Monday, March 04, 2013

蛇年 CNY 2013 Volume 1

I have been editing CNY photos as early as 2 weeks ago whenever I was awake enough to switch on my laptop to do some work. Blogging and reading blogs have always been a favourite pastime of mine but recently, I can't seem to find the time and consciousness to be doing blog stuff. There are still quite some photos to be edited and I would be posting CNY happenings of 2013 in 2 posts. This volume would be all about first week of CNY and family.

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~*Pre CNY*~

Since kh and I would be having reunion dinner with his family on CNY eve, we had a sumptuous reunion dinner with my family at Paradise Dynasty a few days before CNY. It was all of our first time dining there and we felt that the food was delicious.

All the photos that evening were taken using my eldest sis's iPhone 4S and put into collage by her.

At restaurants, it is a tradition to Lo Hei before the dishes are served. I noticed that of late, all the Yu Sheng (raw fish) used in the dish now is salmon. Salmon didn't used to be so popular back then. I'm not too sure about Chinese in other countries but I read an article which stated that Lo Hei or tossing Yu Sheng is a uniquely Singaporean and Malaysian CNY practice. Could my Chinese readers overseas verify this?

It was a really huge plate but we finished every shred of ingredient. Everyone was hungry.

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After tossing the Yu Sheng, the other dishes arrived promptly. I'm salivating now looking at these photos of the dishes we ordered. I've got craving for double boiled chicken soup, drunken chicken, mushroom and spinach... Yummy!

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Paradise Dynasty is famous for their colourful 小笼包 (xiao long bao aka dumplings) with unconventional flavours like ginseng, foei gras, black truffle and so on. You can see the basket of colourful dumplings here. We ordered the original, black truffle and crab roe. I swear I would be back here just to eat a whole basket of the 8 different flavours all by myself.

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It was my treat to the family so everyone was all smiles. I was glad I chose this place other than the usual Chinese restaurant franchise that we frequent. Looking forward to more family dinners here!

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Everyone was late as we all came from work on a rainy day. I like how cute my mum's message sounded and she is getting really good at texting. She used to take 10 min to compose a message that she would rather much call than text.

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~*CNY Eve*~

On CNY eve which was a Saturday, we (kh's family) ate at a Thai-Chinese restaurant just a stone's throw away from home. I didn't snap any photo but we don't need photos to show how we enjoyed the food, do we?

Somehow, I've gotten very lazy in snapping pictures that I don't even bring my camera out. I would just snap anything with my iPhone. I realised that I snapped so many pictures in 2011 and 2012 but could not find the time to blog about them. Hence, I just leave them in my folders for my own viewing pleasure.

At night as usual, kh and I would 守岁 (shou sui aka to stay awake all night). It is believed to delay the aging process of our parents or the more elderly family members in the house if any and hence increase longevity.


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~*Day 1*~

The first thing kh and I would do on CNY Day 1 would be to 拜年 (bai nian aka pay a new year call) to his parents then head over to my parents' place to 拜年.

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We would have a sumptuously simple (an oxymoron but oh so true) lunch there with all my favourite home-cooked dishes.

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The number of 红包 (hong bao aka ang pow aka red packets) we had to give out this year.

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新的一年,新的开始. Even after getting married, my mummy would never fail to give us each an ang pow for blessing. According to tradition, one stops receiving ang pows as soon as he/she gets married.

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The most unique ang pow will always be from mummy dearest. For this year, she even specially chose the boy boy print for him and girl girl print for me. And the panda for my 2 sisters! So cute!

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With my mummy. You can clearly see who is the more hip and happening one.

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Time for the multiple shots 全家福 (quan jia fu aka family portrait) converted to an anif file. In the NG version with 6 shots, my mum could even attempt to have 2 looks (hair tied up and hair let down). Hand that award to her already can?

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Proper 3-shot anigif version with the Straight Face Award going to my daddy. He was practically frozen like a statue throughout.

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After lunch, we headed back home for a 全家福 photo with kh's family before going to visit his relatives.

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In the 6-shots anigif, you could see that only kh and I had very drastic change of poses. The rest of the family didn't know how my multiple shots timer work. Many Straight Face Awards to hand out.

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When my 2nd BIL knew what was happening, he put on the most comical facial expressions ever. On the other hand, my youngest BIL seemed to think that disturbing my MIL is the best change of poses.

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Unanimous matching theme of red. On the 2nd day, they had unanimous matching of dark blue theme.

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Nobody wears such dull colour on Day 1, much less grey. I've somehow unintentionally worn all the 3 auspicious colours for my zodiac year for the 1st 3 days of CNY (which you would eventually see if you read on). Now I hope nobody tries to guess which animal year I am born in and gasp at how old I am.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ Lalu loose ruch dress


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~*Day 2*~

On our way to kh's paternal relatives' place.

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I love the shady walk that cuts through the park.

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We were not supposed to stay till dinner but we couldn't say no to good steamboat food when kh's uncle and aunt were already preparing our share.

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The greedy greedy hubby.

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The only 4th generation in kh's immediate paternal family is a dragon baby! He is such an adorable little boy especially when he smiles.

In the photos below, he had just woken up at that time and was looking very confused with all the noises around him.

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After that, it was another round of dinner at my maternal 6th aunt's place. 6th aunt's domestic helper never fails to cook such wonderful dishes every year that even though kh and I were very full, we ate a little morsel of food here and there.


All the food photos were from my 2nd sis from earlier in the evening.

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By the time kh and I arrived, most of the food was gone but my lovely 6th aunt saved some for us despite me telling her that we would be having our dinner at kh's uncle's place before that.

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Time for Lo Hei! Even though I did not/ still do not know the sayings while putting in the ingredients, my mum tasked me to do it. Oh well.

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This prompted me to look up the internet and I got this from Wikipedia. Now that it is sealed here on my blog, I had better learn to impress people by stepping out to pour the ingredients the next CNY, complete with reciting the Chinese lines.

Step 1: All at the table offer New Year greetings.
Words: 恭喜发财 “Gong Xi Fa Cai” meaning “Congratulations for your wealth” or 万事如意 “Wan Shi Ru Yi” meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”.

Step 2: Fish, symbolising abundance or excess through the year, is added.
Words: Nian Nian You Yu 年年有馀 meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word "fish" in Mandarin also sounds like "Abundance".

Step 3: The pomelo is added over the fish, adding both luck and auspicious value.
Words: 大吉大利 Da Ji Da Li meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”.

Step 4: Pepper and Cinnamon Powder is then dashed over the ingredients in the hope of attracting more money and valuables.
Words: 招财进宝 Zhao Cai Jin Bao meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”.

Step 5: Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients to increase all profits 10,000 times and encouraging money to flow in from all directions
Words: 一本万利 Yi Ben Wan Li and 财原广进 Cai Yuan Guang Jin meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”

Step 6: Carrots are added to the fish indicating blessings of good luck.
Words: 鸿运当头 Hong Yun Dang Tou meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot (红萝卜) is used as the first character 鸿 also sound like the Chinese character for red.

Step 7: Then the shredded green radish is placed on the fish symbolising eternal youth.
Words: 青春常驻 Qing Chun Chang Zhu meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character 青 also sound like the Chinese character for green.

Step 8: After which the shredded white radish is added – prosperity in business and promotion at work.
Words: 风生水起 Feng Sheng Shui Qi meaning “Progress at a fast pace” 步步高升 Bu Bu Gao Sheng meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”.

Step 9: Chopped Peanut bits are dusted on the dish symbolising a household filled with gold and silver. As an icon of longevity, peanuts also symbolise eternal youth.
Words: 金银满屋 Jin Yin Man Wu meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”.

Step 10: Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourishing business.
Words: 生意兴隆 Sheng Yi Xing Long meaning “Prosperity for the business”.

Step 11: Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold.
Words: 遍地黄金 Bian Di Huang Jin meaning “Floor full of gold”.

Step 12: All toss the salad an auspicious 7 times with loud shouts of “lo hei” 捞起 and other auspicious 4-word New Year wishes.
Fact in my family: Everyone would just go "oh... oh..." and "huat ah... huat ah..." coz being very "English", we are all bad at our 4-word Chinese phrases. And it is never ever 7 times. It would be for as long as everyone stops shouting "huat ah".


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CNY 2013 marks a whole new era of entertainment. No more singing of Teresa Teng's songs in the KTV room. No more blockbusters movies in the living room. No more younger cousins gathering in the rooms eyes glued to the computer screens. No more older cousins chatting with uncles and aunts.

Move away traditions! Kinect Just Dance 4 is here to rock 4 generations of families.

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My sister took loads and loads of videos (at least 12) of various relatives dancing but I love this the best. The youngsters (teenaged to early 20s cousins) had been dancing and once they stopped and dispersed from the dance floor, the aunties and 1 uncle hurriedly scrambled to take position and started dancing. Move aside One Direction. Many Directions is here to rule the world.



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They looked so happy watching their playback.

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I can't wait to share with you what happened before they danced, they were fumbling with the motion sensor control without any millenium generation kids around!




It looked like so much fun that I also asked to join in. What Makes You Beautiful by One Directions seemed like the choice song that night as it could accommodate 4 players and was considered relatively easy. It wasn't easy to me at all. I was fumbling, not knowing which figure on the screen to look at and trying to keep up. There was a glitch and the computer only recognized 2 players.




Superstition was supposed to be an easy song too but it wasn't. Either that or I have 2 left feet.




3 generations in a team




my dancing-loving mum could not help but join in too. Pardon me, I had no idea how to tilt the video here. Could you like just tilt your head?




Kh and I are the oldest cousins in this shot below (coz both my sisters left while we stayed on to send some of our relatives back home). Boo Hoo! All these ranges from late 80s to the millenium kids.

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I received many compliments for this dress. Not to mention an early morning message the next day from good friend Cyn screaming on watsapp how much she loved my dress after seeing the videos my 2nd sis uploaded on FB.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ Valentino circle dress (belt provided)
♥ No label bangle watch
♥ Prada Tessuto Gaufre in Pomice
♥ Kiyo nude shoes


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~*Day 3*~

On Day 3, we gathered at the cafe of paternal 4th aunt's condominium.

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Cuz A, Ah Ma's caregiver, Ah Ma (paternal grandma), 4th Aunt, Cuz A. Oh, 2 Cuz with initials A! We are all thankful that Ah Ma's caregiver is an honest and caring lady. She looks after Ah Ma attentively and treats Ah Ma really well. She has a positive disposition and yes, she could cook well too!

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We had yummy steamboat with sumptuous ingredients to throw in.

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Uncle Joseph (in apron) and youngest aunt (not pictured) were the cooks in the kitchen that night.

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We could help ourselves with the sushi in the fridge.

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Hence, I took out the salmon sashimi to share with kh and my sisters.

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Just posing with the Chivas. I abstain from alcohol as much as possible coz of my tummy issues.

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Cousins and sisters...

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I used to tutor this cousin of mine (4th aunt's daughter) from Primary 5 till she was Sec 2. I really loved teaching her coz she was really well-behaved and easily the most intelligent (out of all my tutees back then). She did very well for her O levels and went overseas to study after that. I had not seen her in years and was utterly taken aback that night when she told me she is already 20 years old! We've never taken a photo together and that night, we took 2.


The kids looked so cute eating together and competing to see who ate what and who ate first. There were so many cute photos of the kids eating but 2 of them were Cuz J's kids and she specifically instructed not to post her kids photos on Facebook as she is anti-Facebook. She did not mention anything about blog but I would just respect her privacy and not include photos of her adorable kids here too.

Niece C is so pretty and Nephew Z is such a cheeky little boy! Look at his cheeky expressions with his mummy Cuz N.

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I suspect my 2nd sis would break Niece C's scooter.

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Nephew R has one of the most innocent and cutest face ever and it was so easy to kidnap him coz he would simply allow himself to be carried after mumbling "mummy mummy" for a while before getting distracted by his "carrier".

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Whenever Nephew R played with the spoon (yeah putting the spoon on my nose tickled him), he would laugh and smile but when I faced him to the camera, he would stop.

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Time to Lo Hei!

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Ah Ma's vision is failing and she was oblivious to the camera.

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Family shot.

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Daddy's unique tee.

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After the gathering officially ended, 4th aunt invited us up to her place for round 2.

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I could not say no to that little celebratory glass of champagne.

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Possible my favourite paternal aunt! I used to love eating her home-cooked food when I tutored my cousin pre and post dinner timing. She was always worried that about my empty stomach when I came from school and thereafter work.

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When I rejected another round of alcohol, she felt it strange coz it wasn't my usual style. I told her about my gastrointestinal problems and that I was feeling pain. She immediately took out her home-made yogurt and started preparing whisky glasses of yogurt for everyone.

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My parents loved the taste! I didn't like it. It was cheesy but I reckoned it would taste just as good as those Indian Lassi which I like if I were to blend fresh fruits or honey in.

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We chatted about old times and politics while eating snacks after snacks. Everyone declined the ice cream offer except the 2 oldest birds there. My dad and my mum eat more ice cream than we children do.

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My favourite childhood chocolate pound cake-- Sara Lee. I was ecstatic when I saw Cuz A eating it coz just a few days before, my colleagues and I were discussing about this cake and how we no longer see it around in most supermarkets.

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Remember this post when I said the black biker tees I bought were so not suitable for CNY? Well, I managed to get away with wearing black for CNY this year. The pink badass angel wings print at the back was what drew me to this top.

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♥ Affliction Stone Flower Short Sleeve Western Tee
♥ No label denim capri
♥ Funky Bear necklace
♥ Seiko kinetic watch
♥ DKNY sneakers


13 comments:

  1. I am loving me this awesome CNY Mega Feast event!!! Wanna try a bit of everything there. What could be better than spending time with prople you love and savouring the delicious food, right? I love every dress you wore, especially the one with yellow trims.

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  2. What a lovely CNY post! It's such a great time for family and it's so sweet how close your family is. Glad you enjoyed such happy times and good food together. Hope you're taking care of that eye and it's feeling better Jo!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

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  3. Wow! First, you have moves, you did a great job dancing. That was a nice thing you did taking your family out--and you chose a good place. All the food looked great. But I have to admit if I had a chance, I would most like to taste the food at your aunt's. It looked so good. Your favorite auntie looked pretty good too....not old enough to be an aunt.

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  4. ahhh i love this post!! it really gives me the warm fuzzies and makes me smile hehehe :)

    so much love :) i love your family pics it looks like you guys have so much fun together and really enjoy each others company!

    i love you in that grey dress you look so sophisticated and sultry!

    and omgosh the black truffle xia long bao.. i always fell off my chair.. crazy!!! i love XLB's want to try the blk truffle one! hehehee

    ReplyDelete
  5. haha omg your family is sooo cute! and that gif as well! :)

    mmmmm xiao long bao! I could go for one of those right now as well!

    How does that black one taste? looks interesting for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow seems you had lots of fun with your family. It was very cute and interesnte read your post all the food looked delicious.

    I want to let you know that I shared your post about your experience with contact lenses. And now I'm a lot more careful and hygienic with mine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh man. This brings me back. Living in the US, we didn't have nearly as big of a celebration as you guys did. As American Chinese, I've never heard of Lo Hei.

    The rest of your food looks fantastic though. Most importantly, you have me really really missing my family.

    7% Solution​

    ReplyDelete
  8. oh my gosh, this post made me so extremely hungry! all that food looked so delicious! :D

    <3, Mimi
    http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. hi, where do you cut your hair or which salon do you recommend? I like bangs like yours which is not totally straight with the pointy sides when you have straight hair on the first day (pic of you holding the red packet). How do you tell the hairdresser how to cut like this? I always tell them I want something like this but every hairdresser gave me the same type of bangs that is straight all the way. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nelah,
    Thank you for all your sweet words, dear. And yes, food and loved ones are the finest things in life.


    ~~~

    Rowena,

    I have a crazy family full of eccentricities and nutz. Thank you for your concern. I’ve stopped dripping my eyedrops but I can still see the ulcers. I’m only glad there isn’t any more pain.


    ~~~

    Rick,

    I decided to give my family a treat as I’s been thinking of doing so ever since I switched jobs. The spread looked sumptuous right? I was so full at my aunt’s place that all I ate was the curry with bread and some soup.


    ~~~

    Lisa,

    Thank you for all your sweet words, dear. Being able to appreciate the warmth of my loved ones around me gives me a warm fuzzy feeling too, just like when I read about your family holiday season post too. The black truffle xiao long bao wasn’t too bad. I just want to go there again and eat one whole basket of the 8 different flavours all by myself.


    ~~~

    Grace,

    My family can be cute and a handful too and of coz I love them cute. The black truffle xiao long bao wasn’t too bad though truffles for western still feel like the best combination.


    ~~~

    Sakuranko,

    Thank you for your sweet words, dear.

    Ooh... It’s good to share such knowledge. If possible, let me know where you share it so I could take a look. And yes, please practise good contact lens habits coz you are also one of those who love wearing coloured lenses. Your natural irises are already very beautiful btw.


    ~~~

    Aki,

    I’ve always wonder how it is like for Chinese staying in non-Chinese cities. How do you celebrate and do you only feel the atmosphere of CNY and other Chinese festivals in Chinatown or is that a cliché view? I hope you manage to find the time to return to your homeland (or wherever your family is) and spend moments with them.


    ~~~

    Mimi,

    Thank you for your comment. =)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anon,

    Oops. Sorry I missed out your reply.

    I usually show pictures of the style I want on top of describing. The picture always helps. I cut my fringe at different places but the most recent one is at Far East called Private Hair Studio. Look for Leslie. I visit the hairdresser only once every few months so in between, I cut my own fringe and it sometimes turn out quite blunt if that is meant by "straight all the way".

    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This was a long post but very interesting!!! I never heard of "lo hei" before but I'll ask my mummy, keke maybe she knows what it is, it looks fun to do! Omg you had to give away so much red pocket money this year! I hope my mom still gives me red pocket for luck too hahahaahaha One can hope =P Oh we also call it lucky money over here or I call it "lai see" in Cantonese =) Omg I love your Valentino circle dress too!!! It's gorgeous and your hair looks so nice with it!

    I'm glad your eye got all better! Now I'm worried about getting those in my eye too T_T but but but I clean my contacts daily so it shouldn't happen right? <-- self justification hahaha

    Chinese new year food is always yummy! My bf loves xiao long bao! To be honest I'm always a bit scared to eat it the way it's suppose to be, I'm afraid the hot soup inside will burn my tongue lol I wanna try the truffle dumplings!

    P.S I'm glad we're both morbid girls hahahaha

    ReplyDelete
  13. suki pooki,

    I haven't aske you before, do you reside in Canada your whole life or did you shift from somewhere? It sure seems like so far, only Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese know of Lo Hei. Is Cantonese your dialect?

    Thank you for your compliments and oh I think you should be fine if you clean your lenses thoroughly.

    Ooh... just with the similarity of being morbid gals, I could count you as one of my favourite blogger friend. Hahaha... No don't run away from me!

    ReplyDelete

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