I totally adore old establishments.. especially those which had been around for decades.
Nothing bears a more solid testament than the years its been in operational .. and the fact that its food has appealed to both the old folks (then years ago; young.. ahem) and still satisfying the taste buds of the current generation.
New Formosa Restaurant in SS2, PJ happens to be celebrating its 3rd decade in business this year.
To survive the change of PJ, the evolvement of then a town to now a city, its demographics of people which has changed so much since then & the onslaught mushrooming of probably hundreds of chic-er, posher and fusion food eateries around does warrant some respect in that sense.
At the invitation of Eu Hooi Khaw, author of Fresh Ingredients & seasoned and respected food writer for about just as long as New Formosa is in business, I roped in Sean, UnkaLeong, WC and Horng for a night out.
Now, I’ve heard and read much of its Or Nee (steamed yam paste) and its legendary butter eel, and New Formosa has been on my “to eat list” for the longest time.
Truly its famed dish did not disappoint!
It came with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and the correct way is to enjoy it all in a scoop! Lovely!!
The infamous butter eel was part of the Formosa’s Special Combination Dish we had that night.
The deep-fried pig intestines with sesame seeds didn’t go down well with me. I may be overly sensitive, for Sean thought it was odourless yet it seemed to really stink to me!
Both the three-cup top shell (clams) stir fried with basil leaves and the stuffed lotus roots with special fish paste and seaweed was good, but I guess the Butter Eel just stole the limelight. Soft and slightly salty, the fragrant curry leaves added a nice kick to the overall taste.
I could do with more of this seeing my current stage of health!
Heartwarming and robust, it requires pre-ordering as it was simmered for 4 hours and loaded with all the goodies your grandmama would throw into a pot of nourishing soup; wolfberry, red dates, diced chicken, pork, mushrooms, gingko nuts, lotus seeds & lily buds.
Dinner was not only about gorging ourselves silly. Jeanie Lee, wife of the Chef and Sole Proprietor Mr Lee Weng Eng regaled us with tales of Taiwan, its history, the restaurant’s history and of course, we had a lesson or two on Taiwanese food.
The natural Ai Yu jelly served with fresh lemon juice is a very popular dessert in Taiwan, we were told. Here, it is made fresh in-house, and we were shown the natural Ai Yu seeds that they were made from.
Hence, you can be assured this is no powdered premix! The zesty drink was a great starter, as it got all of our appetites perked up and we were more than ready to chow down a horse.
This must have been the most anticipated dish of the night. Pictures were snapped extra speedily and within minutes, we stripped the poor baby of its crisp skin.
It was a first for us to eat this with vinegar as one of the dipping sauce, but like any foodie we dunk the meat, skin and whatever other parts of the little one into both the sauces served and gamely pronounced everything to be excellent.
The Braised Snapper with Sichuan hot bean sauce was fresh & the flesh soft and sweet. Good with the silver thread mantous (of which supposedly to be of a better quality compared to the normal ones customarily served elsewhere) sponging up the thick piquant gravy.
We barely chowed half-way through the feast prepared for us that night and most of us were almost stuffed!
Fret not, Jeannie said.
Drink up on their 1st grade Oolong tea to ease disgestion…
Then 2 ducks waddled in, and miraculously sections of space in our tummies became available.
The Longan Pipa Duck was deboned, flattened and marinated with herbs before applied with a solution of white vinegar and maltose prior to being roasted.
The final stage was a quick deep fry for the crispiness and then a quick bath of sweet bean sauce with longan just before serving.
I actually prefered the Sichuan Crispy Duck. Maybe it is because it was not so heavily flavoured and still boasted of a layer of fat ;p
Wrap a piece in lettuce, spoon over a trickle of plum sauce and take a bite.
Hmm.. dabbing the greasy juice from the side of my mouth, I remembered vaguely fleeting feelings of guilt, (but it was indeed very fleeting) and then all was forgotten as I reached for my next piece.
Fellow gluttons of the night…
The steamed crabs on top of unpolished rice, onion, scallions, shallots, mushrooms, dried shrimp, minced meat and Chinese sausage was just awesome!
Ok, I’m a rice person.. totally love rice but resistance is futile even for carb-haters when the rice was so wonderfully infused with the flavour of the crabs and its other ingredients.
Very fragrant and absolutely delicious, I could have this on its own minus the crab.
I had my apprehensions when I saw shelled prawns served with steamed yam and sweet potatoes.
But its got an impressive name; “President Ma Banquet Dish” and who’s to argue when the President lends his name to a dish?
The sticks of sweet potato and yam you see below were very tasty and seriously a good substitute when the cravings for french fries hits.
The bouncy prawns married beautifully with the smooth yam and even the deep fried lonely piece of kai lan was devoured.
The next dessert got all of us burning a few calories clicking away in the hope of getting the best shot of the action.
Basically the triangular pieces of yam (yes, more yam..) were deep fried and then bathed in a lava of hot caramel sauce with sesame seeds.
While it was still piping hot, each piece is yanked from the plate and dunked into a tub of cold water. The rude cold shower instantly hardens the thick coat of caramel on the exterior of each piece.
The result is sugar- rock hard on the outside yet the yam insides remained mushy and warm.
It was a delight to bite into each and savour the extremes; cold and hot, bland and sweet.
My, another new dish learnt.
And I thought Taiwanese food was meat balls and noodles, Taiwan sausages and fried chicken ala Uncle Bob.
Jeannie, being the fantastic hostess she is, treated us to their more of their signature desserts. I’m glad to announce it has nothing to do with YAM.
New Formosa choices of puddings – mango, green tea, aloe vera, custard and herbal.
I love them all! As usual they were made in house, with no preservative and addictives.
Very refreshing and cooling guilt free snacks no?
Great mains, fantastic desserts and there’s PORK!! What’s not to like?? They serve individual portions of food as well here so it’s ok to drop by even if you dining alone. Else you can always drop me a text 😉
46, Jalan SS2/24, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 7875-1894, 7875-7478