Chinese New Year will be here on Tuesday 5th February, and this year will be the year of the Pig. If you were born on 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923 or maybe 1911 (congrats for making it this far in life!!!) then this is your year.
New Year's eve dinner
This is the time of the year for all the families to get together, and in Taiwan, many who work away from home has started to travel back home this weekend to celebrate this biggest festival of the year. Traditionally everyone will make sure they get home on time to have New Year's eve dinner together. Tomorrow night we've been invited round to a friends to have Chinese New Year's eve dinner with them, so tonight we had our own dinner at home.
I know, that's a lot of food for the two of us, but come on, this is the most important dinner of the year. Something worth indulging in. Let me introduce you to some Chinese dishes.
This is the ingredient from my traditional Chinese soup. The light round stuff with a furry rim are abalone (a type of seafood), a delicacy in many Asian countries. The dark brown ones are dried mushroom, and the stuff on the left is fish maw, also another Chinese delicacy. I also have some pork and chicken breast in the soup to add some richness to it. Soup is always a big part of a major meal particularly for the Cantonese in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong style roast pork
This is Hong Kong style roast belly pork. The best ones have a crunchy cripsy skin and just the right proportion of meat vs fat. This is my husband's favourite and he learnt to make it in England because we didn't live near China Town. He gets about 80% success rate with the crispy skin now but I forbid him to make it too often as it takes me foreover to clean the oven afterwards.
A must for every meal, I got these fresh from the market this morning.
I didn't take a seperate photo of the fourth dish as the plating wasn't very presentable. These are big prawns cooked in tomato sauce. Many people from Hong Kong like to cook prawns for big important meals as the Cantonese word for prawns is "ha" which sounds very happy. Ha! Ha! Ha!
The Chinese love to glam up the Chinese New Year hence all the expensive food (abalone and fish maw), auspicious couplets, lucky food (ha ha ha for prawns) and you'll see the lucky red everywhere. These couple of years there's something else that I always do in preparation of Chinese New Year, and that writing some couplets in Chinese calligraphy. Couplets are auspicious writings that you hang around in prominent places around the house.
Here's what I've written this year. I'm still at primary school level at best but I'm really chuffed that I managed to write something half decent albeit a bit wonky. I feel like a proud little kid coming back from school with her drawing now!
If there's a Chinese New Year celebration in your local China Town next weekend, pop down to have a look. It's likely to be packed with people but I'm sure it will be a great experience.
很快就會踏入己亥豬年。 首先在這裏跟大家提早拜個年， 祝大家諸事大吉， 心想事成。
今晚我倆在家裏團年， 煮了幾度傳統粵式菜。 廣東人都喜歡煲湯， 鮑魚冬菇花膠老火湯很常見。 老公喜歡吃港式脆皮燒腩肉。 以前在英國住，離開唐人街較遠，所以他學會燒豬腩肉，而且效果也不錯。 青菜是不可缺少 ，新鮮芥蘭是今朝到菜市場買。 另外還有一道蕃茄煮蝦碌， 香港人過時過節也蠻喜歡吃。 在廣東話裡，蝦跟哈同音。 取其哈哈大笑好意頭。
除了團年飯，這兩年我在學書法，寫揮春也是必做的。 雖然我只有小學程度， 但畢竟是自己寫， 我也很自豪地貼在家裏。