THE communal dining experience that is a big part of Chinese New Year celebrations will not be the same this year as Malaysians continue to feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But those celebrating the festival can still experience a more intimate gathering with their loved ones and feast on must-have dishes, courtesy of Ruyi in Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Anticipating that many of their clientele may not feel comfortable dining out even if allowed, most of the CNY dishes are modified to be “takeaway-friendly”.
Chef James Ho said their aim was to produce dishes that might not be commonly cooked at home.
“This way, although they are eating at home, it still feels special.
“We also use fresh and flavourful ingredients, ” he added.
This includes yee sang, obligatory seafood dishes and even desserts that can be pre-ordered for takeaway and delivery.
Known for his innovative yee sang, Ho has pulled out all the stops for this year’s creation.
While the ox-shaped Golden Bull Yee Sang (RM168) may be difficult to recreate at home, it still delivers on taste and texture.
The yee sang presents standard must-have ingredients such as sweet sauce and salmon as well as walnuts and cashews.
Crispy fish skin in salted egg yolk, piquant pickles and radish also provide crunch to the dish.
A light dusting of edible gold dust adds a festive touch to the dish.
Other yee sang options include “Forever Youthful” Vegetarian Yee Sang (RM58 or RM88), Golden Prosperity Yee Sang (RM78 or RM128) and Boston Lobster Yee Sang (RM398).
The time-consuming method of preparing a double-boiled soup means that it is mostly enjoyed during special occasions, such as Chinese New Year.
Here, the Double-boiled Black Garlic Soup (RM68 per portion) with fresh fish maw and chicken makes for a truly luxurious appetiser.
The aged garlic lends an earthy and slightly sweet note to the broth, jam-packed with umami flavours.
Another must-have during the festive dinner is sea cucumber, which is usually served braised with mushrooms and vegetables.
Not one to follow the usual route, Ho has come up with the Crispy Stuffed Sea Cucumber (RM33 per portion).
A light batter coats the sea cucumber which is stuffed with a prawn filling. It is served with a hot-and-sour chicken broth that helps to cut through the sweetness and heaviness of the dish.
Sichuan red and green chilies are infused into the sauce for a spicy kick.
While whole steamed fish is usually front and centre at any new year dinner, Ho has swapped it for individual corvina fish.
The Deep-fried Yellow Corvina (RM33 per portion) is served with minimal fuss, just a ginger and black vinegar sauce.
The white fish has a mild, sweet taste with firm, large flaked flesh, while the crispy skin gives a nice contrast.
Instead of the usual prawn dishes such as salted egg or stir-fried with soy sauce, Ho has taken the western route with his Baked Fresh Water Prawns (RM58 per portion) that is topped with a creamy garlic sauce.
The sweet prawns, tangy garlic and butter are a tried-and-true pairing, and did not disappoint.
There are several Chinese New Year takeaway set menus available ranging from RM398 to RM1,288.
A la carte dishes are also available and the full menu can be viewed at www.orientaltoyu.com
The Chinese New Year menus are available from now until Feb 28.
RUYI, 4th Floor Annex, Bangsar Shopping Center, 285, Jalan Maarof, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2083 0288 or 012-754 4796) Business hours: 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm, daily. Pork-free.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.
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