ZING CANTONESE RESTAURANT,
Level 1, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur,
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2117 4180/81
Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm
and 6.30pm to 10.30pm
FILO pastry is typically found in Middle Eastern dishes, so it was a pleasant surprise when Chef Chan Kwok presented a baked cod wrapped in a golden filo pastry for Zing Cantonese restaurant’s Contemporary Flavours of Canton promotion.
Chan, 54, is the group master chef at Singapore’s Orchard Hotel and will be in Malaysia as he cooks up dishes for the promotion that runs till July 23.
Fresh from being awarded the Chef of the Year and Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year at the Asian Gastronomic Awards of Excellence 2011, Chan said he would experiment with new ways of presenting everyday ingredients.
“As a chef, if you don’t come up with new dishes, your customer will get bored,” said the soft-spoken Chan, who is from Hong Kong but currently resides in Singapore.
He said filo pastry was not commonly used in Chinese cooking and he came up with the idea of baking cod in the thin pastry.
“It turned out to be a good match. The mushrooms are first stir-fried before being wrapped in the pastry together with the fish. It is then baked for about 15 minutes,” explained Chan.
The flavours of the fish were retained while being baked in the pastry and there was a nice whiff of aromas as you cut open the crispy pocket.
Using a simple ingredient like the winter melon, Chan created an unpretentious and refreshing dish in the Braised Fresh Crab Meat with Winter Melon.
“The winter melon has cooling effects and is good for the warm weather. Most people would use it to boil soup and the melon would end up soggy and tasteless. I steamed it to retain the taste and added crab meat gravy to complete the dish,” he said.
Sea cucumber was a delicacy that is usually braised but Chan surprised us again with his Braised Stuffed Spike Sea Cucumber that was filled with a minced pork and prawns.
“The sea cucumber has to be prepared three days in advance. It has to be soaked overnight and then boiled in water and covered so that it will be soft. We then stuff it with the filling and braise it,” he said.
The Stewed Duck Drumstick with Black Fungus and Black Dates had a nice mix of textures and taste.
Chan explained that the dates and fungus were braised first to make it soft before it was stewed again with the duck for about an hour.
The sweet taste from the dates complemented the savoury duck meat that came off the bones with ease.
Those with a penchant for rice would not want to miss out on Chan’s Minced Pork Fried Rice with Crispy Rice and Preserved Radish.
Instead of using the typical chopped long beans in the fried rice, Chan used bits of Chinese choy sum stalks to give the dish more crunch.
If that was not enough, he added crispy deep-fried bits of rice that guaranteed a crunch to every bite.
“To get the crispy rice, the cooked rice has to be air-dried overnight before being deep-fried and added to the fried rice. It is best to eat it while hot so the deep-fried bits do not turn soggy,” he explained.
The a la carte menu for starts from RM18++. There will also be a tea pairing set menu priced at RM248 per person where each dish is paired with a type of Chinese tea, ranging from Oolong, Chinese Jasmine to Pu Er.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.