Yes, I spent about ten minutes last night trying to learn how to pronounce Happy New Year in Mandarin. So now I can say hello, mother, horse, and Happy New Year! Yeah, and you thought French pronunciation was difficult.
As we do every since 2006, Jordan and I found a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Today marks the first day of the Year of the Serpent, but many, many Montrealers were out in Chinatown to celebrate the eve.
Despite time spent Google searching in French and English, I wasn’t able to find out if much was happening in Chinatown, but since the temperature was rather mild and it’s not too far from us, we decided to stroll around the city in hopes of discovering something new.
We’ve been to/through/by Chinatown in Montreal numerous times, but since we have an amazing Szechuan place in our neighborhood, we have ventured there too often. We hadn’t even set foot on the pedestrian street in the heart of the small neighborhood.
Our first stop was at a Chinese bakery. We were like kids in a
candy shop Chinese bakery for the first time. We picked up our tray, grabbed a pair of tongs from the rack, and started debating why we might need steam cakes or green tea cake instead of mochi, and so on and so forth.
After leaving the bakery (and seeing more bakeries, though not as large), we walked into a small shop to find out what The Beard of the Dragon candy could be. It looks exactly like the name. I was suspicious. Jordan was too, since there are some shreds of coconut tangled up in that old dragon’s beard.
I know, it looks like gauze. Or a chrysalis. But this ended up being the best thing we ate all night! You just put it in your mouth and let it melt. It’s delicate, sugary, and peanutty. We should have returned to buy a box. I will be seeking out the Beard of the Dragon again in the future.
We decided to slow down on sweets and get a meal. I tried to be creative with my choice, but it ended up being a bit of a failure on that front. I ordered salted egg yolk shrimp skewers. The photo looked so enticing. The server suggested we order rice with it, as though there would be some liquid to soak up…
Eyes and all. No sauce. Generally, Chinese diners eat the whole thing. I left the tails at the end of course, and occasionally peeled away a piece of shell, but I didn’t shy away from the eyes. After five without sauce, I got a little bored with my dish.
Thankfully there was tea, and I sneaked some of Jordan’s Tsingtao.
We also had some entertainment while dining. The restaurant was showing the Chinese New Year television special. And wouldn’t you know, Quebec’s hometown gal Celine Dion made her way into the program, singing in Mandarin and everything. We asked one of our servers if she had a noticeable accent while singing in Mandarin, but all he said was that he didn’t really like her anyway. Ha. It seemed like a fitting mix of cultures within a French/Mandarin/English speaking Chinatown. For your viewing pleasure:
We also paid tribute to China’s culture by Netflixing House of Flying Daggers. I do love that movie. Well, today, I’m off to prepare some of my homemade, relatively authentic Chinese while wearing my good-luck red.
Remember to leave a comment on Friday’s poutine post (or it’s post on Facebook) if you’re interested in receiving a little From Quebec with <3 poutine and maple treat package!
Happy New Year! And…uh…er…