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The Chinese Have Arrived!

Feyloon restaurant has now moved to bigger premises in Kuta offering a larger menu including daily Dim Sum. The following review was of Feyloon at its original location, Renon, but all of this original menu is still available at Kuta. +++++++++++++++++++++++

Eating in Bali has always been full of surprises. Some have been good and others disappointing. One missing link that has always amazed me has been the total lack of top quality Chinese restaurants. In both Jakarta and Surabaya they exist and at every level of the price range. Almost all of the many Chinese restaurants in Bali have some Java connection, sometimes even to the extent of using the same menu with the Roast Goose, and a few other sections crossed out.

Back in the 90's there were only two quality options, the expensive but excellent Shangri-La and the down-at-heel Golden Palace. Most of the others seem too immersed in the numbers game, how many busloads they can run through the cash register.

Now our savior has arrived. It is all the way from Guangdong, or Canton if you prefer, via Hong Kong. It began its life as Kowloon but a trading name dispute led to a change of name to its current Feyloon. Since its arrival in Renon that stretch of road is rivaling Eat Street as new restaurants open almost weekly.

It is primarily a seafood restaurant, with an abundant variety of live lobsters, abalone, crabs, jumbo prawns and strange looking fish [Stone Fish from Madura] watching you from the wall tanks. Fresh is not under dispute. The preparation and cooking perfect, you just select the method and any accompanying sauce.

What interests me most and what has disappointed me regularly at other establishments has been the general a la carte menu. At Feyloon every visit just prompts another return one. Even those tired old favourites come to life!

Everyone has soup when they go Chinese. It should be not be taken as a course in the western manner but sipped throughout the meal in the Asian style. All the usual combinations are here from the simple [crab and sweet corn] to the exotic [hot and sour eel].

How common can you get, Sweet and Sour Chicken? Big chunks of tender meat arrive with a thick coating of sweet and sour, more piquant than sweet, not the runny sickly sauce often seen elsewhere. The Stewed Chicken and Abalone is served, still sizzling, in a ceramic bowl topped with a plastic lid, chicken meat so soft and juicy it reminds you just how good Chinese cooking can be. Thin slices of that precious abalone are draped across the top.

Many other Chicken dishes are available including traditional deep-fried chicken chopped with bone intact, its skin darkened with soy and the meat firm, or poached Chicken 'Crystal' style, full of flavour and so tender. Most unusual of all the chicken dishes are the Mushroom and Chicken Rolls, crisp chicken skin wrapped around a vegetable mix into almost a mini spring roll, bite size albeit a big one! There is also a beef version, both are served sizzling in a hot peppery onion sauce. With the vegetable strips hanging out they look like baby squids. A must to include in your selection!

Prawn dishes are one of my main attractions in going Chinese. Even though they are served mostly in their shells, the effort of dissembling is worth it, hot sticky fingers and all. They can be steamed with spices, drunk with alcohol, simply poached or deep-fried with salt and chilli or salted egg yolk. Prawns, without shell, in Mayonnaise sounds awful, but is actually sensational, topped with split cashews.

I have always been amazed at how the Chinese cook beef, it always finishes so tender and the prices suggest it was not the top imported product. Feyloon is no exception. Any beef lover must try the stir-fried Beef, Mushroom and XO sauce. Not thin little strips of beef but big slabs of it, and even the small plate is very substantial. Talk about melt-in-your-mouth! It is one dish, amongst many, that is not to be missed. The traditional Beef with Black Pepper is here of course.

Whilst the menu is almost exclusively Cantonese, there are a couple of dishes from the cold north of China where chillis are needed to warm your insides. Feyloon?s Szechuan dishes certainly do that! They are stir fried with plenty of heat in the finished product. The meat can be either frog legs or chicken. Other dishes, such as the Poached Chicken with chef?s chilli sauce, are also very high on the heat scale, but are marked on menu.

For the real Chinese expert there are many varieties of Congee, Chinese Porridge. You can have it with fish, eel, chicken, beef or prawns, but not with the very traditional pork [and often pork blood as well], as Feyloon is 100% Halal. Congee, a solo Chinese breakfast or late night supper!

Most of the a la carte dishes at Feyloon are offered in two sizes, the small size is adequate for 2-3 persons provided you order the usual quota for Chinese, a soup and one plate per person plus one, plus rice. The tastes are so good and varied at Feyloon maybe you should make it one dish per person plus TWO! I have tried twelve different dishes and all were way above average, whilst many were memorable! I cannot wait to try more.

Do not forget that Feyloon is a real Chinese restaurant. Steamed Rice is taken with the meal but Fried Rice, and they have many versions, is served as a main course and at the END of the meal as a relaxant for your taste buds. The fried rice is perfect, so light and fluffy, I like the chef?s own special mix, Fried Rice Chef Alan Tam, with shredded egg, small slices of fried tofu and many vegetable additives. It is the perfect way to end a great Chinese meal. Yes, the chef is from Hong Kong too, maybe that is why it is all so good?

No, it is not Fine Dining, just a great Chinese canteen, fresh clean and professionally run. You come here to eat, any time you are hungry, alone or with friends. For more private banquets they also have three small private dining rooms. Not much English is spoken but it does not matter, just point at the menu!

Quality Chinese in Bali!

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Jln. Raya Kuta 98,
11.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., daily.
Off-street area.
Rp.300-600,000 p.p. [a la carte or Live Seafood]
Credit Cards:
- Mastercard
- Visa
Only beer.
Fast and Efficient, but little English.
A Chinese Eating House!
Great Chinese!
Last Reviewed:
July 2008
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