Grandma has her rituals when it comes to special Chinese days. She used to frequent the temples and such, but now, nearing her 89th birthday... she only has enough strength to do it all at home. With the smell of incense wafting through the air, it's an instant reminder that today is special.
There is a certain way these tea cups, red chopsticks, and a tiny pot of wine is placed on the table. I've never asked what they are for, what they signify, and how it should be done.
"Where is your menu?".
Dad whipped this out of his pocket. Told him to hold it while I quickly snapped a shot of it. He said it's not complete and asked if he should re-write it before my photo. Of course not. This has gotta be all raw. My parents don't know about my blog so they quite often why I'm taking photos of random, mundane things. Well, what only they consider to be mundane anyway. So, my dad asked, "Why are you taking a photo of it? Not like you know how to read it."
I proceeded to read out to him items three, five, six and seven. Hey, I did take about four or five years of Chinese school when I was a child. Not completely illiterate. Close, but not completely.
I swear I get my love for cooking from my dad. Even what seems to be a simple, family meal has all still to do with presentation. He must find it enjoyable, perhaps even stress-relieving. Or else... how does one find the patience to cut up slices of carrots and use a carrot-cutting mold to produce these amazing cut-outs?
And where does one find these Chinese carrot cutters? The circular carrot represents money. The other one is a fish. Both signifying luck.
These were in the dish of bamboo shoots and snap peas. I love love love the carrots.
Next up is a lot of people's favorite. Lettuce wrap. It was so incredibly messy... but so yummy. Normally, don't prefer it at a restaurant because it's so messy... but at home, I'm ready to dig in with all fingers.
This next one is one of my favorites. I love mushrooms. And this dish has three kinds. Hence its Chinese name, "Three Mushrooms." It's funny. You think it's because it's Chinese New Year, but really... my dad loves to present any broccoli dish in a circular fan on any given day.
And of course, with every special Chinese occasion, there has to be chicken and fish.
I am stuffed.
I love the facebook photo bombing of everyone's Chinese New Year's dinner. Everyone's big CNY meal are different but also very much the same. Same in that everyone's happily enjoying it with their families.
Happy Year of the Dragon, everyone! Wishing you all health, kindness, and happiness.
Click here for last year's post.