Review: Delight Seafood Restaurant, Kampung Jawa Ipoh

Happy Chinese New Year, folks!

Celebrations have been quiet ever since my grandmother passed away.

I read somewhere that matriarchs/patriarchs of a family act like glue, holding the fam together. Once they’re gone, it’s hard to get everyone together in the same place. Some cousins have migrated, while others are travelling with their own nuclear fams over the festive season. Traditions like cooking for reunion dinner night or praying to ancestors have been simplified, if not replaced.

Sometimes I envy my friends who are close to their extended families, because my cousins and I do not share the same bonds. Maybe it’s coz we only see each other once a year. I’m sure that after my parents’ generation, these bonds might be broken for good.

Enough depressing talk though : here’s what we had for CNY reunion dinner! Not wanting my aunt (who’s 70 now) to go through the hassle of cooking, we booked dinner at Delight Seafood Restaurant in Kampung Jawa, Ipoh.

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More and more families are doing away with cooking at home in favour of convenience. Restaurants do brisk business during this period, so much so that you have to book a ‘slot’ ie the resto divides diners into two sessions. Ours was at 6.30PM and we had to be out by 8PM to cater to the next round of customers.

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To start things off – the customary yee sang, a raw fish salad that is tossed and mixed while diners utter good wishes for the new year. The version here had jellyfish, pomelo, fish cake, crunchy condiments, peanuts and onions. Presentation was sloppy but the taste was pretty good.

Fun fact: Yeesang has roots in Malaysia/Singapore, not from China.

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Traditionally, Chinese banquet meals are served plate by plate, but since the resto was rushing for time, they decided to serve everything at once. Not a good strategy since there was barely any space left on the table. We were resigned to eating uncomfortably, bowls cramped to the left and right.

(Clockwise from top) Steamed fish, pork knuckle, soy sauce shrimp, stir fried vegetables and (centre) glutinous rice with waxed meats.

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The food was okay, but the only real standout was the glutinous rice, which came with three different cuts of waxed meat – pork, liver and mixed. The pork knuckle was pretty good too, especially the part with the crisp, crackly skin and tender meat underneath layers of fat. Fish was not cooked thoroughly with flesh still sticking to the bone.

The experience could have been better imo, but then again it’s a very busy period for restos and you can’t expect top notch service.

DELIGHT SEAFOOD RESTAURANT 

26, 28, 30, Jalan Dass, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Open for lunch and dinner (daily)

Reunion Dinner – Chinese New Year in Ipoh 2017

Nin 30 Man or Reunion Dinner night on the eve of the Lunar New Year is one of the most important occasions for Chinese families, where family members travel back to their respective hometowns and gather for a feast. For many of us who work in cities, it is perhaps one of the rare times that we see all our relatives under one roof….Although in recent years, since my grandparents’ passing, it has become rather quiet. Some cousins drop by for short visits, while others prefer going overseas for holidays. This year was a very subdued affair, since the only people in the house were my elderly aunts. My brother and I were the only ‘young’ ones lol.

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Before the dinner, my third Aunt (Sar Kor) will cook some dishes to be presented to the Gods and my ancestors at the altar. Then we ‘invite’ them to join the dinner later at night. Traditionally, people used Xing Bui, a pair of cups, to indicate if your invitation has been accepted. The cups are thrown onto the floor and one should face up and the other down, an affirmative sign. Otherwise, we keep trying until we get the desired result.

In my family, we use coins instead of cups. The coins have been handed down for generations and look really old. Out of curiosity, I took a better look at them and found out that one dated back to 1896 (!!!!)

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Burning paper ‘money’ for the ancestors.

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Dinner time! A must-have dish during CNY is Yee Sang, a salad-like mix of shredded vegetables, pomelo, onions, condiments and crunchy snacks poured over with plum or fish sauce.  The tradition is to toss the yee sang while saying some well wishes out loud, to bring joy and luck into the new year.

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Aside from the Yee Sang, everything else was home made by my aunts 🙂 The poached chicken was done perfectly: tender and juicy, the meat’s flavour was brought out when dipped into a hint of soy sauce.

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Shrimp is another dish that is good to have in the new year, because its read as ‘ha’, which sounds like laughter. My aunts cooked them with curry leaves for a fragrant aroma and flavour.

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Roast pork belly was salty goodness, with a crisp and crunchy skin. Think of it as Chinese-lechon. 😀

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It was also my dad’s/Second uncle’s birthday, so we got them a carrot cake. 🙂

How was your CNY reunion dinner? Hope you had a good one!