Showing posts with label shark's fin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shark's fin. Show all posts

Monday, September 09, 2019


Apart from Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival has to be one of the most anticipated tai yat ji – a major festival in the Chinese lunar calendar. Such a significant occasion calls for a showstopping main course and Elegant Inn HK Cuisine, as usual, rises to the occasion with its South African Abalone Treasure Bowl Feast.
A most befitting headliner of the restaurant’s Mid-Autumn Bliss menu available now until 30 September 2019, I feel privileged to be able to savour the sumptuous treasures from that mini poon choi.


In keeping with the spirit of the traditional dish originally from New Territories in Hong Kong where villagers collectively pool their supply of food in big wooden or ceramic washbasins to celebrate key festivals and special occasions, Elegant Inn’s version comprises 9-head South African abalones, roast duck, plump shiitake mushrooms, sea prawns and broccoli.

Considered one of the best in the world, the frilly edge South African abalones taste divine; their smooth succulence gently seguing into chewier toothsomeness the more we bite into them. The resultant marine savoury-sweetness is sublime when mingled with the thick, almost gelatinous braising sauce of the base of pork trotter. Every morsel of the entire casserole is equally scrumptious: from the juicy roast duck and delectable prawns to the chunks of radish, broccoli and Chinese cabbage. We unhesitantly slurp up the deeply flavourful sauce too.

The opening salvo for the Mid-Autumn Bliss menu showcases an inventive appetiser of Silky Egg White with Bird's Nest paired with Seared Pork Tongue. A ‘bird’s nest’ fashioned from deep-fried rice vermicelli (meehoon) holds clumps of delicate bird’s nest complemented by a little cocktail spear of pan-seared pork tongue.
Marinated with a milieu of condiments including superior soya sauce and five spice powder, the deliciously tender tongue has a nice QQ crunch to it. According to restaurant proprietress Jeanette Han, only the centre – the tenderest part – of the pork tongue is used. For textural contrast, it’s accompanied by some snow fungus and Japanese cucumber.
Elegant Inn HK Cuisine's balcony is shaded and ideal for pre-dinner cocktails. There's a herb garden in the far-flung corner too where garden-fresh herbs are harvested for the resto's use.

Han, who firmly believes serving good food is a vocation for the conscientious, says “My team of 18 chefs have with Elegant Inn HK Cuisine for over 10 years. They are the stalwarts who understand my high expectations and have strived to meet my exacting standards.”
True to her credit, I cannot recall any occasion when the food at Elegant Inn has failed to impress. After 11 years in the business, Han still sources and buys most of the ingredients especially premium dried seafood and certain products like Chinese sausages herself from Hong Kong – it’s a form of quality control she steadfastly adheres to. “Great ingredients speak for themselves and their quality will shine through with the simplest preparation.”

A notable testament to that philosophy is the Double Boiled Soup of Deer Tendon, Dried Conch, Black Chicken and Murrill Mushroom (agaricus blazei Murrill or himematsutake in Japanese). In Han’s book, soup has to be ching teem i.e. clear and sweet; well-balanced without being too ‘heavy’ or cloying with any residual aftertaste.
Having undergone 4-6 hours of double boiling, the resultant bowl of restorative broth is lush and redolent with complex marine sweetness, slightly gelatinous and gamey from the various goodies in it. You can swap the deer tendon to fish maw (just add RM10+ per person) or luxe up the soup with superior shark’s fin (add RM38+ per person). It’s a heartwarming, nutritious offering to relish slowly.
The penultimate serving of Claypot Rice with Garoupa Fillet, Hong Kong Dried Prawns and Tung Choy proves a nice counterpoint to the succession of indulgent specialities thus far. Simple and appealing, it’s reminiscent of cooking from the hearth and home.
Teochew Style Tau Suan with Crunchy Sea Cucumber and Black Gold Custard Bun ensure a blissfully sweet ending to the celebratory menu. A traditional dessert of the Teochew community, the mildly sweet split mung bean broth is given an unexpected twist, with little pieces of crunchy jelly-like sea cucumber as accompaniment.

Again, the playful textures are paired off with a pillowy-soft charcoal bao filled with molten custard. This is one Mid-Autumn festival selection that will leave everyone abuzz long after the meal is over.
The Mid-Autumn Bliss Menu is priced at RM888 for 4 persons, RM1,288 for 6 persons and RM2,138 for 10 persons (subject to 6% SST).

For reservations, please call Elegant Inn HK Cuisine, tel: 03-2070 9399. Address: 2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, KL.

Friday, August 23, 2019


A culinary masterpiece so rich with symbolism that it’d be perfect as a show-stopping Lunar New Year celebratory main course. I’m referring to Chef Justin Hor and Chef Jacky Lam’s cerebral speciality of Whole Pork Trotter with Hokkaido XL Dried Scallops, Japanese Mushrooms & Quail Egg (RM488 per portion for 10 persons).
Silky on the palate, the salubrious and unctuous sauce is akin to a big, warm hug; a sheath of rich umami flavours on the tongue. The phalanx of textural interplay from the different ingredients succeeds in seducing our gastronomic senses. 

According to Chef Jacky Lam, one must have time, patience, painstaking efforts and meticulous preparation to bring the nostalgic dish to fruition. “Every component of the dish represents a certain element: the coin-shaped scallops represent money and wealth, vegetables – earth and country, mushrooms – treasures and fortune, quail eggs – people and citizenry, fatt choi (black seamoss) – law & order, and pork trotter for power and authority.”
It is a most befitting dish to underscore the wealth of experience — a total of 88 years combined between the two sifu for The Oriental Group’s 11th Annual Guest Chef Grand Dinner series. Billed as A Joint Culinary Journey of 88 Years, The Oriental Group Executive Chef Justin Hor has teamed up for the second time with highly lauded celebrity veteran chef Jacky Lam to curate a special menu, to highlight Chinese cuisine at its best.
Right off the bat, the dynamic duo whets our appetite with a tempting assortment of appetisers: Chilled Szechuan Farm Chicken (RM20), Ginger Sauce Jellyfish (RM18), Vinaigrette Kyuri & Black Fungus (RM18), Oriental Group’s Signature Char Siew (RM20) and Macau Crab Meat Cake (RM24, 6 pcs).
Having spent 6 months of R&D on the curated menu, every speciality we sample is on-point. My personal favourites are the crunchy strands of jellyfish smothered in minced Bentong ginger, spring onion and fried shallot, whilst the succulent pieces of poached chicken come lightly dressed in zingy-hot, mildly tongue-numbing Szechuan sauce flecked with sesame seeds.

The sweetness of fresh crabmeat also piques our interest when we nibble on the deep-fried pockets of Macau Crab Meat Cake. Just a dab of the resto’s housemade chilli sauce raises its appeal to tantalising heights.

Equally rave-worthy is the restaurant group's signature Char Siew – sweetish, juicy and slightly fatty barbecued pork. It makes a great pairing with the refreshingly crunchy kyuri (Japanese cucumber) and black fungus ‘salad’.

Chef Jacky Lam also regales us with his forays to remote mainland Chinese villages together with Chef Justin Hor, in their quest to seek new ingredients and culinary inspiration. Proudly showing us their rare find of aged choy poh (radish) which has been preserved for over 30 years, the chefs are effusive about its beneficial properties.

“Don’t underestimate the aged choy poh’s black and oily appearance,” says Lam. “Aged radish is great for keeping our respiratory system healthy, stimulating our internal energy, strengthening our immune system, improving digestion and detoxification.”
Writer David Yip noted in a 2015 issue of Gourmet & Travel magazine, choy poh is prepared by stacking radish in layers of sea salt. Heavy rocks are placed on top to squeeze out excess liquid. The radish is rinsed with brine and sun-dried until it turns golden brown. After the labourious months-long process, the radish is stored in earthen containers and taken out to dry every autumn. This turns it black gradually.

Both the preserved and aged choy poh play an integral role in enriching the Double-Boiled Superior Shark’s Fin Soup with Chicken and Preserved Vegetable (RM118 per person). The light, nutriet-rich broth which had undergone 3 hours of double-boiling, boasts distinct hints of muskiness with lingering traces of salty-sour nuances. Chefs Lam and Hor assure us it's as good and effacacious as drinking ginseng soup.

Dices of pork neck sautéed with minced garlic and dried chilli inspired by the rustic, back-to-basic cooking style of Taipa village ensures lashings of tantalisingly robust flavours emerge from the conversation-stopping speciality of Boston Lobster Macau Taipa Style (RM368). Despite the assertive condiment, the king of shellfish retains its natural sweetness and on-point doneness.

Finicky fish lovers will undoubtedly be reeled in by the prized catch of an Omega 3-rich Braised Sultan Fish Shunde Style (RM388 each). Complemented by eringi mushroom strips, sliced ginger, garlic pips, fresh coriander and  fried shallot, the fleshy fish tastes sweet and clear with subtle infusions of the aromatics. Even the thick, almost viscous sauce is slurpiliciously out of this world.
Pix courtesy of The Oriental Group
“There’s no short cut to any of these old-school dishes. If we want to savour nostalgic flavours, we’d have to be prepared to replicate what the old master chefs’ have done. Their methods exist for a reason so we cannot simply reinvent the wheel” says Chef Jacky Lam.
Ditto for the Lotus Leaf Treasures Rice (RM128 per portion for 10 persons). When the lotus leaf wrapper is unveiled, the rice grains are beautifully steamed and fluffy; whiffs of an enticing woodsy fragrance making our mouths water in anticipation. Freshly extracted crabmeat, dried prawns and assorted other ingredients make the rice so delicious and leaves us wanting more.
We resist from extra helpings though as there’s dessert to contend with. Not only does each of us gets treated to a substantial serving of Peach Resin with Snow Fungus & Papaya in Coconut (RM14 per person) but also two varieties of whimsical sweet dim sum.
Made from a mixture of tapioca starch and glutinous rice flour, the realistic fruity replicas of Mangosteen Custard Lava (RM15 for 3 pcs) and corncob-shape Sweet Corn Lotus Paste (RM15 for 3 pcs) are a visual and palatable delight.
Amazing how one Chinese pastry skin can differ when deep-fried and steamed. The former has a nice crunch with a QQ texture when you bite into it whilst the latter is sticky-chewy-gummy. Talk about closing a masterful dining experience on a sweet, high note!
A Joint Culinary Journey of 88 Years with Chef Jacky Lam & Chef Justin Hor Grand Dinner dates include Oriental Star (23 august), The Han Room (24 August) and Noble Mansion (28 August). All culinary creations stated available at The Oriental Group of Restaurants (excluding Seafood World, Ruyi & Yu) until 22 September 2019.

For more information and reservations, visit:

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