Monday, May 18, 2009

Tai Ze Heen - A Journey Through China

Journey to China and back in as little time as it takes you to eat a meal. Think it’s impossible? Well at Tai Ze Heen you’ll be able to take a mini food tour around the various provinces to get a taste of what authentic Chinese food is all about.

My trip began with a stop over in Hong Kong where I was fortunate enough to partake in a mini dim sum spread. These little bites are different from the ones here that have been tailored to suit the Malaysian taste bud. There were baskets filled with tiny treasures;

oven baked pastries with lotus paste and century egg filling...

deep fried cod fish with mango rolled in an oat crust...

steamed Ma Lai Kuo...a sort of sweetish cake with pine nuts...

and Siew Mai topped with a quail’s egg. I especially enjoyed the deep fried cod as the mango gave it a delicious sweetness and the oats a great crunch. The rest were different from the dim sum found here, they were more mild and sweet.

The next stop was Beijing with a traditional Peking duck.

The crisp reddish golden skin was cut tableside and folded in little pancakes filled with scallions and a sweet dark paste. The rest of the duck was then carved and used in a dish to be served later on in the journey. This was done beautifully and the skin had just the right amount of crispness and flavour to it.

After the lovely duck we went North of Beijing and enjoyed a lightly steamed cod fish with soy sauce.

The fish was mild in flavour and rich in texture giving my taste buds a rest from the sticky sweet duck pancakes. This is was especially good eaten with the stir-fried kailan with lily bulbs and wolfberries.

The journey then takes us to Sichuan Province with a wok fried Blue River prawn in a hot bean sauce.

This sauce is not as spicy as I was expecting and reminds me more of a sweet and sour sauce with a hint of heat. I am told that during the winter months in Sichuan Province the food gets spicier, and in the summer the flavours tend to focus on less chilli yet still retaining the bold flavours. They also tend to use river fish and prawns as Sichuan is landlocked. The prawn’s freshness was apparent.

Once we are done in Sichuan we make our way over to Shanghai where we eagerly dove into a bowl of stewed noodles with the shredded duck.

Looks wise these noodles resemble a wavy homemade Maggie mee but taste wise they couldn’t be more different. These have a good bounce and the tender duck meat adds a great depth to the overall dish.

The meal came to an end in the South with a chilled mango puree served with pomelo, sago and ice cream.

This is very light, cold and refreshing and the perfect end to such a large meal. I leave stuffed and satisfied after my gastronomic trip through China. With food this good who needs to travel?

Tai Ze Heen
Prince Hotel and Residences
Jalan Conlay


carol said...

the deep fried cod fish w mango in oats... wow!...and the peking duck and the and the steamed cod fish looks absolutely yummy! ...hungry now!

Sean said...

the siew mai topped with quail egg looks ingenious. i'd pop over for that alone! :D

thenomadGourmand said...

deep fried cod fish w mango in oats...what a pairing! is this order via ala carte? so got to get a group to eat right?

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Carol - hehe it was all really good! It was on my day of eating and eating and eating...

Sean - Do go check it out! I never knew how different authentic HK dimsum can be.

TheNomadGourmand - You can order any of these ala carte...or you can go for the all you can eat dimsum buffet...RM45++ per person.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

It's great to have such a variety, and there are a few really interesting dishes here. The mango and cod one looks amazing, and I'm curious about the pine nut cakes too.

Anita said...

The cod fish with mango rolled in oat crust looks lovely - did the flavours work well?

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pixen said...

ai yaaaiiieee... you made me longing for HK dim sums!
There's oe thing my sister told me about China- the mainland China... the Peking Duck is lousiest compared to HK. I guest since they were on tour, they were ushered into specific restaurants. If you're back in Penang, try the Peking Duck at Zhong Hua @ One-Stop Midlands. They also served Dim Sums there. My main course there at lunch time would be their Peking Duck where they will sliced at your table. There's another restaurant @ level 3 in the same block (can't remember the name) that also served Peking Duck but the duck meat is dry and oily and they didn't even sliced in front of you. So far, Zhong Hua suits my taste. There's also a Pei Pa Duck at Northam Cafe at Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah... the place's in front of Northam Hotel and if you prefer...Cafe French is there. Operated by un français avec son épouse, une Malaysian-Chinoise. I love the crêpes they made.

Anonymous said...

I thought I didn't like chinese food. I think I've just been deprived from really good chinese food. god, these look amazing, esp the siewmai with quail's egg! amazing!

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Arwen - The steamed pine nut cake was wonderful...very light not too sweet.

Anita - The flavours were wonderful together though I would have never personally thought to pair them.

Vincent - Thanks! I will check out petitchef :)

Pixen - Will have to try out your suggestions in penang! This duck was done quite well...I'm not normally much of a duck fan but it was moist and the skin was crisp...perfect combination.

BurpandSlurp - I think it depends with chinese food...there are some things I LOVE and some things that I could do without...hehe...but yes that siew mai with quails egg was quite interesting.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love trying the yum chas in the different countries although I'm sure the best selection probably is in Hong Kong! :)

pigpigscorner said...

Siew Mai topped with a quail’s egg..this is new! and deep fried cod fish with mango in oats sounds amazing.

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Lorraine - you should try Malaysia...oh the variety!

Pigpigscorner - it certainly is a different use of ingredients...but how wonderful they are together!