Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wonderful Patisserie - get your tidbits and gifts for Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year falling on Valentine's Day this year, expect restaurants around London to be fully booked for this weekend. Traditionally, ethnic Chinese will have dinner with their families on the eve of Chinese New Year. This dinner, also known as the Reunion Dinner is meant to be a family gathering of sorts. No expenses is spared in this dinner and a feast can be expected.

Interestingly, some families have the practice of leaving leftovers (the sheer amount of food helps) for the next day, which is the first day of the New Year on the Lunar Calendar. Doing so signifies that there will always be 'more than enough'. I wonder whether the Chinese cultural obsession with food has anything to do with the famines that plagued the people throughout history.

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The celebrations are supposed to last for the next 15 days and during that time, there will be visits to relatives and friends, often bearing gifts. One of the most common gifts would be Chinese biscuits and pastries packed in transparent containers sealed with red plastic lids. Unsurprisingly, the same items would end up being served to visitors as tidbits.

When I was a kid, I could easily finish a full bottle of bitesized deep fried spring rolls and that usually mean a severe sore throat on the very next day. I was at Chinatown a couple of days back and decided to do some shopping in the area after dining at Crispy Duck.

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I turned to Wonderful Patisserie where I got my mooncakes during last year's Mid-Autumn Festival. As expected the shop was fully stocked with almost every variety of biscuits and pastries that you could possibly want for the Chinese New Year festive period. Going from between £4 to £8 each bottle, the prices were comparable to those found back home.

If you're invited over for a Chinese New Year dinner, don't go empty handed, some tidbits will always be welcomed by the host!

Wonderful Patisserie
45 Gerrard Street, London W1D 5QQ
Tel: 020 7734 7629

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