For chef Yong Kam Wah, yee sang is a must for that important dinner with family and friends, writes Tan Bee Hong
YEE sang still takes centrestage during Chinese New Year, says chef Yong Kam Wah. A believer in tradition, he will offer eight types of yee sang or raw fish salad for the festival.
Yong’s yee sang has that refreshing flavour of crisp vegetables. But that’s not all. He sprinkles it with snowy-white rice puffs in addition to the usual crisps.
And instead of corn oil, he prefers to use the healthier olive oil. The yee sang comes with the usual range of toppings such as abalone, white tuna and salmon as well as crunchy Chinese li (pear) in the vegetarian version.
What’s new this year though, is smoked duck yee sang. Slivers of smoked duck breast will definitely give a delightful fragrance to the salad dish.
Or you can opt for the tuna and salmon roe yee sang that’s topped with gold leaf. Very auspicious indeed to loh hei and start the new year with.
The newly-renovated Ee Cuisine will have three set menus for tables of 10 as well as smaller menus for smaller groups of four or six.
At a sampling of dishes from the various menus, we start with the yee sang, followed by a double-boiled superior sharks’ fin soup. This is prepared with a stock that has been simmered for hours using pork bones, chicken bones and ham.
“It’s very nourishing. We never use MSG,” says Yong.
The soup is served in a ceramic bowl kept warm over tea-lights in individual “stoves”. I love it that the soup is clear instead of the thick, starchy variety. And it has plenty of sharks’ fin as well as a piece of fish maw. Slices of American ginseng lend a subtle herbal flavour to the brew.
While the younger generation may not be in favour of eating sharks’ fin, Yong says the older folks still enjoy the dish. Another nourishing alternative is shark bone soup.
Next, we have cod fish with beancurd skin. The lightly steamed cod is so flavoursome and its delicate side is allowed to shine through as Yong uses only a dash of soya sauce with a sprinkle of julienned ginger and scallions.
However, I find the sauce too light for the bland beancurd skin and quickly reach out for the chopped chilli padi.
LIGHT AND EAsY
Light flavours seem to be the order of the day at the sneak preview of the Chinese New Year dishes. Steamed ching yuan chicken for instance, is soaked in a stock with mere hints of cloves, star anise, liquorice and rice wine. This, explains Yong, is because the ching yuan chicken is such a tasty bird, it would be a shame to overwhelm it with spices.
This specially bred chicken, it seems, is fed only oats and grated coconut to keep its fat level at minimum levels. Oh, don’t discard the chicken skin. With such little fat, this may be one time you can indulge without the guilt.
Most of the dishes are the pre-requisite festive items such as abalone, prawn, sea cucumber and waxed meat.
In the RM2,288++ menu, diners get a whole (five head) abalone each. In case you don’t know how big this is, it’s about the length of an adult thumb. The yummy abalone is braised with sea cucumber and served with a green vegetable.
The claypot rice with waxed meat is really tasty. Cooked with pork sausages, liver sausages and waxed duck, the grains of rice have absorbed all the oils and aromatic juices from the waxed meat.
For dessert, nian gao or Chinese New Year glutinous rice cake is a must. Here, it is dipped in batter, wrapped with wafer pastry and deepfried.
The dishes are also available on the a la carte menu.
Eastin Hotel, Section 16,
Tel: 03-7628 7338
Noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10pm.
Off Sprint Highway.
All types of yee sang
Yee sang starts at RM68++ for half portion. Set menus are priced at RM1,388, RM1,788 and RM2,288 for tables of 10. There are smaller menus at RM518 and RM818 for four to six persons.
HHHHH— Go give it a try