Whenever I get cravings for some good home-style Chinese food, cooked with some unique twists, I head to Oriental Cravings located in the New Wing of 1-Utama. I have dined here countless times (it’s close to my workplace) and among my favourites are their Fish Head Noodles, Chee Cheong Fun with Pork Curry, Claypot Loe Shue Fun, Braised Yee Mee – yes, these are quick one-dish meals that totally satisfy my hungry stomach at lunch time.
Oriental Cravings is always busy – the front air-conditioned portion of the restaurant is forever packed – to score a table here, you have to come here either early or later, after the crowd has dispersed. Nevertheless, their al-fresco dining section at the back is still pleasant enough, with many fans whirring away the mid-day heat. No matter how packed it gets, service here is brisk as their wait staff are like Speedy Gonzales, whizzing around attending to customers. Obviously they are all well trained by the 3 lady bosses there!
I got to sit down and dined with Fay Cheng, one of the 3 lovely owners, who was very eager to showcase some of their latest dishes. First up was a big bowl of Curry – cooked with Pig Trotters, Chicken Feet and Yam! At RM26.90, it’s a very generous portion, with tender feet and meat and creamy yam. The curry is thick with rich aromas from the spices and coconut milk. I love it that yam was used instead of the usual potatoes and believe me, yam when infused with thick spicy curry, is really good!
The Fried Yam Cake (RM13.90) is a one-dish meal by itself. Cubes of yam cake were tossed with eggs, dried shrimps, long beans and peanuts and they all came together beautifully with hints of good “wok hei”. Eat this with some sambal and if you are a yam lover (like me), you’ll go back again and again for this.
Using a similar sauce like the popular chilli crabs, I like how Oriental Cravings has given this a twist by using fish instead crabs. All the flavours – sweet, sour, spicy are perfectly balanced in this Chilli Fish (RM38.90) and the only thing you need to worry about is that you are going to devour lots of rice with the delicious sauce. The fish has firstly been deep-fried for that crunchy exterior before being doused with the sauce.
When I heard the name of the next dish – BB Chicken (RM23.90), I just had to get the story behind the name from Fay. What does “BB” stand for? Fay laughingly explained that it doesn’t really stand for anything, instead it should be the happy sound (beee beee! as in whistling), you make once you have tasted this delicious dish! You know, like how the Cantonese would say “hoe sik thoe cheong beee beee!” What a hilarious anecdote and a good reason to name your dish! The bite-sized chicken pieces, with a nice caramelised exterior, are served in a claypot, coated with a glistening thick sauce, with whiffs of Chinese wine in it. Again, this is a dish that calls for bowls of white rice!
If you are a fan of bittergourd (like me), you would totally dig the Bittergourd Meehoon (RM13.90). It has a very distinct “home-style” feel to it and be assured, there is no bitter taste in the noodles at all. The thin slices of bittergourd, fishcakes and pork work their magic with the meehoon and this is one dish I would eat again and again.
An ever-popular item here is the Rice Wine Chicken, done the traditional way served with a fried egg in it. Fay told us how they almost had to discontinue this item as at one point, it was difficult to get a regular supply of good authentic home-made rice wine. The commercially-bottled variety simply would not do. Lots of ginger and wood fungus are also added into the claypot resulting in a heart-warming winey soup that’s so good you won’t stop scooping it!
If you have room for dessert, go for their Chendol, as highly recommended by Fay. The beauty is in the thick aromatic Gula Melaka used – something which is secretly sourced from Melaka and when mixed with the fragrant fresh coconut milk, that chendol is something not to be missed!
Lot 359 Ground Floor, Rain Forest
1 Utama Shopping Centre (New Wing)
Tel: 03-7727-2581, 7726-3801