Saturday, August 31, 2013

Classic Chinese Cuisine at Mayflower Restaurant Kota Kemuning Shah Alam by Best Restaurant To Eat

There aren't many full fledged Chinese Restaurant in Shah Alam more so in Kota Kemuning. Most of this Chinese Restaurant are like the 'Tai Chow' type. We had an invitation to have a Chinese dinner course review at Mayflower Restaurant located at No 2G, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla S 31/S, Kota Kemuning, Seksyen 31, Shah Alam (South).

In many Chinese restaurant they either serves a four or five combination dishes as the Hors d'oeuvre of many Chinese wedding banquet. At Mayflower Restaurant, they serve a unique 3 combination dish instead.

A simple and plain looking 3 dishes based on Zhejiang-style cooking was served on the table, mostly consisting of vegetables as the core ingredient. As simple as it looks, the first bite changes our perception.

The first dish that I tried was the Bamboo Shoots and Asparagus Stir-Fried With Spicy XO Sauce and Dry Shrimp. It has a tad bit of spiciness and the use of dried shrimp enhances the flavour of the dish and a perfect partner with the crunchy asparagus. The manager told us that, diners have options of ordering this dish ala-carte with prawns or cuttlefish as well.

Next is the Braised Mustard Stem With Crab Meat Broth. Taste wise, the combination of this is quite similar to the Braised Tau Foo with Crab meat but here the chef have added the mustard stem as the main ingredient as compared to some which uses the bean curd, which was crisp and not over cooked. Mustard have a tendency to emit a strong taste if not properly blanch but not in this case.

The last dish, is the Chinese White Cabbage which is stewed until it has a very soft and smooth texture. The broth was superb and you can taste the sweetness of the white cabbage coupled with the scallops it was just a wonderful combination of ingredients that brings out the best of the white cabbages.

Poached Chicken has always been one of my favourite dishes. We are used to the Ipoh Poached Chicken with “Nga Choy” version or the one that is the Hainanese Style where you will find in many shops selling chicken rice. Here we had the opportunity to try out a Shanghainese version.

The chef have painstakingly removed all the chicken bones, making it easy to eat or slurp in the juicy, succulent and springy farm chicken. There are many version of the Shanghainese style. One of it, is the Shanghainese Drunken Chicken – of course this is prepared using poached chicken with Xiao Hing wine and is usually served as a Cold Dish and coated with a gelatinous layers (the effect from keeping it in the fridge).

The other version is what they called the Shanghai Crystal Chicken which is quite similarly prepared as the drunken chicken but using only the chicken leg and thigh instead of whole chicken. The broth of the chicken is combine with Xiao Hing Chinese wine and forms a gelatinous layers that is transparent and looks like crystal wrapping around the boneless chicken meat. Just like the Drunken Chicken this is also served as a Cold Dish. During the early seventies Chinese restaurant used to serve this as one of the combination dish of Hors d'oeuvre.

Eating this as a Cold Dish can be a challenge as not many people know how to appreciate this and also you have to consume it very quickly else the cold effect and taste will be different. Moreover the gelatinous layer will start to melt and becomes soggy.

At Mayflower, they have twisted it slightly to instead of serving it as a cold dish, the chef had prepared a hot broth as a light sauce to be spread over the chicken. As with the other 2 earlier mention method, the taste is quite similar but without the gelatinous layers. The sauce has a tinge of Chinese herbs from the wolfberries and not too overwhelming wine taste, a perfect end with a bowl of white rice for me.

Ratings 4 of 5

They are many versions of Pork Knuckles that I have tried over the years. The German Pork Knuckles is the most popular one which is mostly a little bit salty as it is best complimented with beers. I had also tried a Chinese fried version but that was coated with a buttery curry sauce which was unique in a way.

The Chinese Pork Knuckle here is a little different, more so from the cooking method used to cook this special dish. upon arrival at the table it didn’t look any different from any type of Pork Knuckles except for the exceptional big knuckle that is used here. Most of the time the Pork Knuckles serves are of a much smaller portion usually meant for sharing for 2 to 3 person.

According to the Mayflower manager description this dish is very time consuming to prepare. First and foremost, the Pork Knuckle had to be marinated in a special recipe overnight. The following day, the chef will stew it for another 2 hours to soften the meat and enable the stew to deeply penetrate into the meat. Then, the chefs using a nail hammer (a device which has a lot of nails on one side to poke miniature hole on the Pork Knuckle skin. This will enable the fats to be release when the Pork Knuckle is set to fry. This similar process is done with the “Siew Yok” – roast pork. Of course the nailing process for Siew Yok is more intensive. Since, the meat have already been cooked, the nailing process becomes delicate as if too much pressure on the soft skin will break the fragile cooked Pork Knuckle into pieces. The effect of this nailing will make the skin thinner as all the fats will be release out during the frying process.

Upon completion of the nailing process, the Pork Knuckle will then be deep-fried to a glorious golden brown accordingly. This dish is best eaten as soon as it is serves. In this way, you get to enjoy the crisp skin and the well marinated meat. This dish comes accompanied with a peanut based sauce, but I prefer the original finger licking taste of the Pork Knuckle as being prepared by the Chef, I really love this dish and so much so that I got to finish all the knuckles pieces too.

Rating 5 of 5

Chefs these days are very creative lot, not only are they able to cook sumptuous dishes that suit our palate but they are also able to decorate the dishes as a piece of art. Sometimes you feel reluctant to eat such a piece of masterpiece. I had a first hand experience that I would like to share here.

Look at the picture above and you can see how painstaking the chef have to spent time creating this dish i.e. the décor part. It is not only nice to eat but a feast for the eyes too. Let me explain the steps used to produce this magnificent art dish piece. On the top part is the tree branch with leaves and 2 dragon fly hovering around a lake which you can see there are some fishes, a tortoise, a flower, and some water plants. Let me explain from the top which is the tree. The ingredients used to prepare the branch are shiitake mushroom. The chef had trimmed the side of the mushrooms and makes it to look like a branch. The ingredients used to prepare the leaves are cucumber which is cut into half and combine to use only the outer portion to resemble a leave. The dragon fly is made of red chilli padi, while the flower petals are made of corn and the fish from radish. To finish it off, the water which is transparent is made up of agar-agar and set into the décor.

Normally the décor for this dish is for the main table (for the host table) during a wedding banquet and is not served as what the projected picture that you see when you order ala-carte.

Coming back to the dish - Buttery Prawns With Corn Kernels , it is also a first time for me to eat a combination of corns and prawns. I don’t believe they will jive together as both are way off the scope. Surprisingly as it may sound, once I eat the corn, I could taste the sweetness of the corn complimenting the strong buttery sauce with the infused prawn flavours.

The main ingredient to cook the sauce is a combination of butter, evaporated milk and you never guess it cheese as well – to give a unique buttery flavours that only cheese can produce). The use of really fresh and succulent prawns was a perfect fit and partner to this elegant dish.

Rating 5 of 5

Taiwanese Steamed Hamburger – I have eaten a similar version of this “Bao” before i.e. much similar to the “Tai Bao” but the filling wants a Braised Pork Belly. The impression for this dish was a little different and the way we are going to eat it.

Normally in Taiwan, these hamburgers are sold as a side walk food at fast food outlet, where one can just order and have it prepared instantaneously and eaten right away. You can eat it like a burger henceforth called the Taiwanese Hamburger. At, Mayflower they called this dish Hakka Braised Pork Belly.

First and foremost, the Pork Belly were braised using a combination of ingredients. It tasted very much like the famous Hang Zhou “Tung Po” meat. When served on the table, it comes with a basket of freshly steamed bun – the dough is quite similar to the “man tou”. I was told that these bun are made fresh each day to ensure the quality of the bun. In Taiwan, the chef will need to cut the bun, but here the bun had been made much like a folded kebab piece.

We started to apply a sauce which is Hoi Sin Sauce on the inside of the bun. Next we put on top of it, a piece of salad vegetable in this case “Mak Choy” and then followed by a piece of soft and tender Pork Belly and some gravy, after which we sprinkle it with some grounded combination of crushed wheat and oat (Taiwan version – they use grounded peanuts). It was indeed a nice combination and the taste was very delicious with every bite eaten. As the meat was braised until it was very soft and tender and you can literary bite thru it.

Rating 3 of 5

Date of Visit: 2013-08-28

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Authentic Italian Food – Gusto Giusto Italian Restaurant Shah Alam @ Best Restaurant To Eat

The sheer mention about Italian Food, the first thing that comes to mind, is Pizza and Pasta. I have the opportunity to try out this no frill little cafe located at 25 Jalan Juruaudit U1/37, 40150 Glenmarie, Shah Alam called Gusto Giusto which simply means the Right Taste in Italian.
Food Photo
This restaurant is owned by an Italian from Sicily and he was very passionate to share with us the Italian family dining experience and henceforth his setup of this restaurant and its menu.
Food Photo
The décor is a simple and family like. The first dish was the appetizer.

Antipasto – Italian appetizer. The cheese that was used here was of a subtle taste and I really enjoyed this Italian appetizer. We were served 2 variants of this antipasto.

The olives was also very crunchy and did not have that funny taste like keeping too long. I found out later that the olives that the chef used is soaked with water compared to some which is soaked in oil.
Food Photo
The first antipasto was quite like a salad tossed with corn, olive, peas, basil and a few slices of buffalo cheese. It is very refreshing
Food Photo
The second one, consists of fried tomatoes, olive and multiple pieces of buffalo cheese. If you are that love cheese then this antipasto will make your day. The cheese does not have the pungent smell and taste.
Rating 3 of 5
Nasi Sicily – Arancina
Food Photo
Nasi Sicily – Arancina literally means - Orange Riceball– unique, fried rice ball coated with breadcrumbs. It takes awhile to getting the use to the flavour of this Arancina.
Food Photo
Food Photo
It was a little crunchy and hard at first, but once you start to bite it, it has that hard crunch (due to the frying) that made it a little different. The filling in the rice ball are mozzarella cheese with tomato sauce and some beef.

This dish is not for everyone. It takes a while to find the taste and you either love it or hate it.

Rating 2 of 5
At Gusto Giusto the pizza based is of home made thin crust. I like the cheese that was used in this restaurant as it does not have a strong and pungent cheesy taste. The cheese used are from Australia.
Food Photo
Margherita – tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil

The most important criteria of a perfert baked pizza have got to be the right timing, as this will decide the fate of the browning of the cheese. Too much it will burn the cheese. the right timing and heat level used will determine the partially burned cheese has a particular distinct flavor of its own.
Food Photo
Siciliana – tomato sauce, mozzarella, olives, anchovies

Everything, from the quality ingredients to the super-swift firing in the oven, giving you an experience as close as possible to that you’d enjoy at a Trattoria table in Sicily.
Food Photo
Gusto Giusto Special – tomato, mushroom, anchovies, capsicium, beef

The secret is consistency; the base will be beautifully chewy and the topping charred to loveliness, whether you keep it simple with a Margherita (tomato sauce with mozzarella) or dress things up with, say olives, anchovies (Siciliana) or mushroom, capsicum and beef (Gusto Giusto Special).

Rating 3 of 5
A great pasta in this case – Spaghetti – must be perfectly cooked. The use of the right quality pasta is important, cooked to the right texture, the sauce must not be too overwhelming and not too creamy. All play a critical part to ensure you have a pleasureable experience to enjoy the best pasta possible.
Food Photo
The spaghetti Bolognese was served which a strong tomato base. I preferred the beef version of it as the beef brings out the best combination of taste to match the tomatoes base.
Food Photo
Next is the Spaghetti Frutti Di Mar – which means Fruit from the sea – In Italy they do not call it seafood but fruit from the sea. The ingredient used was very fresh. You could taste the crisp prawn and the springy squid mix blended with rich cheesy sauce makes it extremely tantalizing.
Food Photo
The final dish was Spaghetti Tarufona (truffle sauce). This dish looks very simple. There is no meat and you could only see some chopped garlic in the dish. Before the waiter laid down this dish, we could smell the fragrant aroma of the truffle sauce. I have never eaten spaghetti with this sauce.
Food Photo
Truffle oil used to cook this dish.

The first bite of the spaghetti, I was totally mesmerised by the flavour and the smell of it. I was indeed extremely surprised on how a simple dish with so minimum ingredient can taste so wonderful. You definitely want to go for a second helping or a third helping on this dish. If any dish this is the one that made my day.

Rating 4 of 5
It is a great challenge to cook this dish. How the chicken breast is prepared and the cheesy filling can make or break this dish.
Food Photo
I find that the chef, have over fried the chicken rolls and due to this, the chicken meat was quite tough. The portion of cheese was also too little. Normally, when you cut into the chicken rolls, the cheese will flow out. I find the cheese lacking and basically this looks like a chicken cutlet instead of Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Food Photo
Although some efforts were used to present the potatoes in a rounded form, to me it is a little too hard. It would have been great, if the potatoes are serves as smashed potatoes with some brown sauce, it will be a great combination. Overall this dish is just a little too dry. The saving grace was the salad that came along the dish.

Rating 2 of 5
Mention about real strong coffee, espresso comes to mind. Here, to finish off our meal we tried the espresso. Apparently, the Italian takes around 4 to 5 shots of espresso per day.
 I would say the espresso served here is very strong and you could feel the real coffee bitterness flowing down your throat to your stomach. Not many people can appreciate this bitterness. In fact, after 2 shot, I felt very refreshed due to the sudden burst of caffeine intake.
Food Photo
It was a truly unique experience having our meal here.
The must try food is the Spaghetti Tartufona – a unique gastronomic experience for me today.
Date of Visit: 2013-08-24

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jang Gun Korean Buffet - Fahrenheit 88 Kuala Lumpur KL Best Restaurant To Eat

Jang Gun is part of the Shogun/ Saisaki Group of Buffet Restaurant and is located at G1 27 01-04, Ground Floor, Ground Floor, Fahrenheit 88, 179, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Bintang.

I had the opportunity to have a food review session with the management of Shogun Group of Companies.

Jang Gun specializes in Korean Buffet restaurant. There are more than 200 dishes of dishes ranging from soups Korean, Japanese, Chinese and local dishes. It is quite similar to buffet at Saisaki and Shogun, in that the main differences is the additional Korean Dishes. Price wise, it is quite similar as those in the chain of restaurant.

One of the main additional dishes in Jang Gun is the offering of soup base which you can add to your poached seafood and other condiments (like mushroom and vegetables).

The soup variety that I have tasted are as follow – Buddha Jump Soup – I suppose it means Buddha Jump Over The Wall – Taste wise – Not too bad and it blended well with the poached fresh seafood like shell fish, crabs, prawns and mussels.

The other soup offering which I tasted was Tom Yam, Ginseng Chicken Soup, Kim Chi Soup and etc. Most of the soup offered is a little bit salty.

Korean Snack Food

According to the management of Jang Gun, they have a Lady Korean chef that whip up Korean dishes. I gave a try on some of the snacks for example Kim Chi, hard Boiled quail eggs, black beans, lotus roots, eggs rolls, Korean noodles and etc.

The advantage of having a buffet is you get to try a lot of varieties of these offering. It gives you to opportunity to taste these foods which you will not dare to order if it was on an ala-carte basis. I am not a real fan of Korean snack/ appetizer, so to me it was just a so-so experience.

Here, we had the opportunity to try out some Korean Pancake too.

As with all the other Saisaki/ Shogun Buffet Restaurant, Sashimi is still my main preference when having a meal at these restaurants. Here, you are able to get fresh seafood especially the Salmon and Tuna offering.

I believe the reason being the restaurant is able to purchase in quantity and as the turnover is fast with the number of restaurant, fresh and new stock is available on a frequent basis ensuring the customer gets the best quality.

Among the sashimi offering are Salmon, Tuna, Butter Tuna, Octopus and Prawns.

On the sushi offering, the rice was just normal, nothing to shout about.

We had a unique experience that night as the management was planning to introduce a new product for their chain of restaurant. They call it squeeze-it – A popular frosty ice product originating from Hokkaido Japan.

It is a cold dessert or rather an ice popsicle but in another form. It looks like a cute little ping pong ball which is frozen. They have to massage the ball. The type of massage, to the ball depends on the preference i.e. whether you want to ice to flush out at a fast rate or slow rate. You can also create an art by controlling the flow of the ice, making a mini mountain or etc depending on your creative style.

The way you eat it, is after cutting a small cut at the tips of the so-called branch. Upon cutting, the frosty ice will shot out continuously. All you do, is continuing sucking the ice from the tip and squeezing the ball as quickly as possible. That is how the name Squeeze it comes from. At the end of the process, you will have a sudden burst of the frosty ice shooting into your mouth. A truly very unique experience.

One of the main selling points is that, this ice flavours are 100% based on the fruits extract not artificial flavouring. There are 11 flavours offering Chocolate, Mango, Strawberry, Wild Berries, Premium Hazelnut Chocolate, Premium Banana, Premium Raspberry, Vanilla, Green Tea, Cherry and Premium Yoghurt.

Apparently, you can try this at Saisaki and Shogun Express. Cost around Rm5.90 or Rm6.90 (premium).