There are a few places at the Gardens that are never without a queue come meal times, and I noticed that Fong Lye is one of them but there's something about the efficiency in which they deal with the queue that reminds me very much of Din Tai Fung - and I suspect that that's the reason why the queue doesn't intimidate customers.
Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant
Mid Valley City
Tel No: 03- 2282 8699
Fong Lye runs on a simple, hearty concept - set meals with a few options for sides. One can get a little spoilt for choice, and I remember hmming and hawwing for quite sometime over my options on my first visit to the restaurant. Sets generally feature a main dish accompanied by rice (or noodles, in same cases), soup, and a small selection of appetisers.
This time though, it was a simple - dad wanted soup so we thought that the steamboat set would be perfect. I'm not entirely if the set is meant for one but enough food came for two, so no complaints there. The set came with a nice little mix of ingredients - thin slices of pork, golden mushrooms, fish derivatives and my personal favourite, slices of pumpkin (I'd never thought I'd see pumpkin as part of a steamboat set before).
Clear, mild soup - no overseasoning here.
Some fried mushrooms on the side - coated with batter that tasted not unlike a deep fried Chinese doughnut (from the addition of Chinese five spices to the batter, perhaps).
A special soy sauce mix (we detected some white radish, among other things) that was a lovely complement to everything.
While it probably doesn't serve up the best of the best, Fong Lye is a good place if you're on the lookout for a complete meal (fish and egg in tomato gravy, anyone?) and with good, quick service as well as a pleasant ambiance, the queue really doesn't come as a surprise.
For the cookies, a little tweak of a Christmas cookie recipe - I left out the spices to make them a little more kid-friendly.
Adapted from a recipe for spiced Christmas tree cookies from the BBC Good Food Festive Collection 2011:
85g butter (softened)
250g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg, golden syrup and vanilla essence and continue mixing.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt and fold into to the butter mixture bit by bit, mixing well with a wooden spoon (or by kneading with your hands - the easier route, in my opinion).
Wrap the cookie dough with cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (I let it sit in the fridge overnight).
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
Roll out the dough (sandwich the dough between two pieces of cling film before rolling out with a rolling pin to avoid the dough sticking to everything) until about 2.5 mm thick, punch out shapes with the cookie cutters and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Place in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until cookies turn a light golden brown.
You can probably gather from this picture that I couldn't quite decide how I wanted to decorate the cookies. It was an evening of experimenting - piping vanilla glaze, piping green vanilla glaze, using the glaze as edible glue for rainbow stars, dusting with icing sugar. The works.
I finally decided, after making quite a mess, that I would stick to using good old chocolate glaze - melting half a bar of cooking chocolate with a teaspoon of butter, dusting the whole cookie with a thin, thin layer of icing sugar and dunking one half of each cookie in the glaze.
So they didn't turn out quite like I imagined them to be (pretty, pastel coloured) but they were still popular, especially with the kids. I think I'm going to start using golden syrup a lot more now - I love the slightly caramel-y flavour that it lends to everything.
Golden syrup and metal cookie cutters - I think I've found some new pals.
Also, if anyone knows a good alternative to royal icing, I'd be glad to hear from you.