Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is located in Hock Lee Center. It’s one
of the premier Chinese restaurants in Kuching. I have also been to the
recently renovated Tsui Hua Lau restaurant, but unfortunately, I didn’t
bring my digicam coz I thought it was just going to be our weekly
meeting. A slightly similar, but different, fate befell me yesterday at
Li Garden Chinese restaurant. I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted
to, coz it was a company dinner to accommodate a guest from Taiwan. I
didn’t think it would be polite. ;) Hello JP!
Li Garden Chinese restaurant was pretty full when we got there last
night. It’s a nice place, with sealed off rooms for banquets. The decor
is not as extravagant as the newly redecorated Tsui Hua Lau though, I
didn’t see sharks swimming in large tanks. Heh!
The course started with soup double boiled in a classic soup holder.
It’s made with thinly chicken stomach (gizzard), a yellow date-type
thing and pepper. The double boiling method makes the soup very rich
and invigorating. The heavy pepper flavored soup is hearty and the meat
is nicely tender and chewy.
Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is famous for it’s Peking Duck. It’s
the only establishment in Kuching where they actually bring out the
whole duck on a cart and the chef expertly slices off the skin of the
Peking Duck in front of you.
I was surprised at the skilled manipulation of the chef, that
harvested all the Peking Duck skin (the part which you eat), leaving
only a juicy naked duck, white and steaming hot, on the platter, which
is then wheeled away. You don’t eat the meat of this dish, just the
Here’s what Li Garden’s Peking Duck looks like. The large platter is
served with the skin of Peking Duck, freshly sliced off the duck. It’s
served with folded round pastry, spring onions and cucumbers, and the
Peking Duck sauce.
Basically, you take one of the folded pieces of pastry, unfold it to
reveal a round, flour dusted pastry and put a piece of Peking Duck skin
on it, with spring onions, cucumbers and sauce to taste. The pastry is
then folded like a taco and you bite into it. I love the texture of Li
Garden’s Peking Duck. The flavors are complex and heavily infused into
the crispy, yet surprisingly chewy, Peking duck skin. Divine!
Next up is a plate of very nicely done deep fried butter prawns.
There’s plenty of “butter shavings” (i.e. the fried butter batter) to
complement the large prawns. The prawns are crispy and partly peeled,
with just the right amount of crunchy shell for that extra Oomph.
There’s also a green vegetable based dish cooked duck meat and three types of
eggs – salted eggs, century eggs and normal eggs. The normal eggs are
scattered into a nice mess and the salted eggs and century eggs are
partly whole. I enjoyed this unique presentation to a simple vegetable
dish. This is where the meat from your Peking Duck goes.
The next course comes in two dishes – the main dish and a plate
containing the cabbage wrap. The main dish is a meat based one with
chai bo and it’s meant to be heaped into the cups of cabbage wrap and
eaten like that.
The final dish is a medallion of fish on top of rice vermicelli
cooked with various savories. It’s served on top of a large mussel
shell. I also enjoyed this dish tremendously. The fish the good part
that has the right mix of oil for a good mouth-feel and slippery and
smooth fish. Nice!
Li Garden Chinese Restaurant is a great place for a Chinese style
dinner. I’ll love to go for the Peking Duck again, but I have an
uncomfortable feeling that I won’t be able to afford it. ;)