Monday, April 13, 2009

Chinese Day of the Dead - 清明節

This is also called Tomb sweeping day. It's a day where we pay respects to our ancestors.

This is part of our respects to my 2 uncles, the food:

Ching Ming was never a big festival for me. I remember my mom would make a lot of food, and make even more offerings to my grandparents alter. She would make a lot of food for dinner. There would be fried sweet potatoes, fried peanut fritters, fried squid, and eggrolls. The fried sweet potatoes are my favorite. She would slice the sweet potatoes and dip it in batter, and fry it. I would pig out because my mom only makes it on this day.

Ching Ming changed for me after my 2 uncles passed away. It was the first time I had a close relative past away. It affected me and my family in a lot of ways. There was a lot of shock and sadness. Now, Ching Ming is celebrated differently.

It is now a huge family gathering. My whole clan goes to the cemetery where our uncles are buried. Everybody comes together at this time. There is a lot of food, whole roasted pigs, fried sweet potatoes, fruits, cakes and my uncles favorite dim sums. It is now a happy gathering for our family as we pay our respects to my uncles.

Now when the Ching Ming festival comes, it has a new meaning for me. It is a time for me to remember my 2 uncles. I really feel the need to go every year and pay my respects. I know they can feel the respect that we feel for them, the great memories, and the love.

It is especially during this time of the year that I remember great memories of my uncles. Y Uncle taught me how to drive. He is the reason that we can live in US and be happy here. X uncle watch us growing up, and we had great laughs with him. He gave me and my sis & bro nicknames that still crack us up now. They were great men, and I will always respect them.

*** This is a poem that is for Ching Ming Festival


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A little bit of my heart... 飲茶

I love dim sum and I love going for dim sum with my family. I feel like it's our bonding time.

Dim sum is a very popular type of chinese food . Dim sum consists of small plates of dumplings, rice noodles, and variety of yummy food. My favorite chinese restaurants serves dim sum in the morning. They give us a list and here are some of the items we ordered:

Braised beef stew

Steamed pork spare ribs

Some kind of bun filled with buttery goodness. Look at it flowing!
Custard bun

I love going to a chinese restaurant for dim sum because of the variety of food. I can order serveral dishes and because everything comes in such small portions, I can have something different every time we go. Also, it's a great time to watch the people around me and enjoy the thousand year old chinese tradtiton.

I know a lot of friends and family that go out for dim sum every weekend. I think it's great bonding time for family and is a great ritual. I love to just sit there, talking to my family, enjoying my cup of hot tea, and watching the food that goes by in heated carts and selecting my food spontaneuosly. My little bit of heaven...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Valentines Day! February 14th

Since Valentine's Day is coming up, and every lady out there is probably wondering what to get their other half. My sister Ling-ling has a really great idea.


She prepared lunch for her bf filled with stuff he loved to eat. Spinach dip with crackers, pancake, sandwich, and home-made sushi! Take the bento to the beach or park, and you've got a great date!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Chinese Valentines Day 元宵节

2/9/09 was Chinese Valentines also the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. This is a day that is celebrated in China with Street Fair, fireworks and lanterns. People would go out to the fairs, buy lanterns, and there would be games where people will say a poem (saying) and you can try to follow along that line. Or there would be riddles, where you guess what they are saying.

At home here in the US, we usually gather together for dinner and have sweet dumplings for dessert.

These are dumplings are filled with black sesame paste and wrapped with a glutinous skin. The soup is sweet & gingery. It's my sister's favorite!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!! 恭喜發財

*This first post took me a while, thus the late post!**

It's Chinese New Year and I thought it would be a good idea to start my blog. It's something that I always wanted to try and what better time to start!

This year's new year was especially busy because I had to work the weekend before new years. Chinese New Year's eve fell on Sunday, January 25, 2009. We had our "Reunion dinner" on Sunday night. My mom cooked a feast as usual:

Shark fins soup, geoduck sashimi, stir fried geoduck over greens, sea cucumber braised with mushrooms, steam fish, poached chicken, lobster and egg rolls!

Geoduck sashimi. This taste A LOT better than it looks! This is my dad's favorite!

Sea cucumber, abalone braised with shitake mushrooms

Geoduck (head) stir fried served over greens


As is tradition, we had to wait until my mom and dad finish the ritual of offering foods to our ancestors and the gods, officially closing out the year before we can have our dinner. I have noticed that each year our "tradition" changes. This year my mom's focus was on how many dishes of food is on the table. As every asian knows, 8 is the number to have! But my mom said that as long as we have an even number of dishes of food, that is good also. Good things comes in pairs!

For Chinese New Years we have a lot of traditions, like everybody needs to have new clothes, Red is the best! My mom reminds us a month in advance to have new pajamas, new slippers, new undies, and new sheets.

My mom always made sure we had our new clothes, in RED for good luck. She has even taken to buying extra for us (me and my 4 sisters!). My mom wants to make sure we have good luck (she is so sweet!)

After dinner my family will usually sit down at the Mah Jong table for a few games, not gambling with our "red envelope" money though!

Red Envelope 利是 - An envelope that is passed out during Chinese New Year for luck. This is usually passed out by married couples to relatives and friends that are not married. The red envelope is a symbol of luck. Our parents usually give it to us on New Year's eve to put under our pillow for good luck.

My sisters have taken up the tradition of staying up the whole night of New Year's eve because we were told that the longer the children stays up, the longer their parents will live. I can never stay up the whole night, but my sisters has stayed up every year, with the help of Mah Jong!

Rules for New Year:
First day of the new year: No sweeping, no taking showers, and we can't comb our hair! (This sounds harsh, but it's not that bad!) This is because the New Year is a fresh start for everybody. Everybody starts the year with good luck, and if you sweep the floor, you're sweeping away your good luck. ESPECIALLY important is to not throw any trash away, because you would be throwing away your luck!

On the First day, we refrain from eating meat. I really enjoy this part because my mom makes the best vegetarian dishes during new years. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of that.

We usually don't visit our relatives on the first day, and my parents don't pass out red envelopes to friends and relatives yet. I think it might be the same idea of not wanting to give away your luck on the first day, not sure...

*The new tradition this year is to cook a pot of rice on the first day of the New year. This will ensure that our family will have rice for the whole year!

We are suppose to greet friends and families with wishes of good health and prosperity.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all a great year filled with happiness and joy. May the New year flood your family with good fortune, great health, and happiness!