Happy Chinese New Year 2012

This year’s Chinese New Year comes a bit early.  The first day of the Chinese New Year is at midnight January 23, 2012 and it is the year of the Dragon. Like every year my dad pays homage to our ancestors on Sunday, Chinese New Year’s Eve.

The table was set for two, for my grandparents on my dad side.

My grandfather was Chinese, he came from China as a young man and his story was very much like many that came to Thailand and Laos for better opportunity.

My dad and sister went to Charlotte to get the chicken. It is rather expensive since they weighted the bird by the pound and this chicken cost $19.  It is important that they get one with it’s head, tail and feet intact to symbolize completeness.

The noodle soup has a symbolic meaning also.  If you want to live longevity then you eat long noodles and my sister prepared cellophane noodle soup with mushrooms, Chinese flowers and meatballs.

Lee and my niece received Lai See money in red envelopes from the adults. It’s like Christmas all over again for them.

We had a get together on Saturday and ate plenty of long noodles of Pad Thai.

I fixed Tum Maak Houng following my GI Joe sister’s recipe and it came out very much like hers.

My first time deep frying squids, and it tasted okay.

My sister made Cassava Coconut Flakes Dessert.  My oldest sister told us that many people from Thailand died from eating half uncooked cassava.  It is very scary to know that if it’s not fully cooked then it can be deadly. According to wikipedia, improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and has been linked to ataxia or partial paralysis. Bo showed us a picture of 700 cattle that were killed overnight by poisonous weeds in Australia, 1907 and this freaked one of my sisters out. She stopped eating the dessert immediately after she heard this.

I saw this in a Thai magazine, I didn’t know that they made MSG from cassava.

Besides the Cassava Coconut Flakes Dessert, my dad normally stocked up on Asian cookies and candies during this time of the year.


  1. Happy Chinese New Year to you and the family. 🙂

    I think we have some Chinese in us too. Maybe even Indian (from India) as some of my relatives can pass for Indians. Guess that’s why we are Indo-Chinese? And some of us look Japanese too. It’s a small world after all.

    I didn’t know about the deadly half-cooked cassava. I’ve heard of this with mushroom from my mom. But I doubt that it’s true.

    • Thanks Cambree, and hope that the year of the dragon will be a good year. I guess we are all mixed mutts, and Indochinese is a good description of us. Lee said that people thought she looks Chinese or Japanese, and she totally forgot that she has a Chinese blood in her.

      The poison mushroom is true, we used to live in Thailand and harvested mushrooms from the forest. My mom had to test it with boil rice before we eat, and if it turned yellow then it is poisoned. We knew of many that ate poison mushrooms and died. I guess it’s very much like food poison and could be deadly.

      • Year of the Dragon sounds like an adventure to me, especially fire breathing ones. JK. 🙂

        Yes I heard about poisonous mushrooms too. But what I meant to say was the half-cooked ones could be dangerous. So it must be cooked thoroughly. Have you heard of that?

        • Cambree, I think my oldest sister read it in a Thai magazine, almost the whole village died from eating it. They cooked it in campfire like and I guess it wasn’t fully cooked. I never thought it could be deadly since it looks just like any rooted fruit bearing plants. Some people shred the cassava, then squeeze out the juice or bitter taste that contains the toxic. I might give this a try the next time because the way we were preparing it we could still taste the bitter when the cassava is hot. I guess that’s why it freaked my sister out when she heard about this, and by then she already ate a big bowl of the dessert. 🙂

    • Thanks, hope you get your blog going and share some photos from your part of the world. I hope happiness is on the way. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful array of foods. Note to self: No cassava. I think I am with your freaked out sister. No dessert is worth death. Well, hmmm, maybe this one dark chocolate grand marnier souffle I once had. Maybe…

    • Hi Geni, I was dizzy the first time eating it, but wasn’t sure if I was coming down with the cold or from eating the cassava dessert. I think it is okay as long as it is fully cooked. And you are right, no dessert is worth dying for. 🙂

  3. I always learn a lot when I stop by here. My plan is to eat very long noodles and no cassava at all. I hope it’s not too late to wish you a happy new year.

    • Thank you Gerry, the year of the Dragon is an interesting one. We eat a lot of noodles on a regular basis and I took so many pictures and posted on my blog already. I’m glad that there is a perfectly good explanation to post it here again on a Chinese New Year post. I wish a healthy and prosperous year. 🙂

  4. Happy new year, Ginger, to you and your family. How exciting it is to get an opportunity to renew all good hopes and plans, as the the coming year begins. I heard that many children will be born in this year, because it is connected to good luck to be a Dragon child. Some luck ought to come to the blog too, I´ll think it will become a good blog year. 🙂

    Are you celebrating both traditions, I mean, both the 31 december and this Chinese new year ?

    • Thank you giiid. We celebrate 3 New Years, December 31 or the 1st, Chinese New year, and also the Lao New Year (water festival) in April. I think people have to get busy if they want a dragon baby, it is considered a very lucky and powerful sign. I hope it is a good year for all of us. 🙂

    • truels, it was very exciting growing up in NYC and visiting Chinatown to see the dragon parade going around from shop to shop during Chinese New Year. I missed that and we don’t have anything like it here. It is nice to spend time with families during the holiday and we had a great time.

  5. Wow, didn’t know about the noodles thing but def will have it for next year. Haven’t been on your page in years and it’s nice to finally get back. You’re still doing a fab job of educating/refreshing the new/old generation about the Lao culture. I remember you saying your family is from Pak Sun like mine. Well, I finally got to visit last yr and had a good ole fun time there. The kow peak was the shizz =)

    • Thanks Mia, it’s nice to hear back from you and glad that you get to visit back home. I missed walking to talad sao to eat kow peak, and the food in Laos is so good. Pak Sun is probably more modernized since I visited. 🙂

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