Treated like royalty at Qing Palace

Going to Qing Palace for the media preview of the Lunar New Year menu is like meeting general manager, Sunny Soo, and the resort’s Marketing & Communications team again for our very own reunion dinner.

One of the traditions of eating Yee Sang
is uttering positive phrases as various
toppings are added to the platter
Over the years of working with Pulai Springs Resort, we have become friends and it’s always a pleasure to dine with them.

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, it’s meaningful for us to get together for a festive meal at Qing Palace, their award-winning Chinese restaurant, and I’m looking forward to be treated like royalty here.

I’m familiar with the Cantonese cuisine by Master Chef Lim Ming Chong and his culinary team and am keen to taste the exciting menus created for this festive season.

While two tables are set up in a private room for our preview, a separate table is arranged for us to toss Yee Sang or raw fish salad in the lo hei tradition to usher in greater prosperity.

By now, most of our non-Chinese media friends are already familiar with the lo hei tradition and have also acquired the taste for eating raw fish salad. So they are poised with chopsticks, ready to join in the tossing activity.

I’m happy that Qing Palace has arranged for one of their staff to serve who is conversant with the Chinese tradition of uttering positive wishes as she adds the various toppings onto the platter.

Well done! Hardly any ingredient was tossed out of the platter!
As she utters the phrases in Chinese/Cantonese dialect, media friends who are bi-lingual in Chinese and English help to translate her sayings for the others to better appreciate the meanings of these good wishes that complete the lo hei tradition.

In all the fun and excitement, we remind each other that as we toss higher for greater prosperity, to consciously toss neatly within the platter – and not waste good food … and symbolically, prosperity.

The group agrees with this rationale and while the tossing is a boisterous activity, we did well not to toss the ingredients off the table!

The Poon Choy for 10 diners, at Qing Palace
Then I learn that our meal together is indeed the menu for the Reunion Dinner, so I take a quick look at the items listed in this menu priced at RM1,488 (10 Persons) and RM893 (6 persons).

After the Salmon Yee Sang, the next item is the Special Poon Choy (Cantonese) followed by Steamed Garoupa Hong Kong style and Steamed Chicken Floss Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf and finally, dessert of Chilled Honey Dew with Sago Beads.

While the list seems short, I know that the Poon Choy alone may include between 9 to 18 courses/ingredients like prawns, roast meat, mushrooms, dried seafood and vegetables layered within the claypot, that are separately cooked by stir-frying, deep-frying, boiling, roasting, braising or stewing!

GM Sunny Soo, helping to serve Poo Choy layer-by-layer
My mouth is watering in eager anticipation to see and taste what Chef Lim has created in his version of Poon Choy, a veritable banquet in a basin, with ingredients assembled layer-by-layer and further stewed for laborious hours to bring out exquisite flavours that are fit for Emperors!

I hear a collective sigh of pleasure when the Poon Choy is served and the waitress removes the cover to reveal the sight of its top layer arranged with whole prawns, whole abalone and florets of broccoli simmering in a rich broth and wafts of a delicious aroma.

As we admire the Poon Choy, nobody makes a move until GM Soo, graciously volunteers to help with the serving. And to better appreciate this dish, we discuss the art of eating Poon Choy – Yes, there is indeed, an art to it.

There is an art to serving and eating Poon Choy...
It begins with serving up the ingredients layer-by-layer because the aim is to savour each ingredient in separate courses and allow all the natural flavours and nutritious goodness to soak into the ingredients below.

And it is good manners to help yourself to what is within easy reach instead of stirring or digging to the bottom of the claypot…

So we dine on the Poon Choy in a leisurely way, layer-by-layer in servings graciously dished out by Soo, where we savour whole prawns, whole abalone, broccoli, cuts of steamed chicken and roasted duck, braised mushrooms, sea cucumber, fish maw, and finally, slices of Chinese cabbage, yam and radish that are mmm… so full of flavour.

For many, this is their first taste of Poon Choy, featured in our Reunion Dinner and they insist that its satisfying taste is an experience we will remember for a long, long time.

Our empty dish is proof of how well we did in
the art of serving and eating Poon Choy!
From Feb 16 to March 2, Poon Choy is available for dine-in ala carte orders and takeaways at RM1,100 per order.

With our stomachs already half full with the delightful taste of Poon Choy, the next courses of Hong Kong style Steamed Garoupa and Steamed Chicken Floss Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf, are just right to complete the meal.

To accommodate the modern trend of enjoying a restaurant Reunion Dinner, Qing Palace offers three dining sessions scheduled at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm on the eve of Lunar New Year, Feb 15.

Feasting on high-value ingredients and dishes with auspicious names is a must this festive season and Qing Palace offers two 8-course Chinese New Year Set Menus, A and B for tables of 10 or 6 diners, served from Feb 16 to March 2.

Steamed Lotus Leaf Rice topped with chicken floss
Set A is priced at RM918 for table of 10 and RM698 for table of 6 persons.
Set B is priced at RM1,388 for table of 10 and RM888 for table of 6 persons.

Diners may choose from Yee Sang options in two sizes available from Feb 1 to March 2 that feature salmon: RM73 (small) RM143 (large), fruits: RM73 (small) RM143 (large), sea asparagus: RM80 (small) RM160 (large) or smoked duck: RM80 (small) RM160 (large).

If you are in the resort on Feb 18, don’t miss the Lion Dance performance at the hotel lobby, scheduled for 10.30am.

Pulai Springs Resort is at 20km Jalan Pontian Lama, 81110 Pulai, Johor. Qing Palace serves food which is pork-free and without alcohol. 

Visit website: for full details of menus and special promotions at the resort hotel and restaurants.

For reservations, Tel: 607 – 521 2121, Email:

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