龍華 Eastern Dragon Restaurant @ Taman Abad, JB

We pick up from where we left off with my Johor Bahru (JB) posts…


Today’s restaurant is another Chinese restaurant. A no holds barred, non-halal Chinese restaurant. This restaurant is new to me. New as in, I have seen this restaurant countless times, but this was my first time patronizing them. Today I present to you 龍華 Eastern Dragon Restaurant.

This restaurant occupies 3 corner lots of that row of shops directly opposite KSL City’s main entrance, the one at their Lower Ground floor where all the taxis converge.

The reason I have never set foot in this restaurant before was because, well… I can feel that it is an expensive place, but the shop front looked somewhat dodgy to me. So, between the few restaurants inside the mall, and a few places that were tried and tested elsewhere, it has never occurred to me to give this place a chance.

So why am I now coming here, you might ask? Well, the thing is, last year, a few of my peers, and then a couple of managers came here on separate trips, and they had nothing but great things to say about this restaurant. In fact, one of the manager promptly declared that this dodgy looking restaurant, is the BEST Chinese restaurant that he has ever been to in his life!

Wow! Such a heady claim… that leaves me no choice but to put this claim to the test… And so here I was, finally…

The general consensus of those guys who came here before seems to be that their 北京烤鸭 Peking Duck is to die for, and is a must order. Now, were I alone, I would never have ordered this dish, because it would be crazy for me to consume even half a duck all by myself.

Lucky for me, a colleague flew in from Penang to join me just in time for the visit to this restaurant. Half a duck for 2 persons sounds just about right, so it was time to put the duck to the test…

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Things started off well enough. A couple of attendants brought the duck out and carved it in front of us. This is the standard practice for serving a Peking duck. At least as far as Malaysia is concerned. I have no idea if they do it the same way in Beijing.

The crispy skin was served on a plate of crackers, with some wrapping sheets, some greens, and sauce. The leftover carcass with the meats and whatnot, were brought back into the kitchen for further preparations.

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I have to admit, this dish is done pretty decently here. The duck skin was the right amount of crispy, and the sauce was good. But after a few wrappings of skin, I had a question repeat on my mind: “This is the best Peking Duck to die for in Malaysia? I’m pretty sure I’ve had better before!“.

I guess I was unnecessarily pumped up with heightened expectations, so maybe my judgment has been somewhat unreasonably skewed. When you expect something to blow your mind away and it turns out to be just… good, you will end up thinking that it is just… so-so. I think that’s what happened to me.

Did I mention that the meats were taken back to the kitchen for further preparations? We were given 3 choices on how to prepare the duck meat. I don’t remember the other 2 options, but we went for 宫保 kung po.

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This dish actually made me… confused. You see, In my dictionary, a decent kung po dish is a balance between sweet and spicy hot. At least that’s what I am used to. This guy here, as you can see in picture above, although it is loaded with dried chili, all I could taste was sweet. Super duper extremely sweet, overpowering the spicy totally.

You know what this plate of kung po duck meat reminds me of? Americanized Chinese food! That’s not a compliment, by the way

I’m confused because I have not had very many Chinese food experience in Johor. I’m not sure if this is a poorly executed kung po dish, or if this is in fact how the Johoreans/Singaporeans love their kung po. So I guess I better just present my observations and reserve my judgment.

I think if I do come here again and I do order this duck again in the future, I’ll probably request them to serve us the meat as it is, without any further cooking.

Okay, so… nice crispy skin, but confusing way of cooking the meat. I guess the Peking Duck marginally failed my test.

We did not just order half a duck for dinner. Let’s see what else we ordered, and what I thought of them.

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石斑鱼片 Grouper fillet

This grouper fillet was one of their promotional item. We ordered this because of the cheaper price.

We did not finish this plate of fish fillet. The fish was… you know I’m a very insensitive judge of a fish’s freshness, and even I felt that the fish was not fresh. But I feel there’s nothing wrong with the sauce or cooking style with this one. Had the fish quality been somewhat better, I think this would be a very decent fish dish.

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青龙菜 Dragon vegetable

The dragon vegetable (pesticide free Chinese chives) was good, it did give me that refreshing taste, just as I expected. I love it!

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Tofu

This tofu dish made the least impression. I don’t remember the name if this dish. 🙄

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佛跳墙 Buddha Jump Over Wall

Oh, yes… I’m sending you to hell with my underwhelming comments thus far, and now I am going to shock you with this last picture of pure premium and expensive-ness: 佛跳墙 Buddha Jump Over Wall!

This is a rich soup made of luxurious Chinese ingredients like abalone, sea cucumber, sharks fin (again, sorry), silkie (black skinned chicken) and some other stuff.

The reason why this dish is called Buddha Jump Over Wall is because it was rumored that when this soup was first created in a restaurant in ancient China, a Buddhist monk living in the inn next door was attracted by that rich aroma, immediately jumped over the wall separating them and gave up vegetarianism in order to feast on this rich soup.

So, is the version here any good? Of course! How can it not be good?! With those luxurious ingredients, even an idiot cannot mess this up! Moreover a chef from a reputable restaurant?

Okay… okay… now that I’ve shown you all my pictures, my overall verdict?

I don’t know, man… I’m not gonna lie. I was not impressed with my meal here. But I did read quite a handful of Johorean/Singaporean foodie blogs, apparently this 龍華 Eastern Dragon is a somewhat popular and very reputable restaurant among the Johor locals. I think maybe it was just the kitchen having an off day, or maybe it was just me not being accustomed to the southerners’ flavors. For all I know, maybe the flavors that underwhelmed me are what makes the Johoreans tick. 🙄

Will I come back again if I have the chance? Based on this experience, probably not by my own choice. I guess I’ll stick to 凯旋 Kai Xuan, halal as it is. But if I am to come to JB again with some of the folks I mentioned in the beginning of the post, folks who thought this restaurant is awesome, then I’ll probably be dragged along here. If and when that happens, hopefully I’ll have a better experience…

22 Comments

  1. I’ve had Peking Duck twice in my life, and each time it was that fancy an affair. Love it when the skin is crunchy and crispy. What are the wrappers for? To wrap the duck? I generally like my duck by itself.

    Of the many times I’ve had kung po chicken in Singapore, I remember it was sweet. Would have liked it to be more savoury. I also like my kung po chicken to be well spiced. I think it would taste very nice with black peppper.

    On the subject of fresh fish, there’s this fish and chip place in an up-market food court in Melbourne I’ve eaten from a few times. Their battered fish never fails to be smell fishy, but it tastes okay… 😐

    • Yeah, the wrapper is for you to wrap the skin with some condiments and sauce. Apparently, that’s the proper way to eat Peking duck. Seriously, you should read this to see how a proper Peking duck experience in Beijing is supposed to be [Here (scroll to bottom for the duck)]…

      Hey I thought the Oz is famous for the fish and seafood?! That’s what all the travel shows have been yapping about. Fishy fish?? 🙄

      • Oooo. So really that is how Peking duck is eaten. I was quite young when I had it, can’t remember too much.

        Australia does have good seafood. If you ever come to Oz, I will take you to this stall in the middle of the food court that sells fishy fish – and it’s popular 😐 Malaysia and Singapore has better crab hands down 🙄

  2. Yep, in Beijing the duck is always carved tableside too. But why did they only carve the skin and not the meat too?? I’m so confused. Here, they always give you the skin and meat (carved in a couple of different ways… you’ll see when I have my duck post at some point) and you wrap both. I have actually never heard of the meat going back into the kitchen to be done up in different ways. Usually only the carcass going back into the kitchen to make a soup. The skin looks a lot darker here too than the Peking ducks I see in Beijing. And the wrapper is different too! Oh man, you need to come to Beijing to have a Peking duck experience!

    • Yeah, I think you did your duck post already some time last year. Seriously, I think having Peking duck in its birthplace is a much more elaborate and awesome experience! I guess we still have some ways to go over here, probably the version here is inferior, hence the meat cannot be eaten as it is. Or maybe it is just this restaurant that needs to buck up its Peking duck idea. 🙄

      • Oh noooo…. I just had Peking duck again, at the most famous and fanciest place ever. The oldest Peking duck restaurant in Beijing actually! So I’ll definitely write a post on that and you can see how it’s done here ;).

        • If you’re gonna write another post about Peking duck, then it must be different and even more exciting! I can’t wait! 😀

  3. I have never had Peking Duck before. What I know is that the highlight is the crispy skin. I never knew that the meat would be taken to make another dish. I thought you just eat it like that as you would an ordinary roast duck. Too bad this restaurant fell short for you. Sometimes it’s like that, you hear so much about how good restaurant is, only to be disappointed when you finally get a chance to eat there.

    • I still retain the thought that maybe it was an off day for the restaurant’s kitchen. Maybe they could be better on other days 🙄 …

  4. Oh dear! When I first saw the two staff in those pale aquamarine outfits, the meat cleaver and the surgical mask, I was thinking the restaurant was one of those weird themed places done up like a hospital!

    • Heh! You should try this sometimes. Look for Peking Duck, I think there should be quite a few restaurants offering this in KL. 😛

  5. First of all, I didn’t know you can order only half a Peking duck. What happens to the other half? Hope pray someone else will order the other half? 😀 Yes, from all the previous times I’ve eaten Peking duck, it’s usually carved at the table…so that they can show off their mad knife skills…haha! Not only that, they’ll even assemble and fold the crepes for you but I like to eat the crispy skin just on its own 🙂 And we’d usually have the meat stir-fried in some kind of noodles coz the Peking duck is priced for its skin and not the meat (the meat never tastes as good as those roast ducks). I don’t see that much dried chillies in your kung po, probably that’s why it tasted more sweet than spicy.

    I guess you now know why the grouper was at a promotional/cheaper price…hehe! ;D Plus I don’t know what’s the hype over Buddha Jump Over The Wall. I’ve had it a few times but wasn’t necessarily bowled over by it…I think people are just hyped over the expensive ingredients that go into it 😉

    • I didn’t know we could too, but we asked and they said can, so… can it is! Now that you mentioned, I suppose our’s was the leftover half 🙄 …

      Er… I like Buddha Jump Over Wall lah. I mean a properly prepared one. The soup is supposed to be very thick and rich and delicious. 😛

  6. All the dishes look good, typical “kiu soong” dishes in a high class restaurant.. Long time no eat crispy duck skin already. But I prefer crispy suckling pig.. The hands and feet and face can be used to boil soup & porridge also, yummzz.. Kungpo chicken actually reminds me of “fatt putt” (yam basket).. Inside got kungpo chicken also rite, wah, that one yummy..

  7. hmmm, not bad not bad at all.. it’s interesting to see what you eat when you are on a business trip, seems so much more luxurious than your cooking in the kitchen, hahaha!! Peking Duck and Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, that really was an enjoyable dinner!!

    BTW 青龍菜 is Chinese chives?? hmmm.. maybe can ask mun to enlighten us about this with the proper name and scientific name as well..

  8. Hahaha, I guess that manager who claimed that this is BEST Chinese restaurant that he has ever been to in his life, must have been to very few Chinese restaurants in his life to make this claim.

    I ate peking duck in the popular Quanjude Roast duck restaurant in Beijing itself back in Dec 2003 with my spouse’s company’s resellers. All I remember is having to yumseng drinks and the very thick and oily duck soup and the teapot having a very, very long spout. Can’t remember much about the duck dishes.

    When you think you had better peking duck before, can you remember where? (just for comparison).

    Too bad the grouper is not fresh – is it having a very, very fishy smell/taste?

    Wow, the pot of Buddha jump over the wall, both of you share a pot or you both had one pot each? How much did it cost? I had the MYR99 per small pot at Loon Sing but it did not impress me much. Yours must be more expensive than that.

    On the company’s tab, every day can go “bo” (eat nutritious food) by eating this Buddha Jump over the Wall lah.

    • Wow! So elaborate! Seems like we are still some ways short of doing a proper Peking Duck experience here…

      Hmm, I can’t remember lah, but mostly in KL lah, some of those old school restaurants…

      There’s that fishy smell, and there’s also that weird taste which indicates the fish is on its way to being rotten. 😐

      Hahaha, actually only I had the Buddha Jump Over Wall, small pot. It is slightly more expensive than RM 99. Just slightly…. 😛

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