Feasting on symbols of prosperity-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
THE Year of the Water Snake is here and the Chinese believe that if you have a snake in the house, you will never go hungry. I was lucky enough to experience Chinese New Year the Shangri-La way. Of course, it began with the traditional dragon dance at the lobby and the throwing of the coins, after which we were treated to lunch by Shangri-La’s director of communications Mildred Amon at the Chinese restaurant Tea Of Spring.
The “Yee Sang” ceremony or prosperity toss was first on the menu. Yee sang is a kind of salad consisting of shredded vegetables, raw fish like salmon, and other ingredients believed to bring good luck. It was followed by pumpkin soup highlighted by mixed seafood dumpling. The soup was rich, delicate and smooth with the dumpling giving body to the soup.
Next was a medley of succulent and fresh scallops combined with sea moss. The sea moss also symbolizes prosperity. Steamed lapu-lapu with soya sauce followed. Feng shui experts say a whole fish with its head and tail intact represents togetherness throughout the year. Well, I must say we were fortunate to have tasted the dish. It was very pleasing to the palate especially because the fish was very, very fresh.
Then we had the crispy, aromatic duck with plum sauce—my favorite during the entire meal. The duck skin was crispy and the meat juicy. I could taste the smokiness of the tea leaves. The mix of flavors was subtle. It was definitely the highlight of our lunch.
We also had wok-fried prawns (bi feng style) with green peppers, garlic and black beans or taosi. The flavor combination was delicious, and it came out colorful as well as appetizing. I could taste the hint of spice from the peppers, the natural sweetness of the prawn and musky richness of the black beans. Then came the ling zhi mushroom with broccoli and oyster sauce. The broccoli was cooked to perfection with its texture still crunchy. I really loved it. I mean who wants to eat soggy broccoli, right? And the mushroom gave a silky feel to the dish.
Lastly, we had the Tea of Spring fried rice to complete the meal. And there was dessert, the mango sago with mochi, which none of us could resist. It was a perfect ending to one of the best Chinese meals I ever had. Well, now I know where and how to spend Chinese New Year. Where else? It must be Shangri-La.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2013.