6th CNY

This is my 6th CNY, Chinese Lunar New Year. For me, I will celebrate all special occasions with gladness in my heart just because I am able to. As the year passes,  by God’s grace, I am able to do more and more. Therefore I am happy to enjoy the season with its cultural’s nuances as best as I know how. There are some practices that I may have forgotten or overlooked. But I shall try to preserve some traditions.

I most certainly dread going to Chinatown during this time of the year. I have read and heard enough of the crowd of people thronging the stalls specially set up along Smith and Temple Street. But yesterday, we boldly attempted to make a visit. We parked along Mosque Street, which is two streets away from the center of activities. The purpose is to get all the ingredients to cook the traditional “Jai Choy” – a vegetarian dish eaten by Cantonese Chinese on the first day of the lunar New Year. 
8 ingredients – Jai Choy 

 For this traditional recipe there should be 8 ingredients – 8 being an auspicious number for the Chinese. These are Shiitake mushrooms, dried knotted lily bulbs, dried oysters, black fungus, black moss, vermicelli, beancurd sticks and red dates. I am sure each of them are spoken to represent something fortuitous. Most of the dried items, except for the black moss and vermicelli should be soaked in water overnight. It is important to cook it with “Nam Yee” which is red fremented bean curd – this gives the dish that special taste and a pungent flavor like strong cheese.

large portion of cooked Jai Choy

We decided to cook a large portion so that we can freeze some for later. Just finished cooking it and having it tomorrow – the first day of the lunar new year. Can’t wait to have it with piping hot steamed rice!

plum blossom

At a recent walk to the Botanic Gardens, we saw lovely arrangements of plum blossom, specially imported for this season. Such delicate pink petals, some already fallen to the ground.