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Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 12:02:31 PM
by noel foophotos by darran tan
Intricate: The Steamed Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Hairy Crab Meat and Bisque has a rich, buttery flavour.
Tao Chinese Cuisine,
InterContinental Kuala Lumpur,
165, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2782 6118/www.intercontinental-kl.com.my
Business hours: noon to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm, daily.
Found mainly in Yangcheng Lake near Shanghai, China, the crustaceans are only harvested in Autumn between September and November, when the highly sought-after crab roe ripens.
According to executive Chinese chef Wong Lian You, painstaking efforts are put into importing these crabs into Malaysia, where it is only available in October.
“We actually have to ‘babysit’ the crabs and constantly make sure that they are adequately chilled and showered to keep them alive and fresh,” said Wong.
The five-course set dinner uses the crab meat and roe with a combination of dishes that mix traditional with modern cuisine styles with a touch of chef Wong’s own experimental flavours, particularly in the sauces used.
For appetisers, the Hairy Crab Combination consists of two items – Fried Hairy Crab and Scallop Almond with Spicy Ginger Sauce, and Chilled Hairy Crab Salad with Avocado.
But the second dish, ‘Traditional’ Steamed Hairy Crab will be the delicacy to look out for. This dish is simply the whole hairy crab, steamed and served with a vinegar dressing and special ginger tea.
While the freshness and tenderness in the crab meat is evident, the hairy crab in general is relatively small and may require patience to remove the meat from the shell. Arguably, the creamy crab roe was the most exquisite part of the crab.
According to Wong, it is believed that hairy crab has a ‘cooling’ effect on the body so to balance it out, diners should consume the special warm ginger tea, which is fragrant and has a rather sweet and mildly spicy flavour.
From one delicacy to the next, the third item served is the Steamed Foie Gras Chawanmushi, with Hairy Crab Meat and Bisque toppings.
It is worth a try for those who have never tried foie gras or chawanmushi. The use of foie gras in the chawanmushi adds a very rich, buttery flavour to the steamed egg dish.
The fourth dish was my personal favourite — Poached Vermicelli with Garoupa in Hairy Crab Roe Sauce.
The noodles are quite well made and the poached fish is very tender, but the sauce was by far the main highlight as it adds prized crab roe flavours to the dish.
For the perfect ending to this delectable meal, Chilled Lime with Lemongrass Jelly and Sour Plum Sorbet is served as dessert.
The scoop of sour plum sorbet on the top is tart and tasty but it is offset by the milder flavours in the lemongrass jelly.
Diners can enjoy the full five-course dinner set menu at RM268++ or the smaller three-course lunch set menu at RM178++, which excludes the Hairy Crab Combination appetiser and the Steamed Foie Gras Chawanmushi.
Alternatively, the steamed hairy crab can be ordered à la carte at RM148++ per crab. Tao Chinese Cuisine’s ‘Celebration of Hairy Crab’ runs for a limited time only until Oct 31.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, InterContinental, Tao Chinese Cuisine, Hairy Crab
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