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Chinese New Year 2016: Ti Chen, Saujana Hotel (Pork-Free)

I’m back to sample Ti Chen’s Chinese New Year menu after a break of 2 years, as the last I’ve tossed a yee sang here is in 2013.

But no, 2013 wasn’t my last visit to Ti Chen. I revisited from time to time; once for mooncakes and sometimes for lunch.
Over time I’ve noticed apparent changes in the menu, particularly after Chef Lu’s appointment just over 6 months ago.

In November 2015 I was invited to sample the new ‘weekday special set lunches‘ and ‘quick weekday dim sum menu‘ (link HERE) and came away impressed with the flavours and amazed with the value of the sets.

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The influence of Chef Sam Lu had since become more pronounced. If our 2016 Chinese New Year tasting session yesterday could be taken as an accurate indication, Ti Chen looks set to be one of the best pork-free restaurant in this side of town.

We tossed to wealth, health and for a change of Prime Minister with a yee sang topped with fresh Korean pears, raw salmon and fried mushrooms.
This superb rendition of the traditional yee sang was alike a fresh salad due to its generous number of fresh ingredients, all sliced into optimum sizes for consumption and texture.

Fried and pickled elements were deliberately shunned save for the mushrooms and crackers.
The result is was a platter of a healthy, refreshing yee sang where every bite revealed fresh flavours and juiciness from vegetables and fruits added with just enough crunch from the mushrooms and crackers to provide a contrast of textures.

BELOWSalmon and Korean Pear Yee Sang.

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I applaud the thought process that went into each dish for our dinner that evening.
For example, each ingredient for the yee sang was finely shredded but not overly so, ensuring that diners are able to chew easily on every bite, but still able to enjoy the crunch of every ingredient.
If you’ve noticed, the salmon were in cubes instead of slices. Chef Sam had explained that smaller slices of salmon tend to “vanish” into the mould of ingredients after the tossing action and likewise, cubes gave a better bite than thin slivers.

I enjoyed this Salmon and Korean Pear Yee Sang so much that I took several helpings, which says a lot since I’m generally not a fan of yee sang!

Next was a clear consomme concentrated with flavours from chicken stock and seafood which left us reinvigorated with each slurp.
The soup may look deceptively simple, but I can assure you that it took quality ingredients and skills to achieve such flavours.

Double Boiled Chicken Broth with Dried Sea Food.

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A simple steamed fish with good quality soy sauce is one of my favourite preparations for fish but it could get tiresome after a while.
Besides, if you are dining out and paying top dollar for a Chinese New Year feast, other variations of steamed fish would be much appreciated right?

So if you are dining at Ti Chen this year, I would highly recommend this Steamed Red Snapper with Pickled Vegetables as your choice for the fish course.
It is one of the best fish dish I’ve tasted this year. The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce is appetizingly piquant with a touch of heat from small red chillies. It was generally sour but not face-puckering so.

Chef has thoughtfully filleted the flesh and assembled it again with the fish frame so it is presented like a whole fish.
Small details, but it made the eating process much more enjoyable as you can immediately spoon portions onto your plate minus the need to try to slaughter the fish, or having to wait for the staff to cut and portion out to each diner.

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It was surprising to have a cold dish in the middle of dinner but the Marinated Country Chicken with Oyster Sauce and Onion Oil turned out to be a flavoursome variation of the usual roast chicken.
Again this was in ready shreds so diners would not have the need to maneuver the teeth around bones.
I personally found this salty, but definitely tasty as every piece was coated in fragrant oils and shallots.

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Now this prawn dish was gratifying.
After a series of prawns dishes cooked in every sauce imaginable, Ti Chen’s Deep -fried Sea Prawns with Sand Powder Spice took the crown as one of the best prawn dish I’ve had so far.

Sand Powder Spice isn’t exactly simple to explain, but in Cantonese it is “sha jiang fen“. Whatever it was, it sure did the prawns justice.
Fried to a crunch, I devoured the whole prawn, legs, shells and all. This “sha jiang fen” is new to me, and I liked the taste!
How does it taste like, you ask? Well, it is somewhat a mix of salty and peppery with spices, but I’m afraid at this point of time I’m at lost of the exact elements in this sand powder spice but will be seeking Cantonese speaking friends/homemakers to help me identify this powder so I’ll update you once I found out the exact name of the powder.

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Stir – Fried Mixed Vegetables with Crispy Almond and Vegetarian Rolls.
Enough of broccoli. Try sweet peas with nangka (jackfruit) plus black fungus, capsicums and almond as your vegetables course.
I love dual dishes and for this one you get to enjoy crunchy greens as well as fried rolls stuffed with glass noodles, black fungus, carrots and bamboo shoots.
Why limit yourself to one when you can have two variants in one dish?

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Steamed Rice with Cured Chicken Ham. (RM48 – ala-carte) .

Ok, this IS chicken rice. Except that the chicken are smoky cured slices of chicken thigh.

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How do you like my mini chicken rice bowl? 🙂

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Deep Fried Ningo Rolls with Bread Toast.
An original creation of Chef Sam this 2016, this Nian Gou is made in Ti Chen’s kitchen to his exacting standards.
There are many ways to enjoy nian gou and I found this to be an innovative creation. I still love my nian gou soft and coated in freshly grated coconut though.

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Lychee Sago.
A cold dessert to end the meal is always a good choice.

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This Chinese New Sets are offered between 16th Jan to 22nd February 2016. Contact reservations at 03 7843 1234 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Do check out the menus below:

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OPENING HOURS:
Closed on Mondays.
Tuesdays to Fridays:
Lunch : 12pm – 3.00pm
Dinner : 6.00pm – 10.00pm

ATTIRE: Smart Casual

For reservations, please contact 03 7843 1234 ext 6122 or email [email protected]

Address:
The Saujana Hotel
Ti Chen Restaurant
Saujana Resort
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS
40150 Shah Alam.