Sunday, January 31, 2016


Hou or monkey in Chinese sounds similar to good so naturally this Chinese astrology sign grabbed the limelight at the prosperity yee sang with fresh salmon presentation at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ for our media review.

Us shutterbugs simply couldn’t stop snapping away at the Instagrammable creation before dinner! The yee sang tasted as good as it looked too. Chinese Executive Chef Ben Lim has stuck to tradition with loads of multi-colour, fried flour crisps, assorted pickles: ginger, leek and onion, shredded carrot and radish, fresh pomelo sacs, shredded kaffir lime leaves and pok chui (deep-fried flour crackers) and fresh slices of raw salmon.
Once the whole platter was tossed and stirred to boisterous shouts of lou sang, the mixed salad turned out to be delicious thanks to the bright, well-balanced melange of sweet, savoury, mildly spiced, briny, tangy and even faintly bitter accents. Augmented by thick fresh salmon slices, we made quick work of the salad.

Liquid intake in recent scorching weather is a must and the restorative double-boiled fish maw soup with black mushroom & dried scallop was most welcomed. With slippery smooth fish maw (fa kau), conpoy, black mushroom and wolfberries double-boiled for hours, the salubrious broth really hit the spot.
The biggest show-stealer of our preview was steamed imperial chicken with Chinese herbs and seamoss. Just a whiff of the pungent woody, herbal aroma sent our salivary glands into overdrive and we soon picked the bones clean of the chook. The sublime sauce would have gone superbly with some white rice but we resisted.

Abundance certainly came our way after we relished every bit of the Teochew style steamed pomfret. The fish’s inherent sweetness was discernible, the flesh soft and plump. Pickled mustard (ham choi), sliced black mushroom and custard-soft beancurd helped to boost the dish’s texture and taste profiles too.
You’d laugh with delight upon tasting the deep-fried prawns with lemon mayonnaise sauce. Topped with coarsely ground nuts, the springy shelled crustaceans in a light coating of lemon-infused mayo 'rocked' our palate. Underneath was some diced fruit tossed in mayo, lending unexpected creamy sweetness to the equation.
CNY is possibly one of the major occasions when pricey ingredients appear on the festive menu. Nothing screams luxury like stewed whole abalone with Australian sea cucumber & seamoss so I daresay we dined like a boss that night. Only good manners stopped most of us from licking the plate clean!
Instead of lap mei farn (rice with waxed meat), we raved over the packets of steamed glutinous rice with dried oyster wrapped in lotus leaf. Suffused with the distinctly rustic scent of the lotus leaf, the rice was a total win. Added with the subtly smoky dried oysters, the parcels of irresistible, soulful offering got the thumbs up.
Dessert was kept light yet sweet with osmanthus/sweet olive with lemongrass jelly accompanied by CNY cake (nin kou) with desiccated coconut. While the mildly sweet broth proved to be a nice palate-cleanser, we wished freshly grated coconut had been used in place of the dry, sawdust-like desiccated coconut. Such a pity that dismal, rancid overtone marred an otherwise perfect celebratory dinner.
Yee sang is available in regular (2-5 persons) and large (6-10 persons) servings, starting from RM98 onwards up to RM258. Toh Yuen’s set menus are priced at RM1,618 (Everlasting Happiness Set), RM1,968 (Luck & Joyfulness) or RM2,308 (Sea of Prosperity) per table of 10 persons; available for lunch and dinner until 28 February.
For reservations, call Toh Yuen, tel: 03-7955 9122 x 4073. Hilton Petaling Jaya, Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

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