Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lunar New Year 2017

This is the first time in about 8 years since I've spent Lunar New Year away from my family. The years before, I spent them in Melbourne, Australia where I was studying and then working for a bit. 

Lunar New Year is also referred to as Chinese New Year but then I read many years ago that this mark of the "New Year" isn't just celebrated by the Chinese but also the Koreans, Laotians, Vietnamese and other Asian countries (except Japan) so instead of wishing everyone Happy CNY, I just say Lunar New Year to include everyone else who's also celebrating. 

What's Lunar New Year all about? The Reunion Dinner, Angpaus (red packets filled with money- unmarried ones receive them, married folks give them), cookies, pineapple tarts, Lou Sang (prosperity salad toss), visiting relatives and friends, firecrackers, prawn crackers, arrowroot chips, mandarin oranges; basically lots of eating. 

Though my family was never big on "Lou Sang" (the tossing of the colourful salad), I used to have it multiples times throughout the new year with my colleagues, friends and business partners. By the end of the 15 days, most would probably be weary of this prosperity toss, but then we don't eat it for the rest of the year. And by the time the next LNY rolls by, we'd be hungry for it again. Or at least I am.

Needless to say, I wasn't going to have any tosses this year because this celebration isn't recognized in Japan. I was quite miserable and missed my family and friends terribly. There were no pineapple tarts (my aunt makes the best ones! I've been eating them since I was a kid), no Lou Sang, no reunion dinner, it was so quiet. Y* tried to cheer me up by taking me out and to eat the things I liked. He even asked if I would like to return the next year, possibly without him as he may have to work, but I am not keen on travelling without him. So, we'll see how it goes.

My family had sent over a care package filled with goodies but they had not arrived and I was having crazy cravings to Lou Sang. I did Google for recipes online but the key ingredients such as chinese plum sauce and coloured crackers weren't available here. I left out a number of the seasonings and improvised on the sauce too.


It hit the spot for me and was so easy to make! I am probably going to make it more often with lesser types of vegetables to cut down on prep time. Fiance liked it too and said he's never tasted anything like it. Happy that he's game to try new flavours, also this will be our tradition from now on! I'm going to make it every year that we aren't spending it in Malaysia.

Have a great celebration, everyone!

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