I don’t always buy vouchers from group-buying sites. But when I do, I make sure it is worth it. Recently Groupon had a deal for Tian Siang Hui Wei – a restaurant that could be summarized as a fine-dining grade of steamboat/hot pot based on their pricing and service. I have heard a lot about them from friends who have dined there before and although all the feedback was encouraging, they all shared the same comment that it is not cheap too.
Anyway, the Groupon’s deal I mentioned earlier was that each RM50 voucher cost only RM25, which is equivalent to a saving of 50%. The catch is that it could only be used solely for food only while drinks and service charges must be paid in full. Regardless it was still a great deal and being a steamboat freak that I am, there is no better opportunity than this to try Tian Siang Hui Wei.
The restaurant looks like a proper Chinese restaurant rather than a normal steamboat place – clean, comfortable. Each diner is given a set of individually wrapped cutlery as well. Also, let me tell you about their “immaculate” service – it is quite extreme that we feel it was borderline intrusive.
At Tian Siang Hui Wei, you are expected to be seated and do nothing but pick food from the pot. I don’t know if that’s how steamboat is enjoyed back in Taiwan/China or wherever the waitresses come from, but I think part of the joy of steamboat is that you get to cook your own food at your desired pace. Here, the waitresses would help you dump everything into the pot unless you stop them. And boy do they look unhappy about it lol.
Other than that the meal was great and this is no doubt one of the best steamboat in town (if you do not consider the price factor) There are two types of soup base here – either spicy (Tain Siang Pot) or non spicy (Hui Wei Pot) like what you would have expected. We chose the latter because all of us don’t really like the spicy and numbing sensation. It cost RM35 for a pot and luckily any subsequent refills are free or else.
The reason they are charging for the soup, as opposed to most steamboat restaurants that provide it for free is that it was boiled with 60 all-natural ingredients (mostly Chinese herbs) without any MSG or food chemicals. I could vouch for that since I drank like tens of bowls of the delicious soup but did not feel thirsty at all. But make sure you consume a few cuppa of their specially concocted cooling tea later to reduce heatiness in your body.
We ordered more than 20 items from the menu so I am going to be brief and not going into detail for every one of them. But just so you know both the meat and seafood are very fresh so don’t worry about the quality. The most expensive meat we had that night was the 5 Cereal Beef @ RM48 – great marbling, tender and very flavorful.
The truth is that it is hard to find a decent Nasi Kandar in Klang Valley, at least one that could satisfy a Penangite’s craving. I can understand the lack of enthusiasm towards Nasi Kandar among KL people because I have to agree with them that it is more like an overpriced curry rice over here. It is also sad to know that the more popular Nasi Kandar chains like Pelita and Kayu are being used as yardsticks for our famous Penang Nasi Kandar, when in fact a hardcore Penang Nasi Kandar lover would gladly choose Kampong Melayu or Shariff‘s on any given day for the authenticty and affordability.
So when a colleague recommended me a Nasi Kandar at a coffee shop in Puchong that actually tastes like Penang’s, I jumped to try it. I never doubted his recommendation at all because besides him being a Penangite, he is one of the hardcore Nasi Kandar lovers I mentioned earlier. Turns the boss did not put up the word ‘Penang’ on his stall for nothing, his curry dishes do carry that unique spicy flavor of a true Penang Nasi Kandar. Well, of course it is not great as Kampong Melayu’s or Shariff’s. But given that you don’t need to travel all the way to Penang for the best ones, this particular stall at Restoran Kok Siong is probably the next best thing.
I used to feel Yap Beng at Equine Park prepares better Bak Kut Teh even though they are actually a branch of Yap Chuan at Puchong. But a revisit to both after three years changed my mind, now it’s the other way round. Yap Chuan seems to be able to maintain the standards better while Yap Beng’s has dipped more and more over the years.
My taste buds have changed over the years too. I used to prefer Bak Kut Teh with dark stock that has strong herbal taste, probably because that is the only style available from where I come from (Penang) And Yap Beng’s is exactly like that, which explained my fondness towards them in the past.
But now I like those light colored ones with an even flavor of sweetness and herbs, liven up by suitable amount of Chinese wine. While Yap Chuan’s style is not exactly the one I described, it is still good enough in its own way. RM20 for a ‘dai guat’ (big bone) portion.
Last week me and a few other friends were at Puchong to try out a new restaurant in Taman Meranti Jaya. The name of the said restaurant is Classic Cuisine – 京典名菜. Unlike the normal Puchong you would see while driving along the LDP highway, this area is quite serene and green due to its fairly remote location. Our choices of food that night were mostly signature dishes recommended by the captain. And the funny thing is, coincidentally most of they all came in clay pots too – something we only realized after all the food had arrived.
Red Wine and Hawthorn Berry Pork Ribs (红酒山楂骨) @ RM23 – nicely marinated, rich in taste but not overly sweet. Strawberry and orange bits are cleverly added not only for decoration purpose but also to give the dish a refreshing fruity flavor.