Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

True Blues and Some New Twists

Once again Frat from theQguides.com had invited me and a partner of my choice this time, to another food tasting, which is at the no-stranger to many PJ folks – Hilton PJ. Gosh, I have just told a friend today, I am one lucky tham jiak girl, when she asked me to tea today and brought me fresh lou por peng all the way from Hong Kong to share, ah the wonders of being tham jiak and honest about it, and having a blog to shout about it helps too, which then brought me to this superbly delicious food tasting. Does this anyway connects?

Anyway, rushing all the way from work in the concrete jungle, I, once again famously arrived a tad late, where everyone are already seated with their partners, with Jek standing out front about to start his speech. Shyly, I sat down with my partner, Q, and then we were introduced to ZestPJ.com, which is a blog for the restaurants and bars for the Hilton PJ – Paya Serai, Toh Yuen, Genji, Caffe Cino and Uncle Chilli’s. I absolutely enjoy the site, I found myself browsing the various posts with delight and could not help eyeing the promotions page like a hawk, while planning out how to maximise it with my upcoming plans! So what are you waiting for? Head over to Zest.PJ.com to further learn more of what it is and interact with other epicureans in Malaysia!

After that we all had a round of drawing lots to see where each of us would head out to fill our tummies! I was the end of the round and the final lot was Toh Yuen! At first my heart skipped a beat, I was actually hoping for Genji, as probably I was in hankering for Japanese at that time, but oh boy, shall I now dare to say I totally am glad I drew Toh Yuen after the dining experience! You may further read on to see what the hype is all about, this time I have both Q’s and my inflated tummy to testify! Before heading out to our respective restaurants, we bloggers also have a chance to get acquainted with theQguides.com, which I have actually booked through it few times before, where we booked then and there for our respective dining restaurants for two on the all new theQguides.com. Do check out the new awesome beta site and what new stuffs it had to offer now.

So now back to the food! Q and I headed excitedly towards Toh Yuen, where we were then escorted into an exotic location, well sort of, since we were lead to the far end corner of the restaurant, way across from the other food blogger, vkeong who took the other corner. We felt like we are in some secret mission, but technically it is actually due to fact that these places have the best lighting, though mine do still need bit more lighting and more space. We need to take good pictures for our readers no? Once seated, we ordered our tea first, before perusing on the extensive menu, and when I say extensive, I meant seriously elaborated choices of Cantonese fare (with some other clans thrown in). Have I mentioned before I love Cantonese food? Though a Hokkien, I totally adore Cantonese way of cooking simply, retaining the food natural flavours while complementing each other perfectly. Ah, don’t get me started on it or it will be way too long post, you can actually read more about it in my tribute to Ah Ma, my true validation to the best of Cantonese fare, which now Toh Yuen comes in a close second! While I was looking at the menu panicking as I seem to want everything from it, Toh Yuen’s Executive Sous Chef, Frederick Kho, came to introduce himself, and then kindly help nudge us to decide on what to order. Then we are all set! I was so giddy with excitement.


While we were still fidgeting over the menu, tea had been served to us and I must say they taste as good as they look. It is light on palate but strong in the smell and flavours department. First up was our Norwegian Salmon Roll, which is kind of a twist to the usual Cantonese cooking. The salmon was still all soft and juicy, not to mention oh so fresh, while the external crispy deep-fried wrap gave completes the whole texture of this dish. In sum, it is appealing to the palate, definitely a good starter to fire up all the tham jiak-ness.


Then next up was the Shark Fin’s Dumpling in Superior soup, personally recommended by Chef Kho, which now I personally recommend to you! The soup is slightly sweet with all the goodness of Cantonese secret to soup making. The dumpling was a unique touch to the otherwise normal soup, though I don’t mind as Cantonese soup has always been really flavourful regardless, though there was a hint of fishiness, I do enjoy this creation of Toh Yuen’s.


We have another true blue Cantonese fare, which is simply Sautéed Fresh Scallops with Fresh Lily Bulbs. This dish is the testimonial to the art of simple cooking of Cantonese where they retain the natural goodness of the scallops. But this dish had an extra twist to the otherwise probably plainer Cantonese style, which is the asparagus that were cooked with some spiciness. Overall, I love the fresh scallops while the asparagus were just alright.


Chef Kho also recommended another dish for us, which he said is a special creation of the restaurant, the Pan Fried Lamb Chop in Mongolian style. Though bit reluctant at first, as my heart is with the Cantonese fare, I gave in and ordered this for new tastes, and I did regret it at all. Definitely something unique, and sort of fusion in some ways, I found the lamb cooked just oh-so-right and the sauce, I must say the sauce is the secret and it was. When Chef Kho came in between our meals, I asked him what went into the sauce and for a moment, something flickered in his eyes, nothing evil alright, but yes, he did then say “it is a secret recipe!” and then he laughed, and then we laughed (no we all are not drunk!) and then he proceed to explain briefly that it is a mayo-based sauce, much to my surprise as I would never have guessed that. Hats off to the chef for this Mongolian inspired creation!


Next dish was actually chosen by Q, she loves tofu and so the Pi Pa Braised Beancurd with Vegetable beckons to her and she must order it and I was glad she did. This tofu dish is certainly unique and I would say a lot of hard work had been put in to make this dish. First look it was sort of like just deep fried tofu but after a bite, you found it was not as simple as such. The tofu inside was all loose and soft, and how can that be? Well they were finely chopped in uniform sizes, put together with some special technique, and then only deep fried, and I must mention the slightly crunchy skin is also full of flavours of spices and herbs. A must try!


And now, come to the star dish of the day, the Peking Duck! I have to say, it is the best Peking duck I had before (I might not have tried enough out there but enough to proclaim as such)! Earlier, the nice people of ZestPJ.com, told us that we must try the Peking Duck, and that message had been ingrained in me, a tham jiak instinct I would say. Then later at the restaurant, I was deeply disappointed as the restaurant only offers whole duck and I keep staring at it, imagine me n Q devouring the whole duck! So started the war of my rational mind against my tham jiak feelings, where we ended up not ordering the first round. Later on though, my mind came up with a good idea, the wonders of it when you really want something, that is to share with vkeong, and being such a nice guy, he accepted the invitation! Thanks vkeong! So with that, Q and I get to enjoy this wonderful dish. As Chef Kho said, earlier the master was here to make this delicacy in Malaysia, and then they had learned the art from him, where now we are tasting the results! All I can say is that the duck skin was really crispy and flavourful, wrapped snugly in soft Chinese pancake and then drizzle over with the special sauce, I have to use special as it is the important element of this dish and it was just like how the traditional sauce should be but yet still very distinct from the usual ones out there. The wrapped duck skin-pancake is really good, and it is best to also add in more mouthfuls of the remaining sinful crispy duck skin. Ah, bliss! To say this is a recommended dish from me is an understatement! After that the duck meat was sliced and then stir fried with noodles for us, which was quite good.


Now it is time to end this elaborate Chinese course meal, you all must be wondering how in the world can two girls be finishing all that? Oh yes we did, and we can because the food were great! Chef Kho came at the end of our meal and was pleasantly surprise to see us polishing off the dishes. We have to blush with apparent shyness, but deep down, we were secretly really proud about it and were indeed glad to be able to enjoy such a good meal. Not to fret as our aching tummy can be easily cured by ordering dessert! Oh yes, we manage still fit in another dessert, where we share the Chilled Fresh Fruit with Sago and Mango, which was just the cure right light ending to this heavy meal.


Q and I indeed had a really wonderful dining experience here, the service was exceptionally good, tea refilled all the time, food allowed for me to take pictures first before serving, but of course you would say that because I am in a food review, but this just goes to show how tentative they would be on customers’ specific needs. The interior gave one the feeling of dining in a high class ancient palace with some modern touch. So do give Toh Yuen a try, if you are ever out to look for true goodness of Cantonese fare, which Toh Yuen did not fail my expectation of it, while also wants to try some twist of new creations, which I would say they are creative in this as well. So do not just listen to me rave about Cantonese cooking, go try it out and let me know what you think, or rather taste!

Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ

No. 2, Jalan Barat
Petaling Jaya
Selangor
03-79559122
Daily noon-2pm, 7.00pm-10.30pm
Sunday Dim Sum brunch 11am-3pm

Review of Toh Yuen by my Peking-Duck-sharing-partners - vkeong here.
Reviews of other restaurants in Hilton PJ by fellow tham jiak mates here:
The Ruthless Eaters - Genji
Pillow Talk with Bangsar-Babe - Paya Serai

P/S: After that we all met up at Uncle Chillis downstairs, all the good stuff can be read over at dear Frat Mustard, as there is where he partied out while waiting for us to join him!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

We Ate for Charity!

When is the time you get to be tham jiak and eat indulge all you want but for a good cause? When is the time you get to eat durian to your heart’s or rather tummy’s content and still feel justified? When is the time you can tham jiak for charity? When is the time you can eat durians by truckloads in just RM10 and have a t-shirt to flaunt it later with just RM20 and above? This is when:



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