Monday, January 26, 2009
For me, reunion dinner or 团员饭 is always about the steamboat. When my paternal grandparents were still around, we'd have steamboat reunion dinner in Katong, with one for the kids, another for the adults. As a kid, it was more about the fun of dunking and getting to cook our own food than it was about the eating. Same goes for yu sheng - for many years I detested eating the thing (all that ginger and preserved what-nots), it was only about the fun in tossing food around (most of it went on the table).
Today it's still about the steamboat/hotpot. It's the communal feeling of a steamboat/hotpot meal - preparing the ingredients together (in this case, visiting two different supermarkets to get the right beef*), cooking together and fishing out your favourites from the pot of steaming goodness. And yes, the yu sheng has now become a must-have, not just because of the lo hei, and not just because of the always-yummy raw fish, but somehow, over the years, I've grown to like this concoction of a sweet-sour-savoury salad.
When you have yu sheng at restaurants, the staff know the right words to say and which ingredients to say it with, but in this part-homemade (we had to grate our own carrot and raddish), part-packaged yu sheng, the sayings were the not the usual traditional ones rattled off by a stranger, but off the top of heads and translated.
(*the right beef)
Saturday night ended with Bang, Balderdash, kueh lapis and biscuits from Bengawan Solo, and pineapple tarts from Mr Bean (surprisingly good)
I hope you all had a good reunion dinner, hotpot or not.