Speaking to us after the lavish dinner was Chinese Sous Chef, Chef Tan Kwang Aik. He explained that claypot cooking is one of the oldest and most popular Chinese cooking technique and using this method, ingredients can retain its freshness, taste and texture and locks the moisture and aroma in. Furthermore, the thickness of the clay pot also ensures good retention of heat, hence food stays warmer for a longer period. At Lai Po Heen, they also ensure that the clay pot dishes are served with their lids on, and opened tableside in front of diners.
The braised sun dried seafood clay pot (RM378) is laden with luxurious ingredients such as Australian baby abalone, sea cucumber and dried scallop from Japan, pearl shell clam, black mushroom, black truffle and spinach. So so so so yummy! Everything was perfectly cooked, enjoyed this very much.
Another luxe dish which we had was the whole abalone clay pot (RM218), featuring a large whole abalone from Australia, sun dried scallops, oyster sauce and baby bok choi.
Hubby's favorite dish of the night was the Shanghai -style smoked Omega rich grouper fish clay pot (RM98). The fish is coated in Chinese spices such as 13-spice powder, peppercorn, bay leaf and star anise, then deep fried until crispy. This dish originating from Jiangnan, is then finished off in the clay pot for around 10 minutes. According to Chef Tan, most of the dishes in this promotion is first pre-cooked in the wok - this is to ensure the dishes have plenty of wok hei, which is essential in Chinese cooking.
We were also served another Omega rich grouper fish clay pot (RM98) dish - this, I was told, is first coated in starch then deep fried and then cooked in the clay pot with a sauce made from peanut butter and hot bean paste. Served with leek, shimeji mushroom, ginger and shallots, and garnished with deep fried cuttlefish.
We also love the live tiger prawn clay pot (RM78), whereby whole prawns are stuffed with XO sauce and cooked over glass noodles. Unlike the other dishes, this dish is fully cooked in the clay pot and takes about 20-25 minutes in total. Chef Tan explains that the prawns are served with their shells on as the shell is where all the flavour is and it also keeps the prawn meat moist and juicy. The glass noodles were delicious, as they have absorbed all the lovely juices and sauce from cooking.
We also sampled two beef dishes - fragrant beef short rib clay pot (RM78) and fermented bean tenderloin in clay pot (RM98). Australian beef is used here. We were told that the short rib dish is quite a laborious one, starting from marinating the beef with mint leaves, then deep frying, followed by braising for 2-3 hours. It is then finished off in the claypot with some Shaoxing wine for 5-10 minutes. The tenderloin on the other hand is stir fried with fermented bean paste, ginger, capsicum and onions - very tender.
The Dancing Chicken in Clay Pot (RM58) was also good - it gets name from the "dancing" bonito flakes. It is slightly spicy, thanks to the addition of chilli pepper flakes. Served with sweet basil, black mushroom and spring onions.
To end our meal on a sweet note, we were served Lai Po Heen's signature durian pancakes - rich, smooth and pungent filling, a durian lover's dream dessert. We also had the mango pancakes as well as the chilled mango puree. Lovely!
Pre-dinner, hanging out with Hubby ;)
Note that all prices are inclusive of 10% service charge and 6% GST.
Opening times: 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch (Mon-Sat), 11am-3pm (Sundays & public holidays), 7pm to 10.30 for dinner (Mon-Sun).
Location: Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03-2179 8885
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