Monday, February 15, 2010

my chinese new year

first of all, i'm proud to say i'm a super delicious fob. i have my traditions, i LOVE my traditions, and even though i have my own home, i still adhere to my traditions and all the rituals that i've grown up with even if it's somewhat diluted. so on lunar new year's eve (which i will now call chinese new year's/tet cuz that's what it means to me), i did mad cleaning of the abode. like madness. dusting, sorting, washing, wiping, drying, spraying....ack. i even gave charlie a bath and bought him a new red collar to celebrate chinese new years! of course my dear dog had to participate.

the sexy boy was tired from getting gussied up for new year's. love that red collar!

and of course i had to get my haircut, to tame the fro that's on my head. if you didn't know this already, the word "hair" in chinese can mean "hair" or "fortune," depending on the tonation of the spoken word. it is no wonder that if you're planning on getting a haircut that you get it done before the new years. you wouldn't want to "lose" any fortune by cutting it off now do you? i sure know i can't afford to.

after cleaning the whole day and getting a haircut, we go over to my parent's place for our chinese new year's eve dinner. both my parents were chefs at one point or another and even tried owning a few restaurants between them. needless to say, my parent's cooking can rival a few of the great ones out there. here's my dad's infamous squab. crispy, with honey glazed skin. the perfect dipping for this bird is rather simple; roasted salt granules, pepper, and lemon juice. delicious! we tear them up in seconds.

sliced lotus root stir-fried with sliced carrots, snow peas, and leeks. the lotus root has a snap to it and is fun to eat. one of my favorite dishes as well.

stewed sea cucumber, abalone, and shitake mushrooms. i really hated this dish as a kid because of the gelatinous, at times rubbery, texture of the sea cucumber. but of course, since it's an expensive item, my mom would nag me until i ate a few pieces. as i've matured, i've learned to appreciate the interesting taste and texture of this really ugly sea creature...and yes, it's a creature and not a sea veggie as it's name implies. it doesn't sit well with many folks, but you should give it a try if you get a chance. nothing like challenging your tastebuds right?

shark fin's soup. my mom makes it for all the major holidays and is a real treat in our household. she's perfected the soup and i've yet to taste any other versions that can rival hers.

stir-fried snow fungus, asparagus, carrots, and snow peas. delicious as well. the fungus is crunchy and makes it fun to eat.

fried fish. i'm not too fond of looking at fish heads, but every table must have one since the word "fish" also connotates luck and fortune. fortunate for us, not fortunate for the dead fish. we usually dip the fried fish in fish sauce mixed with lemon juice.

stir-fried glass noodles with wood ear and shitake mushrooms. another "lucky" dish for the meal.

and here's our new year's table in all its glory. believe you me, if i had 2 stomaches, both would have been filled up. my belly is quite lucky to have such a delicious spread every year. and yes, we still fob it up with the newspaper lining as our "table cloth." don't tell me you don't.

then we go home to shower and clean up so we can wash the old year away. at about 11:30 p.m., my dad, sis, and i head out to the temple to pray while my mom stays home to pray to our ancestors. the year "opens" once it strikes 12 a.m. it's an auspicious time to start praying to all the deities and wish for health, happiness, luck, and fortune for yourself and your family. every year, it gets rather cold and the line gets rather long to go into the smoke filled temple, but it's tradition and i feel my year starts off right when i do it.

then we head back to my parents to light incense and to pray to our ancestors and to eat some "tong sui" which are rice flour balls in a sugary ginger soup. pretty yummy but at about 1 a.m. in the morning, eating is the last thing on my mind.

and then "gong hey fat choi, gong hey fat choi...." lookie here, what's this?! for me, really for me? score! yes, i still get excited when i get my lai si even though i have a full time job that pays me alright.

i hope you had a great new year's and that the year of the tiger treats you well. gong hey fat choi everybody!


  1. gong hey fat choi! that spread looks amazing. I can't believe you still get a red envelope. We Koreans are not doing this right.

  2. For a second there, the chinese news paper lining ALMOST faked me out and I thought this wans't in US of A. Happy CNY~!

  3. love fried fish and the stir fried glass noodles! we celebrated chinese new year in seattle by eating at a dim sum place, really good, and watching a parade. very cool!

  4. yjs- girl, i got 2 bucks from my's almost like not getting one at all...hahaha. i need some ideas on how to spend those $2.

    chinese dude- happy chinese new year to you too!! our family is pretty fobolicious. i'm a 1.5 gen chinese vietnamese so the cultural roots are still pretty strong in our fam. we do everything fobby chic except squat on the floor.

    me is you- dim sum is the way to go. howz seattle dim sum compared to l.a.? i remember you said you're originally from l.a.?

  5. A very happy new year to you! That spread looks wonderful! I've always wanted to try lotus root!

  6. oh my effin gawd... I just realized I left all my red envelopes at my parent's place!

  7. bianca- lotus root is crunchy and delicious.

    afro- GONE. the economy's bad.


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