Chinese For New Year
Singapore is buzzing with Chinese New Year anticipation and we can’t help but get caught up in it.
We decided we would go to the Chinese restaurant recommended by a colleague and try a reunion set. All over Singapore, families are celebrating the new year with reunion dinners and lunches. Chinese New Year this year is February 3, this Thursday. Thursday and Friday are public holidays and I’m sure part of the excitement I’m feeling is the thrill of a short working week.
Darling Man and I were discussing our Chinese food options, the whens and wheres and whats. Suddenly we decided we just couldn’t wait. We needed a Chinese food fix immediately.
Luckily there’s a Chinese restaurant a short stroll from our house. So off we set.
I love having so many food options within walking distance and I love love LOVE having a dining partner who will try anything.
It’s a dumpling restaurant so we ordered some dumplings, confident the baby could eat these.
We ordered some vegetables – spinach with garlic. And then we ordered something neither of us had ever seen before – braised pork with pickled vegetables.
Oh, and Chinese beer!
The restaurant was noisy with people speaking Chinese LOUDLY. There were two family groups and an old couple. They were eating, they were laughing, they were talking. I felt like I was in China. Especially because the older waitress who took our order couldn’t speak English.
She kept turning to Darling Man and asking him questions and trying to explain things in Chinese. Embarrassed, he just shook his head. I tried to explain he’s Vietnamese, not Chinese but she couldn’t understand. The last time we ate here the same thing happened, but that time another customer translated for us. This time the confusion centred on the beer. One big bottle, two glasses. With fingers and nods and smiles we confirmed one and two. When the waitress left we shrugged. We either get one beer or two, no problem.
We got one beer, two glasses. Apparently a couple sharing a big bottle of beer is cross-cultural.
For the first time ever, Miss M sat calmly in the high chair. Usually she starts struggling after a few minutes. But this time she was happy playing with the plastic chopsticks and bowls, tapping and organising things with a scientific frown.
The food began arriving. The dumplings, dipped in a vinegar and chilli dipping sauce, were lovely.
The spinach was crispy and fresh and garlicky.
And then the pork arrived. A strange glistening pillow of pork in a red-brown sauce.
Tentatively we tested it. The pork, cut like bacon but less salty, melted in the mouth. The sauce was sweet with a hint of five spice.
And underneath the pork were the pickled vegetables. They weren’t a very appealing colour but they were delicious
Darling Man said the dish was a typical Asian dish, using the sour to balance the oiliness, the sweet to balance the salt. We made short work of the pork and vegetables.
Then, as we were still licking our lips and ushering the last crumbs into the baby’s mouth and downing the final swigs of our beer, we discussed what we’d order next time. Then I told Darling Man about the special Singapore Chinese New Year dish, apparently not available in China and only available in Singapore at Chinese New Year. It’s a raw fish salad, purple and green and white, which apparently must be tossed in the air as the waitress recites traditional Chinese good luck sayings. I cannot wait for our reunion lunch!
Eastern and Northern Dumpling Restaurant
220 East Coast Road
PH: (65) 6344 7002
9 years ago