Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reunion eat

Over the last weekend, on Saturday (also Valentine's Day), the Chinese would have had their big reunion eat, the equivalent of Thanksgiving get-together, on the eve of the new lunar new year. The Chinese feast would have dishes like a hearty soup, curry, meat sauce dishes, roast meats, fish, prawn, vegetables - the Chinese go by the phonetic sounds of dishes to symbolise good fortune. For example, there's this moss like thing that's cooked with pork, because it sounds like 'you will prosper' (it's called 'fa cai'). It's just a crunchy algae taste and goes with the black sauce pork so well. My mum used to cook it. Then this black moss fell out of favour, apparently studies say it contained an amino acid that could be linked to neurological diseases, and also due to over harvesting (it grows in the acrid Mongolian Gobi Desert and Qinghai plateau) and it is listed as endangered (so China banned it). No moss, so sad.

Another interesting vegetable for the feast is the leek. You can see the picture of it at the supermarket above. Again, its phonetic sound, in Cantonese, is 'suan', which sounds like 'counting money'. You know Chinese are suckers for such things. The leek looks tattered but you sort of peel off those tatters and then slice them thinly and use it for a stir fry with prawn, beancurd and diced meat (optional). You can see the end result above as well.

Then there's yusheng, which translates to 'raw fish salad'. It's an appetizer comprising finely sliced raw fish (the version above uses smoked salmon), on a bed of julienned carrot, cucumber, radish, pickles and crispy crackers drizzled with sweet plum juice. Then everybody stands and do a big toss up and say some auspicious words, 'lo hei', and this act is supposed to bring good luck. There're now variations of yusheng, like Japanese, Thai versions. Everything is polygot nowadays including food.

E is for the big reunion eat, folks.

abc wednesday


  1. Hmmmmm sounds and looks delicious! Great E post for the day, Irene! Hope your week is going well!


  2. Very interesting and full of information. the food looks so good. Happy New Year and reunion eat.

  3. I didn't know that some people hang leeks in their kitchen for luck, I have always thought they are to be eaten only!
    Gong Xi Fa Chai.

  4. Really interesting post and descriptions! Looks yummy!

  5. Looks wonderful to me! Leeks, I love!

  6. Looks good, making me hungry.

    On behalf of the ABC team, thanks for participating.

  7. big EAT! I agree. xP Had a super round full tummy after dinner. bleah. :P

    happy cny.:)

  8. Sounds wonderful, my taste buds are watering.
    Happy new year.

  9. My Singapore days with my girl friends, we had Yu Sheng, Yummmy!!!!!

    My husband only likes the China leeks.


Great to see you ~Irene