Of Strange Name & (Almost) Healthy Food @ Zhi Yin Yang Yan Restaurant, Bercham Bistari, IpohApril 29, 2012 | 3,114 views
Salted Egg Lotus Root (RM8/USD2.70) – Coated with a batter that’s rich with salted egg yolk, and curry leaves for that distinct, aromatic touch; the plate of humble lotus root (ling ngau) was transformed into something decadent worth ordering again and again ….
Remember Steamhouse in Bercham? That restaurant specializing in healthy, steam cuisine has already expanded to a second branch in Ipoh. How wrong was I to grow a certain skepticism on the prospects of a restaurant preaching about nutritious food in Ipoh!
I mean, traditionally, GOOD food and HEALTHY cuisine do NOT go along fine in the same sentence. Right?
And then, Zhi Yin Yang Yan (ZYYY) came along late last year. Or maybe middle of last year for all I care, but I failed to see the future of another restaurant hailing the coming of an era of healthy eating and endless range of double-boiled soups.
Boy … was I WRONG. Read on, and see why.
Before we start on the food, you must be thinking why the awkward name, or rather, ridiculously hard to memorize string of Chinese characters?
The phrase “Zhi Yin Yang Yan” actually translates to “Chi Yam Yeong Ngan” (in Cantonese) meaning to nourish/protect the body physically and mentally … or something.
P/S : I do admit that I’m not a very proud ‘banana’ here.
Double-boiled Soup with Monkey Head Mushrooms (RM10/USD3.30) that came with red dates and sweet corn, and a plethora of other ingredients I shall deter myself from scrutinizing over the Roman-ized names.
Going through their menu, you will see the usual Chinese dishes that will not set this far apart from the average ‘dai chow’ restaurants in your neighbourhood.
However, browse through their SOUP menu instead. But everything’s in Chinese. Don’t be ashamed to put those puppy eyes to good use and get help in translating the list of 10 or so soups and recommendations from the staff on which is good for what indication.
You know Chinese herbs and ingredients are combined into ensembles in a soup to nourish certain parts of the body, and nothing’s good enough for the entire physiology or anatomy of a glutton. I mean, human.
And so we ended up with an interesting soup of monkey head mushrooms that’s a rarity in most restaurants; or dare I say the first time I am seeing this on the menu of a Chinese eatery that are not in the same league as the major diners like Kok Thai, Mun Choong or East Ocean.
Salt & Pepper Squid (RM12/USD4)
Superior Soy Sauce Pork Belly (RM8/USD2.70)
Steamed Pumpkin with Dried Shrimps (RM10/USD3.30)
The soup was a guilt-free, nutritious ignition to the feast that’s waiting beyond. The second dish of Stir-Fried Sliced Pork Belly in Superior Soy Sauce arrived in tandem with the rice, and you WILL need copious amount of the carbs to down the saltiness immersed in the dish. Of course, when Superior Soy Sauce was mentioned, I was actually expecting them to go lighter on the taste, but this was a full blown assault to the palate. The Deep Fried Squid with Salt & Pepper too, was slightly saltier than desired, yet was a delightful crunch that we munched on without much guilt throughout the meal. The tiny bits of cili padi (bird eye chillies), shallots and scallions helped in lending this dish with a certain robust flavour.
The Steamed Pumpkin in Soy Sauce with Dried Shrimps set the tone right again, for a restaurant that’s supposed to be branded as a healthier alternative to the others. The intrinsic sweetness of the squash was accentuated by the simple preparation step of slicing it up then steamed in a base of light soy sauce with fried shallots and dried shrimps, then garnished with chopped scallions.
The entire menu actually consisted of various interesting dishes; from various steamed fishes to chicken and pork dishes, as well as a myriad of vegetable dishes to complement the proteins. But do remember to order at least ONE soup to be shared or to yourself, for that’s their main weapon in their artillery of signatures; some healthier than the rest, while the others are merely sinful indulgences to tempt the devil in you.
I relented and had a whale of a time polishing off the salted egg yolk lotus root this time. But I shall be back for the other wholesome soups that had names longer than all the dishes combined. Seriously.
(P/s: It did help that the lady was a very accommodating person; going to the extend of explaining EACH and every one of the soups; names and benefits included)
ZHI YIN YANG YAN RESTAURANT
No 32, Bercham Bistari 1,
Medan Bercham Bistari,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel NO : +605-546 6567
Business hours : Monday – Sunday (11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm)
Closed on Wednesdays.
GPS Coordinates : 4.625212,101.117658
Directions : Opposite of Tesco Extra, and same row as 2 Plus 1 Steamboat and BBQ. In front of Giant Bercham, and very near to the worthy-of-a-visit Hong Xing Dim Sum Restaurant that I wrote about before.