Champagne and Wine Flavoured Mooncakes @ Shanghai JW Marriott KL and Li-Yen, Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur

After Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival/Mooncake Festival is probably the next most important celebration in Chinese culture. Held on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, the festival has origins dating back thousands of years and is rooted in moon worship.

Today, it is celebrated in many parts of the world where there are Chinese communities, including in Malaysia.  Families come together to admire the moon, drink tea, play with lanterns, and of course, tuck into mooncakes.

I was psyched to try out the mooncakes from Shanghai@ JW Marriott KL and Li Yen@Ritz Carlton KL at the latter’s venue, where they had set up a special tasting session for us. Aside from traditional favourites like black bean and lotus paste filling, both restaurants are offering innovative new flavours that include – get this – Moet Chandon champagne and port wine with cream cheese.

First, we sampled some of the items from Ritz-Carlton’s award-winning Li-Yen restaurant. Making a comeback this year thanks to popular demand is the Mini Snow Skin Cream Cheese with Port Wine Mooncake (in purple). The skin was sweet and delicate, infused with the rich flavour of port wine, while the cream cheese added a hint of saltiness that balanced everything out well.

Its easy to see why the Mini Snow Skin Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne Mooncake (in pink) is a bestseller: there is an elegant and distinctive aroma of champagne, coupled with a silky lotus paste centre.

Traditional variants like White Lotus Paste with Double Egg Yolk, Red Bean Paste, Lotus Paste with Single Egg Yolk are also available, as well as the Li Yen Kam Tui which is filled with nuts and Chinese ham.

A box of four baked mooncakes is priced from RM88 nett, while a box of eight mini mooncakes is priced from RM104nett. They can also be purchased individually at RM13 nett per piece. The promotion is available from September 5 to October 4 2017.

We moved on to sample the painstakingly handmade creations from  dimsum chefs at Shanghai @ JW Marriott KL, which featured more baked varieties on top of the usual snowskin offerings. Flavours are decidedly more traditional/Oriental, with the likes of Snow Skin Fermented Black Garlic with Salted Egg Yolkdelicate Snow Skin Shiro Umeboshi with Green Tea and the Snow Skin Custard Paste with Mint. I enjoyed the custard paste with mint – it was like eating a light cake with a refreshing hint of mint.

Other new creations this year include the Baked Pandan Paste with Salted Egg Yolk and Baked Green Tea Paste with Salted Egg Yolk. Durian lovers should definitely not miss out on the popular Snow Skin Durian Paste with Truffle, made with fresh Musang King durians. Of course, one can’t go wrong with gifts of Baked White Lotus Paste with Salted Egg Yolk, Baked Black Sesame Paste, Baked Bamboo-Charcoal Paste with Salted Egg Yolk and Deep Fried Crispy Yam.

Available from 28 August to 10 October, a box of 6 mini mooncakes is priced from MYR 93.28 nett and a box of 4 large mooncakes are priced at MYR 178.10 nett.

After the tasting, we had a mooncake making session with the chefs. Of course, it wasn’t really cooking since all the pastes/ingredients were ready – all we had to do was roll and stuff the snow skin mooncakes with filling and fit them into pretty molds overlaid with Chinese characters. Brought two to take home!

Numbers/info for both restaurants:

Li Yen: +60 3 2782 9033 or send an email toliyen@ritzcarlton.com.my.

Shanghai: +60 3 2719 8288 or email shanghairestaurant@ytlhotels.com.my.

*Photos not watermarked courtesy of Shanghai JW Marriott and Li-Yen Ritz Carlton KL 

JW Marriott KL – Four Course Dinner

HELEN and I were invited as media guests to a prestigious property awards event last night at the swanky JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur. Held for the second year running, the event honours the who’s who in the Malaysian property scene. Having had a long, tiring day filled with appointments, the two of us were more interested in the food than anything else: so when the dishes started rolling in, we tucked in with relish.

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For starters: seared tuna and salad topped with a dollop of caviar. The lightly seared tuna was warm and firm on the outside, but soft and melty on the inside. It was served with a dash of tangy sauce.

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Savoury and sourish tomato soup to whet the appetite. We sopped it up with rolls smeared with pats of cold butter.

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The main course? Beef tenderloin and seared foie gras with cherry tomatoes, asparagus and mixed vegetables.

It was Helen’s first time having foie gras – but she didn’t enjoy it! She said it tasted horrible. 😛

I wouldn’t order foie gras under normal circumstances (I’ve only had it once before) but since this dish was already prepared, it would be a waste not to have it. It tasted very different from the one I had in Paris, which was creamy and had a sandy texture. This was like eating a large glob of aromatic, meaty fat-jelly which melts on your tongue in a fats-plosion. Not recommended in large amounts.

The tenderloin came in a generous serving and was cooked well, although a bit dry.

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About 300 guests were seated in the large banquet hall, all suited up in black ties and dresses. The winners announcements for the awards went on late into the night, but since we were so exhausted, we left a bit earlier.

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…but not without tucking into dessert. I mean, as full as I am at any given moment, there’s a separate stomach for sweets. The strawberry cheesecake and berry pavlova were the highlights of the dessert plate.

The hotel has several restaurants under them, including Shanghai, Shook! Feast Village, and Sentido Tapas.

JW Marriott KL
Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia