Having lived in Petaling Jaya almost all my life, I often have memories about where my parents used to take me for family dinners. One of my fondest food memories has always been dining at New Formosa Taiwan Restaurant in SS2 which has been around for more than twenty years. I always remembered their Stonefire Pot which we will have on special occasions, my favourite part was when they fry the beef with the hot spicy Taiwanese sauce in the hot pot which will be served to you. Subsequently the stock will be poured into the pot and you can cook the ingredients inside it.
Revisiting this place recently was great because I discovered the food tastes just as fantastic. The restaurant has of course branched out from serving the Stonefire Pot and the menu is filled with so many choices that one has a hard time determining what to order. We loved their Bamboo Yam Rice that is served in a bamboo tube. The fragrant rice is filled with chunks of yam, pumpkin, chinese sausages (Lap Cheong in Chinese) and chinese mushrooms. Even though I don't take rice most of the time, I finished my portion of this quickly and wished I could get more.
They also serve Bamboo Prawns whereby the prawns is steamed in the bamboo tube with ginger and wine. Subsequently, herbal soup is added in the bamboo tube and served to you. We enjoyed the combination of the sweet prawns and the light tasting herbal soup.
This was my absolute favourite and definitely one of the best Butter dishes I have eaten so far - their Butter Unagi which is cooked Taiwanese style. It's slightly different from the usual type we get in the restaurants with the butter shreds but the mix of the butter, egg, flour plus the curry leaves and sliced chilli padi (bird eye chilli) is irrestible. The unagi is soft that you don't think you're eating eel. They also do a version with prawns which I will definitely revisit to try. Even my mother gave her thumbs up to this dish which is a great surprise since she doesn't really like fried items.
Besides dishes you can order to eat with rice, the restaurant also serves porridge with sweet potato. You can order dishes like these Dry Cooked String Beans in Szechwan style. This was my favourite dish when I was a kid as I loved the combination of the soft beans with a slight smoky taste combined with crunchy preserved radish. Besides this dish, there are fried bittergourd with salted egg yolk and ikan bilis, choy poh(preserved radish) omelette, steamed minced pork with Taiwanese pickles, stewed pig intestines with pineapple, Japanese seaweed, golden mushrooms with loofah and etc which all go well with porridge or rice.
They do a lot of duck dishes here but I liked their Szechuan Duck which is marinated with salt and Szechuan pepper then steamed and deep fried. It's nice and crispy when served. We had quite a lot of duck as leftovers which we ate the next day and it still tasted great. Dip it in chilli sauce or plum sauce for extra flavour.
This time round we tried their hotpot with bonito stock or cai yu which is how the Taiwanese call it. The soup is sweet and once you throw in everything above i.e. the yam, mushrooms, chicken, cabbage, corn on the cobs, bean curd skin, pork balls, oysters, tofu, it tasted even better. Great for those rainy nights we have been having lately.
A must have for dessert is their unique sweet yam Taiwanese style. Making it is such a great show as they mix chunks of yam in a hot honey sauce with lots of sesame seed. It's dipped in ice cold water for the honey to caramelise and served immediately. If you have eaten caramelised apples in fun fairs (not sure if they have this here) or toffee apples in Chinese restaurants, this is better as the yam is nice and floury inside while the outside is hard and crunchy.
Besides the restaurant, Formosa's management also sells their desserts in kiosks in Giant Subang Jaya and Kelana Jaya. You can get puddings like the famous Nien Koh made from yam and gingko nuts, caramel custard pudding which is yummy, herbal puddings like Kuai Leng Kuo, green tea and aloe vera pudding. They also serve Mua Chee in different flavours - pandan, plain, coffee and mango that is tossed in a mixture of crushed peanuts.
New Formosa Restaurant
46, Jalan SS2/24
Tel No: 03 - 7875 1894
(The restaurant is at the shophouses where Eng Seng Hin, Nyonya Restaurant is located. Behind it is Lobsterman and Teow Chew Meng)