Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Red Red Ang Pau's!


I just returned from celebrating the Lunar New Year with my family in Butterworth. We made it there early this year on the eve. My grandparents (who are still non-Christians) still practise ancestral worship. A small altar was set up in the hall with burning joss sticks, 5 sets of chopsticks and cups, rice and different dishes. Grandpa tossed two coins, probably for fortune-telling (??).

The reunion dinner was as usual, seafood steamboat. There was Japanese plum liqueur or umeshu, which I enjoyed very much. It was aged for extra years and carried a sweet and sour taste. The 15% alcohol content gave a nice warm, burning sensation. I want more!

We spent a lot of time playing with our 13-month-old cousin Reuben. I'm not very fond of kids but he's an exception. Super hyperactive, curious, smart and observant. I want to take him home!

Dad took me on for drive around Butterworth - the Chain Ferry Road, the Pantai Bersih coastal road, Bagan Jermal and Bagan Ajam, the Penang Port, the site of his old wooden kampung house and the long-gone Assumption school where he studied. All the shops in B'worth were closed and the streets were empty, probably because everyone was home with their families, unlike the chau kai wongs in Ipoh. Outside the houses by the roads were ling heans or giant dragon joss sticks which the Hokkiens usually burns on the first day.

There wasn't much to do in Ah Ma's house except eat, watch TV, sleep, eat, eat. She had to cook for about 15 people. She cooked enough joo hoo char, chicken curry, lobak, tau yu bak and other Hokkien dishes to feed an army for a week - and that's what we ate everyday in B'worth.

Our uncle, the food lover, whipped up three dishes - kam heong prawn and sotong, grilled lamb and shark's fin soup. YUM.

AF-Cubed Chinese New Year visitation is tomorrow!

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