A SMOKED salmon yee sang in the shape of a smiling mouse with hints of fragrant orange and Ribena in the sauce can at best be described as cute.
This adorable idea is New World Hotel chef de cuisine Chai Chun Keong’s way of ushering in the Year of the Rat.
Vibrant in colours and textural elements, Chai serves this festive salad with smoked Norwegian salmon and it is arranged like a rose in bloom and garnished with quartered strawberries.
Clearly, Chai has a liking for this sweet, bright red fruit as it constantly makes an appearance in the eight-course Chinese New Year set menus here.
They are in the Cold Peach Resin, Aloe Vera and Dried Longan Sweet Soup for dessert. Floating like red rubies in a golden liquid, the strawberries elevate the amber hued peach resin and accentuates the gummy texture of hardened treats.
The berries also come in a jam and paired with cream cheese in mochi parcels. These taste like mini strawberry cheesecakes.
Chai said the role of the strawberries was more for aesthetic purposes, and he confessed that he preferred the fried nian gao, accompanied with the strawberry mochi.
Coated with sakumi tempura flour and fried until golden brown, the sweet and sticky cake is sandwiched with slices of sweet potatoes. Moist and slightly stringy on the first layer, the tacky and soft brown sugary texture resembled toffee caramel.
Noteworthy dishes in this menu are the Fried Tiger Prawns with Crispy Rice, Dried Oyster with Mushrooms, Black Moss and Broccoli Florets, and Claypot Rice with Chicken and Waxed Duck.
The prawns were served on a bed of glutinous rice pops and aromatised with chopped, fried garlic. The trick behind the crispy rice is to dry the cooked grains completely before deep-frying. It is boiled and then baked at 30°C for 90 minutes. It is then left to dry under an exhaust fan overnight.
One indication whether the rice is dried enough, Chai said, is that it should float immediately when it hits the oil.
The vegetable dish came with prawns and chicken dumplings. Encased in a translucent skin, it was reminiscent of dim sum.
The waxed duck in the claypot rice had the kitchen team steep the duck in spices as well as dark and light soy sauce overnight. The bird was then hung to dry under an exhaust fan for two days. Taste wise, it had a pungent, gamey flavour that gave character to the rice.
The chicken was roasted and coated with sesame seeds. On the side were deep-fried onion rings and a dip made of evaporated creamer, chilli sauce, peanut butter and black pepper called Mongolian sauce.
The next dish was a steamed whole marble goby served in light sauce. Silky, soft and sweet, Chai said it took precision to cook the fish to perfection.
To optimise the flavours of the marble goby, he said it must be fresh, which explains why the fish is delivered live to the kitchen.
Prices for set menus start at RM1,588 nett for a table of 10 and they are available at either Pasar Baru, The Gallery or at the ballroom until Feb 29.
The menus priced at RM1,988 nett and RM2,388 nett require a minimum of 10 tables. Diners who choose tiger garoupa from the menu can opt for marble goby with an addition of RM160++.
PASAR BARU, New World Petaling Jaya Hotel,
Level 2, Paradigm, 1 Jalan SS7/26A,
Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya.
(Tel: 03-7682 0000).
Business hours: 6am to 10.30pm daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.
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