Category Archives: Hoy Ping Benevolent Association

40th Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

Alright. I’ve been terrible at keeping up on this blog.  In the past 6 months a lot has happened that has kept me away. I got a full-time job, but more importantly, my yen yen’s health deteriorated. Unfortunately, she became very ill over the Christmas holidays with pneumonia and passed away in January at the age of 95, which brought on a whole other amazing experience of learning about the rights and rituals in Chinese culture, this time around death. I really wanted to document all the cultural things we did around my yenyen’s death to share, but I simply didn’t have the time or extra pair of hands to be doing much photographing. Though it may seem morbid to some people, these are traditions (like cooking and holiday celebrations) that are important in our culture. Also, I found the Chinese style funeral to be more interesting, engaging, meaningful and … dare I say… fun? Learning about traditions around death is also very important as we approach a time when our parents/grandparents approach ripe old ages and we all want to ensure that their last wishes are fulfilled. This is a much larger topic for discussion that I’ll leave for a future post as it is unlucky to be talking about death around Chinese New Year!

Regardless of how life is going, I can always count on the annual Chinatown Parade to get me motivated and inspired to blog and connect with people again about learning the traditions of our elders. The Chinatown parade has become one of my favourite events of the year. This year, 50,000 Vancouverites spent their Sunday afternoon welcoming the Year of the Snake, and like last year, I walked with my fellow Hoy Ping Benevolent Association members. I’m always so proud of all the youth-based Athletic Clubs which somehow remain strong in every Chinese benevolent association. The youth train all year round to perform the lion dance, hoisting giant lion heads and crouching low to the ground. At the Chinatown Parade, I’m always impressed with how great they are at entertaining the crowd, especially the kids and elders who stretch their arms out for a chance to stroke the lion for good luck. Here are some pics of the parade from where I was ….

Following the 2.5 hour parade, attendees crowded the restaurants of Chinatown. Needless to say, Newtown Bakery, a cornerstone of Chinatown was packed full of people waiting to get their steamed buns!

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Once people finished filling up on steamed buns and congee, the second round of festivities began. Many of the lions were lured back out by the lettuce hanging above the doorways of businesses in Chinatown and in return the lions dance to bring good fortune to the business, while firecrackers, drums, cymbals and gongs could be heard loudly throughout the neighbourhood to help chase away evil spirits. Again, these impressive performances drew big crowds and lots of camera flashes.

There were many other festivities happening in Chinatown that I didn’t get to either because it was too crowded or because of time, most notably being the Sun Yet San Garden. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of time to catch a glimpse of the giant living (literally!) snake sculpture in the Garden’s pond until the end of April.

On Chinese New Year Day my sister and I also went to visit the International Buddhist Temple in Steveston which was also a great experience, but unfortunately, I am approaching my bedtime so I will have to leave that for my next post! I hope you enjoyed my pictures from the Chinatown Parade! 🙂

Hoy Ping Benevolent Association Dinner & BBQ Pork “Fly” Rice Recipe

So this past weekend, my yenyen, sister and I attended the Hoy Ping Benevolent Association dinner and we met lots of people. Since there was a big audience (about 450 people) at the dinner, my sister and I decided to seize the moment and appeal to the young people in the room. We asked our good friend, the chairman of the Hoy Ping Association, to allot some time for us to go on stage and speak to the crowd. Although the room was loud and not too many people were listening, we had a rare opportunity to chat with NDP-MLA Jenny Kwan, Vancouver City Councillor Raymond Louie and Councillor Kerry Jang. I also hung out with the association’s Kung Fu club as they showed a great slideshow of the team’s part in the Chinatown Parade back in January. And it seemed our appearance on stage worked. In the last 15 minutes of the dinner, Janet approached our table to chat! Thanks Janet!

Unfortunately, in all the excitement, I forgot to take pictures… Please forgive me, I’m still trying to get used to blogging and taking pictures of everything I’m doing. But hopefully my BBQ Pork “Fly” Rice recipe will make up for it. 🙂

This recipe is the first Chinese dish I ever learned to make. When we were growing up, my mom would go play mahjong on the weekends (and as you probably know, serious mahjong games run for at least 4 hours) and had to make a quick meal for us before she left and it was often BBQ fried rice. Aside from the BBQ pork, all the other ingredients are already often found in most Chinese kitchens, or at least ours anyway.

These days, fried rice has entered the realm of westernized Chinese food, being lumped into the same camp as sweet and sour pork, chicken chow mein and egg rolls, but not so! Fried/sticky rice is served at big banquet meals, albeit at the end. At more formal dinners, rice and/or noodles is served at the end as a filler after you’ve enjoyed the real dishes of sea cucumber, crab, duck etc. So, this dish can be made in a snap for a quick meal, like I did last night, or to accompany a formal dinner.

BBQ Pork “Fly” Rice
2 cups (muk) rice
1/2 lb BBQ pork
1/2 an onion (red or white, doesn’t really matter) or 1 shallot or 3 scallions
1/2-1 cup frozen peas
8-10 frozen tiger prawns (or fresh, but it would be a waste)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp hoisen sauce (often called oyster sauce)
1 1/2-2 tblsp of oil ie. vegetable or grapeseed, not olive oil or peanut as these have too much flavour
 
Wash 2 cups of rice in cold water and cook. The most common way to cook rice these days is in a rice cooker, but if you have a ceramic pot, it supposedly tastes better, you would just have to time it. For fried rice, the best is actually to use old rice because freshly cooked rice sticks together. If you’re using freshly cooked rice, make it as early as possible, then fluff with chopsticks and cool the rice for as long as possible.

While the rice is cooking and cooling, defrost the frozen peas and tiger prawns, I just do this in a bowl of water and it doesn’t have to be completely defrosted, just enough so there’s no ice and they’re free. Dice the onion/shallot/scallions, whichever you’re using, and the BBQ pork. Once the prawns are defrosted, drain the water then peel and cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces. Drain the peas once they are defrosted. Set up all your ingredients so they’re convenient as you’re cooking.
Once the rice is cooled and ready to go, take out your wok. Ideally you use a wok since it’s superior to the frying pan due to it’s size, efficiency and versatility, but if a frying pan is all you’ve got, it’ll do. Just use the largest once you’ve got.
Heat the wok and oil over high heat.
 
From this point on, you will be adding each ingredient one at a time, tossing or “sautéing” and allowing each ingredient to cook in between, with the rawest ingredients added first. The order is as follows:
1. Onions – cook until it smells so good you’re tempted to reach into the wok with your bare hands for a taste… or until slightly golden.
2. Tiger prawns – prawns are cooked once they turn orange. DON’T cook them all the way or they will be tough and stringy by the time you’re done. Cook them until you start to see some orange.
3 & 4. Peas & BBQ pork – just toss ’em around so they heat up and the flavours of each ingredient are distributed. After a while, you may begin to notice that the bottom of the wok is sticking, this is because of the sugar from the BBQ pork burning. Turn down the heat to med-high. My idea of med-high is 7-8.
5. Rice – dump all the rice into the wok and using the blade of your spatula, break up any clumps.
6. Hoisen Sauce – drizzle over top and toss until the sauce is evenly distributed.
7. Egg – this is the part that makes it fried rice and is the last step. Pour the egg over top and toss vigorously. If you let it sit for too long, the egg travels to the bottom of the wok and cooks by itself, resulting in scrambled eggs. What you want is for the rice to be coated in egg.
Keep tossing until the egg is cooked and the rice doesn’t look wet with raw egg.
 
If you’re not eating the rice right away, I like to keep it warm in the rice cooker, but fried rice to me is like pizza, it can be enjoyed hot or cold. 😉 
 
This is the first time I’ve ever taken pictures while cooking and giving directions for it so feedback is welcomed and strongly encouraged! Also, if you try the recipe out, please let me know what you thought of it, or if you made any modifications. I’d be happy to hear from you!