I went to Chef Martin Yan‘s wine pairing banquet dinner at Mandarin Oriental a couple of weeks ago. It is actually quite intriguing for two reasons – I was a huge fan of his popular Yan Can Cook TV show as a kid and getting to meet the man and taste his cuisine in real life really appealed to me.
He’s now doing a show called True Passion with Martin Yan on AFC where he pairs wine with Chinese food so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when the invite came along.
The dinner started with a cocktail reception where Jacob’s Creek served wine with various hors d’oeuvre before the six-course banquet dinner:
Chilled Scallop with Jellyfish and Marinated Cherry Tomatoes
This is the first dish that came out. It’s paired with Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling and resembles the traditional cold appetizers in Chinese banquet dinners. There are four delicious items in this starter which includes a surprisingly tasty salad arranged on a soup spoon but the one I loved the most is the namesake.
The scallop is huge and pan-seared to perfection. It’s topped with scallions (spring onions), shallots (red onion) and carrot shavings but it is the pomelo citrus bits at the bed of the oyster shell it’s served in that makes this an orgasmic combination.
Oven Baked Sea Treasure Broth Served in Coconut with Puff Pastry
This Cantonese style double boiled soup is paired with Jacob’s Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay has treasures galore – there’s dried scallop, fish maw, shitake mushrooms, crab meat and even even abalone.
It tastes sweet due to the coconut flesh that’s infused into the broth. It goes very well with the buttery puff pastry crust that tops the young coconut shell that it comes served in. I’m not usually a huge fan of soups but this one is deliciously decadent – I even ended up scooping the succulent coconut flesh to eat.
Cantonese Style Steamed Cod Fish with Superior Soya Sauce and Baby Cabbage
This is the obligatory fish dish and it’s no secret that I have a weakness for steamed fish. I love the subtle flavors and fresh and tender cod. The fish almost falls apart when you spear it, and has a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Mmm…my favorite dish of the night.
All the dishes are paired with a Jacob’s Creek wine and I’ve written about the wine pairings in Lifestyle Asia – Celebrity Chef Martin Yan Heats Up KL – and included two recipes from the night by Chef Martin Yan from AFC kindly provided by Joey.
Peking Sweet and Sour Prawns
I totally loved this dish. The prawns are really fresh and the sweet and sour sauce is delicious. Chef Yan gets this one done to perfection – there is a thin crunchy crust from the batter which seals in the tender and juicy prawn flesh. It’s paired with Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2007.
Australian Lamb Cutlets in 3 Chilli Sauce with Jasmine Fried Rice
This is the main dish for the night, paired with a robust Shiraz. The lamb is amazingly rich and almost falls of the bone and the gravy goes well with the small portion of fried rice on the side. It’s one of the two dishes Chef Martin Yan cooked on stage and the lamb cutlets has a really great sauce made with ketchup, balsamic vinegar, chilli sauce and sugar. I preferred the sweet and sour prawns though.
Sweet Temptations of Chocolate and Mango and Lychee Jelly and Raspberry Coulis
This is the dessert after a wonderful and satisfying meal. The rich chocolate and mango cake/mousse is topped with an edible slice of chocolate with Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur printed on it. The lychee jelly and raspberry coulis at the side goes very well with it as it cleanses your palate after each bite of the rich dessert.
This is our table at the dinner – got this photo from Wilson. Wei Zhi, Evelyn and Suanie was there too. I didn’t get the name of the other but the one in the Mandarin Oriental outfit is Bel.
I also got to meet Chef Martin Yan, one of my childhood heroes. I can still remember the refrain “Yan can cook, so can you!” that he does and he hasn’t lost as bit of his stage presence. The guy has a great sense of humor and is very friendly in real life too. You’ve got to see him in action, the thing he does on stage is exactly like his cooking show.
There was also a selection of chocolates and candy from Mandarin Oriental to end the night. I was totally stuffed when I got home. It’s one of the best dinners I’ve had recently.