Wednesday, 25 January 2012

CNY 2012 Feasts

Happy Chinese New Year!
CNY cookies: chocolate cookies, nastar (pineapple jam-filled cookies), lidah kucing (cat tongue)

Gong Xi Fat Choi, Wan Si Ru Yi! May our lives be healthy and prosperous throughout the dragon year, and beyond.

So, did you eat much yesterday? Feeling so full like your belly is gonna explode? Well, mine was just about to explode yesterday. CNY in my family is always about the food. Three feasts in a day, so satisfying yet has a high impact on the bathroom scale. Let's just start with the shabu-shabu feast the family had on CNY eve. Yes, shabu-shabu is my family's 'yee shang'.

CNY eve shabu-shabu feast

Approaching CNY, my fridge and table hold much more food than usual. As you can see from the first pic, the mother had ordered some jars of cookies, such as lidah kucing (translated 'cat tongue cookies', cookies shaped like cat tongue, hence the name), Roo's mum's nastar (pineapple jam-filled cookies), and chocolate ganache cookies.

The night before CNY, the grandma with the uncle and aunt came to have a family dinner and the menu was, of course, shabu-shabu. Too many things were prepared, it was dizzying. Fish balls, mushrooms, udon and even konyaku were abundant, there was no way we can finish all of them.

Shabu-shabu stuff; udon, fish balls, etc

No ready beef-wrapped enoki mushrooms were found, so I made them myself. Tastes better than the ones suki restaurants usually offer. Mine were bigger. Much bigger.

Beef-wrapped enoki mushrooms

Line-up of wontons, har gao, and tofu were included too along with Japanese konyaku which tastes like stringy vermicelli. A funny thing about these konyaku is that the uncle paid IDR 70,000 ($7.3) more for the exact same konyaku product the mother bought. Supermarkets cheat sometimes, I guess.

Clockwise from top left: more shabu-shabu stuff (wontons, har gao, fish balls), my first bowl, konyaku

We put too many stuffs in the hotpot. Just look at how full it is. The mother had made awesome broth for it, and super awesome dipping sauce too. Way to go, mother!

It was really great spending the night with family, all sitting around the hot pot and finishing the steaming soup together.

The hot pot

Maybe the grandma thought the hotpot is too healthy, or maybe she just wanted to add more deliciousness (and fat) to the dinner. I don't know the actual reason but I was so grateful that she suddenly brought out a huge slab of roasted pork with pretty cracklings on top. Deliciously salty, it's succulent and has a great ratio of meat and fat. And cracklings on CNY? Hell yes.

Roasted pork

Desserts had been taken care of by me, actually. Having never tried this before, I decided to fry the nian gao or basket cake or kue keranjang for the first time. This cake is almost compulsory for CNY, representing the hope for increasing wealth.

I don't really like eating it plain, and frying certainly helped a lot. Having said that, I think this sticky, sweet cake won't be my favourite cake anytime soon.

Fried nian gao (kue keranjang)

The uncle brought this walnut pound cake and I thought I've heard the name 'Tous les Jours' somewhere. Tastes really nice, aromatic, crumbly, and I love the walnut chunks here and there.

Walnut pound cake

#1 CNY feast, the mother's big family

CNY traditions are always held in the family. We usually bought new clothes and shoes for CNY, cut our hair, and clean the house. On the actual CNY day, 'kiong hi' is the usual hand gesture to greet family members and relatives, especially to the elder ones. Every year, it's the angpao (the little red envelopes with money inside) that the children are waiting for. Surprisingly, this year I was more looking forward for the food, although being given money is always awaited, of course.

The first stop that day was the mother's aunt's house, where the family reunion lunch was arranged. There were so many people, even the chairs weren't enough. No complaints from anyone though, as everybody is happy chatting and catching up with each others.

Food is not something that needs to be concerned, there are always enough food for everyone. This year CNY menu included fried noodles, beef and pork stews, braised buffalo meat, char siu pork, steamed fish with green chillies, soups, and siu mays.

Food all around

All of the food are great, but it was the pork siu mays that I gravitate to. They have firm texture and very flavorsome, definitely aren't the ones to be missed.

Pork siumays

Jars of cookies and sliced cakes were also on the table, but I went outside and was awed by the fruits from Rangkas, where the family garden is. Sacks of rambutan were brought from there, along with cempedak (the fruit similar with jack fruit, but smaller and has more robust smell and stringy texture), mangosteen, and duku langsat (lanzones).

Fruits from family's garden; rambutan, cempedak, mangosteen, duku langsat (lanzones)

#2 CNY feast, the father's big family

The second stop of the day was the father's brother's house, where the big family usually come together on CNY to have a feast. The grandma used to make authentic Bangkanese dishes such as turtle soup and braised monkey (yes they eat monkeys), but now that she had passed away, nobody make the dishes anymore.

The food here was not less appetizing than the first feast, the menu varied from rujak penganten (veggies salad with peanut sauce) to pek cham kee (steamed chicken with soy sauce and garlic) and mayonnaise prawns. Noodles were also there, completed with the most awesome pork satays.

Another table full of food

Everything was really good, the mayonnaise prawns and the pork satays were my fav, both were so exquisite and dangerously addictive.

Lokam oranges are also compulsory for CNY, as they represent wealth and luck. I found two decorated apples, so cute but I have no idea what those Chinese letters mean.

Sliced layer cake with prunes were super good; firm, sweet, and deliciously buttery. The cake apparently symbolizes layers of fortune.

Clockwise from top left: decorated apples and oranges, layer cake and bika ambon, assorted cookies

Rambutan seems to be the main fruit of this year's CNY. I see them everywhere. The best ones I have ever had in my life was from the uncle's house. They have used graft system to grow the tree, which is usually tall and huge. This tree is small and tiny, yet grows the best rambutan ever. The fruits are big and round, beyond juicy, also super easy separated from the seeds. These are perfect rambutan, I am not kidding. Just look at the bright red fruits! So lovely.

Amazing rambutan tree

My 3rd feast was at Roo's house in the evening. Splendid and hearty Manadonese dishes like always, but I didn't take pictures as I forgot to bring the camera. Most of the food were spicy and full of spices, they had successfully closed my CNY feast with pleasant flavour explosions. By the time I got home I was so full and didn't even have the guts to touch the scale.

So that was my CNY! Do share your story, did you get many angpaos? Any super delicious food eaten?

Anyways have a great dragon year, full of prosperity, luck, and delicious food! :)

Golden, 12 years old family dog

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  1. Wuah! 3 CNY feasts! But luckily it's minus the monkey dishes (imagine how interesting this post would be if you have photos of those! Haha)

    1. I know! too bad nobody cook it nowadays so yeah :( I never tried the monkey, to be honest haha

  2. itu si golden lucu banget !!!!!

    1. emang cute dia! dulunya galak, skrng udah tua udah susah jalan kasian :(

  3. hi
    mind to tell me where did you get the ingredients for shabu2? I cannot find that tofu and all chinese named bakwan etc everywhere. (Well, most likely I couldn't find it since I don't even know what they're called)

    I enjoy your blog very much. It's lovely all you've been written here =)

    1. Hello!

      I think you can find most of the stuff at supermarket, some can even be found at traditional markets, and I also heard that usually Ranch Market has various shabu" stuff sold there.

      Thank you very much, I'm really glad you enjoy it! :))


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