Barely a month has passed since we indulged in ritual bouts of holiday feasting. Now comes yet another round of rich dishes traditionally served during the Chinese New Year.
On the eve of Feb. 8, Filipino Chinese clans will welcome the start of the Year of the Fire Monkey by dining on auspicious food, setting off firecrackers, and handing out cash-stuffed ang pao to family members.
It is a doubly special occasion at City of Dreams Manila as Feb. 2 marks the first anniversary of the integrated resort complex. The Chinese chef at Crystal Dragon, the fine-dining Chinese restaurant at Crown Towers, has come up with two new set menus available the entire month.
Both the Chinese New Year Treasures and Chinese New Year Elegant menus will start with a Prosperity Salmon Fish Yu Shang where diners will simultaneously toss a sweet-
savory salad using their chopsticks.
The ingredients, which consist of shredded vegetables, fruit, salmon, plum sauce, olive oil and nuts, were chosen for their auspicious connotations. Take note: the higher the toss, the luckier the tosser.
A tiny mess is expected, but the staff has been instructed not to clear it as it will be akin to clearing away the good luck.
All the dishes in both menus are supposed to bode well for diners in the New Year. Cod with Baby Cabbage in Supreme Soy signifies abundance; the Wok-fried Glutinous Rice with Barbecue Pork stands for unity; the sesame seeds that coat the Oven-roasted Fragrant Chicken symbolize prosperity; and the Stir-fried Prawns with Butter, Curry Leaf and Crispy Egg Threads symbolize happiness and good fortune.
Crystal Dragon’s Elegant menu is priced at P3,690++ per person for a minimum of four diners while the Treasures menu is P5,690++ per person for a minimum of six. They are open for lunch and dinner.
The other establishments within the complex have also prepared their own Chinese New Year-themed activities.
For the entire month of February, Nobu Manila will curate hot and cold à la carte dinner selections; Noodl8 at the main gaming floor will showcase à la carte specialties like Braised Pork Trotters in Brown Sauce and Stir-Fried Longevity Noodles with Slipper Lobster; and Café Society will have Chinese-themed boxes of tikoy (Nian Gao), pralines and macarons.
On Feb. 6-8, the promenade of The Shops at The Boulevard will have palm and tarot card readers, a calligraphy art area where names and messages can be written in Mandarin, and paper lantern-making sessions.