Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

February 22, 2007

Chinese New Year's Banquet

There is a woman in Nashville, Jen-Jen Lin who is the driving force for bringing Chinese Arts to Nashville, and to make it accessible to all who live in Nashville, not just Chinese people. The organization is The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville. She has presented at least one Chinese dance (modern, ballet, acrobatic etc) every year since I have know her, she has brought the Tai Pei Dance Theatre to the Nashville as part of a nationwide tour, she brought the first Chinese Lion Dance team to Nashville, she participates in the 1st Chinese school in Nashville, and my favorite part about her efforts is that she has brought an authentic Chinese New Year Dinner to Nashville for a 4th year in a row. Thank you Jen-Jen for provide to me, enough Chinese cultural experiences in Nashville.

little gifts of candy from the Chinese New Year Banquet

There is such a heart felt, soulfulness about food in Chinese people. The proper greeting in China is "Sic faun ma?" or "Have you eaten?" not hi, how are you, etc. It is about making sure your friends and loved ones have the nourishment to go on with their day, and if they need nutritious and delicioius food, provide it. It is deep and meaningful when Chinese people will share their food with another. It is deep and meaningful to be invited to a Chinese person's home to have food. When guest come, it is customary to serve the finest and rarest foods for the guest to eat, and the guest is always encouraged to take the first pick and best pick of the lot. It is a bit Bhuddist in custom. Food and the meaning behind it runs deep in symbolism and in the hearts of Chinese people. There is no such thing as extending an invitation for dinner, and then serving unhealthy or souless meals. It is always about honoring the guests and the food.

I have gone to all 4 of the Chinese Banquets Jen-Jen has offered to Nashville. This year, it was record numbers of about 250 people. That is fantastic! I know that she puts in a lot off effort with the Chef from Golden Coast to present an impressive and delicious 10-course meal for all of us. Every year, the Chinese Banquet makes me feel connected with people who honor the Chinese culture and food, and I feel connected with the people of China and Asia who have celebrated in the New Year in their own way. I feel the hopes and dreams of Asian people, and myself, for a good new year filled with peace, health, happiness and prosperity. I also feel the renewal of my existence, and shutting the book on the former year, and letting go of any difficulty that happened during the previous year. For these, I am forever grateful to Jen-Jen and the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville to offer the Chinese Banquet to remind of how fortunate I am.

the menu

black mushroom and chicken soup, tasty!

squid, beef, dumplings and dried tofu roll

scallops, wow, there are a lot of scallops, yum!

pork and rice sticks.
I really liked the thick rice stick noodle, like mochi.

pork spareribs were deep fried and just salty enough.

happy family - celery, dried shitake, squid.
I really love dried shitake mushrooms. Drying the mushrooms seem to enhance the flavor, and then rehydrating them allows the cooking liquid to be just as flavorful.

sesame chicken

baby bok choy and dried shitake mushrooms.
Oh my goodness, more dried shitake mushrooms! I love it! I made this exact dish for New Year's Eve!

shrimp, yummy again!

This dish should have been a whole fish and left to the table to cut up the fish. I think that they pre-cut the fish because of so many non-Chinese people not used to seeing a whole fish on the table. With having the fish cut up already, I do think people at more of it.

sweet red bean soup
I am not a big fan of this warm sweet bean soup, but it is ok. I did eat about 1/2 of my bowl so I could invite good luck and joy into my Chinese New Year of the Pig.

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At 2/23/07, 7:43 PM, Blogger happigrl said...

What a fantastic evening! Your pictures remind me vividly of the stellar eveing. In addition to getti ng my best Chinese meal in Nashville each year, I get the pleasure of meeing some of the cities finest you Lannae!
Leah Gilliam

At 2/24/07, 5:04 PM, Blogger Austere Hotdog said...

All that food looks awesome but I bet the cultural experience was wonderful on it's own. Thanks for sharing.

At 2/24/07, 8:07 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Mm. I am slurping over your photo of the baby bok choy with shiitakes.
What a feast.

At 2/25/07, 10:50 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oh CC, yumm! What a good eye you have! I love the bok choy and mushroom dish. It is rather difficult to ruin this dish, so more the better!

At 2/25/07, 11:07 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Leah! Isn't the dinner just a great experience?! I am really looking forward to next year! This year, thank goodness dinner and sitting were invented, and we got to have nice leisurely dinner together!

Hey I.T. Thank you for stopping into my blog! You are right, it is a really nice cultural experience that I feel so lucky to have! I am now ready for next year's Chinese New Year's dinner!


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