Oh the grand arrival of Chinese New Year 2016, the promising idea of free flow bakwa and collection of red packets, though this only applies to the unwed and I speak from their perspective, yay us.
Other than just that, it is an important tradition within the Chinese community to celebrate reunion dinner, a heart warming affair that takes place on the eve of Chinese New Year, where the entire family gathers to enjoy a meal, catching up on all the lost time spent working and whats not.
Over at Intercontinental, Man Fu Yuan’s Executive Chef Eric Teo understands the significance of it all and has worked with Chinese Executive Chef Kwan Yiu Kan to put together a menu for the Chinese New Year season. You can place complete trust in them for they’ve curated only the best dishes available and this I promise you, it is an absolute decadent indulgence.
Yusheng With Crispy Monkey Head Mushrooms, Prosperity Flakes and Peach Dressing. This year’s yusheng is bigger and better, with the very aptly added crispy monkey head mushrooms since it is the year of the monkey after all.
Instead of the usual crisp flour, gold flaked cereal is added in the form of prosperity flakes, giving a more substantial crunch, added shimmer and signifying prosperity. Peach dressing is added to give a subtle sweetness to the tangy dish.
Executive Chef Eric Teo has also concocted a special dressing made with nitrogen. Expect a smoky dish that is bound to smother your heart.
Australian Lobster and Geoduck Sashimi with Freshly Grated Wasabi and Bonito Shoyu. The australian lobster is luscious and soft while the geoduck is crunchy and chewy, making a contrast in texture. Both sashimi combines well with the fresh wasabi and the bonito in the shoyu gives an extra smokiness to the dish.
Double-boiled Sakura Chicken Soup with Bird’s Nest, Fish Maw, Abalone and Black Truffles. Nothing comforts my soul much like a nourishing bowl of soup and this certainly did that for me. Using only premium ingredients, the broth is sweet, clear and healthy.
The sakura chicken used contains no addition of hormones and they are raised in an area where they feed on mineral water, making them lean and healthy to consume. The essence of the chicken is retained in the soup and the meat remains tender, with its flavour still locked in.
The fish maw lends an extra crunch and texture to the broth and of course it provides collagen. The abalone is chewy and the black truffle gives a hint of aroma to the broth, not overpowering at all. Yum, down till the very last drop.
Braised Australian Green Lip Abalone and Chinese Mushrooms with Spiky Sea Cucumber and Seasonal Vegetables. The preparation of this dish is extremely tedious as the Chef Kwan lets us know that in order for the essence of the abalone to be locked in, they had to soak the abalone for four days, steamed for eight to twelve hours and then braised for another eight to twelve hours in the casserole.
They say you reap what you sow and the casserole certainly embodied that, the braised abalone is exceedingly chewy and full in flavour, accompanied by the sauce. The spiked sea cucumber is crunchy and the vegetables are there to balance out the richness.
Man Fu Yuan Deluxe Treasures Pot. Oh you lovely pencai, we know pencai contains all of the premium ingredients and this year Man Fu Yuan has given this pot a more lavish effort with a twist. Expect goose feet, abalone, fish maw, prawns, spiked sea cucumber, quail eggs and much more.
Definitely decadently good, this pencai will make you feel like royalty, starting the lunar calendar with a bang. This is good for four to six people and it comes with Man Fu Yuan’s specially designed casserole, complete with monkeys, because of obvious reasons.
Steamed Alaskan King Crab in Chinese Rice Wine with Chicken Oil and Crispy Pork Lard. All hail the king crab from Hokkaido, resting in an umami sauce and drizzled with little pockets of gold, what a sinful yet worthwhile dish.
The addition of pork lard gives an extra fragrance to the fresh alaskan king crab. The crab cooked in chinese wine and chicken oil has its juices all locked in, resulting in the flesh being extremely tender and sweet. I’m pretty sure this is what heaven tastes like.
Braised South African Abalone and Chicken in Casserole. The abalone and chicken is braised in a well seasoned sauce, added with Chinese wine. I could vividly taste the hint of shaoxing wine, lending a slight salty and searing sensation that gives flavour to the dish. The chicken is cooked till it is delicate yet supple and it is paired well with the sauce.
Barbecued Whole Suckling Pig with Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice and Goose Liver Sausage. Let me just put this out there, I’m that person that spends a good long time picking out the fats while others gobble it down, slowly swirling the fats in their mouth while it melts.
However, for this dish, I caved in. The combination of the crisply barbecued suckling pig skin and its lusciously decadent layer of fats tasted incredibly delectable and I asked for a second portion because, greedy. Chew the fats and savour the fragrant crusty skin, I thought to myself.
The wok-fried glutinous rice and goose liver sausage wasn’t lacking in flavour either. The goose liver sausage is my all time favourite ingredient and the ones in here are an absolute delight. Combining both sweet and savoury, the sausage is accompanied by the aromatic glutinous rice.
Double-boiled Superior Bird’s Nest with Julienned Young Coconut. Who am I kidding, no matter how full I am, there is a special compartment for desserts and I’m definitely making way for this.
Inside this pot of goodness is the small strips of coconut and exquisite bird nest swimming in velvety sweet milk, ensuring the suppleness of my skin after enjoying it. It is a refreshing blend, complete with different textures from the coconut strips and birds nest.
Golden Egg Custard Pastry, Scented Osmanthus Nian Gao with Shandong Premium Red Dates, Cream of Almond and Sesame Dumpling coated with Grounded Peanuts. Oh this platter of desserts certainly embodied sweet endings real well.
The golden egg custard pastry was baked to a golden brown, as the name suggests, and crumbles apart gracefully when you sink into it, revealing the custard. Oh the buttery goodness. While I was never a big fan of nian gao, the ones here at Man Fu Yuan are pretty damn good. The shandong dates gives the albeit bland and thick nian gao a sweet and tangy touch.
The cream of almond is unlike the watered down ones you get outside, it is rich, luxurious and nourishing.I am all praise for the sesame mochi, the outer layer is exceedingly chewy, the sesame filling is extremely saccharine while remaining fragrant and the peanut shavings coating the mochi adds a slight texture and aroma to it.
By the end of the meal, I was stuffed like the suckling pig but in a good way. I also strongly believe that even though 2016 hasn’t arrived, I’ve hit my 2016 abalone intake quota. Pardon me while I melt away.
Intercontinental Man Fu Yuan is now taking reservations for 2016 Lunar Chinese New Year, with different indulgent sets for all.
The Deluxe Treasures Set is good for a table of 5 and priced at $688++ ;
While those in the mood for more decadence can opt for the Premium 8-Course Set, perfect for groups of 10 persons. Priced at $2,088++ for a table of 10 persons for 8 courses.
If the above mentioned aren’t to your liking, there are other sets put together for a hearty family reunion or business gathering, ranging from an assortment of 5 and 6 course sets available from $108++ to $328++ per person, while 8-course set menus for larger group sizes of 10 persons are priced from $1,088++ to $2,088++ per table.
There are also Chinese New Year takeaways available, like the pencai of which I mentioned earlier. So if you agree with me that there’s no better way to start the new lunar calendar by pampering oneself, go on and make reservations right now.