Ah Yat Abalone is a chain of seafood restaurants, one of which has now opened at the new Rimba Resort [sibling of Ayana] on Jimbaran. What began as The Hong Kong Forum 20 years ago has now become an Asia-wide chain of 25 restaurants including this latest Bali version. Perhaps Bali has now, at last, a truly fine Chinese restaurant?
An enormous menu is presented [as in every Chinese restaurant] but this one contains not only the standard dishes mainly Cantonese but with a few from Szechuan and Beijing but many exotic dishes only seen in the grand restaurants of China. Ah Yat at Rimba is a separate purpose built two level building outside and to the right of the hotel foyer.
As the name suggests abalone features on this menu with the Japanese Crown Amidori and the Japanese Yoshihama heading the list for the abalone connoisseur. Incredibly expensive top quality abalone is definitely an acquired taste! Their Abalone with Goose Web is one of their signature dishes at Ah Yat.
The soups have those wonderful Chinese names such as the translated 'Buddha Jump Over the Wall' which in reality is a shark's fin soup from Fujian province. Others include a Double Boiled Chicken with ginseng, Double boiled Abalone with Sea Whelk & Cordyceps flower, and Double boiled Sea Cucumber with yellow morel mushroom.
Many of their exotic dishes feature Bird's Nest, Abalone and Sea Cucumber. Braised Imperial Bird's Nest tops the list followed by Double boiled Imperial Bird?s Nest in chicken stock and Braised Bird?s Nest Thick Soup with golden white-ear fungus.
Other exotics include Stewed Superb Sea Cucumber & Goose Web with abalone sauce, Stewed Supreme Fish Maw & Goose Web and Stewed Japanese Mushroom & Superb Fish Maw
The range of more common seafood dishes begins with Prawns. They can be stir-fried with tea leaves, chilli or wasabi. King Prawns are baked with cheese. Scallops can be stir-fried with broccoli or stuffed with minced prawn or mashed taro and then deep-fried. Alternately Steamed Bean Curd is offered stuffed with scallop and served in XO sauce. An interesting dish is Braised Three-cups Cod Fish Ball with basil leaves. Lobster and Clams are also on the menu, many different ways
Frog is served Braised with roasted pork & sea cucumber or Deep-fried with Spicy Salt. However there are other more standard dishes for the less adventurous, they sound the same as at other places but taste the difference! An entrée of Deep-fried Chicken Wing stuffed with sticky rice or a Crab Claw stuffed with minced shrimp will soon convince you that you have come to some place very special.
Chicken can be steamed with ginger and spring onions, braised with basil or stir-fried with young ginger and pineapple. Braised Pig Trotter with groundnuts, Stewed Beef Brisket with turnip in a clay pot, Roasted Pigeon, Cubes of Angus Beef with sweet peas, the list goes on, they even serve Sweet and Sour Pork.
The low level simple dishes are often the best guide to the kitchen quality and management. At Ah Yat the Salted Prawns are just that. Too often these dishes are heavy with the salt but not here, there is a definite salt taste but as more of an after taste, light and subtle.
As with most Asian cuisines there are many vegetarian dishes to choose from, at Ah Yat they are just a bit more exotic than usual; Stir-fried Sliced Lotus Roots & Celery with black fungus, Sautéed Celery, Lily Bulbs, fresh mushrooms and ginkgo and Stir-fried Chinese Yam with cucumber & black fungus are just a few of the options.
The other specialty at Ah Yat is their selection of dishes of Chuan-Ziang flavours. Fried Glutinous Frog can be Szechuan style with dried chilli or Tianfu style with pickled pepper. Stir-fried Prawn with dried chilli is Chuanfu Style. Fish can be sliced and poached in hot chilli oil and Fish Head can be steamed with chopped chilli.
The desserts here as just as exotic as the rest of the menu and are quite confusing for a gweilo [stupid white man]! Double-boiled Imperial Bird's Nest can be with almond juice or rock sugar or served in a whole papaya, whilst Double-boiled Hashima is with red dates & lotus seed.
Classic grand dining as only the Chinese can do it. Bali has been strangely lacking in high quality Chinese but no more!
Experiencing a Chinese banquet is something so different to any other culinary happening.