Wild Rice Year of the Dragon Dinner Jan 22 – Feb 4
Chinese New Year’s Eve, on Sunday, January 22nd, heralds the Year of the Dragon (lunar year 4710), a time when family and friends gather to celebrate with special meals the New Year’s opportunities and beginnings. Unlike in Western culture where dragons are considered evil, fire-breathing creatures; in Chinese culture the Dragon is revered as a benign, powerful, divine being – a symbol of heaven, the ‘yang’ principle (male, fire, vital energy) and China itself. In Chinese mythology, Dragons control the rain and by doing so, bestow fertility upon the land and its people. An ancient Chinese legend has it that a carp (which swim up stream to breed as do salmon), if it swims through the gate at the stream’s beginning deep under the mountains will be transformed into a Dragon. Dragons are a big deal, a very big deal and this year is the Year of the Water Dragon – an especially powerful and unpredictable Dragon.
To celebrate, Wild Rice Proprietor Andrew Wong and Executive Chef Todd Bright will offer a special Year of the Dragon Menu that pays homage to the Water Dragon. The Year of the Dragon Menu will be available at both locations from January 22nd through to February 4th for the auspicious price of $38.88 for two people (or one person with a dragon-sized appetite).
As in traditional Chinese banquets, each dish is rich with symbolic meanings meant to convey wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Wild Rice’s Water Dragon Platter for Two is over-flowing with good wishes. On it you’ll find:
- Dungeness Crab Salad mixed with sui choy, green onion and oranges served in the crab shell. The crab represents the dragon, its yang power and vital energy. The red of the cooked crab is ‘good luck’ and the oranges convey ‘wealth’ while the sui choy and green onion symbolize new beginnings and fresh growth.
- Steamed Ling Cod on a bed on sautéed uncut e-fu noodles with mushrooms and peas. Fish are a symbol of ‘abundance’ and every Chinese New Year banquet includes at least one fish dish. At New Year’s (and birthdays) it is tradition to serve long noodles symbolizing long life. You never cut a noodle. The word for ‘mushroom’ in Chinese sounds like the words ‘increasing abundance’ and the green peas again convey ‘spring’ and ‘new beginning’ as well as ‘fertility.’
- Albacore Tuna Tartare served with longan emulsion, crispy shallots and won ton crisps. See above for the importance of fish in Chinese New Year banquets. The word ‘longan’ means ‘dragon eye’ in Chinese. In Vancouver, we are fortunate to have fresh longans. Anyone familiar with these round fruit with their soft gold ‘shell’ and inner dark seeds surrounded by juicy, translucent flesh will understand how it got its name. This dish conveys wishes for abundance, longevity, advantage and strong family relationships.
All Chinese banquets end on a sweet note to wish participants sweetness in the coming year and this dinner is no exception. Chef Bright has created a Plate of Good Wishes containing multiple dessert treats that symbolize good luck, prosperity, fertility and a sweet year.
People born in the Year of the Dragon are thought to be eccentric, artistic, impulsive and unpredictable. They dislike routine and possess powerful personality. Dragons make excellent actors and should marry a Monkey or Rat.
Share the good flavour and the favour of Wild Rice’s lucky Year of the Dragon Menu, January 22 through February 4, 2012 for only $38.88 (‘ever-growing good luck’) for two.
Reservations are a good idea at www.wildricevancouver.com or 604-642-2882 (Vancouver) or 778-397-0028 (New Westminster).