Every Chinese New Year celebratory meal begins the same way — with late arrivals thanks to Malaysians’ horrible habit of being late, and a sharing dish called yee sang. This signature festive dish has several specific steps and sayings to be practiced. First, the base ingredients are arranged artfully on a large plate. A family member, or a restaurant host, would then begin the ceremonial steps of adding ingredients one by one while reciting its superstitious meaning.
The ceremony is usually done with gusto and in good spirit. After all, each additional ingredient symbolises something good for all participants. For instance, pepper is said to attract wealth and fortune, while adding fish (nowadays, it’s usually salmon) invites abundance throughout the years. Plum sauce on the other hand symbolises a sweet kind of love between partners. Once all extra ingredients have been added, everyone uses a pair of chopsticks and tosses the ingredients together. While making sure its mixed good, blessings are recited and good wishes showered for a prosperous year ahead.
Over the years, chefs have really put a spin on the dish by coming up with different ingredient and sauce combinations. Now in 2017, we’re fortunate to have so many selections on how to enjoy the auspicious dish. Whether you want a vegetarian, fruity or fully seafood-loaded yee sang, take a look at these six restaurants below and their yee sang varieties.
Li Yen, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
How beautiful are these lovely abalone roses sitting delicately atop the plate? Li Yen presents their version of a Prosperity Yee Sang with options to include salmon, tuna or abalone slices. Prices start from RM118 nett to take away a half portion of vegetarian yee sang while the full portion is priced at RM168 nett.
Li Yen, Level 2, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur 55100 Malaysia, +60 3 2782 9033
Tao Chinese Cuisine, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
Tao Chinese Cuisine is serving up a pleasantly different version this year. The chefs have included special ingredients like North Canadian lobster claws and Hokkaido scallops for a more extravagant experience. We also really like the addition of passion fruit sauce to the dish! Whether you choose to dine-in or take away the auspicious dish, prices start at RM88 nett for a half portion.
Tao Chinese Cuisine, Level 1, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, 165, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3 2782 6000
Shanghai, JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur
When Executive Chinese Chef Wong presented the dish, he hinted that he used a special ingredient, and told us to dig in. It was in fact, a wasabi-based sauce as our tongues, noses and eyes discovered. It added a very refreshing burst of flavour to the yee sang which kept us going back for more. Choose to have your order with abalone, salmon, lobster, sea urchin, octopus or even fresh fruits for something different. Prices start at RM108 nett per half portion.
Shanghai, Level 1, JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, 183, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3 2719 8288
Five Sen5es, The Westin Kuala Lumpur
Having a gathering with vegetarian friends? Go for the Crystal Pear and Mango Vegetarian Yee Sang at Five Sen5es. Otherwise, if you enjoy a fruit and vegetable base but also want some Norwegian salmon in the mix, just choose to add-on the fish. Other add-on ingredient options include jellyfish, Taiwanese top shell abalone, Australian spring abalone, and sliced two-headed abalone. Prices start from RM68 nett for a standard portion of the vegetarian yee sang while a large portion is RM138 nett.
Five Sen5es, Level 1, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, 199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, 55100, +60 3 2731 8333
Tai Zi Heen, Pullman KLCC
If a fruity yee sang is all you want for Chinese New Year 2017, try the Fruits and Garden Green Yee Sang at Tai Zi Heen, Pullman KLCC. The tangy, healthy dish is even served with a strawberry sauce for a full on fruity experience. The dish is available in half and whole portions for dine-in or take away, and is priced from RM68 onwards.
Tai Zi Heen, Pullman KLCC, Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia, +60 3 2170 8888
If you’re feeling adventurous, Nobu’s sushi and sashimi-styled yee sang is one you should definitely try. The Nobu-styled yee sang incorporates the restaurant’s signature Japanese-Peruvian flavours in the form of a salad with assorted sashimi. A delightful ponzu jelly and yuzu honey sauce is also in the mix, presenting a hint of sweetness and tanginess. Two pieces of sushi accompany this unique yee sang dish, which is part of the omakase menu. Nobu’s Chinese New Year omakase menu is priced at RM488++ and features six courses.
Nobu KL, Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3 2164 5084