Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy

It's been a busy few days since I posted last.

I've been trying out some different knitting patterns. Hopefully soon I will unveil a few of the finished projects.

Here is a sneak peek at one of my "works in progress".

  It is a little baby cap.


I've also been busy making and cancelling appointments. Don't you hate it when you wait for an event and the hosts/organizers cancel?  This has happened twice this past weekend for two events I was looking forward to later in the month.  On the other hand, that is probably just what I needed right now so I can catch up on things around the house and all the budgetary matters (bill payments and tax issues).

On Thursday night, I did get together with 3 people I know and 23 more that I didn't.  My friend who is an acupuncture doctor organized a dinner for the Chinese New Year; which this year, is called, the Year of the Dragon.  Chinese New Year actually started on Monday but we had our dinner on Thursday night to avoid the crowds.
Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is known as "Spring Festival," the literal translation of the Chinese name 春節 (Pinyin: Chūnjié), since the spring season in Chinese calendar starts with lichun, the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western Carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēngyuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chúxī (除夕) or "Eve of the Passing Year." Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year"....
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount. (Source: Wikipedia)

With such a large group of diners, we ended up sitting at 4 different tables. There were 9 at my table. On my left were Madeline and her husband Alfred, an elderly couple. Alfred is blind so I helped him by explaining the various dishes that we were being served and by making sure he had enough to eat. On the right of me were two women, Freida and Suzette, who are now Canadian citizens but  originate from Texas.  Freida hosts a radio program on international women's issues and Suzette is a gardener.  Across from me sat a man whose name escapes me though I've met him before and his wife, Victoria. The  man is originally from Tehran, Iran and his wife is Canadian. They recently closed down their restaurant business which is too bad since their food was very good.  It is very difficult to make a go of a restaurant in this city and so many of them close every year. Fortunately the couple each has other work.  Rounding out the table were two women, Bernadette, who works at one of the larger local grocery stores and Trudy,who I think lives in my acupuncture doctor's building.  The entire group was friendly.  There was not a quiet moment or lull in the conversation.

It was my first time at this particular restaurant and besides very tasty food, it was also very good value for money.  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the food until we were almost finished.

This photo was taken near the end of our meal. The green beans to the left and the chicken cashew to the right, were two of my favourite dishes.

The restaurant, Szechuan Chili Restaurant, is a humble restaurant tucked away in a corner of a small strip mall on a busy street. It is not a place, I would normally pass on my way to anywhere so I was happy to try it. I'm always open to new places to eat especially when I'm with such a large group of people.

Our menu consisted of:  spring rolls, deep fried wonton, Szechuan Chili Dry Ginger Beef, Breaded Lemon Chicken, Mixed Four Kind of Vegetables, Deluxe Orange Peel Chicken, Fried Green Been Szechuan Style, Sweet and Sour Pork, Chicken Chow Mein and BBQ Pork & Shrimp Fried Rice. To top it off it was suggested that we order two more dishes to make sure we had enough to eat. So a few of the ladies ordered for the rest of us and decided upon Diced Chicken with Cashew Nut and a prawn dish which was loaded with vegetables.  I would say that every dish was great but I especially loved the vegetable dishes and the green bean dish. Lemon Chicken seems to be extremely popular because by the time it got to Freida and I there was not much left. Nonetheless, I did not go hungry. In fact, I could not partake of the Dry Ginger Beef or the Orange Peel Chicken which are the two dishes that arrived last.

It turns out that Alfred's favourite dish is Chili Dry Ginger Beef.  So we gladly had it wrapped up along with the remaining rice and vegetables for he and Madeline to eat later.

I would like to end with another quote from a well known, Canadian financial expert

... Chinese Dragons, unlike western dragons, are benevolent creatures. They offer you the chance to reach for the brass ring, to dream, and to make your dreams come true. Spring is particularly important to the Dragon, so what you put in motion in this spring will carry you through the year.
Lest you think Lucky is all in the mind, let me point you to a stody done by a Professor Richard Wiseman at Britain’s University of Hertfordshire who studied lucky people for ten years. He found that folks who feel lucky do differ from those who do not, but not because of some outside force. It turns out that “lucky” people pay more attention to their surroundings, are more extroverted and open-minded and are optimist. Since the soul of “luck” is opportunity, the more opportunity you encounter, and the more willing you are to see that opportunity, the luckier you will be. (Source Gail Vaz-Oxlade)

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
(Best Wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year!)

P.S. If you missed my post on the appeal for Jeremiah, please read here.

30 comments:

moni said...

My dear,
it's nice to hear something of your daily trouble.♥
The cap for a little girl will be very nice.
Have a wonderful week
moni

Sr Crystal Mary Lindsey said...

Oh YUM!! I love Chinese food. Pretty wool to make a special cap.

My Castle in Spain said...

It sounds like a truly pleasant evening, Penny...i love Chinese food! I feel sorry when restaurants have to shut down. It has been happening quite often here too.
Thank you for your best wishes on the pastry course :-) x Lala

Jo said...

I love the cute little cap. You are talented, Penny. And loved the post on Chinese New Year. Have a wonderful day my friend. Jo

affectioknit said...

What a pretty little pink hat!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! to you!

Have a lovely day!

Fred Alton said...

And Gung Hay Fat Choy to you, Penny! Interesting read about dragons and how they are viewed by the Chinese people.

Joyful said...

Thank you, Moni. ♥

Joyful said...

Thank you, Crystal. I thought the wool was so pretty too! I can't wait to finish the cap and start another project or two.

Joyful said...

It was a wonderful, pleasant evening, Lala. I love Chinese food too. They are so creative with the ingredients. I know the economy has affected so many but even before that, restaurants here had a difficult time. Can't wait to see more of your pastries ;-)

Joyful said...

Thank you dear Jo for the compliment on the project! I'm glad you enjoyed the post too. Have a wonderful sleep and talk to you soon. xx

Joyful said...

Thank you for the compliment. I wish you a wonderful Chinese New Year too, and strength for the unpacking.

Joyful said...

Yes, indeed Fred. So much to learn about other cultures that God created. There is never a dull moment when life has an abundance of things to see and learn. Have a wonderful day and Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Vores have said...

Hello Joyful.
Beautiful colors to knit with - nice with needlework.
Wishing you a good day.
Hugs Hanne Bente ♥

issatchieu said...

Thanks hun for the beautiful comment and liking my post once again :) Only u took noticed i was in Paris. Thanks for ur wishes. Reading ur comments makes me smiles and positive everyday. THANK U SO SO MUCH.
GONG HEI FATT CHOY to u if u celebrate :P Never knew that much abt dragons until i read this. and all the behind meaning of the LUNAR FESTIVAL..wow..u got it all down! Even tho it was just one pictures and many descriptions, I was feeling hungry already!! lol. U write well n I imagine welll too...:P

Hope ure having a great week!
lotsa love, issa

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Buddy is a big follower of this special event and we celebrate it each year with a Ho-Tai lady that we've known for 13 years. He loves that it's year of the Dragon this year. He loves those creatures.
I think your knitting looks very nice.

Joyful said...

Thank you, Hanne. This little cap is taking a long time. I've made so many little mistakes so I've decided to start again and get it right! Knus ♥

Joyful said...

Hello Melissa, it is always fun to read your posts and see you all dressed up! I'm so glad you enjoyed my Chinese New Year post. I hope you have a great week too. Everything here is great so far and tomorrow we will get sunshine for the rest of the week (it's grey right now). Hugs and love. xx

Joyful said...

Heidi, I can just imagine how much Buddy loves the dragons. I bet he grins from ear to ear :-) Thanks for your compliment. Hope you're having a lovely day.

Anonymous said...

I love the knitting - such lovely colours!

Also, I haven't eaten Chinese food in aaaages and now I am craving some, even though it is only 9:30 in the morning! Ha! ;)

Joyful said...

Thank you, Rachel. I'm finally branching out with my knitting projects; moving on from dishcloths to simple projects. Maybe you can get some Chinese food or make some, for lunch. Hoping your recovery is going quickly. :-)

Coral Wild said...

Hello Penny
What an interesting post to read. Your descriptions of the food made me quite hungry and reminded me that I haven't had a good chinese meal for a verrry long time.
I really enjoyed the "lucky people" quote. I believe that absolutely! If you don't make opportunities for yourself, luck doesn't happen!
Thanks so much.....

Joyful said...

Hi CW, I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. I understand when you say you haven't had good Chinese food for awhile. I think it is hardly to get in Africa in general but where I live we have so many great Asian restaurants. I live on the Pacific Coast.

Pat said...

The baby cap is looking very cute!

This was an interesting read...I'd always wondered about the dragon thing in Chinese culture...I didn't know they were considered benevolent creatures. Many creationists believe that dragons were actually dinosaurs, and lived when people lived...They point to archaeological findings (pictographs) from ancient cultures around the world of dinosaur/dragon-like creatures, and all the ancient stories from many different cultures of men killing "dragons," such as Saint George and the dragon. There's a DVD you can rent from Netflix (or buy at http://shop.history.com/dragons-or-dinosaurs-creation-or-evolution-dvd/detail.php?p=256927) called "Dragons or Dinosaurs" which addresses this issue. Jerry and I found it quite interesting.

Pat said...

In response to your question about the length of time the "Coaster" takes to go from Oceanside, CA, to San Diego, CA: It takes about an hour, even though it's only 38 miles, because it makes about 4 or 5 stops along the way. It has beautiful views along the way, including some ocean views.

You can read more about it at the North County Transit District website: http://www.gonctd.com/coaster .

clairz said...

What a very interesting post, Penny. I used to love the restaurants in Vancouver when I lived there. I especially liked the quote about luck, since I was just writing about that very subject in my post, Maggie and the Blessings. One commenter said that it was nice that life had been so kind to me, but it really hasn't--I just dwell on the good things that have happened.

Joyful said...

Thanks, Pat!

I do believe that dragons could have been dinosaurs also. There were so many different dinosaurs and we probably don't know about half of them yet :-) Unfortunately, I don't use Netflix but perhaps some day they will have that program on television. Thanks for mentioning it. It does sound interesting.

Joyful said...

Thanks for the information and the links! I'll check them out.

Joyful said...

Thank you, Clair. I do love our restaurants and we have so many of them that are good. I agree with the quote about luck too. I'm a glass half full type of person.

Brenda Green said...

Dear Friend,
This blog was great. Thank's for the very interesting info. on this Holiday.
I learned a lot, and it was very interesting. It sounds like you had a lot of great food to it, and very nice table guest. I'm sure that it will be a day to remember. Thank's for sharing it. Love me

Joyful said...

Thank you, Brenda. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Skywatch Friday ~ February 23, 2024

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, We've had a few days of beautiful weather though now we are back to rain. I think Spring is just arou...