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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Food’

Just a week ago we celebrated Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Ox. And like every other CNY, it’s the perfect the opportunity for us to cook and eat a lot of good food and observe our cultural traditions.

This year, Mama Lam made a Poon Choi / Pancai / Big Bowl Feast / 盤菜. According to Mama Lam, the concept of this giant feast was originated from the late Song Dynasty when Emperor Bing fled to Hong Kong to escape the attack of Mongolians. The villagers in HK hosting the emperor pulled together everything they could find and cook, and due to the lack of serving vessels, they resorted to washing basins to be able to hold all the food. And this village tradition has been passed on and modified to the current form, typically being served for celebrations and special occasions.

How many layers do you think there are in this Poon Choi that Mama Lam made?

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It’s Chinese New Year (CNY) a couple of weeks ago, and us Chinese know how to celebrate — eat, feast, and repeat. Of course, there are many regional Chinese New Year traditions throughout China, and being from HK, the HK tradition is what I’m most familiar with. On New Year’s Eve I was invited to a feast with food expert Lee Man, and it just heightened my appreciation for my culture.

Calling it a feast, obviously it was a multi-course dinner with an abundance of food. We are all about good meanings 意頭 when it comes to choosing the dishes or even naming them for CNY. On Instagram I showed a glimpse of what that means with the CNY dinner made by Mama Lam this year. It’s being realized here once again at Golden Paramount in Richmond.

Food

“Togetherness” is one of the main reasons for CNY celebrations so families often take the opportunity to gather together and dine out during CNY. For that, the restaurant was hustling and bustling and it’s just full of energy! It was a late dinner for us (7:45pm start) and the room was still full and more were being seated as our dinner progressed. And here’s our menu, some background about them, and what they symbolize:
Pan Fried Oysters – Oysters are a homonym for “good”, indicating good luck for the upcoming year. Traditionally we eat dried oysters because it means “good business” 好市 but it does have a more distinctive fishy taste to it and not everyone likes it. This was a Chinese Restaurant Award winner.

Pan Fried Oysters
Pepah Tofu – Fried food is usually in a golden colour so it symbolizes gold and fortune. The tofu here is shaped into a Chinese lute, Pipa. Fun fact: I learned to play the Pipa when I was in middle school in HK. Not easy to master but it was fun to play. This was later extended to my involvement with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

Pepah Tofu
Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup – At a CNY feast you would want to serve some luxurious items.

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Being Chinese, make stir-fry is in our blood. Stir-fry dishes are always on our dinner table. For our family, we’re not traditionalists, so we often incorporate ingredients and flavours from other cuisines.

This time, we had a pack of Johnsonville Italiano Sausage Meat. It’s most expected to be a pizza topping, or being made into meatballs. Because we also got some fresh snow peas out of my mother-in-law’s garden, we decided to make a stir-fry.

Johnsonville Sausage Snow Peas Stirfry

The sausage meat is basically ground pork seasoned with Italian style herbs and spices. It’s like a hack for not having to season your meat. It also means that you have to watch how much additional seasoning you’re putting in this dish – it could get salty.

Ingredients

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

For those who have tried my mom’s cooking, or have seen pictures of her cooking, you know how good of a cook she is. That’s why I don’t need to be a good cook. In fact, I just need to know my food and know how to appreciate her cooking. This Chinese New Year, she put together an awesome menu, making 7 out of the 8 dishes we had:

2013 Chinese New Year Dinner

2013 Chinese New Year Dinner

For Chinese new year, it’s quite normal in Cantonese food culture to make dishes that have special meanings. (more…)

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Despite its sea of ethnic food restaurants, Northern Chinese Cuisine is vastly underrepresented in Vancouver.

What exactly is Northern Chinese food you say? Well the term itself is pretty vague. There are 8 types of Chinese Cuisine; Northern Chinese food is often known as dishes from “Lu”—the food of the kings, and one of the oldest cuisines in the world. They are known for their hearty flavouring and extensive use of wheat.

Overview

Inside

With two locations in the city, the Legendary Noodle House serves up big dishes of tasty Northern Chinese style hand-made noodles. We visited the Denman store; and as with all shops on Denman, it was a little crowded. The decorations are fitting of the place, maybe they are trying a little too hard on the “Chineseness” of it, but I could see its appeal to the general public. The kitchen is a semi-open style, which is great because you get to see the chef prepare your noodles made-to-order. It’s quite an art form; it takes a lot of pulling, slamming, and kneading to produce a fine firmness (think al dente pasta but better). Overall it reminded me of the street-side noodle joints in Tianjin. (more…)

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