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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese New Year’

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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Chinese New Year is Feb. 16, 2018 and it’s the Year of the Dog. Need ideas to celebrate CNY this year? Here is a roundup for you:

TWG Tea:

During the month of February, you can order the Lunar New Year Tea Set at TWG Tea, which includes savoury canapés and tea infused desserts. They have also launched the Breakfast Bulldog Tea for the occasion.

Red Racer Lucky Dog:

Central City Brewers + Distillers has launched the Red Racer Lucky Dog Kumquat Wheat Ale, a Chinese New Year collaboration with Taiwan’s Redpoint Brewing Co. It’s a seasonal wheat ale brewed with fresh kumquats, a sweet and fragrant citrus fruit traditionally eaten during the lunar new year celebrations.

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Smoking cigars, off-roading, shooting, and bear wrestling are just some of the incredibly manly things I do. However, scotch drinker I’m not.

When I was invited to a scotch tasting dinner by the good folks from The Macallan, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity. How could I say no to James Bond’s scotch of choice?

They brought down four of their whiskys from their 1824 Series, and paired them with 9 courses at Kirin Downtown, a Chinese New Year themed dinner with fairly traditional banquet style dishes.

The Macallan 1824 Series Scotch Whisky

The Macallan 1824 Series is what’s called a “no age statement” whisky. Instead of differentiating based on age, such as 8, 10, or 12 year-old whiskys, they are selected and differentiated by their taste profile.

Out of the four, Gold is the most affordable choice. Dan Volway, The Macallan’s brand ambassador, called it his 3PM whiskey. I too like a job where I’m having a scotch at 3PM. Perhaps I should rethink my career choices.

Dan Volway, Brand Ambassador

The first pairing was actually a cocktail made with the Macallan Gold, the Firecracker. It was made with 1.5oz of the Gold, 3 tangerine wedges (or 0.25oz of tangerine juice), 2 dash of rhubarb bitters, and 2oz of ginger beer. It had a great citrus flavour, along with a bit of spice from the ginger. This was paired with a classic Chinese cold meat platter with excellent crispy roasted pork (though I’d imagine it’s better when hot). Despite being quite strong, this was a very easy drinking cocktail with a nice balance of citrus, sweet, spice, and bitterness, which was also why it paired well with the meat.

Kirin Special Platter with Roasted Pork

The Macallan Gold itself was paired with another classic Chinese New Year dish, braised dried scallop, dried oysters, with mushrooms, black moss and garlic. (more…)

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For every Dine Out, in addition to the new restaurants that pop up throughout the year, my family and I also have a wishlist of restaurants that we would look for. It has been a few years since we wanted to go to The Observatory on Grouse Mountain, but every time the menu just wasn’t very interesting to us. Finally this year’s menu seemed to have something for everyone so we booked it as part of our Chinese New Year celebration.

The Observatory

Food

I should give a caveat that The Observatory isn’t a typical Westcoast restaurant. There are elements of molecular gastronomy that you will see below. But before I even talk about the actual menu, I must compliment on the Epi French Bread (Pain d’Epi) that they offer each table. First of all, it’s free; secondly, it’s of generous amount; and thirdly, it’s hot and tastes good. It came with a compound butter with some smokey and apricot flavours topped with some sea salt. It was some really good-tasting bread, crunchy but not jaw-breaking, and we finished it rather quickly.

Bread

Because there were 3 of us, we got all three appetizers. The Duck Confit wasn’t a whole duck leg; it was shredded duck meat in a ring mold along with some micro green salad. The grapefruit gel was basically the dressing, adding a bit of sweetness, bitterness and tartness to the salad.

Duck Confit

The Roasted Heirloom Beets was just too pretty to eat. The two preparations (crispy and soft roasted) really showcased the beets and its natural sweetness was very pronounced. The ricotta cheese cake replaced the usual goat cheese but still brought in some creaminess to the salad.

Roasted Heirloom Beets

The Black Cod Brandade was quite good (what is brandade?). (more…)

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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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Today we celebrate the Chinese New Year – Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Different regions of China celebrates the new year differently, especially in the culinary area. Part of my own family tradition is to make rice cake. Ingredients include glutinous rice flour, cane sugar and coconut milk.

Rice cake to celebrate Chinese New Year

Rice cake to celebrate Chinese New Year

After mixing all the ingredients together, my mom would pour the mixture in moulds that she bought in Chinatown.

Steaming moulds found in Chinatown

Steaming moulds found in Chinatown

And all it takes is to steam them, then voila, we’ve got some yummy rice cakes in different shapes and sizes.

Mixture in moulds, waiting to be steamed

Mixture in moulds, waiting to be steamed

Lastly, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous year of the Rabbit!

Bunny-shaped rice cake to celebrate CNY 2011

Bunny-shaped rice cake to celebrate CNY 2011

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