Selangor Journal
Chinese head chef Lee Yew Ken scooping raw slices of the giant grouper to be gently poached in simmering water and fragrant oil, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

Spring into pots of delicacies this Chinese New Year at Doubletree by Hilton Shah Alam

By Sulyn Chong

SHAH ALAM, Jan 18 — “Huat ah!” (May we be rich!) we cheered while tossing a mélange of crispy crackers, stringy shredded vegetables, sweet sauces and fresh salmon sashimi slices that are so essential in a Yee Sang dish for Chinese New Year.

Our joy and spirit for a good start of the Lunar New Year rang throughout Makan Kitchen, the Doubletree by Hilton Shah Alam’s buffet dining hall located on the first floor.

Yes, it is that time of the year again, a time where wearing red clothing is considered lucky and being boisterous with family and friends is not frowned upon, instead, it is encouraged.

Soon, on January 22, all Chinese descendants around the world will ring in the highly anticipated Year of the Water Rabbit that is forecasted to be a smoother and hopefully mellower ride compared to the aggressive as well as ferocious Water Tiger last year.

Seafood delights chilling on ice, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

To start off the feast, executive chef Lee Keen Suaan directed me towards the seafood selections where an array of scallops, mussels, prawns and many others are nicely displayed in a row.

“These are our guests’ favourites. Our seafood section is always highly sought after and we serve them in two styles — chilled and grilled, but most people would prefer the grilled ones,” he says with a glimmer of pride in his eyes.

It is hard not to see why with fat crab legs ready to be dug out and enjoyed, clams opened at a ready to be suckled while juicy scallops scorched perfectly and ready to be scooped out of its shell.

The only gripe would be not having the right tools to truly enjoy these oceanic offerings such as a long crab toothpick from Daiso, which would be perfect right about now.

Executive chef Lee Keen Suaan invites everyone to come enjoy the delectable offerings, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

If raw or grilled seafood is not really your kind of platter and for the allergy stricken, Keen Suaan points towards several other meaty options like the roast duck and chicken, dim sum stuffed with chicken meat, Chinese stir fries and a healthy soup filled with abalone.

For a refreshing change, there is also a fresh salad bar as well as Indian and Malay dishes such as lamb shank, satay, or even rendang.

However, Chinese head chef Lee Yew Ken, who came to greet us, could not help but usher us towards the signature dish that he has prepared for this Chinese New Year.

“You must try this no matter what!” he says in excitement.

Sitting on a large tray is an approximately eight-kilogram giant grouper with a head as big as a dinner plate and a tail that seems so strong as if it could give you a stinging slap if you were to speak ill or cuss during this auspicious season.

An array of tantalising food for your choosing that will leave you feeling filled and ‘wealthy’ this Year of the Water Rabbit, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

Its bouncy and thick flesh partially sliced up and displayed splendidly whereupon Yew Ken scoops them and places them in gently boiling water to be poached with a drizzle of fragrant oil made from frying shallots, garlic and spring onions.

“Grouper is always best savoured in larger sizes because the bigger the fish, the juicier the meat and more nutritional values.

“The thick skin is also surprisingly not tough like other types of fish. Instead, it is soft and chewy. It is the best part actually because it is filled with collagen, very good for skin,” he says.

After just seven minutes rolling in the water, the fish is dished out onto a plate and handed to me in which Keen Suaan suggests I try the Nyonya sauce from the four selections of sauces available.

Roasted duck and chicken awaiting to be gobbled, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

“The sauces cater to different likings. There is the spicy and tangy chilli ginger, the signature seasoned soya and a somewhat heavily flavoured Mongolian sauce.

“But the must try is this Nyonya sauce which is Yew Ken’s secret recipe. It pairs wonderfully with the fish,” he urges.

When asked why the need for such an impressive display in a buffet dining hall, Yew Ken replies, “Every New Year we wish to be happy and merry eating together with people we love. So, being able to serve something so grand that could be talked about at the dinner table and seeing the faces of the diners lit up in delight is a wonderful feeling for us this season.”

To round up the delicious food journey are some really pretty cakes designed by the in-house pastry chef to fit the festivities and I did not hesitate to pick up the zesty Passion Mousse tart which is shaped as a mandarin orange for some good luck.

Have a bite of ‘good wealth’ with these zesty yet sweet Passion Mousse tarts, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

Makan Kitchen’s Chinese New Year highlights include:

Chinese New Year’s eve Dinner, available on January 21 from 6pm to 10.30pm.
Chinese New Year’s day Dinner, available on January 22 and 23 from 6pm to 10.30pm

Both are priced at RM188 nett buffet only and RM278 nett with free flow red and white house wine.

High Tea, available on January 21 and 22 from 12.30pm to 4pm is priced at RM148 nett buffet only and RM238 nett with free flow red and white house wine.

Chap Goh Mei Dinner, available on February 5 from 6pm to 10.30pm is priced at RM168 nett buffet only and RM258 nett with free flow red and white house wine.

For further enquiries or reservations, contact +603 5350 0200, email [email protected] or visit eatdrinkhilton.com

Crabs stir fried in chilli and sweet sauce, a definite must this Chinese New Year, at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton, Shah Alam, on January 12, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

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