DINING out offers not only a reprieve from cooking at home but also the chance to broaden one’s knowledge.
The doors to Foo Chow cuisine open when one sets foot in Orient Delights at the gleaming TTDI Plaza.
Whenever she is present, res-taurant owner Jenny Ting, who is an ardent believer in the personal touch, ambles up to curious diners to offer an insight into the Foo Chow clan.
A clan member herself, Ting said Foo Chows were concentrated in Sitiawan in Perak and Sibu in Sarawak.
Although she was born in Ipoh, Ting clung to her heritage tenaciously and toyed with the idea of opening a Foo Chow restaurant even while earning a degree in Business Management in the United States.
“I compromised by entertaining and holding dinner parties at home.
“My mum had taught me to cook from young but the real challenge came when I was 13 and had to prepare meals for the whole family when she went on holiday and left me in charge,” said Ting.
“From then on, my interest in cooking grew and eventually my dream of running a restaurant materialised. Ninety percent of the menu at Orient Delights are my recipes and I believe that food is more appealing when there is a touch of home-style cooking.”
Ting also said the trademark of Foo Chow cusine was red rice wine. Apart from imparting a sweet-and-sour flavour, the wine helps to boost blood circulation and is a valuable, if not welcome, addition to confinement meals.
Orient Delights offers the Foo Chow Red Rice Wine Fried Chic-ken which comes in a claypot. The stew was a dull red but it was rich, with enough herbs to impart a full flavour to the tender chicken
Foo Chow cuisine’s answer to shark's fin soup, which is faithfully served as the second course in a Cantonese meal, is fish maw. Orient Delights’ Foo Chow Fish Maw came in a hearty sweet-and-sour soup that was slurped up with a clear conscience.
Ting shared that making Foo Chow noodles was tricky because the dough was flattened into pancakes and evenly cut into strands by hand. It is no secret that those who order the Foo Chow Red Rice Wine Noodles or the Foo Chow Mee Suah appreciate the effort that goes into both dishes.
Another trademark of Foo Chow cuisine, fishballs stuffed with minced pork, features in the Foo Chow Fishball Soup. The soup is also good as comfort food.
As she spent 13 years of her life living with a Hakka family, Ting also picked up Hakka recipes and serves delicious Hakka Yong Tow Foo at her restaurant. The au-thentic fish paste stuffing made all the difference.
Besides her culinary prowess taste-wise, Ting also has an eye for presentation. Diners are bound to find it difficult to take their eyes off the Hakka Yam Ball with Minced Pork because the yam balls come shaped as tiny “abacus beads”.
For pork lovers who swear by meat that combines a chunk of fat with lean meat, look no further than the Hakka Stewed Pork with Black Fungus. The stew was dark and meaty.
Orient Delights also features daily specials like Pork Ribs and Paper Chicken. You will find these scribbled on the white board near the cashier’s counter.