Last month, my family had a chance to attend food tasting session for an 8-course Chinese wedding banquet at The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, Penang. The food tasting session was held in order to finalise the menu selections for an upcoming wedding in the family.
Traditionally in Chinese wedding banquet, the food in each course is laden with symbolism for the newly-wed couple. Eight is the usual number of courses served in a reception because of its significant meaning. In Chinese, eight means good fortune, good luck or prosperity. However, in modern times, the menu can be changed or substituted depending on the budget and taste.
1st Course, Appetizer
The dinner started off with appetiser which included a variety of hot and cold dishes. There were kerabu (salad in malay) jellyfish with crispy cuttlefish, stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts, stir-fried mantis prawn with dried chilli, stir-fried crab meat and egg, deep-fried pandan chicken (chicken wrapped in screwpine leaf). It was a great start!
2nd Course, Double-boiled Black Chicken with Dried Scallop and Fish Maw
Soup dish is usually served after the first course and it used to be shark's fin soup which symbolised wealth. However due to the concern over world's shark population and the inhumane act, many restaurants have now replaced it with other soup. Our second course was double-boiled black chicken soup with dried scallop and fish maw. Although I was a little hesitant with the black chicken at first, I slurped to the very last drop in my bowl. It was full of flavour with peppery taste, the chicken just fell off the bones and the fish maw had marshmallow-like texture.
3rd course, Deep Fried Chicken with Mango Kerabu
The third course was deep fried boneless chicken with mango kerabu sauce. The chicken was coated with crispy batter and I loved the refreshing mango salad with the sweet and sour sauce.
4th course, Steamed Red Snapper
Fish is commonly served in Chinese wedding as a sign of abundance in life for the newly married couple. We had steamed red snapper with soy sauce which was fresh, simple and delicious.
5th course, Wok-fried Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk and Herb
Following the fifth course, next was wok-fried prawns with salted egg yolk and herbs. This dish was just average for me and I didn't have much of it.
6th course, Braised Sea Cucumber with Assorted Mushroom and Broccoli
Braised sea cucumber with assorted mushrooms and broccoli was served on the 6th course. This dish traditionally means selflessness and wishing the couple a harmonious and loving relationship. I liked how the mushroom absorbed the sauce and made it really flavourful.
7th course, Stewed Noodle with Crab Meat
By the time for the seventh course, we were almost stuffed but still couldn't resist the stewed noodle with crab meat. Noodle represents longevity due to its long strand.
Sweet Wate8th course, Water Chestnut & Ginko nut with egg white
The nearly two-hour dinner wrapped up with a bowl of delicious dessert to wish the couple a sweet life together in the future. We had Sweet water chestnut with ginko nut and egg white. It was a special dessert to compliment the sumptuous dinner.
At the end of the food tasting, the overall rating for the food was 8.5 /10 and we were happy to go ahead with the selections except for a couple of courses.
If you are interested to host a Chinese wedding banquet in Penang, I would recommend The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences for its affordability and value for money.