Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

Sheep Yee Sang

I just had my first yee sang dinner of the year last night. This salmon yee sang is made with shredded vegetables made to look like the Chinese character for “sheep” (羊) coz the Year of the Sheep is coming up.

Celestial Court Imperial Sheraton

It’s just less than a month till Chinese New Year so the annual “lou sang”/“sau kong” (traditional end-of-work before CNY company dinners) sessions are starting to kick in gear. This one was held by Tourism Australia at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial KL.

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

I love how they made the raw fish salad to look like the Chinese character for sheep – 羊. I didn’t actually notice it until someone pointed it out. The waitresses poured in all the ingredients and each one signifies something e.g. fish for 年年有余 (Abundance throughout the year), oil for 一本万利 and 财源广进 (May you have 10,000 returns with your capital/Numerous sources of wealth), carrots for 鸿运当头 (Good luck coming) and even the crushed peanuts for 金银满屋 (Household filled with gold and silver).

Tossing Yee Sang

It’s a highly ritualized service and a lot of places actually states the auspicious Chinese phrases out loud as they pour in the ingredients. We tossed the salad while wishing for various things, mine was for family and more vacations and travel for 2015. smirk

Double-boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

Double boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

I really liked this clear soup – the baby abalone is super tender compared to the wedding dinner I went to last weekend. The broth tastes amazing too, the seasoning is just right and the sea cucumber and fish maw just slides down my throat.

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

This is my least favorite dish in every Chinese banquet and I don’t usually partake much but the golden garlic “sand” that goes with the roasted chicken is very nice.

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Delicious! I liked the thick, reduced spring onion sauce which was heavily seasoned with dry scallops – it coated the stuffed scallops and added a lot of flavor and a slippery texture prized in traditional Cantonese cuisine. The stuffed scallops were very flavorful and I couldn’t help popping more than a few of these babies into my mouth.

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

The fish dish is my favorite dish in banquets! I like how this one was presented on a lotus leaf and it’s pan-seared instead of steamed, giving it the Maillard reaction and caramelization that adds a note of sweetness to the fish.

Red Grouper

It was slightly overcooked though and I felt it should have come before the saltier stuffed scallops dish but it’s still great paired with my white wine.

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

I was quite surprised to find out that I actually rather enjoyed this dish. I eat everything but there are certain things that I don’t like (but will still try) – beancurd/tofu being one of the examples. This doesn’t taste like tofu at all, it’s stuffed with fish paste and the tender texture of the beancurd contrasted nicely with the slightly resistant fish paste made in-house.

Fragrant Wok-fried Flat Rice Noodles with Black Bean and Seafood

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The staff at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial offered to portion every dish (including the fish) which I thought was great. It’s a service that’s expected in higher end Chinese restaurants nowadays, although you can refuse, of course, it’s up to each table’s preference. I don’t know what that says about the evolution of community dining but even our family opts for that when we eat out in Singapore.

The kueh tiaw was actually pretty good, if slightly oily, and each bowl had a large prawn, slice of fish and scallop.

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

This dessert was conceptualized by Chef Sherson Lian (have seen him on AFC before) who coincidentally sat on the same table as I did. It’s supposed to be a local crème brulee made with local ingredients, which begs the question about the glaring foreign ingredient in the dish – raspberry. It turns out that the component was supposed to be roselle jam but the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) came too late for it to be incorporated into the dish.

I loved the crispy battered rambutans, pieces of jackfruit and lotus root and I can see the direction it’s going – excellent stuff.

It was a great finish to the first yee sang dinner of the year and I polished off my (rather large) portion. :)

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15 thoughts on “Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

    • It’s only less than a month till CNY! :)

      I love Chinese New Year – my favorite holiday of the year, due to my love for pyrotechnics, always get a lot of fireworks. Yeah, nothing beats yee sang during CNY, we’re thinking of having a poon choy dinner like last year for our family dinner too.

  1. Oooo, your very early and first yee-sang dinner.. I haven’t had mine yet.. I only attack the salmon slices every year, to be honest.. But when it’s my turn to attack, all would be gone in no time, kiasu people, heh! My favourite? Gotta be that baby abalone sea cucumber fish maw soup, stuffed scallops and that braised tofu with fish paste.. The dessert sounds very complicated and interesting at the same time, I was expecting normal cold longan/laici desserts with “woh peang” or snow-skin “mooncakes” filled with red bean..

    • It’s not that early, it’s just less than a month till CNY! :)

      Yeah, I love the salmon ones too, have seen a lot incorporating abalone this year but that doesn’t fulfil the 年年有余 criteria. Haha!

      Yup, I much preferred this CNY banquet to the wedding banquet I had over the weekend, the food is better at Celestial Court.

      The dessert was made by Chef Sherson Lian, who coincidentally sat at our table. I thought he looked familiar and realized he’s on AFC (Asian Food Channel). I saw him hosting Amazing Food Challenge on that channel.

  2. I love how they arrange the condiments for the yee sang – very auspicious! Did you mention the cost per head? I do not seem to see it anywhere. Needless to say, it does not come cheap – baby abalone and all.

    • Yeah, they made the yee sang to be the Chinese character for sheep – 羊! :)

      This means my sister is 36 this year, coz that’s her year. Haha.

      I don’t know the cost per head since this was a dinner hosted by Tourism Australia but I’ve been here before and the price for the abalone soup is already RM 108++ per pax and the yee sang should be around RM 230++. It’s one of the higher end Chinese restaurants and it’s pork free too!

    • Yeah, me too, we’re planning to have poon choy for the family! :)

      It’s not a CNY food review though, I very seldom do invited food reviews. This is a Pre CNY Appreciation Dinner by Tourism Australia and they picked up the tab. The food is very good, Celestial Court is one of the better hotel-attached Chinese restaurants and the dessert was conceptualized by Chef Sherson Lian who’s on AFC!

  3. First yee sang dinner of the year?…that can only mean more are coming. You didn’t recognize Chef Sherson Lian from AFC? I got to know him from the show “Great Dinners of the World”…he was one of four chefs….and all became famous…and all four had their own show after that. But Sherson has the most shows of the four of them! He opened a restaurant (and had a reality show to go with it) with one of the chefs…Elegantology at Publika (high end food) if you’d like to check it out.

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