No Chinese New Year reunion dinner is complete without an abundant spread of delicious delicacies that are bound to set hearts-a-flutter and mouths-a-water.
Eu Yan Sang has teamed up with World Gourmet Summit Sommelier of the Year finalist, Amy Leese, our very own wine consultant to come up with a pairing list of fine wines which go perfectly with our favourite reunion dinner dishes.
By lending a touch of opulence and luxury to your yearly reunion dinner setting, you and your family can delight in a truly gourmet experience this Chinese New Year.
The tossing of Yu Sheng is a fun and boisterous, albeit messy affair that takes centrestage at reunion dinners. It involves the crossing of hands, dueling of chopsticks, loud (and even louder) cries of prosperous well-wishes and the wild flinging of fresh raw salmon slices alongside slivers of shredded vegetables and other assorted toppings coated in sticky sweet plum sauce.
Match Prosecco, an Italian sparkling white wine that’s fresh, light and crisp with a hint of sweetness to bring out the raw, fresh flavours of the healthy Yu Sheng salad.
With some bubbly in one hand and some Yu Sheng on the other, that’s a sure win way to get the prosperous mood of Chinese New Year going. Toss it high!
Our tip – Generously scatter some top quality wolfberries to bring more nutrition and a touch of auspicious red colour to the Yu Sheng.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
The Hainanese are the undisputed masters of the art of poultry perfection. Hainanese Chicken Rice, a dish of succulent pieces of steamed chicken with slippery smooth skin served chilled on top of a bed of fluffy rice grains perfumed by the fragrant aroma of chicken stock, ginger and garlic.
It is a never-to-be missed dish that makes a default appearance on every reunion dinner table of every family that prides themselves in being authentically Hainanese.
Wash it down with some Pinot Grigio, a dry white wine with a subtle citrus fruitiness and an acidic edge that helps cuts through the complex and heavy flavours of Hainanese Chicken Rice, refreshing your palate so you can go for your next mouthful of this delicious delicacy!
Our tip – Hainanese Chicken Rice is usually served with a side of clear soup boiled from the bones of the chicken. Add some Huai Shan into this soup, to enhance the flavour and aid digestion.
Roasted Char Siew – Chinese BBQ pork
Chinese Barbequed Pork, also known as Char Siew, is a Cantonese favourite that’s a heavenly combination of savoury, sweet and sticky.
First, the pork is bathed in a savoury marinade of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and soy sauce, followed by a generous slathering of luscious honey all over its surface before being sent to the roasting oven, where it caramelises beautifully to a slightly charred glaze.
Pair the delectable Char Siew meat with Riposato, a delightful red wine with deep seductive notes of violet and ripe black cherry fruit to bring out the full flavor of the meat and marination. This wine has been left to dry for 2 months and the drying process gives this wine more depth and structure while adding softness and complexity.
Pen Cai or Treasure Pot
‘Pen Cai’or ‘Treasure Pot’, is a well-known traditional dish for festive seasons especially during the Chinese New Year. Eating Pen Cai during family gatherings signifies reunion, harmony and auspiciousness.
It is bestowed the title of ‘Treasure Pot’ as the pot is filled with delicious food treasures such as abalone, premium mushrooms, top shells, scallops and more, all lovingly braised together in their umami juices. In addition, the character "盆" which translates to 'Pot' in Chinese also symbolises a pot of wealth and money.
Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore is a red wine with elegant flavours that undergoes the traditional ‘Ripasso’ technique, a unique double fermentation process that imparts richness, character and personality to an already superior wine. Its subtle sweetness and well-balanced tannin levels perfectly matches the slow-braised and stewed flavours of the Pen Cai.
Slow-roast Pork Knuckle with homemade pepper sauce
This dish tops the list of Chinese New Year dishes due to its very auspicious name – “Gold and wealth has reached your hands” (黄金到手). It represents the thick arms of a person sweeping loads of wealth inwards. The Chinese believe that by consuming this dish, wealth or gold will be swept from all directions into their homes.
This dish is made by slow-roasting a whole pork knuckle in the oven till it achieves an even golden brown crackling, followed by the drizzling of mouth-watering yummy homemade pepper sauce over this crispy dish.
Match it with our top-of-the range red wine- Amarone. Grapes from the best vines in this region are handpicked and patiently left to dry for at least four months before finally left to mature and age in an oak barrel for two years. The result is an intense, powerful red wine with full-bodied notes of rich blackcurrant fruit, prunes and a hint of herbs given by the oak barrel that goes extremely well with this rich Pork Knuckle dish.