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Motormouth From Ipoh

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dong Bei Restaurant @ Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

080808 spelled one of the greatest achievement ever for China, further boosting the country's status in the eyes of the world. I'm of course referring to the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Millions have been spent on perfecting the biggest sporting spectacle in the world, held every 4 years. Being elected as host country basically equals fame, fortune, and bragging rights for generations to come.
Though this post may come a little too late, but promoting China's delicacies is no doubt a never ending venture. Thus, I was ecstatic when Jason invited me over to join him for a food review session at Dong Bei Restaurant in Pudu.

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.


sc said...

food looks yummy although it's greasy..esp the ribs...but then again, oily food is very common in some parts of china, right?

Allie said...

The salad looks so appetizing. Hungry d!
At first I thought it's chicken shread... After I read only I know it's raw beancurd strips.

jasmine said...

the sui zhu yue is one of the scariest dish i've ever had :P

Christina Kim said...

Yeahhh...looks spicy, even the salad!~:p
Btw, the menu screams Chinese so much....hehehe

Precious Pea said...

I heard about the water cooked fish before and am tempted to try. Anyone keen ar?

Anonymous said...

Jason, u very very frens !! foc meal for Motormouth;

The writeup was as good as the meal and the pics,

JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

i stay in KL for so long also didn't know got such restaurant.
Muz go dig it out when i back to
Malaysia -_-"

ibnu marzuki al firdaus said...

dear friend,

do u've BBQ LAND & STEAMBOAT BUFFET KUANG's phone no at SG BULOH, SELANGOR @ been there? some said d price just below rm20/pax!


mal handsome

plz sms me +60128624623 or
email 2

Shell (貝殼) said...

I like spicy food, must try the Ma Lat Chicken Wings^^

CRIZ LAI said...

The food looked delicious.. after all it's free... LOL! Anyway, I still think the dishes are kind of oily. I still remember those visits to China where most of the dishes would contain extremely fatty meat and floating in oil. Don't you think they should use lesser oil?

HairyBerry said...

i guess that's how the term "yau sui" or "swimming in oil" came about, hor? heehe...

nice looking authentic dishes there! another area i've yet to check out...sigh...

J2Kfm said...

sc : yeah thats true! the instant I finished my food, my mouth was all greasy!

Allie : the salad was good. healthy, albeit slightly oily.

jasmine : yeah, ditto with my previous experience.

Christy : haha, authentically Chinese dishes ma ...

Precious Pea : erm, not really water-cooked la... misleading a bit. it's all dunked in OIL! :)

Jencooks : haha, Jason is indeed a friend+foodie in need. =P

Jeromefo : haha, sure, sure! the whole stretch of shops in fact houses various Chinese eateries.

ibnu : hi, I'm so sorry, but I'm staying in Ipoh myself, and not very clear with Sgor's restaurants. maybe some others can assist? :)

Shell : hmmm, can put other meat as well. like ribs, fish and etc. the chicken wings though good, but very oily.

Criz Lai : fatty food (esp Pork) I can stand, though the same cant be said about oily food.

Nic : I myself wont think about going, had it not been Jason's invitation. :)

Anonymous said...

yeah find dongbei food too oily and spicy to my liking haha

choi yen said...

I scare oily food, must wipe with tissue before eat, haha ^.^

Anonymous said...

Hey, you're most welcome.

Oily cuisines are a trademark of China. I remember the proprietor of Gui Zhou once said to me, "We China mainland people have been consuming oily and spicy food for generations but you find the elder-ies are so healthy... because we do exercise A LOT especially if your family owns a farm."

So, when you're afraid of oily food, exercise to get rid of them!

Ciki said...

the greasy the better! i like!

J2Kfm said...

kampungboycitygal : yup. I'm sure most of the other Chinese eateries serving authentic Chinese cuisine also the same.

mimid3vils : haha, wipe away. :)

jason : but maybe they drink chinese tea with every meal also. :) dissolve the oil ...

cumi & ciki : haha ... make sure you follow jason's recommendation!

ai wei said...

though they are a little to oily but i love those authentic chinese food a lot!

oh yum

J2Kfm said...

ai wei : the fish in oil is rather an acquired taste, and i heard that the Chinese there even drink the oil!

Nivea Coupon said...

I don't know if I'm adventurous enough to try the wood ear fungus dish :)