Fine balance of festive flavours


Elements of New World Petaling Jaya Hotel’s ‘Abundance of Joy’ set were chosen so as to be convenient for takeaway, yet remain fresh during transportation.

GATHERING with friends or family, near and far, to usher in Chinese New Year with a hearty meal during reunion dinner is a significant once-in-a-year event.

This year’s celebrations will undoubtedly be different with Covid-19 still afflicting the country, but that does not mean people can’t enjoy a reunion dinner in the comfort of their own home.

For those who prefer to have their special dinner cooked and prepared for them, takeaway options are the way to go this year.

New World Petaling Jaya Hotel’s selection of CNY takeaway treats is offering precisely this to those who want to usher in the Year of the Ox with auspicious specials from now until Feb 28.

Sous chef Chai Chun Keong said the CNY sets had to be catered for takeaways in light of the movement control order.

“This year, the specially selected dishes in the available sets are convenient for takeaway and to ensure they remain fresh during transportation.

“At the same time, the combinations must be able to provide sufficient energy and balanced nutrition.”

The hotel’s prawn yee sang platter delivers bursts of flavour and texture.The hotel’s prawn yee sang platter delivers bursts of flavour and texture.

The culinary team at New World Petaling Jaya has crafted four types of yee sang –- a precursor to auspicious meals and a typical must-have dish –- namely vegetarian (RM68), smoked salmon (RM158), prawn (RM158) and abalone (RM288).

“Our highlight this year is prawn yee sang because the word ha (Cantonese for prawn) sounds like “laughter” and therefore symbolises happiness, ” Chai explained.

The platter is inclusive of prawns, vegetables, pickles, crunchy crackers garnished with quartered strawberries, pomelo and is topped with special plum sauce comprising orange, mango jam, a blackcurrant fruit concentrate and plum juice.

The hotel’s takeaway fare presents three Treasure Set options.

There’s the five-course Abundance of Joy (RM388) which includes roasted chicken; steamed garoupa with fresh beancurd sticks and light soy sauce; a fish maw, black mushroom and vegetable combination with dumplings; fried rice with shrimp and dried chicken meat; and for dessert, two variations of deepfried nian gao.

The Abundance of Wealth (RM588) set adds two dishes to the Abundance of Joy set, namely shredded fish lips, sea cucumber and crabmeat soup; wok-fried tiger prawn with salted egg; while trading the fried rice for steamed lotus rice.

The Chinese New Year Prosperity Treasure Set (RM428), which serves up to six persons, includes the hotel’s interpretation of traditional poon choy containing fish maw, dried scallops, prawns, sea moss, dried oyster, mushrooms, broccoli, Chinese baby cabbage, yam, beancurd rolls and tofu.

This poon choy set also comes with the option of having prawn or smoked salmon yee sang, and inclusive of an auspicious “fortune cake.”

For groups of more than six persons, there is an option of adding roast chicken and Golden Fried Rice for an additional RM120.

One platter of prawn yee sang and the Abundance of Joy set is more than enough for a family of six adults, provided not all of them are big eaters.

After tossing to prosperity, each mouthful delivers a flavourful taste and texture although there could have been more pomelo to refresh the palate after each mouthful.

The roasted half chicken exceeded expectations for a takeaway dish, retaining juiciness inside and crispiness on the outside.

The flavour was aromatic and enjoyable enough to do without any of the sauces (chilli and sweet sauce) that come packed with the set.

The thought of having steamed garoupa delivered might ring alarm bells for some but a quick steam on the kitchen stove to reheat it is all it takes to make things right.

The garoupa was fresh and meaty to begin with, pairing very well with the light soy sauce. The addition of fu chuk, which was ever so smooth, and crunchy siew bak choy makes the dish a complete centrepiece.

The portion of vegetables in oyster sauce along with mushroom and fish maw is barely adequate for vegetable lovers but is sufficient when complemented by the succulent mushrooms, whereas the fish maw delivers the flavours of the dish in spades.

Meanwhile, the dumplings that come with the dish are stuffed with a generous combination of fish and prawn and are a treat when coated with the oyster sauce.

The fried rice with shrimp and chicken comes in a portion enough for almost five small rice bowls, making it more of a side dish, even though it stands just as well on its own thanks to the fine balance of flavourful dried chicken meat and shrimp which do not overpower the already fragrant base of the dish.

No CNY meal should be considered complete without a serving of nian gao, and the culinary team at New World Petaling Jaya presents two variations in the set.

One is in its classic form ---dipped into batter, then carefully fried in hot oil until golden brown --- while the other is wrapped in sweet potato paste then deep-fried to form a crispy crust and finished with crispy rice toppings.

Both variations retain the chewy sweet characteristics of nian gao and did not disappoint.

The hotel also has an array of Chinese New Year goodies for takeaway that are ideal as gifts of good wishes or for celebrations at home, available for purchase until Feb 28 with free delivery for orders above RM300 and within a 5km radius of the hotel.

New World Petaling Jaya Hotel, Paradigm, No.1, Jalan SS7/26A, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 010-216 3810,03-7682 0000. Email:

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

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