Pair of hands holding a pen cai clay pot filled with abalone and pig trotters braised in premium oyster sauce for four hours before layering ingredients including dace fishballs, dried oysters, dried scallops, prawns, sea cucumbers, Chinese mushrooms, fish maw, soy sauce chicken, roasted duck, and black moss on a bed of cabbage, with yusheng at the side

6 Chefs & restaurateurs share the Chinese New Year dishes that warm their hearts

Chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen, Majestic Restaurant

Majestic Restaurant Chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen

Kuala Lumpur memories

“I was born in Kuala Lumpur and during Chinese New Year, our family’s must-have dishes include yusheng, pen cai, lap mei fan (rice with preserved meat in Cantonese) and nian gao. Every dish has a meaning: Yusheng symbolises new beginnings, the many ingredients in pen cai signify abundance, while the lap mei fan satisfies the stomach. Nian gao is especially important too.”

CNY food inspiration: Majestic Restaurant’s Porcini Mushroom Dumplings

At Majestic Restaurant, Chef Yong has come up with an extensive CNY menu that reflects traditional favourites such as the Majestic Deluxe Treasures Claypot ($268) and the Claypot Rice With Preserved Meat And Sausage ($48 for a medium-sized portion). In addition, there are interesting renditions such as the Smoked Corn-Fed Chicken With Salt And Hickory ($30) and Crispy Prawns With Salted Egg Yolk, Creamy Milk And Lemon Sauce ($30). He also played around with the Chinese character for ox to create CNY dishes such as the Porcini Mushroom Dumplings In Soya Vinaigrette ($18 for six, pictured above). “Since 2021 is the Year of the Ox, I use porcini mushrooms as its Chinese name ‘牛肝菌’ has the ox character in it . I also use seasonal ingredients such as the pomelo, which ripens in autumn/winter and tastes excellent when tossed with yusheng.”

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