Friday, February 08, 2008

年初二 開年, 財神倒 . Rebel Of Dah Neon Gods.

Red packets for sale in a Taipei, Taiwan market before the Year of the Rat
Today, we pay tribute to our Ancestors & Deities. It's believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs so it's tradition to be extra kind to dogs and feed them well (instead of eating them...LOL!). So Bailey, it's your lucky day!

We Cantonese make 開年 'Hoy Neen' offerings to start our business on the 2nd day, burning Joss Sticks & offering food (usually 白斬雞 a whole steamed chicken or 烤魚豬 roast piglet) to our Ancestors & Deities. We pray to be blessed with good luck and prosperity in business for the year. This is also a Cantonese custom done at the beginning of every Hong Kong Teli/Film production. It's treated with utmost priority if not @ least with equal importance to any other pre-pro issues! 

財神; Choi Sun (red face dude in 1st drawing) is the Deity of Prosperity. Though he started as a Chinese folk hero, later deified and venerated by local followers and admirers, Taoists and Buddhists both came to venerate him as a god. 

財神's name is often invoked during the Chinese New Year celebrations. He is often depicted riding a black Tiger and holding a golden rod. He may also be depicted armed with any one of several iron weapons.

Several versions of 財神's political affiliation and subsequent deification have circulated. It is unclear whether he is a genuine historical figure, though the vast majority of stories agree that 財神 lived during the early Qin Dynasty...


ChinesePod? it's not the cuzzin of Godzilla...LOL! If you can ignore her annoying Rice King sidekick Ken, Jenny is a funky online Mandarin tutor podcasting out of Shanghai. If you like this, check out the Superbowl podcast from Feb. 3rd below. Jenny's a real hoot!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

年初一, 新年的回憶...New Year Memoirs

…centre of the table sat a circular wooden dish, enameled and gilded, in whose compartments were oranges no larger than a hickory nut, air dried in sugar, and very palatable; an assortment of rock candies, small Chinese fruits, candied; betel nuts sliced and looking like nutmegs, and melon seeds–as inevitable in their theatres as peanuts in the pits of ours. A dish of mammoth oranges, a saucer of melon preserved in syrup, and many delicacies of which even through our accomplished interpreter, we could not learn the nature, only that they were all to be nibbled, and were not quite offensive to our unsophisticated palates. A saucer of American tobacco and another of the saffron-colored fine-cut Chinese tobacco always stood side by side...
Lunar New Year, Quesnel Forks, Cariboo Gold Rush circa 1890's.

I posted this because like everyone else at the time, my Great Grand Father had gone up to Quesnel Forks initially for gold, but saw an opportunity to provide food for those too busy looking for gold. He opened the only canteen/food store in town. I sojourned to Quesnel Forks in '93 & found the only building left in semi collapse with 年画 faded Chinese New Year idioms throughout, 菜乾 dried preserve vegetables still hanging intact from the ceiling & what appeared to be two fire pits for large woks in what would have been the kitchen.

My fondest memories of Lunar New Year were those growing up in 長沙灣 Cheung Sha Wan, my old hood in Nine Dragons 九龍. The smell of Joss Sticks conjuring spirits to summon me back to a long lost land. I'm guided through winding alleyways carpeted with firecracker flakes & the scent of burning offerings from the sprinkling of Buddhist temples dedicated to various Deities. 

長沙灣 was a congested, poor ghetto full of cottage industry factories (where Li Ka-shing 李嘉诚, now the richest man in Asia started out with his modest plastic flower manufacturing) & government housing projects with Mah & Pah whore houses fronting as barbershops. We didn't have much 紅包 (lucky money). But we always took time out & indulged with food over the Lunar New Year Holidays.

I remember gorging out on all sorts of deep-fried things like 芋头角 (taro grenades as we kids use to call 'em), and Mah & Granny always made these rock hard dumplings filled with sugar, coconut and peanuts inside then deep-fried. They were so rock hard you can throw them against the wall & cause some damage for sure! She doesn't make them anymore & now I miss them...perhaps only becuzz they were called 角仔, which sounds like my name sake in Cantonese.These taste memories lasted over 45 years in my mind until, one day, I realized the deliciousness was not from the taste but from the deep rooted memories of my soul to the land that raised me.

Today, we welcome Deities of the heavens and earth. Like many Buddhists, we abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. But I thought it mirrored my Western New Year resolution which was to get healthy just so I can wreck myself good all over again with booze, drugs & dark angels LOL! Some also consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed were cooked yesterday.

Most importantly, the first day is a time when we visit the oldest and most senior members of the family. So I'm enjoying 羅漢齋 (Buddha's Delight) at Mah's house after my teaching day in the great white north (Seneca@York not Nunavut). Watched Asian game shows on teli (a contemporary NY tradition) with Mah tonite. This was a hilarious tribute to The Beatles.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

恭喜發財 GONG HEI FATT dirty rats!

It's Lunar New Year's Eve 年夕tonite I'm busy helping or more like watching my Mah make Lorr Hon Jai (Buddha's Delight) Hoh Sie Fatt Choi (sounds like 'great life, great fortune or propserity' in Cantonese. But essentially a Sea Moss Stew with Oysters... yum) & Lorr Bak Goh (Daikon Puddin). All Chinese New Year tradition yummies. We Cantonese don't care much for recipes. But for all the Chinese Foodie Virgins, here's my abberation on foodie buddy, Susur's Lorr Bak Goh recipe:

Grate Chinese turnip (Daikon). Mix mushrooms, dried shrimps, Lap Churng (Chinese sausage), seasonings, and sesame oil together. Mix flour and water thoroughly in separate bowl. Combine mushroom mixture with flour and water mixture and heat until thick (do not let boil). Transfer mixture to a bowl and steam for half-hour. Garnish with green onion, coriander, shiitake mushrooms and cooked Lap Churng.

Stuff you need:

3/4 kg Chinese turnip or Daikon (grated)
225 g rice flour
38 g wheat flour
1 tsp dried shrimp (chopped)
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms (diced)
1/4 cup Lap Churng (Chinese sausage)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
6 cups water
seasoning salt
white pepper 

Monday, February 04, 2008

超级 (super) 碗 (bowl) in Shanghai & 1 unlikely die-hard Cowboys Fan

Worlds collide here as SuperBowl culture gets podcast in Shanghai while Mao rolls over his grave in the face of his worst nightmare, an American invasion...or maybe he's just cursing "炒马特·米兰鱿鱼" which translates "fry Matt Millen squid" a colloquial way of saying "fire dah fucker". Isn't Chinese great!

Here's the NFL teams list:

布法罗比尔 Bùfǎluó Bǐ'ěr Buffalo Bills
迈阿密海豚 Mài'āmì hǎitún Miami Dolphins
新英格兰爱国者 Xīn Yīnggélán àiguózhě New England Patriots
纽约喷气机 Niǔyuē pēnqìjī New York Jets
巴尔的摩乌鸦 Bā'ěrdìmó wūyā Baltimore Ravens
辛辛那提猛虎 Xīnxīnnàtí měnghǔ Cincinnati Bengals
克利夫兰布朗 Kèlìfūlánbùlǎng Cleveland Browns
匹兹堡钢人 Pǐzībǎo gāngrén Pittsburgh Steelers
休斯敦德州人 Xiūsīdūn Dézhōu rén Houston Texans
印第安纳波利斯小马 Yìndì'ānnàbōlìsī xiǎomǎ Indianapolis Colts
杰克逊维尔美洲虎 Jiékèxùnwéi'ěr měizhōuhǔ Jacksonville Jaguars
田纳西泰坦 Jiánnàxī tàitǎn Tennessee Titans
丹佛野马 Dānfú yěmǎ Denver Broncos
堪萨斯城酋长 Kānsàsīchéng qiúzhǎng Kansas City Chiefs
奥克兰突袭者 Àokèlán tūxízhě Okland Raiders
圣迭戈闪电 Shèngdiégē shǎndiàn San Diego Chargers
达拉斯牛仔 Dálāsī niúzǎi Dallas Cowboys
纽约巨人 Niǔyuē jùrén New York Giants
费城老鹰 Fèichéng lǎoyīng Philadelphia Eagles
华盛顿红皮 Huáshèngdùn hóng pí Washington Redskins
芝加哥熊 Zhījiāgē xióng Chicago Bears
底特律雄狮 Dǐtèlǜ xióngshī Detroit Lions
绿湾包装工 Lǜwān bāozhuānggōng Green Bay Packers
明尼苏达维京人 Míngnísūdá Wéijīng rén Minnesota Vikings
亚特兰大猎鹰 Yàtèlándà lièyīng Atlanta Falcons
卡罗来纳黑豹 Kǎluóláinà hēibào Carolina Panthers
新奥尔良圣徒 Xīn'ào'ěrliáng shèngtú New Orleans Saints
坦帕湾海盗 Tǎnpàwān hǎidào Tampa Bay Buccaneers
亚利桑那红雀 Yàlìsāngnà hóngquè Arizona Cardinals
圣路易斯公羊 Shènglùyìsī gōngyáng St. Louis Rams
旧金山49人 Jiùjīnshān sìshíjiǔ rén San Francisco 49ers
西雅图海鹰 Xīyǎtú hǎiyīng Seattle Seahawks

I like 金山49人 translation best!