Monday, March 11, 2019

Zuan Yuan With Chef Tommy Choong , Until 31 March

It's always refreshing to see when chefs innovate and try to be creative.  Of course there is a place for classics that should NOT ever be changed, (I personally feel that when traditional Chinese New Year yee sang, for example becomes unrecognizable, then it is just a salad), but some items are an open canvas, leaving only the chef's mind as the limit.

Zuan Yuan recently welcomed their new Chinese Executive Chef, Tommy Choong, and we were privileged to sample his debut dishes.  For the uninformed, Zuan Yuan is the Chinese Restaurant at the One World Hotel, and is pork free.

This specially curated menu is available in the month of March.

Pan Fried Omelette with Oyster and Thai Basil Leave with Mayonnaise.  Oddly enough, most of us on the table, at the mention of pan fried omelette with oyster were expecting the traditional Or Chien, but this was LITERALLY a pan fried omelette, on the oyster.  Good if you like your oysters embellished and disguised from it's original molluscy taste.  However, I personally am not a fan of mayonnaise, and would have preferred the dish without the western invention.  Egg and oyster is safe combination.

Braised Superior Soup with Scallop Dumpling and Saffron.  Without reading the name of the dish and if blind tasting, this soup is almost flawless.  A rich sweet broth, (oh, except it wasn't hot enough, but hey, when you have a table of media and bloggers clicking away like the paparazzi stalking Megan Markle, it's understandable that the heat would have dissipated), with a tasty and filling dumpling.  But when we saw the word scallop, there was some discourse as to WHERE the scallop was, cos the interior of the globule certainly looked more prawny than scallopy.  It was later revealed that the scallop is minced to make the skin of the dumpling.  Interesting to say the least.

Without a doubt my favourite dish of the day, the Pan-Fried Cubed Beef Tenderloin with Chef's Signature Sauce.  Usually when beef is cubed like this, it is SO easy to overcook it, and any amount of things can go wrong, tough overcooked beef, undercooked beef.  But this dish was excellent, and the accompanying caramelised walnuts were also a hit.  His signature sauce is also worthy of a signature.

Stir Fried Australian Asparagus with Assorted Mushroom and Truffle Oil. A rather elaborate vegetable dish, not your usual token greens of brocolli and what not.  I am an asparagus AND mushroom fan, so this dish hits the spot.

 Crispy Fish Cake with Minced Cabbage and Sweet Sauce.  There was some speculation if the sweet sauce was the same as the Signature sauce of the beef, but apparently it's totally different.  A pleasant dish, but has that dim sum dish kind of feel to it.  I think it would be more appropriate as a starter.

My second favourite dish of this spread has to be this Braised Abalone with Wild Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf.  The wild rice is the black specs of rice which resemble our black pulut (Glutinous rice) but hails from Canada and is a whopping RM100 per kg here.  So savour the black grains when you order this.  The entire dish is so tasty, and of course made all the more luxurious with the scallop.

Dessert was a surprise.  Chef played around with this age old traditional sticky sweet thing called  Sa Kei Ma, but it is far less sweet and sticky than the ones we grew up with always wrapped in pink plastic.  I am unsure if this is actually part of the dishes available.

Black Sesame Jelly.  Honestly, not a I'll pass on this.  However if you are a black sesame fan and this kind of texture, (spongy and gelatinous at the same time), you will like it.

And wash it all down with a honey sea coconut and white fungus tong shui.  This I liked.  I like old sea coconut, with a bit of crunch, and realised that not everyone does.  My table mates preferred the young tender ones.

That's Chef Tommy Choong, with  a star-studded resume, who started his career as a  kitchen hand when he was 19 at Regent Hotel Kuala Lumpur (Grand Millennium Hotel today), followed by the  Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur - a job he held for the next 9 years.

Other feathers in his cap include hotels like Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, Le Meridien Putrajaya and Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.  His goal in Cantonese cuisine is to achiever "clarity", probably "qing" in Cantonese. 

This menu we were privy to is available till the end of March.

Anyway, all the specialty dishes are priced at RM48 net per portion.

In addition to the main dining area, the restaurant also has 6 private rooms.

For reservations call
Zuan Yuan One World
03-7681 1159 or

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Prosperity Begins With a Pop, Carlsberg Ushers In Chinese New Year 2019

As usual, Carlsberg kicks off the Chinese New Year celebrations with much aplomb, from lion dances to pole dancers, beers paired with their signature succulent roast pork, and this year a whole chinese banquet paired with the different Carlsberg products.

Held at the HXC Grand Ballroom in ICC Pudu, this year's Prosperity Begins With a Pop promised to be a fun event even from the entrance.

Nothing more welcoming than the Carlsberg signs at the entrance...

The behemoth of Carlsberg products on display

The signature succulent roast pork which graces quite a number of events was a great starter to the night, and helped "line the stomach"

This year the bottle caps come in 4 colours, representing Happiness, Prosperity, Wealth and Good Luck, with a chance for lucky winners to win stuff if their cap is the winning cap. Some of the more interesting prizes include an E Mahjong table, Groceries of up to RM800, etc.

Proud to be in the forefront of innovation, we celebrate this CNY with not just one colour – red but three, adding vibrant green, pink and blue - to Carlsberg and Carlsberg Smooth Draught bottles and cans, giving a modern twist to the four Chinese greeting messages of Prosperity, Happiness, Wealth and Good Luck!” Lars Lehmann, Carlsberg’s Managing Director, said in his opening address.

Back by popular demand for the third consecutive year, “Probably The Best CNY Shopping Experience” activations will be held at participating supermarkets and hypermarkets on 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26 and 27 January 2019. Thus far, 65 winners got lucky at the activations that took place on 30 December, 5 and 6 January winning the Grand Prize of groceries all paid for by Carlsberg!

Campaign. Do check out their website for details on how to win.

The first Yee Sang of the year for me, and it was delish, I have to say.  In fact, all the food at the hitherto unknown HXC Grand Ballroom was pretty good.

One of my favourites in the Carlsberg portfolio.

Definitely the highlight for me, this decadent abalone stew infused with Carlsberg smooth draught, although I couldn't taste it in the actual dish...but hey, there was more than enough from the bottle to make up for any lack of draught flavour.

For more info on the various competitions, check out their websites at

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Brooklyn Brewery Comes To Town On Tap, at TGG Plaza Arkadia

It's always a pleasure to be invited to Carlsberg events, and when the invite is for the opening of a new craft beer bar at TGG, Plaza Arkadia, one cannot say no.  The entire upstairs of the TGG place has been decked up as a Brooklyn dedicated bar.

So what is Brooklyn? (Apart from being a place)
It was an educational session for us, to learn that Brooklyn Brewery is the no. 1 American craft beer exporter and is available in more than 30 countries.
It was founded in 1988, currently ranking #11 in volume among United States craft breweries. It has received numerous accolades and awards for its brews, including the 2018 Beer World Cup Gold Medal for Brooklyn Lager. Now who knew there was a Beer World Cup...that would be a match I wouldn't mind watching.

Carlsberg Malaysia is the exclusive distributer for two of their most popular variants – Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn East IPA.  Hence their presence here.

The host for the night was Thomas Teo, the Commercial Development Manager of Craft and Specialty of Carlsberg Singapore, interviewed by Kim of Thirstmag, who shared with us interesting insights on craft beer and food etc.  It's exciting that these are going to be monthly events hosted by Carlsberg Malaysia, with thoughtfully paired foods from selected Carlsberg partner outlets.

At TGG, the food pairing was with five specialities including the TGG Special Fried Rice, TGG Spicy Steamed Pork Ribs, moo ping (BBQ pork skewer), salted-egg chicken, and Thai mango salad.

The pairing of Brooklyn Lager with it maltiness paired splendidly with the Moo Ping, which incidentally was superb.  I would have been happy just to eat that all night paired with the Lager. 

One of the most beautiful sounds in the world is the sound of clanking glasses to a spirited Cheers or Yam Seng, especially amongst friends.

The TGG Spicy Steamed Pork Ribs and Thai mango salad were paired  the robust, hoppy aromas in Brooklyn East IPA.  Actually food pairing is rather subjective, and to me the differences were minimal, and I felt that both the Lager and IPA would have gone well with any one of the dishes.  In fact, the IPA with the Moo Ping was also superb. 

So what are craft beers?  They're usuall brewed in smaller batches by Independent Brewers, and usually would have their distinct richer flavour which would appeal to various types of beer drinkers.  The brewers can obviously play around with their recipes to produce beers that are unique to the brewery, by playing around witht eh combinations of hops, malt, etc.

For now, craft beer lovers in Malaysia have two Brooklyn Brewery beers to choose from: the award-winning Brooklyn Lager and the hoppy Brooklyn East IPA – available in bottles since Dec ’17, and finally in draught this year!

The Brooklyn Mega Set comes with your choice of Brooklyn Lager of Brooklyn East IPA in a frozen mug at a special promo price of RM40++ (normal price: RM50++). You can also enjoy more frozen mugs of Brooklyn Lager / East IPA all night long at RM15++ only (normal price: RM19++). Both promotions are available until 28 February 2019 or while stocks last.

Visit for more information on Brooklyn’s craft brews!