Wednesday, August 26, 2020


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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