Wednesday, 10 January 2018

2018 Lunar New Year Set Menus @ Meisan Szechuan Restaurant in Hotel Mutiara JB

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My first Chinese New Year 捞起 lou hei session of 2018 was at Meisan Restaurant with Hotel Mutiara Johor Bahru GM Ahmad Bukhari and his team 😄 It was also an opportunity to sample dishes from Meisan's Lunar New Year Set Menus (available from 15 Feb - 2 Mar 2018).

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Stepping into Meisan, we were greeted by three large, beautiful pink fishes. The three fish tanks were very well kept - as an avid fish keeper myself, I can appreciate the great effort that went into keeping the fish tanks in this beautiful state.

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Actually, the whole of Meisan is lovingly kept, it's hard to believe that this is one of JB's oldest Chinese restaurants (since 1982, that's 35 years ago 😮 ).

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Meisan Szechuan Restaurant opened in 1982, is dressed in timeless classic Chinese style - an elegance that doesn't go out of fashion. The restaurant is not big but Meisan's regulars like the intimate ambiance of its two sections and well appointed private rooms.

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Ta dah.... Meisan's colourful Yee Sang Prosperity Toss.

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Ms Chan, Meisan's manager, helped get the ball rolling by pouring golden brown fried crisps over the lou hei platter of shredded vegetables. Each lou hei ingredient is chosen for their auspicious significance. For example, the golden brown crisps symbolise wealth (pieces of gold).

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Here we go! Cheering each other to a great 2018 as we enthusiastically tossed the ingredients in the loi hei platter.

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According to tradition, the messier the lou hei platter, the greater the blessings. On that count, we did a pretty good job. Great teamwork, Happy New Year everyone 😄

I like the taste of Meisan's lou hei yee sang. The shredded vegetables were fresh, crunchy and not soggy at all. The gooey sauce that held the bundle together was quite sweet but it was balanced with savoury nuttiness from the crushed toasted peanuts.

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The 15 ingredients that go into Meisan's lou hei yee sang, each chosen for its auspicious significance in good health, blessings and happiness.

Next, we sampled a few dishes from Meisan's Lunar New Year Set Menus. There are three set menus:

🐶 Longevity Set
RM868.00 nett per table (for 6 - 7 people)

🐶 Auspicious Set
RM1,288.00 nett per table (for 8 - 10 people)

🐶 Bountiful Wealth Set
RM1, 888.00 nett per table (for 8 - 10 people) with complimentary Salmon Yee Sang included.

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First sampling dish from Meisan's Lunar New Year Set Menus was Shredded Dried Scallops Soup with Crabmeat and Fish Lips.

This gooey gruel was excellent - layers of savouriness from the dried scallops and ti poh (dried sole fish) balanced with sweetness from crab meat. Gelatinous fish lips punctuated the thick sticky soup with bits of soft jelly tenderness.

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Steamed Garoupa, Cantonese style.

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It was a large meaty fish steamed and then bathed in a blend of quite robust savoury soy sauce and aromatic oil infused with fried shallot flavour.

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Meisan's popular signature Szechuan Camphor and Tea-smoked Duck.

Not so photogenic as the skin was roasted to a dark brown and the duck came slathered with a smothering dark savoury sauce.

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This duck was tasty when we slotted the savoury tender duck meat into the spongy sweet fried bun and ate them together in one mouthful - nice soft textures and well balanced savoury sweetness.

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Twin Delight Prawns with Dried Chili and Oats. Prawns done two ways for this mixed platter.

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Large shelled prawns sautéed and served enveloped in a savoury spicy sauce.

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Maybe it's the child in me... I like this deep fried prawns encrusted with flaky, crispy oats. The mildly savoury sweet crispy oats did not mask the subtle natural sweetness in the juicy crunchy prawns. So, it's nice lo... .

I did ask. That carved carrot was for today's tasting only 😄

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Braised Fish Maw and Black Mushroom with Broccoli.

The mushrooms and fish maw were to get us to eat our broccoli 😄 I like the old style spongy braised black mushrooms loaded with mild savoury earthly taste most.

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Steamed Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf.

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It's the custom to ensure guests leave the dinner feeling fully satiated - this savoury sweet aromatic glutinous rice does the trick deliciously 😄

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The gracious host always have the guests leave with sweetness in their mouth.

These Cold Mua Chi with durian, mango and sesame seed flavours let the guests take the sweetness all the way home and a little longer. Excellent mua chi really - slightly softer than marshmallow, just subtly sweet so that we can taste the full natural flavours from the durian, mango and sesame seed.

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Meisan's Yee Sang Prosperity Toss and Lunar New Year Set Menus are available from 15 Feb to 2 Mar (except on 1st day of Chinese New Year, 16 Feb 2018).

Call 07 330 0300 to reserve.

If you like to know the significance of the ingredients in lou hei yee sang 👈 click

Disclosure: Please note that this was an invited tasting.

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Restaurant name: Meisan Szechuan 眉山菜馆 
Address:  Mutiara Johor Bahru Hotel, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Century, Johor Bahru 
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/i8YrL 
GPS: 1.488335,103.757581 
Tel07 330 0300 
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm | 6:30pm to 10:30pm 

No pork, no lard, no Halal cert  

Date visited: 10 Jan 2018

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