Sumiko Tan might have had sharksfin coming out of her ears. I’ve never been that fortunate, pre or current anti-sharksfin days. That’s another story.
But I could claim that my celebrations this Chinese New Year saw lo-hei or yusheng or yee sang coming out of my ears — contrary to my original expectations.
I had expected not to be able to indulge as much as in past years, given the fact that my mother isn’t supposed to drink any more due to falls and other health reasons. As I never ordered yusheng or bought takeaway myself if I’m not allowed to add a generous dose of brandy or vodka to the raw fish, it had seemed likely that little or no yusheng would pass my lips this year.
While I abstained from putting out money for yusheng, others who ate with me weren’t as abstemious, starting from the second day of CNY at my sister’s where we always eat our kai-nian fan. A nephew got a rough and ready portion from a hawker in Commonwealth Avenue to complement the home cooked meal. It was good, even if at $18 it was really cheap — for yusheng!
This was followed a few days later — the 7th day of CNY and Ren day — when a brother bought vegetarian yusheng from a temple in Punggol to add to the home cooked dishes at mum’s. Her Picky cooked for the visiting families who are related in one way or another to Tan Yeow Joo, my late grandfather.
Alas, because these relatives all arrived at different times and fell upon the main meal immediately, we had to postpone the lo-hei to dessert time, by when I had forgotten to take a picture!
Still, I made up for it with subsequent lo-heis I took part in, starting with the grand affair of the Association of Banks in Singapore where for almost 3 hours on Feb 2, the Marina Mandarin’s ballroom saw more bankers per metre than at Raffles Place, Shenton Way and Marina Bay Financial Centre put together.
The same night at chair yoga at Kampung Glam Community Club, the two sifus threw a mini lohei for the class apres yoga and, because some students are vegetarians, the yusheng –made from a recipe by one of the sifu’s mum – was also luxuriously vegetarian, with vegetarian abalone contributed by moi. I got them from Esther boss of my fav vegetarian restauant, Create Healthy Lifestyle at Fortune Centre.
The next day happened to be the monthly lunch group’s pig-out and this time we did it at Jumbo at Dempsey. It was good but I wasn’t done yet.
On Saturday, I returned to the old mansion (now newly restored) for my first invite for an Open House there. It’s been 10 years since I celebrated Chinese New Year with that family at the Old Mansion. How things have changed!
And last but not least, last night I enjoyed a smashing 8-course vegetarian dinner, complete with yusheng and cold appetisers at New Fut Kai at 282 Jalan Besar hosted by brother SY. The restaurant had relocated from Kitchener Road and tho the new place was smaller, the food was just as good. And needless to say, the place was packed!