Here are some of the things we either ate or learned about during Chinese New Year this year. (2009 = Year of the Ox). If things are listed in quotes, that means it is the closes I can come to a phonetic English spelling of the Chinese word. These words I believe are also Cantonese (???) but don't quote me on that.
Love Letters = thin, wafer-like sheet of slightly sweet biscuit that is either rolled into a cigar shape or folded into quarters. Deadly because they are so light you don't realize how many you've just eaten.
Sliced Root, Fried (couldn't figure out what the English name was) = kind of like a water chestnut...if you put the root (which sort of looks like an onion) into water it should grow beautiful, full, heart-shaped leaves. I took one home and it has been in a vase of water and has only sprouted white, flimsy arms...will keep you posted.
Pineapple tarts = awesome. Flaky pastry crust around a moist, pineapple center.
"Long Yoke" = cured/dried pork, like a sweet, moist jerkey.
Prawn Crackers (not my favorite) with Achar (definitely my favorite). Achar = spicy pickled vegetables (like carrots, cucumber & cabbage) with ground peanuts and sesame seeds on top. Achar = awesome.
Green Pea Biscuits = not green peas. These are a sweet/savory mini-cookie that took me a while to figure out were not actually made from peas. In the bulk-foods area of the grocery story, there are large bins labeled "green peas" that are quite obviously lentils. Thus, these biscuits are made with what we would call Lentil Flour.
"Kuih Bangket" = tapioca flour biscuits. Good but quite dry and crumbly. Imagine eating corn flour.
Mandarin Oranges = "Gkam" = a word that sounds like "Gold", which is why you take them to your neighbors to wish them good fortune.
"Hoong Bad" = red envelopes with money in them, given especially to children.
We also went out for a traditional meal on the very LAST night of Chinese New Year. These are our awesome dinner companions.
We came specifically for THIS dish because it is ONLY served at Chinese New Year so this was our only chance. It started out looking like this...
Then after we all jumped in with chopsticks and stirred it up together (the point is to try and lift it as high as you can, to ensure the coming year is prosperous)...
It looked more like this...
...and then you don't take any more pictures because it is SO good that you have to shovel as much in as you can before it is all gone. At least that's what I was doing. (Thanks to ANNE for taking these pictures!!!)
And finally for some more recent events...
A sign of things to come. John with his "Valentine" last weekend...
(Let's play a fun game...it's called "Insert your own caption for this picture." There were just too many to choose from, I couldn't decide.)