Traditional dishes help capture joy of lunar festival

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 AS the vibrant festivities of Chinese New Year (CNY) bring friends and family together, it is the shared meals that often become the centrepiece of the celebration.

The joy captured in traditional dishes is not just a treat for the palate but also a tribute to the spirit of reunion and the sharing of prosperity.

Though set meals are usually the go-to for Chinese New Year dining, it makes sense to go a la carte as a way to sample other offerings.

At Chuai Heng Restaurant, a wide array of dim sum and Chinese cuisine await.

Available from the second day of CNY onwards are over 60 choices of dim sum, ranging from porridges, chef specialities and desserts priced between RM5 and RM48.

 It is the shared meals that often become the centrepiece of the celebration. — Photos: ONG SOON HIN/The StarIt is the shared meals that often become the centrepiece of the celebration. — Photos: ONG SOON HIN/The Star

Most popular are its siew mai, char siew pao, char siew sou and egg tarts, while another must-try item is the pan-fried glutinous skin dumplings.

Both the fluffy char siu pau and crispy char siu dou encase the same tantalising fragrant and savoury barbecued pork filling that is not overly sweet.

Their signature glutinous skin dumplings is a clever culinary creation, shaped like carrots but surprising the senses with their crispy exterior and savoury filling of marinated pork and mushrooms.

On the a la carte menu from executive chef Lam Ping Mau is Fresh Fruits Yee Sang (RM128 for a half portion, RM198 for a full portion) that embodies the very essence of togetherness.

Fresh ingredients used here include crisp vegetables such as jicama and white carrots, as well as sweet fruits such as jackfruit, guava and cantaloupe.

The addition of contrasting flavours from sweet and sour sauces, along with the crunch of roasted sesame and almonds, create a riot of flavours and textures for the palate.

The luxurious Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup (RM98) offers a harmonious melody of flavours with each spoonful.

This highly auspicious dish is prepared with premium sea cucumber, abalone and dried scallops, complemented by the earthy depth of traditional Chinese herbs and unique tenderness of Chinese Silkie Chicken.

Together with shark’s fin and fish maw, the soup requires long hours of gentle simmering to infuse the broth with their unique essences and offer a luxurious flavour with a gelatinous quality.

In contrast, Lap Mei Fan (RM158 for six pax, RM218 for 10) offers the robust flavours of Guangzhou imported waxed duck and cured pork belly with the aromatic allure of Chinese sausages.

The four meats, laid over a fluffy bed of steamed rice and accented with crisp stir-fried French beans, are then drizzled with umami-rich superior soy sauce, which, once mixed, thoroughly flavours each grain or rice.

Lastly, while not a traditional Chinese dish, Charcoal-grilled Iberico Pork Chop with homemade BBQ sauce, served with Japanese scallops (RM52 per portion), offers something different.

The Iberico pork, known for its marbling and succulent texture, is enhanced by the BBQ glaze that caramelises the crust and satisfies with each bite, while the accompanying Japanese scallop offers a buttery richness to the dish.

CHUAI HENG RESTAURANT 20, Jalan Kampung, Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm (Monday to Saturday); 10am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm (Sunday).

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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