Rich Chinese Heritage Cuisine for the Lunar New Year

Chef Boon Bun Hoe

THE ELEGANT Cantonese cuisine of Chinese-Malaysian Chef Boon Bun Hoe of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s Tea of Spring reflects a rich Chinese heritage.

For the last 11 years, Chef Boon has been captivating discerning palates with his “extraordinary elevation of a Cantonese staple that perfectly embodies the harmonious combination of tradition and innovation with respect for simplicity of preparation.”

The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is celebrated between late January and early February and falls on the first day of the first lunar month.

And Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s invitation to ring in the Year of the Earth Dog with the spectacle of traditional fire crackers, eye-dotting of the lion led by Gen.

Manager Rene Egle with Consul General Shi Yong of the PROC and Mayor Paz Radaza followed by the dragon dance and Yee Sang Toss at the Lobby on February 16, 2018 started exactly at 10:18 in the morning.

The highlight of the celebration was the exquisite Chinese New Year Lunch prepared by Chef Boon at the elegant Tea of Spring.

For several years now, I find myself celebrating the Chinese New Year with the mesmerizingly delicious creations of Chef Boon. The symbolic and colorful Yee Sang Salad was served as we took our seats.

This time, shredded raw abalone instead of the usual sliced salmon topped the assorted vegetables. While we took hold of our chopsticks for the ceremonial toss, we chanted “Lo Hei” (toss high) with fervent wishes in our hearts.

The salad was delicious. The Dim Sum Appetizers were simply divine!

The Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gao), translucent wrappers stuffed with crystalline shrimp, Pork & Shrimp Dumpling with abalone (Shu Mai) were classic goodness. But the Deep-Fried Bean Curd Roll Hongkong Style thrilled our palates with a delicate sensation of flavors.

The Spring Onion Cake with Chicken and Pan Fried Pork Loin and Prawn in Chinese Cabbage completed the Dim Sum Platter.

When the first main course was presented, we all gasped in awe: Steamed Lapu-Lapu Fillet with Tobiko (shrimp roe) and Truffle Oil, crowned with the whole de-filleted fish, head and bones, must have been gracefully formed in the act of swimming before deep frying. What a stylish culinary art!

The fillets were steamed to perfection enhanced with truffle oil and shrimp roe.

Our aesthetic senses were all awakened as we waited for the following main courses to be served. The Stir-Fried Prawns with Shimeji Mushrooms and Asparagus followed and I could not help but admire the details of how the prawns were rolled with the tail sticking up and out of the flesh.

Pure delight as I bit into the crystalline prawn! Braised Top Shell and Sea Asparagus with Broccoli and Sea Moss caught our curiosity.

Top shells are sea snails while sea asparagus of the family solicornia is a succulent halophyte or plant adapted to grow in salt marshes and beaches.

The dish was delicious, which I enjoyed with Tea of Spring Baby Abalone and XO Fried Rice.

And to ensure the good fortune coming our way; we had Deep-fried Traditional Nian Gao (Tikoy) and Chilled Mango with Pomelo and Sago for dessert.

The Nian Gao is sandwiched between taro and sweet potato, an heirloom recipe of Chef Boon’s mother, which the family enjoys every New Year. Gongxi facai !

TAGS: Chinese, cuisine, heritage, Lunar New Year, rich
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