Long Chopsticks and Loads of Vegetables...
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Every year, the Chinese have a tradition where they gather together with family and loved ones, and stand around a huge table (normally red in colour) to toss bits of colourful flour and fish meat into the air. It is in the hope of prosperity and continued unity that people drive for hours to various states to participate in a ritual, which, for untold ages, has brought much laughter and merriment to the participants (especially when the 3/4 of the food ends up on the table instead of the plate from which it originated, thanks to overenthusiastic tossing). Yes, the loh sang is one of the many notable activities during the Chinese New Year, and somehow, despite the exorbitant prices restaurants charge for those bits of flour and fish meat, the cook still sends out droves of waiters who break open the packets of oil and sauces to pour onto the yee sang, in front of the beaming uncles and aunties holding their chopsticks as tenaciously as soldiers hold their guns in a firing squad. Coming from a rather un-Chinesy family (we had our reunion dinner at Italiannies), it was a delight to have my first loh sang of the year with friends, in this case, with The Queen of Good Food and Books & Co.
The venue was at Royal China (5 minutes away from KLCC, and 45 minutes from Sungai Long) and when Nicole and I arrived, the Chinese New Year mood was instantly set.
The Mood-Setter: Gold Fish and Fan-Shaped Decorations.Elegant Dining Table with Menu Smack In The Middle.
Of particular note were the chopsticks. The kind management, knowing that people might not exactly want to rub shoulders with the irritating aunty or have that drunk uncle breath down your neck while you're concentrating on making sure your tossed yee sang lands on the plate, provided exceptionally long chopsticks, that you could use to pluck coconuts from trees.
Ok, they aren't that long, but still longer than your average sticks.You can toss yee sang and pick your nose at the same time.
Soon, ShenMyinandAndre, Kelvin, Yheng Mun and Jeannie arrived, and we set to with gusto, starting, of course, with the yee sang.
The Loan Shark. He looks like he'll beat the kidneys out of you if you don't settle your RM5 debt.Jeannie glows brightly in Chinese restaurants.
The Yee Sang is all that its made out to be; sweet, savoury, and oh so highly tossable.Long chopsticks ensured that we didn't have to elbow each other out of the way to get to the goods.
Food began to get doled out, and soon, the table was awash with dishes.
Greens!Delectable meat of pink-skinned omnivore.
At some point in the dinner, Jeannie cleared her throat, and told a joke. It went something like this;
"Q. 5 fishes were in a tank, 1 of them died. Instead of decreasing, the water level went higher. Why?
A. The remaining 4 fish cried for the one that died."
After that, Jeannie was on a roll, and spouted a continuous stream of similar jokes, while the rest of us laughed, and wondered what she did in her free time (apparently a big source of these jokes came from Japheth). Somehow, the conversation turned to movies, and we debated how Avatar would be like if Andre and I were to act in it.
"I will give you your legs. Your real legs."Somehow, I don't think we'd make it.AndreandShenMyin.Jeannie, exhausted after a rodeo round of jokes.Shen Myin is thrilled at the idea of Andre acting in a movie.Nicole is more inclined towards warm werewolves rather than cold vampires that glitter like sparklies in the sun.Dementia: Deprived of mind.The Ladies of the Night: (clockwise) Nicole, Shen, Jeannie, Yheng Mun.The Men of The Round (Chinese) Table: Andre, Kelvin, and Myself.And finally, the Compulsory Group Photo.
That's the spirit behind the yee sang; togetherness, and joy. With these bunch of people, one can never really be too far off the mark when it comes to having a good laugh and chuckle. As always, good times are augmented by the presence of good food, and surely, that was in abundance on that night.
A very Happy Chinese New Year to all, and to all, a very Happy Valentine's Day. =)
May you not suffer from indigestion or other infirmities in relation to the palate.
For more snapshots from that night, click here to view the Facebook album.