Xinnian Kuai Le!

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Tonight is the eve of the Spring Festival or commonly known as the Chinese New Year – the most important festival or holiday for the Chinese people. It falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month and is celebrated like Christmas for Pinoys. So here are just few facts that I observed for the past years…

1. No meeting with Clients, Consultants, or suppliers. Basically everybody is on vacation for a month or even more.

2. Constructions are also on hold as migrant workers go back to their hometowns.

3. 2 weeks from the festival is the busiest time for transportation systems – the airport, train stations, long-distance bus stations, the subway.

4. Buy your groceries/food a week before the festival. Look what happened to us last Thursday. (That’s when I bought the ingredients for my adobong isaw.)

5. Go shopping few weeks before the holiday or on the day itself. Lots are on sale. Stay away from these department stores on the 2nd day. Their family gatherings are over and time to shop.

Here is a photo of the 12 round fruits we had back home for the New Year, a Filipino tradition, of course. Apples, oranges, mangoes, melon, chico, star apple, ponkan, papaya, pears, guava, grapes & pineapple.

Below is a shortclip (about 25 seconds of our 15 minute clip) of the fireworks view from our penthouse – a 12-year ban on lighting firecrackers was lifted! Above is a photo of Cean taken just an hour ago… it was like we were in a middle of war! Xinnian kuai le! That’s Happy New Year in mandarin.

Hey, check this out! Got this from Chickpeace.

(Shortclip link to be updated.)

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

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