Monday, May 09, 2011

Abalone meal at the Dragon-i

It had to be a special occasion to have a meal like this. And it certainly was. We were in my in-laws' place in Sungei Petani during the CNY festivities. To get away from the hustle and bustle of the big extended family, my wife and I drove all the way to Penang for our quiet celebration.

We parked ourselves at the Queensbay Mall and the restaurant we selected was the Dragon-i. The Dragon-i is a chain of 9 restaurants in Klang Valley and Penang. It has a sister chain called the Canton-i. Both the -i's are available at the Queensbay. The Dragon is located on the second floor while the Canton is on the ground floor. We arrived at the Queensbay in the early afternoon, and noticing the rows of chairs outside the restaurant for waiting patrons, we had the presence of mind to make booking for our dinner table.

And were we glad that we did! For the place was full when we later turned up for our dinner. The restaurant actually occupies part of the circular concourse of the shopping complex's second floor. It is very tastefully furnished with a number of imposing terra-cotta figurines.

At the entrance, was a glassed-off kitchen where smartly dressed chefs prepare the dumpling and other goodies.

We perused the menu. The options were many. Not easy to decide when everything look so good. We finally went for the "Super Value CNY Set Menu". It looked wonderful - abalone, shark fin, sea cucumber and all the wonderful things. But it was at a ridiculous RM138++ per person, apparently down from an even more ridiculous RM198.

The tea was elegantly served in a porcelain pot over a small candle stove. What a considerate idea. Kept the tea nice and warm.

The first course was the steamed meat dumpling (小笼包). It was meat dumpling with some soup in it. Bite onto it and the soup flows into the mouth. Such a nice and delicious feeling. But there were only 4 dumplings for the two of us. At RM138++, I would imagine they could afford to serve a couple more.

Next was the shark fin soup. It was again miserly in serving. There was hardly a bowl each. And it was not great. I tried hard to locate the shark fin. I wasn't very successful. The taste was so-so. Made me feel guilty too - those poor sharks.

The lap mei fan (腊味饭 - glutinous rice with preserved meat) was delicious. It had small pieces of preserved meat (腊味) and 2 types of lap cheong (腊肠 - Chinese sausage). The rice was soft and well seasoned. The meat and sausage were fragrant.

The finale was the abalone. We were served 2-head (grade 2) abalones. This means the size of the abalones were 2 pieces to a catty (600 gms). Very good size. The abalone was cut into 4 pieces and each piece was quite a good bite. The abalone was cooked in a rich sauce with pieces of sea cucumber (海参), mushroom and broccoli. The dish was delicious and we took time to savor the abalone and sea cucumber, which are so very expensive nowadays.

Dessert was glutinous rice ball in almond broth (杏仁露汤圆). There was red bean paste in the rice balls. The almond broth was sweet. The combination of almond and rice ball was nothing extraordinary but nevertheless was a nice dessert.

The overall meal was great. I could not help but compare to a similar meal we had at Ah Yat Abalone Forum about a year before. I look back at what I wrote in my blog posting. Except for the soup which was much more superior at Ah Yat, I feel the Dragon-i served a better meal. But I think they have one thing in common - both were not worth the value of the money I paid. 

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried dumplings and roast ducks? They are the famous and traditional Beijing dieshes. And also bird's nest soup? Its a delicacy in China.

    Enjoy your days~~~