IT IS a tricky affair balancing expectations and trying something new when it comes to Chinese New Year dishes, but Chuai Heng Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur manages to pull it off.
The restaurant’s executive chef Lam Ping Mau said customers expected their favourite dishes to be available while others hoped to have newer options to choose from.
During a recent sampling, we tried several dishes from their Chinese New Year set menus and a la carte dishes.
The Fatt Choy Yee Sang with Hong Kong White Fish and Salmon was very good.
The stand out here was the ‘white fish’, similar to large anchovies, which were lightly buttered and deep fried.
The crunchy fish absorbs the sauces in the yee sang, resulting in a sweet and salty flavour.
One of Lam’s signature dishes is the drumstick of Roasted Baby Duck, which is also available in the a la carte menu for RM28++ per piece.
Roasted for about half an hour, the duck skin was crispy while the meat was still tender. This is a traditional Chinese roast and Lam’s years of experience shines through.
From the a la carte menu, the must-try is the Baked Spanish Ribs, priced at RM32++ per piece.
Because of the long cooking time, there is a minimum order of six pieces per order.
The pork ribs are baked for almost an hour with a sticky sweet marinade. The slight char gives it a hint of smokiness.
It was not fall-off-the-bone tender, but soft enough to give way with a slight pull.
This dish is one of Lam’s new additions to the menu and very sought after.
Another unusual dish is the Pan Fried New Zealand Lamb Chop with Black Pepper Sauce at RM18++ per piece. Diners also have the option to switch to a Japanese Teriyaki sauce.
A must-have is the Braised Scallop with Stuffed Minced Meat in Sea Cucumber (RM48++).
The large King Scallops are seared and served alongside the sea cucumber which is stuffed with a pork and dried oyster filling.
While the sea cucumber has a no discernible taste, the stuffing enhances the flavour of the seafood.
Not to be dismissed were the vegetable dishes such as the Stewed Fresh Broccoli with Crab Roe and Crab Meat (RM24++) and Stir Fried Scallops with Bell Peppers, French Peas in XO Sauce (RM45++).
Credit is due to Lam who manages to serve up the ‘unpopular’ broccoli into one that is delicious, especially with the crab roe and crab meat sauce.
The vegetable was crunchy and had small pieces of crab in the sauce.
For the scallop dish, the hint of spiciness from chilli oil made all the difference in the XO sauce.
The generous portion of scallops were seared well and not rubbery, with lots of texture from the water chestnut, bell peppers and peas.
From the desserts we were served, a personal favourite was the Sweetened Mango Cream with sago, aloe vera and pomelo.
It was reminiscent of mango lassi but with lots of different textures. The pomelo pulp provided bursts of sourness while the bits of strawberry with sweetness.
A more traditional Chinese dessert is also available with the Chinese New Year cake and Homemade Osmanthus Cake.
There are five set menus for a table of 10, ranging from RM1,188++ to RM3,398++.
The Chinese New Year set menus and a la carte dishes will be available until March 8.
CHUAI HENG RESTAURANT
No 20, Jalan Kamuning, off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2110 2666). Business hours: 11.30am to 3.30pm from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 3.30pm on Sundays and public holidays, 6pm to 10.30pm daily. Non-halal.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.