28.1.06

Family obligations

In the (late) morning, the annual visit to the family clan association. I was brought up Christian, so all this was alien to me after we got married and I began accompanying Terz on the annual pilgrimages. It still is, in many ways.

Incense and ash

There's the lunch, which we'll eat afterwards, laid out in clear plastic containers in front of the ancestral tablets. Laying it out takes less than five minutes, but waiting for the ancestors to declare their satisfaction with the meal can take anything from twenty minutes to the better part of an hour, depending on how picky they are that year.

Then there's the burning of joss paper, which I don't know anything about because I spend most of my time each visit sitting in the clan hall as an unobtrusive observer. Then there's the divvying up of food among the relations who've shown up for the annual ritual. Then we go home to eat it, and to shower to get the smell of incense and ash out of our hair.

At night, there's the reunion dinner. As I've been gleefully telling anyone who'll listen to me this year, the mother-in-law declared in December that she was tired of eating the same old reunion dinner menus served at Chinese restaurants, so she thought we would go Western for ours. Hurray! Less one serving of yu sheng* (which we'll eat at least another five times over in the fifteen-day New Year period anyway)

It fell to us to make the reservations, so we made the extremely sensible choice of Gordon Grill at Goodwood Park Hotel.

Dinner, anyone?

Obviously, we elected to get something Off The Trolley for our main courses.

It's not easy to find good steak in Singapore and it's worth springing for the good stuff, which Gordon has in abundance. It begins with who I assumed was the restaurant manager, cheerfully greeting us at the entrance and showing us all the way in to our table. It's followed through with impeccable service, solicitous enough to make the mother-in-law nervous that we weren't giving them enough to do. It culminates in really good food, of course --- steaks done to perfection, smooth soups, crisp salads. Bonus points for dining there on Chinese New Year Eve: an appetizer on the house, and a costumed 財神 (Fortune God) handing out dining vouchers and discount cards.

Oh yes, and then there was dessert.

Dessert I: Irish coffee Dessert II: Crepes suzette

My crappy cameraphone pictures really don't do them justice.

Oh, and they gave me a little gnome-sized chair to put my handbag on. Deeeeelightful.

Tonight's dinner confirmed for me that I really, really like arugula. And somewhere during Terz's Irish coffee and my crepes suzette, something about the scents and feel of the place made me think for an instant that I was in Vancouver. Don't ask me why.

Gongxi facai, one and all!

* On a completely unrelated note, the Flickr tag for yu sheng throws up many, many pictures of a guy whom I assume is Yu Sheng, looking broody and shit. And since we're on this tangent, have you seen Fastr - a Flickr game (link via lifehacker)?

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3 Comments:

At 1/29/2006 2:02 pm , Anonymous gecko said...

five times? quite an average... and you should consider bringing along a slim digicam everywhere you go :-) Gong Hei Fatt Choy!

 
At 1/29/2006 6:40 pm , Blogger limegreenspyda said...

wow! happening! those are cool in-laws you've got.

 
At 1/29/2006 7:35 pm , Blogger wahj said...

Wow. Look at all that meat ...

And yes, fastr is really addictive, isn't it? Thing is, after a while, you get used to the limited vocab of tags, and the guessing becomes quite easy.

 

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