Dad is one of the best cooks ever. I look forward to Chinese New Year dinner every year because it's special (with dishes cooked only for special occasions) and it's super yummy. The comfort of our family traditional foods always makes a great dinner.
With any Chinese celebrations, we always have steamed fish. This is my most absolute favorite way of preparing fish. Steam it. Drizzle with a bit of soy sauce and oil. Topped with some seared ginger and fresh parsley and onion. So so so good. The flavours are so clean and fresh. I could eat this everyday.
Also with any Chinese celebrations, there is always chicken. Frankly, all Chinese traditions are going to be lost with my generation. I'm not entirely sure why there is always chicken. Googling it, websites explain that it means family reunion and completeness. I have this inkling that back in the day, chicken was not readily available for everyone everyday, and was meant only for the more wealthy or for special occasions. Who knows... must make note to self to ask the parents.
This sludgey looking dish, is also a staple for only Chinese celebrations at home. It has dried oysters, mushrooms, vegetables, and black, hair-like substance called "fat choy". I've been eating it all my life, but had no clue what it was (until trusty Google tells me it's actually a terrestrial bacteria that is dried then cooked). We don't eat a whole lot of it anymore, but family still whips out a little bit of it for celebrations because "choy" means "prosperity".
This dish, which is super popular in restaurants, but not something we always cook at home. Dad decided to make it because we enjoy it. That is, lettuce wrap. The filling was so finely diced. I must work on my knife skills to match my dad's.
For dessert, dad made individual-sized baked taro tapioca. If you haven't had this, you're missing out. A combination of custardy taopioca, sweet taro, and warmth. Perfect ending to a delicious dinner. Must make another note to self : Chinese New Year's feast is usually on the eve of New Year's Day, not on the actual day. (I booked the wrong day off work!).
A dinner like this reminds me how very lucky I am. To have my family. To have a warm house. To have an abundance of amazing food. Feeling blessed.
Wishing you all a Happy Year of the Ram - a year of health, happiness, and whatever your heart desires.