Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lunar New Year in Dar

A week ago, we went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant where we started talking about the lunar new year. My flatmate, Tiffany, says that dumplings are usually made together as a family. We ended up deciding to hold a dumpling party at our place.

Went for supplies late afternoon so I now know where the Chinese grocery store is. They had lots of food stuff but it was interesting to see the other items they sell. Amidst various personal care products, there was a box of basketballs, a ping pong set was sitting on a shelf with the calculators, my favorite and happy find of the day were the mantou or unfilled steamed buns. Tiffany said we can make some ourselves but in the meantime, I got myself a few buns to munch on.

Anyway, after the mini shopping trip, we went back to the house and started the dumpling preps. Sam (Tiffany's friend) commandeered the dough preparation while the rest of us took care of the fillings. An hour later, guests started arriving and Sam proceeded to showing us how to make dumplings. You can actually make dumplings look any way you like as long as you pinch the sides shut and make sure that there isn't any air left inside --- otherwise, when you cook it, it will explode and kill someone, and you'll have no one to blame but yourself --- geez! The ones I made were quite ugly but I definitely made sure to pinch the sides and close them firmly. My friend from work, Esté, came with her boyfriend and right away they urged me to start drinking. What is it with wine and cooking? Made me miss the weekend gatherings at the Reggae Mansion. Anyway, I digress, back to dumplings. We made a lot of dumplings, but we barely made a dent on the fillings. As I write, there are a few containers filled with vegetarian and meat fillings in our fridge, waiting for dough or they may be used for other dishes.

How to make dumplings by Tiffany and Sam
In the end, there was no way of telling which were the meat dumplings from the vegetarian ones so I ended up not eating them at all. With the amount of alcohol I was consuming (considering I haven't been really drinking since I left Vietnam in December) eating something meaty would've probably made me throw up the nachos and guacamole that I was munching on. I still think it was a success though. We quite enjoyed making the dumplings and I think 25-30 people showed up. Those who rarely eat Chinese food learned what dumplings were. There was a fair amount of alcohol and Marie from downstairs brought her hookah. As for me, I helped prepare food and managed to function socially in a party for about 5 hours before my antisocial tendencies kicked in and made me retire to my room and Skype the rest of the night away.

Happy Lunar New Year everyone. What will the Year of the Snake bring?