Highlights in March
March 2, 2019
The Executive Chinese Chef of Zuan Yuan may not have been there long but already, Tommy Choong has gained a reputation for a slant towards clean, healthy cuisine.
For instance, his interpretation of Oh Chien (oyster omelette) leaves none of that greasy feel associated with the orgasmic hawker offering where oysters are cooked with tapioca flour and egg in a ton of oil.
Instead, he has panfried freshly shucked oysters with egg and Thai basil leaf which lends a lovely if subtle aroma. Then he adds a squiggle of mayonnaise and tops it with tobiko (flying fish roe) and coriander. Freshness is the key here and the sweetness of the mollusc attests to this. The Panfried Omelette With Oyster is just one of the six selected items on a specially crafted menu for March.
|Oh Chien, a la Tommy Choong|
His Braised Superior Soup With Scallop Dumpling & Saffron Flower looks deviously simple when presented – just a snow-white dumpling in a bowl of saffron-tinged broth – but the dumpling reflects the chef’s passion in the kitchen. The “dumpling pastry” is made with fresh scallops and encased within are two rather large, fresh prawns.
|Braised Superior Soup With Scallop Dumpling and Saffron|
Although I grumble that the broth is warm, rather than pipping hot, I find myself tipping the bowl to scrape up every bit of the thick soup scented with the light flavour of saffron.
I do not partake of beef, but the Panfried Cubed Tenderloin With Chef’s Signature Sauce does look interesting, with the addition of caramelised walnuts with sesame seeds. Indeed, the others at the table wax lyrical over the tenderness of the beef (which is cooked just right), the crunch of the walnuts and onion cubes.
|Panfried Cubed Tenderloin With Chef's Signature Sauce|
Meanwhile, I am enjoying Stirfried Australian Asparagus in Truffle Oil With Assorted Mushrooms and goji berries. Not a speck of meat or seafood in sight, yet this vegetable dish is so flavoursome. Mushroom lovers will delight in three varieties offered here, with shitake, eryngii and shimeji. Truffle oil pushes the dish a few steps up the aroma ladder.
|Stirfried Asparagus With Truffle Oil & Mushrooms|
Crispy Fish Cake With Minced Cabbage & Sweet Sauce is deepfried to get the outside crunchy. But the fish paste, combined with chopped cabbage, is soft and sweet. A drizzle of sweet brown sauce is perfect to bring out the juicy flavours.
|Crispy Fish Cake With Cabbage|
Abalone is always an indulgence, especially if we get a whole mollusc intact. It’s the cherry on top for Chef’s Braised Abalone With Wild Rice. Served on lotus leaves, this combination of rice, glutinous rice and nutritious Canadian wild rice which adds a nutty flavour. Chef also adds finely diced shitake and chicken Chinese sausages to great effect.
|Braised Whole Abalone With Wild Rice In Lotus Leaf|
Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant (pork-free)
One World Hotel
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Noon to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm
Tommy Choong’s Special Menu at RM48 nett per portion, from March 1-31, 2019