The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 18 February 2013

Family Reunion @ Wang Chiew Seafood Restaurant, Petaling Jaya (Malaysia)

Gong Xi Fa Cai! It is the 9th day of the Lunar New Year (of the snake), and the Chinese people continue the new year festivities for another six days! We had a fabulous reunion with my immediate and extended family in Malaysia last week, and we also enjoyed short stay in Singapore. We are now back home in Hong Kong, and I really felt that one week away wasn't quite enough. On the eve of the Chinese new year (CNY), as has been the tradition for the past countless years, my family got together for the annual reunion dinner. It's held at a different restaurant every year, and this year we booked three tables at Wang Chiew Seafood Restaurant in SS2 in PJ (near Kuala Lumpur). As far as I know, all of the Chinese restaurants have two seatings for CNY's eve dinner (usually at 6pm and at 8pm), and you must book early at the popular ones (with a paid deposit) to avoid disappointment. I can tell you that many Chinese restaurants were not short of business that night as families gathered for the annual reunion. We had an outdoor seating area, which was a little uncomfortable with the lack of aircon, but we could be as loud and raucous as we wanted to be. I have such fond memories of the fun company and the food.

The best part of any CNY's eve reunion dinner in Singapore and Malaysia is the yee sang (aka yusheng, prosperity toss), which literally means "raw fish" in Chinese, but is also a homophone for "increase in abundance". Even the ingredients all have their individual special meanings. All the diners at the table toss the ingredients, and they are expected to do so with plenty of enthusiasm. The higher the toss, the better!

The ingredients for Fatt Choy Yee Sang laid out on a plate - fish, vegetables, a heap of sesame seeds, crackers, and various sauces and seasonings:

All the ingredients added, ready to be tossed:

Let the tossing begin! (Shot is blurry due to taking the photo and tossing at the same time):

The yee sang was really yummy! The crunchy crackers, the fragrance of the sesame seeds, the sour and sweet from the sauces all make very good raw fish salad combination:

On the menu that was selected was "Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat", but upon my request, only non-shark ingredients were used. It was delicious:

Grilled Prawns with Soy Sauce - messy to peel, but enjoyable to eat:

Braised Pig's Trotters with Black Moss. The black moss is a type of algae that is known as "fat choy" in Chinese, which is a homophone for the Chinese word for "prosperity". The pork trotters were surprisingly meaty and very tender:

Steamed Red Tail Catfish - firm sweet flesh, but too many bones to manoeuvre around:

This dish is named Mixed Vegetarian on the menu, and consisted of mushrooms and fungus wrapped inside fuzhu (tofu skin). Quite nice for a vegetable dish:

Special order of Fried Rice for our allergic boy, also enjoyed by many:

Dessert was Longan and Lychee Tong Sui - very refreshing especially on a warm and muggy evening after a full meal. I like Asian desserts because they are light and easy to consume after a meal:

It was a successful reunion dinner. Our family's reunion every lunar new year also celebrates my dear grandmother's birthday, and this year she celebrated her 88th birthday with her six (of seven) children, most of her grandchildren, five of her great-grandchildren, and the in-laws. My A Ma looked pretty happy!

Happy 88th, A Ma! May you have many more years and see many more great-grandchildren! (She is called the Queen in our family, a name she readily accepts.)

Wang Chiew Seafood Restaurant
No. 30, Jalan SS2/103
47300, Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 7722 3662

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