Happy Chinese New Year (CNY)! This week is the start of the festive season for the Chinese which goes on for 15 days, where there will be numerous feasting, house visitations and merriment in general. Kids are especially happy during these times as they will be getting angpow (red packet with $) from their elders *wahoo*.
We went to the Ambassador Chinese Restaurant for the ‘reunion dinner’, its traditional intent being for the whole family to gather together the night before to have dinner at the same table. Ambassador is located in the suburbs and is quite a popular place amongst the Asian community. It is a decent sized restaurant and is quite cosy. As usual with chinese restaurant, it is decorated with fire crackers, chinese lanterns and everything red.
We ordered one of the CNY banquet that the restaurant organised especially for this festive event. It consists of 9 dishes shared amongst 10 people (normal size for a table). The dishes were:1) Rainbow Salmon Platter (aka Yee Sang) 2) Shark”s Fin Crab meat Soup 3) Scallops with Macadamia Nuts and Snow Peas 4) Crispy Skin Chicken 5) Lemon Grass Butter Tiger Prawn 6) Pan Fried Tooth Fish 7) Four Way Vegetables (Pak Choy, Chinese Mushroom, Button Mushroom & Broccoli) 8) Yangzhou Fried Rice 9) Seasonal Fruit Platter
- Rainbow Salmon Platter (aka Yee Sang)
Yee Sang is a salad of strips of raw fish (normally salmon) surrounded by different types of colourful shredded vegetables with a dressing of plum sauce and condiments. It is considered a symbol of abundance and prosperity and is eaten only during CNY. The salad is tossed high with chopsticks as a symbol to mark the start of a prosperous new year. As such, the higher the salad is tossed, the better it is. This is my favourite dish during CNY especially with the crispy crackers that come with it! The Yee Sang at this restaurant wasn’t that great as it had too many carrot slices (not a big fan) and too little sauce.
- Shark’s Fin Crab Meat Soup
Shark’s Fin soup is a delicacy that has been a popular item in Chinese cuisine and is considered a symbol of wealth and prestige in the Chinese culture. It is normally served at special occasions such as weddings and banquets. It tastes better with the addition of vinegar which is provided. The soup in this instance was thick with egg pieces, crab meat and shark’s fin (not too sure about the authenticity of the shark’s fin though as it is quite common to use only a small amount of the real thing and replace the rest with representation. Shark’s fin are expensive!)
- Main Dishes
The main dishes were delicious. There were plenty to share and we had leftover by the end of the night.
The fruit platter consisted of orange, apple, honeydew and rockmelon – a very common combination found in banquets.
Overall, it was a nice banquet meal. The best dish for the night for me was the Pan Fried Tooth Fish. The sauce went well with the rice and I found that the more fish I ate, the more rice I am eating (it could get a bit addictive!). One good thing about food served as a banquet is that you can try a bit of everything as all the dishes are serve in the middle on the lazy susan (pick and choose). Prices of banquet range from $35 – $60 per person – you can choose which one depending on your budget!