Western wines meet match in oriental menu


Chef’s Trio Dessert of Double Boiled Poached Jelly and Tragacanth with Figs, Baked Puff with Custard, Mango Puree with Basil Seeds.— Photos: CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

IT TOOK chef Chong Swee Chyuan a few nights of experimentation in the kitchen to come up with a Chinese menu to suit a selection of wines from Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

“I didn’t just want to create a few dishes and assume they would go well with the wines. So I took some time trying and tasting every dish with the wines before presenting them to our guests, ” said Chong, who heads the Chinese kitchen at Eastin Hotel in Petaling Jaya.

Chong was tasked with preparing a five-course menu for the hotel’s wine dinner guests for one night.

Layered Fish Paste and Rice Cracker on Crisp Homemade Toast topped with Italian Black Truffle and Seared Foie Gras as well as Deep Fried Salted Egg Liu Sha Dumpling topped with a Spindle of Crushed French Porcini. Layered Fish Paste and Rice Cracker on Crisp Homemade Toast topped with Italian Black Truffle and Seared Foie Gras as well as Deep Fried Salted Egg Liu Sha Dumpling topped with a Spindle of Crushed French Porcini.

The dinner started with two appetisers — Deep-fried Salted Egg Liu Sha Dumpling tucked in a Spindle of Crushed French Porcini, as well as Layered Fish Paste and Rice Cracker on Crisp Homemade Toast topped with Italian Black Truffle and Seared Foie Gras.

The duo were paired with a glass of New Zealand’s Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Riesling 2017/18.

According to Chong, the dumpling was a tricky dish to make as he had to ensure it would not overcook or the filling would spill out.

Australian Abalone on a Bed of Aromatic Fried Rice with Shimeiji Mushroom Reduction.Australian Abalone on a Bed of Aromatic Fried Rice with Shimeiji Mushroom Reduction.

“It takes just a quick 55 seconds in a wok of hot oil to cook. If it is overcooked, I have to make a new batch, ” he said, adding that the dumpling fillings comprised salted egg, curry leaves, bird’s eye chilli and margarine.

Next, we had the Double-Boiled American Ginseng Broth accompanied with sea cucumber and fish maw stuffed in a chicken wing.

“We changed the soup from what we had planned initially because we wanted to add ginseng to it. However, we did not want to overpower it with the ginseng’s strong taste either, ” he said, adding that the soup was given a lighter flavour to better bring out its taste when paired with the Pinot Noir wine.

We had New Zealand’s Fire Road Pinot Noir 2012, which was light with a mix of chocolate and cherry flavours on the palate.

Chong says coming up with a menu to match the wines took some time.Chong says coming up with a menu to match the wines took some time.

The main course, which was also Chong’s star for the evening, featured Air Flown Hokkaido Live Scallop steamed and drizzled with Royal Soya Sauce served with Fragrant Crusted Salted Beancurd.

“We wanted something special, not just fish or prawn but seafood that can be cooked in a simple Chinese style and that was why scallop was chosen, ” he said, adding that it was steamed and then topped with some garlic oil.

Chong said the dish was very simple, clean and did not affect the original taste of the prized seafood at all.

Double-Boiled American Ginseng Broth accompanied with sea cucumber and stuffed chicken with fish maw. Double-Boiled American Ginseng Broth accompanied with sea cucumber and stuffed chicken with fish maw.

The best way to complete a hearty meal is with a small serving of rice and Chong did not disappoint here.

His version of Australian Abalone on a Bed of Aromatic Fried Rice with Shimeji Mushroom Reduction was served in a bamboo tube to the surprise of many diners.

A server assisted each guest in pouring the rice and mushroom reduction gravy out of the tube.

The gravy was well-cooked and paired perfectly with Australia’s Brown Brother’18 Eighty Nine, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

 Steamed Air Flown Hokkaido Live Scallop with Royal Soya Sauce served with Fragrant Crusted Salted Beancurd.Steamed Air Flown Hokkaido Live Scallop with Royal Soya Sauce served with Fragrant Crusted Salted Beancurd.

Chong also went around greeting guests with hotel general manager Andrew Law to explain his dishes and receive feedback from guests.

We ended the night with the Chef’s Trio Dessert of Double Boiled Poached Jelly and Tragacanth with Figs, Baked Puff with Custard and Mango Puree with Basil Seeds paired with the sweet Luis Felipe Edwards Reserve Late Harvest Viognier Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from Chile.

EE CHINESE CUISINE, Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur Ground Floor, 13, Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7665 1111 ext 137/138) Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 10.30am to 2.30pm (weekends and public holidays); 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Pork-free.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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