Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chinese New Year 2013 highlights @ Hilton Singapore

One of the major highlights in the local Chinese New Year celebration would be the Yu Sheng, made of colourful shredded vegetables which is tossed with well wishes. This year, Hilton Singapore presents the Fortune Coin Yu Sheng (鸿运吉年齐捞起), that is specially designed and created by Senior Chinese Chef Toh Choon Hock.

Senior Chinese Chef Toh Choon Hock

The presentation of the Yu Sheng is of no doubt spectacular and requires a whole day of preparation including 4-5 hours of craftsmanship to assemble the coin and the Chinese quote. Written on the Yu Sheng is 福临财到, which augurs good fortune and prosperity in the New Year. Apart from the elaborate assembly of the Yu Sheng, this is also served with generous slivers of whole fresh lobster, tuna and two-head abalone as well as salmon roe, served alongside with a bottle of truffle oil and gold flakes.

However, the highlight of the Yu Sheng lies in the special plum sauce made of fruits, Taiwanese plum juice and sesame sauce to provide a very light and refreshing taste, unlike the sticky and overly sweet Yu Sheng which is commonly encountered. In addition, fresh mangoes, strawberries and green apples are introduced to the traditional recipe to give a fruity twist.

Salmon and Tuna Yu Sheng

The Fortune Coin Yu Sheng is designed for 30 people and is available throughout the celebration period beginning from the Eve (9 February 2013) to the 15th day of Chinese New Year (24 February 2013).  Do note that this is only available for order only when you book the hotel's dine-in prosperity banquet menus. Also since Hilton Hotel does not have a Chinese restaurant, the Chinese New Year banquets are served in the hotel's function rooms and is subjected to availability

The following dishes (except the Home-Made Style Steamed Live Garoupa and Braised Baby Abalone with Dried Oyster and Black Moss served with Garden Green) are available in both the banquet menus and also the Reunion Feast buffet at Checkers Brasserie on Chinese New Year Eve, 9 Feb 2013.

Crispy Katafi Prawns and Scallop Roll (家合添贵子), was a crowd pleaser for the contrasting texture between the crisp Katafi and soft interior housing the scallop and prawn. However, what earns nods from the diners is the accompanying sauce which is not mayonnaise but rather yoghurt blended with peach and chili sauce.

Crispy Katafi Prawns and Scallop Roll

Inspired by the popular Hokkien dish, the Braised Pork Belly, Stewed Pork Knuckle with Mantou (横财易就手), is my personal favourite among the dishes served and I am pretty sure this will be likeable among our elders. According to Chef Toh, what makes a good braised pork lies in the removal of fats which is between the skin and the meat and he does so by using low heat to melt away the fats. To achieve a soft, melt-in-the-mouth skin, apart from the tender meat, Chef Toh steamed and then braised the pork knuckle for at least 4 hours so that it is 肥而不腻 (fatty yet not cloying).

Stewed Pork Knuckle with Mantou

Home-Made Style Steamed Live Garoupa (成名扬四海, not available at the Reunion Feast Buffet), is described to be a Chinese New Year dish served in most households (家乡年菜). Simplicity to keep it light and Chef Toh incorporates home–style cooking with no use of MSG, chicken stock, salt or sugar to retain the natural sweetness of the fish.

Home-Made Style Steamed Live Garoupa

Poached Live Prawn with Enoki Miso Soup (龙马精神), focus on incorporating vegetable stock with the traditional Chinese analogue of miso (豆酱) and Chinese Corriander (芫荽) to give a very tasty broth that can be drank directly like a soup. Interestingly, we learnt from Chef Toh that the difference between the Japanese Miso and the Chinese 豆酱 lies in the way it is processed. While the Chinese 豆酱 is coarse and chunkier, the Japanese miso is said to have a delicate and precise way to make them very fine and smooth and hence, often used in soup.

Poached Live Prawn with Enoki Miso Soup (Top) & Braised Baby Abalone with Dried Oyster and Black Moss served with Garden Green (Bottom)

Braised Baby Abalone with Dried Oyster and Black Moss served with Garden Green (包君年年发, not available at the Reunion Feast Buffet), is a dish where the individual ingredients are carefully prepared. Not only is the abalone carefully simmered with chicken and pork to obtain the natural sweetness, dried oyster is also introduced in the dish for the Chinese pronunciation sounds similar to “good” (“蚝=好”). In addition, oysters are considered as a delicacy, making it an appropriate ingredient for Chinese New Year.

Chilled Black Sesame Pudding with Mango Sauce

Chilled Black Sesame Pudding with Mango Sauce (延年谦益寿), is made to be healthy and the choice of mango and black sesame is to allow contrast in taste. While the ground black sesame releases fragrance when the pudding is consumed, the mango sauce that goes with it, provides a refreshing tang.

It is interesting to know from Chef Toh his reasons behind his choices of ingredients and healthy cooking style. For those who are unable to clock a minimum of 5 tables to enjoy the dine-in prosperity banquet menus, the reunion feast buffet offered at Checkers Brasserie showcases New Year Specialities, mentioned in the post (unless stated). In addition, one can also expect Nanjing-style Braised Duck with Chinese Herbs and Steamed Rice with Assorted Preserved Meat at the buffet line. In addition, apart from the Chilled Black Sesame Pudding with Mango Sauce, one will be pleasantly surprised with the hotel's signature cheesecake to be flavoured with persimmon.

For enquires with regards to the dine-in prosperity banquet menus, do call 6730 3269 or email

Last but not least, a big thank you to Marketing Communications Manager, Ms. Joyce Moo for the invitation to the Chinese New Year Media Tasting.

Reunion Feast at Checkers Brasserie
$88++ per adult
$48++ per child aged 6-12 years old,
which includes one serving of Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall.

Hilton Singapore 
581 Orchard Road
Singapore 238883
Tel: 6730 3390


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