THERE are certainly no airs about Datin Maylene Yong as she admits being a helpless cook.
Maylene, wife of socialite Datuk Peter Yong, laughs every time she recalls a bad experience in the kitchen while cooking dinner.
Feeling adventurous, Maylene decided to try cooking her favourite dish, Belacan Sotong, to which she forgot to add salt and sugar.
“I messed up and had to re-cook the dish three times until I got the taste of the sauce right,” Maylene says.
“But the re-cooking resulted in a very rubbery sotong.”
The outcome of dinner was not a pleasant one, as her husband was unable to eat the dish.
“I gave up cooking entirely after that day,” she laughs.
But that did not deter Maylene from enjoying and appreciating good food outside her home.
She dines out frequently with her husband and friends, saying it is more convenient.
One of her favourite restaurants is Tai Tai Culture in the new wing of 1 Utama shopping centre.
“The standard of the authentic Hakka and Cantonese home-cooked style food here is consistent, from the first day it opened.
“As I’m a Cantonese I can certainly say the dishes are comparable with those cooked by Hong Kong chefs, but with a Malaysian taste.”
Maylene said the dishes come in small portions, which makes placing orders easier.
“Some restaurants serve over-sized servings but I prefer small portions as this allows diners to sample several types of dishes at one seating.”
Her first favourite dish at the outlet is Wine Chicken, in which the soup, she says, is cooked with just the right amount of wine.
“I don't drink wine but I can't resist this dish even though it has wine in it.
“The chicken is not soggy or overcooked but perfect and the crunchy black fungus complements it well.”
Her next favourite dish is the Fried Rice, which she says does not have traces of oil.
“I think it requires masterful skills to fry rice without it being oily. Kudos to the chef.”
Restaurant managing director Melvin Lam says the menu is changed every other week.
“Our place is family-oriented so we want to bring in new dishes weekly so diners have fresh choices when they dine here,” Lam said.
The Fish Sambal also gets the thumbs-up from Maylene, who she says the sambal (chilli gravy) is tasty while the skin of the fish is crispy.
Besides being a housewife, Maylene is also actively involved with the Afghanistan Quake and Winter Relief Association in which she is the honorary secretary.
Maylene also sings for charities.
Her last concert in 2002 raised about RM100,000 for dialysis patients and also orphanages.
Maylene is currently making preparations for a concert in 2006.
For the record
IN last week’s My Choice, we inadvertently listed the Cungdinh Vietnam Restaurant as being Non-Halal. It has been brought to our attention that the restaurant serves Halal food. The error is regretted.