Sunday, January 20, 2008

Restaurant Golden Kitchen, Dataran Sunway

Brothers at work

Seow siblings Mun Ho and Woon Woon combine their skills at hot dishes and dim sum to keep the customers coming back for more, writes TAN BEE HONG.

IT’S just round the corner from a big Toyota showroom in the commercial square. The car sales personnel often drop into Restaurant Golden Kitchen for lunch and dinner. After all, the food is good and the prices reasonable — surefire recipes for a successful food outlet.
Restaurant owners, the Seow brothers, have a perfect working partnership. Younger brother Woon Woon, 25, concentrates on dim sum while big brother Mun Ho, 35, handles everything else — from rice, noodles and hot dishes.

With the Golden Kitchen, you need not fear having a dim sum craving at 9pm as this is one place where the little delicacies are offered throughout the day on weekdays and for breakfast and lunch on Sundays.

Though the items are not in the regular menu, there are pictures of some of them on the back and the staff can tell you what special dim sum Woon Woon has come up with for the day. Dim sum orders are a la carte to ensure everything is fresh and reaches your table hot.

Popular staples are har gau, xiu mai, lor mai gai and bao. But there are other signatures too like crystal dumplings and Shanghainese xiu loong bao. The xiu loong bao are topped with sharks’ fin and served with black vinegar and shredded ginger. Watch out for the steaming hot soup encased in the pastry skin or you’d risk scalding your lips.

I love the har gao and crystal dumplings. These are filled with very fresh whole prawns — sweet and crunchy.

The Seows have a chili sauce to go with dim sum, made for them by a supplier in Seremban. Unlike commercial chili sauce, this one has a good texture and is bursting with flavours of chili and garlic.

Woon Woon says: “We offer a good variety of dim sum everyday and more on weekends as many customers like to come in and have dim sum for breakfast or brunch.”
The brothers apprenticed themselves to Chinese sifus when they were in their teens and have garnered years of experience in the kitchen.

“We weren’t good in our studies, so we decided to learn a trade instead,” says Mun Ho. “Then I began to find cooking really interesting and I have never looked back since.”
Inspired by his brother, Woon Woon also decided to establish himself in the kitchen but he found he was better at the intricacies of dim sum. Now he produces delicately shaped dim sum like goldfish and rabbits on Sundays “as lots of families with young children come in and the kids love such figurines”.

Meanwhile, Mun Ho has his hands full with the hot kitchen, cooking, steaming and boiling. The menu is pretty extensive and lots of customers come in for the dishes to go with rice. These come in three sizes, so two people can comfortably order a couple of dishes without paying for food they cannot finish. Prices start from RM6. Otherwise one can order individual dishes like rice topped with deer meat, kung po (dried chili) chicken, black pepper chicken, or fried rice and all types of noodles — from Cantonese fried to Hong Kong fried noodles.

The Crab Meat Fried Rice (RM10) had chunks of shelled crab meat in it, not the fish-based crabsticks that many outlets pass off as crabmeat. Really tasty, with crunchy bits of sweet peas and egg.

But if you come in a group, it’s best to order dishes. Start with a soup and egg or vegetables. Mun Ho does some neat tofu dishes. He makes his own tofu which is silky smooth and has a lovely flavour. His Bean Curd With Turnip (RM10) is irresistible after the first mouthful. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the tofu is topped with a combination of fried garlic, onions and chopped preserved turnip. To these, he adds lashings of soya sauce that he has cooked with other ingredients for better flavour. I could have happily finished the whole serving by myself if there weren’t other temptations on the table.

The menu has a dish described as Butter Cream Lobster but you can substitute the lobster with prawns. Unlike the more common style of butter prawns which is dry, Mun Ho’s version comes with a bit of cream sauce fragranced with curry spices and curry leaves. Very mildly hot, even children can eat it. The prawns are naturally very fresh and slit along the back to make them easier to shell.

Golden Kitchen has a “flexible” menu and requests to substitute a main ingredient for another are always entertained. For instance, we love the flavour of Sichuan Steamed Fish-head but would rather not have fish-head, so Mun Ho obligingly uses tilapia instead.

This is one of Mun Ho’s very own recipes using an explosive sauce with about a ton of dried chili and pork crackling. With this dish, you can smell the aroma even before it arrives at your table or you salivate as the waiter walks past your table with it. The thick sauce is delightfully scrumptious, with the crackling giving a good contrast to the soft, sweet fish.

Apart from seafood, Golden Kitchen has lots of meat dishes — from frog to deer meat, chicken and pork. Sam Pui (Three Cups) Chicken (RM12) is cooked with three types of Chinese wine. It’s flavoursome but what I really am in love with is the Red Wine Pork (RM15).

For this, Mun Ho uses an unusually meaty cut of ribs, so every bite is a satisfying mouthful. Each chunk of meat is coated with a wonderful red sauce. “We use French red wine,” says Mun Ho. “That’s what gives it the taste and aroma.”

The sauce that clings to the meat is sweet, but just perfectly so and the meat is tender and succulent to the very bone. There is nothing pretentious about Golden Kitchen. Nothing pleases the Seow brothers more than the sighs of satisfaction from their customers.

Decor is kept minimal, with tiled floors and wooden tables and chairs. A bamboo partition of sorts separates the smoking area from the rest of the tables which are well placed apart, so there’s plenty of walking room.

Golden Kitchen opens daily from 10am to 3pm and from 6pm to 10pm. On Sundays, it opens at 9am to cater to the dim sum crowd.

RESTAURANT GOLDEN KITCHEN (non-halal) 15-1 Jalan PJU 5/18, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, Selangor Tel: 03-6140-1811

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