Sunday, October 10, 2004

Back home...

It's always nice to land in YYZ. Toronto is great. Even though the character of this city pales in comparison to cities like New York or Shanghai, and even though the trip might have been great, it's an unbeatable feeling to come home.

Originally, I would still be in Miami now with the others, but decided to come back early because of some circumstances, and mainly because I wanted to have some family time this Thanksgiving weekend when my sister is back.

And I praise God for always "working things out"... last night, when I was boarding the plane in Miami, I realized that I'd have time to catch the tail-end of Wayne and Jess's banquet, so frantically called around to find out the location just as the plane was leaving. I ended up getting to their wedding by midnight (I landed at 10:30 or so). I've been kicking myself for missing the two of their jack and jill's this year because of circumstances, not to mention miss the wedding proper, but thank God for giving me the chance to meet up with them even as their night was ending. Congratulations!! =)

Family dim sum is quite the event. It's one of the main reasons why I came back early... my sister (she's at McGill) often comes back to make the Sunday morning dim sum. It's pretty hilarious:

1. Technically, it's a dim sum relay. My parents and my aunt and uncle go early at 9:30am because the prices are discounted (in order to retain the "elderly" dim sum going crowd). By 11am, the prices are back to normal for the "normal" Sunday dim sum crowd. But by then, our table is full with food for the entire morning.

My mom is a health care worker and organises her client time around dim sum, so usually she comes at 11am and leaves at 12 to 1 pm between clients.

I usually make it after church at 11am.

My brother Albert makes it after Kendo at 12pm.

My brother Edward makes it when I wake him up after church, if at all.

In between, my uncle sometimes picks up my cousin from home when she wakes up in the late morning.

So from 9:30 to 1pm, we occupy the table with people going in and out.

2. There's a normal dim sum routine:

First, we play the "who can spot the parents first" game in the restaurant. We win when we spot them before the entire table is waving their arms wildly in the restaurant.

Second, we eat the same thing every time including pigs' feet and egg in a ginger sauce, soya milk and fried dough fritter, [mah lai goh], literally translated as "horse-pulled cake", and [baak fan yu], literally translated as "white rice fish".

The trick for [mah lai goh] is that the best piece are the "high" "outer" pieces. And the cake has to be yellow/brown enough. We need to take a look at the quality of the cake first.

The [baak fan yu] is individually slightly fried in batter. The game that goes with this "don't move the fish". Basically, remember the game pick-up sticks? Well, especially if we don't use communal chopsticks, it would be discourteous to touch the rest of the fish with your chopsticks. But the fish are all fried and sometimes stuck together that it's difficult to pick up only one fish -- hence the game.

Third, the family time sometimes continues into the evening when everyone comes over for dinner, and then we have our dinner routine... =) Which I will explain later, haha.


My sister brought her Quebecois boyfriend from Montreal, and I still laugh about her explanation of [tza leung]: "It's a... fried dough that's wrapped in... a different steamed dough. Really, it's just two types of dough."

Haha, still makes me laugh thinking about that. Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

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