Smorgasbord of festive favourites

Fresh ingredients to make your own yee sang.

ABUNDANCE is what everyone wants for Chinese New Year and few things epitomise that notion better than the buffet.

Such spreads offer wider varieties and quantities of food, making them an increasingly popular option for family reunions.

More so when the venue is a modern hotel like Amari Spice Penang where its “Auspicious Year of the Dragon” celebrations include a trio of lavish buffets at Amaya Food Gallery.

There is the Prosperity Reunion Buffet Dinner on Chinese New Year Eve as well as Auspicious Good Fortune Buffet Lunch and Good Wealth Buffet Dinner from Feb 10 to 12.

While menus vary between each promo, they all feature a palate-pleasing mix of seasonal delicacies, symbolic must-haves and international flavours.

These will be beautifully presented across Amaya’s interactive, street market-inspired setting with multiple live kitchens.

This helps spread the crowd, so lines are never too long.

Chestnut Buttercream Cake, all dressed up with mandarin orange meringue for the season.Chestnut Buttercream Cake, all dressed up with mandarin orange meringue for the season.

Naturally, the “Make Your Own Yee Sang” counter will be a hit.

Brimming with some 20 ingredients including smoked salmon, jelly fish and tropical fruits, it gives guests the novel experience of customising their own version of the festive treat.

Nearby, chillers keep an assortment of cold cuts and greens fresh and crisp. The Mandarin Orange and Shrimp Salad as well as Thai Green Mango Kerabu are worth a try.

Those who see fish as a necessity – the Mandarin word sounding similar to “surplus” – will be pleased to find an abundance of salmon and tuna sashimi, alongside assorted sushi rolls.

There are also mussels, oysters, clams, slipper lobsters and prawns – the latter another festive requisite as the Cantonese word is akin to “laughter”.

Among the plethora of hot dishes are some familiar items from course banquets like Braised Four Treasures Seafood Soup, Steamed Fish Fillet with Superior Sauce, Sea Bass with Clams and Ginger, and Wok-fried Buttermilk Prawns.

Carving station’s ribeye and Mongolian lamb.Carving station’s ribeye and Mongolian lamb.

While it can be a habit to gravitate towards Chinese flavours during Chinese New Year, a little variety can be a good thing.

Other specials like Oven-baked Almond and Garlic Chicken, Stir-fried Black Pepper Beef, Pan-fried Salmon with Mandarin Orange Butter, Kurma Daging with Green Apple, Gulai Batang Pisang Utara, Thai Lamb Curry and Deep-fried Fish with Dried Tom Yam, are just as appetising.

The unique Smoked Duck Breast with Hoisin Sauce Pizza and Char Siew Chicken with Pineapple Pizza further illustrate mouth-watering possibilities of a fusion approach.

Head outdoors to find carving stations offering Oven Roasted Duck, Roasted Mongolian Lamb, Roasted Beef Ribeye and other grilled morsels.

End your meal at the pastry and dessert section brimming with all manner of festive biscuits and kuih, including fried nian gao and lotus pancakes.

Mandarin Orange Fruit Flan, Chestnut Buttercream Cake, Pineapple Sage Upside-Down Cake and Green Tea Red Bean Creme Brulee sweeten the mix.

And to enliven the atmosphere, there will be live traditional Chinese instrumental music during the buffet dinners.

Amaya Food Gallery is located on Level 4 of the hotel and blends contemporary design with warm tones to create a cosy ambience.

Mandarin Orange Fruit Flan.Mandarin Orange Fruit Flan.

Its double-volume space has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which not only bathe it in natural light, but also afford soothing views of the gardens and water features outside.

Both buffet dinners are priced at RM158 for adults and RM118 for children and seniors, and served from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Buffet lunch is priced at RM138 for adults and RM98 for children and seniors, served from noon to 3pm.

The restaurant also offers a la carte yee sang until Feb 24. Prices range from RM78 to RM188 depending on the portion and choice of ingredients. Pre-order three days ahead.

AMAYA Food Gallery, Amari Spice Penang, Persiaran Mahsuri, Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas, Penang. (Tel: 012-956 1030, email: Business hours: 6am to midnight daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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Amari Penang , CNY , Year of the Dragon


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