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Marco Polo ushers in Chinese New Year with Yee Sang, Chinese buffet

It began with an eye dotting ceremony for the guests of honor, was followed by the lion dance and firecrackers, moved on to the Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss, and ended with the dragon dance as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu welcomed the Chinese New Year in lively ceremonies last Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

These are all Chinese traditions performed to usher in the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 19 this year, and bring good fortune, said hotel public relations officer Mia Ali.

For the Yee Sang, five-star hotel Marco Polo prepared a wok-shaped container but multiplied several times in size and filled it with a mix of shredded colorful vegetables, raw fish, condiments, and other ingredients.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year
DRAGON DANCE. A traditional dragon dance at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

Prosperity Toss

Twelve people led by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar led the Yee Sang ceremony, which involved tossing the salad mix as high as they can using chopsticks and saying (or thinking) out dreams and aspirations as called for by the tradition.

Other guests in the Yee Sang ceremony include Cebu notables: Candice Gotianuy, Consul Samuel Chioson, Jessica Avila, Connie Cimafranca, Marlinda Angbetic-Tan, Doctors Henry Chua and Pocholo Yrastorza.

I see now why they call it the Prosperity Toss. It was my first Chinese New Year celebration so it was all very strange but interesting nonetheless.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year
YEE SANG. The Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss was among the highlights of the celebration. The ceremony  involved tossing this salad mix.

Culinary Impressions of China

Another way that Marco Polo welcomes the Chinese Year of the Sheep is through another Cafe Marco culinary journey featuring the best of Chinese cuisines. Up until February 22, 2015, Cafe Marco will serve a grand feast of authentic Chinese dishes on top of its international spread for the same price as the regular buffet.

Hainanese chicken
HAINANESE CHICKEN. This dish is among the many Chine food specialties on the menu as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the Chinese New Year. (Photo provided by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu)

Among the Chinese food in the menu: bean curd, fish lip, ngo kong, black chicken herb, samsi for soup; shrimp ball, pica-pica, steamed fish, pork spare ribs, braised pork leg, crispy chili chicken, pork and shrimp dumpling at the carving station; crab meat, misua noodles, yang chow, Hainanese chicken, beef steak or brisket, sweet and sour pork, szechuan chicken, fookien fried rice, loohan chai vegetables for main course dishes; chicken, beef, pork, stir fry noodles; plus a dimsum trolley with siomai, shrimp ball, and kikiam.

Cafe Marco serves buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner and from the first day of the Chinese Year of the Sheep up to Sunday, February 22, it’s including more Chinese dishes in the spread.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year
DRAGON. This can be found at the hotel lobby.

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By Marlen Limpag

Marlen is the editor of MyCebu.ph and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.