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Chynna,

Hilton Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
3, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2264-2592/2596
or visit: Hilton KL
Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm,
6.30pm to 10.30pm, everyday.

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BEING able to dine on Chinese New Year specialties probably explains the excitement among celebrants when the festival draws near, as this is when one can savour auspicious dishes for a better year ahead.

So, if you are in need of luck, there are many Chinese restaurants in town serving up exquisite dishes with prosperity in mind, for the Year of the Snake.

I look forward to tossing yee sang for luck, and while old favourites never disappoint, it is equally exciting to taste newer creations by some of our enterprising chefs.

Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s executive Chinese chef Lam Hock Hin is such a person, as he knows the secret of combining ingredients to offer a twist to his yee sang fare.

Last year, it was the Caesar Salad Yee Sang that tantalised taste buds but this time around, Lam’s Hakka Lei Cha with Rice Bran Oil Yee Sang is bound to get rave reviews for its unique and likeable taste.

Lam borrows the idea for this dish from the popular Hakka vegetarian serving lei cha or lui cha by adding rice bran oil, seaweed bird?s nest, plum sauce and basil paste to give it its charming fresh flavour and attractive green hue.

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Master at work: Lam has fun creating new yeesang flavours each year.

“The idea to create a yee sang dish resembling lei cha popped up after I had eaten lei cha and I thought it would be a good idea to make a lei cha yee sang,” he said.

The other yee sang flavours here include Australian Live Lobster Sashimi Yee Sang, Australian 3 Heads Abalone Yee Sang and Sea Birds Nest with Golden MD2 Pineapple Yee Sang.

The sweet and tart flavours of the pineapple blends well with the variety of ingredients in the Golden MD2 Pineapple Yee Sang, which is the other yee sang we had at lunch, recently, but it comes in second after the lei cha yee sang in my book of favourites.

Following a directive from Hilton International, the hotel no longer serves shark’s fin, so for our second course we enjoyed a bowl of hearty Shanghai Style Braised Shredded Abalone, Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw in Supreme Broth, that resembled shark’s fin soup as it was aromatic, thick and savoury.

The name of this dish, Poached Free Range Chicken (Eunuchs) with Wincarnis Sauce raised quite a few eyebrows but Lam explained that it referred to a capon, which is sought after for its flavourful and tender meat.

Wincarnis sauce, Lam said, was a herbal tonic that gave the bird its fresh herb and spice edge as it contains a mixture of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppermint leaves, cassia bark, cardamom seeds, angelica root and other ingredients.

The Steamed Live Marble Goby Fish with “Tauchu” Chilli Sauce and Braised Abalone with Sea Cucumber, Sun Dried Oyster and Fatt Choy in Dried Scallop Sauce are dishes that added to our sumptuous dining experience, and then we had an unusual find on a CNY menu “Steamed Giant Bamboo Clam with Spicy Homemade Dried Shrimp Sauce”.

Bamboo clams differ in sizes as there are the smaller sized ones to bigger clams, and here the latter is served.

To prevent overcooking, Lam steams the clams for two minutes, resulting in soft and squishy meat, complemented by the flavours of lemongrass, garlic, onion, sambal and dried shrimp in the Spicy Homemade Dried Shrimp Sauce.

Instead of thick long noodles for a healthy and long life ahead, we had a surprisingly tasty Simmer Bean Vermicelli with Minced Meat Sichuan Style.

The Sichuan sauce lends the noodles its pale orange tinge and spicy overtones, and by adding plenty of minced chicken, this noodles dish turned out to be quite a show stealer that day.

To cool down the palate, we had Chilled “Tianshan” Snow Lotus with Red Date and Deep fried Nian Gao with Banana, leaving us with a nice closure.

The CNY set menus here are priced from RM178.80++ to RM398.80++ per person for a table of 10.

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

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