Many are divided on what dishes make Chinese New Year special.
My vote goes to the pen cai, but many would say it is the yusheng.
I find the ritual of tossing yusheng more interesting than the dish itself. Being noisy and joyous, it is a lovely way to start a meal. But the actual dish can end up being too sweet, too gooey or just a convoluted mess.
Over the past few years though, the yusheng situation seems to have improved as joints have come up with fresher and more interesting flavours.
For the upcoming year of the Horse, the selections available deserves a blue ribbon.
Here are some of my favourites.
The first time I saw the yusheng at InterContinental Singapore's Man Fu Yuan, I was awed as it filled an entire table. Indeed, it is meant for 30 people. The dish goes for $888, but is worth it if you want to impress. Pair it with the pen cai (from $628), and you would have lifted the bar on Chinese New Year dining. For enquiries, call 6825-1062 or 6825-1059.
Grand Park City Hall's Park Palace serves one of the most memorable yusheng I have tried. Its Imperial Five Treasures Shunde yusheng ($888), though not cheap, is delicious and has prized ingredients such as abalone, lobster, geoduck clam, salmon and hamachi. Crispy fried vermicelli gives it a crunch, while peanut oil and soya sauce makes it more savoury. Call 6432-5888 for enquiries.
The Eight Joys of Spring Yu Sheng ($138) from Royal Plaza on Scotts is a yusheng with healthy ingredients such as dang shen, ginseng, red dates and wolfberries. It also has deep-fried crispy rice vermicelli and strips of mango and green papaya. Call 6589-7788 between 11am and 9pm to order.
For a spicier version of the yusheng, check out Eight Treasures ($88) offered by Amara hotel. The bed of prime seafood such as ebi prawns, prawn roe, abalone and salmon offered is already yummy, and the Sichuan sauce poured over it gives it more oomph. This is a yusheng not for the faint hearted. Besides, who does not want a spicy New Year? To book, call 6879-2607.
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