This was my third birthday dinner this year. I did not expect it at all. Edwin very kindly hosted it. He said it gave us the opportunity to gather for a meal.
He met up at his place in Klang and he led us to Setia Alam in Shah Alam. As we got near, the bright lights of the restaurant was unmistakable. Ming Yuan is located along Jalan Setia Indah XU13/X in Section U13, Setia Alam, Shah Alam.
The place was as loud as it was bright. There was a multitude of white fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. The crowd was large and I don't think the acoustics of the place could cope with the noisy chatters. It was a heavy toll on the senses.
They offered curry fish at 16 bucks. Unfortunately it was a Saturday night when we were there. The lady at the table was quite taken aback when I took this shot. She thought I was taking a picture of them. But when she looked back and realised it was the fish, she smiled and shrugged as if to tell me "Too bad, this is weekend".
Edwin had booked the table and pre-ordered the dishes. Still it took a long time before we got to eat. Must had been the crowd.
I guess noodle is a must in any Chinese birthday dinner. The long strands represent longevity. It was the first dish on the table. The noodle was covered in a sea of gravy - almost like a soup. It was good. The noodles were very fine - like mee saui (面线). The flavour was mild and delicious. I was given the honour of the first serving. I wanted a second, but by the time it went round the table, there was nothing left.
This was a very nice dish of deep fried pork ribs in a sauce. It looked a little overdone, but it really wasn't. The meat was nice and succulent. Perhaps it was the marinade that made it look dark. The flavour was delicious.
This chicken was also deep fried. It had been marinated in fermented bean paste (南乳). I liked the crispy batter. The flavour was not bad.
This was a soup of fish. The fish was first deep fried and lightly cooked in a milky soup of a whole lot of ingredients which I tried to make out. They included seaweeds, wood fungus (木耳), salted vegetable (hum choy -咸菜), and a whole lot of things I could not identify. It was not unlike the typical fish head meehoon (魚頭米粉) - minus the noodles. The soup was definitely nice. Because it had already been deep fried, I could not tell if the fish was fresh. But it was not fishy.
The double yam pot (佛砵) was very dry. There was no trace of moisture or gravy in the fillings which was deep fried mantis prawn in salted egg. The mantis prawns tasted very nice. The yam pots were also well done. But they were a total mismatch. It was not the right combination. The yam pots should have some moisture and gravy in the fillings. The mantis prawns would had made a very credible dish by itself. I just wondered why they saw it fit to combine the two.
The vege dish was a mixture of green beans, celery, black fungus (云耳), mushroom and asparagus, sprinkled with nice crunchy almonds. I like the simplicity of the cooking. It was stir fried and not at all over done. The greens were crispy and fresh.
I believe this is the same curry fish they offer for RM16 on weekdays. And I can see why it is sold for such a cheap price. It was lousy. The curry was tasteless. The was no oomph at all. It was not much better than the curry flavour of instant noodles. The flavour of the various vegetables and dried tofu was also flat. The fish was fresh, but it did not amount to anything.
The awful fish curry was compensated by this delightful tofu in pumpkin sauce. I want to learn how to make pumpkin sauce like this. The flavour was excellent and made the tofu taste so very good. There was petai and pieces of crab sticks on top. I honestly thought they could do away with the mundane crab stick.
I think the dessert was complimentary. It was a mango pudding in a cream. The pudding was totally artificial.
Thanks Edwin, for the lovely meal. I enjoyed the company thoroughly. And I really appreciate the kind thoughts.