Growing up, Chinese New Year was my favorite time of the year. Months leading up to Chinese New Year, my family would start cleaning the house, buying new clothes, planning food menus, pre-ordering groceries from the wet market and so on and so forth. Then, on Chinese New Year's eve, my family would go to my grandma's house for reunion dinner and I tell you, the Teh clan had no concept of volume control, we still don't. My grandmother & aunties used to spend days prior to Chinese New Year eve prepping the food for the reunion dinner - curry chicken, loh bak, jiu hoo char, hok-chiew fishball soup, ang chao chicken....the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, my grandma is too old to cook now. Over the last few years, we ate at restaurants during Chinese New Year's eve.
This year I didn't get to go home for Chinese New Year, and I was terribly homesick. Luckily I managed to celebrate with some friends this year at Nyonya, a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown.
As you can see, there was plenty of good food to go around the table. From top left (clockwise) - mushroom & vegetables, satay chicken, sarang burung (yam with mixed vegetable), hainanese chicken, curry yong taufu & sizzling tofu. The highlight of the meal was probably lou yee sang. Yee sang is a dish only eaten during Chinese New Year, and as far as I know, mostly in Singapore & Malaysia. It is a salad made up of jellyfish, candied ginger, turnips, carrots, parsley, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, five spice powder and topped with some raw salmon. The tradition is to gather everyone around the table and toss the ingredients as high as possible while shouting auspicious greetings. Growing up, we didn't have this tradition in the family. I didn't really know much about the yee sang culture until my old roommate Po introduced it to me, which led me to believe that this is a Cantonese tradition, not Hokkien.
After dinner, we went to Loreley for drinks. Loreley is a German restaurant & beer garden, they have a great selection of draft beers & bottled beers . I am not a big fan of beers, so I ended up with the delicious apfelschorle (apple spritzer). Yes, you can laugh at me and call me a loser but damn, that apple juice was seriously great. :)
CNY Dinner @ Nyonya
Address: Nyonya, 194 Grand Street (btwn Mott & Mulberry), New York, NY 10013.
Address: Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten, 7 Rivington Street, New York NY 10002
6 months ago