HAPPY NEW YEAR! I look forward to Chinese New Year because of all the food! Besides my favourite pineapple tarts, there are also yu sheng, peng cai, nian gao etc. This year, many hotels have come up with interesting CNY cuisines, let’s take a look!
Yusheng is a must have dish during Chinese New Year because “fish (鱼)” sounds like “abundance (余)”, hence Yúshēng (鱼生) is widely represented as Yúshēng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Its ingredients and tossing actions when eating Yusheng bring prosperity and longevity to diners in whole year. Here are some of the interesting yu sheng for this year:
• Fruity Yu Sheng (Parkroyal on Beach Road)
To usher in the Year of the Snake, we will be tossing to Chef Jackson’s new creation of the Fruity Yu Sheng into its Prosperity Buffet Feast. The Yu Sheng consists of fresh tropical fruits like Mandarin Oranges, Peaches, Rose Apples, Rock Melon, Dried Persimmons, Green Mango and Papaya. This new creation symbolises an abundance of wealth and a well-rounded life enhanced with Chef’s Special Fruit Flavoured Sauce. Besides the yu sheng, you can also find many CNY dishes in the prosperity buffet such as Eight Teasure Boneless Duck, Braised Long Cabbage with Dried Scallops, Poached “Live” Prawns with Chinese Wine and even Mini Peng Chai!
Price: Lunch $45 (Adult), $27 (Child); Dinner $58 (Adult), $35 (Child). CNY Eve Lunch $45 (Adult), $27 (Child); Dinner $78 (Adult), $47 (Child), CNY 1st & 2nd Day Lunch $62 (Adult), $37 (Child); Dinner $62 (Adult), $37 (Child)
• Unagi Yu Sheng (Marina Mandarin, picture above)
Drawing on the similarity of snake and eel and to celebrate the year of the Snake, Peach Blossoms’ Chinese Executive Chef Chan Shun Wong created the unique Unagi (eel) Yu Sheng to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Chef Chan marinates the eel with a mixture of honey, diced garlic and superior light soya sauce for 15 minutes to enhance flavour of the fish, followed by roasting in 8 minutes. Paired with shredded vegetables and Chef Chan’s signature Hong Kong-style sesame dressing, the complementary sweet and sour tastes in this dish blend perfectly well.
Price: $68+ (4 to 6 persons), $118+ (10 persons)
• Hamachi Yu Sheng “Soon Tak” Style (Carlton Hotel)
A Wah Lok signature and different from the usual Yu Sheng, it consists mainly of thick, fresh slices of Hamachi, shredded cucumber, shredded ginger and ground peanuts. The exclusivity of the dish lies in its sauce – light in flavour with only a tinge of lemon and soy sauce. It lends a savoury and refreshing taste while you bite into the succulent slices of Hamachi.
• Eight Treasures Yu Sheng (Amara Singapore)
‘Lo-hei’ to good health, wealth and prosperity with Eight Treasures Yu Sheng, comprising of eight premium ingredients, green ebiko, red ebiko, amaebi, tako, black caviar, jellyfish, salmon fish and abalone, drizzled with Chef’s specially crafted Sichuan sauce, which enhances the flavour.
Price: $88 (standard), $128 (large)
• Flambé Salmon ‘Lo Hei’ (Feng Shui Inn)
Flambé Salmon ‘Lo Hei’ is a medley of refreshing flavours and colours combined with thinly sliced fresh salmon infused with Chinese wine, presented with a colourful orangey burst of flames. The texture is enhanced with crispy fish skin made from top grade Catfish from Hong Kong. To mix things up, strawberry jam is used instead of the usual plum sauce. Expect to find ‘bak kwa’ (beef jerky) in this indulgent toss-up too, for that extra smoky, meaty kick.
Price: $88+ for 3-6 pax, $128+ for 7-10 pax
Pen Cai’s ingredients are rich in symbolism. Black Moss, (“Fatt Choy” in Cantonese) sounds like “striking it rich”. Dried Oyster, (“Ho Xi” in Cantonese) which sounds like “fortunate incidents”, represents good luck. Abalone, (“Bao Yu” in Cantonese) means “assurance of surplus”. Pork Knuckle, (“Zhu Shou” in Mandarin), represents wealth or good opportunity. Fish, (“Yu” in Mandarin and Cantonese), symbolises “accumulation of wealth”. As a festive dish, the name “Pen Cai” is symbolic of good fortune.
• Longevity Poon Choy (Carlton Hotel, picture above)
Indulge in our traditional Longevity Poon Choy, an elaborated three-layered dish with a gastronomic assortment of premium ingredients such as Whole Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Scallops and Dried Oysters. The long hours, efforts and skills put into cooking the Poon Choy is reflected in its rich flavours and exquisite taste.
Price: $388 (6 pax); $628 (10 pax)
• Scarlet Fortune Pen Cai (Si Chuan Dou Hua)
Enjoy a wholesome version of traditional pen cai at Si Chuan Dou Hua. The Scarlet Fortune Pen Cai is enriched with a nourishing shark cartilage soup base and infused with enriching capsicum sauce rich in antioxidants.
Price: $438 (small); $588 (large)
• Traditional Pen Cai (The Ritz-Carlton)
Traditional pen cai has 12 ingredients include fish maw, sea cucumber, Chinese mushroom, conpoy, black moss, seasonal vegetables, abalone, sea perch, roast pork and duck, goose web and scallops.
Price: $360 (serves four, 3 days advanced notice needed)
EIGHT TREASURE DUCK
Eight Treasure duck is a festive dish consisting of 8 special ingredients, to symbolise good fortune and abundance.
• Stewed “Eight Treasures” Duck with Sea Cucumber (Li Bai, Sheraton Towers, picture above)
Pamper your loved ones with an indulgent spread of lavish reunion dinner in the comfort of your home with these award-winning culinary delights from the kitchen of Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant. The stewed Eight Treasures duck with sea cucumber is meticulously simmered to succulent perfection, this gastronomic dish is a trove of the eight treasures, which includes lotus seed, chinese mushroom, sea cucumber, salted egg, barley, chicken, pork and chestnut.
• Eight Treasure Royal Duck (Xin Cuisine, Holiday Inn Atrium)
Well marinated, this treasured duck with paired with premium ingredients such as fish maw, scallops, abalones etc, featuring intense fragrance as well as tender and fresh meat.
• Prosperity ‘Fa Cai’ 8 Treasures Duck (Min Jiang and Min Jiang at One-North)
Introduced in 2009 by Min Jiang at One-North, this gastronomic dish is back again by popular demand. This 2-kg boneless duck is stuffed with ‘eight treasures’ of fresh mushrooms, sea cucumber, dried scallops, lotus seeds, fox nuts, black moss, chestnuts and water chestnuts, and braised to succulent perfection.
Price: $178 for 8 to 10 persons
Nian Gao is made from glutinous rice and very popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because it symbolises raising oneself taller in each coming year (年年高升). This sticky sweet snack was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God, with the aim that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake, so that he can’t badmouth the human’s family to the God of all Gods.
• Glutinous Rice Cake with Green Tea, Red Bean & Raisin (Crystal Jade, picture above)
Made of glutinous rice flour, the new, contemporary, flavours add to the variety of deserts for diners to savour. There are also Glutinous Rice Cake with Osmanthus & Ginger ($20.80) and Marble Glutinous Rice Cake with Strawberry Jam ($22.80).
• Bubble-gum flavoured Nian Gao (Marina Mandarin)
Small like a mini donut, this Bubble-gum flavoured Nian Gao from Peach Blossoms tastes exactly like bubble gum, very chewy and fruity.
Price: ($30.80/ 12pcs)
• Prosperity Gold Bar Pure Mao Shan Wang Durian Layered Nian Gao (Peony Jade)
Peony Jade’s thick layers of nian gao is made of 100$ pure mao shan wang sandwiched between sheets of nian gao.
• Homemade Yam and Traditional Nian Gao (Szechuan Court)
Szechuan Court’s homemade yam nian gao by chef Mandy Yeo is made from glutinous rice flour and yam, then sprinkled with grated coconut for a chewy and gooey treat.
Price: $2++ per piece