November 16, 2011

Zuan Yuan, One World Hotel: A Teochew Date!

I had a Teochew date with Chef Michael Chew at Zuan Yuan, One World Hotel!

Step into the opulent grandeur of Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant located on the lobby level of One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya and enjoy palatable Teochew dishes throughout the month of November 2011 for lunch and dinner.

Teochew cuisine is particularly well known for its seafood and vegetarian dishes and is commonly regarded as being healthy. Its use of flavoring is much less heavy-handed than most other Chinese cuisines and depends much on the freshness and quality of the ingredients for taste and flavor. 

No longer new to Zuan Yuan, I looked forward to Chef Michael Chew’s concoction of Teochew dishes since I had sampled his previous creations in the I Love Hong Kong promotion!

Love the bright and elegant table setting that shouts opulence the moment one walks in! The mixture of red and gold really glam up the ambience and I adored the carved motif chairs that brings out an Oriental touch to the whole restaurant.

A gorgeous collection of wine bottles!

We started off our Teochew affair with a very traditional Duo Combination of Teochew Style Steamed and Deep-Fried ‘Fen Guo’. The dumplings reminded me of Ying and Yang where both elements should ignite a balance of harmony between each other.

The Steamed ‘Fen Guo’ has a slightly translucent skin almost like a Hokkien ‘Chai Kuih’ but the filling differs as this one has a filling of cubed turnip, carrot, mushroom, water chestnut, peanut and garlic chives. Flavors are as expected as its light and showcased the natural flavors of the ingredients. I do like the texture as there is a good bite in all the vegetables.

The Deep-Fried ‘Fen Guo’ has a gorgeous skin similar to the texture of a yam dumpling skin. When I sinked my teeth into this, a slight crisp gave way to a creamy and soft texture skin which I thought was quite heavenly. Filling is the same as the steamed dumpling but somehow, the consistency had a better creaminess in this fried dumpling! I could eat a few more of this version easily… J

A Chinese meal is never without a soup to open up the meal! Braised Shark Fin with Crab Claw and Scallop denotes a very luxurious soup. Chef Michael uses pieces of shark fin, fresh scallop and crab claw to amped up the chicken broth. Although some of my friends thought that the soup was too watery, I don’t mind this as I felt the soup had a clean and light flavor with a slight hint of fish sauce.

I was given a bowl of light blanched bean sprouts to lift up the texture which I thought was quite clever. In fact, after one spoonful, I added in all my bean sprout and coriander into the soup as it tasted more refreshing to my palate.

The next dish of Deep Fried Teochew ‘Shi Liu Guo’ represented a pouch of bean curd sheet encasing a minced meat filling. Looks like a money bag to me!

When I savored the first bite, I thought the flavors were a bit too bland. Then I noted we were given a saucer of sweet and sour sauce to accompany this dumpling. The sauce definitely enhanced the taste and lifted up the blandness of the dumpling. The filling consisted of minced meat, mushrooms and water chestnut while the sauce was flavored with a hint of vinegar. Decent and faultless but not a wow me dish.

The next dish of Steamed Leather Jacket Fish with Garlic, Ginger and Teochew Sauce is bursting with loads of flavors. The fish was slightly firm and surprisingly light while the sauce of garlic, ginger, chili and Teochew bean sauce was absolutely delicious! I love the strong hint of spiciness from the chili and would have enjoyed this with a bowl of white rice thoroughly. I was quite surprise at the level of spiciness of this dish since the earlier dishes were very light in flavors. If you cannot take spicy, I would recommend informing the staff to minimize the chili in the sauce! Yummy… J

One can choose an option of either rice or noodles in the carb section of the meal. I chose the Braised Rice Noodle with Assorted Seafood and was absolutely satisfied with my choice. The smooth wide strips of ‘Hor Fun’ were fried with soy sauce and had good wok flavor. The sauce was gentle with hints of seafood and a distinctive flavor of ‘Peen Hu’ (Dried Sole). The dish was deemed normal by most but I concurred that it was perfectly executed.

I did manage to try a spoonful of Fried Rice with Olive Vegetable since I never tasted olive vegetable before. The olive vegetable does not resemble the western olives but rather a salty and leafy pickled vegetable. The rice had a good aroma and I could identify egg, chicken, pickled olive vegetable and cubes of broccoli stem. Flavors were light as usual but the aroma was very nice!

Our date ended with a highly popular Teochew dessert of Sweetened Yam Paste or ‘Or Nee’. Traditional yam paste is very thick and almost too gluey as there is lard added. The version here has been ‘healthy-cised’ as it does not have lard. Chef Michael explained that he wishes to let the yam shine with its natural flavors and textures while the cubes of pumpkin and gingko brings out the creamy textures of the yam. Slightly sweet syrup speckled with citrus peel makes the whole dish lighter. Although the portion is fairly big, I actually finish off this dessert as it didn’t feel heavy or oily. I like this very much!!

The affair was definitely an eye opener for me as I am not familiar with Teochew cuisine. I thought the set menu is well valued for price since there is a bowl of Shark Fin soup with actual pieces of shark fins and fresh scallop with crab claw and the ambience is gorgeous to boot. The six course meal is quite filling and the portions are decent. This definitely warrants a visit for those who favor Teochew cuisine. Chef Michael, a chef of many talents, has once again shown his skills in creating various Chinese cuisines with such precision and control. If you like clean and light flavors, the Teochew set meal is definitely up your alley… J 

The Teochew Date set menu is priced at RM68++ per person and runs from 1st Nov to 30th Nov, 2011.

Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
Lobby Floor, One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7681-1159

Business hours:
Monday to Friday:
Lunch 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm
Dinner 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday:
Lunch 11.00 am to 2.30 pm
Dinner 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm

*Thanks to May and Sid for the invite!


  1. Cai Kuey? haha.. but the look is totally different!

  2. wow...great teochew delicacies im interested with d sweetened yam paste...^^

  3. Love the fish! & gosh you are fast!

  4. Nikel: Almost like cai kuey but with more ingredients.

    Jen: I miss the onn nee!

  5. I wanna have that fried fen guo again!

  6. wow the ambience looks super good! so nice that you guys had a nice meal there :)

  7. Nikel: yeah.. only look alike but the filling is very different.

    chowchow7: this version is very light so it not 'jelak'

    choiyen: time is precious mah... kekeke

    missyblurkit: oh yeah? I miss the spicy fish!

    Merryn: oh I dont mind a few of that too!!

    FiSh: yeah.. ambience grand and food is very refine in taste & looks!