For the past many years, we had been doing the same thing.
Our closest family friends had always made it a point to all meet up at least three times every year. In summer, we always have a big picnic. On Christmas, we meet up too. But the most important gathering is during Chinese New Year. To many of our family friends, this yearly reunion is how we keep the Chinese New Year traditions alive.
And every year, Suanne and I go through the same motions. We would always go to the same place to buy roast pork and that would be one of our contributions for the gathering. Of course, Suanne is also expected to cook something. This time she decided to make some Garlic Chives Jiaozi which is CNY delicacy.
We always get the Siu Yook (Roast Pork) from the Parker Place BBQ Shop. We were kind of worried that the line would be long. There was once on CNY eve, we queued for 45 minutes to buy the roast pork here.
Many people buys a lot for the festival.
There is this guy just ahead of us who pretty much bought … each type of their main product. Which is good because I could show some of you who had never seen how the shops chops the meat. I thought it funny that the guy in front of us had to explain why he is buying so much (saying that it is for 3 days). :-)
Suanne always ordered the same favourite cut. It is always “Mm You Guat. Sau did” which mean “no bone and leaner”.
She was sharp this time. She saw that the BBQ man had some roast pork skins and asked that he gave it to us. LOL!
Look at how much crispy pork skin we got this time!
Suanne asked for 2 lbs. They don’t always give you exactly and will charge you based on the actual weight. They usually will cut you a bit more than you ask for.
This time round it was something like $23.00 for the two pounds of roast pork. I wonder how much the whole suckling pig in the video above costs. If it is not too expensive, maybe next time I’ll get one suckling pig so that everyone has a bit to take home.
So with that 2 pound of roast pork and the jiaozi in the pot we are set for the gathering.
Jess always made it a point to make something different every year. This year she made the above angku kueh. This is a Fujian name which means red turtle cake. I am not sure if this is widely available in other Chinese cultures but it is very popular CNY food in Malaysia and Singapore.
This is also a common gift to celebrate the full moon of a child. In Chinese culture, a child achieve one year old at one month old. Don’t ask me why but that is how it is.
The red wrapping is made with sweet potato and glutinous rice flour. The filling is made of bean paste (red bean, green bean or lotus paste). These are steamed.
The angku kueh is made with wooden molds like the ones above. The middle ones (the Doremon and the turtle mold) is used to make the Angku Kueh. The bigger one on the right is used to make moon cakes while the one on the left is used to make kuih bangkit.
Yeah, it is usually the ladies who take care of the cooking while the guys talk about making money over some beer. LOL!
Snacks like the ones above are common in every household. Some people chooses to buy them from the shops but some takes pride in making them from scratch. The Pineapple Tart was very popular with everyone but the folded “cookies” known as kuih kapit (also known as love letters) is always the best.
I have not come across anyone who doesn’t like the love letters, especially the children.
Yee Sang is the highlight of the gathering. This is uniquely a Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese tradition. I don’t think any other Chinese cultures does this during CNY. The Chinese from Hong Kong, Taiwan or China will perhaps look at this practice as foreign to them.
The word Yee Sang is Cantonese to mean Live Fish. There are pieces of raw fish in the “salad”. We toss and stir them during CNY to symbolize stirring up prosperity for the new year.
This year, some our taikos came a bit late. So we decided to not wait for them and started our first “low hei” with the kids. They were hungry already and so we got started first.
When everyone finally turned up, we had another round of Low Sang — a more boisterous one!
Yeah, we are all talking about making money. So I call this the Low Sang, the Lotto Max edition. :-)
As always, we will go out to the convenience store around the corner to buy group lotteries. No luck all these years … maybe will be luckier this time! LOL!
Friend or no friend, this is serious matter. I have to take the video that all of us contributed $2 to the lottery. Now you all are witness for me just in case we strike the grand prize this time!
We all had a great time — lots of laughter, lot of food and lots of love.