It’s been quite some time since I stepped foot into the New Formosa Restaurant in SS2 Petaling Jaya. Since the last time I was there, the place has been given a new breath of air… new furniture, more mirrors but the warm welcome from Mrs Jeanie Lee and her long-serving service crew remains just as warm as I remember – nothing has changed in that department! Jeanie remains as bubbly as ever – she’s full of exuberance when explaining to me their special Chinese New Year set meals.
Looking at the 4 sets in their leaflet, I’d say they provide very good value dishes at affordable prices and most of the items listed there are old favourites from this 30+ year-old restaurant. The best thing is that, within each set, you are also given a couple of options of chicken, fish and prawns. For example, you can opt for either a chicken dish or a pig trotter dish; butter prawns or grilled garlic prawn, etc. Now, that’s what I call “flexibility”!
New Formosa’s CNY menus range from RM338 nett (for 7-8 persons) and for 10 persons, you can choose sets costing RM368 nett, RM398 nett or RM498 nett.
On the evening I was invited there (thank you, Marian aka Fairy Godmother of Makan and Jeanie), we sampled some dishes from the RM368 nett menu as well as a few of their other popular dishes. Of course, the 1st course was the yee sang… we had the Formosan Jellyfish Yee Sang, to which salmon was added.
The yee sang was served in a pretty platter,with freshly julienned fruits, vegetables, jellyfish, crispies and salmon!
We made such a mess on the table with the yee sang but then that’s a good sign… it just meant we tossed the yee sang really high for maximum prosperity and good tidings… so the messier, the better!
The Formosan 2-Combination was next… featuring Taiwanese-style Pineapple Pork Ribs (oh, did I say New Formosa serves excellent Taiwanese cuisine?!) with chunks of pineapple, capsicum, tomatoes in a sticky sweet sour sauce. This would go great with a bowl of white rice!
The other part of the combination was their famous Butter Eel, a firm favourite in this restaurant. Thick slicesof eels are coated in batter, fried till crispy on the outside, yet oozing tender sweetness on the inside. There was lots of crunchy bits coating the eel chunks, made from butter, milk and eggs and speckled with chilli padi for that fiery punch. The aroma from curry leaves was unmistakable too.
I love the Steamed Village Chicken with Yam... I think this must be my favourite in that meal. The free-range chicken has been steamed perfectly, its rich yellow skin glistening and when dipped with that special ginger sauce, the chicken tasted heavenly. The slices of fluffy powdery yam, soaked with the sweet juices of the chicken, were really good.
Grilled Prawns stuffed with Special Garlic Paste is always popular with the patrons, I was told. When I bit into the firm bouncy flesh of the skewered prawn, I can totally relate to its popularity. Prawns this fresh don’t need much flavouring… just that blob of special garlic paste, bursting from the midsection of the prawn, was more than enough to lift this dish to exquisite prawny heaven. One prawn wasn’t enough for me, actually.
Broccoli with Roast Pork and Mushrooms… you can’t go wrong with roast pork, whether eaten on its own or stir-fried with vegetables. Throw in some fresh abalone mushrooms and you’ll have yourself a very tasty and appetizing dish.
Fried Fish Taiwanese Home-Style… a fresh golden pomfret, deep-fried and then doused with a thick sweetish spicy sauce made from Taiwanese soya sauce, chopped garlic, ginger, spring onions and chillies. A superb fish that calls for bowls of rice to mop up that deliciously appetizing sauce.
Fish Skin Soup is the friendlier version of sharksfin soup, something that would be welcomed by marine lovers and scuba divers. Jeanie personally handcarried back the fish skin from Taiwan. Steeped in superior stock with slivers of pork and chinese cabbage, the fish skin soup is truly slurp-worthy.
Taiwanaese Bamboo Rice … even if you are full to the brim, you must make some tummy room for this flavourful rice. The rice is first fried with dried shrimps, roast pork, diced yam and then steamed inside a huge bamboo pith for that added aroma.
Hunanese Ham with Fried Silverthread Bun... a special addition from Jeanie. The ham goes through a long and painstaking steaming process, resulting in a piece of porcine delight that’s both sweet and savoury… and tremendously fragrant! Slivers of golden gingko nuts, soaked in the sweet hammy honey sauce, were a delightful accompaniment. Now all you have to do is just place a piece of the ham on a piece of the bun, bite into it with great gusto and you will be rewarded with a memorable porky experience!
The regular desserts featured in the CNY Sets are Muachi and Puddings but that night, as a special treat, we had my favourite Ayu Jelly and their famed Yam Crystals. The process of making the crystal yam chunks is done at our table and this never fails to intrigue me. Soft powdery chunks of yam encased in amber-coloured sugar caramel – what a treat!
The restaurant is open throughout the Chinese New Year and the special set menus are available from Chinese New Year Eve until 6 Feburary 2012.
New Formosa Restaurant
46 Jalan SS2/24
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7875-1894, 03-3291-2031/019-3353274