My first year out west had to naturally be accompanied by part taking in the Chinese New Year’s celebrations. As an west coast appropriate setting it was raining sheets and Pender street was a mass of bobbling, multicoloured umbrellas. Before moving out west I had heard wind of Vancouver’s substantial East Asian population and these suppositions were verified last weekend when I attended the Chinese New Year Parade. It felt like being in Guǎngzhōu this past Sunday with the amount of lute playing, ribbon flailing, and silk wearing that was going on set against the backdrop of rustic Chinatown.
After usurping a few lucky money envalopes from unbeknownst children, my sole mission in life became finding a place to eat dim sum. The unlikelihood of this goal becoming a reality in Chinatown on Chinese New Year’s day eluded me at the time and my lucky money envelopes must really have been lucky as our wait for dim sum was only 5 minutes, and they had vegetarian fare!
After having peeled off our soaked layers and counted our coveted lei see at Kam Wai Dim Sum, an efficient and pleasant waiter took our order: fried tofu with seasoned vegetables, veggie filled bean curd wrappers, and the infamous steamed broccoli. Though the tofu was palatable, we soon noticed that “seasoned vegetables” actually came in the form of “oyster mushrooms”, not my personal favourite. We’ll have to redo dim sum at a less hectic, over-patroned, under-stocked juncture.
While walking to the bus stop through the now abandoned Pender street the occasional fire cracking and cymbal crashing could be heard. It was soon discovered that each Pender storefront was hanging a Chinese lettuce from its awning and they would one by one be blessed by the Chinese dragon. This act of cai ching is thought to bring good luck to the business owner.
So here’s to an auspicious year of the dragon!