Master chef keeps them coming back for more

Fried cod fish on a ved of Terriyaki sauce

Pei choey, yoke wat -- says Master Chef N. K. Lau in Cantonese to describe the texture of fried cod fish served on a bed of Terriyaki sauce. Literally translated, he said, "skin is crispy and flesh is smooth". Sinking my teeth into the tasty morsel of meat, I had to agree.

Eastern Dragon Restaurant, which opened some 24 years ago, remains a popular Chinese restaurant for both locals and visitors to Johor Baru.

Distinguished among the better restaurants in the city, Eastern Dragon continues to serve a menu of largely Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine with a sprinkling of Szechuan specialties. That's because Lau, 54, acquired his culinary skills from three top chefs in Hong Kong, who individually are specialists in rice and noodles, barbecued meats and fine Cantonese cuisine.

Lau, who hails from Sarikei, Sarawak, started his culinary career at the tender age of 12. When he turned 18, Lau went to work in a three-star restaurant in Singapore. There he discovered his talent and passion for cooking and was accepted to study the finer points of preparing a wide range of Cantonese cuisine from his three sifu (masters) in Hong Kong.

Barbecued duck that tastes great with plum sauce
Fish or fowl, vegetables or meat, Lau has given them his master chef's touch to keep his customers hungry for more.

And if two people could consume a whole bird in servings of crispy Peking Duck, it certainly does say something special about his barbecued meals.

This Lunar New Year, restaurant patrons have started to enjoy Lap Mei Farn or steamed claypot rice with ingredients like waxed meat, waxed duck and two varieties of Chinese sausages.

Lap Mei Farn is in season during Chinese New Year

This seasonal dish is obviously very popular because one customer has returned to enjoy it no less than ten times so far.

It's probably because of the premium soy sauce drizzled on the steaming hot rice which gives it such a unique fragrance and flavour.

Chef Lau adding his special sauce to Poon Choi
Besides Yee Sang or raw fish delicacy topped with slivers of fish or abalone, Eastern Dragon also serves Poon Choi or Big Bowl Feast where an assortment of rich ingredients are cooked separately, then arranged in one big bowl and braised with Lau's special blend of premium oyster sauces.

Legend says that the original Poon Choi was served in a traditional wooden washbasin but now this humble village dish is served with superior ingredients in restaurants. Lau created many original sauces for his dishes and as his clientele loved the variety of tastes, he decided to share these secret sauces with them.

To do this, he set up Eastern Dragon Food Industries for large scale production of hygienically-packed sauces under the brand name "Chef King".  Today, Lau's halal-certified products are available at Jusco supermarkets here and NTUC Fair Price shops in Singapore.

Eastern Dragon Restaurant is located at Jalan Serigala in Taman Century in Johor Baru.  It is open daily from noon to 3pm and 6pm to 10.30pm. For details, call 07-3319600 or surf

This article was first published in The New Straits Times, Johor Buzz on 19 January 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment