Chinese New Year

Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.

CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner
CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner

Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.

  1. Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
  2. Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally”  from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
  3. The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)

Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.

Our CNY tradition - Dim Sum brunch

Our CNY tradition – Dim Sum brunch

Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.

A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.

I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福

Love with actions 有行动的爱

This mother who had no experience of taking a flight, could not speak English or any other foreign language……..and yet she could overcome all obstacles – just to bring some Chinese herbs for her daughter who has just given birth to a baby.

What has motivated this mother to do this? LOVE!

Love has been degraded so much nowadays that we can say it easily……but true love takes courage and action.

The bible encourages us love not by mere words but by action.

Thank God that He is a loving God with action – He sacrificed His only Son for love for men.

I hope you enjoy this Chinese video……. and remember to take courage and love in action.

Yummy Dim Sum Places – It can be where memory resides

Hi, friends,

If you like Dim Sum, this post will be a great one for you.

Eating Dim Sum used to be a weekly activity in our family. From my childhood, we have been eating Dim Sum once a week. In those years, we went to Mandarin Palace in the then Hotel Merlin (now Hotel Concode). Until all of us grown up, this weekly activity also ceased with time.

Jin Xuan at Damansara Jaya used to be a “must visit” breakfast outlet every Sunday before we went to church. We did not order many, but the “must have’ items were century egg and pork porridge, char siew bao, chicken feet and deep fried sesame date. I was always puzzled why they insisted eating the same items every week. Now I know, elderly people usually resist changes, they like routines. They feel able to control them better.

Time has changed. I cannot have Dim Sum breakfast with my parents on Sundays anymore. Since Dad suffered from stroke, they have stopped coming to church with me on Sundays. Every time when I drove by Jin Xuan, I feel some ache in my heart – because those Dim Sum breakfast time is becoming our common memory. Of course, we can still bring them for Dim Sum. However, things are no longer the same, it is not a weekly event and Dad can no longer eat freely as before, sometimes we have to cut the meat into smaller portion for him.

I am thankful. Although Dad is not as healthy and able to walk freely as before, we could still have meal times with him in his near 90’s. I believe when one day when he is back to the Lord’s bosom, we are seeing one person less on the dinner table, all these common and insignificant activities are the only ones we have to remember him.

Here are the 15 great Dim Sum places, you can view the original post here.

* Some of the establishments below are not halal.

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Nothing quite beats good old dim sum when it comes to weekend brunch with family and friends. The variety of bite-size morsels allows us to savor a gamut of flavor and texture slowly while relaxing and spending quality time with loved ones.

However, with the huge number of dim sum joints across the region, it’s become somewhat challenging to find a good one. Here are 15 that you should visit on your next dim sum excursion. (Click on the restaurant names for addresses and OpenRice members’ reviews.)

1. The Ming Room @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Thanks to its elegant and cozy environment as well as a diverse menu, this decade-old restaurant has been a favorite weekend hangout. The dim sum here is classic Cantonese cuisine with “Western” twists. Every morsel is well executed and presented. Must have its Chicken Pie with Mango Cubes, Pumpkin Wontons, and Chilled Durian Pudding(!). Its traditional staples, like the meaty and juicy shumai as well as golden-brown, crispy, flavorful taro “puff,” won’t disappoint your palate, either.

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2. Lai Ching Yuen @ K.L. Grand Millennium, Bukit Bintang

The name is synonymous with exquisite, contemporary Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant’s dim sum, comprising 50 unique dishes prepared live in an open kitchen, is out of this world. Everything is from scratch and made to order. Its durian pancake alone is enough to justify a splurge there. Also, fret not, vegans and vegetarians — they’ve got meat-free dim sum! The glutinous rice and deep-fried taro ring “basket” with fruit salad and toasted almond flakes (vegetarian) is mind-blowingly delicious.

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3. Grand Harbour @ Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang

Opened just last year, the restaurant serves delicacies with distinct influences from Shanghai and Hong Kong. Its creative presentations of food — such as shrimp dumplings adorned with quails’ eggs to resemble sparrows; custard-filled sweet glutinous-rice balls that look like white mice; and durian “puffs” that remind you of swans — appeal especially to younger diners. Want to impress your guests even more? Order the “teapot,” which is golden custard bun in disguise! Gently tear it apart and watch how its warm, oozy, flowing sweet-salty custard makes the table swoon!

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4. Maju Palace @ Maju Junction Mall, Jalan Sultan Ismail

Hiding in a corner on the fifth floor of the lesser-known mall is this gem, which serves pork-free dim sum. Don’t be fooled by the description, however! The dim sum — from har kow and shumai to cha siu bao — is as tasty as “conventional” ones. Also don’t miss out on its more “exotic” offerings, like deep-fried mango roll, deep-fried squid cheese ball, and deep-fried soft-shell crab in steamed bun. Come on weekends, and you will get 30% off the bill!

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5. Jin Xuan Hong Kong @ Damansara Jaya, P.J.

This is one of P.J. folk’s favorite dim sum joints. It offers Hong Kong-style dim sum with contemporary touches that will impress your palate. Aside from the classics, including taro puff (“woo kok”) and shumai, you must try its infamous golden, custard-filled steamed bun. When torn open, its warm, sweet-salty, yolky custard comes oozing out, calling out for indulgence. Enjoy all these in the restaurant’s neat, family-friendly, air-conditioned setting. Since it runs from morning through evening, you can now have dim sum for dinner too!

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6. Restoran Ful Lai @ Bandar Manjalara, Kepong

Popular among the residents nearby. The variety here is interesting with choices of steamed and fried delicacies. Besides egg tart, cha siu bao, Hong Kong chee cheong fun, and other dim sum classics, the restaurant also whips up fusion dishes like bacon-wrapped steamed fish cake and baked cheese escargot. Both are must-tries! They are also famous for yong tau foo, which are stuffed ridiculously with fish paste, and jin dui (sesame-coated, deep-fried glutinous rice ball), which is chewy, sweet-salty, and nutty.

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7. Restoran Yuen Garden Dim Sum @ Bandar Puchong Jaya

This two-storey restaurant gets hectic on weekends. Besides its excellent har kow and shumai, its other dim sum offerings are impressive, such as the big, fat lor mai kai, taro puff, fried daikon cake, cha siu bao, and deep-fried prawn dumplings with mayonnaise. Meanwhile, its famous steamed Shanghainese dumpling bursts with flavorful broth inside and tastes even better when served with a ginger-vinegar dip. One caveat of dining here, however: the place isn’t air-conditioned!

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8. Yan Yan A One @ Old Klang Road

Dim sum cravings at midnight? No problem. This place runs 24/7, serving some of the most affordable, yet tasty dim sum! Its array of offerings is amazing; it includes “salad” shrimp rolls, spicy dumplings, XO sauce and Chinese chive dumpling, steamed pork ribs, cha siu chee cheong fun, and lor mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken). Enjoy these and more in its air-conditioned restaurant with great service!

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9. Celestial Court @ Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail

The acclaimed restaurant is running an all-you-can-eat-dim-sum special from now till Dec. 31 this year, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sundays and public holidays! Be mesmerized by its impressive variety of 70-plus innovative dim sum delicacies, including mini minced seafood bun in homemade tom yum broth, bean curd skin rolls with sea cucumber, taro puff with miso meat and mushrooms filling, and pan-seared stuffed scallops with shrimp mousse and pumpkin puree. Its delicate Chinese desserts — like steamed custard-filled bao and chilled mango cream — aren’t shy on flavor and texture, too!

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10. Tai Zi Heen @ Prince Hotel & Residences, Bukit Bintang

Another popular spot for all-you-can-eat dim sum among KL-ites. It’s halal, and available on only weekends and public holidays. The variety here — from the steamed and baked to the pan- and deep-fried — will make your palate dance with joy. Some of the unique dishes are its shrimp dumpling with crabmeat and conpoy, bean curd wrap, and steamed purple spinach dumpling with Mexican clam. Of course, its other more classic dishes and desserts are not shabby at all!

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11. Xin Cuisine @ Concorde Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail

The dim sum here are still being served from carts (trolleys). On top of the classics like cha siu bao, fish balls, shumai, har kow, golden custard bao, and egg tart, try the restaurant’s signature stir-fried savory daikon cake and unique smoked duck dumpling. Finally, end with dainty desserts like its aloe vera sweet soup and modernized mango “pudding,” which comprises a creamy and silken mango puree smoothened with coconut milk, a scoop of mango ice cream, and a pool of pearls of sago.

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12. Key Hiong @ Taman Megah, P.J.

A favorite dim sum joint among the locals here. Some of its signatures are savory pan-fried daikon cake, lor mai kai, dai bao (i.e., giant steamed bun, literally), and shumai. It seems perpetually brisk, especially on weekends. Thankfully, its service is fast, plus food is reasonably priced by local standards. Still, it’s best to plan ahead for the best time, to avoid the crowd, when you want a visit here!

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13. Hong Kee @ various locations across the Klang Valley

Another success story like Jin Xuan, it has opened seven outlets across the region as of now! Savor its fresh, lip-smacking (nonhalal) dim sum in its cozy, family-friendly, air-conditioned interior. Adding to the atmosphere, as well, is its dim-sum-filled carts. If you are keen on learning about the art of making dim sum and recreating the foods at home to share with loved ones, perhaps enroll in their dim sum-centric culinary school!

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14. Mee Bon @ Jalan Ipoh

A go-to dim sum spot among the locals. It opens daily, and is always full in the morning. This 40-plus-year-old institution has been steaming up tray after tray of piping-hot nibbles to satisfy people’s cravings. Must-orders include its lor mai kai and various steamed buns, such as red (azuki) bean paste bao, cha siu bao and dai bao. One thing about their menu, though, is there are no fried items. (Not necessarily a bad thing!)

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15. Marco Polo @ Wisma Lim Foo Yong, Jalan Raja Chulan

Last but not least, the round-up wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this restaurant — one of the oldest in K.L. that have survived the fierce competition. Located in the heart of K.L., it serves halal, yet authentic dim sum. Its legendary har kow (shrimp dumpling) and shumai are hard to beat, alongside classic lor mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) and other moreish nibbles. Since it’s also famous for Peking duck, remember to save room in your belly for that!

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恭祝大家农历新年蒙恩 Wishing all a blessed CNY

农历新年终于到了 Finally….Chinese New Year is here

时间过得真快,一转眼明天就是年除夕了。除夕夜是华人全家聚集一起吃团圆饭的日子。现今的年轻人,因为个人主义抬头,大家庭制度的流失,已经无法明白团圆饭的意义了。

Time flies…..we are going to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve tomorrow. Usually it is a time when the whole family (including all extended family members) having a reunion dinner together. With the increasing individualistic value and extended family disappearing rapidly, the younger generations may not see the significance of this event.

可是,你们知道吗?这个简单的年夜饭是很多长辈日夜等待的日子,尤其是他们的儿孙没有跟他们同住的老人。

Do you know? For most of elderly family members, this is a day they have been looking forward for the entire year. This is especially true when most of their children and grand children are staying away from them for the rest of the year.

他们殷切盼望见到你们 They are looking forward to seeing you…………….

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