Monday, September 17, 2012

Xin Hwa & Chef Lee's Definition of Chinese Culinary

Its been a few days since I visited Xin Hwa, but the thought of Chef Lee's cooking still invoke my appetite every time I looked through the photos in my iPhone. The last time I had this similar insatiable craving was when I dined at Otellobby. For a beautiful experience that only comes every once in a while, I'm always packed with excitement to share. Allow me to take you to last Thursday night.

These are first five that speaks to my tastebud. Why five? Because three is not enough and four is not a good number in Chinese.

Old fashion Shanghai smoked fish fillet. 
Served as an appetizer, I didn't think this particular dish would stand out, but half of the patrons that night might have heard my "mmhhmm.." as I munched on the crisp sweet skin and savored the smooth fish fillet. I'm glad I was the first one to acknowledge this. According to Chef Lee most people would be turned off by its appearance.

Oven baked tiger prawns with cheese and spicy XO sauce. 
Chef Lee surely knows how to give a surprise. It is the only one among the dishes that night that brings a kick of spicy-hotness, and it did just that at the right amount with the right flavor on the prawn.

Chilled drunken chicken topped with "Shao Xing" wine shaved ice.
This was another surprise among the appetizers. Here's where I see the playful side of Chef Lee and his attempt to give his dose of modernism in the meal. Its not your usual drunken chicken when the feel of alcohol came from a chunk of wine-shaved-ice on top of the meat.

Steamed black cod fish with homemade green ginger puree
Served warm, with fish that's flawless and a good balance of flavor. What more to ask?

Chilled lemongrass Jelly with Aloe Vera flavored in Lime Citrus Juice.
Grand opening. Grand closing. That's all it takes for Chef Lee. He did just that with this perfect closure. Thick chunk of sweet Aloe Vera and Lemongrass jelly was a pleasing play of texture. Another "mmmhmm.." to sum it up.

I'd expect nothing less from Chef Jeff Lee. Having traveled 14 years in culinary industry from Malaysia, to Singapore and Shanghai, his take of Chinese and particularly Cantonese is something commendable and I'd definitely come back to. The only part of me that still curious is to taste his take on pork. Born and raised in a traditional Chinese family, it has been an indispensable part of our meal. It is almost a must-have in every family occasion. And I suppose it is only natural that one of the most look forward menu in a Chinese restaurant is none other than the pork.

Until the day that my personal request come to happen, I guess I'd be happy to pay another visit for its set menu. At the price of 388k / person or 138k / person for the dimsum, I suppose it is a good treat every once in a while.

Thank you Xin Hwa for having me. Thank you Melinda & team from Mandarin Oriental, I enjoyed the company.


Fellexandro Ruby
Food Storyteller & Photographer

Xin Hwa 
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Level 2
Jl. MH Thamrin
Ph: 021 - 2993-8888

Opening Hours:
Monday - Saturday (11.30 - 14.30)
Monday - Saturday (18.30 - 22.30)
Sunday (10.00 - 14.30) 


  1. Chilled drunken chicken nya tampak menggiurkan...kalo mau revisit ajak2 yaaa :)

  2. i do agree, what an exceptional fancy chinese cuisine,isnt it? :)


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