Chinese New Year is fast approaching. Traditionally, yee sang used to be eaten only on the seventh day of CNY but the trend nowadays seem to be to eat it as soon as it is available. Many Chinese believe that the more yee sangs you toss, the more prosperous the upcoming year would be. So far I have tossed six yee sangs, I am hoping that it translates to a "good year" for me. :)
Four Seasons Prosperity Yee Sang
Recently, we were invited to Tai Zi Heen in Prince Hotel KL to sample their CNY menu. Chef Michael Wong with 27 years experience recently joined Tai Zi Heen and for CNY, he has come up with 3 special 8-course set menus -- Spring and Happiness Set (RM1088++ for 10 pax), Everlasting Prosperity Menu (RM1388++ for 10 pax) and Wealth and Fortune Set (RM1688++). There are also six yee sang creations, click here to find out more.
The yee sang at Tai Zi Heen was one of the more traditional ones we encountered this year. The Four Seasons Prosperity Yee Sang (RM48 [small], RM72 [medium], RM120 [large]) is topped with butterfish, salmon, tuna and jellyfish. Chef Michael believes in creating things which are different to stand out from the crowd -- hence the use of blackcurrant plum sauce instead of the usual plum sauce. The oil which is drizzled on the yee sang is the fragrant peanut oil fried with ginger and onion. The jellyfish adds some texture to the yee sang. Chef Michael calls this his version of "Chinese rojak".
Raw butterfish, salmon, tuna and jellyfish
Blackcurrant plum sauce
Peanuts symbolise harvest
Raw fish for abundance.
Crackers represents "gold nuggets"
Ready for tossing!
The higher you toss, the better! (it is believed it symbolises higher growth in fortune)
Sixth yee sang of the year!
After our "lo hei" session, we were treated to a six-course menu specially crafted by Chef Michael (selection made from his CNY a la carte menu). To start, we had the Double Boiled Shark's Fin Soup with Fish Maw, Dried Scallops and Vegetables (RM240 per person). The soup was clear and light, and tummy-warming.
My favorite dish for the evening was Chef's Special Baked Cod Fish (RM34 per 100g). Fish is usually served during CNY as fish in chinese "yu" literally translates to abundance. When the dish arrived, I could smell cheese. Surely my mind must be playing tricks on me. Later on, I asked Chef Michael if he used cheese and he said "yes" and said that I must have a very good "nose" to be able to distinguish it. LOL. Anyway, the fish was flaky and moist and the coating (which is made of garlic, mayo, seasoning and cheese) is very flavoursome. Plus, I love cod fish and the fact that it is served in individual portions rather than us having to "fight" for a piece from a whole fish served.
The next dish is Sauteed Fresh Sea Scallops with Fungus and Vegetables (RM60 [small], RM90 [medium], RM150 [large]). As you all know, I am a big fan of scallops so it was already a winner to me. LOL (how easily pleased!). The scallops used are Australian scallops and were fresh. Instead of the usual black fungus, Chef Michael Wong uses this brown-colored fungus called "yue yee" (not sure what it translates to in English) as it is much meatier in texture. Another reason is for the auspicious meaning, a common Chinese saying -- "yue yee kat cheong" which translates to "wishes come true and lots of blessings".
The brown fungus is called "yue yee"
Oyster is also another auspicious dish commonly served during CNY as "hou see" means "all good things". So, we were not surprised when the Stewed Dried Oysters with Fatt Choy and Lettuce (RM70 [small], RM105 [medium], RM175 [large]) was served to us. "Fatt choy" means wealth and lettuce "sang choy" means prosperity. So this is a dish screams auspicious all the way!
I love the name that Chef Michael gave to this dish... the dancing seafood fried rice. Know why? The fried rice is topped with tobiko and bonito flakes... the bonito flakes looks as if it is "dancing" (swaying) when there is air blowing past it. Very pretty indeed. Tastewise, the tobiko adds a nice (subtle) crunchy texture to the rice.
Wok fried shrimp fried rice with tobiko and bonito flakes
Instead of the usual CNY desserts such as nian gao or layer cake, Chef Michael served us the chilled avocado cream, which was refreshing and light on the palate. A sweet end to our meal for sure!
We have been told that Tai Zi Heen's a la carte menu will be revamped in February 2012 with 173 new dishes! (Sean, take note.. lol)
For full set of photos, click here. The yee sang menu can be viewed here. The CNY menu is available from 5 January to 6 February 2012. There will be an acrobatic lion dance performance on 30 January 2012 from 9am and this event is open to the public.
Opening times: Lunch; 12.00 pm - 2.30pm, Dinner; 6.30pm-10.30pm.
Location: Tai Zi Heen, Level 2, Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur, 4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03-2170 8888
GPS Coordinates: 3.150179, 101.714516
*This is an invited review, i.e. complimentary.