THERE are dancing girls, flying haloumi bread and gravity defying teh tarik stunts at the Asia Food Festival buffet in the Big Apple Restaurant, Berjaya Times Square Hotel.
But the gai prahok dip (fried chicken wings) still manage to steal the show.
Marinated in fish sauce, bird’s eye chilli and tom yam paste, the chicken wings are deep-fried until golden brown. The coating crackles at every bite and the flesh is tender and juicy .
The chicken wings are at the Thai section where the pad thai noodles can also be found.
Though the kitchen uses dried flat rice noodles, they are soft to the bite.
The sauce mix, a combination of gula melaka, fresh pineapple and fish sauce, is also easily absorbed.
Stir-fried upon request, the finished result comes with egg, bean sprouts and prawns – lots of it.
The month-long Asian Food Festival which ends on July 14, is featuring popular dishes from the Asian region.
The restaurant’s chef de cuisine Muhamad Zulfikar Ali Mahdi said a crucial element was achieving the right balance of flavours as Asian recipes often feature ingredients with contrasting characteristics.
The Thai kitchen was where Muhamad Zulfikar did his first apprenticeship, so much of his flavour blending techniques were gleaned from there.
This was where he learned the subtle art of lending different nuances to dishes where similar ingredients are used.
Adding different condiments can completely change the taste. Take for example the Cambodian beef loc lac and Korean beef bulgogi in the buffet spread. Both are stir-fried with capsicum and onions but the similarity stops there.
“In terms of taste, they are as different as heaven and earth,” said Muhamad Zulfikar.
In the loc lac there is oyster sauce, fish sauce, coriander and garlic. In the bulgogi, sesame oil, ginger and chopped red chillies are used.
The Asian dishes in this buffet can also be harmonised with ease. To add oomph to the beef noodles from the Cambodian section, eat it with the Indonesian oxtail stew.
For a twist to the Indian haloumi bread, use it as a wrap with some chicken bulgogi. For extra crunch in the Vietnamese prawn and vegetable roll, add in some crushed peanuts from the ais kacang counter.
BIG APPLE RESTAURANT, Level 14, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2117 8000 ext 8133) Business hours: 6.30am to midnight.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.