Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner @ King Crab Restaurant

For every Chinese family, the Chinese New Year reunion dinner is one of the most important dinners we'll have in the whole year. It is a time where families near and far get together for a meal together and catch up with each other. The reunion dinners are always a grand affair with abundant food that signifies good luck and prosperity for the family.
Ever since I got married, I've taken over the responsibility of cooking for my family our reunion dinner that takes me a whole day of slaving over the stove. This year we've decided that I should take a break due to my delicate condition so we had our dinner at a restaurant. The dinner reservation at King Crab was done a month ahead!
For our first dish, we had a specialty that is unique to Malaysia, the Yee Sang which is essentially a raw fish salad. The Yee Sang came with colorful shredded vegetables, crackers and jelly fish drizzled with maltose, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds before being topped with raw salmon that has been tossed in lime juice and spices. Family members toss the yee sang as high as possible while reciting good wishes in the hope that the new year brings newfound prosperity. Personally, I think this is a fun dish that brings families together.

Next was the Buttered Prawns. In the Cantonese dialect, the word for prawns sounds very much like laughter which means there will be much joy in the home. As you can well imagine the Chinese love word play. The prawns were fried then tossed with egg floss and curry leaves. It's delicious!We also had Oysters with black moss, broccoli and mushrooms. The oysters are supposed to mean good tidings coming our way. This is my favourite dish for the dinner. The broccoli was lightly blanched to retain its crunchiness and was such a contrast to the smooth mushrooms accompanying it. The dried oysters gave it such an intense flavour.
Fish was next on the menu. For the Chinese, fish means abundance so a fish dish will undoubtedly make it to the dining table for every reunion dinner.
We also ordered scallops with broccoli although I can't remember what it means. The sweet scallops were a hit with our little girl. Again the flavours contrasted nicely.Our final dish was claypot tofu. I don't think this dish signifies anything. It was just something we ordered to add variety.
The Chinese places a lot of emphasis on family relationships and the reunion dinner is just one of the many great ways to keep relationships close. It is a tradition that goes back centuries and one which I hope to pass on to our children.

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