Chinese New Year is very dear to our hearts, having grown up in households that were very proud of our chinese heritage, we would celebrate every year with family without fail. With new surroundings come the opportunity to start new traditions of our own.
With no family with us, we invited some friends over to dinner to celebrate New Year the way only Chinese people do, with a feast!
But let me start at the beginning of the day because it started with abit of a spectacle. The day before we went to Bowery st. to help outfit what was to be the kitchen we would cook with for the next two years.
Contrary to what anonymously authoritative internet advice will say, the humble wok forms an essential element of the kitchen arsenal that is arguably on par with cups and plates. At least for Chinese people.
There is a certain rite of passage for the budding chinese chef, and that is the "seasoning" or "opening" of the wok. As it was Chinese New Year's day, we thought it would be auspicious, fortuitous, and probably necessary if we wanted to cook for our friends that night.
The particulars of this process are plentiful, as Deb will attest to, so if you'd like to find out more a simple google search should sate you. For us, after various incantations, holding her tongue the right way, and hopping on one foot, beseeching the correct heathen god, the job was complete. Even with the door ajar a little, and the window open to -7 degree ambient temperature, the process generated enough smoke to warrant attention from neighbours and a security guard. Said security guard decided to visit our apartment and at the same time, the concierge buzzed up to see what the other residents were complaining about. It was just a little smoke...but we were more than a little red-faced.
We hadn't done anything very holiday like in New York city as we were busy taking care of the administrative stuff. After the ordeal we decided to visit Central Park as it had snowed heavily on the preceding nights making it one of those things that you could miss out on as it quickly melts away.
It was a boiling pot of activity with the Manhattanites taking advantage of the snowy scenery. People jogging, strolling through the park, kids being dragged around on toboggans, budding photographers thoughtfully snapping away, all mixing with the tourists, enjoying the spectacle of snowy central park.
Here's us by Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, a big area of it had turned to ice.
With that ticked off the list, we headed home to prepare dinner for the night. Now, with the wok suitably prepared, Deb could could steam us our new year fish. To make the proper chinese new year feast, we also roasted a belly of pork, and steamed some veggies. Our friends brought a portion of roast duck, and ice the metaphorical cake, a box of egg tarts.
We think we did pretty well, because we polished most of it off, add a bottle of fine wine, four cups of tea, and a crash course in eating/drinking Tim Tams the aussie way, our Chinese New Year feast was done.