Pak Loh Chiu Chow Cuisine is a household name in Hong Kong which started in 1967 but little did we know that it has setup the first oversea restaurant in Malaysia which is located at Feast Village Starhill Gallery Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur for the past ten years.
+BestRestaurant ToEat was invited to savour the specially created dishes by its award winning chef Alex Au to celebrate this occasion that blends the traditional Teochew dishes that not only taste delicious and tasty but retains the authenticity of the original flavours.
In conjunction to this 10 years anniversary celebration of Pak Loh Chiu Chow in Malaysia, we were served 10 of the over 40 new dishes that will be introduced to customers starting 5th December 2015 for lunch and dinner.
Chef Alex Au have painstakingly taken more than 9 months to craft out these dishes using the much touted condiments, common ingredients to prepare the dishes using the fine art of preparing these famous and popular Teochew (Chiu Chow) cuisine; which uses very little flavouring as compared with most other Chinese cuisines.
In traditional Teochew (Chiu Chow) custom; we were served the “Kung Foo” tea. It is a welcome drink that are customary served to guests before a meal; one of the reason for this tea is to whet your appetite. This tea is a very strong blend and a mixture of a few types of tea leaf; of which the main tea leaves used was the “Oolong or Ti Kuan Yin”.
We then proceed to our culinary journey of Teochew cuisine; which leads us to the first dish which is the Baked Bombay Duck Fish with Plum Sauce (RM25.00). The thinly sliced fish fillet are battered with a special flour mix and deep fried to a golden brown; which is then cooked with plum sauce that caramelizes the fish. We loves the crunchy feel of the fish and its taste; if not for the name of the dish, we could have easily thought it was a piece of pork meat as it resembles the “Pai Kuat Wong” when the dish was laid on the table.
Next, the chef have decided to do a live cooking of this dish which is the Threadfish Fish Soup with Coriander and Leek (RM98.00). Using leek, pre cooked radish, coriander and a soup broth of threadfish bone boiled over a number of hours to extract out the rich full flavours of the fish.
According to chef Alex, the Threadfish Head which has a strong taste and texture is used for this dish. One of the selection criteria of this fish; is to use a deep water fish which must weigh at least 5kg and above. Cut to a bite sizes, the Fish Head is pan fried before adding the flavorful broth and then followed by all the other ingredients.
From the look; it resembles the First Head Noodles that we are accustomed to; but there is no milk that was added into it. The rich milky look of the broth (collagen) is from the painstaking process of boiling of the fish bones for hours before hand.
The next dish is the Authentic Top Shell with Preserved Vegetables (RM108.00). Due to the proximity to the sea of the Chiu Chow province, seafood are normally used to cook most of the dishes in Teochew cuisine. High quality Top Shell are associated to the likes of Abalone, which are premium seafood dishes. With that, the Chef butterflied these Top Shell to a very thin slice and cooked with his special preserved mustard. Loves the glistening texture of the Top Shell which has a springy and bouncy sweet natural taste.
After which, we had the Traditional Steamed Tiger-Toothed Croaker with Pork, Ham and Garlic Wrapped with Aromatic Chinese Cabbage (RM98.00). The fish is first wrapped with a big piece of Chinese Cabbage while the pork meat and ham flavours are intertwined to make the special taste to the gravy. It was a little challenge for us to eat this fish as the small size of the fish poses a challenge of the separating the bones. But nevertheless, the taste of the fish white meat was a delight to be eaten.
This is then followed by the Classic Chiu Chow Wok Fried Assorted Seasonal Vegetables (RM32.00). For Teochew (Chiu Chow) people, this dish is usually served on the 7th Day of the Chinese New Year as it represent family harmony; there are 7 different types of vegetable used for this dish with the careful selection of each of the vegetable which rhyme with a prosperous or lucky sound.
Moving on is the Braised Spring Chicken Stuffed with Glutinous Rice, Garlic, Ginger and Straw Mushroom (RM45.00 per chicken). The Glutinous Rice is first fried and then stuffed into the Spring Chicken with the mushroom and the other condiments. It is then slow braised to extract the full flavour of the chicken together with the stuffing. The end result is that the Glutinous rice has a soft texture and was nicely matched with the braised stew with the soft peeling meat of the spring chicken.
After which is the Authentic Smoked Bacon Cooked with Yellow Chives (RM45.00). The salted bacon are made inhouse by the chef; It is smoked with a special tea to gives it a special aroma and taste. Combine it with the imported Yellow Chives which has a crunchy feel together with the bacon was a perfect match to the white rice that we ordered to go with it.
This is then followed by the Braised Pumpkin Bean Curd with Wild Mushrooms and Dried Scallop (42.00). The bean curd are made with a blend of soyabean and pumpkin paste. Getting this right texture is a painstaking process that enable the proper setting of the bean curd. After that; it was fried to a golden brown before being braised with wild mushroom and dried scallop sauce.
Rounding up the food review, we then had the Flat Rice Noodle Soup with Threadfin Fish and Preserved Vegetables (RM35.00). On the first slurp, we can really taste the slippery and thin layer of the flat rice noodles. We love the texture of the flat rice noodle and also the Threadfin fish meat which was accompanied by the broth which has a slight sourish taste extracted out from the sour plum that was used to give it a very distinct flavours.
For dessert, we were served the special Authentic Crispy Bananas with Golden Cream (RM24.00). There is a story behind this dessert; Legend has it that during a cooking competition the two finalist has ran out of ingredient to cook after a gruelling competition and one of the contestant saw some bananas hanging from a nearby house and decided to use it as the main ingredient, which then became the winning dish. When interviewed, the Chef could not think of a proper name and just utter the dish name as “not in time”.
As Chef Alex relates; the batter used to coat the bananas are from a mixture of five different flour and this gives the crust a super light crispy texture which literally melt in your mouth. Combine with the sweet flavours of the bananas, it was the perfect end to our delightful journey to explore the Teochew cuisine at Pak Loh Chiu Chow @Starhill Gallery Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur.