Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy (Chinese) New Year of the Rooster

Festive Treats in Chinatown Posted by Hello

Happy 4072! As I understand it, today is the big day. I was in Chinatown yesterday after a meeting, and the place was abuzz. Trying to shop there was like, well, trying to shop on New Year's Eve at your local grocery store. Everyone is stocking up on special party foods. Instead of cheese and crackers and champagne, these folks are into tangerines and turnips and bean cakes. Hey, whatever floats your boat.

Funny Spongecakey Good Luck Thingies Posted by Hello

I wish I had someone to fill me in on what the good stuff was for the holiday. I've seen the lotus cakes and the turnip cakes, which may be good but look kinda scary. I did try these spongecakey guys. (see photo) I think they are called Nian Gao. At the bakery where I bought one (for a mere seventy cents), the woman behind the counter said it would bring me prosperity. When I said that was fine by me, I could use a little luck, she corrected me. Prosperity, not luck. Huh. I never really thought about the difference, but I'll take that too.

The Sign of a Good Sandwich Posted by Hello

I love wandering around Chinatowns, in any town. I've seen New York's and San Francisco's. I have heard Toronto has a good one. I do a pretty good Chinatown tour for friends visiting from elsewhere. If you're here in Boston, be sure to look for this sign for Bahn Mi at the Mix Bakery on Beach Street. A banh mi is a yummy sandwich, composed of toasted French bread and various fillings. My favorite is the tofu filling with cilantro, hot peppers and some mysterious spread. I know it sounds bizarre but it is delicious. For those non-tofu lovers, there are also wonderful meat versions. It might look funny, but don't knock the potted meat until you've tried it. And if you don't like it, well, it only set you back $2 so why complain?

Tonight I'm having dinner at a Tibetan restaurant in Somerville because a friend wanted to try it. The Tibetans have their own new year called Losar, coming up next week. Please don't get them confused -- at least I'm trying not to do so. Oh, the cultural gaffe that would be. Whew.

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