Chinese New Year is coming up fast. I’m starting to look at my annual wines to serve for Chinese New Year. That post should be coming out soon. But in the meantime, you may want to think about enjoying some celebratory dinners for Chinese New Year. If you don’t want to cook, you could try the Year of the Snake Menu at Wild Rice, at both their New Westminster and Vancouver locations. Here is their menu announcement. Enjoy!
(Vancouver, BC) – In western culture, the snake has a bad rep – tempter of Eve, denizen of the underworld, and just generally a slimy, slithery, creepy reptile. However, in China, the snake is honoured as wise, charming and decisive. As the snake transforms and renews itself by sloughing off its skin, Snake Years are seen as times of change and renewal. Things don’t stay static in The Year of the Snake.
Chinese New Year’s Eve on February 9th, heralds the Year of the Water Snake or lunar year 4711. Anyone, who has been counting New Years for that long, should know a thing or two about how to celebrate it in grand style.
Inspired by classic Chinese feasts, Wild Rice Proprietor Andrew Wong and Executive Chef Todd Bright are offering a special menu that pays homage to the Year of the Water Snake. The Year of the Snake Menu will be available at both locations February 8, 9 and 10 for the auspicious price of $38.88 for two people (a very lucky number symbolizing ever-increasing good luck).
As in traditional Chinese banquets, each dish is rich with symbolic meanings meant to convey wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Some of the symbolism is based on homonyms where the word for a dish or ingredients sounds like another Chinese word with an auspicious meaning. Others derive their symbolic connotations from the colour or the fact that they look like another good luck object. Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Platter for Two is over-flowing with good wishes and great flavours. On it you’ll find:
- BBQ Eel and Bean Sprout Sui Mai with watercress puree. Eel has always been considered a ‘snake of the sea,’ so it’s most appropriate that it is the first dish served in the Year of the Water Snake. Bean sprouts convey the wish for a ‘good start to the new year’ while the fresh green of the watercress connote thoughts of growth, renewal and balance
- Glass Noodles with black moss, water chestnuts and crispy dried tofu. Noodles in Chinese culture convey the wish for long life. It is considered very back luck to cut noodles as that symbolizes cutting short the life span. Black moss (‘fat choy’) sounds like ‘fat cai’ meaning increasing wealth while the word for ‘water chestnuts’ sounds like the word for ‘unity.’ Dried toufu connotes ‘blessing the household’ and ‘fulfillment of wealth and happiness.’
- Roasted Chicken Breast on Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Cashews accompanied by bamboo shoots, green onions, jasmine rice and walnuts with shitake jus. The chicken breast is a bit of fun in homage to the western expression that ‘snake tastes just like chicken.’ The roasted crispy skin is symbolic of the sloughed snake skin. Cabbage rolls are stuffed packets and similar in shape to ancient Chinese gold ingots so they symbolize ‘prosperity’ as do the cashews and the bamboo shoots. Green onions signify ‘intelligence,’ rice symbolizes ‘fertility’ while the shitake mushroom symbolize ‘longevity. ‘ Walnuts express the wish of ‘happiness for the entire family.’
All Chinese New Year banquets end on a sweet note to wish participants sweetness in the coming year and this dinner is no exception. Chef Bright has created his own house-made version of the iconic Fortune Cookie.
Wild Rice is also featuring a special drink – the Red Envelope Cocktail. During Chinese New Year, children traditionally receive gifts of money tucked into red envelopes (lai see). Wild Rice’s Red Envelope is strictly for grown-ups – a lucky combination of raspberry vodka, vodka, cassis, cranberry juice, fresh lemon all for the auspicious price of $6 (the number six sounding like the word for ‘good luck’).
People born in the Year of the Water Snake are influential and insightful. They are motivated and intellectual; very determined and resolute about success. The long list of famous Snakes is studded with beautiful women and great idealists. Snakes are uncommonly attractive, wise and intense. However, their beauty can lead to vanity and self-centredness.
According to an ancient Chinese proverb “good fortune of the mouth is no mean thing.” We invite you to give your palate a treat and your year a lucky ‘sssstart’ by ‘ssssavouring’ Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Menu February 8th through 10th, 2013.
Reservations are a good idea at www.wildricevancouver.com or 604-642-2882 (Vancouver) or 778-397-0028 (New Westminster).