TummyTroll’s homemade prawn roll snacks (hae bee hiam)… More on this later ;)
Have you ever wondered how Singaporean students abroad celebrate Chinese New Year away from family and friends? Our celebrations might be much more toned down with barely a decoration or two, but you would be surprised at how creative many of us are when it comes to CNY! Here are some things I have noticed across most student celebrations:
1. Almost all of us use our trusty rice cookers for “steamboat” because this REALLY works very well
2. Mahjong (yes, those with the tiles) and card games always find their way into our celebrations
3. Can’t get your hands on yusheng, pineapple tarts and other festive goodies? We DIY and make them from scratch!
This was actually a post written last year, but I decided to only publish it this year as it took a while for the entries to come in! A big thank you to my friends Andrea, Ai Wei, Lejing, Wan Ting and Shao Jie who agreed to share with us their unique CNY experiences. I hope this would make all of us less homesick and perhaps provide some ideas for Singaporeans celebrating CNY away from home! Gong xi fa cai! :)
(Andrea with her friends! Andrea: Top left hand corner)
Year 3 student at Durham University, United Kingdom
Combined Honours in Social Sciences (History, Politics & Sociology)
“Being away from home during the festive season of get-togethers and quintessentially Asian traditions makes you appreciate it a lot more I guess, even the awkward conversations with some relatives you meet once a year and the incessant noise courtesy of the ever-expanding number of children in the family. It isn’t ideal to be away from family, friends and all the good food, but celebrating CNY overseas was actually quite enjoyable too; visiting the houses of fellow Singaporeans and pooling together whatever CNY goodies we had and savouring every single one to the last crumb, teaching the non-Asian friends to use chopsticks and play ‘dai di’, and even skyping the family back home during reunion dinner. Thanks to the company of great friends CNY still retained the sense of warmth that makes it such a great occasion! :)”
(Graduated) Masters student
HEC Paris, France
Year 2 student at University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Bachelor of Laws
Year 3 student
London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Year 3 Economics student
University College London, United Kingdom
“FATTY BOYS ROAST MEAT – Clogging your arteries since 2013.
So it’s Chinese New Year once again, my favourite time of the year when I endeavour to clog my arteries with all the great food and snacks. However, that is not quite possible when you are away from home, where such snacks are an expensive rarity.
Wait. Who cares about snacks anyway, we made ROAST PORK.
It all started a couple months back when I decided to try and roast my own char siew. Taking inspiration from Fatty Cheong (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH6E-WVGSgI&list=FL39D-E-pHpQ72MtrXDCSHLA&feature=mh_lolz) and adapting from his recipe, I did a first attempt for a Christmas dinner last year. Yes, who cares about turkey when you’ve got pork.
Combining our powers, we made wanton noodles. Sorry, can’t quite find a photo of the wanton whoops haha. The char siew was above average I would say, but left wanting in the taste of the sauce. That has of course since been corrected. It is not rocket science really, just following Fatty Cheong’s tips and trial-and-error with the roasting process.
With that, the Fatty Boys set up shop in UCL’s CNY Carnival:
My housemates and I love cooking. We love pork too. Go figure heh. That said, it was quite a mean task: marinating the meat overnight in Ziploc bags, roasting them over a few batches through the night, cleaning up the oven and grills, transporting the sauce etc… One hell of a tiring day. Result:
We had something like three trays of this. It was quite mindblowing actually, imagining the amount of pork we were selling, 17 kilograms to be exact. Our fellow home chef Darrick supplied the Siu Yuk or Shio Bak, depending on which dialect you’re familiar with.
Those were some of our publicity photos. I must say, it was quite a touching experience, seeing the faces of our friends and customers light up, with all the wonderful praises and comments and the fact that there was actually a queue at our booth. We went back with our wallets a bit fatter but at the end of the day, I was just happy that we managed to fulfill some cravings, clog some arteries and bring that little smile of shiokness out of our customers.
If this university thing doesn’t work out, I know what I’m going to do with my life.
After all that is said and done ladies and gentlemen, please remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle!”
As for myself, I will be spending CNY with some of my very own homemade CNY goodies, from Bak Kwa to sticky Nian Gao to Hae Bee Hiam (recipe coming soon). They are not fantastic but they sure will do! That’s all for this entry today! :) A special shout-out to all the students in the United Kingdom and Europe: If you happen to be in London for the CNY weekend on the 1st of February (Saturday), congratulations you have the good fortune to catch the Fatty Boys peddling their famous char siew and roast meat at the UCL Chinese New Year Carnival at reasonable prices (definitely cheaper and better than substandard restaurants)!
More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1432207390344941/
Posted by #phangchewfat