Woots! Today is the 3rd day of Chinese New Year.
Have you guys had your umpteenth CNY reunion dinner yet?
If your family is anything like mine, I can bet you've probably have sat to a few (if not many) dinner get-togethers thus far.
There are altogether 15 days of Chinese New Year according to the Lunar calendar so get your chopsticks and ricebowls ready, for it's dinner lou-sang sessions with the family, friends, workmates, ex-schoolmates, blogmates, campusmates and so many different groups of people!
i was at Tong Yuen in Hilton Hotel last week to taste their auspicious set menus and CNY delicacies
Right after work, I thought it would be wise to head straight to Hilton to skip the impending traffic gridlock. Typical evenings in PJ *rolls eyes*
But strangely I was wrong. The roads were traffic-free and I arrived Hilton almost 2 hours before dinner time! 🙁
I know I was too early. But hellooo hellooo anybody home!?
Thankfully, someone was inside and the gates were opened for me! 😀
First thing I saw as I stepped in:
Mandarin ducks, money frogs and china teapots
The hostess was kind enough to offer me some warm Chinese tea to accompany my wait.
It's gonna be a long wait, that's for sure
But I hope it's worth it 😀
I soon got bored and I had about 1 hour left to kill.
So I got up and started taking pictures of this very impressive, spacious and lavish Chinese restaurant.
I know right. It had so many sections and areas to dine!
Oh and I also learned that Toh Yuen is adjoined to the al-fresco and swimming pool area
Pretty good idea for weddings to be held! Nice place to entertain guests and throw the after-party too!
Separated only by a huge glass door 🙂
I then took my time to walk back to my table. But still, not a single soul to be seen yet.
So I made use of the glass mirrors they had all over the walls for some self-absorbed entertainment
ohai. Gong Xi Fa Chai!
Alright, time to go back to that private section 🙂
It was almost 7.30pm by then. Perfect! Looks like time flies when you're actually occupied.
See those 2 circular entrances?
That's where our tables are
This is how it looks at our table… before everybody fills it in 🙂
Yay! Finally I have some company. Elaine from Marketing & Communications took the seat beside mine and gradually, the other guests began to arrive one by one 🙂 Ivy from FOOD and her colleague came pretty soon too.
Eelaine and I
Kelly (my plus one for the evening) and I sipping on some Chinese Tea
After catching up and chit chatting, it was time to bring out the food
Toh Yuen's Yee Sang specials was the highlight of their Fatt Choy (fortune and prosperity) menu selections
Crackers represents happiness, peanut and sesame symbolizes harvest, oil represents wealth,
pomelo means good luck, raw seafood symbolizes life and longevity.
Yee Sang comprises of assorted condiments, which differ in their auspicious meanings as illustrated above
After the warzone of tossing and mixing the ingredients and
dressing with chopsticks, it was time for the feast to begin.
I especially loved their Sliced Abalone yee sang. It was fresh, tasty and had that tinge of sweet-sourness in it. The abalone came in abundance and it was very delicious and chewy too (I initially thought it looked like chicken slices before I had a bite of it! LOL)
The 2nd course that arrived was Braised Shark Fin Soup with Crab Meat and Roe.
Trust me, I've eaten this since my childhood days and there isn't really a complete Chinese dinner without it.
Served hot right outta the pot, it was just as good as what my tastebuds imagined it to be. You can never go wrong!
3rd Course : Deep Fried Chicken in 2 Flavours
Now this one was rather outta the ordinary 🙂
This poultry dish came with chicken – cooked in 2 different styles – encircled around each other. Yup, it was plated in a very pleasant way! The chicken with the darker sauce stayed in the middle while the whiter chicken surrounded it.
I loved the darker chicken while some of the others preferred the whiter one. Ohwell, looks like both of it were popular among us anyway; seeing that this dish was finished in such a jiffy!
After chicken, came the fish
4th course : Steamed Fish Pomfret with Soy Sauce
This fish fanatic is at it again. White pomfrets are one of my favorite types of fish, apart from Salmon and Snowfish. It was so fresh that I reckon it was just caught right off the sea yesterday! 😛 None of that stinky stale stench that some fishes tend to have.
The flesh was tender and was made right for our palate.
5th course : Stir Fried King Prawns in Pineapple Sauce
Now if the fish dish didn't exist, this one would most definitely fall in line being my favorite of the lot!
The prawns were really soft and succulent to the last bite! Kinda the type that melts in your mouth 😀 The tangy natural flavour of the pineapple complemented this dish very well too.
More tea anyone? 😀
The next course was something less meaty. Think veggies!
Just for the record, my favorite green vegetable of all is broccoli. And wa-hey! Look what's on our plates:
It IS broccoli! 😀 😀 😀 Do you spot lotsa mushrooms too?
A very happy me + Kelly
I like how most Chinese chefs cut up lotsa random things that their instincts tell them *might* just make the perfect dish and voila! It DID end up perfect after all.
The broccoli came cooked with so many other ingredients and condiments that it was bursting with flavour 🙂
6th Course: Stewed Sea Cucumber, Mushroom and Broccoli
7th Course: Sauteed Seafood Fried Rice with X.O Sauce
When I had a spoonful of the fried rice, I reckon it tasted kinda different though.
How come it didn't taste as usual or bland as the common Chinese Fried Rice?
Struggling to eat rice with chopsticks from a bowl
(I eventually requested for a spoon instead)
Since my younger days, I was never good at 'em two sticks. I don't know how you people do it. Hat's off to you!
Anyway, so why did my fried rice taste so unique? When I looked up the menu, I found my answer "... with X.O Sauce"! 😀 😀 Woots! Now, how's that for a twist? No wonder it was delish
While waiting for dessert!
Was told that the dessert was gonna be unexpected.
But then again, I thought how UNEXPECTED could a course of dessert be?
So I excused myself to the ladies' for a short while and when I returned, I saw a huge bowl of thick, white substance – of which I assumed to be some creamy delicacy 🙂 Looks yummy to me!
Since I was away when the discussion was made, I had no clue what this dish was
Tasted it and loved it! The honeydew was responsible for the sweet, fruity flavour. It also had this very mild, ice-cream taste and the texture was very gentle to the tastebuds... except for a very, very slight bitter aftertaste once you've swallowed it.
I honestly wondered what it was!
Must be some form of ice-cream or some form of creamy extracts, I pondered to myself.
The Head Chef came out of the kitchen to have a chat with us
That's Shian seated, also from Marcomm
And it was then I found out that the dessert, our final course for the evening, was none other than Hasma!! *gasp* Alright I bet you don't know what Hasma is. Neither did I, initially… before I had it down my throat, of course.
Hasma is a Chinese dessert ingredient made from the dried fallopian tubes of frogs,
typically the Asiatic Grass Frog. The Western pharmaceutical term is Oviductus Ranae.
How's that for an exotic meal?
Hey don't freak out just because it's made of an odd anatomy of an amphibian. Admittedly, I did too at first but it tasted exquisite. Really! It was once served as royal food to the Chinese Emperors okay! 😀
This Chinese New Year, I am proud to say that I have ate animal organs! (something that I've avoided like the plague all these years for no explicable reason)
So, thank you Hilton for giving us this new and rather surprising experience at the end of our meal!
But if you want out on eating this exotic dish, you can always opt for the 'Happiness Set' where Chilled Sea Coconut with Ginseng and the 'Fortune Set' that satisfies your sweet tooth with Braised Red Bean and Glutinous Dumpling.
Our set for the day was 'Longevity Set' FYI 😀
So go have your next CNY meal here or even your company's 'sau kung' dinners or lunches! Their CNY set menus and festive a la carte Chinese delights promo will run until 28th Febuary 2011. 🙂
GONG XI FA CHAI!