Auspicious Treasures in A Pot - What is Pen Cai?

The Capitol Kempinski Hotel - Pen Cai


A pot of luxurious, mouth-watering Pen Cai is a must-have at a Chinese New Year reunion dinner. Believed to have originated way back in the Song Dynasty and later popularised in Hong Kong, Pen Cai is an iconic dish that comes in a pot brimming with sumptuous ingredients that symbolise abundance and prosperity. 

'Pen Cai' (盆菜) literally translates to 'vegetables in a basin'. Layers of rich ingredients are stacked upon one another and braised in a savoury gravy. The assortment of delicacies found in a Pen Cai can include anything imaginable, with the common favourites being abalone, mushrooms, dried scallops, roasted duck and prawns. An indulgent affair at the dining table, this Chinese New Year favourite is eaten from the top layer to the bottom. The more expensive and exquisite ingredients are often featured in the first layer, followed by vegetables in the layers underneath, where they are especially flavourful, having soaked the most in the gravy. 

The opulent Pen Cai from The capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore is perfect for 5 to 6 persons and generously loaded with premium ingredients and a smorgasbord of traditional delights. This savoury pot comes packed with 10-head Abalone ( 鮑魚 ), sea cucumber ( 海參 ), fried fish maw ( 魚鰾 ), oysters ( 沙井蠔 ), black moss, flower mushrooms ( 花菇 ), roasted duck ( 燒鴨 ), pork knuckle ( 豬手 ), cabbage ( 圓白菜 ), lotus root ( 蓮耦 ), yam ( 芋頭 ), bean cake ( 豆根 ), black fungus ( 黑木耳 ), dried scallops ( 干贝 ) and succulent prawns ( 虾 ).