It must have been a couple of months ago, when my friend Foong invited Saucer and I to dinner at Li Yen, Ritz-Carlton Hotel. We initially couldn’t make it on the scheduled date because we were going to be outstation, but he was so kind to come up with a few alternatives and finally all 10 of us managed to secure a date and make it for dinner! It’s not easy to get everyone together on the same day, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? 🙂 On that rainy night, we walked into the private room reserved for us, eagerly anticipating gorgeous food from the customized menu.
Oriental table setting
Our private room
The first course was also the most aromatic one, perhaps due to the golden roasted crispy skin, or it could be due to the fact that we were all hungry by then. 🙂 It was the dish of Peking duck served with steamed sesame pancakes, with the carving process done right in front of us in the room. I’m telling you, it was this hard to just watch and smell in patience while the aroma kept creeping into our nose and begging us to eat the duck! Each piece of duck skin was skilfully carved and wrapped in a piece of thin pancake, layered with carrot, cucumber, spring onion and barbecue sauce. Needless to say, this was fantastic, and we wished there were more. The skin was crispy and savoury, a perfect combination with the sweet sauce and soft pancake.
Carving of the Peking duck
Peking duck served with steamed sesame pancakes
After the duck came the Double-boiled assorted seafood soup with bamboo pith, a nice alternative compared to the more common and frowned upon shark’s fin soup. This was light and clear but full of flavour from the seafood such as prawns, scallops and fish fillet. It was definitely a nice tummy-warmer on that cold and rainy night.
Double-boiled assorted seafood soup with bamboo pith
The Steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce came in quite a huge portion, good for the 10 of us. I’m glad that there was no fishy smell detected, while the flesh was decently firm. Really, if a fish is fresh, not much work needs to be done in the cooking process, just a little ginger to get rid of the smell and some good quality superior soya sauce would do. The trick all boils down to the duration of the steam.
Steamed patin fish with superior soya sauce
My favourite of the night though, was Li Yen’s golden prawns, which were huge pieces of succulent prawns coated with crispy yam shreds. I thought the crispy shreds were brilliant since they gave the prawns a nice crunch and a twist in texture. The prawns themselves were sufficiently bouncy and juicy, with a delicious sweet and sour flavour from the coated thousand island dressing. Very good!
Li Yen’s golden prawns
Up until that night, I thought Li Yen was a Halal restaurant since it’s located inside a 5-star hotel, but clearly I was wrong, for we had the Deep-fried spare ribs with thick vinegar sauce next. These pork ribs were still crispy albeit being coated with the thick vinegar sauce, while the meat within remained tender and juicy. While I love pork ribs cooked in any way, I thought the thick vinegar sauce was rather different compared to the conventional sauce. This was largely sour, almost too sour, with a strong vinegar smell, perhaps not the best sauce choice in my books. But some might like the extra kick from the vinegar.
Deep-fried spare ribs with thick vinegar sauce
For something green, we had the Beancurd with honshimeji mushrooms and spinach, with the spinach cleverly embedded on the beancurd itself. I notice more and more restaurants are serving beancurd this way, which I absolutely adore, because I love both the beancurd and the spinach. It’s even more delicious when the beancurd is homemade, so you’ll get that extra smoothness and aroma from the soya bean used.
Beancurd with honshimeji mushrooms and spinach
As with most Chinese meals, the second last course would be a rice dish, and we had the Fried rice with diced duck meat. You guessed it, this was fried with the remnants of the duck meat we had from the Peking duck above. This was fried with good ‘wok hei’ (heat of wok), such that each morsel of rice was nicely coated without being lumpy, but I thought it lacked a bit of flavour. I remember having to eat this with some soya sauce and cili padi (bird’s eye chilli) to make it more delectable. 🙂
Fried rice with diced duck meat
Last but not least, our dessert was Double-boiled assorted nuts and snow fungus in sugar syrup, definitely a healthy version of a dessert with plenty of snow fungus in each bowl. Even though I’m not a fan of snow fungus, I was glad to know that the dessert was not overly sweet.
Double-boiled assorted nuts and snow fungus in sugar syrup
Group picture after dinner
At the end of the day, the food did not matter as much as the company we had that night. It was fabulous to be able to catch up with good friends over dinner, in our very own private room. Service that night was excellent, and we left the restaurant feeling satisfied and happy. Thanks Foong for the nice dinner!
Li Yen dining environment
Li Yen Chinese Restaurant
The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
168, Jalan Imbi,
Kuala Lumpur 55100
Tel. No: +603-2142 8000
Fax No.: +603-2143 8080
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