Sun Gourmet Kitchen (新煌亭) – Actor Yao Wenlong Sells Pao Fan in Johor Bahru
Many celebrities have made a name for themselves by investing in their own restaurants. One of them is Yao Wenlong, who is taking a bite out of the food world. He recently partnered with a Malaysian chef known as Chef Sun (hence, Sun Gourmet Kitchen) to open Sun Gourmet Kitchen (新煌亭).
Chef Sun is the culinary consultant of Yi Yuan Ting, who manages Li Gong Restaurant, a popular fine-dining restaurant by the Sultan of Brunei. Even though Chef Sun does not cook much at Sun Gourmet, he came up with the concept and menu, some of which are also served at his fine-diner Li Gong.
As for Yao Wenlong, if you are lucky enough, you may even be able to catch him cooking pao fan for you! He prepares all 11 types of pao fan offered, in an open-concept kitchen, where customers can watch him in action. “Sometimes, they will take photos of me cooking,” he said.
“Pao” means “to submerge” and “fan” refers to rice in mandarin. Pao Fan has always been considered one of the best comfort food for Shanghai locals. While in Shanghai it is largely eaten as a home-style dish, with a vegetable broth, Sun Gourmet’s Pao Fan is presented with a touch of luxe.
There are two kinds of rich in each pao fan – the fried and crispy puffed rice (made with “top grade” Malaysian jasmine grains). You can either drench your pao fan with superior stock or the golden superior stock which has more than 10 ingredients such as fish bones, chicken and herbs.
The ingredients for the broth are boiled over many hours to achieve an attractive orange-hued soup. It is especially tasty after you add seafood into the broth.
We love the Signature Assorted Seafood Yuan Yang Rice (RM46 for 3-4 pax) which comes with abalone, prawns, scallops fish fillet slices and more.
This is an insanely flavourful seafood pao fan. Its flavours are rounded by the delightfully sweet prawns and firm fish. The combination of puffed rice and fried rice gives each spoonful an addictive crunch. All these add depth and dimension to the simple dish.
For the most premium one, go for the Assorted Seafood & Crab Yuan Yang Rice Set (RM188) which even has crab, sliced abalone clam, sea prawn, scallop, fish fillet etc.
For something more comforting, order the lowest-priced Handmade Fish Curd & Fish Ball, Seaweed Yuan Yang Rice (RM30). Each pot is served with fish curd, fishballs, fish maw, seaweed, minced pork and pork lard.
The restaurant makes its own fish curd and fishballs. Before serving, Wenlong finishes the dish with a drizzle of Shaoxing wine. This is a much lighter and affordable version. You can customise your pao fan with a la carte ingredients like pacific clams, minced pork, fishballs, pig’s kidney, mushrooms and more.
Another dish you should try is the Signature Salted Kampung Chicken (RM28 for half chicken | RM55 for whole chicken). Contrary to its name, there is nothing overwhelmingly salty about the dish, which is prepared by poaching the kampong chicken in a salted herbal concoction.
It is, in fact, very succulent with its chicken juices flowing with each bite. The kampung chicken was smaller in size compared to the regular variety, but firm in texture and tasted good with the ginger and scallion dip.
Some other dishes we tried, include the Crispy Stuffed Fish Fillet top with Tobiko (RM18) and Binchotan Charcoal Bean Curd (RM16). The former is a Japanese inspired dish featuring four deep-fried fish fillet drizzled with their wasabi mayo and fish roe. The latter is a bowl of handmade beancurd cubes with Japanese charcoal powder. The silken tofu was soft and delicate.
Sun Gourmet Kitchen might have opened only just a few months back, but the restaurant has already managed to win itself a good crowd. The prices are wallet-friendly and the pao fan is really tasty. It makes a very comforting midday meal, especially during this rainy season. Also, if you are a big fan of Yao Wenlong, drop by and you may be lucky enough to spot him in person here!
To make your navigations easier, Sun Gourmet Kitchen is located in the bubble tea town of Mount Austin. So after finishing your pao fan, you can end the meal with some brown sugar pearl milk (that is cheaper than in Singapore).
Sun Gourmet Kitchen (新煌亭)
Address: 7, Jalan Austin Heights 8/3, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Phone: +60 18-377 3066
Opening Hours: 12pm to 12am daily