This is it… my last Yee Sang of 2010 and also the beginning of my crazy schedule as I head out tomorrow for a week and a half of flying that sees me in Taipei, Hong Kong, Ningbo and Bangkok.
As a Shangri-la prestige member for three years I am shy to admit that the only restaurant we frequent at the Hotel is Lemon Garden for their dinner buffet. I’ve never dined at their award-winning French restaurant Lafite and have eaten once at their Chinese Restaurant Shang Palace.
Remembering the food was pretty good the last time we went to Shang Palace, I made a reservation two days in advanced and confirmed our dishes a day before with hope that the chef would have ample time to prepare our dishes well.
Entering the restaurant we were greeted “Gong Xi Fa Cai” and was seated at our table by the friendly wait staff. Service was very efficient and courteous as our “Fruit Yee Sang” was served within minutes with extra groundnuts, toasted sesame seeds and crispy crackers (Pok Pok Chui). Although other restaurants like Si Chuan Dou Hua have been serving Fruit Yee Sang for a few years this is supposedly Shang Palace’s first time offering it. Other than the usual ingredients the Yee Sang features thick slices of pear and rock melon for added texture and sweetness. Personally this is one good Yee Sang but I still favor Full Wealth’s version better, which included Salmon.
Fish usually comes near the end but here it was the first dish to arrive. Honestly I’m not a big fan of Soon Hock preferring the softer and flakier texture of the cheaper Tilapia and Grass Carp. However it wasn’t offered at Shang Palace and I had to settle for Soon Hock. Upon my first bite of the fish my opinion about Soon Hock jumped a couple of notches favorably. The fish was superbly fresh and was steamed just right. The soy sauce drew out the natural flavor of the fish and most important of all the meat was very soft and moist unlike any other Soon Hock I’ve recalled eating. Maybe it’s the chef, maybe it’s the fish or maybe it’s both but this was the best Steamed Soon Hock I’ve had.
Having Chicken two days back at Full Wealth we decided to do duck. I wanted something different than the usual Roast or Peking duck and was recommended the Thai Inspired Duck. Tender slices of boneless Chinese Style Roast Duck are topped with a trio of kiwi, mango and strawberries to make this colorful dish. Honestly I don’t think it bears any resemblance to anything Thai but taste wise it was quite a good dish. The skin was maintained a light crisp and one could taste the delicious herbal marinade of the roast duck that is complemented by the sweet and sour flavors from the fruits with a hint of plum sauce.
There’s no suckling pig on our order tonight as we tried one of the restaurant’s highly recommended Braised Pork Knuckle. The pork knuckle was huge requiring our waitress to dissect it into edible pieces. The knuckle was really good with the meat tender, the fat melting in your mouth and the gelatinous skin giving it a little bite. The gravy was full of flavor from the hours spent braising the pork knuckle and was delicious with a side order of Mantao to soak it up.
Fiber came in the form of Braised Bok Choi with Shimeji Mushrooms in Superior Stock. The bok choy was cooked just right retaining a little crunch and the stock was very clean in flavor and had a hint of sweetness from the wolf berries.
Our last course was Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat (Lo Mai Fan). The rice had the right amount of saltiness and definitely absorbed the aroma and flavor of the waxed meat. It was also excellent in texture where the rice wasn't oily and clumpy compared with Tai Thong Odeon.
We ordered a couple of desserts to end our satisfying meal. The first was Pan Fried Nian Gao (New Year Cake) was soft and oozy almost like melted cheese. The Nian Gao had a nice caramelized flavor which may be attributed to the use of palm sugar.
The restaurant's signature Lemongrass Jelly with Lime Sherbet was quite a refreshing dessert to end the meal. The lime sherbet was a sour contrast to the sweet but mildly flavored lemongrass jelly.
Overall I definitely enjoyed all the dishes we had at Shang Palace. The price however was a little on the steep side as it came just shy of RM800 after a 20% discount as a Prestige Member for table of eight.
My verdict for the best Chinese New Year Meal is Full Wealth whose good food and price is definitely unbeatable.
Price: $$$ (Under USD $30 per pax after 20% Discount)
Address: 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (60 3) 2032 2388
Fax: (60 3) 2070 1514