Zuan Yuan, One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya: Spring Awakening

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In the cycle of things, the end of a year is followed by a new beginning. The Chinese lunar calendar pinpoints the dawn of spring as THE time for renewal and the beginning of a new cycle. This can be any day in the first two months of each new Gregorian calendar, and this year it falls on the 3rd February.
This joyous event has been referred to as the Spring Festival (Chunjie), the Time of Beginning (Yuanchen), and The First Day (Yuanri). Mostly, it’s known simply as Chinese New Year. Each new year signifies a turning point in the lives and fortune of the Chinese people – a compelling reason to celebrate. The slate is wiped clean; starting afresh, untouched and brimming with hope and endless possibilities. It is everybody’s wish to start off the year well, a desire matched equally by the Chinese love of tradition, symbolism and ritual. Not to mention food too.
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The season of gastronomic extravagance commences with a family reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve. Every member of the family is present for the grandest feast of the year, except for married daughters who will be with their in-laws. Auspicious messages flow trough the table with the presence of pork, chicken, duck, “treasures” from the sea such as oysters, abalone and sea moss – all combined in winning formulas to attract wealth, luck and success, and are served in abundant quantities for the coming year.
The days of slogging days away in the kitchen are far and a few these days as many restaurants and hotels caters for such events. And to help usher in the year of the Rabbit, One World Hotel’s Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant has prepared a wide plethora of auspicious dishes and set menus for anyone seeking such conveniences. Through the invitation of Bangsar Babe, the foodies grouped together and had a noisy time catching up and feast as any regular family would.
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It is customary for Chinese restaurants in Southeast Asia to start their menus with a colourful and delectable platter of raw fish salad. The Yee Sang ?? is considered an auspicious dish as the term used for mixing the salad together sounds almost the same as the words “increase in abundance, prosperity and vigor” in Cantonese. Traditionally the dish is made with slivers of fish, turnip and carrot strips mixed in with a sweet and tangy sauce. Zuan Yuan’s version had added seaweed and assorted fresh fruits for a healthier bite. And since this was (mostly) everyone’s first toss of the year, we screamed out various “auspicious wishes” (??? or Jíxiáng Huà) on top of our lungs while we toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks. It is believed that the height of the toss reflects the height of the diner’s growth in fortunes, thus diners are expected to toss enthusiastically.
Diners at the hotel’s restaurant will be spoiled by their lavish set menus which have been specially curated by their very own Executive Chef Michael Chew. We managed to sample the crispy Roasted Duck with Unique Spicy Sauce, a specialty by the chef I was told, before moving on to the plump Wok-Fried Tiger Prawn Hong Kong Style. These freshly fried crustacean were topped with addictive bits of dried shrimps, which reminded me of heh bie sambal. Don’t tell anyone but I quietly consumed about a dozen of these springy babies.
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The Steamed Coral Fish with Pickled Radish and Chili was served together with a beautifully plated Braised Dice Sea Trasure, Dried Oyster and Sea Moss in Golden Bag with Green Garden. While the latter dish name may be a tongue twister, a bite into the golden bag (which was a tofu skin pouch stuffed with diced sweetened tofu and vegetable) would pleasantly appese even the most discerning of tongues.
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If pork lovers need any push to dine at this Halal Chinese restaurant, then let it be their version of Lap Mei Fan (assorted waxed meat rice). A parcel of fluffy rice steamed in lotus leaf and perfumed by fine kosher preserved meat, which includes a special turkey liver sausage, from Hong Kong no less. Talk about pulling out all the stops. Given that pretty lasses were the majority at our table, the chef brought in an impromptu dish in honour of their beauty. Double-Boiled Consommé of Chicken with Chrysanthemum. No offense to his beautiful gesture, but thankfully the soup tasted way better than how grotesque the dish looked. The meal ended with a Double Boiled Sea Coconut with Organic Bird Nest, Red Dates and White Fungus accompanied by a warm piece of Katafi Fillo filled with Deep Fried Avocado Custard and Homemade Niangao. Niangao, or New Year’s Cake, is a staple offering as its name rhymes with “higher year” connoting the attainment of hopes and ambitions. No doubt the meal ended on a high note too.
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Special thanks to Florence and Crystal of One World Hotel for hosting us. All the dishes above are selected from across the restaurant’s festive set menus, and they are available at different periods in the next two months.

I. Appreciation Set Menus
3 specially created sets priced from RM888++ per table of 8-10pax, available from now until 31 January 2011. Add on 2 bottles of organic red or white wine for RM120++ and menus are available for lunch and dinner.

II. Prosperity Yee Sang
 4 different Yee Sang, with choice of Seaweed and Assorted Fresh Fruits, Salmon and Shredded Sweet Turnips, Chuka Hotate (scallops) and Jelly Fish or Sliced Abalone and Snow Pear. Priced at RM55++ per half portion and RM110++ per full portion. Available from 21 January 2011 onwards and also available for takeaway.

III. Auspicious Lunar New Year Set Menus
3 set menus starting from RM988++ per table of 8-10pax. Available from 1 February to 20 February 2011.

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Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
One World Hotel, Ground Floor
First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre
Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7681 1159 for reservations/enquiries.

14 Responses to Zuan Yuan, One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya: Spring Awakening
  1. Life for Beginners
    January 9, 2011 | 1:21 am

    The first loh sang of the season! May the Year of the Wabbit (soon to come) bring much fortune and prosperity to our Lil Fit Monkey! :D

  2. boo_licious
    January 9, 2011 | 1:52 am

    Lovely post Monkey!! Tossing the Yee Sang now has become akin to throwing a coin in the wishing well I reckon.

    They also do a dim sum buffet here as Splashie Boy ate loads one thing with his family.

  3. CUMI & CIKI
    January 9, 2011 | 2:24 am

    hahaha! glad u left me out of it- was gonna topple over no place to Lo Sang, and all the chick fighting for a spot, MWAUHAHAHA! Sure damn good luck man this year.. so many maidens tossing the dish!

    Good luck monkey boy! May you make MANY many more movies;)

  4. J2Kfm
    January 9, 2011 | 5:07 am

    Gorgeously done. Usually I anticipate the moments of digging in into the Yee Sang, esp the slices of raw fish rather than the tossing process. :)

  5. fatboybakes
    January 9, 2011 | 7:43 am

    thats a larverly pic of bangsarbabe..she looks stunning! the way the world climate is going, i seriously doubt feb 3rd will be the first day of spring….
    and so it begins, the string of lou sangs… but the first cut is always the best hor…

  6. Sean
    January 9, 2011 | 7:46 am

    gosh, if you've started having yee sang already, i'm trying to figure out how many times you might have it by the time the CNY season ends on feb. 17. i'm gonna guess at least 20! :D heh, my wish for this CNY is to see set menus that cost RM388++ or less per table, since i'll need lots of places to take my family when they visit KL for a week! =)

  7. Ayngelina
    January 9, 2011 | 10:54 pm

    Love those cartoon captions! Fish talking makes me laugh :)

  8. J
    January 10, 2011 | 1:26 am

    MMmmmm… What a delicious night it was! :) :)
    (Luvverly post, btw…)

  9. thule a.k.a leo
    January 10, 2011 | 1:51 am

    Hopefully I can lou sang this year!!!

  10. sarah
    January 10, 2011 | 10:29 pm

    wow these r the type of dises that i will see in Chinese New Year or if someone is getting marry heheh

  11. Crystal Koh
    January 11, 2011 | 1:07 am

    Thanks for the lovely post; glad you guys enjoyed :D

  12. Crystal Koh
    January 11, 2011 | 1:07 am

    Thanks for the lovely post; glad you guys enjoyed :D

  13. Lyrical Lemongrass
    January 11, 2011 | 4:32 am

    Had a lovely time with you guys that evening. Great food at Zuan Yuan too.

  14. iamthewitch
    January 11, 2011 | 8:51 am

    Yee Sang is always my favourite during CNY! Love digging through to pick the prawn crackers coz last time there was no salmon fish and I didn't like those normal raw fish which was usually fishy LOL!

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