Matchmaking the Ever Humble Beer with Fine Modern Chinese!
October is definitely a month of indulgence! Other than the fact that it was the month I was born, it’s time for Oktoberfest!! The Germans certainly know how to have a good time. During the long month of October, foodies and party-goers can enjoy a luscious spread of Oktoberfest signature dishes and loads of beer. When one thinks of Oktoberfest, German food comes to mind at first thought. Well, let’s think of out-of-the-box for a change… how about pairing beer with something refine this season?
This Oktoberfest, Guinness Anchor Berhad (GAB), the leading beer and stout company in Malaysia is celebrating the versatility of its stellar iconic range of beers by collaborating with Prince Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur’s signature Chinese restaurant, Tai Zi Heen in pairing beer and fine Chinese cuisine! Gourmet connoisseurs can indulge in a 3-Course beer pairing promotion in celebrating ‘For The Love of Beer’ at Tai Zi Heen from October 1st to 31st with an elegant menu and a selection of beers.
Checking into the sneak peak of the affair had us greeted by pretty GAB ambassadors in blue to add to the ambience that night!
Keith Nair, the GAB’s Beer Ambassador, was also present to explain the various beers pairing with the fine Chinese menu designed in partnership with Tai Zi Heen’s Executive Chef Michael Wong.
Quoted by Keith, ‘Tiger, Guinness, Strongbow and Paulaner are uniquely different taste profiles being a lager, stout, cider and wheat beer respectively. While drinkers can already tell the difference when they savor the beers, the unique flavors of the beers truly come alive when they are paired with the right type of dish. It’s not as simple as just pairing with food, it also has to take into account how the dish is prepared and cooked. This beer pairing menu with Tai Zi Heen is a great opportunity for diners and beer enthusiasts to sample GAB’s unique range of beers with decadent dishes.’
Chef Michael Wong, the Chinese Head Chef, has over 26 years of professional experience under his repertoire. He and his culinary team bring authentic Cantonese cuisine into the realm of contemporary cuisine with a modern twist. In this collaboration, Chef Wong has devised a decadent menu of sumptuous Cantonese dishes amped up with an elegant touch in the 3-course set menu.
Dinner kicked off with black gold liquid, Guinness Stout, with its signature cream foam soothing our senses after a long day of work!
Wok Seared Five Spice Salt Dusted Foie Gras and Beijing Smoked Duck Wraps Drizzled with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
The alluring barley roasted malt was paired with a lavish appetizer of delicate and luxuriant crisp seared Foie Gras and a classic smoked duck pancake with an exuberant passion fruit sauce. Indulgence at its best, the rich and silky smooth goose liver went surprisingly well with the tangy fruit sauce. The smoky duck in pancake was equally drool-li-cious with its flavor of duck and spring onion. A sip of the malt with its signature bitter aftertaste was pure enjoyment as it managed to counterbalance the sweet, tangy and richness of the appetizer beautifully.
This is one pairing made in heaven!
The next course had me enjoying my first sip of Strongbow. Made with apple cider and champagne yeast, this dry and icy cider is my kind of beer! It has a distinctive sweet undertone that glided down the throat with much fruity sweetness. After this sip, I confessed… I am a true Strongbow fanactic now!
Hot and Sour Seafood Soup with Unagi Parmesan Stick
At first thought, I was worried that the fruity sweet cider countering the flavors of the sour and spicy soup. After a few sips, it proved otherwise as the slightly acidic cider complimented the spicy soup very well. It also enhanced the seafood soup in flavors bringing forth a light tangy sweetness with hints of spiciness on the tongue.
What also hit the high note was the Unagi Parmesan stick! The monotonous spring roll stick had bold flavors of sweet juicy eel with strong hints of cheese, making every bite utterly delicious with sips of Strongbow. The crunch factor and the flavors are just amazing with the cider, so much so, I am going to have to replicate this at home in big batches… J
The next two dishes were teamed up with Paulaner, a lager with full bodied flavors and a hint of sweetness, brought in especially for Oktoberfest by GAB. Dubbed an institution of its own, the lager is cloudy because it is not sieved. The best flavor of this lager is achieved by serving it at 0 degree to 4 degrees!
Honey Soy Glazed Oysters on Asparagus and Toasted Sesame Seeds
Well I must declare… this pairing is truly bold! Soft and briny fresh oysters braised in a very delectable sweet honey soy sauce exuded a refined flavor like no other. The delectable sweet and savory molluscs brought out the sweetness of the Paulaner in a wicked way of goodness. Oysters are usually heavier in general flavors especially when braised in sweet sauces but the lager seemed to balance out the heaviness while exuding a sense of freshness in the wheat beer.
Baked Cod Fish with Garlic Crust
Just imagine what a sweet piece of flaky cod fish crusted with an impeccable garlic spread lightly broiled to crisp perfection taste like! A flavor of garlicky sensation with a gentleness to the dish. The juiciness of the fish with the rich smothering garlic paste begged to be worshipped by gourmet connoisseurs. A very enjoyable fish that brought out a hint of bitterness at the end together with Paulaner beer although I would never have thought to paired fish with the lager in the first place.
Another iconic beer, Tiger uses only the finest malt, hops and yeast. The pale gold lager is much loved by its fans all over the world. Tiger fans are truly loyal to its distinctive flavor of bittersweet sensation.
Kong Poh Style Chicken with Dried Chilies and Cashew Nuts in Yam Ring
By pairing up Tiger and this classic dish, the spicy and sweet flavors shined intensely. The gold lager enhanced the tender chicken cubes in a burst of flavors lending a salivating umami taste that makes one drool for more. The slight bitterness in Tiger also undercut the sweetness of the dish to intensify the savory flavors of the chicken and yam. Yam ring was as fluffy and light as it can be while nutty cashew nuts provided a good texture and nutty wholesome flavors. I would have loved more sauce to coat the yam.
We may have started out with the creamy smooth black malt but we ended up with my favorite cider beer! Strongbow makes a sweet ending in the dessert course…
Purple Sweet Potato Garnished with Mango Ice Cream Accompanied by Lotus Paste Chinese Pancake
Our camera lens loved the desserts to its max!! Impressively gorgeous and smoking hot, the dessert arrived with much oohs and aahs from everyone. Purple-li-cious, one would probably dismiss the purple sweet potato without much thoughts still one tries this dessert. Chilled, creamy and thick sweet potato puree, aromatized with a scent of lavender, contrasted well with icy cold mango ice cream, making the combination quite unique and lethal. Both are nicely jazzed up with the icy acidic cider to lighten up the overall flavors. In addition, the lotus paste spring roll is also heavenly with the cider making the ending of the meal a pleasurable evening to remember!
This meal certainly changed my mind about pairing beer with fine Chinese cuisine! The modern twists and touches on the menu from Tai Zi Heen brought forth a new generation of cuisine and pairings which I personally enjoyed very much that evening. Check out another beer pairing I had last year with Guinness which was also very memorable.
‘Prost’ to your love for beer… or in this case… let’s ‘Yum Seng’ to Oktoberfest!!
Tai Zi Heen’s “For The Love of Beer” 3-course beer menu is available throughout GAB’s Oktoberfest Celebrations from October 1-31 at RM150++ per person. Each dish will be paired with Tiger, Guinness, Strongbow and Paulaner and each diner can take home a special limited edition GAB’s Oktoberfest 1L ceramic mug.
Apart from the special promotion at Tai Zi Heen, this year, GAB has planned a range of promotions and celebrations to make the world’s largest beer festival worthy of its global phenomenon status. Apart from its stellar iconic offering of Tiger, Guinness, Heineken, Anchor, Strongbow, Kilkenny and Paulaner, GAB is also going to complete beer lovers’ Oktoberfest experience by bringing Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier, the Original Munich Oktoberfest beer to Malaysia.
With so much love in the air, GAB is pulling all stops to ensure that their fans’ affections will be well reciprocated. Apart from attractive beer promotions, beer lovers will also be treated to a limited-edition 1L Ceramic Mug, the quintessential Oktoberfest staple when they purchase 1L of Tiger Beer.
To add more excitement, GAB is introducing a Facebook activity called the Biermeister, where beer lovers can hunt for more rewards. Log on to GAB’s Oktoberfest Facebook page www.facebook.com/OktoberfestMY from September 17 –October 31 daily.
TAI ZI HEEN
Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Conlay, 59459 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-2170 8888
Fax: 603-2170 8808