Saturday, 17 February 2018

New Year, New Flavours

Grand Stanford Harbour View's sugarcane and sweet potato CNY pudding
It's only the second day of the Lunar New Year and I feel like I've eaten way too much already!

But the highlight is probably the 年糕 neen goh, or nian gao that's only made during this time of year. It signifies promotions or prosperity in the coming year, so it's a must-eat during the holidays.

The latest Peninsula flavour is pineapple
It's basically made of glutinous rice flour mixed with brown sugar, though these days Hong Kong hotels and restaurants have become creative in coming up with a variety of new flavours.

I tried the traditional one yesterday at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, where slices were lightly pan-fried in an egg wash that was perfect when it was warm, chewy and not sickly sweet.

The Peninsula Boutique has come up with a new flavour this year -- pineapple. It has a yellow colour of course, but even after it's panfried, it's quite bland. Someone suggested having little bits of pineapple in it for texture and added flavour. We agree.

However, at The Royal Garden, one of the latest ones they have come up with is red date with low sugar. There is the distinct red date taste -- and there's even some whole Xinjiang-sourced dates within the pudding. We quite liked this one.

Four Seasons Hong Kong has an intriguing creation this year -- aloe vera with lotus root and jasmine. Aloe doesn't have much taste which is why jasmine tea flavour is added, and for texture, bits of lotus root are mixed in. It's refreshing and somewhat healthful.

The Four Seasons has aloe vera, lotus root and jasmine flavour
One year I tried a dual-toned pudding that featured sugarcane flavour and purple sweet potato from Grand Stanford Harbour View. It's also not too sweet and a bit healthier with the root vegetable mixed in.

But there's only so many slices of New Year pudding you can eat!

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