It’s once again the season for Yee Sang and much feasting as the Lunar New Year is looming with just a few more sleeps to go.
The lavish meal enjoyed on the eve of the Lunar New Year is an important cultural event for the Chinese, especially the family reunion dinner and paying homage to elders and ancestors.
The traditional reunion dinner gathers all immediate family members around the dinner table for a noisy and fun-filled, once-a-year event which is usually held in the patriarch’s house.
But in keeping with modern times, it is inevitable that the reunion dinner – while still highly significant – has gone through a transformation.
More and more families are choosing to host the auspicious dinner on a rotation basis, while some forgo it for trips abroad, and many choose to host it at a fancy restaurant or a hotel.
This saves the (mostly) womenfolk the time-consuming and labour intensive hassle of preparing the elaborate meal and the massive washing up afterwards.
If you are going with the last option and still undecided where to have your family gathering, the exquisitely furnished, award winning Ee Chinese Cuisine at the Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur is a good choice.
The pork-free Cantonese specific fine cuisine at Ee ranges from the traditional to dishes with a modern twist.
For their 2020 Chinese New Year offerings, many sumptuous festive set menus are available until February 8, starting from RM888 nett for a table of four, RM1688 for a table of six to RM2288 for a table of 10.
There’s also a special banquet get-together promotion at RM1388 nett per table for you to celebrate dinner with colleagues, clients and business partners.
Start off with a “Lou Sang” (prosperity toss) of the Yee Sang as Ee’s version comes with several choices: lobster, abalone, salmon, trout, white tuna and jellyfish starting from RM118 nett per serving. The higher you toss, the higher your life and social standard will improve in the coming year.
FMT was recently invited to Ee Chinese Cuisine and can confidently say that their dishes use premium quality ingredients and are made with dedication, especially the double-boiled soups which are very well executed.
If you opt for the set, after the Yee Sang you get to indulge in double-boiled superior Shark’s fin Soup with American ginseng, fish maw and topshell.
The soup is thick with flavor, testament to the skill and effort put in by the chef, while the addition of fish maw symbolises “growing richness” as its name in Chinese implies.
This is followed by steamed giant grouper with ginger sauce. The fish is perfectly done, its smooth and creamy flesh pairing well with the gentle heat from the ginger.
Fish is a must at the reunion dinner as in Mandarin, the word for “surplus” is a homophone of “fish”.
Steamed capon (kampong chicken) with cordyceps flower and wolfberries is next, the yellow colour of the chicken indicating its origin before it was even set on the table.
The chicken meat is leaner as it has less fat and is juicier with more texture than normal chicken.
Chicken is always served during reunion as it represents family togetherness and rebirth.
Up next, a colourful dish of braised abalone mushrooms, dried oysters and sea cucumber with vegetables. This dish hits all the spots as its contents are chewy, savoury, smooth, umami and crunchy.
The Cantonese word for oyster sounds like “good things” whereas sea cucumber sounds like “give birth” signifying that the family will be blessed with fortune and a new-born may arrive during the coming year.
For the compulsory carbo load, fragrant claypot rice with preserved waxed meat arrives next, reminiscent of the ubiquitous claypot chicken rice found just about everywhere.
The rice is delightfully flavourful while some of the cured meat can be a tad over powering. As with every other dish, there is a meaning association here as cured meat symbolizes food that will last the family all year long.
For dessert, you are served double-boiled peach jelly with glutinous rice dumplings and osmanthus.
This is an inspired choice as peach is synonymous with immortality while the rice dumpling or “tong yuen” sounds like “reunion” and “togetherness”.
Finally, there is deep fried kuih bakul “Nien Gao” with yam, the delicacy bursting with ooey gooey goodness at every bite.
Nien Gao literally translates to “New Year cake”, another homophonic pun it as sounds like the word for “to grow”.
Kudos to the chefs and their team as the cuisine at Ee shows just how mindful of quality and consistently good their food is.
Pick up your phone and reserve your table now as Ee Chinese Cuisine is very popular with diners.
Ee Chinese Cuisine
Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur
13 Jalan 16/11
Pusat Dagangan Seksyen 16
46350 Petaling Jaya