The very close relative and his wife who lost their daughter in December 2008 have recovered sufficiently from their loss to host a dinner at emotionally sensitive times like the Chinese New Year season.
Sure, they had hosted meals since their loss but tonight is the first time for the CNY season. Till that tragedy, their treats at vegetarian restaurants on the 3rd day of CNY was a regular on my calendar.
Sure, there’s also a good reason for tonight’s meal. Our dad’s only sister is in Singapore from Guangzhou after a one-month sojourn in Sydney to visit her two daughters who have lived there since Tiananmen.
Aunt hasn’t been to Singapore more than once since dad’s passing in 2001, despite all-paid for visits offered by KP.
And given her great age, we can’t say how many more times she would be making it out here. Yet, she may surprise everyone as her generation, especially those who lived in China through its ups and downs following Mao’s great revolution, are tough.
So, here we are at the Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (at Quality Hotel) which serves very good vegetarian food (taste and presentation-wise) a la Taiwanese style. We mostly go there courtesy of this close relative and usually for lunch where the buffet offers such a wide variety that we never manage to taste every dish.
Tonight is more manageable, as it’s a nine-course set dinner. The vegetarian yu-sheng with mock salmon slices was so realistic that beady-eyed Siti, mum’s picky maid, was initially protesting that she didn’t eat raw fish, as she gingerly picked up what she thought was uncooked salmon to set aside.
Almost everyone at our table had to repeat that “this is a vegetarian restaurant, no meat, no fish”, before she gingerly ate her mock salmon!
And here are the dishes that I particularly like.