We’d been waiting for Chinese New Year since…well, last Chinese New Year. Along with the fireworks and red envelopes, the Chinese New Year has family and friends at the heart of the celebration. And at a time when it’s all about the company, we were happy to be invited back to usher in the Year of the Snake with the Hostess with the Mostest.
The HWM makes her own deep fried wontons, and she clearly remembered how many I scarfed down last year–this year, she presented me with my very own plateful. Which I diligently hoarded and dutifully devoured, with gusto. Yes, there were others there that I didn’t know, and I tend towards social awkwardness with front of strangers, but nothing would keep me from enjoying these delicate bundles of fragrant goodness.
I’ve said it many times and will continue to say it–food is the universal language. Sitting together, to share a meal, is a global bonding experience. As the lazy susan spun round, so too did the conversation flow.
We didn’t know everyone around the table at the start of the night, but that mattered not; food being the common denominator meant the conversation never faltered. HWM had gathered an interesting assortment of friends, and we chatted amiably on a number of topics.
There’s something about having that failsafe, having that cushion of food to fall back on, that can relax even the shyest of souls. And if the food is truly exceptional, well so much the better. And tonight, it was exceptional.
Beautifully cooked black bean salmon, and succulent sweet and sour pork pleased even the most timid palates; for the more adventurous tongues, a whole whitefish with chilies, nearly-but-not-quite-over-the-top ginger beef, and spicy noodles delighted.
Tart lemon chicken and steamed rice rounded out the main course.
There were fortune cookies, and oolong tea, and much fun as those more proficient with chopsticks helped tutor those who were not (I confess, I went straight for the fork).
And later, as we headed out into the evening, burping and rubbing our tummies, I was already looking forward to maybe, just maybe, having my own plate of wontons again next year.