Restaurant Pin Xiang Seafood,
Chicken Rice & Noodle House
H-18-G, Jalan PJU 1/45,
Aman Suria, Damansara,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: 03-8945 8733
Local actor Alan Yun is winning over new fans with a totally unexpected venture — a restaurant that serves Chinese comfort food.
WHAT’S an actor like Alan Yun doing in a fickle business like F&B?
“I’m no stranger to the food business,” smiles Yun, best remembered for his roles in the late Yasmin Ahmad’s films, as he talks about his new Chinese restaurant, Pin Xiang, in Aman Suria.
“When I was a little boy, I remember my maternal grandmother used to run a home catering and food delivery business. I literally grew up eating her ku loh yoke (Sweet and Sour Pork), steamed village chicken, korn cheen har loke (Pan-fried Prawns) and fatt putt (Deep-fried Yam Ring),” he explains.
“I must admit I was hesitant when my friends approached me about opening Pin Xiang restaurant because of the cost and risks involved. I only changed my mind when they told me that Pin Xiang would focus on serving affordable, classic comfort food — those dishes that my grandmother used to cook.
“I believe food lovers including myself would never tire of them, so I think the longevity of such a restaurant would be assured. Since I also have to entertain business associates and friends regularly, I decided having my own restaurant would be ideal. That’s when I decided that this venture could be a worthwhile investment, after all,” Yun says.
According to Yun, he was also bowled over by the wide range of unpretentious Chinese dishes that Chef Koo Kong came up with. The Ipoh-born chef with 27 years of experience was another factor that convinced him to take the plunge.
It’s a good thing that Koo and Yun share the same exacting standards when it comes to food. For instance, they both insist that a great sweet and sour pork dish should include diced chunks of deep-fried pork that remain crisp to the bite and coated with just enough sweet-tangy sauce to leave diners hankering for more.
The Yam Ring with Sweet and Sour Pork (RM18, small; RM25, medium; RM30, large) that we sample certainly lives up to expectations. The crisp but soft and powdery yam mash serving is the perfect foil for the delectable pieces of pork.
Koo says he’s an old-school chef who prefers dishing up tried and tested home-style dishes with big, hearty flavours.
“I firmly believe that most dishes must have good wok hei (wok heat) — something that’s only possible when food is deftly and quickly stir-fried over very high heat, imbuing it with a slightly smoky nuance and aroma,” he explains.
The succulent, toothsome texture of the House Special Village Chicken (RM30, small portion; RM60, large) Chef Koo serves reminds us of the ubiquitous pak chit gai (poached chicken) that used to grace our family’s dining table during festivals.
Admittedly, this version tastes way better, thanks to the chef’s special soya sauce concoction. Whole stalks of blanched jade-green choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage) add textural contrast whilst the fried minced garlic on the side enhance the meat’s natural sweetness.
I usually give pig’s intestines a wide berth but the Fresh Sauce Intestines (RM15, small; RM20, medium; RM25, large) with its spicy, sour and garlicky dressing is so addictive that I find myself relishing every mouthful.
For years, countless Chinese chefs have relied on the trinity of garlic, ginger and spring onion to great effect, and Chef Koo is no different. He uses liberal amounts of all three but in different proportions to accentuate his signature Pin Xiang Special Fried Tilapia (RM3 per 100g) and Frog Legs with Ginger and Garlic (seasonal price) to scrumptious results.
The savvy chef also deserves praise for his ingenuity in serving ping pong-sized balls of juicy watermelon with his Champagne Spare Ribs (RM25, medium; RM35, large) — the fruit’s refreshing sweetness is a great counterpoint to the meat’s cloying richness.
Other noteworthy choices include Salted Egg Mantis Prawns (RM15, small; RM20, medium; RM25, large), Tian Cui Ba Jing or Mixed Eight Vegetables (RM12, small; RM16, medium; RM20, large) and Tasty Soya Sauce Prawns (seasonal price).
Koo says the current selection will be pared down gradually once they have determined the dishes with the greatest appeal.
“New dishes will be introduced on a rotational basis, and we’ll probably consider offering live seafood in future, ” he adds.
o Pin Xiang’s tai chow menu is available for lunch from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm and for dinner from 6.30pm to 11.00pm. For breakfast, you can expect the usual coffee-shop favourites: soft-boiled eggs, toast, noodles, etc.