Gong Hei Fat Choi 2014!
Chinese New Years is celebrated pretty well in Filipino culture. Philippines has a lot of Chinese friends as China is a close neighbour. See here for colorful pictures of this year’s celebrations.
I missed out when I was living in the Philippines because there just weren’t any held in our itty bitty island. However, I do remember the treats and the food that came along with it around this time of year.
And now that I’m in Canada, it’s our tradition to partake in the Calgary celebrations held in the Chinese Cultural Centre in Chinatown. However, when my friends and I went there today (Saturday, Feb 1 – ONE DAY AFTER the actual Chinese New Year), we were disappointed to discover that we were a week late!!! What!!?? Is it just me or does it make sense to hold it the day after instead of a week before the actual holiday!? Craziness!! I missed my Chinese fortune too which was my favorite part T_T
Yes the food and the performances are great…but really it’s all about those sticks and the excitement of finding out what I will get for this year’s fortune.
Okay back to the food…
So to appease our disappointment, our friends took us to a dim sum place we’ve never been to: Ho Won. My review of this place is at the bottom of this post.
I was so hungry that I only remembered to take a picture AFTER we’ve pretty much devoured everything! *gasp* How very non-Asian of me!! *hangs head in shame*
I do not know the Chinese terminology but my best description of the dishes from top left to right are:
- Steamed Shrimp Balls
- Steamed Shrimp Wraps
- Ho Won Fried Rice (in house special)
- Deep Fried Squid
- Pork & Shrimp Balls
My friend also ordered a tofu, eggplant and meat ball dish but we inhaled those right away so there were no leftovers to snap a picture of.
After the meal, we walked around Chinatown hunting down bakeries with leftover moon cakes. Tip: Don’t delay buying this stuff. They will laugh at you when you ask the day after.
Although we didn’t find any there, we did come across the Dragon Dance as it blessed the shoppes. It brought my spirits back up as it felt like we were part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
We headed to T & T, an Asian supermarket in the NE, to see about the moon cakes. Success!! There were 3 left *hallelujah!* We ended up buying so many treats but it was all good. It made my Mom very happy and later that evening, her and I bonded over these yummy treats. She used to live in Hong Kong “back in the day” so she told me stories of her experiences there and what the treats signified according to the Chinese culture. I ❤ my Mom. I definitely get my sweet tooth from her.
From top left to right:
- Assorted rice cakes
- Hopia bean cake package
- Citrus (round fruit)
- Hopia bean cake (round with Chinese characters)
- Egg tarts (my Mom’s favorite)
- And the three moon cakes! (lotus)
These sweets are heavenly! Enjoying them with tea/milk and great conversations, it is a great way to learn about a culture. May you all have a very prosperous year.
My review of Ho Won: 1/5✩
We came in 30 mins before closing time so they were already shutting down operations and judging from their expression, they were non too happy to see us. However, money is king so they seated us anyway. I was not impressed. The food was mediocre and the service horrid. The rice was really salty on some parts. There is a server (an older man) who seems to have forgotten that his job description is to serve the customers. He would ignore us (there were only 4 tables occupied) and when a friend who spoke Chinese finally caught him as he attempted to breeze past us again, he would glare and then leave before were even done telling him what we needed. Rude! We looked at each other wondering if we would even get anything at all! We did get them but the wait was long and we had to repeat our request to another waitress. He brought us the items but there was definitely no “Service with a smile”. It put a damper to a meal that I was looking forward to. On the positive note, the women servers are not so rude so should you visit here, maybe stay away from the guy waiter. From what I’m told, that’s how he is all the time. Also, come early so there’s a better selection. My friends say it is cheaper but I’d rather pay a little bit more at another place where the service is good. There are far better places in Chinatown so I would suggest checking those out first.