According to the proprietor's daughter, who was the one running the shop with her family, they hailed from China, and Dong Bei is one of the pioneer Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. This restaurant is situated among a whole stretch of Chinese restaurants, serving an array of Chinese cuisine of different origins, from Szechuan to Teochew food. Dong Bei is literally translated to East-North, referring to a region in Northern part of China, or better known as Manchuria (the old name).
She explained to us (or rather, warned us) to brace ourselves for the slightly spicier than normal Chinese fare, resembling Szechuan's offerings, but a notch below (thankfully!), in the Hot-o-Meter. This is because the province mentioned above experiences quite a cold climate, hence requiring the extra heat from all the chillies and peppercorns.Refreshing, cooling herbal concoction promises to soothe the throat ... or douse the flame
Without further ado, the lady (girl?) placed two glasses of herbal drinks, most probably "Yeung Sam Sou" (a type of wild ginseng?) with red dates. Oh well, in preparation for the hot stuff?Salad of raw beancurd strips with julienned cucumber and coriander
An appetizing amalgam of flavours, the salad consisted of tossed raw beancurd strips (imported from China, not available in Malaysia) with cucumber, and coriander as garnishing. No mayo was sighted (duh ... ) but some chilli oil with a faint hint of garlic was used to erm, lubricate the greens. A light and wholesome appetizer, with slight crunch, albeit oilier than your usual healthy salad.Roasted (or stir-fried) pork ribs with salt and pepper
The small cutlets of spare ribs stir-fried with some red and green chillies, with adequate amount of chilli oil were savoury, but a little salty. And if you leave the meat to bask in the oily sauce, you're guaranteed to experience well-soaked ribs, bursting with chilli oil. Not spicy, no worries.Wood Ear Fungus stir fried with carrots and spring onions
The wood ear fungus (Muk Yee) is imported from Northern China, and delivered a crunchier bite compared to local's produce. It was indeed true, and this simple vegetable dish was a delight to relish, crunchy and flavourful. My favourite dish of the evening. And what's more, NOT too oily to boot.Ma Lat Chicken Wings
Szechuan food aficionados will swear by the Ma Lat chilli paste, an ultra spicy, tongue-numbing concoction of the hottest dried chillies and peppercorns imported from the Sichuan province. But at Dong Bei, the heat has been toned down, probably to deviate from the resemblance to Szechuan food.
But still, the Ma Lat chicken wings served in a big, simple steel bowl, came in a generous portion, definitely meant for sharing. The chicken meat was tender, and bursting with flavour, but the peppercorns and dried chillies combination may prove to be slightly intimidating to some. I can stand the spiciness, but I just can't stomach the greasiness. At the lower part of the dish, large bean sprouts and cucumber strips were drenched, and drowned in the spoonfuls of chilli oil. If you're one who avoids oily food, this may be the ultimate bane of a dish.
All in all, the spread reminded me a lot of Beijing's food. Especially when their signature dish, the "Water-Cooked Fish" (Sui Zhu Yue) is also widely and proudly served in most Beijing's restaurants. You'll be forgiven for thinking the fish is a humble dish cooked in soup, or water for that matter. But in reality, the fish is submerged with OIL, lots and lots of oil. The oil is supposed to maintain the smoothness of the flesh, and not meant to be drunk. But the sight of a whole fish "swimming" in oil will definitely deter a healthy eater. We were not served this dish, for a whole fish can feed a family of four.
They're opened for business everyday, from 12pm to 12am, EVEN on Chinese New Year. Imagine that. Sorry, no prices for the dishes, as the meal was FOC. Muahaha ... Thanks, Jason!
Location : 280, Changkat Thambi Dollah, Off Jln Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel No : 03-21487694.