An unforgettable birthday bliss – indulging in avant-garde dishes at Maple Palace Chinese Restaurant
When choosing a venue for her birthday celebration, my daughter Jean immediately suggested Maple Palace and it is easy to understand why. Located in the heart of George Town, Maple Palace Chinese Restaurant goes beyond traditional boundaries, offering avant-garde dishes that redefine Chinese cuisine in terms of both flavour and presentation. Under the guidance of owner Loy Tan and his skilled chefs, the restaurant's innovative techniques and use of authentic ingredients create an unforgettable and mouth-watering dining experience that leaves a lasting impression.
To start our meal, we savoured an interesting appetiser of thinly sliced pork belly accompanied by a mildly spicy garlic dressing garnished with cucumber slices and cilantro. This tantalising serving of the tender pork belly dish set the stage for an exciting culinary feast ahead.
We each had a serving of plain steamed white rice to enjoy the selection of dishes we ordered. The plain steamed white rice enabled us to fully appreciate the flavours and textures of the various offerings.
To add a dramatic dish to the table, we indulged in the flambé wok-fried pork ribs glazed with a tangy citrus sauce and topped with toasted almond flakes. A ladle filled with Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge – an orange-flavoured liqueur, was set alight before pouring it over the dish. This impressive cooking technique imparts a subtle liquor flavour that complements the flavours of the orange glaze brilliantly.
The succulent pork ribs had a caramelised exterior that helped to maintain their juicy tenderness. The refreshing twist of the citrus orange glaze, with its zesty and subtly sweet notes, harmonised perfectly with the pork's richness. This scrumptious creation left us longing for more with each delicious bite.
The steamed chicken, interlaced with Chinese sausages and fish maw, is a dish that beautifully highlights the delicate flavours and textures of its ingredients. Our chicken was perfectly steamed, resulting in tender and juicy meat that melted in the mouth. The addition of the fish maw known for its gelatinous and delicate texture, made the seafood taste subtle in each mouthful.
Among Jean's all-time favourite dishes is the sautéed squid rings coated with a creamy salted egg yolk sauce. The soft and tender squid rings were coated with the irresistibly buttery and umami sauce, adding a delightful richness to the dish.
We also enjoyed the spicy and tangy steamed fresh clams with a zesty lime sauce. The clams were cooked just right, preserving their juicy and tender qualities. The spicy lime sauce including fresh chilli, lime juice and other seasonings, provided a refreshing oomph to the dish, drawing out the natural sweetness of the clams.
For a crispy addition to our meal, we ordered the golden crispy prawn pancake, served with a house-made chilli dipping sauce. This delectable dish had a light and crispy batter enveloping a mixture of chopped prawns. The pancake was deep-fried until golden, while the prawn filling remained juicy and tender. I enjoyed the textural contrast and the succulence of the prawn filling. It was my favourite dish of the day.
Another lovely dish at our table was the deep-fried bean curd, topped generously with chopped prawns and a luscious crab meat sauce, garnished with crispy enoki mushrooms. The creamy and mild bean curd provided a perfect base that beautifully complemented the savoury shrimp and crab meat sauce. The addition of crispy enoki mushrooms added a delightful crunch to the dish.
Despite our small party of four, we indulged in a feast of eight dishes, including the delightful wok-fried mixed vegetables featuring lotus root, purple sweet potato pieces and macadamia nuts. This medley of vibrant vegetables, with the unique textures of lotus root and purple sweet potato, was elevated by the addition of macadamia nuts. This mixed vegetable offering had a harmonious blend of flavours, textures and vibrant colours, creating an enticing visual appeal as well.
The birthday celebration was truly fulfilling and memorable! The attentive staff and talented chefs who created the delectable dishes have to be congratulated. That evening, I overindulged in the celebration – simply put, I was bursting at the seams.
As my daughter blew out the candles on her birthday cake, I could not help but hope that all her birthday wishes would come true as she embarks on a new chapter in life.
Written and photographed by Adrian Cheah
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26 May 2022
Maple Palace Restaurant
47 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang
T: +604 227 9690
Open: Lunch: 12:00 noon – 2:30 pm, Dinner: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm