Year of the Rat

Funny, how when I sat down here 2 seconds ago to post, I had a completely different topic in mind…

The 15 day period celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Rat has now concluded officially. Most years we have celebrated this in some way, usually with friends, and some years more formally with other families who also have children from China. This year we are way behind and I frankly was letting it go when two things happened:

  1. A friend whose daughter is K’s age, also adopted from China the same year, suggested we get the girls together to celebrate
  2. A co-worker, who happens to be Chinese, invited us, along with several other co-workers, out to a  Chinese meal

So the meal with my co-worker was Wednesday night. He chose a restaurant about 30 minutes from my house. It was a non-descript little place in a strip-mall. I completely gave over ordering responsibilities to him, aside from a request for shrimp for B, and rice or noodles for K.

I have become a bit of a snob about Chinese food after two trips to China. The food sold in most Chinese restaurants in this country has very little resemblance to the food served in China. I loved the food we ate in China. Oh sure, there are some items that would be considered very odd by most standards in the US, but most of it was fresh, local, flavorful and really special.  I loved it.

So being in a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall did not set my expectations very high. When we arrived we were the only patrons.  Slowly, more people started arriving. Ninety percent of them were Chinese. Ah, a good sign. And while my co-workers tastes ran to the extremely hot and spicy spectrum, the dishes were delicious. I never even looked at the menu, and I don’t know the names of the dishes he ordered. I can tell you that aside from the wonton soup he ordered for my kids, none of it bore any resemblance to what I typically order in the US.

He also gave each of my girls red envelopes, which is traditional to give to children in China for the new year. Inside each was a $5 bill!

Lunch with our friends is scheduled for tomorrow. A happy Chinese New Year to you all!

2 responses to “Year of the Rat

  1. HAPPY NEW YEAR. Tomorrow night we’re going out with the in laws to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday. We’re going to a local (good) Chinese restaurant. Grandma & Grandpa are Chinese (which is an advantage in keeping my daughter familiar with her heritage). Grandma and Grandpa, her daughter and son (her sun being my husband) and some of Grandpa’s nieces and nephews are going to be seated at one table. Myself, my brother-in-law, and “the kids” are going to be at the other table.

    My nephew is FAMOUS as being one of *THE* most fussy eaters in the world. At 7 he still eats hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, noodles with soy sauce, and fried rice.

    And that’s about it.

    On the other hand at the “grownup” table I’m sure Grandma’s going to order a Chinese feast with all the “good’ food. It’s happened before where I’ve been at the “kid” table with the “kid” food and I made it clear that THIS time

    I WANT REAL FOOD and I don’t want *MY* dinner options limited by a 7 year old.

    By the way — my kids, and my niece, will all at least try everything — so the 7 year old prince of the universe is the only one that is an incredibly fussy eater.

  2. Oh that sounds so fun. I’d like to start recognizing those kinds of different traditions. Maybe in a couple of years i’ll be able to get a handle on it. My year (the tiger) comes around in 2010 – sounds like a good place to start.
    We do have a chinese place here, actually run by Chinese people, but it’s like you said, they cater to what they think Americans think Chinese food is. LOTS of MSG for starters, to which I am slightly allergic. sigh.

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