Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Imagine a traditional Teochew restaurant whose chefs once cooked for Chinese leaders like Zhang Jemin and Deng Xiaoping, where the owners are friendly and service is good, where there is ample parking space under leafy trees.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well then, you must drop in at Teochew Garden in Damansara Kim.

Owners David and Elina Tse from Hong Kong welcome us cheerfully. While we ponder over what to order, Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea is brought to us in the tiniest of cups.

"Following the Teochew tradition, we serve this tea before and after each meal," David explains.

Yummy stuff: Oyster porridege with mushroom and cuttlefish
Their Braised Duck Platter is said to be good, so we order it. What you get is a platter of duck meat slices, wings, gelatinous feet, tofu, and hardboiled eggs served with a special sauce made from 100 ingredients.

It proves a good choice. We polish everything off in minutes, with everyone agreeing that the sauce is tasty.

Next comes Pomelo Skin Soup Double-boiled with Black Chicken, longan and ginger. It is individually served in a little bamboo receptacle with cover. The soup is rich, with the squishy pomelo skin adding to the enjoyment.

This is followed by Boneless Chicken Wings stuffed with Salted Egg Yolk, celery and carrot. The wings are crispy on the outside, but the meat inside is velvety and complemented by granules of salty egg yolk, crunchy carrot and celery – meaty, salty and nice.

The Koon Yam Tea Chicken is just what the doctors ordered. The chicken is marinated overnight in fresh tea leaves and sauces before being steamed with wolfberry and more sauces the next day. The result is a delectable chicken infused with the essence of tea. Even the tea leaves are delicious to chew on.

Lamb lovers will like Teowchew Garden, for they have two exciting items on the menu.

One is the Braised Lamb Stew. It is presented in a special wok covered with a lid and heated with a small flame. The waiter removes the cover with flourish, and we get a delightful whiff.

The thick stew coats the chunky lamb pieces, water chestnut, and sweet foo chok (beancurd sticks). It tastes as good as it looks, too, and is an excellent comfort food.

Really now, can things get any better?

Simply mouthwatering: Braised Duck Platter
Yes, and they are called Mongolian Lamb Sticks. These are slivers of lamb skewered on a long stick and grilled. The lamb is heavily infused with a secret marinade comprising black pepper, chopped vegetable and exotic herbs. It looks like satay, but the taste is something else – heavenly.

Oysters feature prominently on the menu. They have Oyster Porridge and Oyster Omelette. The former is cooked with mushrooms and cuttlefish while the latter is battered up with eggs, chives and coriander. Both dishes contain big, fat oysters that are like globules of grey matter. When we bite into them, the oysters burst, and the juiciest seafood taste floods our mouths. These are first-grade oysters, I must say.

There are countless goodies to recommend, but for something unique, you must try their Golden Sand Corn. Freshly shucked corn kernels are lightly pan fried with salted egg yolks. The salted egg yolks melt and meld with the corn kernels, resulting in a delightful savoury snack.

This is a dish I could snack on for hours, if high cholesterol wasn't an issue.

Their Assorted Lettuce Pouch is also worth trying. Their version comes with fresh fish, diced vegetable and mixed nuts, all carefully cradled in a huge lettuce leave. The fish and nuts make a marvellous combination, with the crisp leaves complementing well.

If it were possible, I would try everything on the menu. Items like Peppered Squids, Sotong in XO Sauce, and Hong Kong Noodles in Supreme Sauce all sound tempting. Perhaps, we shall return soon.

To round off the meal, we order the Custard Crystal Ball. A bit of a fusion creation, the dumplings are made from translucent har kow wraps filled with creamy custard. A total of six "crystal balls" are laid out on round slices of carrots, then steamed on bamboo baskets and brought to the table still hot and fluffy.
Deng Xiaoping Theory
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Deng Xiaoping Theory (邓小平理论) is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Since the 1980s the theory has become a mandatory university class. Traditional Maoist theory put China's development focus on the building of socialism and class struggle, while Deng's Theory emphasized economic construction and stability. Deng's social philosophy included socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China's phenomenal economic growth largely owes its success to Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Deng first launched his theory in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which was ordered by Mao Zedong. The general outline of the Deng Xiaoping Theory consists of the "Four Principles", among which are:

- Marxism and Leninism - Party Loyalty - Subjection to leadership - Thoughts of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong sixiang 毛泽东思想)

In 1992, fourteen years after Deng had risen up as China's paramount leader, he embarked on the "nanxun" or "Inspection visit to the South". There he, being already very old, uttered the famous words: "kaifang 开放!". These words, which literally mean "open up", would indeed prove to be very significant for China's economic and social development up until the current day. After this surge of motivation, China both economically and socially started expanding.

It is a delightful conclusion to a wonderful meal.


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