At Restaurant De Hunan (湖南湘菜館), you will find your taste buds being tested to the extreme. Hunan cuisine, commonly known as “xian cai”, has a distinctive way of cooking with the use of chilli. Lots of chilli.
The use of chilli starts at the appetizers. The bean curd, seaweed, pig’s ear, and Japanese cucumber are chilli+ garlic marinated cold appetizers . All the appetizers soak up the chilli marinate really well, and especially so for the bean curd. When you bite into the bean curd, the yummy marinate sauce oozes out and gives you a mouthful of spicy fragrance. From the appetizers, I can already tell the rest of the meal is going to be good. The appetizers had lots of chilli I almost KOed at the appetizers.
The first dish we ate is the Hot and Spicy Steamed Fish Head (RM38, Small). It is a vibrant, firy and beautifully presented dish. The type of fish head used is the “song fish” (松鱼頭), which I don’t know what it’s called in English. It is not exactly the easiest fish to eat because it is bony with big and small bones. It is the hottest dish in our meal so prepare lots of cold drink by your side!
A small bowl of rice noodles comes with the steamed fish head.
The rice noodle is best eaten by mixing it with the hot soup from the fish. Rice noodles have the ability to absorb liquid and all that hot + spicy soup is absorbed by the noodles. The noodles absorb the soup better than the fish so you get a much stronger chilli flavour when you eat the noodles. Although we were all sweating like mad eating this dish, but we just kept forking in for more!
Stir fried cabbage is one of the less spicy dishes compared to other dishes (RM22, Medium). It is a simple dish with cabbage stirred fried with dried chillies and marinated pork. The cabbage is cooked to al dente, just enough to get the rawness out of the vegetable and yet the crisp texture is maintained. I can so imagine the chef cooking this dish with a big wok, big fire underneath, and it will just take him 2 minutes to stir fry this dish.
The skewered lamb (RM28) is another of the dishes that’s not as hot but still with plenty of spices – onions, garlic and light traces of chilli. The meat is thin, smooth, tender, but has a bit of a lamby smell. Would have been perfect without the lamby smell.
The Hunan style fried chicken (RM 30 Small) is yet another colorful dish with dark red chilli gravy, decorated with green spring-onion. The dish is served on a sizzling hot plate. Can you see the sizzling bubbles from the picture? The dish is best eaten with rice.
The pork rib soup has is a opague broth with plenty of mushroom goodness inside. Finally, a dish with no chilli at all to the rescue!
Restaurant De Hunan’s menu.
Restaurant De Hunan offers a complete range of Hunan cuisine, from poultry, beef, lamb, vegetable, tofu and sea-food. Excellent food with reasonable service. Price wise, I find it expensive. Our total bill was 178 for 5 dishes, 4 small appetizers, some drinks (no alcohol) for the 3 of us, an average RM60 per person. Imagine their simple cabbage dish is priced at RM22 when I can buy a whole cabbage for RM4….. Despite the not-so-friendly price, Restaurant De Hunan is an expert in this niche. It’s not a daily restaurant to go to (too spicy and too expensive), but it’s a place I will revisit again when I have craving for spicy food.
Address: No 2 Jalan Kuchai Maju 6, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel/Fax : +603 7987 9318
Email: [email protected]