Chinese New Year 2016



As we usher in the year of the Monkey, we will surely gain a few pounds of blubber around our rapidly-expanding waistlines. But first, we celebrate. We'll leave all the "diet-plan-gone-wrong" woes for a later date.

Chinese New Year must be one of my favourite festivals in the entire year. It's when we dress up in new clothes, doll ourselves up, go visiting, get ang pows, plop in front of TV screens, and munch on all the new year goodies.

This year was a relatively quiet, un-happening CNY for my family as our family friends were overseas, so nope, we didn't go visiting at all. At least I still managed to get virtual WeChat ang pows from overseas relatives! HEHE.

团圆饭 was homely and pleasant. I managed to recreate many restaurant dishes and I had literally spent half a day making sure they're presentable and palatable. I suppose my culinary skills have levelled up! My family were all impressed by my cooking and my sister was busy snapchatting away.

Recipes and CNY dinner ideas are all up on this blog. :) I know how mentally draining it is to think of the 101 dishes required for such reunion dinners, so hopefully my recipe ideas can be of help to you readers out there!

On rare occasions when I actually consume alcoholic drinks... I go for the mild ones. Studying all about hepatic steatosis left me thinking twice before I actually drink. Anyway, I sipped a little of my dad's 茅台酒 (some really strong Chinese wine) just for fun, and THE KICK WAS REAL. It felt damn good when the liquor flowed down my throat. It burned, in a pleasant way, and the mellow, sweet taste lingered. I've reached my alcohol limit for the month.

For CNY Day 1, we had steamboat, a yearly CNY tradition.

It must be the easiest meal to prepare. All you have to do is get ready the soup stock (boiling water with fresh chicken and salt will do), wash the greens and prepare the other ready-made ingredients.

Shrooms and greens for the health-conscious.

Minced meatballs, Korean vermicelli (it's amazingly chewy! I loved it to bits) and spicy steamboat dipping sauce (only available at Sheng Siong/ Yue Hwa in Chinatown).

Shabushabu and fish dumplings.

Egg dumplings, where you "omelette" minced meat fillings in egg. It's a family tradition to cook it for steamboats.

Cheese tofu, cheese sausages, prawns, crabmeat sticks, sausages, Fu Zhou fish balls, tofu and other Yong Tau Foo ingredients. 

We only managed to finish eating at midnight, after 3 whole rounds. :O 

It was fun watching TV while eating. When your mind's preoccupied with other things, you don't really feel full. (Another reason why we grow fat over CNY.)

I'm glad that the CNY break allowed me to spend more time with my family. Sometimes, we get too caught up with our own schedules and work that we lose sight of what truly matters. A friend's recent post was a timely wake-up call. It made me reflect upon the way that I have been prioritising tasks in the past year, and I realised I've had it wrong the whole time. Nothing should be more important than spending time with your family. 


Fate has brought us together and we should treasure the years that we have together. 

For the first time in a long time, I went out with my parents. Just us three. We didn't talk about work or studies. We talked about family. We recalled our past. Our story. Reminisced over the days when I was a kid and when they were still young and vibrant. When they didn't have white hairs at the sides of their temples or wrinkles framing the edges of their eyes. When life was simple and we were contented. 

We had lunch at Jack's Place, probably because of the nostalgia and 1990s memories associated with Jack's Place. 

Cream of Pumpkin soup with croutons. Garlic bread.

Prosperity Jack's Spaghetti with Grilled Salmon and Crispy Calamari.

Cheese fondue platter appetiser.

Grilled NZ Ribeye Steak with Australian Asparagus and Honey Mustard Lava Egg (Medium Rare)

Mandarin Orange Panna Cotta with Peach Compote.

That particular lunch at nex was disappointing. Though the soup was decent, appetiser was alright and the desserts were good, it took forever for the staff to serve us. They seemed pretty understaffed. The steak was unimpressive this time round, with it being more tough than chewy, and bland-tasting. I couldn't discern any honey mustard flavour from the cold hard egg (nope, the yolk wasn't runny at all) and the cauliflower (from the seasonal vegetables side dish) was even spoilt. It completely fell short of our expectations.

Post-lunch, I figured that I've been a lightbulb for way too long and left to mug at Starbucks, while my parents went on for their movie date at Shaw Premiere. Sometimes, parents need their alone time too. :)

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