Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2004 CNY

January 26, 2004

Chiu Chow kid Steven Ma's family does not have the tradition of visiting at the new year, so he has always had a lot of freedom at the new year. When he was younger, after eating the family meal on New Year's Eve, his parents would take him to an aunt's to eat 'Ham Cha' (Salty Tea) until this aunt passed away and he was no longer able to eat it any more. However, he has sorely missed this traditional food from his origins.

Last year, when Steven mentioned this story to TVB's hair stylist 'big sister' Tai Kuen, he found out that her sister-in-law knows how to make 'Ham Cha' and offered to make some for him. This year, Steven remembered the recipe to make this dish and tried to prepare it for himself to relive the feeling of the past. As the put a spoonful of Ham Cha into his mouth, he could only say: "I am speechless, it is too delicious!"

As Steven cooked the dish, he seemed very au fait with it and it turns out that his father looks after the cooking at home, but he has managed to absorb some of his skills and cooking is no challenge to him. He still remembers that in the early hours of bygone New Years, his parents would fry up some prawn crackers, but he didn't know the meaning behind it. Also, every year, his father would stew a big pot of squid and pork that they could go and eat at any time during the new year. "My father made a pot this year too, when he went to buy the squid, the stall owner was curious as to what he was making. As well as squid and pork, the other ingredients are winter mushrooms and lettuce." With his father doing the cooking, as well as watching, Steven's other use was to make soup dumplings. His favourite food is savoury soup dumplings that are filled with winter mushrooms, pork and dried shrimp, then put into boiling soup. he feels that this soup is the most delicious.

"In the past, in the morning of the new year when I woke up, I would kneel and present tea to my mother and father to greet them. On the second day, we would eat Muli cake and New Year cake, but now we are all grown up, when we see it at home, we will already go and eat it a few days before the new year." Steven then suddenly adds: "As we are Chiu Chow people, my father would put a cup of strong Kung Fu Tea down to drink, but now he does not do that because they are busy and we have not learned how to do it and the tradition will be lost. However, my father does buy flowers to decorate the home. This year we did not buy any peach blossom because the petals fall all over the floor. We did buy some narcissus and in the past we have bought chrysanthemums and gladioli, but now my family are not interested."

As Steven does not want his father to work too hard, they ordered a 'basin banquet' for the end of year meal together with a couple of extra dishes that his father likes such as chicken and squid. After six months of working away, Steven is happy to be able to spend the occasion in Hong Kong with his family.

Translated by Em @ TVBspace

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