CNY 2016: Reunion Dinner and Day One 团圆饭 & 大年初一

It’s the first day of the Chinese New Year, so although I have wished you a couple times before, today I can wish you again, officially:


What have I been doing on this auspicious day, you might be wondering. Well, here’s what I did: wake up, wish parents and get ang pow, eat, watch TV, eat, watch TV, eat, watch TV… you get the idea. But I felt busier than I think it actually is. And I’m very tired now. I think I’ll just show you pictures of food, food and more food…

除夕夜团圆饭 CNY Eve Reunion Dinner

Okay, this was from last night, but because I got lazy last night, I’m showing you now…

Reunion dinner spread

As usual, mom did all the cooking except for one dish. And as usual too, I was doing a good job providing silent moral support for her. It was the best way to help her, really. My presence in the kitchen would only be to 越帮越忙 make things worse.

My mom has been saying: 哎哟!不要拍!不要 post 上网!又不是什么好料!Aiyo! Don’t snap pictures! Don’t post online! It isn’t even anything great! … but I am taking Boey as my role model. What mom said DON’T, it means DO, so…

Tom Yam Fish Maw and Prawns 冬炎鱼漂虾

This is (I think) my mom’s original recipe. She imagined that tom yam and fish maw should work well together, so she cooked it this way for this time. And it did work. It was great!

“Salad” Fried Chicken Breast 沙拉炸鸡胸肉

Don’t be confused. Sometimes, “Salad” means to us Malaysians as “Fruits in mayonnaise”.

Eight Treasures Pot 八宝煲

This took all day to braise. I don’t know the exact 8 treasures. I counted mushrooms, yam, radish, cabbage, those 发菜 fatt choy (don’t know what it’s called in English, black hair veggie?) etc…

Stir fried Baby Bok Choy 炒小白菜

Veggie dish is, well… veggie dish. I know some of you will comment on the effort my mom took to arrange them nicely…

And then of course, there’s the main event of the day which you saw from yesterday’s post. I went to collect these from the shop, and paid for them, so in a way, I did make a direct contribution to dinner. This was from a famous roasted meats restaurant in Cheras called 叉烧杨家家来 Char Siew Yoong. They are located at that row of shops behind Menara PGRM.

Fatty Char Siew 肥叉烧

OMG! OMG OMG OMG! This was so soooooo good!!! And mom made thick cuts, so it was even more heavenly enjoyable! These pieces of barbecued pork, they are not just melt in the mouth good. It does feel somewhat like the pork melts in your mouth, but it also didn’t. It retains some bite in it. It is very hard to describe, other than it is too bloody good!

We got 2 slabs of these, and if you look at the spread on the table above, you might think there’s a lot of food. These were for 10 people. My uncle’s family came to join us for dinner…

Om nom nom nom…

初一要吃斋 Day One Vegetarian Lunch

On the first and fifteenth day of each lunar month, it is good to go vegetarian. But when it is the first day of the first lunar month (new year), it is MANDATORY for a Buddhist family to go vegetarian. So today’s lunch was meatless. In fact, it was also carb-less as there were no rice or noodles. Well, glass noodles doesn’t count, does it?


Clockwise from bottom right: fried pumpkin fritters, stir fried mixed vegetables, glass noodles, some mixed vegetarian stuff given by the neighbor, vegetarian yee sang.

If you are wondering what 鱼生 yee sang is, I have written an explanation about it last year. Click here for explanation.


I don’t have anymore photos, especially not on the process of tossing the yee sang. Seriously, I don’t know how other bloggers do it, but I find it impossible to shoot pictures of the tossing process. Not when I am an active participant of the tossing.

Dinner will be pretty much the same as lunch minus the yee sang, so I guess I shall end my blog post here for today… Tomorrow will promise to be a more meaty affair, again…


  1. Your mum is really a good chef! Look at all her love inside the ingredients to feed her lucky son! That fatty char siew is definitely my favourites too. Thick cut some more, so chewy!

  2. Hahaha, you are spot on with the salad thing… My grandma does the same.. Cut up fruits, mix in mayo, and call it a salad. But I think she uses yogurt now to be healthier.

    And I think your mom arranged the dishes very beautifully!

    • To be honest, calling fruits in mayo a salad is not that terribly unacceptable. If you had stayed in Malaysia longer, you might one day also discover that Salad Chicken Rice means mayo drizzled chicken with rice with zero fruits/veggies 😀 .

      My mom said she is embarrassed with all the compliments. But I think deep down, she is feeling awesome! 😀

  3. Aiya, you just toss with one hand and shoot with the other lor! 😀 I think I’d love all the dishes your mom cooked. But yeah, tom yam fish maw is quite different…also salad chicken breast instead of salad prawns…hehe!

    It’s funny your mom would say not to snap photos of the food….and then she arranges them nicely for you instead of plonking them on a plate (even the pre-bought char siew) just so that they’ll look good on your blog…haha! 😀

    • Cannot lah, we toss high, the shreds of veggies will kena my phone! 😀

      She fake one lah I think, just like Boey’s mom. Say don’t, but got jealous when the new book’s focus will be on the dad wahahaha! 😀

  4. It’s great that your mum did the cooking herself and you guys had your reunion dinner at home. That’s the way I like it, home cooked food and the gathering in the house rather than at a restaurant. No doubt eating out is convenient and maybe one day when I don’t have the strength anymore, my family will have to eat out hah..hah…

    • I don’t really like having reunion dinner outside, always felt like we are being shooed away the moment we sit down 🙁 .. Hopefully when your strength starts to fail you, there would be nephews/nieces taking over the role of cooking… 😛

  5. First question, what is ang pow? [hong bao??]

    When I first saw the picture of the fruit salad, I thought it was potato salad [with a combination of white and sweet potatoes], but then I read the description below.

    I didn’t know that Buddhist families will go vegetarian on certain days of the month. But, then again, the only two Buddhists have close contact with are vegetarian.

    Gongxi Fa Cai!!!

    • Heh, I know what I’m going to do for my blog post today. I’ll write a Lazy Man explanation on what hong bao is. 😀

      Gong Xi Fa Cai to you too! 😀

        • Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you! 😀

          Okay, let me copy and paste here:

          [What is angpow (红包 hong bao)?

          This is a difficult question to answer. I think first I have to list down the different names that it has. I always thought hong bao is only used in Malaysia, but it seems it is getting more widely used in modern day Singapore, Taiwan and China as well. I think the original name for this “little bits of money in a red packet” is called 压岁钱 ya sui qian. The reason we call it hong bao is because, well, they come in red packets, and hong = red, bao = packet.

          So what is the purpose of 压岁钱? Well, if we translate directly, it is 钱 money given to people to 压岁 hold the year. Hold as in, hold the fort. I guess it is a bit difficult to explain the literal translation, so let’s just say, it is more auspicious to start the year on a good note, and receiving money is sort of a good note. That’s why people give angpows during Chinese New Year, giving angpow to someone is like giving security to someone so that he can go from strength to strength from here on out for the rest of the year.]

  6. This is the first time I’m hearing “May the Fortune be with you”. I like it. I really miss yee sang or lou hei as some like to call it. Love throwing all those ingredients in the air, and love the crunchy bits of that dish 🙄

    Happy Year of the Monkey, CL! Kung Hei Fat Choy! 😀

    • You could make an Aussie version of it. It is basically salad, and then you can add potato chips for the crunch. 🙄

        • Actually I did it before with my friends in Penang, some years ago. I don’t think it is such an original idea, because my friends said they sometimes did it at home too. 🙄

    • Er, I didn’t watch that movie. Not just female lah, I mean mom. Mom say 不要, then the kids will do it. 😛

  7. Oh my god, I love all your CNY Eve reunion dinner dishes, all look so good and yummy! Your mom is a fabulous cook and the char siew! Look so heavenly

    Gong Xi Fa Cai to you!

  8. Can you guess what my favourite dish of your reunion dinner? At first I wanted to say so much food for 5 persons – your parents, you, your 2 siblings but then you explained that they were for 10 persons, then ok lah. Please tell your mother, one of your readers say that her dishes are delicious – better than some of those expensive reunion dinners out there so you definitely must post, I learn a new dish from your mom – tom yum fish maw – I can imagine that it tastes very nice – spicy, sourish, taste of the sea springy fish maw.

    We are also eating full day vegetarian today. Your vegetarian dishes got carb lah – those pumpkins and etc but since did not eat rice, can close one eye and consider no carbs at all.

    You can help your mother do the washing of vegetables lah even if she says no need, no need, don’t kacau her.

    OK, I wish you and your family again, happy CNY! May good health, good fortune and happiness be yours!

    Ok, my favourite dish is the 8 treasure pot. Please go ask your mother what are the 8 treasures. Thanks!

    • Tsk! Don’t be so specific lah.. by Lazy Man’s definition, pumpkin is a fruit, and a fruit = carb-less. 😛

      My mom won’t even trust my dish-washing capabilities, let alone my vegetables washing capabilities. 🙄

      Hahaha, she said “aiya, the name simply call 8 treasures lah, not really fixed 8 ingredients lah”.. anyway I listed down 5 ingredients earlier, I forgot siew yoke, tofu pok and garlic. That makes 8 ingredients that I noticed, plus some other stuff that I did not 🙄 …

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