Daily Archives: January 22, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

This is the first time I have been in Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year and attend our family’s reunion dinner. The reunion dinner is held on the eve of Chinese New Year.

I spent most of the night before making red velvet cupcakes to give out to my relatives as a Chinese New Year gift. Then on the eve I got up early (for someone on holiday) to help my aunty prepare food for our dinner. Lots of chopping and slicing, shredding radish and carrot for the loh hey (fish toss salad) and using a tooth pick to poke the centre of the gingko nuts out.

Once my aunt has finished cooking food for our lunch, we prepare a table in the house with some of every dish and invite my grandmother and grandfather to come down from heaven and join us for lunch.

On the table we put one of every dish, including some dessert (mandarins and ang koo kueh), their favourite drinks, some jasmine flowers because it’s my grandmother’s favourite flower and their names written on a red piece of paper. We lit joss sticks and each lit some smaller joss sticks as we said our wishes to my grandparents and invited them to join us.

Jasmine - my grandmother's favourite flower

We won’t start eating until my grandparents have finished their lunch. So the way to tell is to toss these two small red crescent moons and ask them if they have finished. Only when they land with one face up and the other face down does that mean they are finished. My aunt asked a couple of times and then she decided to let me try. First I lit two more joss sticks and said a few more things to them then shortly later I asked if they had finished eating and the answer came back yes.

The next thing we need to do is to go downstairs to burn some items to send to them in heaven for the new year. This includes paper money and paper clothes.

Lighting some paper money

Bags of paper clothes - one for each of my grandparents

Paper money for burning

After our turn to eat lunch I get back to it. Time to make cream cheese frosting for almost 100 cupcakes. And then the electric mixer breaks.. so I pretty much make most of the frosting by hand. It only takes me 2 hours to make the frosting and frost 98 cupcakes. Look how pretty they are!

Packages of red velvet cupcakes for my relatives

Our feast!

My aunt really out does herself and there is so much delicious food. I love it all, but the Indonesian chicken curry is amazing. (I helped with that… stirred the pot once haha)

But before we eat everyone has to participate in tossing the fish salad (Loh Hey). The salad consists of fish, finely shredded radish, carrot, and lots of other things (I’ll have to check with my aunt and fill this in later because I forget). Everyone gathers around the table with the salad with a long pair of chopsticks. Then everyone tosses the salad at the same time, the higher the better as this means that more prosperity and luck will come to you. It makes a big mess and is also delicious!

The night progressed with lots of eating, then playing cards (including winning and losing money, but not for me!). Then a bit of cleaning and waiting until midnight before we all fell asleep in our new pyjamas.

So GONG XI FA CAI everyone!!!