Eastin Hotel

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to Eastin Hotel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Eastin Hotel Penang is a 4-star hotel next to Queensbay Mall. The hotel is a popular choice for business travelers due to its close proximity to Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. In the spirit of the upcoming Chinese New Year, the lobby area is decorated with a red Chinese arch (牌坊).
This evening, Eastin Hotel is hosting a preview of the upcoming Chinese New Year buffet. The actual meals will be held at the Grand Ballroom, but today's preview is held at Swez Brasserie instead.
It is customary to welcome the Lunar New Year with yee sang (鱼生). Yee sang comprises of many ingredients, each of which is considered auspicious to the Chinese. For example, fish (鱼) is thought to represent "abundance" (余). Also included are jellyfish, shredded daikon, shredded carrots, crackers, crushed peanuts, five-spice powder (五香粉), pepper, plum sauce, honey and lemon juice. Eastin Hotel also offers several types of yee sang for take-away.
Poon Choi (盆菜) is traditionally served in a large pot where ingredients are stacked on top of one another. Eastin Hotel's version comprises of abalones, oysters, scallops, sea cucumbers, shrimps, tofu skin (腐竹), broccoli and fat choy (发菜). This dish is available during the Family Reunion Buffet Dinner (15 February 2018) only.
Yook Poon (肉盘) literally means "meat platter". Presented this evening are roasted duck (烤鸭), roasted chicken (烤鸡) and barbecued chicken (叉烧鸡). Roasted beef is included too, but I feel that it is too dry and leathery.
Roasted meats usually go well with plum sauce (苏梅酱), but I am more impressed by the rosemary & saffron sauce. Besides having nice aroma, the latter presents creamy mouthfeel and tantalizing taste which accentuate the taste of meats.
Seafood on ice includes oysters, mussels, scallops, flower crabs and shrimps. Tabasco sauce and cocktail sauce are provided.
Seasoned Japanese delicacies include Jelly Fish Salad (中華クラゲ), Baby Octopus Salad (中華イイダコ) and Japanese Seaweed Salad (中華ワカメ).
The Steamed Sea Bass has refined flesh and is mildly sweet on its own. The fish takes advantage of sharp tastes of pickled mustard (榨菜) and sour plum (酸梅). Shiitake mushrooms, coriander and red chili peppers serve as garnishes.
One of my favorite dishes this evening is Salted Egg Mantis Prawns. Mantis shrimps (虾蛄) are shelled and then coated with batter made from salted egg yolk. Curry leaves enhance the aromatic appeal of this dish.
Moving on to poultry, Herbal Chicken is cooked with wolfberries (枸杞) and ginger slivers (姜丝). I prefer the herbs to take a more prominent role in the overall taste.
Pipa Duck (琵琶鸭) is named so because during marinating and roasting, the duck's body cut open and flattened. Hence the duck resembles pipa (琵琶), a traditional Chinese musical instrument. The main appeal of the duck is its browned, waxy skin. Sweet plum sauce serves as the condiment.
Lotus Leaf Fried Rice (荷叶饭) is a Cantonese recipe where rice is steamed with diced chicken, dried shrimps and mushrooms in a lotus leaf wrap. However unlike lo mai kai (糯米鸡), this dish does not use glutinous rice, but instead uses regular white rice.
One of the well-received delicacies this evening is the Double Boiled Chicken Soup. Saturated with rich chicken essences, the broth is satisfying to the very last drop. Meanwhile, the chicken is very soft and peels off the bones very easily.
Leng Chee Kang (莲子汤) is usually served as a dessert. This sweet, warm soup contains longan and snow fungus (雪耳).

As for confectionery, the buffet presents a reasonable variety of traditional Chinese New Year cookies. Popular choices are almond cookies (杏仁饼), green pea cookies (青豆饼), honeycomb cookies (蜂窝饼), kuih kapit (娘惹鸡蛋饼), kuih bangkit (番婆饼) and pineapple tarts (黄梨饼).
Diners who prefer Western pastries can help themselves with cakes. This evening, the pastry team has prepared several flavors like butter, chocolate and strawberry. By the way, it is better for the cakes to be sliced upfront to minimize wastage.
Eastin Hotel's Family Reunion Buffet Dinner is held on 15 February 2018. In the spirit of the Lunar New Year, the hotel is arranging entertainment like lion dance, face changing performance (变脸), clown shows and other family-oriented activities. Additional buffet lunch and dinner sessions are held on 16 and 17 February 2018. Would-be diners should take advantage of the early bird offer before 5 February 2018: For every 3 paying adults, the 4th person dines for free!
Name: Eastin Hotel Penang
Address: 1, Solok Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-612-1128
Business hours: 12:00pm-3:00pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm
Website: http://www.eastin.com/penang/dining
Coordinates: 5.33637 N, 100.30635 E
Directions: Eastin Hotel Penang is located along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu) and is conveniently next to Queensbay Mall. The Grand Ballroom is located on Level 3. There are parking spaces at the basement levels of the hotel.

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