Friday, February 09, 2007

Sunway Hotel goes CNY shopping

THE time has come again when mistletoe, fruitcake and gaily wrapped presents give way to red lanterns, mandarin oranges and red packets.

Florists, food suppliers and decor stores are stocked choc-a-bloc with supplies to cater to those on the Chinese New Year shopping trail.

Heralding spring: Floral designer Cheng Yoon Seng looking through the latest shipment of pussy willow. The pussy willow is one of the spring flowers for Chinese New Year, said Cheng.
The average individual from a typical Chinese family is not the only one going full steam ahead – restaurants and hotels are busy preparing for the festive season, too.

“We're already purchasing decorative items and food ingredients for Chinese New Year according to the theme 'Spring into Prosperity',” said Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa assistant director Wendy Kok during a shopping trip for festive ingredients and paraphernalia on Tuesday

Led by Kok, Chinese chef Lim Kok Tong and floral designer Cheng Yoon Seng, the shopping trip was to Petaling Street. It was to show the hotel's tradition of preparing for the Chinese New Year.

Tantalising: Dishes such as Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat and Roe are rich with ingredients selected by Lim.
The first stop was Kwang Yeow Heng Importer & Exporter (M) Sdn Bhd to shop for dried seafood.

Managed by Hiah (Gan) Siek Kee, the shop has been in existence for the last 40 years, wholesaling all manner of dried and canned foodstuff such as abalone, oysters, jellyfish, scallops, sea cucumbers, fungi and herbs.

“For dried oysters and sea cucumbers, make sure you pick those that are not too dry and hard. The sea cucumbers, especially, should be soft enough for you to easily bend it a little without breaking it,” said Lim while selecting sea cucumbers that cost RM420 per kg.

Pretty bouquet: Cheng demonstrating a Chinese New Year floral arrangement suitable for the home.
He also inspected dried scallops from Japan (ranging from RM348 to RM468 per kg), oysters from Korea (from RM53 to RM93 per kg), and abalone (costing from RM16,000 per kg to a whopping RM5,000 each).

Dried mushrooms were also on the list, with those from China costing some RM60 per kg and those from Japan, RM450 per kg.

“We buy an average of about 50kg of dried seafood during Chinese New Year, and if the demand is very high, it can go up to about 100kg,” Lim later revealed.

The next stop was Lee Wah Florist Sdn Bhd, one of the oldest and most established flower wholesalers in the city.

Set up more than 50 years ago, the florist is run by sisters Apple and Orange Lee.

Expensive: Abalone can cost from RM16,000 per kg a whopping RM5,000 each at Kwang Yeow Heng Importer & Exporter (M) Sdn. Bhd.
“Lee Wah is one of the biggest suppliers of flowers in terms of variety and volume,” Cheng explained.

Saddled with the task of decorating the hotel interior and exterior, Cheng went about selecting peonies, plum blossoms, pussy willows and forsythias for her floral arrangements.

“These flowers are spring flowers and appropriate for Chinese New Year, which is all about embracing spring. The flowers are from China and usually brought in a month before the festival,” said Cheng, adding that other auspicious plants included lucky bamboo, chrysanthemums and gladioli, as well as lime and kumquat trees.

“Blooms and living plants signify growth and new life,” Kok added.

Meanwhile, decoration for the hotel's facade was purchased from Nan Thong Gifts & Decor Sdn Bhd.

Red lanterns, wall decorations, streamers, poetic couplets, and giant and miniature mystic knots and more set the festive mood in the store.

“We'll be using mystic knots, lanterns and ang pow decorated kumquat and lime trees for the hotel exterior,” said Cheng, adding that the flowers and decoration were estimated to cost about RM15,000.

The shopping completed, the media adjourned to the hotel for a floral arrangement demonstration and a much-awaited lunch at the West Lake Garden restaurant.

Among the dishes available at the restaurant this Chinese New Year are nine types of yee sang, Steamed Estuary Garoupa with Mandarin Orange Peel and Soya Sauce, Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat and Roe and a variety of other seafood and desserts.

The Chinese New Year menu at West Lake Garden will be available until March 4.

“Don't forget to make reservations,” Kok reminded.

West Lake Garden Restaurant - Website Click Here

West Lake Garden Chinese RestaurantLobby Level, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

(603) 7492 8000 Ext. 3181

(603) 7492 8001

Recommended but not required

Lunch:12.00pm - 2.30pm (Mon - Sat)10.00am - 2.30pm (Sun & Public Holidays)
Dinner:6.30pm - 10.30pm (Mon - Sun)
Eat-All-&-Leave-Nothing:12.00pm - 2.30pm (Sat)

Source : STAR
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