For those who celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore and Malaysia, yee sang is a table staple to ensure prosperity and longevity for the next 365 days. Some of KL's best restaurants are sticking with tradition ... with a twist. These chefs are giving the ubiquitous yee sang a much-needed facelift.
Here are five unique yee sang for you to toss to wealth, health and prosperity.
1. Scallops galore: Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
Price: RM118++ for half portion, RM228++ for full portion
Why we love it: The Prosperity Yee Sang is served with large, fresh scallops -- a nice change from the more commonly used raw salmon.
This version uses fresh fruits -- including mango and crystal pear -- to signify longevity and new beginnings, and is topped with lightly blanched scallops. Instead of the usual plum sauce, master chef Leong Weng Heng has replaced it with strawberry sauce; since strawberry sauce isn't as sweet as the usual toppings it balances the yee sang flavours.
Chef says: “The fusion of fresh scallop and strawberry sauce adds a juicy and fresh bite to one’s palate as well as creating a fruity, tangy freshness when savouring this auspicious platter," says Leong Weng Heng.
Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2117 4888, www.grandmillenniumkl.com
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2. Magnificent Dragon: Toh Yuen, Hilton Petaling Jaya
Why we love it: The Dragon Yee Sang with abalone and salmon is beautifully crafted to depict a visually arresting dragon with a fireball to commemorate the coming Year of the Dragon.
The intricate head, claws and tail of the dragon are handcrafted using pumpkin, which symbolises abundant wealth. Fresh fruits such as dragon fruit, mango, honeydew and pear are used for the body of the dragon for a light, refreshing taste.
The dragon’s fireball is made up of abalone, raw salmon and pomelo, all of which symbolise abundance.
Chef says: “The dragon symbolises courage and mightiness, so it's only right that we do it justice by handcrafting the dragon head, claw and tail to make it look lively and symbolic,” says Master Chef Lee Kok Siong. He adds, “We also use fresh fruits as guests are more health conscious nowadays.”
Toh Yuen, Hilton Petaling Jaya, No.2 Jalan Barat, 46200 Petaling Jaya, +603 7955 9122, www.zestpj.com
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3. Dragon Fish for a Prosperous Dragon Year: Gu Yue Tien
Why we love it: The Dragon Fish Yee Sang is refreshingly tangy from the strawberry sauce and the addition of the dragon fish gives it a lovely crunch as well as being symbolic to the Year of the Dragon.
This is not your conventional yee sang but the ingredients still hold various auspicious meanings. The version here is made up of coral lettuce, pear, pomelo, golden raisins, sesame seeds, slivers of Norwegian salmon and crunchy dragon fish. A strawberry sauce is poured over the yee sang, made from local strawberries from Cameron Highlands.
Chef says: “Instead of the traditional yee sang, I thought of putting together a Western salad for something different. The dragon fish fits in nicely for celebrating the Year of the Dragon,” says Chef/Owner Frankie Woo.
Gu Yue Tien, Lot B5-A, Chulan Square, 92 Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2148 0808, www.chulansquare.com
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4. East Meets West: Chynna, Hilton Kuala Lumpur
Price: RM98++ for half portion, RM148++ for full portion
Why we love it: The Caesar Salad Yee Sang is an ingenious creation by Chef Lam Hock Hin, showcasing the perfect marriage of East and West cuisine.
The traditional yee sang is topped with romaine lettuce (green vegetables signify togetherness), followed by Norwegian salmon for abundance and croutons for texture. Finally a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese is added to symbolise “gold”, the colour of prosperity and wealth.
Chef says: “We try to come up with unique yee sang offerings every year," says Chef Lam Hock Hin. "This year, I thought of doing an 'East meets West' variation of the yee sang by mixing Caesar salad and Parmesan with the traditional yee sang to brings out a variety of flavours and textures.”
Chynna, Hilton Kuala Lumpur, 3, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2264 2264, www.life.hiltonkl.com
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5. Seafood switcheroo: Golden Phoenix, Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur
Price: RM108++ (small), RM158++ (medium) and RM188++ (large)
Why we love it: The Golden Prosperity Yee Sang is a new creation: instead of the usual raw salmon, this yee sang is topped with deep-fried soft shell crabs and French caviar.
This colourful salad is made up of grated fresh vegetables and topped with deep-fried soft shell crab cut into thin, long piece to match the rest of the dish. French caviar is used to give the yee sang a crunchy, rich flavour. The Golden Phoenix special sauce is drizzled to complete the dish.
Chef says: “I used soft shell crab because of its unique taste and texture. I wanted to show that yee sang can be combined with ingredients besides salmon and jelly fish,” explains Chinese Executive Chef Ng Chee Wah.
Golden Phoenix, Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2161 7777, www.equatorial.com/kul
For more KL Chiense New Year recs and restaurant news, read on in the LifestyleAsia KL Wine & Dine section.