Except for last week’s heart-shaped raspberry butter cake, I have never really had a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So, you can’t imagine how relieved I was when it coincided with another holiday for this year: Chinese New Year!
Since Fr. Jeff was free after his 10:30 AM Mass yesterday and we went over to his parish to pick up an alb he wanted repaired, we decided to have a good ol’ fashioned Chinese feast at Luk Foo Cantonese Kitchen in Las Pinas.
We started the meal with a BBQ Combination Platter loaded with roast pork, soy chicken, thinly sliced cold pork leg, roast duck, jellyfish salad, century eggs, and what I suppose was pickled lotus root or wintermelon. The meats disappeared fast, the rich duck with its crisp skin and the sweet roast pork being the first to get gobbled up. The jellyfish was particularly toothsome: beautifully chilled, al dente, dressed with a tangy Oriental vinaigrette, and pepped up with chili pepper flakes.
Steamer baskets of pork siu mai, chicken feet, and machang, the Chinese-Filipino version of lo mai gai or glutinous rice cooked with chicken and wrapped in lotus leaves also came to the table. The siu mai were nothing to write home about though they were tasty, but the chicken feet were – dare I say it?! – almost perfect. All that spicily braised cartilagenous goodness falling off the claw ~ ! Only my brother had the machang – the basket never moved to our end of the table, so it must’ve been good. But, still… 😦
We also had a platter of Yang Chow fried rice that came generously loaded with shrimp and pork and another of sauteed mixed vegetables that tasted amazingly fresh and flavorful.
It was a good thing I had some candied ginger in my bag at the end of the meal. It was a very good digestive aid paired with the house tea. 😉
Chinese New Year in this part of the world can never be complete without gifts of tikoy [nian gao], those gorgeously sticky sweet rice cakes that are supposed to bring good luck, from one’s Chinese-Filipino friends. This handsome specimen came to the house on Friday evening and we’re still wondering whether or not to eat him… (We’ve named it Fred, by the way.) :p