Thursday, January 23, 2014

Welcome the Year of the Wood Horse with a Yee Sang Lunch at Shang Palace

There's no better way to welcome the coming Chinese New Year with a Cantonese feast...and a traditional Prosperity Toss. 

And there's no better place to celebrate it than the Makati Shangri-La Manila's Shang Palace...

The Makati Shangri-La Manila's elegant Shang Palace offers authentic Cantonese cuisine using the finest ingredients. Intricate details, including fine wooden latticework and crystal chandeliers add to one's dining experience. With eleven private rooms and a spacious main dining area, the Shang Palace is the place for the new year. 

Yee Sang (or Yusheng, or yuu sahng) or Prosperity Toss, is a traditional salad dish with an assortment of shredded vegetables, salmon, and various sauces and condiments served during Chinese New Year. The Yee Sang salad at Shang Palace includes shredded white radish, carrots, turnips, red pepper, sweet pickled ginger, dried fruits, parsley, chili, jellyfish, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, and a host of other traditional and flavorful ingredients, including various condiments like rice vinegar, sweet plum sauce, and sesame oil.

Salmon Fish Yee Sang, ready to be tossed. The festive ritual is said to have originated in Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaysia back in the 60s, and since then, has been a part of many Chinese New Year celebrations. Now you can enjoy this unique tradition at the Shang Palace.

As the guests gather round, Makati Shangri-La Manila's Executive Chinese Chef Richard Thong (L) prepares the final touches before the ceremonial salad toss. Singapore's Ambassador, H. E. Hirubalan V P, his lovely wife and Makati Shangri-La Manila General Manager Alain Borgers step up for the prosperity toss.
Each ingredient has a special significance to symbolize prosperity in the coming year, and as the hopes and wishes for a prosperous Year of the Wood Horse are proclaimed, each guest tosses the salad, the higher the better, to welcome the year. After the toss, the salad is then served. 

Many believe the higher the toss equates to one's gain in personal fortunes, so go ahead and toss it. Toss it high. And don't worry about the mess, its all part of the fun. Agnes Chua, Manager of the Shang Palace, and her staff prepare to serve the Yee Sang, ensuring each dish includes the different traditional ingredients for each guest to enjoy and savor.

Sweet and sour, with contrasting textures and complex flavors, a refreshing and healthy way to welcome the Year of the Wood Horse. And the celebratory toss makes this salad even more special. Carrots for good luck, pepper to attract wealth, radish for prosperity, and deep-fried flour crisps for even more financial success, and I'm loving every bite...

To celebrate the coming Year of the Wood Horse, the Shang Palace offers a luxurious Chinese New Year Set Menu prepared by Executive Chinese Chef Richard Thong. The Set Menus feature several courses of   traditional Cantonese delicacies and start at P 1,988 to P 6,688 per person for January 30 Dinner, 6pm to 10:30pm, and January 31 Lunch, 11am to 2:30pm, and Dinner, 6pm to 10:30pm. We were served a sample of Chef Richard Thong's Eight-Course Set Menu for the Chinese New Year, starting with the Suckling Pig Combination Platter, an assortment of traditional cold cuts. Elegantly plated, the sumptuous platter is a perfect start for the feast.

A steaming hot bowl of Dried Scallops, Shredded Chicken and Bamboo Pith with Crab Meat Soup is then served. A thick and hearty soup with complex flavors, enhanced with the flavorful crab meat and scallops.

Then, the Stir-Fried Scallops with XO Sauce arrived, with broccoli and spices. The fresh, clean and delicate flavors of the soft and tender scallops come out in every bite. Premium, fresh ingredients make this dish special, something you can expect from the Shang Palace.

Braised Baby and Abalone Dried Oyster with Black Mushroom and Garden Green in Japanese Bean Curd Skin, another traditional Cantonese dish featuring a variety of flavors and textures. The nutty mushrooms, the tender abalone and oysters in rich and thick sauce combine with the subtle flavors of the bean curd for yet another culinary treat.

Steamed Lapu-Lapu Hong Kong Stle in Light Soya Sauce, comforting and familiar, topped with fresh scallions and ginger. The delicately steamed fresh grouper has a fresh and subtle sweetness, while the loght soy sauce simply enhances the flavor without overpowering the fish.

The traditional Peking Duck, no traditional Cantonese feast is complete without this. The delicate and crisp outer layer contrasts with the tender and juicy duck meat, served with plum sauce, but perfectly tasty on its own.

Wok-Fried Glutinous with Winter Meat in Lotus Leaf, a rich rice dish elegantly wrapped in lotus leaf punctuated with the sharp flavors of Chinese sausages, and a masterful finale to an indulgent and traditional Cantonese feast.

And there's more. A sweet ending to a traditional feast, the Chilled Pumpkin Cream is just the perfect dessert, rich and creamy, not too sweet. There's just something so comforting with a pumpkin-based dessert, and this is one them.

Crispy Fried Nian Gao, lightly coated in egg and fried, another traditional Chinese New Year treat. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy inside, with just the right sweetness. Great with hot tea.

Flavored Nian Gao were also served, coated in coconut and available in Red Bean, Pineapple, and Purple Yam flavors. In addition to the exclusive Chinese New Year Set Menus, the Shang Palace also offers a special Dim Sum Plus Lunch on January 30 from 11:30am to 2:30pm for P 1,288 and a New Year Dim Sum Buffet on January 31 from 11am to 2:30pm at the Isabela Ballroom for P 1,288. Inagiku and Circles, the Makati Shangri-La Manila's other fine dining outlets will also be offering special Chinese New year packages.

And if you want to bring home the Chinese New Year experience, the Makati Shangri-La Manila will also be offering traditional Tikoy, or Nian Gao, and special tarts, at the lobby. And don't forget the festive Lion and Dragon Dance and firework display at the Lobby driveway on January 30, 11pm and on January 31 at 12;30pm . Here's wishing everyone a happy, and prosperous, Chinese New Year...Gong Xi Fa Cai!

The Shang Palace is located at the 2/F, Makati Shangri-La Manila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City or call 813-8888 for inquiries.

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  1. What an amazing menu. I want a pair of chopsticks to dig into it too. :)


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