Chinese restaurants are commonly known to be lively but a certain vivacity permeates the air during Chinese New Year. Perhaps, it’s the pleasant sight of intricate lanterns dangling overhead; the clatter of chopsticks over a round of raucous lou hei, or the brisk footsteps of diligent staff shuffling between tables to feed hungry diners. And there’s always toasting – a roaring chorus of ‘yum seng’ to hope for a better year ahead.
Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya have one of the largest concentration of Chinese restaurants, whose chefs have come from humble, local kitchens or through Hong Kong, where the respect for natural flavours and texture are unrivalled. So take a look at this list below and start making dinner reservations – you’ll be in good hands.
Ti Chen, The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur
The restaurant has created three special menus, themed ‘Spring & Happiness’, ‘Everlasting Prosperity’ and ‘Wealth & Fortune’. Available in set meal packages for five or 10 people, the spread includes all-time favourites such as roasted chicken, pan-fried jumbo tiger prawns, steamed glutinous rice, honey-glazed baked Norwegian salmon fillets, deep-fried Chinese New Year cake with brown sugar, and more. The customary yee sang is enlivened with a dash of tangy blackcurrant plum dressing to cut through the richness of your meal.
Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang, Saujana. 03 7843 1234. www.shr.my. Until Mar 2, except Feb 16. Lunch, 12noon-3pm; dinner, 6-10pm. Set menus are priced from RM888 to RM1,688 nett for five; and from RM1,688 nett to RM2,888 for 10.
Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Executive Chinese chef Ricky Thein and his team have designed three menus, ‘Fortune’, ‘Prosperity’ and ‘Wealth’, which are priced at RM288, RM388 and RM488 nett per person respectively. If you want to impress your guests, the latter offers something more lavish, which includes yee sang with soft shell crab and snow pear; double boiled Matsutake mushroom soup with sea treasures; roasted chicken wing with linseed and wild mushroom stuffing; wok-fried lobster with lime and salted egg yolk paste; slow-cooked six head whole abalone; fried glutinous garlic rice with Chinese waxed meat, ham and dried scallop; double-boiled sweetened ginger tea with black sesame glutinous rice dumplings; and chilled blueberry snow skin dumpling.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre. 03 2179 8885. www.mandarinoriental.com/kualalumpur. Until Mar 2. Lunch, 12noon-2.30pm; dinner, 7-10.30pm.
Nobu Kuala Lumpur
Nobu’s yee sang with Japanese overtones makes the perfect curtain-raiser to your reunion dinner. There are two options to choose from: The Nobu Signature Prosperity Platter (RM188++) features salmon and white fish sashimi with jicama, carrots, beetroot and myoga; while the fancier Nobu Premium Prosperity Platter (RM288++) consists of Renkon Dai (baby snapper), an array of mixed seafood chosen by the chef, pomelo, jicama and gari sushi. Don’t leave without the Chocolate Mandarin dessert, a creamy chocolate mousse shaped like a fruit that reveals a citrusy orange yuzu centre.
Level 56, Menara 3 Peteonas, Persiaran KLCC. 03 2164 5084. www.noburestaurants.com/kuala-lumpur. Both yee sang platters are good for two pax; Chocolate Mandarin, RM50++ each. Until Mar 2.
Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
The offerings at Lai Ching Yuen are culled from a Cantonese repertoire, in which dried scallop soup, stewed dried seafood with black moss, whole suckling pig and nian gao take centre stage. Their version of yee sang comes with abalone, smoked duck, jellyfish, peanuts, assorted vegetables, tangy plum sauce and a smattering of crispy soft shell crab.
Level 1, 160 Bukit Bintang Street. 03 2117 4180. www.millenniumhotels.com. Dinner, 6.30-10.30pm. Until Mar 4.
The presence of pork on the dining table during Chinese New Year symbolises wealth and abundance. To up the ante, literally, the steak restaurant ushers in the festive season with a handcrafted Jamón ibérico yee sang. Slices of ham are laid on a bed of fresh fruits, pickled cucumber, white yam, pomelos, before being topped with bean curd crisps. The yee sang serves as a great appetiser before you dig into Ante’s new sharing dishes such as Chermoula spiced shoulder steak, pork crackling basmati rice and bacon lettuce tomato salad.
Available at 1 Utama (03 7732 5204) and Publika (03 6206 3364) outlets. For more information, see fb.com/anteporksteaks.
The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
Your ultimate holiday feasting should start with St. Regis’ signature Prosperity Yee Sang and braised bird’s nest soup. If you’re looking to break with tradition (and escape nosy relatives), opt for the hotel’s Lunar New Year package that comprises an overnight stay in the plush comforts of a sleek St. Regis suite, breakfast and Chinese New Year set dinner at The Brasserie starting from RM2,600 nett for two guests.
6 Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, KL. 03 2727 1111. www.stregiskualalumpur.com. Chinese New Year dinner, RM313+ per person, until Mar 16. Stay and dine package from Feb 15 to 19.
Restaurant Extra Super Tanker
Super Tanker is a Chinese restaurant through and through so popular dishes such as double boiled soup, fish and suckling piglet are almost inescapable on the menu. The chefs have carefully curated three set packages for ten people this year – all auspiciously priced at RM1,138, RM1,688 and RM2,598 nett. Expect a few contemporary twists to shake up the usual line-up: mango prawn roll and stir fry scrambled eggs with fish maw in lettuce; baked Spain Iberico ribs; as well as braised dried scallop with ham and Chinese cabbage.
Glo Damansara, 03 7733 7769; Bandar Utama, 03 7726 8877. www.extrasupertanker.com. Dinner from 6.30pm onwards.
Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Feast Village Starhill Gallery
Teochew-style cuisine meets elegant décor at Pak Loh Chiu Chow, whose executive Chinese chef Alex Au has put forth two set menus, Four Seasons Fortune and Jade Prosperity. The selection of dishes, which includes double-boiled top shell soup with cordyceps flower, steamed dragon tiger spot with bean curd and black fungus, braised South African abalone and the not-to-be-missed double-boiled lotus seeds and lily bulbs with black glutinous rice, is a refreshing change from the usual Cantonese fare.
181, Jalan Bukit Bintang. 03 2782 3856. www.starhillgallery.com. Menus are available for four, six and 10 persons; start from RM99.50nett per person. Until Mar 2.