April 27, 2011

Restaurant LYJ Sg Buloh: Poon Choi Indulgence by Table for Eight

Is there an art to eating Poon Choi? At least to me there is… J

I recently joined a group of foodies from Table for Eight! The brilliance of the owner from Table for Eight had passionately set up a dining experience to all food lovers out there to be able to take pleasure in seeking out-of-the-ordinary dining fantasy! After reading this post, you may concur why I was on cloud nine last weekend!!

‘Poon Choi’, ‘Phùn-tshoi’, ‘Pun Choy’, Big Bowl Feast and etc, whatever you may want to call it, is one magnificent meal fit for royalty despite its humble origins. Yes, it has been blogged-to-death, so I will not make you suffer to hear me go through what it is but I rather make you swoon with my pictures of the kaleidoscope dishes in LYJ’s Poon Choi…

The day arrived and I introduced myself to the other foodies who had also joined this dining experience before settling in eagerly (like a bunny!) to wait for the arrival of the star. In every concert or movie, there will be an opening act to further stimulate the senses of waiting in eagerness to the peak of the show and our dining banquet was no different!

Lo and behold, our opening dish of the night…

The Standing Roast Chicken
Chef Paul Lee certainly deserves a standing ovation in my opinion for presenting his specialty, The Standing Roast Chicken or ‘Dong Tuk Kai’ (RM38). This one had everyone’s tongue wagging as soon as the dish was presented. The hush hush whispers of ‘How to eat this?’, ‘This dish looks hilarious!’, ‘Why is the chicken standing?’ and etc… had my curiosity level peaked to its max.

Apparently there is a technique to devouring this chook as we were also presented with a pair of scissors and a box of gloves. Go figure on the next course of action as I have never snip a chook’s meat before! J

Operation Standing Chicken... Scissors? Checked! Gloves? Checked! J

The silent of the whole table of guests while we all zoomed in intensely into a few foodies kind enough to dissect the chicken into pieces was beginning to bring back memories of me standing in my school hall paying homage to our national anthem with intense focus and silent till it was over… hehehe! 

The bird was gorgeous, perfectly roasted all round with a beautiful auburn tan and nicely perfumed with herbs and lemon, stuffed into the chook. Skin was crisp and meat was moist. Even though the chicken was simple and delicious, the genius chef already invoked our visual sense with his creativity of presentation. Our opening act certainly deserves a standing ovation… hahaha! (We also spied other tables having this, some with two chooks as one is just not enough I guess.J)

Our “Cinderella” moment came when we were presented with this pumpkin. Luckily we didn’t have to wait till midnight to find out the surprise hidden in the pumpkin! :P

Golden Pumpkin with Glutinous Rice
This golden squash (RM38) encased moist and fluffy glutinous rice baked in all its glory. Pumpkin was soft and fluffy as well and added a nice dimension to the dish. My partner thought the rice could do with more seasoning. I like this dish a lot but then I happen to love pumpkin, so I maybe a bit biased on this dish! (Don’t blame me if you don’t like it… hehehe)       

LYJ’s Poon Choi ~ Extravagance Version
Life is short; we must indulge ourselves once in a while, wink wink! Our pièce de résistance had everyone ‘oo-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ in glee… all eyes was zoomed into the opulence of the Poon Choi. We had the lavish version from LYJ priced at RM500 for this dish alone. I am told that there is cheaper version around RM258 minus the abalones, scallops and pork ribs! Served on a portable stove to keep the whole dish warm, the sauce was bubbling gently till overflowing, which had us gasping to save the precious sauce… J

Let’s deep dive on what we feasted on in this luxury version. First top layer was filled to the brim with luxury crustaceans, meat and poultry.
Let me show you a 360 degree view of this layer… hehehe!

Prized Crustacean, two glorious Australian Abalones in chunks! Tasteless with a slightly chewy sensation till you dipped it in the simmering sauce…ahh…

Fresh Scallops nestled in a vermicelli basket filled with ‘Kwai Fa Chi’ or Scrambled Egg with Crab Meat, Dried Scallop and Shark Fins. Yummy!!! The owner should know that Shark Fins does not contribute to the taste, hence let’s be more considerate and save the cruelty of the shark fins from extinction! For me, more scallops would be better than shark fins… J

Pan fried Salt and Pepper Prawns snuggly arranged in the metal dish had me salivating. Firm and fresh, the prawns were quite standard and good.

Nam Yue Pork Ribs was delicious! Tender and full flavored, enough said…

Yellow skin Steamed Kampung Chicken, apparently LYJ is famous for this chook as they served a mean ginger sauce to go with this dish! The chook can be ordered on daily basis as long as they don’t run out of it.

Roast Duck was one of my favorite dishes! Love the almost perfectly roasted duck as it was tender and super scrumptious.

Stuffed Fish Paste was a bit salty to my likings. Although the texture was bouncy, I thought the salt was too strongly seasoned in this.

Second layer was full of gems like Braised Pork Knuckle, Pork Belly, Mushrooms, Fish Maw, Chicken Feet, Chestnuts, Beancurd Sheets, Stuffed Whole ‘Ma Yau’ Fish, Dried Mussels, Broccoli and Cauliflower. All the ingredients were nicely soaking up the rich and heavily flavored sauce still simmering gently beneath the stove. The rich sauce is heavenly but this needs to be savored hot else it could be a bit cloying on the taste bud.

I think everyone unanimously agreed that we have met our cholesterol quota for the week… hahaha! However, that didn’t deter us from ordering ‘Man Tou’ or Steamed Bread to mop up the deliciously rich sauce from the Poon Choi. See how we paid homage to the glorified sauce? Rest assured, not one bit of this sauce was wasted!

Blanched Kai Lan
I was glad that the Poon Choi came with a serving of veggies after our carnivorous fare. Simple blanched Kai Lan in Soy Sauce was nicely cooked and seasoned.

Paku Salad with Lemon Dressing
We had to add another popular vegetable dish (RM18) to justify our carnivorous meal, hence we ordered what we saw almost present on everyone’s table. I am in love with this veggie! This is so refreshing and what surprises me was that it is served cold. Paku was lightly blanched and dressed with a sour dressing and had a good deal of fried shallot crunch in it. Highly recommended as it’s only available at LYJ!!

Fresh Cold Fruits
This platter came with the order of Poon Choi and was cold and refreshing… a great palate cleanser!

Location Map of Restaurant LYJ

I cannot wait to go back to LYJ to try out other dishes such as Ten Brothers, Smiling Buddha Chicken Pot Soup, Big Small Prawns and many more creative dishes.

Chef Paul Lee is truly a master chef and has won many acclaimed awards in competitions. Famous Hong Kong Gourmet Food Critic Hugo Leong (Toto) and other famous stars have been seen dining in this humble and no frill restaurant for its creative dishes and simply delicious food!

Table for Eight, thank you for organizing this amazing dining experience! To all the diners I met that night, it was a great pleasure to dine with you and I look forward to more coming feast with all of you! Total dining cost RM605.80 for 12 foodies.

Poon Choi Indulgence cost RM50 per pax,
Dining Experience and Company, Priceless!!

For more details on Table For Eight, please check out their facebook as there are more amazing feasts coming up:

Restaurant LYJ
PT 11, Jalan Perkhidmatan Kampung Baru
47000 Sungai Buloh, Selangor
Tel: 03-61402698
Business Hour: 11am - 2.30pm, 6pm - 10pm
Closed on Monday

* Poon Choi needs to be ordered at least two days in advance. Do ask for other specialty dishes as well.

April 24, 2011

Summer Park Restaurant: Bukit Tinggi, Bentong Homestyle Fare

During my little excursion to Bukit Tinggi with some friends, we found this little gem of a restaurant along the way among the valley of Bukit Tinggi. Actually, it was the orchard’s owner who directed us there when we asked for recommendation for some local fare!

The owner told us that this place served really good Bentong cuisine and the price is very reasonable. Gluttons being gluttons, we didn’t need any more encouragement… J

Nice al freso environment with plenty of greens around us, we ask for their house specialities. Six adults, hence six dishes were ordered… hehehe!

More house specialities like ‘Mui Choi’ Spare Ribs, Pork Trotter, Curry Pork Ribs, and some wild delicacies…

While waiting for food, the owner’s wife gave us some samplings of her homemade pineapple jam to be eaten with soda biscuits… so shiok!

The orchard owner’s son who joined us for lunch! You can tell how good the jam is by the smirk on the little boy’s face…

Claypot Tilapia with Supreme Soy Sauce
Piping hot claypot Tilapia was placed with gusto on our table and a full rush of steam escaped once the lid was lifted. The fish was fresh with no murky smell but a strong and heady fragrance of supreme soy sauce wafted through the air. A very unpretentious but powerful dish indeed!

Kong Sai Stuffed Eggplant, Chili and Tau Fu Pok
The ‘Yong Liew’ also came in a claypot, nicely swimming in a cloudy broth. The colors of the chilies, eggplant, and Bentong ‘tau fu pok’ were amazing! I discovered the love for Bentong ‘tau fu pok’ from my previous eating places like Moon Sing and Wan Jia. Bentong ‘tau fu pok’ has fluffy, meaty and soft textures and the ones here were delicious as well. Juicy and overstuffed with fish paste and chives, this was really scrumptious. The broth was lovely and I found myself enjoying this so much. Good and comfort food really do wonders for my heart!!

Kong Sai ‘Wu Tao Kau Yoke’
Pork belly with yam was highly recommended by the owner. Although the appearance does not look like the norm, leading us to think that this dish was going to be bland, we were so wrong… hahaha! Another strongly flavored and superb dish with melting pieces of layered pork belly and fluffy yam. Must order!

Sandwich Bean Curd with Fish Paste
This one is really unique! We didn’t know what to expect from this dish when we ordered it. Quite a nice surprise I might say so! Duo style of bean curd with one steamed and one fried, both sandwiched with steamed fish paste and Chinese chives, finished with brown oyster gravy. The mix textures were actually very interesting and lovely. I quite like this.

Stir Fried Watercress with Garlic
Fresh young shoots of watercress had enough ‘wok hei’ and was executed perfectly. Yum…

Fresh Shitake Mushroom with Bean Curd and Fish Paste
This dish was something I would have like but sadly, it missed the mark with the fish paste. It was just too soft for a fish paste texture and mushy. Taste wise was average but I do like the homemade tofu and fresh shitake mushroom.

Owner was frying up some Banana Fritters for their staff and offered some to us… this was simply divine. I am not a banana lover but found myself enjoying a lovely piece of crunchy lightly coated ripe banana. Sweet, soft and moist, the fritters were really awesome and were a perfect ending to our meal.

I don’t have the individual price for each dish as my friend paid for this meal. However, the total cost for six of us were RM120, which I thought to be very reasonable for six dishes with tea and rice.

What a find! I cannot wait to go back to this green heaven… when you are traveling, do check out what the locals eat as you never know what you might find.

Summer Park Restaurant
Lot PT 3338, Mukim Bukit Tinggi
28750 Bentong, Pahang
Tel: 012 661 1928 / 019 377 4009

April 21, 2011

The World of Malaysia: Kampung Bukit Tinggi Expedition

‘Why are you trying to look so far when you don’t even realize what is so near here?’

Those were the words of a great friend of mine that lingered in my mind for more than a decade...

I have been to a quite a few places in my life overseas but nothing fails to amaze me more than Malaysia. Sure, the world has so much to offer but then before we do seek out other pleasures, we should learn to appreciate what we have near us as well… J  

Let me take you on a road trip to Bukit Tinggi, my farming expedition with some friends!

The weather was a bit grey and the sun was hidden when we arrive at the valley just right after the Genting tunnel. However, that didn’t deter us and we proceeded to walk around the peaceful and quiet surroundings in the small valley with lots of shops.

Since most shops were not open, we quickly went to search for breakfast! We stumbled upon a small coffee shop selling noodles that already had a few patrons sipping their morning coffees.

I adore unpretentious food! Check out the homemade goodness…

Char Siew Wan Tan Mee was really lovely meal to start off my day! Springy noodles coated with a simple soy sauce and crowned with homemade Char Siew… I like this a lot.

Additional order of Yong Tau Foo because we spied these little homemade beauties and just cannot resist!! The stuffing tasted really traditional and also had ‘Kau Choy’ in it. Pretty good for such primitive fare!

Chicken Feet Wan Tan Mee was also delicious as confirmed by my friend.

We made a visit to this Bukit Tinggi Orchard Sdn Bhd that supplies fresh vegetables and fruits.

The owner was kind enough to show us around since it was a non-busy day for him. We had to walked all the way into the valley to be able to reach his farm.

The farm was simply breathtaking! There was just so many produce of vegetables, fruits and even fishes...

Local huge bananas in its glory!

'Mo Fah Kuo', a fruit used often to boil herbal drinks for cooling effect.

Endless rows of passion fruits...

We get to enjoy fresh passion fruit right there... isn't this such a glorious sight?

This one even has a 'face', so cute! Can you see it?

Wild pepper grown locally in Kampung Bukit Tinggi

Wild young local ginger... I was speechless at its beauty!

Locally grown 'Choy Sum' at different stages

I couldn't resist this picture of the 'Choy Sum' stalks!

Another gorgeous neatly packed veggies waiting for delivery. I bought some home and they were simply out-of-this-world (sigh with happiness!!)

Rows and rows of vegetables really brighten up my visual and mind!

Magnificent local yellow daffodil against the teeny tiniest raindrops...

Couldn't resist this gorgeous purplish blue flowers!!

According to the owner, this plant is suppose to cure cancerJ  

We even found so many awesome fruits and veggies in someone's garden!

Fresh Kedondong or Umbra was a sight to behold...

Baby French Beans... oo la la lovelyJ

'Tin Chat' leaves... like the ones I had at Moon Sing Restaurant!!

A serene and gentle stream along the hills whispering softly as it flows...

The view was simply magnificent and I was so awed at the whole experience. Speechless for most of the time during this trip, I just felt at peace with myself and this green world of hills!

Caught this lovely flower plant in another farm while sheltering from the rain.

Another brilliant flower ...

Baskets of glorious multi color hues of passion fruits! I bought some home for juicing which was so refreshing and energizing.

This is what Malaysia is all about! The beauty right in our very own earth really impressed me and I am thankful for nature's gift! I am glad that I could share this with everyone and look forward to discover more of Malaysia.

If you think these pictures tell a thousand tales, the real experience is worth so many million times more... you just have to check it out yourselves!! J

The World of Malaysia:
Kampung Bukit Tinggi
Bentong, Pahang

*We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Summer Park Restaurant coming up in the next post! Stay tune...