|Charcoal Skin and Coffee Mooncake|
|Steamed Chicken Siew Mai with Diced Scallops|
|Deep Fried Teow Chew Prawn and Chicken Dumpling|
|Steamed Hau Kau with Prawn and Chopped Coriander Leaves|
|Pan Fried Shanghai Wor Tip with Chicken and Chives|
|Crispy Roasted Chicken with Fragrant Spicy Sauce|
|Braised Assorted Mushrooms with Seasonal Vegetables|
|Sauteed Garoupa Fillet with Fresh Wai Sun Herbs and Gingko Nuts|
Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
|Japanese Sweet Potato and|
Mooncake season is upon us, and with it brings a host of traditional and innovative treats. Chefs try to outcompete each other for the most imaginative snow skin creation or highly acclaimed traditional lotus paste with double egg yolk round. Patrons hunt for the best deals and hotels join the games too, each seeking accolades for the finest packaging. And… of what I’ve witnessed so far, InterContinental is leading the pack (…aging).
Red and black handbags, complete with strap, clasp and label, open up to unveil leveled shelving for housing several mooncakes, depending on size. This gift wrapping looks so elegant that you might be tempted to take it for a whirl through the mall or even replace your date for dinner. At any rate, the presentation of the goodies is worthy of twin purchases, one as a gift and one to keep for yourself. In this case, the book can be judged by its cover (or the contents by its handbag) - the treats inside are as equally delightful as their carrier.
My first mooncake experience was just under a decade ago. I have since grown in leaps and bounds in terms of both my waistline and my Asian culinary education. I now know to slice a small triangle of mooncake and savour it with tea, rather than attempting a whopping muffin style bite into the compacted orb. I’ve too been enlightened by the knowledge that there are two basic types that go beyond my initial perception of dense and denser.
|Double Boiled Baby Abalone and|
Dried Scallop in Bouillon
Mooncakes can generally be divided into two categories, baked and snow skin. Toh Lee InterContinental Kuala Lumpur’s specialist chef, Lo Tian Sion, uses no artificial preservatives so the snow skin varieties need refrigeration and consumption within three days, while the baked numbers, with the aid of oven heat, are a little sturdier and can last up to a week. Employing natural ingredients, the mooncakes are lower in sugar and some of the lighter varieties found around town. Being more of a modern than a traditional gal, my taste in mooncakes mimics my personality. Noting that the traditional Baked Lotus Paste with Double Egg Yolk is their best seller, my mouth sought out the more contemporary snow skins. The Dragon Fruit and Cream Cheese, is a delicate white snow skin encasing a pink fruity filling with a bundle of cream cheese at its core. The Baked Japanese Spirulina Skin contains a dense paste of purple sweet potato and nuts seraped in the nutritionally rich microalga infused skin. The Charcoal and Coffee mooncake is just as it sounds and came an equal first place, in my opinion, with its sister inventions. Chef Lo Tian Sion and hubby are both fans of the durian and oats.
|Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling|
Another new thing I learned this week is that the set up of a Chinese kitchen is very different to that of a Western one. Each area is specialized and it is rare for chefs to cross stations. Chef Lo Tian Sion has been with the hotel for 18 years since opening and is the king of both mooncakes and dim sum. A Dim Sum set lunch for RM58++ is a very popular crowd drawer for the middle of the day. Fortunately, before our mooncake sampling, we were able to fill our tummies with some of his delights and more from the Cantonese menu.
|Steamed Seafood Dumpling|
Dish after dish arrived and our preconceived ‘light lunch before a mooncake sampling’ turned into a three and a half hour culinary journey, proving that good friends and good food soon make hours seem like minutes. Beginning with a selection of steamed and fried dim sum, we whet our appetites with, amongst others, the must order, Steamed Hau Kau with Prawns and Chopped Coriander Leaves and hubby’s favourite, Deep Fried Teow Chew Prawn and Chicken Dumplings. A hearty soup of Double Boiled Baby Abalone and Dried Scallops in Bouillon further filled our middles. And, just when we thought we could eat no more, out came a mouth-watering drove of mains too handsome to resist. The Crispy Roasted Chicken with Fragrant Spicy Sauce had popular appeal. The Sauteed Garoupa Fillet with Fresh Wai Sun Herbs and Gingko Nuts melted upon collision with my tongue with the remains of the herbs and gingko nuts gradually stringing along. Hubby picked the very last gobbet off the plate of Braised Assorted Mushrooms with Seasonal Vegetables and, I relished in the texture of the thick Stir Fried Japanese Udon Noodles and Chicken Meat. Although about to burst, the Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo and Ice Cream was so light and refreshing that it had no trouble finding a space in our bellies.
|Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo|
and Ice Cream
Toh Lee is undoubtedly one of the best places to get your mooncakes this season and, with rumours of a revamping of the restaurant setting and menu coming up soon, this could be your last chance to try some of chef’s dim sum classics.
Paying with Citibank, American Express or CIMB Master and Visa credit cards will earn you varying discounts. Signing up for the hotels loyalty card though is at no cost and will also offer you dining discounts ranging from 15% to 20%.
Reason to visit: traditional and creative mooncakes, good value dim sum lunches, last chance to try Toh Lee before it undergoes a revamp and renaming towards the end of the year
Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant
InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2782 6228