Friday, February 12, 2010

Chinese New Year Dishes @ Concorde Hotel

Here's a sight enough to roar in the festivities of Chinese New Year. Yu Sheng (literally raw fish) is a raw fish salad enjoyed during the Chinese New Year and is an unbelievable mix of colours, flavours and textures.

What sets this Yu Sheng apart from the rest is that this is a Peranakan Yu Sheng. It was my first time hearing of a Peranakan version. But boy did I enjoy this!

Normally I'm a little overwhelmed by the strong pickled ginger in most Yu Sheng but had no problems with this one. Instead, the unusual and alluring appeal of the dressing bound all the ingredients nicely. The dressing consisted of plum sauce, sambal belachan, lime juice, chopped lime leaves, rojak flower and coriander. A pretty exotic mix! And it all worked very well with the tangy plum sauce providing the backbone, the sambal belachan giving just a gentle heat and the lime leaves leaving a fragrant citrus aftertaste.

Jellyfish, raw salmon and ikan parang were used for this Yu Sheng.

Another almost customery dish at Chinese dinners, the Shark's Fin Soup with Fish Maw and Crabmeat, was delicate on its own and better perked up with vinegar and pepper. The crabmeat was sweet and the fish maw yummy though I would have preferred bigger chunks of both for better texture.

Ho See Fatt Choy with Cabbage is one of my favourite dishes. The best I have tasted was still my late grandma's. Unfortunately, I found the one here to be too subtle for my personal liking. I very much prefer the robust-tasting version full of the goodness of dried oysters, dried scallops, dried Japanese mushrooms, chicken feet and black moss. But I guess for some who may not be used to the full-bodied versions, the lighter-style here may appeal.

Goose-lovers should look out for the Goose Braised with Chinese Herbs. The meat is rather lean and a little chewy but if you, like me, enjoy meat with a little bit more chew/bite, this would be perfect. A thin layer of fat under the smooth skin is a good pair with the meat.

The Slow Baked Sesame Pork Rib Coated with Coffee Caramel was delicious! Sticky, sweet and with just a hint of coffee bitterness, it is good with rice. Best eaten using bare hands or fork and knife! Leave the chopsticks aside.

Now's a good time to pick up the chopsticks again. The Poached Red Garoupa Fillet with Jin Hua Ham tasted fresh and the thick fillet was firm yet flaked nicely. The Jin Hua ham added just a slightly salty-savoury touch to the fish.

Vegetables were kept simple with the Nai Bai with Wolfberries. Simple and good.

As per the norm of serving a carbs dish as the last savoury dish of the meal, the Fried Rice with Waxed Meats arrived. The rice had the gentle fragrance of the lotus leaf it was wrapped in and also the flavours of the waxed meats and fried shallots. For me, the flavours could be bumped up a notch by adding a bit more salt and using more waxed meats (specially the pig liver lup chiong!).

Dinner ended with Mango Pudding with Walnut Cream...

And Pan-Fried Nian Gao (New Year Cake)! Still my preferred way of eating nian gao. :)

The above dishes are just some of the goodies available as a buffet spread at Spices Cafe. For more details and pricing, do check out here.

Thanks to Evelyn Neo of Concorde Hotel for the invitation and for hosting me.

Here's wishing everyone a Blessed, Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Spices Cafe
Concorde Hotel Singapore
Lobby Level 3
Tel: 6733 8855

Chew On This: Receive a complimentary platter of Salmon & Ikan Parang Yu Sheng when you dine in for dinner! Check website or call Spices Cafe for details.


Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

Best wishes

The Hungry Cow said...

Anonymous: Thanks. There are many other CNY food articles around too. Happy reading!