Well, one of the downsides of living in the U.S. is that CNY isn't a holiday! (Although our HK and Singapore business locations are closed, lucky them!) So, we kind of have to celebrate on the days that are convenient--therefore, we had our main CNY meal over the weekend. I seriously think I gained about 3 pounds just from this one meal alone. Just take a look at our groaning board (another advantage to a lunch versus dinner--enough light for good photos! Hehe. You know you have a problem when you try to plan to have food ready when there's still natural light to shoot photos with.) All of this was made by my mom--she's very talented, right?
The "cold plate"--I suppose you could call these appetizers? Anyway, clockwise from the top: a type of bitter green cooked with mushrooms, dry-rubbed chicken, cabbage and carrot pickle, waxed meat and Chinese sausages. Braised eggs in the center. Most of these foods are chosen because they are symbols of luck, prosperity, and happiness, although don't ask me which means what. I was too busy stuffing my face to remember :)
Our other appetizer, stir-fried diced shrimp, water chestnuts, and mushrooms wrapped in lettuce. This is traditionally made with pigeon, but I vastly prefer shrimp (when I think of pigeon, I think of your standard dirty NYC pigeon. Which reminds me, does anyone know why there are so many freaking pigeons on 32nd St. by Penn station? What gives!)
Another cold plate, with kao fu (fried wheat gluten cooked with woodear fungus and bamboo shoots) and a vegetable salad. The kao fu is one of my favorites! I know the description doesn't *sound* that appetizing, but seriously, the chewy wheat gluten and crunchy fungus and bamboo shoots are so good together.
My absolute favorite! These are supposed to look like gold ingots and are egg sheets rolled around a pork filling. Some of them are wrapped in tofu sheets instead, and the whole thing is braised with napa cabbage. I took a huge container of this home with me. So yummy.
Claypot fish head soup! The fish head is underneath the other goodies (tofu, glass noodles, veggies, and chilis) and was really, really good. Fish cheeks, yum. This would not have made good leftovers, so I did not get to bring any of this home :(. The noodles soaked up all the flavor of the soup and were soooooo yummy.
Nice plating, huh? These are "red-cooked" (braised in soy sauce) pig trotters. Like any long-cooked, braised dish, the meat was super tender. Great to eat with rice, although we totally forgot that there was rice because there was so much other food. And the bok choy was good for fiber :) This is also the sauce that the eggs from the cold plate were cooked in.
And last, but not least, braised pork ribs, thick fried tofu, and bamboo shoots. Another good-with-rice dish. I should have brought more of this home, I loooooooove fried tofu.
Can you imagine that after all this, we still had room for dessert? Well, a few hours later anyway ;) We had bunny cookies, pineapple tarts, and jiu niang yuanzi dan. I don't know how to translate that, exactly, but it's a sweet dessert soup made with fermented (and slightly alcoholic) sweet rice, with dumplings, fruit, and egg in it. It probably sounds crazy to you if you haven't tried it, but it's delicious and winy and totally warming. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it, but next time I'm home, I will demand some and take a picture then. Oh, and of course, lots of nian gao (sticky rice cake) to snack on. You can check out this post from last year for photos of nian gao and a recipe to make the coconut type.
Well, I think that's the end of my CNY posts! The food is gone, but at least the memories (and photos!) are still there :)