The end…

Chap Goh Meh or the 15th Night of the 1st Month of the Chinese Lunar Year marks the end of the festivities held to usher in and welcome the brand new year, and this year is The Year of The Goat. The (extended) family would sit down together once again for a grand dinner, not unlike the Reunion Dinner on the last day of the old year, the eve of Chinese New Year’s Day.

However, the sad thing is these days, families are not so close-knit – not many are staying together in the same house or in the same town and they may be scattered all over the state, country or even the whole world. Some may come home for the festival but with their work commitments, most would have made their way back to their respective stations leaving, perhaps, only the old parents alone at home. Probably it is because of this reason that many do not hold the aforementioned dinner anymore these days…or maybe because everyone would be busy working so they would not have the luxury of time and maybe because the old folks at home are no longer able to cope or to cook, many would just book a table at a restaurant outside and sit down and enjoy the dinner together.

Well, my missus and I have both retired so we would have a lot of time on our hands and I offered to cook this time around seeing that she had done her part for the Reunion Dinner and also for the Chinese New Year’s Day dinner with my in-laws. Of course, one must not expect anything special as I am usually the one taking shortcuts and looking for the easy way out like how I cooked my sambal prawns with petai

Sambal prawns with petai

I also fried the Penang laksa noodles with leek and bak kua (barbecued meat)….

Fried Pennag laksa with leek and bak kua

that I cooked not too long ago and found that it was really very nice. Initially, everyone avoided it, opting for the plain white rice instead, probably thinking that it was the dry version of the celebrated Penang hawker delight so I had to explain that it was the name given to the type of noodles used and it was not anything like that.

I boiled the heads of the prawns and the shell to get the stock with which I cooked a lovely clear soup with Chinese cabbage, meat balls, quail eggs and button mushrooms. I did not remember to take a photograph of it though. Other than that, I had TWO very big ikan buris (or ikan lajong in Iban) in the fridge. I read somewhere that one should not cut the fish served for the Reunion Dinner so in keeping with the tradition, I deep-fried the two whole and even with my not-very-big wok, I managed to do so…

Fried ikan buris

…pretty well, I must say. I did not have a plate big and long enough so I served them in a tray wrapped with aluminium foil together with the sauce that my mum and the rest in the family would prepare to eat with this particular type of fish.

She would pour away the oil used to fry the fish leaving just a little bit in the wok and then she would heat it up again and fry some thinly-sliced  shallots it in. Once done, she would add soy sauce to the oil and shallots and that was it…

Dip for fish

On my part, I did add some sliced fresh chili as well.

My missus did say she was going to fry the leftover ngor hiang and serve but I noticed that she had marinated some chicken wings as well so I guessed she was going to bake those…and when I saw her taking out some more chicken from the freezer, I knew what she was up to. If you know the story of the Arab and the Camel, you would know what happened to the Arab and you can jolly well guess the end of the story.

This was what we had for our dinner that night from one angle…

Chap Goh Meh dinner 1

…and this was from the other angle…

Chap Goh Meh dinner 2

Nothing much, nothing fancy but what mattered most would be the fact that we were able to sit down together with family and friends to eat this significant dinner and enjoy the cheer and delight of one another’s company.

How was your Chap Goh Meh celebration? Care to share?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

23 thoughts on “The end…”

  1. wow…lots of food! Well, you are absolutely right. Unlike the past, where most folks born, study and work in their home town, its easy to arrange such dinners. But with globalisation (between states and countries), most workers nowaday have limited leaves and need to rush back to work on the 3rd or 4th day of CNY. That’s life today and that’s also I am no longer enjoyed CNY. It’s a change.

    I wouldn’t say it is the same with the young here – they all make their way home, never mind how expensive the air fare may be, and they all love every moment spent those few days here…or maybe it is different here. I hear at other places it is mostly within one’s own family or circle of friends…and mostly at the mahjong table. Dunno if there is any truth in that. Whatever it is, I am sure it means a lot to the old folks – to see the children and grandchildren coming home…once a year or at times, even more rarely than that…especially when they know they would not be around much longer to enjoy that. I’m sure such family bonds are still very much alive, filial piety and all.

  2. That’s what you call nothing fancy? That’s a lot of work put into. Good idea to serve the fish on that tray. Looks so nice. Love the way you sliced it before frying too.

    That was how my mum would slice this particular fish – hers even more thinly sliced….unlike when she cooked other types of fish like bawal hitam or putih, thicker cuts. Dunno why she did that – I just followed…but of course, mine a bit kasar lah! 😛

    1. I realised the family gatherings have shifted to Xmas for me..hahaha… Probably it’s school holidays and everybody are free. hahaha

      We also celebrate Christmas but that’s just within the family, and again on New Year’s Eve – 31st December, another dinner but no open house for friends to drop by. We used to have in my younger days – open house for Christmas and open house again for Chinese New Year – too close for comfort so these days, we just stick to Chinese New Year.

  3. Wow look at that fish, I think I will serve it that way next time I make it

    I wonder what fish there would be good. This one’s very sweet and so very fat/oily, the meat is smooth – very very nice.

  4. Oh yes I know The Arab & The Camel story.. Your sweet wifey wanted to help you out with some of her trademark dishes 🙂
    Wah look at the fish! Creatively sliced, very nice..

    See!!! Those who were insinuating something the last time, saying that of course, it was so nice and all fun for me…as I only ate! Can’t blame me, not my fault. The slicing of the fish, see my reply to Merryn above.

  5. Nice spread of food. Fit for a King. The fish, very nicely fried & I like how you sliced it and the dippings looks good too. Is there a lot of bones in this type of fish? Usually people sliced it like this when the fish has lots of bones.

    They do? Are you sure? We only slice fish with no bones, other than that big one in the middle, that is – fish like this one or others like pek chio, or chio, bay kar…. Fish with a lot of bones like terubok and those expensive river fish would be covered with thick scales – we do not slice at all and will remove the scales only when we sit down to it. Dunno why people slice either – maybe to facilitate the cooking inside…or the helping oneself to the fish when eating?

    1. There a type of fish called “lek hu” with lots of tiny bones and I know people used to slice it like you do. By slicing like that one can’t feel the bones at all. Don’t know how true.

      Oh? Dunno what fish that is.

  6. All look delicious.

    All was good. Other than my missus’ ngor hiang and the baked chicken wings, they were dishes we did not have for our Chinese New Year dinner – can’t be having the same things all the time.

  7. Fish does look good, and i love that kinda of chili! Better with a touch of Lime juice!

    Dunno, my mum never had that but then again, she never had chili in hers either. May be nice too.

  8. Wow! The buris is big! Yummy! Hehehe

    Apuuuuuuu!!!! Your spell check – I edited it already. 😀 Yes, two BIG ones, very very hard to find these days.

  9. Nowadays hard to have the whole families come together, like 2 of my cousins, who migrate to the US, they are not able to make it back for CNY as they are unable to take leaves and also there, they do not celebrate CNY…

    Sad, eh? Should at least celebrate on their own there – I know many do that with their own families and friends. Otherwise, one’s heritage, culture and tradition will die out eventually – like trees with no roots.

  10. Nothing much to share, I am one of those that has to get back to my station and work, my Chap Goh Meh is spent drinking fruit smoothies and writing blogs.

    Great! Good to detox after all that feasting.

  11. So many food. Some I have never try like that fish.

    I had a lovely dinner with my family and that night passed Jay to them for caring. He is still there.

    Too bad you’re no longer in Sibu. I can get you one should I happen to come across any big ones – so hard to get these days. 😦 Hope you’re better now.

  12. Your fried fish is a beauty and the dipping sauce sounds interesting. I see lots of good food. I only had a “too thor thng” on Chap Goh Meh (not cooked by me) and it was really good. I watched the video on the Arab and The Camel and had a good laugh 😀

    Not if you were the Arab? 😦 I love too tor th’ng…but I do not know how to clean and prepare so I can only get to eat it outside. 😦

  13. Nothing fancy? That looks like a lot of dishes with lots of hard work! But it’s always a pleasure if you enjoy cooking, especially cooking for loved ones. It has not been a tradition for our family to get together on chap goh mei. We got together on the 7th day and 9th day of cny. Especially on the 9th day, where there were lots of worshipping and sugar cane and fire works!

    Oh? 7th and 9th? I’m not familiar with these, being from a Christian family. We grew up having dinners on New Year’s Eve and Chap Goh Meh and mee sua first thing in the morning on new year’s day. That’s about it, for us, dunno about all the other days.

    1. 7th day of cny is mostly celebrated by the Cantonese, it’s the birthday of “everyone”. 9th day of cny is very important to the Hokkiens. They offer prayers with food items to the “gods” (don’t ask me which god) like sugar canes, roast pork and some special cakes. I’m from a small family, my parents rarely practise these but my in-laws do. 😀

      Ya, I do know of these events during Chinese New Year…but only lately. When I was small, we only observed the Reunion dinner on the eve and another one on Chap Goh Meh – that was all I knew then. Got to know more when I “went out into the world”.

  14. Wah that’s quite a feast!!
    Time flies, CNY is over, just like that, hur hur!

    Indeed. So fast and it is all over. 😦

  15. wah, the ikan buris looks quite interesting, especially presented that way … but ya, you’re right, for the first few days of chinese new year, i had my family with me, but for chap goh meh, i was pretty much alone, heh 🙂

    You? Alone? Hmmmmm…don’t expect me to believe that! Bet you had your arms full… Hehehehehe!!!! 😉

  16. I had my CGM with my 3 kids.. three dishes and one soup… unlike yours.. whole table was laid with glorious food! Anyway, little or much, we are indeed thankful for everything that comes in each day, right!!

    So few people, of course, cannot have too many dishes lor. There were 10 of us altogether, had to make sure there was enough to go round.

  17. So fast CNY has come to an end oledi. *sad* preferred the looking forward period.
    Wow…Arthur had a wonderful feast! I had seafood dinner with my family 🙂

    Yes, all the preparation and so fast it is all over. Seafood is nice – would love that but expensive around this time – everybody jacks up their prices.

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