Chinatown – a hint of Asia – part two
Greetings to all!
Too short for an essay of their own, we include these thoughts here.
Out on a walk last evening prior to dusk, with the barren desert brown mountains to my left, to my right I observed the dormant trees with their bare branches pointing towards the sky. These trees, that several people had planted in their backyards, were of a kind that has many thin branches growing near vertically from the trunks. I have seen these trees with their many branches against a cloudy winter sky, and now against a clear blue late winter sky. In summer, these trees have many green leaves and provide late afternoon shade for the backyards of their planters.
But, there is a certain simple beauty in this scene of bare, leafless branches reaching skyward. Captivated by this scene, I paused for a few minutes on the sidewalk and looked at the trees. It was very quiet and calm. No wind, not even a slight breeze. My mind was empty, and at peace.
There is a beauty to nature in the winter time despite the inconvenience, and even the hazards and dangers of snow and ice, and the low temperatures.
Chinese dinner banquets
These are several course feasts that are family events. Up to nine, or even 10 prepared dishes can be brought to the round tables your relatives and friends are sitting at. And, Chinese family events usually mean multiple 10 chair tables are filled with people you know well or just slightly. Wedding receptions, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries are all reasons to go to a restaurant for these times of good company and much food. (I always liked the fact that at the wedding receptions there was usually a bottle of cognac or good Scotch provided to each table. (Those were the only times that I drank Scotch whiskey, as bourbon and rye whiskey are more to my liking.))
The various dishes, or courses, consist of various vegetables, assorted meats, fish, and shell-fish, and, of course, steamed rice. No Chinese meal, even at home in your own kitchen, is complete without rice. As the waiters bring the prepared dishes at intervals of about 8 to 10 minutes, the center of each table quickly fills up with platters of food. When there is no more room for another dish, and the previous platters are not ready to be taken away, the waiter simply moves the platters around into a triangle and places the latest entre on to the edges of three earlier dishes. It is rather amusing to see. There is always more food than the 10 people at the table can eat. Not to worry, the remaining food is not wasted, but is taken home in those restaurant styrofoam containers for eating the next day (or two days).
Lucy, my wife of many years, can attest to the fact that I did, on a few occasions, drink too much at these events. But, then, I did not have to drive home later. So no harm was done.
Now, let us share these humble pics for your enjoyment. (These are mainly rough shots of the food on plates for individual servings. The food has already been placed on to individual plates from the larger oval shaped platters.)
This first pic of prepared crab was from a month ago during home based celebrations of the Lunar New Year.
Succulents – seen in a home before leaving for the banquet.
At the restaurant, we see Happiness, Wealth, and Longevity personified.
At the restaurant, a large vase is visible.
Now, to the food, in no particular order. This is a plate of Walnut Shrimp (or simply shrimp with walnuts).
Below, we see Sweet and Sour Rib.
This is “Salty Chicken”. But for the salt, there is not much taste to it. The chicken usually is fairly tender and easy to chew.
Here we see a plate of Salt and Pepper Crab. Crab is very popular in these banquets.
Now for Pork Belly and Spinach.
This is a plate of “Longevity Noodles”. This recent banquet was celebrating a woman’s 60th birthday.
Longevity, or long life, continues to be the theme in this pic. These “Longevity Buns” were prepared at home.
Here we see assorted sea food and snow peas.
Miscellaneous items for dessert.
Thanks for reading! Best wishes to all!