Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Chinese New Year 2012 @ Elegant Inn, Menara Hap Seng, Kuala Lumpur
Toss your way to prosperity.....the Year of Dragon is just round the corner.
It feels like just yesterday that New Year zipped past us and now another big celebration is due on the horizon. I must admit I'm not ready for the celebrations. Nevertheless, there's no way to stop time from ticking away so the best thing is to make it a great celebration.
Elegant Inn is often our de facto choice for family dinners hence it was cool to get a preview of their Chinese New Year offerings. Makes planning for that all important reunion meal so much easier.
At the Hong Kong centric restaurant, even their yee sang is different - a combination of three items to make it even more bountiful - salmon, clams and crunchy jellyfish. Keeping health in mind and taste, their prosperity dish does not contain a single strand of pickled vegetable or deep fried shredded yam. Instead it is all vegetables - a medley of turnip, pear, radish, carrots, maybe just one pickled leek, pomelo, cucumber and ginger. There is also the must-haves aka the pok pok chui or crackers with a sprinkle of pepper, salt, oil, plum sauce and a generous sprinkle of coarsely ground peanuts.
The wait staff in Elegant Inn add a touch of specialty to the yearly affair by adding auspicious sayings. All the better I reckon to toss and lo sang away to good health, prosperity and whatever our heart wishes.
Once the salad is finished down to its last crunchy cracker, we enjoy a "simple" starter - crunchy salt and pepper coated oyster mushrooms paired with decadent smoked egg topped with a piece of pan fried foie gras.
Prawns are a must for the occasion since they signify happiness. You will be happy to get these sea based crustaceans lovingly coated in a light wine sauce. Believe me, the sauce is finger licking good that I ended up even chewing on the shells for every drop of its delicious sauce.
Next comes an interesting dish, a play of textures in the mouth and of course, the flavours. Nicknamed the crunchy Chinese sandwich, this was a layered beauty. First layer enclosing it was a pillow soft bun, followed by a crispy chicken skin lightly touched with prawn paste that sandwiches a crunchy soybean skin nacho. Lastly a piece of Chinese ham completes this delectable sandwich that you has you clamoring for more.
The piece de resistance was the old fashioned braised pork cartilage rib slow cooked for four hours to fork tender meat and soft bone. The green radish and carrot balances out the rich taste of the dish that you wish you had a bowl of rice to soak up every drop of that delectable liquid.
One must not forget Elegant Inn's infamous lap mei fan. The waxed meats are all handpicked from Hong Kong with a rice that is cooked to fluffy perfection with just a teeny weeny crust at the bottom.
My personal favourite was the simmered Chinese cabbage with Japanese dried scallops and HK dried prawns. The vegetable is cooked till tender and infused with the lovely aroma from the dried seafood that I had to have seconds of this dish.
Like a person once told me before, dessert is reserved for a second stomach. Not sure if this is a true since I don't think we have the anatomy of a cow that boasts of multiple stomachs.
However, when it comes to sweets, we seem to always find a way to consume it including such seasonal items like the New Year cake or ning ko. Elegant Inn's version is just pan fried till it becomes a soft delectable gooey cake with crispy sides. They also make their own hazelnut cookies that have a simple yet alluring taste. Pair this with a lovely red bean paste with black glutinous rice.
Last but not least, a meal is never complete at Elegant Inn without my favourite dessert, their fluffy Ma Lai Koh or steamed cake. The pillow soft steamed cakes are gorgeous and always a must order for the family.
I reckon this meal at Elegant Inn has sealed the deal on where we'll be eating reunion dinner soon. How about you? Where will dinner be? Homeward bound or out at the restaurant for the celebrations.
Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P Ramlee
Tel: 03-2070 9399
(Non Halal. For the festive season, there are also a variety of Chinese New Year menus starting from RM1, 088 for 10 persons. Enquire within for the full set meal details.)
*This meal was an invited one. For more pictures and the set menus, see the Flickr set.