Monday 27 January 2014

Dong Bei, Imbi, Kuala Lumpur

When you think of famous districts of KL for Chinese food, you usually think of Petaling street and Jalan Alor. Here's another name which should be thrown into the hat - Imbi. Behind Times Square is an area dominated by Chinese establishments, many of which are more authentic and perhaps more delicious than the ones found in the better-known areas. After our first trip today, I intend on exploring this area further.

Today we were on a two person crusade led by my lovely wife (although not in terms of navigating - we'd have ended up in Ipoh...) to find north-eastern Chinese food. Most of the Chinese food found in KL is from the south of China so good northern cuisine can be hard to find. Today, we found some! It's called Dong Bei which actually means 'north east'.

Here's the outside:

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover....

 But let's face it Dong Bei isn't much of a looker. Check out the table cloth!

Joking aside, I thought Dong Bei had an interesting atmosphere, unmistakeably Chinese in the service and patrons but a real air of authenticity, albeit with an English menu - which was a pleasant surprise!

We got straight down to business and ordered the crispy leg of lamb; served with green chillies, red chillies, fresh chillies, onion and a whole lot of fennel seeds RM 35 (approx $11):

Perhaps taking back what I said about judging a book by its cover....this was a beautiful plate of food! The lamb meat had fallen off the bone and had been stir-fried with a mountain of chillies.

I've actually never really eaten anything like this before. The lamb meat was extremely tender save for a very small portion of fatty pieces, which is hard to avoid with lamb. The chillies added a nice kick without blowing your head off (that came later on...), and the fennel taste worked a treat.

Overall - Great dish, and a bit of a new experience for me - 4 / 5

Next up - our crusade to find good dumplings was over. Pork and leek dumplings RM 8 (approx $2.5!!)

These pork and leek dumplings ticked off all the boxes. The thickness of the skin was just right, the pork-to-leek ratio was spot on and everything was nicely seasoned. Dong Bei actually has 12 different types of dumplings, maybe I'll dedicate a post to all of them!

Overall - What we came for - 4 / 5

Along with the lamb and dumplings we ordered a coriander salad, aka tiger salad RM10 (approx $3).

This was coriander, Chinese celery, scallion and green chillies. The mix of flavours here was great, however there was too much salt for our liking.

Now I'm not exactly sure why it's called a tiger salad, however here is a theory... You're eating the nice (but salty), mild greens when suddenly you eat an incredibly spicy chilli. It's akin to wandering the forest and suddenly being attacked by a tiger.

Well the former story (fortunately not the latter!) happened to me today. I was busy stuffing my mouth with these greens when I ate the spiciest chilli I've eaten in years, resulting in 10 minutes of pain and suffering - you've been warned....

Overall - A bit too salty which was unfortunate because it could have been really good 2.5 / 5

We also ordered a bean curd salad, with diced cucumber and spicy szechuan vinaigrette.

Unfortunately I don't like bean curd so didn't eat much of this. Erin told me it was great but she doesn't get to give ratings!

Overall, Dong Bei proved to be an excellent find. We will come back to try some of their other offerings - I've heard the sweet and sour pork is excellent, and there's more dumplings to try. For those of you living in KL, for authentic Chinese food which is a clear step up from the mediocre stuff you get on Jalan Alor, give Dong Bei a try. Just watch out for the tiger salad!

No comments:

Post a Comment