Saturday, January 21, 2012

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at New World Hotel's Jasmine

I'm Chinese by birth, but not much by practice. Yes, we do speak the language, but we rarely follow the full Chinese traditions such as celebrating Chinese New Year by eating special food. Sometimes, we do get together, but at times we totally just don't care.

When I received an invite to try out the special Chinese New Year menu of Jasmine restaurant at the New World Hotel in Makati, I immediately confirmed my attendance. I really enjoyed my dining experience there before and would gladly be back to try out a new menu. 

Upon sitting down, I was told that Jasmine restaurant is having an extended, more than a week-long celebration of Chinese New Year. To welcome the year of the dragon, Jasmine offers special menus denoting affluence, prosperity and luck, for lunch (11:30AM-2:30PM) and dinner (6:00PM-10:30PM) from January 18 to 30, 2012.

11-Course Lauriat
One of the special set menu is an 11-course lauriat that includes dried oysters with sea moss, wok fried lobster fillet with Yu Ye fungus and celery, chicken and bamboo pith, prawns with broccoli, crispy scallop medallions and other mouth-watering dishes. The price of this is Php26,888 for a table of 12 persons or Php2,240++ per person.

Ultimate Treasures Feast
Apart from that, there's this special offering called the Ultimate Eighteen Treasures Feast, which is cooked and served in a wooden basin. It's my first time to see and try this type of Chinese cuisine, so upon seeing it, I immediately got curious as to what it contains and how it tastes like.

Look at the picture below, doesn't it look so delicious?
After scrutinizing it and asking my fellow blogger Richard, I learned that this whole dish contains very expensive ingredients.

The dish is popularly known as "Poon Choi" or "Big Bowl Feast" that originated from Hong Kong. It is made up of abalone, sea moss, sea cucumber, dried oyster, fish maw, prawns flower mushroom, eel fillet, roasted duck, chicken, pig knuckle, goose web, fish balls, dried squid, taro, radish, and bean curd skin, and other opulent ingredients that cannot be bought locally in the Philippines.

Poon Choi is presented in many layers of different ingredients, and is eaten layer by layer instead of stirring everything up. The basin that holds the meat and seafood remains to be warm due to the lighted candles that are situated below it.

I admit that most of the ingredients are new to me. As I was eating a piece of each ingredient, I got surprised that not all ingredients taste the same even if it is all mixed up together in one container. My favorites are the abalone, roasted duck, chicken, goose web, and fish balls, because it is so juicy and full of taste. In addition, the combined sauce coming out from all the ingredients is simply delicious! You'd be amazed how the chef managed to balance the saltiness level of all those.

Ordering Poon Choi plus a couple of deluxe appetizers, double boiled chicken soup, whelk, "Sun Moon Fish", Chinese herbs, special desserts and more will cost Php14,888 for a table of 6 persons or Php29,888 for a table of 12 persons.

I know the prices are a bit steep, but hey, it's Chinese New Year. Not only the ingredients are of good quality and some are imported, but also the food quality and taste are superb.

A La Carte Menu
If set menus are not your thing, there's always the good old favorite a la carte menu where you can select from a wide variety of choices - from dimsum, appetizers, soup, main courses, desserts, and drinks.

Wagyu Beef with Mango Roll

Steamed Gizzard

Shrimp Mousse with Vegetarian Sauce

Deep-Fried Oysters

Beef with XO Sauce

Steamed Live Garoupa with Soy Sauce

Visit Jasmine restaurant at the 2nd floor of New World Hotel, Makati anytime during lunch or dinner, but reservations are preferred especially on special occasions. To seal the lucky start of the year, a lion and dragon dance will take place on Chinese New Year's day, January 23, at 1:00PM.

Enjoy! Happy Year of the Dragon!!! 


the wooden basin looked daunting but we almost finished it. Kung hei fat choi!

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