CHEF Huo Yao Quan remembers being bowled over by the yee sang’s eye-catching presentation and its sweet and piquant flavours the first time he tried it.
“I just loved it,” said the 60-year-old from Guangzhou in China of the appetising Malaysian salad.
The head chef of Victoria Harbour at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, said he loved the combination of ingredients that awaken the palate with its punchy sweet, tangy, nutty and crunchy taste and textures.
“I love the bright colours and crunchiness and how the yee sang offers a variety of taste sensations.
“In fact, the one at Victoria Harbour is designed as a healthy option,” he said, referring to the Fruits, Vegetable and Abalone Lou Sang.
Huo has many years of experience in Cantonese cuisine after having worked in Hong Kong before moving to Kuala Lumpur in 2022.
He said the yee sang culture, which is popular in Malaysia, is picking up in Hong Kong.
Although located within a golf club, the pork-free restaurant is open to outsiders, its managing director Simon Sim said.
Sim said the Hong Kong-themed restaurant was named after the popular harbour known for its historical significance, vibrancy and panoramic views.
“Naming a restaurant after the famous natural harbour is our way of telling customers that they can expect quality Cantonese cuisine, just like the appetising fare found in Hong Kong.
“It is for that reason we felt it was important to have a chef from Hong Kong running the kitchen,” said Sim.
The restaurant serves Hong Kong-style dishes focusing on seafood.
It is obvious that Sim and his wife Elaine love visiting Hong Kong as the private rooms – The Peak, Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Aberdeen, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok – are named after popular tourist destinations.
Elaine said most of the recipes were from their friend, chef William Kwok from Hong Kong, who helped and managed the couple’s first food and beverage initiative, Auntie Sim Kitchen in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya.
“Sadly, William passed away a few years ago, but we feature some of the dishes at Victoria Harbour in his memory.
“The Fruits, Vegetable and Abalone Lou Sang is one of them,” she said.
The dish comprising jackfruit, grapefruit, pear, carrot, shiitake mushroom, radish, cucumber, red, yellow, kyuri, Chinese parsley, ginger, peanuts, sesame and crunchy crackers, as well as green, red and yellow capsicum, are brought together by thick and luscious plum sauce.
All of the ingredients are freshly sliced to maintain freshness and prevent wastage.
Half a portion is priced at RM148++ and a full serving is RM198++.
After tossing and indulging in the flavoursome salad, Huo then served the Braised Fish Maw Bisque with Dried Scallop and Crab Meat, a thick and comforting warm soup.
The VHS 4 Seasons Combination with cold and hot favourites came next and it was indeed an enjoyable starter.
The cold dish of century egg and wood ear fungus as well as the Teochew Prawn Cake were my favourites of the combination.
An outstanding dish that begs one to reach for more is the Stir-fried Black Truffle and Morel Mushroom with Giant Squid Paste (RM128++).
This delectable treat is available on the ala carte menu as well as one of the Chinese New Year sets.
Elaine said morel mushrooms do not come cheap and pair well with squid, hence its inclusion.
Another dish on the ala carte menu is Braised Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber and Dried Mushrooms (RM268++ for four diners).
For those who would like to have something other than seafood, Sweet and Sour Chicken (RM43++), which is popular with regulars, is recommended.
The bite-sized chicken morsels, did impress, for someone who is not fond of this particular chicken preparation.
Dessert options are somewhat limited here since the focus is on savoury delicacies.
However, there is a must-try dessert when visiting Victoria Harbour – Iced Cold Thai Coconut with Avocado.
Priced at RM23++ per coconut, it is worth ordering one for yourself, instead of sharing, even if you find yourself stuffed after a hearty meal.
Fresh coconut water is blended with avocado, then topped with sago pearls for a magical combination that dances on the taste buds.
There are four Chinese New Year set menus, priced at RM1,988++, RM2,488++, RM3,588++ and RM4,288++ for a minimum of 10 diners, which are available until Chap Goh Meh.
VICTORIA HARBOUR, Ground Floor, East Lobby, KLGCC 10, 1/70D, Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2093 1258, 012-689 9507). Business hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.