No ordinary dishes
Level 1, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur,
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2117 4180
Business hours: Daily; Lunch (Noon-2.30pm),
COMING up with dishes that connote wealth and prosperity is not difficult but the challenge lies with making them different from the rest of your peers.
Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur’s Zing Chinese Restaurant executive Chinese chef Leong Weng Heng started planning his menu for the Lunar New Year as early as August last year.
The ingredients he chose were true to the Chinese New Year spirit, however his method of presenting them was unique.
“Customers expect items such as yee sang, nian gao, fish and so on in the menu. But I do my part by presenting it differently.
“The dishes are also healthy because they are cooked with minimal oil, sugar and salt. It is the trend to eat healthy nowadays,” he said.
For starters, we had the Yee Sang with Norwegian Salmon and Crispy Fish Skin.
While it had the usual colourful items such as julienned turnips, ginger, pickles and salmon, the dish was given an extra texture with pieces of fish skin.
Sourced from Hong Kong, the fish skin was baked and not fried. Another interesting twist thrown into the yee sang was the sauce.
Unlike the traditional plum sauce, Leong added strawberries, lime juice and a dash of Thai chilli sauce. The result was a refreshing and sweet-ish sauce for the yee sang.
You can opt to have yee sang with deep fried soft shell crab too.
The Poached Marinated Farm Chicken with Chinese Wine was another traditional touch to the menu. Chef Leong said the free range chicken was marinated with fah tiu wine and salt. It was left in the refrigerator for about two days to allow the delicate wine flavours to seep into the chicken. Most free range chicken has leaner meat but the chicken was smooth and tender.
It also came with a garlic and ginger condiment which went well with the meat.
After having two traditional dishes, Leong surprised us with the Baked Tiger Prawn with Cheese in Superior Broth. The dish has a Western touch as the 200g prawn was halved and generously topped with cheese. The cheese did not overpower the freshness of the prawn. Its flesh was succulent although a tad dry.
Braised Stuffed Japanese Bean Curd Pocket with Giant Clam Slices, Roasted Pork, Sweet Beans and Dried Oyster connote wealth as the pocket resembled a money bag.
“The money bag is filled to the brim with traditional items and means that your wallet will be full for the year too. It also meant toi toi peng on in Cantonese which means safety,” said Leong.
He said the items were to be savoured one by one and the roast pork was sourced from Hong Kong.
In between dishes, our tea cups were generously refilled with unsweetened chrysanthemum tea which cleansed the palate.
Just when we could hardly eat another morsel, we were presented with the Waxed Meat Rice served in Casserole. The rice, waxed meat and vegetables were mixed deftly by the waiter and we each had a taste of four types of waxed meat. Leong used sausages, liver sausauges, waxed pork and duck from Hong Kong.
Although the meats were savoury, they went well with the rice which was also fragrant, thanks to the oils from the meats.
To end the meal on a sweet note, we were served Double Boiled Sea Coconut with Snow Fungus and New Year Nian Gao.
The nian gao (glutinous rice cake) was made in-house and Leong made sure it was not overly sweet. The nian gao was dipped in egg before frying and it remained soft inside.
“We use cane sugar inported specially from China. It gives the nian gao a hint of fragrance.
“When the mixture is done, coconut milk is added and the nian gao is steamed for five hours,” said chef Leong.
The yee sang dishes start from RM28++, a la carte dishes from RM24++ per dish and set menus from RM138++ per person.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.