Discover the authentic taste of Teochew cuisine.
PAK LOH CHIU CHOW RESTAURANT
LG12 Feast Floor, Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03-2782 3856
Business hours: Noon to 1am daily
GIVEN the unique complexity of Malaysia’s cultural tapestry, it is not easy to know the origins of a wide array of Chinese food available.
Cuisines from the different Chinese dialect groups are distinctive but there is significant overlapping influences, so for an authentic taste, there is a need to visit specialised restaurants.
Pak Loh Chiu Chow located in Starhill Gallery is the sister restaurant of the renowned Pak Loh in Hong Kong that dishes out authentic Teochew (also known as Chiu Chow) delicacies, which refers to dishes originating from the Chaoshan region east of Guangdong province.
There has been a lot of excitement in the new menu launched by the restaurant recently.
“This new and improved menu will delve even deeper into China’s rich Chiu Chow cuisine,” said chef Alex Au.
He added that the restaurant was importing more ingredients and fresh produce to offer a better variety of Chiu Chow dishes.
Any Chiu Chow affair is not complete without braised delights. Meats are braised for hours to attain the desired taste and a rich brown hue. Chiu Chow Pork Jelly is a traditional appetiser, served cold, after six hours of braising in a sauce of herbs, until the liquid has a gelatinous texture.
To savour Chiu Chow braised delicacies in all its splendour, opt for a platter of slow-braised goose, pork fillet, pork intestines, pig’s ear, egg and beancurd.
Chef Au is particularly proud of his goose meat flown in from China. The meat is succulent and perfect for braising. The use of spices and herbs also lends this dish its heady and lingering aroma.
Chiu Chow cuisine is also known for its use of seafood and vegetables.
Chef Au highlighted grey mullet and Bombay duck fish, loved by Chiu Chow folks for centuries. The former is simply steamed with salt to show off its original flavour, while the dipping sauce, made of soy bean and ginger, gives it a tangy, delightful kick.
The next best thing about this fish is the skin, when deep-fried, is light, crispy and melts in the mouth with its aroma coursing through the palate.
The Bombay duck fish, with tender meat and edible fine bones, is steamed with preserved turnips and glass noodles culminating in a flavourful dish.
Cold Flower Crab, Deep-Fried Baby Oyster with Plum Sauce, and Stir-fried Prawn with Preserved Pickles and Coriander are also great options to sample. The Chiu Chow style of handling seafood is simple and this draws out the flavours from the many types of pickled vegetables that come with the dish.
Chef Au enriches the dining experience by adding foreign touches to some of the dishes, The Fortune Parcels of Goose Liver with Superior Stock is a clever example of East meets West.
Braised Roast Pork with Vegetables is a classic dish that goes very well with rice. Also worth trying is the deceptively simple Chiu Chow Crispy Noodle, where the noodle is the only ingredient seen on the plate. In truth, this dish is prepared using a tedious method of deep-frying, simmering in chicken stock then pan-frying until it resembles a thin pizza. This dish is savoured with a sprinkle of sugar and a dash of authentic “San Tou” vinegar.
If you are looking for something crispy, opt for Crystal Crispy Duck with Mushroom and Water Chestnuts that offers an interesting contrasting texture. For something filling, Chiu Chow Baked Yam Rice with Dried Shrimp and Peanut in Claypot will leave you happy and sated.
The eatery has something special to offer as a finale. Fish maw that is usually reserved for savoury dishes becomes the highlight of a ginkgo dessert. This turns out to be a good pairing as the maw lends a nice, spongy texture to the sweet, clear soup.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro