Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Auntie Sim Kitchen

Dinner with Auntie Sim

9 September, 2020

IT’S dinner time. My Best Friend and I are in Damansara Uptown and our immediate problem seems to be getting a parking spot. When we see a car pull out, we quickly grab the spot. As we get down, we find ourselves outside Auntie Sim Kitchen. Parking is also available in the building across the road. Neither of us had been to this restaurant but why not?   

 

A short tale in the menu talks about restaurateur Elaine Sim, who works “magic in the kitchen to turn ordinary dishes into the extraordinary”.

Her personal Teochew specialties fill part of the menu but, with a Hong Kong chef in the kitchen, there are lots of Cantonese choices too.

Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo

We start with Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo (RM25-RM45). Eggplant, shimeji mushroom and squid are coated in the lightest batter and deepfried to a crisp. You’d barely notice the batter but for that “crunch” when you bite in. These are tossed with salt, pepper, Szechuan fah jiu, dried chilli, fresh sliced chilli, black bean and scallions.

MBF, who is not fond of eggplant, gives it the thumbs-up as there is none of that slimy texture associated with eggplant. That the chef is a master in fire control is evident as it is not easy to maintain the softness of eggplant and yet attain a crisp on the outside. The sliced and scored squid is fat, fresh and juicy.

Vietnamese Style Deepfried Tilapia

Then we try the Vietnamese Style Deepfried Tilapia (from RM38). Again, the frying is so well done that despite the fish being doused with sauce, it remains crispy right down to the bones. The mildly hot sauce has aromas of a nyonya kitchen and is cooked with onion, lady fingers and a sprinkle of curry leaves.

Panfried Iberico Pork

As much as I love Iberico pork, the panfried Iberico is a little disappointing, though perhaps this could be because we had allowed it to go cold while we oohed and aahed over the Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo.

Teochew Fried Kway Teow

Typhoon Shelter Hong Kong Yee Mee

Elaine Sim

We try two noodle dishes, Teochew Fried Kway Teow (RM20-RM40) and Typhoon Shelter Hong Kong Yee Mee (RM25-RM58).

I’ve not had Teochew fried kway teow before. The flat rice noodles are fried with prawn, mushroom, chai por (preserved radish), egg, diced kai lan, beansprout and a sprinkle of chopped chilli padi.

The chef doesn’t use dark soya sauce, so the noodles look bland and tasteless. Once again, don’t judge a book by its cover as the taste is worth making the trip for, with the various ingredients lending their flavours and textures with aplomb.

Next to this, Typhoon Shelter Hong Kong Yee Mee, stirfried with salted black bean, deepfried garlic, chopped prawn, beansprout and scallion, pales in comparison. But in all fairness, it would have stood out well on its own.

Nai Bak with Dried Sea PRawn & Black Fungus

For greens, we pick Nai Bak with Dried Sea Prawn & Black Fungus in superior soup (RM23-RM42). One of my favourite vegetables, this comes in a delicious chicken stock with chunks of premium dried prawns (har kon or 蝦乾), goji berry and black fungus. I just love the taste of the har kon. Unlike local dried shrimp (har mai) these dried sea prawns are sweet and flavoursome.

Thai Coconut with Avocado

We end the meal with Ice cold Thai Coconut With Avocado (RM16). The avocado puree is silky smooth, with a nice al dente contrast in the sago pearls. If you’re lucky and get a young coconut, scrape off the coconut flesh to eat with the avocado puree. Even better, it’s not too sweet either. 

 

AUNTIE SIM KITCHEN (non-halal)

24 Jalan SS21/58

Damansara Utama

Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Telephone

+603-7731-0926

Opening Hours

Monday-Thursday: 11am to 3pm; 5pm to 10pm

Friday-Sunday: 11am to 10pm

 

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Round and round we go...

Mooncake season

September 5, 2020

It’s just three weeks to the Mid-Autumn Festival which falls on October 1 this year. In the malls, hotels and many restaurants, kiosks have been set up selling mooncakes.

This year however, as the Covid-19 virus continues its merry dance through the planet, the festival feels more low-keyed. Still, tradition is hard to kick, even if it means restricting the celebration to perhaps dinner at home with the immediate family and then having a slice or two of your favourite mooncake with a cup of steaming hot pu er, tie guan yin or whichever tea tickles your tastebuds best. As for flavours, lotus paste remains a firm favourite, with the ubiquitous salted egg yolk (or even two) nestled in the centre.  

My selection from Zuan Yuan
My selection from Zuan Yuan 
 

Personally, I’m not too keen on lotus paste (white or regular) and prefer the more aromatic red bean paste in mooncakes. The snowskin Red Bean Paste With Melon Seed (RM21.50) from Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant in 1 World Hotel has a lovely red bean flavour. A sprinkle of melon seeds adds a nice textural crunch.

Supreme Mixed Nuts (RM26, low sugar), another of my faves, has a good mix of almond, walnut, sunflower seed, sesame seed and melon seed, with candied citrus peel thrown in for good measure. This is not a mooncake to be wolfed down. It demands patient chewing to release the intricate flavours and then allow these to swirl and dance on your palate.

Deepfried Teochew Yam Paste Mooncake with Single Egg Yolk

The yam paste in Zuan Yuan’s Deepfried Teochew Yam Paste with Single Egg Yolk (RM26) is smooth and flavoursome. The deepfried spiral pastry is fine and flaky, crumbling at the softest touch. Do note that these are best eaten on day of purchase as otherwise, the crisp flaky pastry goes soft.

I am disappointed, though, with the snowskin Durian Lotus Paste mooncake (RM23). The aroma of durian is so light that you’d have to be pretty focused to get a whiff of it. It might, perhaps, be wiser to just get the White Lotus Paste (RM23) variety.

Available at 1 World Hotel, Bandar Utama City Centre, Selangor. Promotion ends 1 October, 2020. Free delivery with minimum purchase of 20 boxes anywhere within 10km radius of hotel. To order, call +603-7681 1159 or email zuanyuan@oneworldhotel.com.my.

Musang King Durian & Blue Pea Flowers

Award-winning Premium Musang King Durian Mooncake

If I found the durian mooncake from Zuan Yuan lacking, I loved that from The Dorsett Group of hotels. Made with premium Musang King Durian (RM40) flesh, this one gets 2 thumbs up. One bite and my palate is bursting with durian goodness. No surprises then that it won an award at The Star Mooncake Awards 2020.

Dorsett Hotels' Signature Blue Mooncake with pandan lotus paste

The Premium Musang King Durian is not the group’s only award-winner. Its Signature Blue Mooncake also grabbed an award. 

This year, the snow skin mooncake, tinged blue with blue pea flower extract, has a filling of pandan lotus paste with/without single egg yolk (RM35/RM33 respectively). 

The chef says the mooncakes are totally organic, preservative free and halal certified! The snow skin mooncakes come in a limited edition Dorsett Eski (chilller) bag, subject to a minimum purchase of 4 pieces of crystal skin mooncakes.

Baked mooncakes (from RM30) are also popular with fillings that include pure red bean paste, white lotus paste and pandan lotus paste, with/without salted egg yolk. 

Available until 1 October 2020 at all Dorsett hotels in Subang Jaya, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Hartamas, Cosmo Hotel KL and Silka hotels in Maytower and Cheras. Citibank credit cardholders who place orders directly with Dorsett Grand Subang will get 15% discount for purchases of 1-10 boxes. 

All baked mooncakes come in a gift box. Customers who buy 10 boxes of 4 mooncakes each will get an extra box, free. This is not applicable though for Premium Musang King Durian Mooncake.  

Mooncakes take flight

Meanwhile the Plaza Premium Group Malaysia is offering  Shanghai Crust and Crystal Skin mini mooncakes at Plaza Premium Lounge, gateway@klia2, Plaza Premium First (KLIA), Flight Club (KLIA) and Flight Club Grab’n’Go (KLIA) until October 1, 2020

Grab and go: Mini mooncakes at KLIA & klia2
If you’re travelling, these low sugar Shanghai Crust mini mooncakes - Pu Er with Pine Nuts, Lotus Melon Seeds with Single Egg Yolk and Black Sesame with Single Egg Yolk - will make perfect seasonal gifts.

There’s also a snow skin range with fillings of Durian, Red Bean and Green Tea. Priced at RM12 per piece or RM60 per box of 6 pieces, the mini mooncakes come in elegant gift boxes.   

There’s a 10% discount for online purchases for all types of mini mooncakes in a single receipt via https://malstore.plazapremiumlounge.com/  and an additional 5% off for corporate clients and Aerotel Kuala Lumpur room guests. There is NO delivery for online purchases but customers can self pick-up at selected locations in KLIA and klia2. Call +603-8778 0808 or email onlinestore.mal@plaza-network.com.

All mooncakes mentioned above are halal.