yee sang

I was invited by Suanie to come along for my first yee sang dinner at Tai Zi Heen. It’s the resident Chinese restaurant of Prince Hotel & Residence and I was quite impressed by the view looking out of one of the private lounges:

It’s glass so you can see the entire lobby without the noise intruding. You also can’t jump out of it, so if you’re scared of heights, don’t worry, it’ll take quite a concerted effort to do so. Haha.

Vegetarian Snow Pear Yee Sang

yee sang dinner

This is the traditional first dish – yee sang (which actually means “raw fish”) is an imported tradition where you toss a salad (of sorts) while wishing for something. The very polished waitresses says a couplet of prosperity, health and general good wishes when she adds each ingredient – a rather nice touch!

You can see her doing just that. The video also shows the yee sang tossing session. If you strain your ears hard enough you can hear me say “Win 4D”. I’ve never won before and that very day (after an impromptu decision to get a couple of lottery numbers) I managed to win slightly less than RM 1,000 (about USD 300).

tossing yee sang

That’s some mighty wish fulfilling yee sang going on there. smirk

yee sang culture

I do like the addition of snow pear instead of salmon or jellyfish (which they both offer) – it makes the entire yee sang more crunchy and sweet.

Stewed Dried Oysters with Fatt Choy and Lettuce

I liked this dish as well although it’s not customary to serve it with lettuce (there’s more unique dishes coming up). Fatt choy is a type of bacteria that produces a very hearty and distinctive flavor – it basically absorbs whatever sauces are around.

dried oysters

Excellent stuff, and a Chinese New Year staple.

Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Diced Prawns, Scallops and Grouper

sharks fin soup

Oops! Did I use the S-word? Well, you can ask for it without shark’s fin as well. It tastes just as good – the combination of prawns, scallops and grouper makes it a very sweet broth.

sharks fin

I really liked this one as well.

Roasted Chicken dusted with Crispy Garlic and Five Spice Salt

I was expecting regular sea salt but they used five spice salt, which vastly improves the taste of the roasted chicken. There’s plum sauce on offer too, but I’m probably not the best person to ask about roasted chicken. I didn’t like it, but all the other diners were in agreement that it’s delicious.

roasted chicken

There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t like roasted chicken.

Chef’s Special Baked Cod Fish

This is the flagship of the Chinese New Year banquet. Well, to me anyway. It’s a fusion dish made with mushroom, onions, cheese and turkey bacon. Yup, this is a halal outlet.

baked cod fish

Check out the plating – there’s a Chinese character written on it with sauce.

cheese baked cod

The ingredients goes really well together and the result is this magnificent piece of cod that’s baked and dripping with cheese and bursting with flavor. I highly recommend this one, it’s not in the regular Chinese New Year menu but you can ask for it – it’s the Chef’s Specialty.

Stir-Fried Glutinous Rice with Chinese-style Preserved Duck

preserved duck

Waxed meat is another traditional Chinese New Year meal. This one is done Hong Kong style and I have to say, it’s one delectable dish. The saltiness of the duck is offset by the rice and the best thing about the dish is that there’s some stir-frying action going on.

Warm Almond Purée with Glutinous Rice Dumplings

This is basically tong yuen swimming in a concoction of milky almond. It sounds simple but it’s heart-warming food. The glutinous rice balls are filled with black sesame too.

rice dumplings almond puree

It’s a righteously hot dessert that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Deep-Fried Chinese New Year Cake with Thousand Layer Puff Pastry

chinese new year cake

This is actually two desserts.

deep fried nian gao

The first is nian gao (the above-mentioned Chinese New Year cake) dipped in batter before being deep fried. It’s a wonderful execution – much better than what I’m used to eating at home. The nian gao is made in-house and that makes all the difference – it’s not saccharine sweet and more suitable for adult palates.

thousand puff pastry

The second dessert is the Thousand Layer Puff Pastry – a silkworm like cocoon surrounding a sweet corn and salted egg based interior. The crumbly texture of the pastry gives way to the warm salted egg filling. It’s still sweet, but has that tang of saltiness from the salted egg. I loved this so much I ate 4-5 pieces!

hb eve

You’ve gotta eat it while it’s still hot though.

tai zi heen

Tai Zi Heen @ Prince Hotel has 3 different Chinese New Year menus, starting from RM 1,188 for a table of up to 10 people. It was a cozy dinner, with just the six of us sharing a banquet meant for 10. It’s also a halal outlet, which I was quite surprised to find out (asked about the usage of turkey bacon instead of real bacon).

yee sang cny

The restaurant does a great Chinese New Year banquet and the Chinese New Year menu is on offer from now till 24 January 2013 – Chap Goh Meh. I particularly liked the baked cod fish so ask for it if you’re there – it’s really something else. :)

tai zi heen group

Thanks for having us over Elisa! Happy CNY everyone! :D

chap goh meh 2010

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! For those who understand, Chap Goh Meh in Hokkien literally means 15th night, the very fucking last day of Chinese New Year. I didn’t plan anything for the night, since I just got back from Langkawi and was nursing the tsunami from the duty free liquor available there.

jerine chap goh meh

Anyway, I was on Twitter and Jerine tweeted that she wanted to drink some vodka. It’s fine with me, we’re both orphans in this big fucking cold city called KL. However, I didn’t have any mixers (real men drink it neat from the bottle) so she brought a shitload of decidedly feminine mixers over.

jerine lay

She came over to my studio with mint leaves, Sprite and Yahweh knows what else.

jerine yee sang

It was good though. I was damn sleepy and nursing a fever but I haven’t had dinner yet, so Jerine brought over some Nando’s and I ordered Domino’s to balance out the meal. Yeah, I know, it’s not Chinese food by any stretch of the imagination, but hell, you make do right?

jerine lou sang

Stranger in a strange land and all that.

This is our yee sang courtesy of Eiling. She brought it over during the lobster cookout but we didn’t manage to eat it so I figured this is the last chance for CNY 2010 to be doing some good ol’ lou sang – see our wishes for the year. Jerine has a bit of an unorthodox wish, but hell, who am I to comment. Haha!

jerine me

It was good, despite the Fast Food Inc spread that dominated our Chap Goh Meh dinner.

jerine

The best thing about Chap Goh Meh (which is supposed to be a reunion) is that you’ll be spending it with people so three cheers for Jerine for taking the trouble of catching a cab over to my place, cleaning up after and eating crap with me during the last day of Chinese New Year! =D

Frumpy, a convenient concatenation of “fucking grumpy” is an apt term to describe my state of mind right now. I just got off the phone and realized that my flight is not 7:05 am but 5:20 pm. I already took half day leave – that’s wasted annual leave coz we’re working 1/2 day tomorrow (or rather later today) anyway and I could have caught the flight easy. I need to conserve all my leaves this year to go on vacation. >.<

yee sang

Anyway, enough grumbling, it’s CNY! I had another yee sang dinner just now – this one comes with a super long pair of chopsticks depicted below.

chopsticks

All the better to lou you with, salad!

lou sang

My eyelids are at half mast now due to sleep deprivation so if you have a burning urge for more reading material here’s two of my favorite CNY posts:

Firecrackers in Malaysia – photos, videos and descriptions

CNY firecrackers and fireworks roundup – a sixthseal.com Chap Goh Meh special

star yee sang

Today is the first day of spring according to the Lunar calendar. I know, we only have two seasons here – hot and rainy, just trying to be true to our Chinese roots. I only heard about this first day of spring thing from Jasmine – apparently we’re supposed to wear red and everything you do today is a premonition of things to come next year.

star yee sang dinner

Anyway, I just came back from the first of many scheduled lou sang dinners. Yee sang is a Malaysian and Singaporean concoction – basically it’s a toast to good luck (correct me if I’m wrong since I’m not exactly very familiar with Chinese culture).

star lou sang

You use chopsticks to toss a salad (?) consisting of crunchy bits, salmon, vegetables (varies according to outlets) while chanting Prosperous Phrases (TM).

star ang pow

…and I got my first ang pow of the year too! w00t!

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