Showing posts with label meatballs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meatballs. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 04, 2019


Chinese hot pot is all the rage now. From major shopping malls to suburbia, provincial Chinese hot pot in all shapes and guides have stealthily conquered the local food scene. Now, Chengdu’s famed Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot restaurant has also jumped onto the bandwagon with the opening of its maiden outlet in Bukit Bintang.

Established in 2014, Xiao Long Kan (XLK) holds true to its guiding principles of providing ‘flavours from the soul, quality with integrity’. This Chengdu hot pot restaurant chain commands long queues of customers who seek to experience its signature hot pot with a wide selection of meat, fresh vegetables, handmade meatballs, innards and offal in assorted broths prepared using an age-old traditional recipe.

Sited within the bustling retail strip of Bukit Bintang, XLK occupies a multiple-storey block with a cosy waiting area on the ground floor. Decorated with ornate Chinese doors, a majestic dragon wall sculpture and a pair of faux antique chairs, it leads into a charmingly decorated dining space that won’t look out of place in a Chinese martial arts movie.

More seating and private rooms are available upstairs but be prepared to burn some calories as you ascend stairs. Rustic wood-trimmed semi private dining pavilions inspired by the Qing Dynasty, dramatic wall murals and modern Chinese lanterns form a theatrical, immersive backdrop that ‘transports’ you to ancient Chengdu.

In our quest to sample the best of XLK’s signature broths, we opted for the 3-flavour Hot Pot comprising Mala(Spicy)/Mushroom/Tomato (RM48) soup bases. While waiting for the hot pot to come to a boil, we amused ourselves by whipping up the simple dip: open up the mini can of oil provided and mix it up with some oyster sauce, vinegar, chopped garlic and fresh coriander.

Notable appetisers to stave off hunger pangs during the wait include Fried Crispy Meat (RM16) – yummylicious tender, lightly battered fried pork strips with a dusting of fiery hot chilli flakes on the side and sausage-shape rolls of Brown Sugar Rice Cakes (RM13) that are toasty crisp on the outside and delightfully chewy inside, with muted sweetness.

Once the hot pot is bubbling away, we had a field day dunking in the assorted items into the different soup bases. Spice fiends looking for an adrenalin rush will revel in the trademark tongue-numbing, sensorial-stimulating broth. Our dining party aren’t made of such stern stuff so our preference geared towards the savoury tomato and more delicate mushroom stocks. The overall taste improved progressively as more ingredients made their way into the hot pot.

Among the distinctive specialities worth savouring are the hand-made Rose Meat Balls (RM26), the robustly marinated XLK Spicy Chilli Beef (RM48), Shrimp Paste (RM38), Australia A5 Beef (RM90) and Ling Long Rolls (RM20) – crispy deep-fried beancurd sheet rolls.

Offal and innards are highly sought-after among XLK clientele especially the paper-thin Sliced Kidney (RM16), cubes of Pork Blood (RM10) and a rarity in hot pot menu: Duck Intestines (RM28).

Crowd-pleasing choices such as Pork Neck (RM20), Luncheon Meat (RM17) and Quail Eggs (RM12) are also available alongside premium servings of White Prawns (RM52) and Bluefin Leatherjacket (RM22).

Textural interest and extra nutrients can be gleaned from plates of Shiitake (RM8), Enoki (RM8) and seasonal greens like Spinach (RM8).
We found the XLK service team admirably on the ball despite the restaurant’s early days. Soup and drink refills, extra orders, clearing of soiled and empty tableware, etc are dealt with swiftly. A block-long queue already formed outside the door on the first day so it looks likely Xiao Long Kan will go full steam ahead in repeating its hot streak of success in Kuala Lumpur.

At this moment, Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot Restaurant only accept walk-in customers. Address: Lot 03, Block D, 179 Fahrenheit88, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily 11am to 2am.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Food writing is an on-going learning journey. A visit to Anne Elizabeth, a deli-style restaurant owned by husband and wife team, Jacob Fong and Sandra Lee, proved enlightening as I grappled with unfamiliar meat cuts like abanico and picanha.
Anne Elizabeth’s best-selling Iberico Abanico (RM39.80 per 250g piece) is a pièce de résistance you are unlikely to find elsewhere. Named after the Spanish hand fan, this fan-shaped cut is the external, thin and well-marbled piece of meat surrounding the Iberico ribs.
Best grilled or barbecued to draw out the big flavour of this prized cut, and render it juicy and crisp, abanico is one of the stellar ‘must try’ offerings at this restaurant.

A sprinkling of sea salt and ground pepper is enough to make this piece meltingly tender, blush pink pork an epicurean delight. Unlike ordinary pork meat, Fong said abanico should ideally be 70% cooked to medium or medium well doneness for best eating quality. Supply for abanico is hard to come by due to its limited availability. According to Fong, his restaurant has a firm grip on the supply thanks to established understanding with his supplier.
Heading into its 5th year of operation come September, Fong shares he has two decades of European food expertise hence the range of deli and charcuterie offerings are slanted towards British, Spanish, Italian and French-style.
The couple has kept Anne Elizabeth's set-up simple and practical, with display chillers showcasing a wide array of premium meat cuts, gourmet sausages and some fish for diners to select. Wall-mounted chalkboards listing salads, soup and pasta add to the plethora available, leaving them spoiled for choice. Service is cordial, efficient and attentive too; everything runs like clockwork even though the restaurant is packed come peak meal hours.
A pair of Black Pig Meatball in a Blanket (RM9.60 per piece) whets our appetite for starter. One is about the size of a toddler’s fist so it’s good to share if you plan to load up on a main course later. Wrapped in streaky bacon, the handmade and slightly smoky Iberico pork meatball is utterly scrumptious.
We temper its rich taste with a serving of Passionfruit Salad & Parmesan Salad (RM11.90). Studded with raisins, the mixed greens accompanied by fresh, tangy passionfruit is perked up by some honey and olive oil dressing. It’s a nice complement to the surfeit of meat we’d be having.
Although I’m not inclined to soup, the Creamy Mushroom & Bacon Soup (RM11.90) proves notable. Lots of chopped bacon bits give the creamy, earthy soup additional appeal. Lighter on the palate is Roasted Pumpkin & Tomato Soup (RM10.90) – an interesting combo which seems to work cohesively, taste-wise.
We also pig out on Pork Jowl (RM23.20 per piece, about 180g). Don’t knock its plain and lean appearance as the pork slices are superbly delectable. Each piece is surprisingly moist with an excellent, toothsome bite to it. For some flavour variation, dip it into the house sauces: caramelised roast gravy and pepper cream.
Lightly seasoned with grain mustard and sea salt, the splendid rack of Iberico Spare Ribs (RM68.20 per 600g slab) vanishes within minutes it hit our table. I find it goes well with the housemade apple sauce.
Another rare cut avid meat lovers will enjoy is the Australian Wagyu Picanha (RM66 per 200g piece). Also known as rump cap (UK) or sirloin cap (US), picanha is the most prized beef cut in Brazil. Again, a dash of salt and pepper does the trick in bringing out the inherent nuances.
Side dishes to complement mains include hearty baked Portobello, Bacon & Cheese (RM14.90 per piece) and the humongous U.S. Russet Jacket Potato (RM10.90) with sour cream, bacon, spring onion and grated Parmesan.

Fong tells us about 50% of the sausages sold at Anne Elizabeth are made to his charcuterie recipes by his suppliers. “We opt for a combination of European and local flavours, to ensure the end products aren’t too fanciful or foreign to our customers’ liking.”

The quartet of Honey Pork Sausage (RM7.90 per piece), smoky Bacon Bratwurst (RM10.90 per piece), Anne’s Cumberland (RM17.60 per piece) and Spicy Russian (RM7.90 per piece) exemplifies that philosophy. It’s hard to decide which we like best: the subtly sweet honey pork sausage, the smoky savouriness of the bacon brat, the Cumberland’s herb-spice accents or the hot & spicy Russian which is spiked with chopped bird’s eye chilli.
For now most of the resto’s sausages are pork-based but Fong reveals he may introduce more variants with pork-beef and lamb stuffing in the near future. Also in the pipeline will be more varieties of ikejime fish, in addition to the existing salmon and seabass selection.
Should you have room for dessert, try the luscious Banana Crème Brulee (RM10.80). It’s up to scratch and a boon for sweet-toothed diners who cannot bear wrapping up a meal without any luscious treat.

For reservations, please call ANNE ELIZABETH, tel: 03-9130 0319. Address: No.1, Jalan Manis 4, Taman Segar, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: Mon-Thurs 12noon to 11pm, Sat & Sun 12noon to 11pm. Closed on Friday.

Featured Post


Whimsical. Fun. Impactful. Imagine a flock of butterflies fluttering up once you open Cake Rush’s latest Explosion Gift Box. We were thrille...