Chinese new year is always a festive time where Chinese people all over the world usher in the new year with family and friends. 2012 is the year of the Dragon, the only mystical animal among twelve on the chinese calendar.
This year is no exception when it comes to feasting and we find ourselves having two invitations to open houses on Chinese new year’s eve.
Steven and Wai Yong’s Chinese new year lunch
Our friend Steven is an enthusiastic home chef among his other passions for photography and travelling.
We are at his home for lunch on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. We could already smell the aromas of his cooking as we walk through his front garden with a koi pond where large koi leisurely glide through the water under a waterfall.
As with every Chinese new year banquet, the yee sang or raw fish salad is a must, signifying birth, prosperity and good living.
Steven tells us that he has prepared the entire banquet of not less than ten different dish with the help of his wife Wai Yong and children. Friends and relatives have also brought dishes to add to this sumptuous feast.
He seems to be completely at ease in his kitchen and as we settled for drinks while waiting for all the guests to arrive, our eyes are feasting on all the dishes laid out on the table.
Some of these dishes include Indonesian style stir fried prawns with a sweet black garlic and ginger sauce.
I gently remind Mysaucepan to pace ourselves because this is only the first of two big Chinese new year meals on the same day.
Every dish is delicious and I am having a difficult time in making room to taste each dish.
One of my favourite is the simple stir fried vermicelli with the crunch of fresh bean sprouts. I ladle some tasty chicken curry sauce onto the noodles and this is comfort food at its best.
Tossing the yee sang at the beginning of the banquet is always a highlight of the meal. Everyone gathers around the table with their chopsticks and give the delectable salad a big toss. It is a belief the higher the toss, the greater the fortune and well-being that would bestow in the coming year.
This must be one of the most vibrant and delicious salads that one can have. Thinly shredded carrots, radish, cucumber, beetroot, pickled vegetables are mixed with a tangy sweet sour plum sauce with some crunchy texture coming from roasted peanuts, prawn crackers and crispy vermicelli.
Not to be outdone by the adults, it is also a great time for children as they gather with their friends for a good time and good food.
It is a great time to catch up with friends as most of us are busy at other times during the year.
There are no less than five different desserts to end our meal and one of my favourite is the savoury glutinous black rice pudding.
The silken soy bean curd so soft and delicate with a sweet gula melaka syrup with hints of ginger flavouring.
Thanks to our friends Steven and Wai Yong. It was certainly a scrumptious feast as we waddle our way out of his place and hopefully catch an hour in the gym before Chinese new year dinner.
KC & Molly’s Chinese new year dinner
No sooner have we finished lunch at Steven’s place, we find ourselves at KC & Molly’s home for yet another Chinese new year meal. Each year, we know that great food is always a trademark from Molly’s kitchen and tonight is no exception.
We just can’t seem to get sick of yee sang no matter how many times we eat this salad as every recipe seems to be a little different but nevertheless tasty and delicious.
Two gigantic plates of yee sang and a big toss up later, everyone is tucking into yet another big feast.
Stir fried prawns with glass noodles is a classic Chinese dish where the noodles soak up the tasty juices of the prawns.
Chinese roast pork is always a hit with its crispy pork crackling and succulent and tender meat. Dipped into chilli sauce with a squeeze of lemon juice, I can just devour this pork with a chilled glass of rose.
Another dish that I love is blanched cuttle fish with a hoisin dipping sauce and a drizzle of chilli oil for some added kick.
A Langmeil rose is such a versatile wine to complement the food tonight. It is drinking beautifully with the slightly spicy beef rendang as well as the Indian eggplant and fish curry.
A 2008 Collector Shiraz is bold with a slightly minty flavour and a lingering finish.
An aged bottle of 2001 Petaluma riesling is drinking smoothly with toasty and citrusy flavours.
The kids are amusing themselves with all kinds of games and toys.
Again, desserts are another highlight and despite having so much food on the table, most of us can always find some space for the sweet stuff including some favourite Malaysian cakes.
We had a couple of amazing meals over less than ten hours and it is time to do some serious work in the gym.
I manage to snap a photo of little Mia with her beautiful smile.
Thanks to all our friends for such wonderful meals. Kung Hei Fatt Choy to all our family and friends and wishing all of you a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!
So dear readers, have you tried yee sang and how did you celebrate Chinese new year?