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Seems to be like Xmas was just a couple weeks ago, and all of a sudden we’re faced with Chinese New Year in only about a month’s time. The thing that I like about Chinese New Year (since angpow money is now in negative territory) – Yee Sang and Chinese New Year dinners!

Chinese restaurants around the country are busy preparing Chinese New Year menus just about now, and we’re lucky to be invited by Siobhan to sample a few dishes from Ritz Carlton’s Li Yen and JW Marriot’s Shanghai restaurants.

Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel
Li Yen at Ritz Carlton and Shanghai at JW Marriot hotel

Li Yen serves traditional Cantonese cuisine, the variant of Chinese food that is more prevalent among the high end Chinese restaurants in Malaysia, while Shanghai restaurant, like the name suggests, entice customers with traditional Shanghainese dishes.

As per usual YTL standards, both restaurants are tastefully decorated and provide excellent ambiance. There are also private dining rooms in addition to the common dining hall.

Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze
Prosperity yee sang with abalone, with Siobhan & Haze (at Li Yen)

We started the night with my very first Prosperity Yee Sang for 2013, and this one comes with a touch of luxury with abalone slices instead of of the more common raw salmon. The ingredients were fresh, and it sure tastes like CNY is just around the corner. Li Yen also provide you with those extra long chopsticks, real handy when it comes to Lou Sang time.

Huat ahhhhhh!

double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce
double boiled chicken soup, stir fry prawn with supreme soya sauce (at Li Yen)

When it comes to traditional CNY Chinese course dinner, I always love to start with a bowl of good soup. Li Yen didn’t disappoint. The double boiled chicken soup with dried scallop and Chinese cabbage was one of the best I’ve had. Subtle, sweet, it gives you that homey warm, comfort feeling.

The stir-fried prawns with supreme soya sauce too was a top notch. Huge fresh prawns completely shelled (they should do this more often, I don’t want to deal with the shells), the seasoning isn’t over powering and you can eat it on it’s own. Sweetness of seafood complimented well with the hint of saltiness from supreme soya sauce.

braised Shanghainese pork, xiao long bao
braised Shanghainese pork,  xiao long bao (at Shanghai)

After the three dishes we moved to Shanghai restaurant just a short walk away.

Greeting us on the table were the beautiful braised Shanghainese pork, xiao long bao, and the traditional CNY dessert – glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds.

The braised Shanhaginese pork looks a bit like “tong por” pork, but in truth it’s a more sophisticated dish. The bottom half of the dish is a mixtures of prawn paste, pine nuts, and vegetable. It was soft, succulent, and delicious. Would be even better with a bit of rice I think.

Xiao long bao here is top notch as well, with plenty of soup and skin that’s just thick enough to hold everything in.

pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds
pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds (at Shanghai)

We ended the night with pan-fried glutinous rice cake with sesame seeds, they’re sweet and crunchy on the outside from the sesame. Perhaps not one of my favorite desserts, but it shouldn’t disappoint anyone who likes glutinous rice cake (I prefer mine deep fried between sweet potato, old school)

The set menus start from RM 1388++ per table of 10 persons, click on the link below to see the menus.

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Li Yen @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

A few weeks ago I was invited by Ollie to a mooncake sampling session at Li Yen, Ritz Carlton. The trouble about having a review session over lunch, and one that is set up more than a week in advance is that… there is a risk that I forget about them.

I was happily walking out of the office heading to lunch when my phone beep and I was reminded about the event on the day. I quickly made my way to Ritz Carlton, and of course did not have my SLR or my trusted Canon S90 with.

So you will have to be content with these photos taken with my phone under poorly lit condition.

Li Yen at Ritz Carlton
Li Yen at Ritz Carlton, Jon & Cheng Yi

Our primary goal was to have a taste test on several types of mini mooncakes on offering here. I do like my mooncakes, and for me, a lunch consisting of pure mooncake actually sounded rather lovely. Furthermore, the session is conducted at Li Yen, a pretty posh Chinese restaurant of which I’ve tasted the food, but haven’t yet stepped foot in as yet at the time.

the glorious mini mooncakes from Ritz Carlton
the glorious mini mooncakes from Ritz Carlton

We were served four types of mini mooncakes, two of which were new flavors introduced this year – the green tea with custard and salted egg in snow skin, and wasabi with lotus paste.

The wasabi mooncake is very subtle, you really need to let it swirl a little the mouth before getting the wasabi taste, I do like it. On the other hand, I like the salted egg in the green tea flavored mooncake, but not too big a fan on the custard bit, tends to be slightly too jelak I think, but not something a sip of hot tea can’t fix.

Then there’s the interesting Moët & Chandon Champagne with snow skin that has the most exquisite taste of any mooncake I’ve ever tasted. It’s like eating normal chocolates, and then having those with liquor inside, it’s definitely a different experience, and one that I received positively.

Lastly, the pink Rosé mooncake in snow skin too offers the experience as the name suggest, a hint of the flavor of rose that is unique to your typical mooncake tastes.

dimsum for lunch
dimsum for lunch – spring roll, har kau, siu mai

As I stuffed my stomach at least 70% full of mooncakes, they brought in dimsum and some other dishes as a supplement for lunch, and how could I deny?

The spring rolls and prawn rolls gave a welcoming change of taste from those sweet mooncakes, then the har kau and siu mai were as good as any out there. Li Yen is a non-halal outlet, and thus these dimsum were made with the ingredients as dimsum should.

pork buns, seafood noodle, custard buns
pork buns, seafood noodle, custard buns

The pork buns and custard buns at Li Yen were really, really, awesome! At this point I was already over-full and still I couldn’t stopped myself from stuffing another serving of each of them.

As I was going to surrender, the seafood noodle arrived… I noms down all the seafood, and left the noodle pretty much intact. It was a good session, and I am going to get more mooncakes before the end of the season, yes!

The mid autumn festival falls on the 12th of September, get your mooncakes before the date, you still have a week. 😀

Read about Jon and Cheng Yi’s reviews too, and thank you Ollie for the invite.

 

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Li Yen @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000