By Thúy Hằng
I remember, many months ago, the first time I had a chance to enjoy food created by Chinese chef Ooi Kar Kim – the new chef of Ming restaurant, one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Hà Nội.
|Renowned as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hà Nội, Ming Restaurant has presented a new à la carte menu created by Chinese chef Ooi Kar Kim to satisfy your taste buds. — VNS Photos Thúy Hằng|
Last week, when the chef unveiled a new menu featuring more than 100 traditional and fusion dishes of two major Chinese cuisines – Cantonese and Sichuan, my friends and I once again had a chance to savour his creations.
Before lunch, we were invited to taste some canapés, which were full of flavour and colour. They not only looked nice but stimulated the taste buds of everyone.
As classic Chinese meals contain several dishes, our set lunch menu features nine courses. Looking at the menu, I knew I would need to exercise after the meal.
|The canapé not only looks nice and delicious but stimulates the taste buds.|
When the waitresses placed our first appetiser, 'Spicy Spiced Australian Beef Cheeks', on the table, all of us were curious about the meaning of the Chinese letters written on a tiny white cracker (I initially thought that it was white radish) rather than to taste of the dish itself.
Unfortunately, none of us understood Chinese, so we waited until chef Kim showed up to explain the meaning – it was about the taste of the dish. Phew, we could now enjoy the food.
|Spicy Spiced Australian Beef Cheeks.|
The beef was very tender and aromatic. It was slow-cooked for four hours, then cooled before serving, with some Sichuan spices to enhance its flavour.
|A colourful collection of four different prawn dumplings.|
Our second appetiser was a colourful collection of four different prawn dumplings. Taking chef Kim's recommendation, we enjoyed the dumplings in clockwise order, from the traditional Crystal Prawn Dumplings to other fusion dumplings – black truffle, peppered dumplings, and chilli-vinaigrette crab meat and shrimp dumplings.
All of the dumplings are tasty, but it was the black truffle that really won my heart. For me, its translucent black-coloured wrapper was a strong statement, plus it had a special distinctive flavour thanks to the premium black truffle.
Next, we had 'Eight Treasures Shredded Abalone with seafood broth' – a soup featuring eight main ingredients – scallop, abalone, crab meat, prawn, fish roe, shiitake mushrooms, black fungus, and carrot. How could I stop myself from trying such a delicate soup? The lightly thickened broth was nice and savoury -- a triumph.
|Sauteed Australian scallops with black truffle sauce, white carrot egg & Hong Kong Choy Sum.|
Then we tasted our two courses – 'Stir-fried pork ribs in Chinese BBQ crispy onion sauce' and 'Aromatic crispy duck served with chilli vinaigrette sauce'. However, although they were good enough, they did not quite captivate my palate.
I was excited with the third main course – 'Honey baked silver cod fish', which featured my favourite fish. The fish was not bad at all with the sweetness of the honey, but for me, the best way to cook this fish is the simplest method to let its natural milky flavour shine.
We were already full and concerned about gaining weight, but luckily, the next course was seafood and not too big.
The 'Sauteed Australian scallops with black truffle sauce, white carrot egg & Hong Kong Choy Sum' is a delightful dish after all previous meat and heavy courses. I am happy that chef Kim has cooked seafood in a way that presents its mildly buttery, firmness and a tiny hint of sweetness.
|The dessert – 'Chilled puree of avocado with vanilla ice-cream'.|
As we wanted to save our room for the dessert, we skipped our last main course – 'Braised Australian beef with Sichuan spices, homemade noodles, and beef broth.'
The dessert – 'Chilled puree of avocado with vanilla ice cream' – was satisfying. The fresh and mild taste of the fruit-based dessert brought a balanced feeling to all of us after a lovely many-course meal. It was a happy ending for all of us. — VNS
Address: Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Niên Road, Ba Đình Dist, Hà Nội
Tel: +84 24 3823 8888
Comment: One of the best Chinese restaurants in towns with an elegant setting and tempting food. The new menu features vegetarian dishes. Until October 31, Ming Restaurant offers 1 complimentary appetiser of Sauteed Scallop Truffle Sauce with Trio Capsicum for all tables of at least 2 people.