February 09, 2013

Reunion Lunch 2013 ~ Huat Ah to Year of Snake!

While many of you might still be doing your last minute Chinese New Year shopping, this PinkyPiggu has already taken her reunion lunch with family, waved goodbye to her brother who left for reunion dinner at his in-laws place with his wife and son, and said "去休息lah" (go have a rest) to her mum who is now taking a nap. Hehee, some ME-time now to nua blog!

The Reunion Dinner (团圆饭) is definitely the most important event on the eve of Chinese New Year. No matter how one might be tight up with work or any other commitments, all the family members will make it a point to gather together to have their reunion dinner. It symbolizes family unity and great emphasis is placed on the importance of this Chinese tradition. The meal is usually very sumptuous to signify an prosperous year ahead.

It has always been our family tradition to have our reunion meal during lunch, instead of dinner. My mum prefers to cook early, eat early, clean up early and have more time to rest in the later part of the day. I would say this is an arrangement which works out really well because my brother and sister-in-law can have ample time and tummy space for two reunion meals with both sides of the family.

As with previous years, my mum is the chef in command of the whole kitchen, while I'm tasked with helping her with the plating. It's much more convenient to have the reunion meal in a restaurant, which we did two years back, but my mum does not really fancy outside food. Her taste is really picky and homecooked food works the best for her.

Look at what she has prepared for us this year! Not just simple everyday dishes, but dishes with auspicious sounding names and ingredients which symbolizes happiness and abundance! Eat already will huat yo!

Deep-Fried Batter Prawns
Prawns (pronounced as "Har" in Cantonese) is a must-have so as to have laughter in the coming year. Har Har Har! :D

Stir-Fried Leeks with Sea Asparagus
This vegetable makes its appearance on my family's dining table only once a year. Though we're obviously not a big fan, we still eat it because its Chinese name " 蒜" sounds like "算" which means counting. No guess that this dish symbolizes wealth and we have lots of money to count in the coming year.

Roasted Pork Belly
No special meaning for this dish, except that my mum specially prepared this for me because I love it :)

Steamed Grouper
My favorite way of eating fish is to have it steamed. Lightly bathed in light soy sauce with aromatic flavors of ginger and spring onions, the freshness of the fish came right through. Having fish as one of reunion meal dishes is very important, as the pronunciation of fish "魚" makes it a homophone for surpluses "余". 年年有余! May there be surpluses every year!

Poached Whole Chicken
Our family usually buy only our favorite chicken parts (wings, drumsticks and thighs) for our usual home cooking. But for this reunion lunch, we cooked a whole chicken instead to signify completeness. We paired it with some really spicy lime chili sauce which was homemade by my cousin. Shiok!

Cabbage and Fishball Soup
Add some cabbage and fishballs to the stock from the poached chicken and tadah!, here's a simple yet tummy warming soup.

To make the soup more atas luxurious, we added some sliced abalone (鲍鱼), which has a meaning of "assurance of surplus". To the Chinese people, the pricey abalone is a seafood delicacy which is usually eaten only during Chinese New Year and special occasions. To my brother, it tastes more like a rubberized fishcake lol.

Braised Pork Ribs with Shiitake Mushrooms
A greatly appetite inducing dish! This is perfect with a bowl of fragrant white rice. Lettuce (生菜) signify "to grow money", while mushrooms symbolizes "longevity".

Here we go, all the lovely delicious homecooked dishes for our family reunion lunch. It's obviously too much food for the four of us, but no worries as any remainder of the food can be stored and heated up for consumption the next day. This also signifies that we will always have an abundant flow of food and excesses.

PinkyPiggu hope you have a great reunion dinner with your family!

May all be blessed with good health, prosperity and all your wishes be fulfilled in the coming year.




HUAT AH in the Year of Snake!!


  1. Home cooked food is still the best. Eating out is so crowded and sometime they have 2 seatings which can be quite rush to finish off. Last but at least wishing you a Happy and Prosperity New Year.

    1. I agree. It may not be as convenient, but to have all the family members contributing their efforts into a homecooked reunion meal is very meaningful. A very prosperous new year to you and your family too :)