The Year of the Water Dragon has arrived and to commemorate the occasion, New World Hotel’s Jasmine Restaurant Chef Choi Wing Ki has created a menu centered around the Ultimate 18 Treasure Feasts. The 18 treasure feasts is more commonly known as “Poon Choi or Pun Choi” or big bowl feast, a dish that is greatly associated with New Year celebrations and is one of the truly Hong Kong dishes.I got an invite to try out Chef Choi’s version, along with a number other food bloggers. It was not until I arrived at Jasmine and surveyed the menu that it dawned on me that this was something that I had eaten before at Choi Garden, a bit tackier that they even give you the metal basin to bring home. Jasmine, being in hotel has better presentation. A bit of a miscommunication resulted in our missing the chance to try the whole Lunar New Year menu, we were served a medley of their ala carte dishes instead.
A number of appetizers like Deep Fried Oysters, started off our meal. The oysters were crunchy and seasoned with a lot of nice flavor that had me getting piece after piece.
Shrimp Mousse with Vegetarian Sauce was next. Nice, bright orange globes of shrimps lathered in a slightly sweet sauce.
Steamed Gizzard was an appetizer that I passed on, I’m not really interested in intestinal parts but according to the others it was very good (I’ll take their word for it).
Ultimate 18 Treasures Feast. The star of the meal, came out in a metal bowl sitting atop a wooden basin with burners inside to keep the dish warm. This far surpassed the poon choi I had before, with the inclusion of numerous expensive ingredients. The dish is a mix of multiple ingredients, each cooked separately, arranged layer upon layer then heated again to let the flavors mix.
The ingredients include Abalone, Sea Moss, Conpoy (dried scallops), Dried Oyster, Fish Maw, Prawns, Flower Mushroom, Eel Fillet, Roasted Duck, Chicken. Pig Knuckle, Goose Web, Fish balls, Dried Squid, Taro, Radish and Bean Curd Stick. The arrangement is from cheapest to most expensive ingredients, in this case, Abalone and Dried Oyster surrounded by Conpoy.
Even if the top contains the expensive ingredients, its the radish underneath that is the real treat, absorbing all the flavors of each ingredient. So don’t be blinded by the glitz of the top layers and dig down a little for the real treasure, hidden like most true treasures.
Beef with XO Saucewas my favorite ala carte dish of the night. Beef slices cooked with celery and a semi spicy XO sauce, if only I was not quite full from the poon choi already. Each bite kept me wanting more, the spiciness just right to coax me into getting another piece.
Seafood Fried Rice with Egg White and Pine Nuts. The lighter alternative to classic Yang Chow, using only egg whites makes it less attractive but the pine nuts and seafood still gives it a flavor and texture kick. I actually prefer this fried rice as I can taste that it is less oily.
A plate of Deep Fried Sesame Balls and Pan Fried Almond New Year’s Cake (tikoy). I liked the smooth almond flavor of the tikoy, a nice twist on the tried and true traditional dessert.
Almond Jelly with mixed fresh fruits. Pineapple and papaya give off a nice contrasting colors to clean whites of both the bowl and almond jelly. I just wish this was served colder.
The New Year Menu is available until January 30, so you still have a chance of trying it. The menu consists of Deluxe Appetizers, Double Boiled Chicken Soup, Ultimate 18 Treasures Feast, Poached Chinese Lettuce with Soy, Steamed Thai Rice with Sausage, Glutinous Flour Dumpling in White Fungus Soup, Pan fried Chinese NEw Year Cake and LoZhou Pomkam. A table for 12 costs P29,888 while a table for 6 cost P14,888. If you miss the chance to try the poon choi, you can wait for next lunar new year as Chef Choi has been doing this special menu for 4 years already.
New World Makati
Esperanza corner Makati Ave, Ayala Center, Makati City 811.6888