Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Going out to eat at a nice Chinese restaurant for the Lunar New Year celebration was a big part of my childhood. Traditionally, we'd go to the same restaurant every year. My grandparents would come along with us, and so would any other relatives who happened to be in town. Sometimes, we'd go with other family friends who celebrated the holiday, but usually it was just an event for our closest family to bond over feasting.

Though many of the things we'd feast on then are things that I no longer eat, I still associate the holiday with eating. I had fond memories of eating things such as Peking Duck and Moo Shu Pork. These were foods generally saved for special occasions in my household.

To my brother and I, who were quite young at the time, there were some things we looked forward to about Chinese New Year more than to the food and the company. Namely, the things my brother and I especially enjoyed were: dining at a particular restaurant Chinese restaurant that was actually an old (permanently docked) boat, the red envelopes (gifts of money!), and best of all was the lion dance. When the lights dimmed and the loud thumping of the drums began, we were both scared and excited! The magnificent creature parading around the restaurant with such rhythm was an incredible sight. When the lion commanded our attention, we were struck with awe. The lion dance was what made Chinese New Year actually Chinese New Year to us.

After living in a series of smaller cities, I was excited this year to be in a place big enough to have an actual Chinese New Year celebration.. with a lion dance! It was also nice to be able to share this part of my childhood with J. This year was hist first time celebrating, and his first time to see the magnificence of a lion dance.

Oh, and since I should mention the food, I had Szechuan Eggplant and Hunan Tofu. A little bit greasier and not quite as spicy as expected, but still quite satisfying. It also made great leftovers!

No comments :