Today being the 2nd day of Chinese New Year is officially the “opening” of the lunar new year… known as “hoi leen” in Cantonese. It’s like, once you have “hoi leen”, the Chinese New Year celebration goes one gear up and into “full swing” mode. In my family, the 1st day of Chinese New Year is traditionally a quiet one and meals are vegetarian and usually it’s just time spent with the family. From the 2nd day onwards, after “hoi leen”, we’d then go visiting and have one big feast after another! Well, that’s tradition for us.
The Golden Phoenix at Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur is one grand old dame. The restaurant has a grand history spanning 38 years and was one of the very few luxe Chinese restaurants back in the 70’s-80’s. Well known for their traditional and authentic Chinese cuisine, Master Chef Ng Chee Wah and his team have kept up this heritage and for this lunar new year, they have prepared a traditional menu of auspicious dishes symbolising prosperity, good health and luck.
Their signature Golden Prosperity Yee Sang is topped with fried soft shell crabs, which is a first for me. I must say it’s a delicious change from the usual raw fish and I enjoyed every bite of those crispy crabs which yielded juicy succulent crabmeat. Tossed with the combination of fresh vegetables, fruits, crispies and French caviar, this was one memorable yee sang. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also this prosperity gold coin from Golden Phoenix, cut from orange rind into the form of a traditional coin. Bite into this and you’re sure to be blessed with lots of golden returns for the rest of the year, so I was told.
Besides the soft shell crabs, there are also the traditional choices of salmon, jellyfish and abalone for your yeesang and prices start from RM58++ onwards.
With a 38-year history behind it, the Roasted Chicken with Onions is one popular dish that’s always on demand in the restaurant. Roasted the traditional way, with thin crispy golden skin, what makes this dish unique from others is the pile of crunchy onion and garlic bits showered on the chicken and thick aromatic onion sauce that’s served separately and poured over the chicken at your table. So, you get to bite into this succulent juicy chicken fragranced by the sauce made from minced onions and garlic.
The pomfret is a popular fish served during banquets and celebrations. Steamed plainly with soya sauce – that’s the best way to savour the fish.
I love lotus roots and that’s why the Braised Sea Asparagus with Black Moss, Broccoli and Lotus Roots is a hit with me. The lotus roots retained their crunchiness in this traditionally-braised vegetables dish.
Stir-fried Tiger Prawns Vietnamese-style had this refreshing spiciness that’s very appetizing. I could taste hints of lemongrass and kaffir lime in the thick sauce covering the fresh tiger prawns. It was so good I actually had a second prawn…and mind you, those prawns were of above-average size!
The Fried Rice with Salted Eggs and Diced Prawns was a little disappointing… not because it didn’t taste good but it’s just that we expected something more “traditional” and more suited to the lunar new year mood.
That’s when Master Chef Ng came out and chatted with us and when we pointed out the Fried Rice, he immediately rectified the situation by promptly going back into the kitchen and made a special pot of Lap Mei Fan! It took almost 30 minutes for this pot of rice to be perfected but we didn’t mind waiting. We were duly rewarded by an aromatic pot of waxy goodness atop rice that’s perfectly cooked and infused with the oils from waxed duck and sausages.
For a sweet ending to the meal, there’s Glutinuous Dumpling with Ginger Tea paired with Pan-fried Nian Gou with Cheese. The thin layer of cheese added just a touch of creamy taste and texture to the sticky nian gou – a perfect harmony of east and west, I’d say!
The above dishes, excluding the Lap Mei Fan, are from the Earth Dragon menu (RM1,538++ per table of 10 persons).
Chef Ng has come up with 3 fabulous menus to usher in the Year of the Dragon in style. Celebrate with your family and friends with awesome meals with dishes such as lobsters, steamed Dragon Tiger garoupas and the customary nian gao. The festive lunar offers are available from 9 January until 6 February 2012 for lunch and dinner. Prices range from RM1,338++ to RM3,838++ per table of 10 persons.
For reservations, please call 03-2161-7777 ext.8223.
Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant
Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur