Friday, January 28, 2022


年年有余 is a customary wish for abundance and surplus during Chinese New Year, spurring the Chinese to toss Yee Sang with gusto, and load up on fish and seafood during the festive celebration. You can do so at Southern Rock Seafood Kitchen & Fishmonger, one of the most established seafood importers in the Klang Valley with its own restaurant in Bangsar (and a few off-site in major shopping malls).

At Southern Rock Seafood, it is most befitting to welcome the Year of the Water Tiger with a towering triple tier of Fruits De Mer (RM168++). Conceived for sharing, this impressive seafood selection is a sight to behold and will make waves with ardent seafood lovers.

To fully appreciate the quality of Southern Rock’s premium seafood, we recommend starting with the bottom tier of raw Tragheanna Bay Oysters (Ireland), Australian Mussels, Cloudy Bay Clams (Australia), and blanched local Tiger Prawns.

Local oyster connoisseurs in the know can vouch for Shucked - the best oyster bar in town (Southern Rock Seafood is behind it). Freshly shucked to order, the oysters are best savoured au naturel; it allows you to appreciate the briny and minerality of the oceanic nuances concentrated within these mollusks.

Likewise, for the mussels and clams – a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice is perhaps all that's necessary to accentuate their soul-satisfying sea-fresh sweetness. 

To ensure things go swimmingly throughout the Tiger Year, prime your palate with a surfeit of seafood appetisers in the second tier: Salmon Sashimi, Cured Salmon (Beetroot & Gravlax), seared Japanese Scallops, Anchovies in Olive Oil (imported from Holland), Smoked Ocean Trout stuffed with Marinated Goat Cheese, and House-made Smoked Mackerel Paté.

Thin crisp toast points are served to complement the assortment; to enable you to savour the paté or place the anchovies on top to enjoy them. Take your time to discover the sensuous textures and complex flavours as you devour the succulent and scrumptious morsels.

A glass of classic Prawn Cocktail serves as the crowning glory for the seafood tower. For millennials and the uninitiated, this hors d’oeuvres consists of a whole blanched shelled prawn and diced prawns with chopped lettuce, dressed in creamy cocktail sauce – a mixture of ketchup with mayonnaise (sometimes Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper are added). Prawns are believed to evoke laughter so eat up and be happy for 2022!

Also eat more fish for abundance throughout the Chinese New Year and Southern Rock Seafood reels you in with an array of fresh wild imported fishes that can be grilled, steamed, baked or prepared a la Meunière. Grilled Whole Sea Bass (RM88++) with roast Mediterranean vegetables and romesco sauce is a notable option.

The simple cooking style retains the fish’s natural taste whilst the slightly charred vegetables and rich Catalonian-style sauce (tomatoes, garlic, toasted almonds or pine nuts with olive or sunflower oil) add textural and flavour contrasts, should you desire it.

Noodles is synonymous with longevity so the Crab & Scallop Linguine (RM58++) should hit the sweet spot for carb-loving diners. Globules of salmon roe enriched the plump sweet scallops while the linguine passed muster.


Established as a full-fledged restaurant in 2015, Southern Rock Seafood has weathered the stormy F&B scene in Klang Valley rather well. According to manager Mostaq Ahmed, the team is open to catering to birthday parties, corporate events and social gatherings of up to 100 persons since things are gradually returning to normal.

Featuring a nautical theme with seafaring vibes, the rustic restaurant interior features distressed clapboard, mellow lighting and a long bar where showcases of imported oysters on ice take pride of place.

Over at the fishmonger section, chillers filled with whole and fillets of premium fishes from Australia and Europe and fridges of smoked and cured fish, and jars of caviar, fish roe and mackerel paté beckon invitingly. Live lobsters are kept in tanks in the inner sanctum.

The beauty about Southern Rock Seafood is they can source and import the fish and seafood you want if they don’t have it in stock – all you have to do is ask. They also supply premium seafood to most 5-star hotels and reputable restaurants in town and throughout Malaysia.

For reservations at Southern Rock Seafood Kitchen & Fishmonger, tel: +6 012 385 0266. Address: 32-36, Jalan Kemuja, Off Jalan Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm; Sat & Sun 8.30 am – 11 pm (last call 930 pm) Website:

Sunday, January 23, 2022


Like the bold and brave Tiger leaping into the coming Lunar New Year, the Hilton culinary team decides ‘fortune favours the bold’; the team showing their inventive streak via this year’s selection of Yee Sang creations and 3 set menus to welcome the Year of the Tiger.

During the media preview, we sampled dishes from the 3 different set menus priced between RM168nett – RM218 nett per person (minimum per table of 5 diners). Overall, the quality was on-point with the Eight Orchards Treasure Yee Sang (RM178 for 10 persons) garnering the most effusive praises.

The colourful combination of fresh fruits was refreshing was visually pleasing and whetted our appetite for repeat helpings. Imagine it was our second salad of the evening yet it got the thumbs up so that spoke volumes of its appeal.

While the Tiger Prawn, Salmon and Rose Apple Yee Sang (RM268 for 10 persons) was nice and distinctive, the jumble of crisps and pickles left it begging for more fresh vegetables and fruits to balance the equation.

When it comes to soul-satisfying soup, one of the key choices included Double Boiled Soup with Dried Scallop, Chicken, Black Mushroom & Herb. A surefire crowd-pleaser, this timeless broth is likely to go down well with both the young and young-at-heart.

Chicken is popularly eaten during the Lunar New Year – symbolically referred to as ‘the phoenix’ – is prepared in different ways for the 3 set menus. The Succulent Roasted Chicken with Mongolian Sauce should pique the tastebuds especially since the dark ginger-garlicky sauce enhanced the juicy and tender meat.

Fish is quintessential for Lunar New Year – to reflect abundance and excess – also takes centrestage in the festive menus. The Steamed Cod with Superior Soy Sauce and topped with Crispy Garlic was delicious although slightly overdone.


The Fried Golden Tiger Prawns with Butter, Salted Egg & Chicken Floss proved on-point; the rich savoury sauce a nice complement to the crustaceans’ natural sweetness. In Cantonese, the word ‘har’ (prawn) - a homonym for laughter - means eating prawns is believed to evoke happy laughter.

Hearty and comforting, the little parcels of Steamed Glutinous Rice with Salted Egg wrapped in Lotus Leaf will ensure no diners leave the table dissatisfied.

As expected, sweet dessert broth such as Warm Lily Bulb in Longan Syrup & Lotus Seeds rounded up the celebratory meal. One of the set menus also showcased dainty morsels of Nian Gao & Snow Skin Pumpkin.

For reservations at Toh Yuen restaurant, call tel: 03-7955 9122, WhatsApp +6016 216 0414 or visit:                 Address: Hilton Petaling Jaya, Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.


Patrons of The Emperor can look forward to a roar-some Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration at Dorsett Grand Subang thanks to the award-winning culinary prowess of Senior Sous Chef Liew Yin Wah (right) and Dim Sum Chef Chan Chee Loong (left).

With a plethora of Prosperity Yee Sang, CNY a la carte specialities, and 3 celebratory set menus to choose from, hotel guests will be spoiled for choice to welcome the Year of the Tiger from 1 – 15 February.

Chef Liew, whose accolades include 3rd placing in Battle of the Chefs at the 13th Penang International Sales Gastronomique in 2011, and part of the winning Malaysian team at the 2019 Salon International De L’alimentation (SIAL) Competition in Shanghai, proved adept at serving up treasured festive classics for the 8-course Wealthy Set Menu (RM899 nett for a table of 5-6 diners) we sampled.

Fervent wishes of good health, return to normalcy and reunion with our near and dear ones were uppermost in our minds as we tossed and enjoyed the customary platter of delicious Salmon and Shredded Young Mango Yee Sang. The mixture of shredded vegetables, pickles, and crisps hit the spot with a tantalising plum sauce that wasn’t too thick nor cloying.

Wholesome and nutritious yet light on the palate, the Double Boiled Sea Whelk, Bamboo Pith and Farm Village Chicken Soup proved on-point. A dish that’s likely to gain the approval of the fussiest matriarchs.

Reminiscent of grand banquets past, the timeless Roast Crispy Chicken with Prawn Crackers made it a show-stopper in this menu. Roasted to perfection, the paper-thin crispy skin and juicy meat would have tasted even better had it come accompanied with the classic ‘jiu yim’ (salt with ground Sichuan pepper and perhaps a smidgen of five spice powder) dip.

The chef’s winning streak continued with Wok Fried Tiger Prawns with Superior Soya Sauce. Rarely has any caramelised sauce coating sauteed crustaceans’ came on par with the finger-licking level but this one did. Coupled with the sweetness of stir-fried onions, we abandoned decorum to savour every morsel of the sweet, fresh crustaceans.

Hong Kong Style Steamed Red Snapper is featured in the actual festive menu. However, the chef’s recommended dish of Braised Housemade Beancurd with Fish Fillet (RM68 – small, RM118 – medium, RM168 – large) proved such a hearty hit, we made short work of it in no time.

It would be remiss if Braised Black Mushrooms with Dried Oysters and Sea Moss wasn’t included in a festive meal. Eating plump succulent black mushrooms, smoky dried oysters and fine threads of black seamoss during CNY is akin to internalising everything fortuitous, good luck, prosperity, etc for the rest of the year. Now, who is going to argue with that?

Chef Liew also gave the traditional waxed meat rice a healthier spin by serving Steamed Organic Brown Rice with Glutinous Rice and Smoked Duck. We are glad to report the recipe worked well as the inclusion of brown rice lent the dish a nutty slant whilst lightening the denseness of glutinous rice.

Refreshing dessert broth of Chilled Sea Coconut with Lemon Slices and Dim Sum Chef Chan’s handiwork: Deep-fried Nian Gao with Sweet Potato and Yam, and Crystal Skin Mango Puree with Pandan Lotus Paste wrapped up our lunch on a high note.

You can also order CNY Steamed Radish Cake (RM38 nett) for takeaway. Packed in a convenient gift box, the radish cake is ready-to-eat with toppings of fried shallot, spring onion and chilli. In Hong Kong, it's a festive treat enjoyed among family and friends throughout the Chinese New Year celebration.

For reservations at The Emperor, call tel: 03-5031 6060 or email:


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