DURING the Chinese New Year, many gatherings take place, with family and friends sitting together to feast on a wide range of dishes with auspicious-sounding names.
While some may seek dishes with newer preparation methods or unusual flavour combinations, traditional styles are still preferred when it comes to the festive meal.
Very much aware of this, the team at the famed Cantonese restaurant Li Yen at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, led by executive Chinese chef Alex Au, has curated six simple and fuss-free set menus, focusing on premium ingredients.
The Reunion Stars set menus feature traditional reunion delicacies and signature dishes, which are available for lunch and dinner, alongside a seasonal selection of delicate dim sum to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.
Guests enjoyed several of these dishes during a recent preview.
After an auspicious tossing of yee sang, diners enjoyed an appetite-inducing Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Dried Fish Maw and Black Garlic.
The soup helped warm up the stomach in anticipation of the dishes to come.
Aged black garlic lent the soup some earthiness and went well with the slightly sweet dried fish maw.
Symbolic of prosperity and abundance, a fish dish is mandatory at the festive table and it was no exception here.
Ancient-Style Steamed Tiger Dragon Grouper Cutlets with Shredded Pork, Mushrooms and Cloud Ear Fungus may sound like a mouthful, but it tasted delightful.
The tiger dragon grouper tasted indulgent with its silky flesh, resting atop a shallow pool of premium soy sauce.
Slightly out of the norm was the Deep-Fried Prawns with French Honey Mustard Dressing.
The prawns were succulent and sweet tasting with a crisp texture. The dressing had a slightly tangy and spicy flavour from the Dijon mustard.
Another Chinese New Year staple is the Hong Kong-Style Waxed Meat Claypot Rice.
Using Chinese sausages specially flown in from Hong Kong, this dish requires up to 45 minutes to prepare for the flavours of the vegetables, meat and herbs to infuse into the rice.
The melding of flavours give a distinct taste to the rice.
I particularly liked that the meat was sliced thinly, which made each bite more enjoyable.
Those with a sweet tooth will love the Steamed Goldfish Nian Gao, made from traditional Chinese glutinous rice cakes.
Also available on the menu is the traditional Poon Choi, the iconic Cantonese culinary one-pot dish featuring an array of auspicious-sounding ingredients such as abalone, fish maw and dried oysters.
The set menus with a minimum order for two persons are priced from RM168++ per person to RM5,988++ per table of 10 persons.
The seasonal lunar new year sets, dim sum, à la carte and yee sang menus are available until Feb 5.
Li Yen is also offering a selection of Chinese New Year specialities through its home delivery and takeaway service.
LI YEN, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Imbi, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. Tel/WhatsApp: 018-646 8033. Business hours: Noon to 3pm (Monday to Saturday) and 10.30am to 3pm (Sundays, public holidays); 6.30pm to 10.30pm (daily).
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.