Starweek Magazine

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

- Lydia Castillo -

It’s the Year of the Metal Rabbit. We tried to ask someone what Metal Rabbit was. We did not get any clarification. But a friend, a zealous researcher, found out that those born Rabbits are talented, articulate, firm, resolute and competent. Good! He adds the year will be prosperous, rosy and positive. We hope so!

Having worked for a Hong Kong-based airline for years, our past Chinese New Year celebrations were basically about preparing food and other items that would bring prosperity, long life and good health  noodles, whole chicken, ampaos (red gift envelopes with money), tikoy and round objects like oranges, specifically because their color symbolizes gold.

A week ago, we had a glimpse of how Chinese New Year is celebrated the Malaysian-Cantonese way at a prosperity lunch hosted by the Manila Pavilion. Their chef is a master of this particular fusion cuisine. It was held at the Peony Garden which is currently offering the yee sang menu, traditionally served in Singapore and Malaysia. We started off our authentic New Year meal with fortune yee sang  slices of raw salmon arranged on a beautiful plate of different colors and flavors  shredded daikon, carrots and pepper, shrimp crackers, sesame seeds, red pickled ginger, bathed with different sauces  plum, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil. The ritual involves guests standing up and tossing the salad with their chopsticks as high as possible, each one silently making his/her wishes for abundance. The higher the toss would indicate the volume of fortunes asked for and granted. We must say, the multi-flavored tossed salad was refreshing enough to whet our appetite for the rest of the dishes on the menu.

We give our thumbs up to the perfectly browned prosperity chicken with Chinese herbs, the combination of steamed and fried garoupa and the happiness prawns, which was similar to what other restaurants call warm prawn salad. Needless to say, there was the traditional longevity noodles with diced meat and chefs’ sauce. The prosperity menu will be available to diners at the Pavilion until February 17. Following that, in March, the hotel will be undergoing a renovation and maybe a new name, to identify it more with a popular chain.

A few weeks ago, our second daughter, on a visit, brought a box of Lebanese biscuits. They are small white cookies, each with a pistachio at the center. Delicious, with a unique flavor. They kept fresh even without refrigeration. A few days ago, we walked into a beautiful shop of silver-wrapped sweets on Bonifacio High Street in Global City. Surprisingly, it carries a wide collection of Lebanese sweets, under the brand Patchi, a chocolate maker that has made their shops (143 outlets in 26 countries) a destination for chocolates of various fillings  hazelnut, granduja, pistachio. Drop in and be charmed, as we were and compelled to pick up a few pieces or a gift box for various occasions. They come creatively arranged in crystal dishes, leather boxes, or porcelain trays. Call their marketing office at tel. 777-7888.

Krispy Kreme, also at Global City, is another favorite stop. They now have “pull aparts”  hand-rolled balls of dough, pulled apart and laid to form filled doughnuts. Their flyer was so enticing that we tried one of them, the cinnamon flavor. Good, but it was quite difficult to pull the bread apart from the paper it was baked in. We were quite happy with the Kaffe Kreme that we took with the doughnut.

Rosario para Su Café has nothing to do with the movie. It is ground coffee made from pure Arabica beans, on limited release, marketed by Equilibrium Intertrade Corporation. It is named after the company’s boss. It is robust enough for coffee fanciers. Arabica grows in high elevations, mostly in the mountain ranges of the Cordilleras and Mindanao. It has a smoother flavor and is more expensive than Robusta, Excelsa and Liberica, but is more popularly sold.

Taste of Italy, an establishment that sells industrial culinary equipment, has announced the availability of their latest line, the elegant Show Food Collection. This consists of stand up table pyramids, ideal for catering. They come with individual serving spoons that are inserted into the show piece, making it easier to serve. They come in three sizes.

Have a Good Sunday!

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