It’s that time of the year when red lanterns, dragon dances and all sorts of circular fruits are in vogue, Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Xin Tian Di at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria has prepared special set menus for families looking to celebrate. I got a chance to get an advanced taste of one of their menus that will be available from Jan. 30 to Feb. 13, 2014. Each dish in the menu is designed to usher in good luck for the coming Year of the Wooden Horse.
Their set menu starts off with the Yu Sheng Salad, which uses both fresh tuna and salmon. I can’t believe I got to participate in 2 yu sheng salads this year after having never experiencing it. I was also surprised to find out Xin Tian Di has been doing it for 5 years already under their Singaporean Chinese Executive Chef Sam Lee. They’ve printed out a handy guide for each step of the Yu Sheng it’s so easy. This dish symbolizes prosperity.
We also got a chance to sample the Dimsum Platter (not part of the set menus) consisting of Siomai with baby abalone, Fried Po Pya and Mixed meat and Seafood Dumpling. You can order this as an ala carte dish.
Next item on the menu is the Peking Duck, carved on the table side and served two ways. 1st way is wrapped in flour tortillas with hoisin sauce and vegetables. 2nd way is minced with vegetables with lettuce wrapper. First time I’ve seen it plated that way though. This dish symbolizes happiness because of the red color.
Double Boiled Chicken with Black Mushroom. A soup that really highlights the mastery of Chinese cuisine. Each sip is packed with flavor extracted slowly with care. This soup dish symbolizes family unity.
Braised Pork Leg with Sea Moss and Lettuce. An auspicious dish usually served during CNY and weddings. The pork leg was really tender with a sticky, delicious sauce that might have you asking the waiter for some rice.
Steamed Cod Fish with Taoso. I don’t usually like tauso (crispy soy bean) but since they used cod in this one, I gave it a try. I love the texture and the salty punch the tauso gave the fresh tasting fishing. It is believed that eating fish will help your wishes come true.
Braised African Abalone with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. Abalone looks like the old Chinese gold pieces so they are always a part of any celebration. It is believed they usher in a guarantee of surplus.
Seafood E-fu Noodles. The color may be pale, probably because they used light instead of dark soy sauce during cooking but the flavor was really good. Too bad we were already filled to the brim and could only taste a bit, to guarantee long life. Rice and Noodles are only served at the end of a lauriat because diners are supposed to savor each dish.
Dessert was cylindrical as expected so a plate of Chocolate Buchi, you get an inkling because of the black sesame seeds speckled outside.
The other dessert is is their Crispy Tikoy, which is presented like a golden nugget with a sweet exterior. Tikoy represents a a promise of a better year while the buchi symbolizes wealth and good fortune.
The set menu we tried is designed for 10 people but the servings are generous enough for upto 14 people. Xin Tian Di also offers the Yu Sheng for takeout, if you want to enjoy it at home without the hassle of preparing it. The small serving is priced at P988++, good for 4-6 and the large at P1,888 good for 10-12 people.
Where are you planning on celebrating Chinese New Year? You might want to save yourselves the hassle of preparing everything at home and just go to Xin Tian Di and toss your way to good fortune in the coming year.