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Saturday, 31 August 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