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Its strategic location in the heart of KL means that Li Yen is often bustling on weekdays and weekends alike. Spacious and cosy, the tables are placed at a good distance enough for diners to experience privacy even in the public dining area.
It is a crime to come to Li Yen without trying its Peking duck, which smartly utilises every part of the duck to prevent wastefulness. The first course of the glistening duck is served in a steamed sesame pancake with sweet plum sauce, shredded cucumber and scallions. Here, the crispy, paper-thin skin and juicy flesh come to play. The remainder of the duck is then sent to the kitchen to be prepared in with either a choice of rice or noodles.
If the duck doesn’t float your boat, then you can always opt for roast pigeon or the crispy pork; the restaurant’s extensive BBQ options will please any meat lover. Another crowd-pleasing dish is the baked spare ribs with Chinese tea leaves. Sweet on the palate, the ribs are generously coated with the flavours of the tea leaves for a well-rounded flavour.
Meanwhile, Chinese cuisine traditionalists can opt for Li Yen’s array of nourishing soups, especially the double-boiled selections. The Li Yen signature beancurd with honshimeji mushrooms and spinach is a must-order. A curded layer of spinach is topped over soft tofu then served with greens to make this a wholesome dish.
Wrap up your meal here with the durian pudding, sweet and rich, thanks to the freshness and quality of the King of Fruit used in its recipe.
In its beverage list, Li Yen sticks to its Chinese roots by offering a limited but admirable list of premium tea and rice wines — the latter is specified between the age of eight and 30 years. Its Western wine selections favour more New World wines. Mindful of the preferences of guests it serves, Li Yen also has an extensive liquor selections that would undoubtedly please any businessman.
The code of service at Li Yen revolves around efficiency and briskness; you will be attended to with professionalism at every turn while English proficiency of the serving staff is commendable.
The meals here are best shared. Because of the large portions and variety of dishes, gourmands are only able to try everything out in one sitting if they are in a bigger company. The Peking duck is at a good value considering two dishes are made out of the meat.