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Sights and Colors of Chinese New Year @ Chinatown February 8, 2013

Posted by gurkhason in Uncategorized.
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How time passed so quickly. Before we know it, the Chinese are celebrating the Chinese New Year. This is probably one of my favourite festive because there is so much to accomplish before the actual day. Shopping for new clothes, new shoes, rushing to buy the festive goodies, changing new notes at the bank, collecting red packets from banks and shopping malls, going for haircut and all the adrenaline rush juggling between work and shop and play.

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One of the most conventional shop that sells the traditional rice cake or 年糕.  There is a Chinese saying that if you eat the rice cake, you will grow taller every year… or in another interpretations means to get promoted every year.

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Paper Cutting is actually more of an art.  I am not sure if these are die-cut or cut using scissors.  Would really be if it is the latter.  Anyway simple papercut are used to be sticked on top of the rice cakes (or other fruits and decorations) but now people have it for pasting it on the wall as well, hence the large version.

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Without fail on Lunar New Year each year, the Taiwan snacks sneaks into the Chinatown market with their expensive jelly and other tidbit snacks.  They always lure customers by letting them sample.  Don’t think you can get away with sampling from the different stores and not opening your purse strings to buy a few.  There is no free lunch in the world as there are bouncer checking you out.

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Not only the jellos.  The peanuts too.  As the peanut bears the word 生,it means that if you eat more of these, will probably produce off springs.  And most peanuts comes in a pair in each shell.  When I was young, we are considered lucky if we managed to picked one with 3 peanuts in a shell.  Those were rare gems during my days.

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大中国饼家(Big China Pastry Shop) is probably the most traditional and conventional store.  Their items are expensive but definitely worth every cent. Some of the snacks they produced are not even sold commercially.

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70 cents each for the new year decorations.  You can almost hang it anywhere.  Most people would use it to decorate their plants or pussy willows.  There so much fun in decorating just like if you were decorating a X’mas tree.

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Bamboo shoots, pussy willows and money plants etc adds a special atmosphere to the festive mood.  Whether you have it at home or seeing them being pedalled at the chinatown stores.

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Preserved meat are definite sightings during the Chinese New Year.  People use it for their dishes or simply just to buy them as gifts or offerings.  The good ones are really rare during non-festive period so people like to buy and store them for a long time.  And they are good for steaming with rice and other dishes.  Adds a very special fragrant to what you cook.

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Melon seeds comes in black and red.  Do you know what is the difference between the two, other than one is bigger than the other?

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I love these lion dance head.  They are bright and colorful.  It was nice seeing them swaying around in the air in sort of unity (or different directions…..)  Will be nice to have one actually but it is sad if you just buy one and bring it home it become so lonely.  So I reckon I take a few pictures will do the trick.

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Have you seen this before?  This is Qi Gu.  I don’t know how it is written in Chinese but I know that this can’t be eaten… until lately there are Qi Gu deep fried snacks available particularly during the lunar new year period.  I remember my mother will buy the bulbs when I was young and it will be soaked with water.  It is quite fun seeing it sprouting the greens.  Now those they sell are sprouted with greens already so it is not so fun like in the past when we see it grow day by day.

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How about writing the 春联。 These are meant to be pasted outside the door.  Will be quite weird to have it outside the HDB flats though but nonetheless you will also always see man with great calligraphy talent writing in gold ink and red paper.  I have always wish I can write with the brush too.  Maybe this shall be part of my wishlist to learn chinese calligraphy!

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Cute phrases keep popping up from nowhere during the entire trip.  This has to be the most funny one that I have seen.

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All these gorgeous looking fruits like the gourds and pumpkin looking things.  I am not sure they can be eaten.  But they sure make very nice decorative pieces to be displayed around the house, i.e. if you have a big house.

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Preserved fruits in big pieces each will come with an auspicious.  I wish I have more space to post more of the other sweets.  They are good for making flavoured hot sweet soups to be served to guests during the festive.

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Last but not least – pussy willows dyed to the various colours.  I still prefer the traditional white as it reminds me more of China.  These colorful ones are too post-modern age era.

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This coming year is Snake year.  Wishing everyone good health, much success, plentiful of happiness and abundance of wealth.  Gong Xi Gong Xi.

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