Today is the third day of the Lunar New Year. My relatives and friends in Hong Kong are still enjoying their three days of public holiday. For me it’s back to work in Canada. I have been posting a lot about food in the past few days. Indeed, festivity and socialization aside, Chinese New Year is about food and family. On New Year’s Day, the tradition is to visit the senior members of the family to greet them Happy New Year. I brought along the rice cakes (Go) that I made to the family gathering. They were cut into pieces, pan-fried and served together with other food my relatives had made. My coconut rice cake (Nin Go) was dipped into egg wash before the frying. Everybody loved it.
The evening dinner was at a restaurant with their standard eight-course New Year menu (not counting rice, noodles and desserts, and eight in the lucky number in Chinese culture). We frequent the Happy Jade Seafood Chinese Restaurant regularly and they serve very good food (Dim Sum as well as main meal). The strategy of picking it for the Chinese New Year family meal is the privilege they give to regular patrons to book two large tables on this busy day. Service tonight was a bit erratic, but it was condoned by the patrons, all in joyous spirits. Everyone preferred to be courteous and friendly with one another on New Year Day.
The standard menu always included a Lucky Dish which was composed of pig’s tongue, oysters, hairy fungi and lettuce. They are symbols of good fortune, good business, prosperity and liveliness, all that people wish for in the new year. The dishes were given auspicious names. For example, the roast chicken with deep-fried garlic, was called Golden Sand Chicken. The fish was deep-fried whole with head and tail intact.
We also chose the Happy Jade Restaurant because they put up a Lion Dance during dinner. The children loved it. My one-year old great-nephew bounced on his father’s lap to the rhythm of the drums. The four-year old great-niece watched in awe and said, “Don’t eat me,” Older children gave the lion a laisee (red lucky money packet) to invite the lion do a stunt at the table, such as pouring you a cup of tea. The final stunt was a greeting of Happy New Year with a scroll coming out of the mouth of the Lion!
Happy Jade Seafood Chinese Restaurant, 1425 Dundas Street East, Mississauga, ON