Words & pix: Stephanie Yuen (http://taiyangbao.ca/food/311675/?variant=zh-hans )
Want to find out what the Imperial Emperor’s Chinese New Year dinners were like? No need to go to China, just head to T&T!
T&T has been doing a fine job when it comes to celebrating Asian festivals, especially Chinese New Year, which is just around the corner - Jan 31! As the Year of the Horse approaches, what greets you at T&T is a sea of red and gold. Aisles lined with arrays of New Year goodies attract extra flows of traffics, even my non-Chinese friends are drawn in by that robust and joyous atmosphere.
Fares of all kinds: Savouries, sweets, nuts and seeds, ready to be popped into eager mouths; all bears auspicious meanings to render positive energies to this significant celebration. Their take-out Chinese New Year dishes are so well-received; the kitchen team at T&T has been working hard to come up with a more engaging menu. Hence this year, the most eye-catching display is awarded to Imperial Chinese New Year dishes; designed and prepared by Chef Ge Fen, T&T’s very own culinary master leading their central kitchen. He delivers not only the divine flavours enjoyed by the emperor and his royal family, but the authenticity and blessings of traditional Chinese New Year gourmet!
In the large clay pot is layers of delicacies including abalone, sea cucumber and large shiitake mushrooms. Over there is a tea-smoked Fraser Valley goose, accompanied by fluffy buns. Behind the goose is a poached to perfection whole chicken, complete with head, tail and a red sash for extra good luck. The double-cooked and slow-steamed Pork Belly with fresh bamboo shoots glitter with shiny and seductive colour. In the other pot is the famous and very healthy herb and ginseng chicken soup which I tried and loved. I also tasted the pot of Japanese meets Taiwanese pot of sticky rice topped with grilled eel. And of course, everyone must have a little, no matter how full – the traditional round and steamed New Year cake for dessert.
Do not just adore the big and obvious platters; do take a look at the fine details Chef Ge attends to. What about the cone-shaped fluffy steamed buns? Those who’ve enjoyed the hot to the touch 6” steamed ‘Long John’ style white buns consist of soft strands known as “yin-zhee-juen” in Mandarin restaurants will find themselves biting into the same delectation – cushion- soft, silky, aromatic and reach-for-the-second buns.
All these imperial dishes are yours to take home, complete with re-heating instruction, so you can stay at home to enjoy a gourmet multi-course Chinese New Year dinner with your loved ones, but without the hassle of chopping and cooking! Do phone in ahead to order so T&T can prepare them accordingly.
Happy ‘Year of the Horse’ to you all!