAZA PREMIUM GROUP MALAYSIA


Six mini Shanghai mooncakes packed in an elongated Gift Box from Plaza Premium Group Malaysia found its way to my Mid-Autumn Festival celebration this year.



Handcrafted by the chefs from Plaza Premium Group Malaysia in the time-honoured tradition of Mid-Autumn Festival, the petite, low sugar and preservative-free Prestige Mooncakes comprise crumbly Shanghai-style Crust and Crystal Skin variants. 


Launched for the first time this year, the mini mooncakes are available at Plaza Premium Lounge (next to Aerotel Kuala Lumpur at gateway@klia2), Plaza Premium First (KLIA), Flight Club (KLIA) and Flight Club Grab’n’Go (KLIA) from now until 1 October 2020.


Peeking into my Gift Box in maroon with discreet gold motifs, the sliding container tray revealed a pair of mini Shanghai Crust Pu Er with Pine Nuts Mooncakes, another pair of Lotus Melon Seeds with Single Egg Yolk and a pair of Black Sesame with Single Egg Yolk Mooncakes. 


I found the delicate taste of Pu Er pleasing on the palate, melding harmoniously with the subtle nutty-creaminess of pine nuts. The black sesame version was on-point too; its sweet-savoury filling somewhat richer due to the salted egg yolk in it.

My only quibble was the underwhelming Lotus Melon Seeds version – the filling was dry and lacklustre. Possibly this imperfection was confined to my batch of mooncakes or it could be due to the confection didn’t have enough ‘resting time’ to allow the oil within to be released.

Under the Crystal Skin range, the selection includes Crystal Skin Durian, Red Bean and Green Tea encased in a layer of snow skin crust. Priced at RM12 per piece and RM60 per box of six (6) mini mooncakes, Prestige Mooncakes by Plaza Premium Group Malaysia come packed in refined gift boxes befitting the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration.

 

For every bulk purchase of 10 boxes and above, corporate partners may customise their company logo placement on the gift boxes (subject to terms and conditions).

Special Prestige Mooncakes Offers:

- 10 % OFF online purchase for all types of mini mooncakes in a single receipt via https://malstore.plazapremiumlounge.com/ .

- Additional 5% OFF (on top of 20% OFF online purchase) for corporate clients and Aerotel Kuala Lumpur room guests (with valid promo code)*.

- For every room booking at Aerotel Kuala Lumpur, guests will receive ONE (1) piece of complimentary mini mooncake per room booking upon check-in as a welcome gesture.  Available from 28 August – 1 October 2020.

For further information or to place an order, contact Plaza Premium Group: tel: +6 03 8778 0808 or email: onlinestore.mal@plaza-network.com 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

ZUAN YUAN TOUTS LOW SUGAR MOONCAKES



Melon seeds embedded within the Snow Skin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste with Melon Seed (RM21.50 per piece) from One World Hotel are evocative of the traditional versions I ate as a child. It’s a nice touch as the seeds are noticeably missing in many of this Mid-Autumn Festival treat lately.

 
Another recommended snowskin variant is Durian Lotus Paste (RM23 per piece) – the durian aroma is discernible in the lotus paste; its subtle sweetness a perfect balance to complement the astringency of Chinese tea. Other snow skin, low sugar variants available include White Lotus Paste (RM23), Pandan Lotus Paste with Single Yolk (RM25) and White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk (RM25).

 
This year, One World Hotel Dim Sum Chef Jordan Chin Chee Hong has decided on 12 varieties of mooncakes to offer for the traditional celebration. Available now until 1st October, Chef Chin said “A good mooncake will not stick to the teeth”. Having travelled to many Asian countries to taste different mooncakes, Chin is adamant Malaysia’s is the best.

 

He also offers a classic Deep Fried Teo Chew Yam Paste with Single Yolk (RM26 per piece), a tricky to make but scrumptious creation for the occasion. The crisp, swirly pastry is airy-light and generously filled with a savoury-sweet yam paste and salted egg yolk.



The mooncakes come in an Oriental themed gift box with a magnetic flap. Maroon with floral and lantern motifs, it holds four boxes of your choice of baked or snow skin mooncakes snugly.

 

As for the baked versions, the mooncakes are low sugar to cater to health-conscious market demand. We can vouch for the White Lotus Paste with Double Yolks (RM26) which taste great despite the reduced sweetness. Other enticing flavours in the selection include White Lotus Paste, Red Bean Paste, Pandan Lotus Paste and Supreme Mixed Nuts.

For further enquiries or orders, please call Zuan Yuan at 603 7681 1159 or email: zuanyuan@oneworldhotel.com.my

Monday, September 07, 2020

MID-AUTUMN MAGIC AT DORSETT HOTELS


A limited edition Dorsett Eski Bag will be yours with every box of 4 Crystal Skin Mooncakes purchased from Dorsett Grand Subang this year. For every box of 4 Baked Mooncakes, top-up RM15 to get the useful Dorsett Eski Bag.
Available now until 1st October, The Emperor managed to nab the Bronze Award at the Star 2020 Mooncake Awards for its Premium Musang King Durian Mooncake (RM40 per piece, a day’s advance notice required). Made from freshly extracted Musang King durian flesh, the potent treat was a runaway best-seller last year and looks set to repeat a similar feat this year.

The aroma of the Premium Musang King Durian Mooncake heralds its arrival at our table during a recent sampling session. Encased in a chilled snowskin layer, the mooncake’s melt-in-the-mouth creamy sweetness hit the spot for us durian lovers.

Another award-winning creation is Dorsett’s Signature Blue Mooncake: Pandan Paste Single Egg Yolk with Crystal Skin infused with Blue Pea Flower Extract (RM35 each). The fragrant vanilla-like scent is discernible in the subtly sweet pandan flavoured lotus paste. You can also buy Pandan Paste with Crystal Skin infused with Blue Pea Flower Extract (RM33 each).




Other baked mooncake variants available include Baked White Lotus Paste with Double Egg Yolks (RM38 each), White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk (RM35 each), Pure White Lotus Paste (RM33 each), Pandan Lotus Paste with Single Egg Yolk (RM35 each) and Pure Red Bean Paste (RM30).



Dorsett Mooncakes are available at Dorsett Kuala Lumpur, Dorsett Putrajaya, Dorsett Hartamas, Silka Maytowet Kuala Lumpur, Silka Cheras Kuala Lumpur and Cosmo Hotel Kuala Lumpur. To place orders, call 03-5031 6060 extn 3033/3032. Website: www.dorsetthotels.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

FROM MACAO TO KL GRAND DINNER SERIES



Award-winning Master Chefs Yap Poh Weng (below centre) and Chung Kuy Fai (right) are the leading men at The Oriental Group's 
Grand Dinner series, scheduled from 22 August to 8 September 2020.

Teaming up with Ruyi's Chef James Ho (left) for the opening night, both master chefs pulled out the stops to showcase their signature specialities for the evening. Using carefully selected superfood ingredients and their wealth of culinary experience, the dynamic duo expertly whipped up more than a menu of good Chinese food – they artfully merged an eclectic blend of traditional Chinese cooking techniques with premium quality items and subtle global influences.

Hailed as one of China’s Top 50 Celebrity Chefs for Food & Wine magazine, the Malaysian-born Chef Yap has chalked up a sterling career spanning three decades in luxury hotels and upmarket restaurants, covering Malaysia, Surabaya, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Macao. His counterpart, Ipoh-born Chef Chung also boasts similar world-class credentials: having traversed some of the top kitchens from Tokyo to Shanghai, California’s Napa Valley to Macao.


Their Signature Appetisers Combination is a distinctive quintet featuring Pineapple, Mango, Pomelo & Crabmeat Tartare with Spicy Dressing & Caviar; BBQ Flaxseed Crispy Chicken; Organic Cherry Tomatoes with Sour Plum and Pickled Radish in Traditional Shanghainese Vinaigrette; Suzhou Style Crispy Eel; and Japanese Scallops with Sesame and Dressing Organic Spinach Rolls with Caviar.

Inspired by the idea of mango salsa, the chefs titillate our tastebuds with a tropical version: Pineapple, Mango, Pomelo & Crabmeat Tartare with Spicy Dressing and Caviar. Somewhat tart-tangy-hot, it helps to whet our appetite for the subsequent offerings.


Giving traditional sesame chicken an updated and healthier spin, Chef Yap’s BBQ Flaxseed Crispy Chicken wins instant plaudits around the table. Us Chinese are pragmatic people and the way to our hearts is definitely through our tummy!

Our palates have a bold wake-up call thanks to the sour-brininess of the Cherry Tomatoes with Sour Plum & Pickled Radish in traditional Shanghainese Vinaigrette. Luckily, it doesn’t affect our enjoyment of the exquisite Japanese Scallops with Sesame Dressing and Organic Baby Spinach Rolls with Caviar. We appreciate the dish’s delicate sweetness lightly punctuated by pinpricks of saltiness from the caviar.


Also on-point is the sesame seed-flecked, caramelized strips of Suzhou Style Crispy Eel. They’re incredibly addictive as once you try one, you’re compel to gobble up more unthinkingly. Slightly sweet and nutty on the outside before yielding to the soft, moreish flesh inside.


As a foodie, I never stop learning and discovering new food and ingredients. This year it’s the Double Boiled Roxburgh Anoectochilus & Black Garlic with Fresh Fish Maw Soup to leave us scrambling for more information. The smoky-sweet and slightly earthy broth is a result of two core ingredients: black garlic and a dried orchid root known as Roxburgh Anoectochilus – both selected for its medicinal properties and luxe up with smooth fish maw, dried scallop and village chicken. Let’s just say everything is good to the last drop.



A show-stopping main course of Poached Lobster with Chinese Wine quickly has us whipping out our smartphones to capture the impressive platter for posterity. Whiffs of the fragrant rose wine stimulate our senses as we savour the sumptuous lobster medallions.


On-point doneness makes the Steamed Ocean Garoupa with Guanxi Style Stuffed Japanese Beancurd Puffs & Luffa Gourd in Supreme Soy Sauce a joy to eat. The diverse spongy-softness of the beancurd puffs and the luffa’s soft, squishiness make interesting mouthfuls.

Instead of sticking to the tried and tested, the chefs proffer Crispy Stuffed Sea Cucumber with Hot & Sour Sauce. Stuffed with minced prawns, the plump piece of sea cucumber comes enveloped in a crisp batter crust. Complemented by a zingy hot and sour sauce, it’s another boundary-pushing dish to get Chinese food lovers talking.



Prior to dessert, we get to tangle with a generous serving of Shark’s Fin & Braised Meat Noodles with Chicken Lard Cracklings. Flavourful and springy to the bite, the eggy noodles are guaranteed to leave you replete albeit with enough tummy space for dessert.

Brace yourself for a triple treat as in addition to the salubrious Double Boiled Snow Lotus, Lotus Seeds & Pearl Seaweed with Osmanthus Sweet Broth, be sure to sample the sumptuous Black Thorn Durian Glutinous Rice Dumplings and Shanxi Red Dates Sweet Cake.

Not only does the sweet broth tickle the palate and senses with myriad textures, Malaysia’s highly sought-after, creamy black thorn durians also send us to seventh heaven as  gold-dusted charcoal powder glutinous rice dumplings in impossibly thin skins. Not to be outdone, slices of chewy Shanxi Red Dates Sweet Cakes – easily mistaken for layered agar-agar jelly – ensure the dinner finishes with a memorably sweet flourish.


Priced at RM288++ per person (min. 2 persons) or a table of RM2,288++ per table of 8 persons, the Grand Dinner at Oriental Group of Restaurants is available on:

August 25 & 29                 NOBLE BANQUET                     tel: 03 2145 8822

August 26 & Sept 4          ORIENTAL PAVILION             tel: 03 7956 9288

August 27                            THE HAN ROOM                         tel: 03 2284 8833

August 28 & Sept 8         NOBLE MANSION                      tel: 03 7932 3288

3 September                      ORIENTAL STAR                        tel: 03 9134 8488

5 September                       ORIENTAL TREASURE            tel: 03 2242 2382


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