Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ring in the new year with a Yee Sang bang at Tiger Hill

Feburary is the fullest month, with so many events of consequence packed into its narrow span of 28 days. Begun barely last week, it’s already more than half-way through, but with important milestones along the way. Here is Union Day, and here the centenary of our Bogyoke Aung San, with Valentine’s Day hard upon its heels. But if you’re in business, especially the restaurant business, you will have placed a particularly big red mark on your calendar for Chinese New Year.

Photos: Naing Wynn HtoonPhotos: Naing Wynn Htoon

What better time, then, to descend upon a Chinese restaurant to see how they plan to greet this festival. Welcome to Tiger Hill at the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake, Yangon.

You can choose to sit in the main hall to surround yourself with appreciative diners, or seclude your group in a private room that can accommodate six or more.

For an auspicious start, order one of the two varieties of Yee Sang (raw fish salad), the good luck dish served for the lunar New Year celebrations to kick off the nine-course “Prosperity” set menu (US$35 or $50 per person) and other special dishes.

Photos: Naing Wynn HtoonPhotos: Naing Wynn Htoon

Our version of Yee Sang featured raw sea bass (note the minimum order is for six).

Yee Sang salad, double boiled chicken with Chinese herbs, Peking duck accompanied by sweet sauce, pan-fried chicken with honey sauce and deep-fried king prawns with lemon-grass sauce, steamed sea bass with Thai chilli sauce, stir-fried kailan with garlic sauce, fried rice seafood with Sichuan sauce and seasonal fresh fruit with mango pudding is the full line-up. Some might find it a little heavy toward the sweet end of the spectrum.

Let me dwell on the gateway dish, Yee Sang, a blend of slices of raw sea bass, shredded vegetables, herbs, spices and oil. Chinese families or business people mark the start of a new year with a hearty loh hei to symbolise happiness, harmony and prosperity as they toss the salad. We drank ours with jasmine tea, but tastes may differ.

Our party sampled all the available dishes accompanied by fried rice. The chicken curry in honey sauce was just as dulcet and mellifluous as you might expect, and the fish with chilli sauce stood out from the rest thanks to its sour and hot signature notes. Some might find the sauce served with the Peking Duck a little too sugary; if so, there are plenty of other sauces in the set menu that might set it off to more savoury advantage.

Photos: Naing Wynn HtoonPhotos: Naing Wynn Htoon

The crunchiness of the prawns was not confined to the exterior, where you expect it; the interior was a bit harder than I anticipated. The chicken soup is not only delicious in its own right but, whether so intended or not, a handy dip for the stir-fried kailan and Yee Sang.

And just when I thought I could eat no more, the tasty mango pudding arrived to change my mind.

This is high quality fare. And if, like me, you’re a Yee Sang fan, you can get an alternative version with salmon ($35, while the seabass is $25) as a main dish.

For the more adventurous there is an à la carte menu offering seafood, chicken, duck, pork and beef dishes at prices ranging from $4 to $70, as well as a dim sum buffet lunch for $24.

So what are you waiting for? Loh hei.

Tiger Hill

40 Natmauk Road, Tarmwe township, Yangon,

Ph: 01544400