Chinese New Year 2015 – family reunion dinner

My mum’s away on a cruise and for a change, we ‘kids’ decided to go out for our Chinese New Year family reunion dinner. Less than a week before Chinese New Year eve, my eldest sister CW pulled off a Chinese New Year miracle and scored us a booking at Good Fortune Roast Duck House in Northbridge. A stroke of good fortune, right? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Look into the front window of Good Fortune Roast Duck House during dinner service for one of the best views in Northbridge. The restaurant is bustling most days, but on the eve of Chinese New Year, the line for pre-ordered takeaway BBQ meats was epic. As we squeezed in and entered the packed restaurant, the people waiting gave us dirty looks, thinking we were brazenly jumping the queue! And all the while, the constant knock of cleavers landing on wooden blocks as the chefs chopped duck, pork and chicken.

There were individual special Chinese New Year dishes available, as well as Chinese New Year banquet menus featuring items traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year, including abalone, whole fish, black moss fungus, and glutinous rice dumplings in sweet soup for dessert, but we could also order off the regular menu if we preferred (we did). While we made our choices, we kept getting distracted by chefs coming out from the kitchen carrying pre-ordered whole roasted suckling pigs. Wow… maybe another time.

Chinese food symbolism

The Chinese language is full of homophones (words that share the same pronunciation but have different meanings). Wordplay, puns and symbolism are a big part of Chinese language and culture. Many of the dishes and ingredients traditionally served at Chinese New Year have names that sound similar to words that express wishes for the new year. Abalone symbolises good fortune, wealth and prosperity – although you may no longer be so wealthy after paying for enough abalone to feed the family! Whole fish is another symbol of prosperity, and the Chinese word ‘yee’ (fish) sounds similar to the word that means ‘abundance’. Black moss fungus is ‘fatt choy’, which sounds like a phrase that means ‘to prosper’. The glutinous rice dumplings that are served in sweet syrup represent reunion and togetherness. These are just some examples – there are many more symbolic foods and names with double meanings.

On one of the busiest nights of the year for Chinese restaurants I was impressed with how quickly our food came out. The roast meats were excellent and the green beans with minced pork were sensational.

DSCF2037Ange had printed out Chinese New Year-themed colour-in sheets for the kids, so when they weren’t holding chopsticks, they were busy with pencils and pens.

Juji writes down our food order on her mobile, Jay gets our drinks order Juji wrote down our food order on her mobile, while Jay organised our drinks order. Much easier to read a list to the waiter when you’ve got a group/shared meal situation like this.

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Two containers of rice The two containers of rice arrived first.

Whole roasted soya chicken Whole roasted soya chicken, served with roast gravy and a deliciously addictive side dish of chopped ginger, garlic and shallots.

Jac's choice: drunken chicken, braised octopus and pork shank (all served cold) Jac’s choice: drunken chicken, braised octopus and pork shank, all served cold. The drunken chicken and pork shank were pretty good but the octopus was tough.

Green beans with pork mince (my favourite) Green beans with pork mince – my favourite!

Large BBQ combination (BBQ pork, roast pork and roast duck) Large BBQ combination (BBQ pork, roast pork and roast duck)

Seafood claypot Seafood claypot, with prawns, squid, tofu and juicy mixed mushrooms

DSCF2075Looks like a feast already – but there was soon more to fit on that lazy Susan.

Chilli pepper flounder The Chinese New Year special menus included steamed whole coral trout but we chose a different whole fish for our dinner – deep-fried chilli pepper whole flounder, with a savoury crispy crust.

Carving up the chilli pepper flounder My eldest sister CW carved the chilli pepper flounder

Salt and pepper squid Salt and pepper squid, popping hot from the fryer. Guess who burned her tongue with her first greedy bite? Ah, it was worth it.

Auntie Juji's ready to give out some ang pows Auntie Juji’s ready to give out some ang pows

Ang pow distribution around a restaurant table Ang pow distribution around a restaurant table

Ruby discovers the window into the kitchen Ruby discovers the window into the kitchen – fascinating!

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Ruby gives her ang pows to her mum for safe-keeping Ruby gives her ang pows to her mum for safe-keeping

Don't interrupt Caleb when he's colouring Don’t interrupt Caleb when he’s colouring. He initially refused to pack up when we said it was time to go, as he hadn’t finished colouring. PS. the kids all had painted fingernails that night!

We enjoyed our meal but decided to get dessert elsewhere. We trooped along William Street and ended up at Taiwanese franchise Icey Ice, which was refreshingly tranquil after the hectic atmosphere of Good Fortune (well, it was quiet until our party of 8 adults and 3 children rocked up). We ordered across their dessert range – waffles, sago pudding, shaved ice, soya bean custard pudding, and the most popular item for the balmy summer evening, good old ice cream.

Caleb enjoyed his chocolate ice cream cone at Icey Ice Caleb enjoyed his chocolate ice cream cone at Icey Ice

The girls had black cherry ice cream conesRuby and Zoe both had black cherry ice cream cones. I had two scoops in a cup – lychee and chocolate.

Matcha (green tea) snow ice.  An ugly green monster but everyone who tried it really liked  it. Jay ordered the green team snow ice, with red bean paste, mochi balls and condensed milk. This is the ‘large’ (the smallest) size. It was an ugly green monster but enjoyed by everyone who tried it, including Jac, who declared the shaved ice as soft as fairy floss.

Waffles with ice cream Angela and Juji had waffles with ice cream and cream.

Our family reunion dinner didn’t feature the traditional auspicious dishes but for us, getting together for dinner was the most important and meaningful part. We’ll all be getting together for dinner again soon when Mum is back from her trip.

Happy Year of the Goat!

Year of the Goat colouring-in Happy Year of the Goat!

Good Fortune Roast Duck House, Northbridge Good Fortune Roast Duck House, Northbridge

Good Fortune Roast Duck House
344 William St
Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: 9228 3293
There’s also a Good Fortune Roast Duck Eating House in East Victoria Park at 884 Albany Highway.

Previously:

Icey Ice
2/297 William Street
Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: 9328 8058
Other Icey Ice outlets are in Harbour Town, Plaza Arcade Perth and Subiaco.

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  • Happy Chinese New Year! It’s lovely to have the opportunity to bring your family together to celebrate. :)

    • Happy CNY to you too. Mum’s back from her trip and we’re getting together in a couple of days – looking forward to that!

  • Cindy M

    Happy Belated New Year! We (Latino husband, Gringo wife) dined at our favorite Chinese buffet. Chatted with waiter, who sort of blushed and laughed, said “Oh, no – no!” when I mentioned (congratulated!) on your vast and fabulous Chinese culture and history…and how my European ancestors were mostly barbaric boneheads by comparison. We chose “standard fare”; however, Western-style homemade buttered dinner rolls were also on the buffet; I’d like to have a dozen for Thanksgiving! Now to your gathering: I really like Juji’s dress. Jay’s dessert – I’d give that a try! Children are cute like always. Octopus?? I’d pass. Chopsticks: None at our restaurant, but if they’re offered elsewhere I do use them instead of a fork; however, I cheat a bit and don’t break the sticks apart; keep them joined, and use like tweezers. Which reminds me of having lunch at a Japanese restaurant with friends in mid-2012; all 3 have visited Japan at least once (I never have)…and guess who’s using chopsticks (me) and who’s using forks (them)?? ;-p Looks like another terrific family time enjoyed by all, and I hope your Mum enjoyed her cruise. And regarding Malaysia Legoland: The downloading froze up my computer (easily resolved), but I’ll comment here: WOW. :-o Very impressive. All the work, love, devotion put into that! Especially like the boats.