We held our Chinese New Year Banquet last Friday evening, just over 30 Billundites turned out on a frosty evening to come and celebrate with us and eat some of Winnie Tango's amazing food!
Although the preparations for such a big event were started weeks ago, the final few days were a frantic blur of shopping, preparing decorations, designing menus, seating plans and lists and lists and lists of things to do! Not to mention a few extremely late nights.
As we had to wait until 4pm to start setting up, transporting all the equipment and helpers turned into something of a military operation and required several car trips. Winnie and her equipment and food were dropped off first and when all the room and table decorations arrived we set about decorating the dining room. Transforming it into a cosy space with Chinese New Year atmosphere in a short space of time was no mean feat. In fact getting hold of traditional decorations was a challenge in of itself, as nowhere would deliver to Denmark! Winnie had a trip to Hong Kong a few weeks earlier and managed to bring back a few small items, but she didn't have space for much, so a big thanks to my parents for waiting in for all the Amazon deliveries and posting a box full of decorations to us from the UK.
We had red lanterns hanging from the ceiling (which really helped to cheer up the space), chopsticks, traditional red envelopes* (see below for more on this tradition) with chocolate golden coins. Winnie put together an instruction sheet showing how to put together a simple Chinese New Year wish and brought along with traditional pens and ink so that people could try their hand. There was also Chinese lantern making and other crafts.
Meanwhile Winnie and her mother were busy in the kitchen. We only had a couple of hours before the guests arrived and although Winnie had been busy preparing as much as she could in advance, there was still much to do. Thanks to our team of volunteers from ISB, (Emma, Florrie, Freja and Lucy), who worked super efficiently to assist Winnie by helping to put together the beautifully presented serving plates we managed to get things ready in time. They also delivered the food from the kitchen to the dining room (unfortunately the two rooms were not close by) and serving the food and drinks to the guests.
Marinated Beef Satay
Made with Winnie’s secret homemade spice and herb mix satay sauce
Winnie’s hybrid Hong Kong & Indian style Samosas made with marinated minced beef and herbs. Served with a fresh taste mint dipping sauce
Marinated minced pork and herb filled Spring Rolls with dipping sauce
Chinese Dumplings filled with marinated minced pork and vegetables
Hong Kong Style Char Sui Pork
marinated with honey
Winnie’s Special Recipe Green Curry Chicken in a special sauce made from than 10 different fresh herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal and more.
Served with Steamed Rice
Organic vanilla and chocolate ice cream, sprinkled with organic dark chocolate and drizzled in chocolate liqueur.
With special thanks to: Winnie Tango and Moon Hau for preparing the food. Our lovely volunteers: Florrie, Freya, Emma and Lucy And to everyone else for coming to celebrate Chinese New Year. Wishing you all good fortune and prosperity for the coming year!
*At Chinese New Year, it is traditional to give red envelopes. While traditionally given to children, these days red envelopes are also given to friends, family and colleagues. Filled with money, they symbolise good wishes and luck for the year ahead. The envelope is more important than the cash inside, as the red color symbolises good luck and prosperity.
The custom of giving red envelopes originates form an old legend. A demon known as 'Sui' terrorized children while they slept on New Year’s Eve, and parents would try to keep their children awake all night to protect them. One New Year, a child was given eight coins to play with to keep him awake, but he couldn't keep his eyes open and eventually drifted off with the coins on his pillow. Sui appeared, but as he went to touch the child, the coins (actually the Eight Immortals in disguise) produced a powerful light that drove the demon away. Today the envelope, symbolic of the coins, is sometimes known as the yasui qian, or "suppressing Sui money".
Did you know that years when your birth sign reoccurs the Chinese consider unlucky? Wearing a red item of clothing is said to ward off bad luck. But the item has to be a gift - you can’t buy your own!
Find out which sign you are: