If you blink, another square of crispy suckling pig will be “y-oink”ed and vanished from the plate before you know it. Suckling pig, banquet dinner, family reunion and mum’s birthday – any excuse would do to get myself back to Malaysia for some gluttony action with the family.
You know you have a big family when three generations, sixteen of us to be exact (not including my second sister’s family who didn’t managed to come home for the reunion), spread over two tables at the Hillcity restaurant, ready to spin the lazy susan like a casino roulette, hoping to land on the winning jackpot and in this case, the biggest slice of crackling!
The 9 courses dinner banquet is started off with a four season hot platter of sweet and sticky honey glazed pork spare ribs, shark fin scrambled eggs, fish mince dumpling with abalone slice, and wood ear fungus, pork mince spring rolls. The shark fin scrambled eggs is my all time favorite, it is an explosion of texture with a very harmonised mix ingredients. I still think abalone is an overrated expensive delicacy, it adds an elastic chewiness to the dumpling, but very subtle in flavour.
Next is the traditional abalone shark fin soup. As shark fin is getting rarer and more expensive, only a few floss of shark fin can be seen in the soup, the rest is filled diced abalone, waterchestnut, shiitake mushroom, egg white floss and carrot. It is also lack of crab meat in the soup, which is another important ingredient. Neverthless the soup stock is flavoursome from the many hours of boiling using pork bones.
I always like those Chinese dinner banquet menu with fancy names for each dishes. This one is called The lovely couple double flavoured prawns. I know it doesn’t really make much sense, so is best to let the dish do the talking. The prawns are done two ways, tempura prawn with mayo on apple and diced prawn cold salad which is earth shattering crunchy with a cool refreshing touch. Then, there is deep fried battered prawns coated in condensed milk with some chopped peanuts for the extra texture. The prawn is oh so heavenly sweet and tender with a crunchy shield.
Next dish is a stir fry grouper fillets with pinenuts. The bite size fillet is velvety tender and succulent, counteracted with the texture of the pinenuts, snowpeas, carrot and celery. A simple crowd pleaser. The Lo Han vegetarian dish is always being neglected and ended up doggie-bagged home as everyone are already stuffed with previous dishes. The last savoury dish is always either a rice or noodle dish. This fried rice is surprisingly good with great flavour combined of lup cheong (chinese sausage), shrimps and a generous sprinkle of fried silver bait on top.
The dinner banquet is concluded with the sweet red bean soup accompanied with pan fried pancakes with lotus seed filling. I noticed the dessert soup is actually a mix of red bean and black glutinous rice, it is extra thick with a nice burnt flavour from the black glutinous rice. Definitely will give this recipe a try. The pancake is pan fried with a nice crusty skin and hot gooey lotus seed filling inside is velvety smooth and sweet. However, I found the pancake is a tad on the oily side.
Overall it is a good meal, but I am rather disappointed with the quality as is no where as good as they used to be 10 years ago. We are pretty full after finishing the meal so the birthday cake will have to wait. Eventually we decided to bring it home, buying ourselves some time and hopefully we will manage to fit just a little bit more into our stomach after the short journey ride home.
Sadly, my mum dislikes cheesecake. FAIL.
Hillcity Hotel & Restaurant No. 227, Jalan Gopeng, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. Tel : +60 (5) - 313 5555