Wild porcini broth, the rare and wonderful Wuchang rice from Harbin and a dessert well-loved by Emperor Chien Lung — these are among the highlights of the Nine Emperors God Festival Special Vegetarian Set Menu to be served at Elegant Inn from 8 to 23 October, in conjunction with the Nine Emperors God Festival beginning on 9 October.
It’s all about textures and flavours, both contrasting and harmonising when dining at Elegant Inn. These come into play in the most pleasing way in the six-course Vegetarian Set Menu.
Lunch or dinner begins with Organic Beancurd Trio, where on a long plate are three appetisers with one main ingredient – organic dried tofu. Crispy Salt & Pepper Fried Beancurd chips crunch delightfully at the bite. They are crispy yet you revel in the taste of tofu.
Then it’s Refreshing Chilled Beancurd with Yuba and Cordycep Flower. Yuba or beancurd skin is combined with fried tofu and thinly sliced crunchy celery and cordycep flower.
The last appetiser is Fried tofu is stuffed with crunchy vegetables like jicama and cucumber tossed in a flavourful, nutty home-made “Sa Cha” sauce.
Double-boiled soups are synonymous with Elegant Inn, whose chefs brew these with premium ingredients and which entails long hours of double-boiling. The same dedication to perfection is reflected in the Trio Mushrooms & Trio Fungus Dumpling in Premium Wild Porcini Broth. The stirring aroma of the wild porcini, and its complex, sweet flavours of the soup make you want to slurp it all up.
The giant dumpling in the soup burst with the ambrosial essence of three mushrooms – porcini, murrill and shimeji – and three fungi of amberwood, mouse ear and snow fungus. It’s a textural delight as the mushrooms are chopped, sliced or cubed and the silkiness of these contrast with the lightly crunchy fungus.
Three dishes star as the main course in this Vegetarian Set. First is the Stir-fry Purple Chinese Yam, Snow Pear, Fresh Lily Bulbs and Ginkgo. Braised Chanterelle Mushroom Ball and Chinese Cabbage in French Dijon Mustard follow. Then it’s the climactic Symphony of Famous Wuchang Rice, Organic Brown Rice and Premium Yellow Fungus Congee served with Salt & Pepper Organic Soy Beans.
There’s the crunch of sticky, slippery purple Chinese yam and sweet, fruity and juicy snow pear which are delectably paired with ginkgo nuts and fresh lily bulbs.
A sticky, sweet and luscious Chanterelle Mushroom Ball sits on Chinese cabbage braised with French Dijon mustard, which leaves a welcoming sour tang on the vegetable. It’s a skilful balance of the richness of the mushroom ball with a lightly tart vegetable.
Wuchang is a county city in Harbin, which produces the highest quality and most famous rice in China under the brand Daohuaxiang. It’s harvested only once a year, in limited quantity. It’s fragrant and lightly sticky, with a glutinous rice texture. This special porridge is cooked with the Wuchang rice and organic brown rice from East Malaysia, together with yellow fungus. There is a topping of braised yellow fungus that bursts with flavour as you dip into the porridge. Salt and pepper crunchy soya beans are served at the side. There’s lots of oomph in the porridge and every mouthful is a lovely surprise.
The royal sweet ending to this Vegetarian Set Menu is the Yanxi Lotus Bloom Pastry, and Organic Green Bean with Seaweed Soup. This pretty lotus bloom pastry, which is said to be Emperor Chien Lung’s favourite dessert, opens up in 22 “petals”. It’s exquisite, with a lovely baked aroma, its fluffy layers revealing a sweet bean paste filling. Surely the Emperor would be in dessert heaven savouring this.
Elegant Inn HK Cuisine is on 2nd floor, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P. Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03 2070 9399 & 603-6737 9399