Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New year Banquet

I was very lucky and honoured to be invited along to the Chinese new years celebrations by Arts Play Highland. A brilliant Arts charity that i have done workshops with before and will be working with on an exiting project this year. Life has been pretty stressful of late, which seemed a great reason to make the 130 mile round trip to Inverness to inject a bit of colour & culture into my system.
First there was a procession through town, i followed the drumming to find it.
Then we moved to Jimmy Chungs restaurant where the Scottish Highlands and Islands and Moray Chinese Association had organised a Banquet. As Nine courses were served by attentive and friendly staff, we were entertained by another wonderful Lion Dance, Chinese and Scottish singing ( an brilliant fusion! ), and a raffle draw with a stunning number of prizes, many which were won by the enthusiastic table next to us who must have spent many hundreds of pounds on tickets. Due to austerity being what it was i could only afford 1 ticket, and I also won a prize! Hurrah! thanks to Dragon Luck. The joke is that it is a hair and beauty treatment voucher, which anyone who knows how down to earth, product free, no narcissistic nonsense I am will find funny. I think i was last at a hairdressers in 1986, only because my mum insisted!

I loved the Lions, they completely came to life! I'd always thought they were dragons, gorgeous beasties!  The deal appeared to be that it was baited by a lettuce on a stick, it then ate it and ejected shredded lettuce on the audience, which is lucky, bestowing good fortune for the year ahead i think. The Lion then danced around all the tables to the relentless drumming, money is put into pretty gold and red envelopes and fed to the Lion. The night seemed to involved a lot of lovely tokenistic exchanges, which were so much nicer and meaningful than our ridiculous consumer gifts at christmas.

Jelica from Arts play feeds the Lion.
The beautiful singer with an amazing voice that could hold a high note for ages !

And then there was the food! It wasn't your usual Jimmy Chungs fayre, or the western version of Chinese takeaways we are used to, more the real deal. I looked at the menu & was a little worried about some of it, but just thought i'd take my vegetarian hat off and just go with it out of respect for the hosts.
Meat platter, not sure what it all was but that was good. Prawn crispy fried ball things- wonderful. Fish soup, noodles, seafood risotto, seafood and vegetables, delicious; sea bass a delight to the eye and taste buds. Lobster, a first for me, tasty but best if i didn't look, it was all a bit alien like. Crispy fried duck?- a bit difficult...he kept staring at me all crispy fried like. The mushroom and ducks feet?...erm, i ate it, but was rather traumatised by with little feet bones and texture. I did it, but don't think i need to do that again- EVER and finally red bean pudding, which was a sort of sweet soup, very refreshing. All of this was spread over hours, eaten out of lovely wee bowls. No stodge or too full up feeling.

look! i'll swear he's watching me!
The evening was a wonderful event, much kudos to the chef, staff and organisers. A wonderful atmosphere busy and happy, the cutest kids singing and running about and dancing. We all have so much to learn from each others cultures, its in the spaces inbetween where wonderful things happen. Scotland has such a rich heritage of interaction all across the world. It is wonderful to meet different people from different places.I can't wait for the Hare, Moon and Birdsong project.

Poor Duck, look at his little beak! Sorry Duck!

kung hei fat choi!

No comments: