FOR the last 10 years, Chinese Chef Boon Bun Hoe has been satisfying discerning palates with contemporary cuisine at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s elegant Cantonese restaurant Tea of Spring. Inspired by the beautiful flavors of tea, he creates healthy and delightful dishes that reflect the rich culinary heritage of China. Tea of Spring holds the prestige as one of the Top 20 Best Restaurants in the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants Guide 2017.
And to ring in the luck and prosperity of the lunar year, the Fire Rooster, Chef Boon presented a variety of classic and exquisite Chinese dishes. We were welcomed with a lovely Rose Tea and Honey with subtle rose aroma and floral flavors. And then Chef Boon, together with General Manager Rene Egle and his wife Nelly, alongside Chinese consular dignitaries, led the traditional Yee Sang Toss with an impressive, colorful rooster-shaped pears and salmon Yee Sang Salad at the center of the lobby.
The Chinese New Year’s Day Lunch at the Tea of Spring is an awaited feast each year. After the lively celebration of time-honored traditions at the Lobby, F and B Director Simon Chew welcomed us. Simon joined the plush resort only last year. A Singaporean, Simon is very engaging and took the time to satisfy our curiosity as the dishes were served—a great help since Chef Boon does not speak English. How can we not prosper this year? We tossed another Yee Sang Salad, chanting Lo-Hei (“toss high”) as we did at our dining table.
An assortment of Dim Sum greeted our eager palates: Plump and tasty Fresh Shrimp Dumpling, Deep-fried Bean Curd Roll Hongkong Style, Pan Fried Pork Loin with Chinese Cabbage and Prawn and Deep-Fried Glutinous Rice Ball with Meat. And to warm our tummies, we had Seafood Treasure with Dry Scallop Soup.
After checking out the menu, I prepped my appetite for thefour entrees, allowing myself to leisurely relish each dish as they were served. The most auspicious dish was the Steamed Lapu-Lapu with Double Deluxe Soy Sauce. The live fish was steamed to perfection, fresh flavors filling
our palates. Simon had the fish deboned for easy eating. The Deep-Fried Boneless Chicken was succulent served with Plum Sauce and crispy Onion Rings.
The Stir-Fried Prawns with baby asparagus, cashews and Shimeji Mushrooms were tastefully light, with the crystalline prawn bouncing in
our mouths. The last entrée was Braised Abalone with Bean Curd Dumpling and Sea Moss Sauce. The dumpling looked like a sac stuffed with vegetables.
The pricey abalone was tender, not chewy, as these fresh sea snails tend to be. The shells of abalone have a thick layer of nacre or mother-of-pearl so are prized as décor and jewelry.
After a brief discussionregarding the abalone, Simon consulted Chef Boon and showed us the canned abalone from New Zealand. Steamed Glutinous Rice with Abalone and Chicken Wrapped in Lotus Leaves was served last. We enjoyed the refreshing dessert of Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo and Sago with the Deep-Fried Traditional Nian Gao or Tikoy for good luck.