Getting messy to start the new (lunar) year at Xian Tian Di

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CANTONESE YUSHENG SALAD

CELEBRATE the year of the Earth Pig with a meal meant to bring forth wealth, health, and prosperity at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria’s Xin Tian Di today.

The Wealthy Menu is one of the sets prepared by the restaurant’s Executive Chinese Chef, Peter Yeung, who specializes in Cantonese cuisine.

The meal opens with the traditional Cantonese Yusheng salad, a raw fish salad with condiments which is often tossed in the air in the belief that the higher the salad is thrown (and the messier the final product becomes) the more prosperous the year will be.

Aside from being a fun way to usher in the lunar new year (because it is arguably one of the few times one is encouraged to play with one’s food), it was testament to Mr. Yeung’s talent that on the day BusinessWorld tried out the dish, no matter how almost haphazardly he poured in the sauces and condiments, the prosperity salad still turned into a dish that balances sourness, saltiness, and has texture.

After a thorough cleaning to remove the mess we made, the salad was followed by a platter of cold cuts which, aside from the usual Chinese elements — jellyfish, century egg, char siu pork, etc. — but also incorporated Japanese salmon nigiri sushi and the non-Japanese California maki.

We were then warmed up by the Eight Treasure fish maw with shredded abalone. Mr. Yeung pointed out that eating abalone is meant to attract more wealth, likely because the sea snail is so expensive that it has became a status symbol.




One of the standouts among the main dishes was the Deep-fried stuffed US scallop with wasabi salad dressing, because of the generous serving of scallops and the subtle kick of wasabi at the back of one’s tongue.

But the other entrants were no slouches either as the Steamed codfish fillet with black bean sauce was perfect for those who wanted lighter fare, and the Roasted duck in plum sauce which was suitably juicy and flavorful and, while it might be bad for one’s heart, it can be forgiven because it celebrates the New Year’s after all.

Finally, for dessert were served the usual tikoy (pan-fried glutinous rice cake) and ginataan (taro pearls with coconut cream). The two desserts brought the meal to a satisfying and familiar close.

Note that the restaurant’s Wealthy Menu is a set for four people and is priced at P12,888++ and includes a box of Koi Fish nian gao (tikoy).

The restaurant also offers set menus for six people which include half of a roast Peking duck served two ways and Steamed halibut fillet in golden garlic sauce, among others, and is priced at P16,888.

There are also sets for eight people and 10 people, priced at P22,888++ and P26,888++, respectively.

Xin Tian Di is located at the 4th floor of Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Ave. corner Asian Development Bank Ave., Quezon City. For inquiries call the restaurant at 633-7222 local 7296/7298 or visit its official Facebook page. — Zsarlene B. Chua