Friday, February 11, 2011

1st CNY dinner @ Imbi Palace

This is my first CNY dinner of chinese food because there were no CNY dinners in Colombo. It has been a hectic week for me as I got back Colombo and in less than 24 hours, I was scheduled to fly again to Langkawi for work. My friends said that I was even busier than the PM... nah don't think so. One funny thing was, I don't even need to keep my luggage and I just leave them lying in the bedroom!

When I got back from Langkawi, my friend organised a dinner to meet up and it was wonderful because I missed all the CNY dishes this year! Usually I'll be sick of the CNY menu by now but this time I found myself craving for chinese food. Also present was Ziling, whom likes to leech (according to herself) because she's always broke and I forced her to help me capture the above picture. We shall start the dinner with a bottle of Dom Perignon and some ang pows!

Obligatory "yee sang" dish

A must have dish for every Chinese New Year is of course the "yee sang" literally means raw fish which is believed to bring prosperity and everything good that you can think of. Actually it's just a tactic by the restaurateurs to make more money from you. So, instead of you getting wealthy, they prosper first, the minute you order their "yee sang"! Amazingly, I never get sick of this dish! That night, we had extra servings of thick salmon slices and "hoi jit" which is jellyfish.

The crackers are so crunchy and crispy, the shredded carrots and the water chestnut was fresh and juicy, the THICK salmon slices and jellyfish gave it a very good contrasting texture and the sauce just compliments the whole dish very well. Since everyone else is a boss at the table except my sister and I, so we had the privilege of wishing ourselves "bou bou ko seng" 步步高升 which means promotion at work.

Next came the roasted suckling pig which I loved very much. Usually we don't get the privilege to eat this except when it comes to CNY dinners and wedding dinners but I believed last year I had it quite often and thus I am a bit guilty for causing the death of so many underaged pigs. However, I wasn't the one ordering them so I am not feeling too bad lah! The roast was perfectly done. Lucky it didn't add on the guilt by having sharks fins soup which is such a CNY dinner must-have and instead we had a pork ribs with lotus and "fatt choy" (black moss) soup. I did lick the bowl clean as well.

Well, it was CNY and I can expect to gain a kg or two from this dinner. There was a big claypot of "long tan"龙旦 or King Grouper fish which was done deep fried and then stewed with soya & sesame sauce and toufu. Then, we also had the baby abalone stewed with radish and chicken, continued by white asparagus in superior stock and also a snake bean with cuttlefish dish. Overall, the dishes were good except for the white asparagus which is a bit too old and the stem had too much fiber.

The Dom couldn't last that long. Macallan 25 years old was the first whisky we had that night. It makes everyone feel like they are 25 again except for Ziling whom is really 25 this year. It was indeed smooth, and it has a citrus and woody smoke taste with a long finish. No wonder this spirit has such a cult following that the demand has outstripped its supply. When the 25yo ran out, we continued the night with the Macallan Inspiration 1851.

It wasn't the end till the fat lady sings but in this case, it wasn't the end till I get to eat my favourite CNY dish - "lap mei fan" which literally means rice with waxed meat. This is a very popular dish during the Chinese New Year where good waxed meat like waxed duck, waxed meat sausages and liver sausages are added into the rice which is cooked in a claypot. What makes this dish so special is that the liver sausages were hand-carried all the way from Hong Kong's famous shop called "Se Wong Yee" 蛇王二 which according to my restaurateur friends are better than Yung Kee 鏞記. He told me the queue to buy the waxed meat was so long!

It was really worth all the effort as the waxed liver sausages (usually a mixture of duck and goose) is so heavenly with robust flavours and a good firm texture. I think it's quite an acquired taste just like foie gras due to it's strong aroma and taste. Some restaurants had the waxed meat mixed into the rice but I liked it to be separated. Wow, I think this is one of the best-est "lap mei fan" I had so far!

It's been quite sometime since I last had such an oppulent dinner. I know I used to do it very often a couple of years back but this year I hope not to be too indulgent. Maybe once in a while or once in a month is good enough as mom has been complaining about my weight. She also gave me her CNY wish which is to get me to stop posting about cigars. How can?!!

Speaking of which, I had been rebellious and this is my 2nd cigar of the year! I am counting and I think I made a very good progress by being less indulgent. Who needs dessert when this pretty box of my favourite Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure 2 is sitting on the dinner table?!!

Thanks again for the delicious dinner, awesome companies and great spirits!


Anonymous said...

"lap mei fan" may have the best sausage but cheap rice was used and cooked wrongly. What a waste!

Sean said...

wow, i've never seen so much salmon sashimi used in one yee sang dish before! usually it's just 8-10 very sad, thin slices :D
and the lap mei fan ... oooooh. any idea if they'll still have the liver sausages available after the chinese new year season? i love them too!

suituapui said...

The pig looks so kesian... They should just serve the skin/meat. I dunno lap mei fan...probably Cantonese. Looks real good...

Baby Sumo said...

Happy CNY! Glad you enjoyed your first CNY dinner. I just had my first yee sang toss yesterday too.. so happy :)

Huai Bin said...

The suckling pig is cute! Love they way they served it with the head.

I had a really good lap mei fan this year too. Didn't know such a simple dish could taste so good.

Happy CNY Eiling!

eiling lim said...

Anon: haha... but it tasted good nevertheless so no complains from me.

Sean: Yeah this one is a special request as we prefer thick salmon cuts. That way, you can taste the salmon better. They still have the liver sausages now but should be a while stock last situation as the liver sausages are made in Hong Kong.

STP: But my friends eat the cheeks too so must serve the head. hehe

Baby Sumo: that's very good!

Huai Bin: Hey glad you have a good CNY piggin out. I've just learned to appreciate Lap Mei Fan 2 years ago. Not too late to realise this. Have a great day!

Romantic Dinner said...

Yeah Yummy Very very lovely and testy its recipe. amazing your dinner and nice location . good looking in your photo's .nice details sharing in the post thanks

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