31 January 2012

4710 - Year of the Dragon

新年快乐!Gung Hei Fat Choi! 新年快樂!

We are now about halfway through the 2012 Chinese New Year season. Sunday, the 29th, I went to a parade celebrating not only the Year of the Dragon, but also the 100th anniversary of Chicago's Chinatown.

The parade was parade-y. We got a good spot on top of this planter thing but the increased height also resulted in increased cold and wind. We spent pretty much the whole time analyzing the marching bands (especially the guard) and complaining about the silly wai guo ren on the floats with their Japanese style umbrellas despite the fact that meimei and I are wai guo ren (but we're not like those jokers, right?)

I forgot to take pictures of the actual
dishes, I was too busy eating!
The more important part of the day was my first Peking Duck! Before the parade we had the cheapest Peking Duck in Chinatown, and possibly Chicago, at $10/person including a sizable tip. Somehow, throughout all of my Southeast Asian Adventures and extended love affair with Chinese food I had never before eaten this quintessential Chinese dish. It was glorious. There was duck soup followed by the classic crispy duck slices on slices of steamed bun and a duck and bok choy stir fry rounded out this duck-a-palooza. We had BBQ pork as the side dish instead of shrimp and even without rice, we were stuffed.

After the parade we made a foray to Little Saigon to do some shopping sans crowds. Little Saigon is definitely the best place to get Asian groceries. So cheap! I bought a bunch of snacks for my office and if it wasn't for the train ride home I probably would have bought half the store. I was in super-nostalgia mode. The only thing missing from my Asian shopping experience was a strong dried fish smell and a crowd of pushy old ladies getting all the best vegetables.

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