I have been a fan of Chinese food for as long as I can remember. In my early days however, I never appreciated the enormous variety that this cuisine has to offer. Chinoise at thistle Port Dickson Resort delivered a very welcome extension to my culinary journey here in Malaysia with its typical Chinese food….but with a twist. This restaurant specialises in the Cantonese and Szechuan styles and every mouthful, for a lover of the delights of spice, provides a delicious flavour. The master behind the feast is Chef Lam, a very shy gentlemen but one who shows his character and personality through the style and tradition of the dishes he serves. He is not just a figurehead though and is always active; whether creating the sauces, cooking the dishes or as is sometimes the case, serving at the table.
The sizzling beef, a marinated tenderloin in egg and oyster sauce served with ginger, spring onion and Chef Lam’s own home-made chilli sauce was a hit, as with the Crispy Chicken. Delicious meat off the drumstick, a modified plum sauce with chilli padi adds a slightly sweet flavour, only improved by the ginger flower that the chef includes.
Next came the pan-fried prawns in a Vietnamese style, with a sauce of home-made curry powder lightened with condensed milk – definitely a dish that I couldn’t get enough of. We were then treated to a most glorious steamed snapper in amazing assam sauce; spicy, sweet and sour and reminiscent of the nyonya style but with Chef Lam’s own flair coming through in every morsel. The ever present chilli padi combines so well with the ginger flower and the sauce…well, if there had been some bread I would have been dunking chunks into it!
For the next dish Chef Lam served one of his own creations – dry scallops and bean curd. This was not just any bean curd but one carefully crafted by the chef using fresh prawns, white home-made bean curd, Chinese parsley and deep fried scallop all moulded, steamed, lightly fried and sliced to serve.
As an end to the feast we were served the Sesame Red Bean Rolls, the perfect dessert that had just the right amount of sweetness to it. The mix of red bean and sesame made it easy to help yourself to more.
My Chinoise dinner was a most refreshing journey that left me very satisfied and one that in no way breaks the bank. A gourmet spread for four persons costs around RM50 per head….and the wait staff at the tables are among the best I have experienced here in Malaysia. An all-round occasion that was tasty, fun, a pleasure and definitely something I will do again. And did I mention the amazing spice that came through in every mouthful……wonderful! By Nick Atkinson
Source: The Expat Magazine March 2014
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