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Haewaytian Restaurant (Ipoh) Sdn. Bhd.
57 – 65, Jalan Seenivasagam,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: +605-253 8005

Food type: Chinese

Food rating: 4/10

Nearest tube: –

Website: Haewaytian Restaurant

(Editor’s note: Please note that the scoring of food in Malaysia is based on a linear scale)

Many apologies for another late post – I finally got WordPress to cooperate with me. I was supposed to update my blog yesterday but fell asleep at 11. I have started my electives working at the Ipoh General Hospital but it has been a doss so far – I only need to go in three days a week and for 2 hours only! Ha! With all the time that I have, it is a wonder that I still feel tired at the end of the day. Maybe it is me getting old! Anyways, J and her parents have come over to Malaysia so there will be quite a bit of food reviews in the next couple of days.

First up however, I will be covering my dinner at Haewaytian Restaurant last Saturday. My dad had some guest over from America. Haewaytian Restaurant, also known as Oversea, is a chain of restaurants in Malaysia serving banquet style Chinese food. Of course, the standard of food does vary from branch to branch. My review is based on the branch located in my hometown, Ipoh.

Four Seasons

We started off dinner with the typical Chinese starter called Four Seasons. Four Seasons consists of four small different dishes which act like canapes. Unlike most starters, there are no fixed components of the dish and it is prepared with whatever fresh and in season. The only fixed rules are that no ingredient should be duplicated and that each component should offer something different in terms of taste and texture while complementing each another. Much like an amuse bouche, it allows the chef in question room for creativity and to show off his skills. Our Four Seasons consisted of Stuffed Baby Clams with Minced Pork & Chinese Ham, Almond Crusted Crab Claw, Braised Scallops with Roasted Garlic and Baby Bak Choi & Deep Fried Yam Spring Rolls.

Often times, clams when not cooked correctly can be tough, almost rubbery. Here the braising process not only resulted in the clams which were melting tender but also flavourful as it had absorbed much of the flavour from the pork as well as the braising stock. The minced pork contained the right amount of fat which kept the clams moist (6/10).

The scallops served here are of the dehydrated variety which are popular in Chinese cuisine. Unlike fresh scallops, the dehydration process results in a more intense flavour while the scallop takes on a meatier texture.  As such, a lot of skill is required in the cooking process to ensure a delicate texture without losing any flavour. The scallops were braised with whole cloves of roasted garlic which lent a small piquancy to the dish. While the flavours of the scallops were bang on, the scallops could have been cooked a touch longer as it was a tad chewy for my liking. The scallops were served on a bed of steamed baby bak choi and black moss (fat choy), the latter providing an earthiness to the dish (5/10).

The deep fried Yam spring rolls was a disappointment (2/10) – the spring rolls were extremely greasy and did not have the crispy fluffy texture associated with deep fried yam, which occurs because the oil used to fry it is not hot enough. Additionally, the delicate yam flavour was completely overwhelmed by the vegetables used to stuff it. I did not try the crab.

‘Delights of the Sea’ Soup

Next up was ‘Delights of the Sea’ Soup. This soup contained a mixture of seafood (duh!) including scallops, crab meat and shrimps which were braised in a stock made up of pork, chicken and fish. As I wasn’t aware that there was crab in this dish, I managed a taste of it (resulting in disastrous results later on). Despite their intricate flavours and long cooking processes (sometimes up to 2 days), I am not a big fan of Chinese soups and I can only describe this dish as being merely pleasant. The crab meat certainly adds a layer of sweetness to the dish with the prawns giving the soup texture. As soups goes though, this is your typical banquet style Chinese soup. (5/10)

Steamed and Baked Long Ribs

The soup was followed by Steamed and Baked Long Ribs. Here, the double cooking process resulted in the meat literally falling off the bone and the glazing with Hoi sin and sugar caramelising the pork ribs. Despite the cooking process though, I found that the pork ribs lacking in flavour. In addition, the portions served were absurdly large even for 11 people. This is rib-sticking stuff (pun absolutely intended). (3/10)

Peking Duck

The following dish is one of my favourites – Peking duck. The duck skin was served first and I am glad to report that it is as crispy as I hope it to be albeit a touch overseasoned. The pancakes served with it were however disappointing as they were soggy which indicates that the they were steamed and left to stand before the duck was carved (6/10). The second part of the dish consisted of diced duck meat stir-fried with cashew nuts and a mixture of vegetables. The stir-fried duck was served with lettuce leaves which was served as a wrap for the duck. This part of the dish was pleasant if uninspiring (4/10).

Stir-fried Venison with Broccoli

What followed next was a horror show. Stir-fried Venison with Broccoli should be a nice healthy dish (Venison after all is a very lean meat). Instead, the venison and broccoli were sitting in a pool of oil. The venison was too soft and had none of the gamey flavour associated with the meat. The broccoli was nice and crunchy (1/10).

Buttered Prawns

Lastly, we had one of the specialities of the restaurant – Buttered Prawns. The prawns are coated in a mixture containing butter, flour, condensed milk and curry leaves and deep fried in hot oil resulting in a shredded appearance of the butter mixture. Traditionally, the shells of the prawns are left on during the cooking process as they add more flavour to the dish. However, as we had guest from America, we requested that the prawns were shelled. As such, the prawns were lacking in flavour despite being correctly cooked. In such a situation, it would have been preferable to substitute prawns with lobster as the latter has a more substantial flavour which could cope with the fried butter without being overwhelmed by it. (4/10)

Waterchestnut Jelly with Dessicated Coconut

For desserts, we ordered a variety of moon cakes (not pictured) as well as Waterchestnut Jelly with Dessicated Coconut. The Chinese are not well known for making desserts and the desserts served has not given me reason to think otherwise. The waterchesnut jelly and moon cakes was passable (4/10).

Dinner here was good although none of the dishes were truly memorable hence an overall rating of 4/10 (the Peking Duck came closest but was marred by the soggy pancakes). Service while normally very good was slow as they were packed to the brim that night. Nevertheless, the kitchen were very efficient in sending the dishes out without any delays between courses.

(No prices are included in this review as I was treated to the dinner)