Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Restaurant Review: Poon Choi at Lucky Restaurant

During Chinese New Year – it has become a trend to order Yee Sang; arranged slices of fish, salmon, shredded vegetables, crackers and sauces of various colours, then the family members grab their chopsticks and toss the Yee Shang like a salad to mix well and eat. I am sure many families would prepare their own or order from restaurants such as Excapade Sushi or Kitaro. For this post, I want to introduce a dish that has lately become quite popular in Singapore during festive occasions. Poon Choi.

 

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Poon Choi or Penn Chai literally means “basin vegetables” (盆菜) as it was traditionally served to the Emperor in wooden washbasins during the Song Dynasty. It is a traditional one-pot Chinese dish of Cantonese origin and gained popularity as a CNY dish. A distinctive feature of Poon Choi is that the ingredients in the pot are cooked separately, layered and topped with an assortment of vegetables, delicious poultry or meat as well as expensive gourmet seafood fit for royalty (abalone and scallops) served with hot broth. Eating Poon Choi signifies abundance and richness in the coming year. I will explain a little bit on the layers of Poon Choi.

The Lucky’s staff has kindly helped me take pictures of the layers in the kitchen as I was unable to find the time to enter their kitchen. We ordered this to celebrate my sister’s birthday. The three pictures are taken using the chef’s camera phone – just to give you an idea – please don’t mind the quality of the image.

 

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As you can see from the first layer – it’s usually the vegetables and mushrooms. These will absorb the essence of the soup from other two layers of the dish and it’s usually the last and bottom layer to finish up the dish.

Layer 1 usually consists of Cabbage, beancurd sticks, sliced lotus root, carrot, winter melon,straw mushroom, Bai ling mushroom, white fungus.

 

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The second layer is usually the seafood, meats and poultry. It can vary according to different restaurants. This is my favourite layer as I’m a big meat eater. Notice that the only vegetable here is the shitake mushrooms (which taste slightly meaty – or they say the vegetarian’s meat)

Layer 2-sliced fish, squid,steamed chicken drumstick fillet,roasted chicken drumstick fillet , roasted duck fillet,char siu, sliced ham, sliced pork belly and shitake mushrooms.

 

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The top layer usually consists of the expensive ingredients – such as abalone, scallops, sea cucumber, top shell etc. This would be where you expect to see your NEW MOON or FORTUNE brand canned expensive seafood.

Layer 3 - pacific clams ,sea cucumber, sea asparagus, fish maw, scallop, top shell, big prawns , baby abalone, broccoli, abalone mushroom.

 

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For broths – you can choose either the chicken broth – which is lighter in taste but some might say is suitable to cook together with the Poon Choi to absorb the essence of the dish

 

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Or you can choose this strong hong sao abalone broth – which is stronger in flavour and is delicious even on its own. Some prefers this while some might think it overpowers the Poon Choi. My family chose this one as we preferred stronger flavours.

 

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You can either pour the hot broth onto the Poon Choi – or you can choose to just pick the items you like and pour the soup into your own small bowl. The traditional method pours the hot broth and has a flame to keep the soup hot but you can eat it anyway you like ~ as long as everybody’s having fun!

 

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Poon Choi – Are you joining the new trend for Chinese New Year?

The Poon Choi is $268 per set – which is understandable as even one can of baby abalone can cost up to $39 in the supermarket. It is good enough for 12 people – or 10 hungry adults. It’s okay to order extra rice, fried rice or noodles to match the delicious Poon Choi

Lucky restaurant will be serving this Poon Choi dish until the end of Chinese New Year – but I think they should make this available all year round for special occasions! Don’t you think?


For pre booking please call 2220181/2220182 or 8712196

 

Extra extra! New Dim Sum at Lucky Restaurant!

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By the way – Lucky restaurant is also introducing new dim sum to their menu ~~ expect to see this delicious Xue Shan Bao (Snow Mountain Bao) which is a popular item from Tim Ho Wan (famous dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong). It has a great sponge cake like texture as opposed to the bread like texture of typical char siew or chan baos. It is a must try dish and I personally can eat 6 in one go! Delicious.

 

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Lily bulb and baby abalone dimsum ~

 

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Thai style fish balls – pretty yummy Thai influenced dim sum!

 

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Siew mai with Baby Abalone – how exquisite!

 

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Yummy prawns – crispy fried nooodle outer crust ~~

 

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Minced prawn with a salted yolk center ~~~ oooooh yummm!!

 

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Ma Lai Kou ~~ a sweet soft dessert popular in Hong Kong Dim Sum ~

 

Lucky Restaurant

No7-10,PAP UMI Kalthum Shophouse,

Jalan Tutong,B.S.B

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