A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
Bald Eagle could tell that I was upset about work when I suddenly started ranting at 12.30 at night. As a matter of policy, I choose not to discuss my work life at home, so when this happened, he knew that I was troubled. The next morning, I took my time getting out of bed. He said, “You don’t want to go to work, do you?” (He loves stating the obvious.) After taking a shower, I got dressed absentmindedly and kissed him goodbye. Seeing how he was so chatty earlier, he could have told me that I was wearing my outfit terbalik, right? But no, he let me walk out of the house with the label sticking out, seams clearly showing. I went to the nearby tuck shop to get a can of Nescafe and a bun, and the girl at the counter didn’t say anything about my outfit. I stopped at Petronas for fuel, and the guy who attended to me didn’t say anything about my outfit. I greeted the receptionist at my office, chatted with her about the lovely CNY flowers decorating the entrance, and she didn’t say anything about my outfit. I walked past 30 colleagues to get to my room, and they didn’t say anything about my outfit. I had a discussion with two of my staff for a good 20 minutes, and they didn’t say anything about my outfit. It was only when I took a pee break about an hour later that I saw my reflection in the mirror and screamed.
The world needs glasses. Not rose-tinted ones. Just plain old prescription glasses.
I looked in awe at the braised Shanghainese pork. It stood like a wobbly terraced structure of pleasure, entirely made up of my favourite kind of meat. The pork belly had been braised for five hours and sliced so precisely that it deserved to be put on a pedestal and worshipped. The one given to us was firm, cooked exactly to my preference, but I was told that it is normally cooked a little more thoroughly to a point where the pork fat melts a little and becomes softer. Bamboo shoots ensconced within the structure and steamed with the pork proved to be a lovely accompaniment, much like a concubine to her master.
I liked the double-boiled superior wanton soup. Choose wanton soup over sharks fin soup? Indeed! With the Chinese, there are several grades of soup, ching tong (clear soup), siong tong (superior soup) and then, there’s gou tong (higher than superior soup). This was made with dried scallops and bamboo pith in a clear broth made with chicken and Yunnan ham. The wantons were made with pork and vegetables.
The fried rice, humble as it is, had Aly asking for seconds, and that girl normally doesn’t ask for seconds of anything.
When asked which of the dishes was his signature, Chef Wong Wing Yeuk replied in fluent Mandarin, “Xiu Long Bao!”. Luckily, thanks to my years of tuition lessons in Mandarin (yes, really), I made out all of 2% of the entire conversation (money badly spent). The rest was un-fluently translated by FBB, but they cannot be repeated in this child-friendly blog. They were pretty little dumplings with translucent skin, and steamed with the most exquisite broth, but the good Chef also candidly mentioned (in Mandarin again) that he did not prescribe to the theory that a xiu long bao should be made with a fixed number of folds. I suppose he has a point. While I can’t see the significance of 18 (or whatever number is deemed appropriate), the more important virtues are that of taste and translucence and elasticity of skin, and Shanghai excels in all areas.
JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03-2179 8288
In conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration this year, the best chefs from 8 top Chinese restaurants in the Klang Valley have customised special Extravagant 8 menus, priced at RM888++ for a table of 8, exclusively for Standard Chartered credit card holders. The menus are available from January 20 to February 17, 2011. More details on the restaurants, their offerings and T&Cs are available at the Standard Chartered website.
Thank you, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia and JW Marriott for kindly hosting this dinner.
Note: This is the third of five reviews under the Standard Chartered Extravagant 8 campaign. Earlier reviews:
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.