Saturday, January 21, 2006

Chinese New Year @ SS2, PJ - Part 2

I better continue part two today so all of you can go shopping this weekend. I'm sorry I forgot to mention that these stalls are usually in the morning. Be warned that it will be chaotic this weekend as it's the last weekend to shop before Chinese New Year. I have also covered some shops around the Sea Park market area which is pretty good for decorations and plants. Incidentally when I was around the SS2 market, I got mistaken for the TV3 (a local television channel) camera crew by the traders. It's not the first time as during Ramadan bazaar, I was asked if I was from Astro, the satellite television channel.

This adorable figurine caught my eye when I was walking around the shops near the Sea Park Market. I love that cheeky little grin as he holds the enormous gold ingot signifying lotsa wealth and prosperity. The shop is called Sam Trading and they also sell sewing stuff like buttons, cross stitch threads and etc.

Even the shop selling prayer items at the back of Sam Trading is selling Chinese New Year decorations. The shop is festively decorated with these mini lion heads that will really look good in front of anyone's house.

Sam Trading has a wide range of lanterns - large or teeny weeny ones. You can also get hanging decorations here and auspicious writings to paste at your door to welcome luck and prosperity.

If paper lanterns are not your thing, you can string these teeny weeny gold and red lanterns on top of your doorway. This is from the same stall that sells the hanging dog decorations along SS2 just in front of Restaurant MJ.

I went overboard a bit with the flowers and plants but I can't help it as everything looks so pretty. Every Chinese New Year, we get plants brought in from Holland like this particular one they grew from a bulb.

I like these tiny purple flowers which remind just a bit of the morning glory. Sorry, I'm not a plant expert as I really can't identify what is it's botanical name.

These are azaleas, another popular plant for Chinese New Year. You can get them in shades of bright pink and red. They make excellent gifts as they look so festive. Sadly the flowers always seem to last only for the Chinese New Year period.

Chrysanthemums are always a good choice as they last for a long time. This sea of yellow and brown flowers are from a florist near Seapark Market next to the shop selling prayer material.

Remember I mentioned the chilli plants? I found them at the same Seapark florist and they look so beautiful especially the purple ones.

This is another plant with amazing colourful fruits that is also used for decorations.

I'm not too sure what's the name of these flowers but I know they're from Holland. Usually I get plants from Sungai Buloh as they have huge variety but I notice that you don't really need to travel so far as the selections in town are pretty good too.

Here's a close up on the kumquat tree. Just remember to water these plants as they tend to wither in the dry and hot Chinese New Year season.

I found this at the SS2 market - little birds which you can place or stick on your Chinese New Year plants.

Don't they look great? You can further decorate your plants by tying tiny red ribbons to give it additional colour.

I have these at home, chocolate gold coins which I use as decorations. They look great especially when there are loads of them piled on top of a platter.

These rattan baskets can be used as decorations or to keep mandarin oranges. This stall in SS2 sells various sizes with different colours.

I have rambled enough about inedible stuff - on to Chinese New Year goodies. Leeks (swan in Chinese) from China are in season. Do grab some and they are excellent as part of your reunion dinner fried with Chinese waxed sausages. Not only do they taste great, their Chinese name means to count which can be interpreted as having money or wealth to count.

I mentioned nga ku/chi ku or
arrowhead a few times and this is what they look like. It's a type of water chesnut that goes well with the waxed meats or just stir fried with vegetables. Nowadays people also slice them and deep fry them to make excellent crisps for snacks. If I am not mistaken, you can also put them in water for a few days and they will grow green shoots. This is only available during the Chinese New Year period and is said to be a symbol of the continuation of male descendants in a family.

On the eve of Chinese New Year, families will gather for a feast known as the reunion dinner. A large variety of dishes are served which are once a year delicacies and have prosperous meanings. These dried Chinese mushrooms don't really have any meaning but they complement items like the sea cucumber which do. Sea cucumber is known as hoi sum which means happy feelings and is braised with the Chinese mushrooms to absorb it's flavours. Usually the dish is also served with broccoli which signifies unity.

Another must have delicacy during Chinese New Year is abalone (pao yue in Chinese) that means guaranteed abundance. We don't get fresh ones hence we rely on canned abalone that can cost up to RM100 to RM200 per tin for the good brands. The favoured brand is the one with a wheel motif. Since it's expensive to eat real abalone, they also produce fish meat shaped in abalone or you can opt for abalone shaped mushrooms.

These are dried oysters (hoe see in Chinese) that means glad tidings. It's usually cooked with fatt choy - black hair moss only found in China's desert that means prosperity vegetable. Sometimes it's served with lettuce (sang choy in Chinese) which means to spring, youth, vitality and renewal.

Besides the candy tray, you can also add other snacks that taste great like these cashew nuts. These ones are still raw which you need to deep fry in hot oil to make them crunchy.

Usually ground nuts are a popular snack during Chinese New Year but you can also get pistachios in certain households. These pistachios are packed specially for the New Year with the festive red paper.

Hope you have enjoyed the walkabout and happy shopping this weekend!

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Real Azuki said...

wow... it looks like the market in SS2 does offer a whole lot of stuff... does the market open only for the Chinese New Year and then disappear after this occasion? Or does it carry on every morning (or every weekend)? I'm interested to visit the market which offers so many goodies...

zuLLicious! said...


ngaku! i really addicted to "ngaku beng"...
first thing i'll look on CNY, "ngaku" and "ang pow"! little bit too much, but i'm lovin it.

oooo, "nian gao" also good!

happy CNY in advance to u!

hyacinth said...

Hi! I know I'm late to the party, but I've been looking for the name of those tiny purple flowers and finally found it tonight. They're called wishbone flowers or torenia. :)

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