Friday, January 2, 2009

Foodbuzz 24,24,24: Ending 2008 with Love - A Classic Hong Kong Wedding

Love. Oh, love. If there's something that can make everything sweet and delicious, it's gotta be love.

What could be more perfect than ending the year by celebrating love? Well, that...and hanging out with your closest friends, laughing at the bride and groom's childhoold pictures, trying to get the groom drunk...generally eating, drinking and being merry (kindly note that merry = drunk. HAHA!). Thus, when we were invited to our dear friend's wedding on December 31st, we gladly agreed to attend. It surely beats surviving the crowd, snuggling and sniffing a bunch of strangers trying to get a glimpse of the fireworks display at the harbour.

Like preparing for a major date, we...and by we, I meant the girls...and the Hong Kong metrosexual guys, got our hair done, our face all dolled up, put on our best outfit and our bling blings, stepped into our heels, flung our dainty little purses (or in my case, a giant camera bag), and marched to the venue. Pictures taken, guestbook signed, pleasantries exchanged, and soon we were ready for more!

In most Hong Kong weddings, you don't get a real cake. The generic cake is usually a permanent fixture of the restaurant. So, yeah. You will probably see the same cake in other couple's wedding pictures. Well, as long as none of your in-laws tried to gnaw on the foam cake or lick the "icing"...I guess it's perfectly fine, eh?

One of the "brothers" (the best men), Mr C, brought his own bottles of wine to get the party started. Nothing gets the crowd merrier than gulps of wine on empty stomach. Yeah, baby! Fortunately, before the place started to look all woozy and the jokes started to get a little too funny...the dinner service began.

The Classic Hong Kong wedding menu boasts abundance of the highly coveted, luxurious Chinese delicacies. The whole banquet symbolises love, happiness, longevity and fortune. The idea of googling the symbolic meaning of the whole banquet was so tempting, and it would have made everything so easy! However, I chose to write this article based on what I could gather from my friends, who are all young Hong Kongers (hanging out with the youngsters make me young too-I hope). Let's see how knowledgeable they are, shall we?

Below, you will find the title of the dishes as they were written in Chinese on the menu, translated into English by my local friends.
The Chinese traditional menu is not the easiest thing to translate, but they've tried their very best and had a lot of fun. To my friends, although the dishes sounded corny and cheesy as hell, but they still appreciate the meaning and romance.

So, boys and girls, let's dig in!

The Extremely Lucky Suckling Pig

I surely considered myself extremely lucky to have tasted this delicious roasted suckling pig. The skin was cracklin' crispy, and the meat was tender and flavorful. I was told that the lil' piggy also symbolises the bride's virginity...ehm *clearing my throat*...I think I should stop this topic right here.

Jade Scallop and Coral Freshwater Mussels

Stir fried succulent scallops and crunchy coral freshwater mussels served on a bed of broccolis. I used to hate the mussels, but let's face it, I used to hate everything other than fried chicken. Simply because I didn't give anything a chance. I've tried them again on the wedding, and they were crunchy and tasty. Love it!

Golden Mother and Son Shrimps

Deep fried whole shrimps combined with minced shrimp cake (thus the "mother and son" title), served with creamy mayonnaise. They are delicious, and they symbolises happiness as the pronounciation of shrimps in Chinese is "har" and "HAHAHA" means happy!

Dried Scallops with Double Jade

Dried scallops cooked with whole straw mushrooms, served on a bed of premium snowpea shoots (dao miu). The dried scallops flavored the dish perfectly.

Kings of the Ocean with Shark's Fin Rich Soup

This soup tasted fantastic and it is extremely expensive. That's why it symbolises wealth. Imagine being so rich, you could bathe daily in a tub of shark's fin soup...oh my! You'd probably stink, though *grin* get away from me.

I love mine with a little punch of vinegar. Fierce!

King of Oysters Thick Soup with Sliced Abalone with Greens

Another plate full of treasures. The abalone slices were cooked perfectly. I used to think they are rubbery, but these babies are tender! The oyster sauce was rich, which was balanced by the lettuce (san choi), which symbolises ever growing money.

When the abalone was served, there was a round of toasts. This is where we try to get the groom and his entourage drunk. The bride and groom and his entourage of family members, best men and bridesmaids will visit each table and they will be forced to drink themselves silly! Normally the groom's entourage will protect the groom from getting drunk by taking turns to take over the drinking duties. Tables of colleagues and closest friends would have none of it! They want the groom drunk. So, no getting away with drinking tea and coke mix. It's alcohol all the way! Yam Seng!!!

Steamed Deep Ocean Garoupa

Fish is pretty much a permanent star in every Chinese play. It symbolises abundance, and we just love munching on the velvety smooth meat and spitting out the bones. Yuck? Yummm!!!

The Palate Cleanser

Nothing washes off the taste of fish and everything else like a cup of good ol' tea.

Crispy Skin Grilled Chicken

Ahhh! My favorite! Tender, moist and tasty meat with crispy golden skin, dipped into dark soy sauce. The chicken head might creep you out, but I love digging the brain out, I heard it could make me smarter. Plus, serving the chicken whole also symbolises wholesomeness.

Dried Scallop Fujian Fried Rice

So far, there's something missing. Yeah, the carbs. The fancy carbs come in two different forms, this luxury dried scallop Fujian fried rice...and....

Double Happiness Fried Noodles

Not only it signifies longevity, it bolsters our tummy and neutralises all the excess alcohol intake. Talk about carb comfort!

Hundreds of Good Years Together

Only such a big bowl of sweetness could carry the sweet name. Red bean soup with nuts, lily bulbs, cooked in aged dried orange peels.

Together Forever & Universal Fresh Fruit

We wish the happy couple to be together forever, as signified by the walnut cookies and Chinese smiley cookies (the one with sesame seeds). My friends argued over the title of "universal" fruit. The title either refers to the wholesome round shape of oranges...or was it a typo? I tend to lean towards whatever sound I'd go for wholesome and fortune, always!

To love, happiness, longevity, fortune, and all the other good stuff!
We ended 2008 with love, and most importantly, with a beginning of years of love and happiness everlasting.

Congratulations to the happy couple, Alex and Idy, and thank you for letting me cover your beautiful wedding. Foodbuzz, thank you for letting me be a part of the 24,24,24 fun!

Happy New Year, everybody! Cheers! *hiccup* opps, Yam Sengggg!!!! *hiccup*...where am I?


Peter M said...

Rita, Happy New Year and thanks for sharing your wedding experience. Chinese eat very well but this feast...I want some of that lucky pig!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Now that's an awesome way to ring in the new year! Suckling roast pig looks so good. And that shark's fin soup looks full of shark's fin. I'm wondering if some of the other dishes will eventually make their way to banquet menus here. :P

deeTha said...

udange... OMG... gelem aku...

daphne said...

ooo. rita, I like ending the new year with a wedding! Great makes me go awww anytime!!

And look at the feast u had! Lucky u!

Lisa said...

How fun -- you were part of the 24, 24, 24! The wedding party looks wonderfully delicious.

All the best to you for 2009!

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

Happy New Year! I never knew those dishes' names before, hehehe.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Happy new year!

Beachlover said...

looking at the wedding food make me drooling especially the crispy chicken and piggy!! Happy New year to you!!

Retno Prihadana said...

Soup ikan hiunya...wiiii sedaaap

Little Corner of Mine said...

Oh man, I miss this kind of food at a Chinese wedding, so delicious!

Marija said...

What an extraordinary roundup of meals! I wish I could taste that suckling pig!

Happy New Year!

Jun @ IndoChine Kitchen said...

Such a cool wedding! I normally hate Chinese weddings since they are always so boring.

But I would have been glad to attend this one.

Happy new year. Loving your blog!

stephchows said...

WOW! Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful experience with us! I love seeing how other cultures celebrate weddings! For our 24 24 24 event we had a crazy sushi night with a bunch of non traditional dishes, it was so much fun :)

mikky said...

the golden mother and son shrimps took my breath away... what a great feast... btw, belated happy birthday, rita... i just wish i get to try the mr. steak buffet at causeway when i was there last week... anyway, a happy new year to you!!! :)

Katelynn said...

Everything looks fabulous! I love the color scheme, serving dishes, and the food looks wonderful!
Happy New Year!

Maria said...

Thank you so much for transporting us to Hong Kong. Great post! Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

noobcook said...

I am feeling so hungry right now after feasting (with my eyes) on the delicious banquet foods hehe ... What a great idea for foodbuzz 24, congrats on your feature ;p

Dragon said...

I love that you called it "The Extremely Lucky Suckling Pig". LOL, I don't think the pig would agree with you. :) What a feast! I wish I had been invited.

Kevin said...

Look at all of that tasty food! Happy new year!

Sid Khullar said...

I've never tried suckling pig, though I've heard so much about it - thank you for sharing your wedding experience!

Jescel said...

Wow, what a feast! A great way to end the year indeed. Good job, Rita.. and funny, your chinese smiley cookies are called "binangkal" in my country. That's one of my favorites.

Kelly said...

Wow that is quite a lot of food. It looks delicious though.