The Water Snake is going to chase off the mighty Dragon soon and before we know it, it will be Chinese New Year. This post marks the first of several that will focus on the special prosperity meals cooked up in many Chinese restaurants around town. These special menus have been made available as early as-mid December in some restaurants.
One World Hotel is just a stonethrow away from my work place, so naturally, their Chinese restaurant, Zuan Yuan was the first venue where I tried various festive dishes in preparation for Chinese New Year.
Starting with the “Sau Kung Chau” – known as the “Appreciation Pre Chinese New Year celebration menus”, the chefs in Zuan Yuan are serving up lunch and dinner with the traditional Yee Sang and many Chinese New Year specialities.
Deep-fried Soft Shell Crabs for Yee Sang
Of course, there’re also the special prosperity dishes that are compulsory for the Chinese New Year and top of the list is the Yee Sang. Yee Sang is a must to start off your meal with tossing to good health, wealth and happiness. In Zuan Yuan, the traditional Yee Sang is served with salmon, softshell crabs and abalone.
In a review a few days ago, we got to taste dishes that were picked from various set menus.
We tried the Yee Sang with Soft Shell Crabs, which was quite different from the usual raw fish version. I like the crunch and sweet briny taste of those crabs, which when tossed with the fruits, vegetables and flour crispies, make up a rather substantial appetizer to the meal. The plum sauce was a little too sweet for me but the fresh fragrant vegetables and fruits helped to tone the sweetness down a bit.
Riot of Colours in the Yee Sang!
Braised Shark’s Fins Soup with Dried Scallops, Fish Lips and Crab Meat, despite its controversy to some, was polished off and not a drop of the thick umami soup was left. That’s thanks to the generous portions of seafood used in the broth!
If you have issues about consuming sharksfins, please omit this soup from your menu selection.
Zuan Yuan’s Crispy Roast Duck was met with sound approval from my fellow diners. Apparently there were many duck fans that evening and the well-flavoured roast duck, with the crispy golden skin disappeared very fast, either into their stomachs or into doggy bags.
Crispy Roast Duck
The Steamed Star Garoupa with Mandarin Orange Skin and Fresh Bean Curd Skin looked very pretty and appealing with its reddish hues. However, I felt it was over-steamed and coupled with the fish’s naturally firmer texture, the level of enjoyment for this dish slid down several notches. The bean curd skin was good though, having absorbed the sweet soya sauce-based gravy from the fish.
Steamed Star Garoupa with Mandarin Orange Skin and Fresh Bean Curd Skin
Wok-fried Tiger Prawns with Oats and Chilli were executed well. The aroma of the fried oats was tantalizing and the prawns were fresh and succulent.
Wok-fried Tiger Prawns with Oats and Chilli
A must-have item on any Chinese New Year prosperity menu is the Braised Abalones with Dried Oysters and Sea Moss and this year round, Zuan Yuan’s version has some “golden money bags” thrown in too! The money bags are essentially beancurd puffs filled with diced vegetables.
Braised Abalones with Dried Oysters, Sea Moss & Golden Money Bags
Another popular dish is the Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice with Assorted Preserved Meat and Chicken Sausage which provides the necessary carbs to the meal. For more bite, cubes of yam have been added as well.
Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice with Assorted Preserved Meat and Chicken Sausage
For dessert, I enjoyed the Chilled Soya Bean Milk with Sea Coconut, Lotus Seeds and Black Pearls. However, I felt the Pan-fried “Nian Gao” with Cheddar Cheese didn’t quite jive.
Pan-fried “Nian Gao” with Cheddar Cheese
Chilled Soya Bean Milk with Sea Coconut, Lotus Seeds and Black Pearls
‘Sau Kong Chau’ Celebration Menus
01 – 31 January 2013
‘Sau Kong Chau’ is a noble tradition observed by the Chinese community to celebrate a year of success and abundance just before Chinese New Year. Many employers will take their staff out to dine in style to show their appreciation. Zuan Yuan offers 3 set menus priced from RM988++ per table of 10 persons, serving sumptuous dishes such as Roasted Chicken with King Soy Sauce, Steamed Sea Grouper with Olive Vegetable ‘Teo Chew’ Style, Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice with Assorted Preserved Meat, Chicken Sausage and Yam, Slow Braised Village Chicken with Ginger in Soy Sauce, Steamed Sea Grouper with Pickled Radish and Chilli, Wok Fried Tiger Prawns with Lemongrass Vietnamese’ Style, Braised Abalone, among others.
Auspicious Yee Sang
16 January – 28 February
Savour 4 new flavours infused in the preparation of Yee Sang at Zuan Yuan. Take a pick from the following auspicious Yee Sang variations:
Yee Sang with Seaweed & Assorted Fresh Fruits
RM55++ (half portion) RM110++ (full portion)
Yee Sang with Soft Shell Crab and Condiments
RM70++ (half portion) RM140++ (full portion)
Yee Sang with Snow Pear and Salmon
RM85++ (half portion) RM170++ (full portion)
Yee Sang with Sliced Abalone & Snow Pear
RM90++ (half portion) RM180++ (full portion)
Lunar New Year Festive Menus are available from 10-28 February 2013 for lunch and dinner. The 9-course menus all start with selections of Yee Sang followed by all the various customary auspicious dishes.
Zuan Yuan remains open on the eve of Lunar New Year and throughout the fifteen days of the Lunar New Year.
For reservations at Zuan Yuan, please call 603-7681 1159.
Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
Lobby Floor, One World Hotel
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603 7681 1111
Fax: +603 7681 1188