With the Year of the Boar lurking around the corner, the tossing of Yee Sang and reunion meals are happening more frequently. As such, here are five set menus to check out this Lunar New Year!
Shang Palace, Shangri-la Kuala Lumpur
The team at Shang Palace presents classic favourites like steamed “long fu pan”, poached chicken and poon choy this Chinese New Year and the venue is a hot favourite among corporates and families looking to convene over good Chinese cooking. It’s been a while since my last visit to Shang Palace and the interior still maintains its grandeur over the years.
The restaurant now has a new Executive Chinese Chef – John Chu, who has more than 20 years of experience under his belt specialising in Cantonese cuisine. I particularly enjoyed the Steamed “Long Fu Pan” with preserved vegetables and ginger sauce; a clever twist to your regular steamed fish. You get a bit of sweet, savoury, tangy and spicy notes from the ginger paste, and the fish is cooked just right so the flesh is smooth and tender.
Shang Palace’s double-boiled mini abalone and chicken soup is one of the better ones I’ve tasted thus far. Light yet flavour-packed, with pieces of sun-dried scallops for extra umami. Prices start from RM268 per person (minimum 4 pax) for an 8-course meal.
Shang Palace | Shangri-la Kuala Lumpur
11, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2074 3904
The Han Room, The Gardens Mall
Han Room is one of the many restaurants under The Oriental Group of Restaurants — a highly sought-after venue for dim sum, Cantonese specialties and banquets. To usher in the New Year, Han Room offers a range of set meals, from 4 pax to 10 pax, depending on one’s requirement.
I had the Gourmet Celebration Set (RM518 for 4 pax); a 6-course meal comprising Yee Sang, soup, chicken, fish and rice. For those looking to “luxe” up their Yes Sang, try adding grilled iberico pork neck (RM38) to the mix. The char from the meat and fat adds flavour and depth in each bite.
The Thai Style Claypot Crab Meat with Dried Scallop & Mushroom Soup is thick and flavourful with generous chunks of crab meat. Eat this with blanched beansprouts and Thai-chilli dipping sauce for a tangy twist, or on its own to enjoy the sweetness of the broth.
I particularly enjoyed the steamed rice with fresh water prawn – deliciously flavoured with pork lard and oil, seasoned with dark sauce and topped with caramelised prawns with plenty of roe. For added “prosperity”, opt for the Braised Spare Ribs with Lotus Roots, Sea Cucumber and ‘Fatt Choy‘, a dish best enjoyed with rice.
Set menus start from RM518 (table of 4 pax) – note that the restaurant is closed on the 1st and 2nd day of Chinese New Year and will resume operation from day 3 onwards.
The Han Room | The Gardens Mall
T-216A, The Gardens Mall,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
Mid Valley City,
59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2284 8833
Yen Restaurant, W Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Possibly the swankiest hotel Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Yen boasts a repertoire of contemporary Chinese dishes for the New Year. Executive Chinese Chef Weng recreates traditional Cantonese cuisine into contemporary masterpieces, giving Yen Restaurant an edge over the classics. Highlights from my experience include Braised Ningbo Handmade Rice Cakes with Fresh Water King Prawn — rich in roe and succulent in texture. The rice cakes are cooked al dente so there’s a bit of chew in each bite. Good stuff.
Yen’s version of Yee Sang features air-dried Szechuan fish chips and crispy fish skin for crunch and flavour, on top of salmon slices. Presentation deserves a mention — they take into account the minor details, like the character “fook” on the money bag and the beautifully assembled ninko with shredded coconut.
The pai tee is good stuff; filled with lobster meat, asparagus and truffle in crisp, golden shell. Come to think of it, there was not a dish I didn’t like at Yen. Set menus are priced from RM188 per pax onwards (minimum 2 person).
Yen Restaurant | W Hotel Kuala Lumpur
121, Jalan Ampang,
55000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 012-347 9088
Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Lai Po Heen at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur still holds the torch for being one of the best hotel Chinese restaurants in the city – backed by Chef Ricky Thien and team. The Prosperity Set (RM398 per person, min 4 pax) features a sumptuous spread of double-boiled soup, grouper, seafood pot and prawns, with yee sang to kick things off.
For those wanting to order just the Yee Sang, prices start from RM98 onwards for half portion and you’re now able to purchase your yee sang to go from Mandarin Oriental’s online shop. Enjoy 20% off your purchase by keying in “MOxBANGSARBABE” in the gift code section (valid till 28 February 2019).
My favourites from the set menu include the grouper fillet with spicy hot pepper sauce and duo-style wok fried prawns (really good!). Portions are fairly generous so you can be sure to leave satisfied. Fans of Chef Ricky’s salted brine chicken would be pleased to know that it’s also part of the Prosperity Set menu, delicious with ginger and onion dip.
Lai Po Heen | Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03- 2179 8885
Still Waters, Hotel Maya Kuala Lumpur
Not one to miss out on the Chinese New Year festivity, Still Waters at Hotel Maya is also offering its own New Year set menu priced at RM68 nett and RM88 nett per person. Said to be Japanese-Cantonese inspired, each set offers 5 courses – soup, salad, main course, rice and dessert.
Yee Sang at Still Waters offer a slight twist; alfalfa sprouts which surprisingly works well with the julienned fruits, vegetables and crackers. The salmon version (RM56 – half portion, RM98 – full portion) has just the right balance of sweet and tangy, with green accents from the sprouts coming through just at the end.
Highlights from both the RM68 and RM88 menus were the chicken consommé and sun-dried duck fried rice, the latter tasted very much like “lap mei fan”, without any pork element. I also enjoyed the crispy nian gao served with pumpkin sauce – simple, but done well.
Still Waters | Hotel Maya
138, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2711 8866
This wraps up my Chinese New Year set menu feature for 2019 — five different options, unique in their own way. Whether it’s traditional Chinese cuisine that’s pork-free or non-halal, to the hip and contemporary, there’s still time to decide as these sets are available from now till the end of Chinese New Year. Enjoy!