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.
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.
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!
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.
- Good Fortune Roast Duck House, Northbridge
- Good Fortune Roast Duck House, East Victoria Park
- Last year’s family reunion meal, featuring takeaway meats from Good Fortune Northbridge
2/297 William Street
Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: 9328 8058
Other Icey Ice outlets are in Harbour Town, Plaza Arcade Perth and Subiaco.