Photo Blog: CNY Cooking Lesson by Chef Yong (New Majestic) @ Shermay's Cooking School

CNY Cooking Class - Participants' Goody Bags
I had taken a day's leave to attend a cooking lesson conducted by Chef Yong Bing Ngen (of New Majestic Restaurant & Jing) at Shermay's Cooking School. I arrived early to save a good seat and was pleasantly surprised to see that there were goody bags laid out for each of us. There was a bottle of cooking oil and tissue paper compliments of Sunbeam and a few really sweet miniature Mandarin oranges in the Jing paper bag.Since I was there early, I took some pictures of the ingredients that had been laid out before dashing out for a quick cuppa Latte.
Yu Sheng Ingredients (partial)
Yu Sheng Ingredients (dried & preserved variety)
Vegetables - laid out according to each dish's requirements

Vegetables (prepped according to each dish's needs)

Japanese Flower Mushrooms

Reconstituted Dried Japanese Flower Mushrooms (for Poon Choy)Tau Kee in the tray with 2 cleavers prepped for use Tau Kee (Beancurd Sheets) (for Poon Choy)Fish Bladder, Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber & Bamboo Pith Fish Bladder, Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber & Bamboo Pith (for Poon Choy)Can you spot the abalones under the milky fluid? Abalones (for Poon Choy)

Dried Shrimp (in plastic container), Half a Roast Duck & Roasted Belly Pork Roasted Duck, Roasted Pork Belly & Dried Shrimp (for Poon Choy)

Waxed Meats for the Claypot Rice Wind-Dried Sausages 腊肠 (pink), Liver Sausages 膶肠 (dark), Waxed Pork Belly腊肉 & Waxed Duck 腊鸭 (for Lap Mei Fan 腊味饭 aka Waxed Meats Rice)

Cheong Chan Dark Soya Sauce Cheong Chan Dark Soya Sauce (for Lap Mei Fan 腊味饭 aka Waxed Meats Rice)

This is the soya sauce that Chef Yong recommended for the Waxed Meats Rice dish. Its tough to find a good quality dark soya sauce in Singapore. I've tried various brands and so far have only liked the one sold in Chinatown (with twin bulldogs). After trying this soya sauce at this class, I must say this is the best I've had so far. Apparently you can only buy it in Malaysia so please don't email me asking me for places that stock them (I'm only telling you which brand is good but I haven't made a trip myself to hunt the sauce down). Since its manufactured by Campbell's, you might like to give their Malaysian office a ring instead.

Closer look at the Yu Sheng (before adding the fish & sauces)

Here's a picture of the Yu Sheng before adding fish & condiments.

Yu Sheng Tossing @ Shermay's Mass Tossing of Yu Sheng for 38 people!

I don't really like Yu Sheng but mum loves this dish so I figured it would be cool to learn how to make it for family gatherings. The Yu Sheng was light and not cloyingly sweet. I enjoyed the refreshing bite of the freshly julienned root vegetables against the crunchy bits of fried flour crisps, sesame seeds and peanuts. The salmon was very fresh too with the citrusy juice of lemon enhancing its flavour.
Poon Choy Poon Choy 盆菜
Mum has mentioned this dish many times but I'd never been inclined to try it largely because I'm not a huge fan of having everything stuffed into a pot (feels like hostel or camping food). Granted that the best of ingredients are used in this dish but for a person like me, who does not like Sea Cucumber, any kind of Fish Maw, Dried Oysters,'s not ranked highly on my list. I must say though I'm not a huge fan of seafood, this dish was delicious as the cabbage leaves had absorbed the rich flavours of the ingredients (which included scallops and oysters in addition to all the others above) and the stock in which they had been cooked in. Since it was one of the dishes featured on the menu, I figured that there was no harm in learning in case one day I want to make it for (yep, you guessed it!) a family gathering! :)
Lap Mei Fan (Waxed Meats Rice) 腊味饭 Lap Mei Fan (Waxed Meats Rice) 腊味饭

By this time, you must be wondering if I attended the lesson to learn how to cook for family gatherings. Well...sorta...but I was mostly there because they featured one of my favourite Cantonese CNY dishes, Lap Mei Fan (Waxed Meats Rice) 腊味饭.

It's essentially steamed rice (usually cooked in a claypot) topped with preserved meats like Wind-Dried Sausages 腊肠, Liver Sausages (Yun Cheong) 膶肠, Waxed Pork Belly (Lap Yok) 腊肉 and Waxed Duck 腊鸭. In most Cantonese restaurants, when you're done with the dish, the staff will take the claypot away to add stock to the burnt crust and boil it for the second course (kind of like a smoky porridge).

To the Health Freaks out there, I know this screams carcinogenic but that also rings true for alot of other processed foods out there. Maybe you can peep through your fingers & scroll through the carcinogenic portions? :P

The rice was served after drizzling some sauce (comprising mostly of the dark soya sauce) and mixing it all up. I loved the firm grains of rice and the smoky, salty flavours of the preserved meats! This is great Comfort Food and is worth a try when dining out during the CNY season in a Cantonese restaurant. It was during the class that I realised why Yan Ting kept referring to the sausages as Wind-Dried. Chef Yong told us that the waxed meats (including sausages) were traditionally made in China during the Chinese 12th Month (La Yue) 腊月, which is the coldest winter month. The sausages and meats were apparently hung and dried by the strong but dry chilly wind that blew through the land, thus creating the variety of meats known as La Wei or Waxed Meats 腊味 (the meats were not waxed but the hardened oils have a waxy appearance and texture).

Naturally, I laid off the liver sausages because I do not like to eat internal organs except Foie Gras. Unfortunately we didn't have the time nor the stock for the second course but I resolved to get my Lap Mei Fan fix before the 15 days of CNY run out on 9 February 2009!

DSC_0559 Thanks! Chef Yong & Sous Chef Keong!

New Majestic Restaurant 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road New Majestic Hotel Singapore 089845 Telephone: +65 6511-4718

Operating Hours: Daily: 11.45 am - 3.00pm (last order 2.30pm) & 6.30 pm - 11pm (last order 10.30pm)

Jing #01-02/03 One Fullerton 1 Fullerton Road Singapore 049213 Telephone: +65 6224-0088

Operating Hours: Daily: 11.45 am - 3.00pm (last order 2.30pm) & 6.30 pm - 11pm (last order 10.30pm)

Shermay's Cooking School Chip Bee Gardens (Holland Village) Block 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #03-64, Singapore 278115 Telephone: +65 6479-8442 Email:

Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays: 11.30 am - 8.00pm Sundays: 1.30 pm - 8.30pm Closed on Mondays

* PS: Please do not email me to ask for recipes as they are copyright so you will need to attend the lessons to get them. I will forward your email addresses to the cooking school so you will be kept apprised of any upcoming cooking lessons.