Happy Chinese New Year to all friends and readers!   I have tossed yee sang 10 times this year already, and I’m not complaining as I’m a yee sang addict.   My makan kaki, Ecstatic Eeyore, and I have a ritual of going to Woo Lan every year and ordering a plate of yee sang and a noodle dish for two.  It seems rather pathetic when two people toss yee sang gaily, chanting all kinds of unachievables, but we don’t really care as we immerse ourselves in tradition.

One of the first sessions I attended together with the other bloggers was a food review at Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant.  Zuan Yuan is ideal if you’re looking for a halal alternative.   While at first, we moaned and groaned about missing the lard, we eventually came to the realisation that a perfectly good meal could emerge from a halal Chinese restaurant without that glorified hog.   We scoffed at the idea of lap mei fan without the typical waxed meats made of pork, but when we tried Zuan Yuan’s version of lap mei fan with the clever replacing of pork with turkey and chicken, we knew that we could finally share this much revered dish with our Muslim friends.

The roast duck is a specialty at Zuan Yuan, and I understood why.   The meat was tender, the skin was crispy and the spicy chilli sauce was a good complement to the dish.   I also liked the fried tiger prawns.   The prawns, which were extremely fresh, were coated in a dry sauce made with dried shrimps, chilli and garlic – perfect for those who prefer bolder flavours.

Nian gao, a sweetish sticky confection made from glutinous rice, is popularly eaten during Chinese New Year although it is available all year round.   At Zuan Yuan, the nian gao is home made and is served with a twist – it is paired with an avocado custard, then coated and deep fried in a kataifi phyllo dough.

Chinese New Year set meals are available at Zuan Yuan till the 20th of February.   This year, Chef Michael Chew has prepared 4 varieties of yee sang with different accompaniments ranging from the more common seaweed and salmon to exotic ingredients like chuka hotate and sliced abalone.  The set menus at Zuan Yuan are available at prices ranging from RM988++ to RM1,388++ per table of 10.

Zuan Yuan will remain open throughout the fifteen days of the Lunar New Year.

Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
One World Hotel
First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7681 1159

Thank you, Bangsar Babe, for the invitation, and Florence Leong and Crystal Koh of One World Hotel for kindly hosting us.

Yee Sang with seaweed and assorted fresh fruits – less of the preserved stuff!

Roasted duck with unique spicy sauce

Wok-fried tiger prawn Hong Kong style

Steamed coral fish with pickled radish and chilli

Braised diced sea treasure, dried oyster and sea moss in golden bag with green garden

Steamed lotus leaf rice with assorted meat and chicken chinese sausage

Chicken and chrysanthemum soup – clear soup with robust flavours

Double-boiled sea coconut with organic bird’s nest, red dates and white fungus

Deep fried avocado custard and nian gao with kataifi phyllo