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Chinese New Year 2010

February 24, 2010

This year I was much more excited about Chinese New Year than Valentine’s Day. I had a duck crown in the fridge ready for roasting and decided to make a modified version of crispy duck pancakes for dinner on February 14th. Instead of making asian pancakes I planned to use the rice paper wraps that we picked up at the asian supermarket. 

I got a little help from Something for the Weekend because they were making crispy duck pancakes too on Sunday morning. They suggested using watercress as well as spring onions and cucumber for salad and to mix a little mirin and groundnut oil in with plum sauce to make a delicious dipping sauce.

I wish I took some photos! 

The London celebrations for Chinese New Year are being held next weekend in Leicester square and Chinatown. I can’t wait. I’m hoping to see a lion dance and grab some yummy food.

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Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square and China town was great fun. I really recommend it if you’re in London in February. Not a lot of safely gluten-free food unfortunately.

I got to see a lion dance from inside a chinese grocery store and it was fantastic. There seemed to be a few lions going around China Town and dancing in front of chinese stores. They were followed by huge crushes of people with cameras at the ready. I have never seen so many cameras in one place before.

I worked out the path one of the lions was taking and ran ahead of the crowd hoping to get a good view of the lion while it danced in the doorway of the shop next door. A marshall came along and told me to either go into the store I was standing in front of or move out into the crush of people. I figured I would get a perfect view of the lion from inside the store so tried to stand just inside the doorway.

The marshall kept telling us to get further inside the store and pointed to a bunch of chinese green vegetables hanging from the door frame. I hadn’t realised until then that the lions were dancing in front of the stores, taking the vegetables in their mouths and then moving on to the next store. It is called “chai ching” which means “picking the greens”.

The lion danced then reached up and tore the greens from the door frame. It ducked down low with the greens in its mouth and backed out of the store. It then stood up tall and spat the leaves back into the shop! Apparently the parcel of greens contains an envelope with money inside. The lion dancers bring good luck to the store and the dancers get to keep the money as a reward. I felt so privileged to get the see the dance from inside the store right in front of the lion. My pictures aren’t great but you get the idea. 

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