like many other festive events, it was held in the home of our consul general in barsha, together with the starting of the highly anticipated 'bazaar malaysia'. bazaar malaysia will run every friday from 4pm to 7pm, this whole march so for those of you who missed it, there's still the coming fridays!
malaysians in dubai (and some from other emirates too!) gathered there to look for long-craved malaysian dishes, as well as waiting to witness a lion dance at the end of the evening.
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our first stop was kak muna and mr. khairul's mckk-mate bro faizal's stall, selling grocery stuff - from kari ayam adabi to tomyam paste. there's also keropok ikan and bahulu. the stall was quite a hit since it sells malaysian items that's hard to find here in dubai.
next stop, is my must-visit stall - fida's! in fact, on the way to bazaar malaysia, i actually called fida from my car to 'book' a packet of nasi tomato. takut habis!
i love her nasi tomato, and if any dubaians are keen on having a nasi tomato party with cakes and kuih malaysia, fida is ready to cater for your needs! just click on her blog here to find out more!
she'll be available for bazaar malaysia all friday and she also sells cupcakes, kuih cara, and her famous homemade sardine and red bean buns.
after i had gotten my nasi tomato, i headed on to the last stall at the side of the house, guided by the smoke and smell - it's satay! wah, satay in dubai! there, adawiyah was 'professionally' placing chicken and meat satay sticks on the hot coal.
satay unta, anyone? i was sceptical, and then adawiyah said there's only two sticks left - and goodheartedly gave me one complimentary camel satay! hey, it pays to be pregnant while walking among stalls of food! hihi. thanks so much, adawiyah!
how did it taste? meaty, less sweet than lamb, but has more texture than cow's meat. to sum it up - i wasn't too crazy about it, but still can't believe i just ate daging unta!
after that, we went back for our second round of 'food-sight-seeing' and saw eiyda's stall. eiyda and her hubby bro nik are a kelantanese couple whose raya open house was highly anticipated because malaysian-dubaians wanna eat nasi dagang at their place!
surprisingly, they didn't sell their yummy nasi dagang, so we just bought their nasi ayam hainanese. they also sold cendol. minggu depan jual nasi dagang la eiyda! hihi.
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as usual, big gatherings like this bind ties and strengthen bonds, especially being faraway in a foreign country. malaysians gather around to meet new friends and catch up with old ones.
i actually bumped into azma, a blogger-friend whom i got to know only through the blogosphere, so we've never met. tak sangka jumpa! she lives in abu dhabi, and came all the way to jalan-jalan and visit the bazaar malaysia!
from top left : mr. khairul with myUAEpro president bro affandy, kahfi and miss cutie pie, and me with abu dhabi bloggirl azma
hmm. looks like kahfi made a cute new friend too!
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aside from the bazaar malaysia kicking off today, another highlight was the lion dance.
lion dance is a form of traditional dance in chinese culture, believed to bring good luck. performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume, which is operated by two people. the basic lion dance movements can be found in most chinese martial arts. lion dance is usually accompanied by drums, cymbals, and gongs.
~ adapted from wikipedia
two 'human-less' lion costume lay lifeless on the floor. the crowd began to gather on each side of the front lawn, awaiting for it to 'come alive'. barulah betul chinese new year!
kahfi was very fascinated but too scared to get close to the 'sarung' lion dance resting on the floor!
before the start of the lion dance, our cool funky consul general gave his welcoming speech. and then, the lion dancing troops took their place - some under the lion costume, some on the gongs and drums.
tung tung tung cheng!
we sat by the pool, like many others, and looked at the dance from afar. however, we were lucky that the lion dancers actually danced towards where we were sitting!
the 'lion' started from the front gate, and danced its way towards the house entrance, and then turned to the poolside where we were. siap kepala lion tu terantuk dengan kepala kahfi! sian, but he was too mesmerized to cry or be annoyed!
khaleef? khaleef ternganga je tengok his first lion dance!
why lion dance?
there's actually a very interesting tale behind it :
the lion and the nian
a long time ago, a fierce creature called 'nian' appeared, which terrified the villagers. no one could fight the 'nian', so in despair the villagers asked the lion to help. the lion attacked the 'nian' and injured it. the 'nian' then vowed to take revenge and returned.
this time the lion was unable to help, so the villagers constructed an imitation lion out of bamboo and cloth. two men operated the lion while the rest of the people banged there pots and pans to scare the 'nian'. when the'nian' saw the lion and heard the commotion, it ran away. the villagers carried on with this tradition every year to scare away evil.
a nice bedtime story, eh?
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another tradition during the chinese new year celebration - the tossing and mixing of yee sang. and i just found out that it's not a chinese culture from olden china, rather it's a malaysian thing. cool, eh?
after the lion dance, we gathered around the few round tables at the front lawn to toss and mix.
yee sang usually consists of strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. yee sang is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor.
~ adapted from wikipedia
however, the one that we had today was from a packet, with pickled strips of vegetables and fruits in red, green, orange and brown. these were all arranged in a circle around a pile of toasted sesame seeds and fried flour crackers. some oil and sauce were poured over the mixture together with some flavoured salt and pepper.
there was a packet filled with chopsticks ready for us malaysians to go crazy mixing and tossing!
on cue, all of us at all the tables proceeded to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while making wishes out loud, enthusiastically. 'more bonus!', 'good health!', and i added out loud too, 'good weather, no more sandstorm!' hihi.
it is believed that the higher you toss, the luckier you'll get! the end result was quite a mess, as some of the shredded ingredients fell out of the huge plate, but it was fun getting into the spirit of good-wishes and oso, very malaysian-mah!
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we started with the catchy lion dance, followed by the fun mixing of yee sang. what other chinese new year tradition that we were missing?
ang pau time!
the kiddos (accompanied by their moms and dads) lined up to get their red packets from the consul general's wife, kak sarah looking resplendant in red.
"whoever not married also can line up!" someone quipped loudly! in chinese culture, you can receive ang pau as long as you're not married. once married, you have to be the one giving them!
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my catch of the day. nasi ayam, satay, nasi tomato, pulut kuning, lepat pisang, kuih bengkang and bahulu. just had them right before writing this entry. so full. so tired. just enjoy the picture then...
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special mention to kak linda for welcoming us into her warm company with scrumptious mee udang, karipap, muffin and pasta for the kids. we were very full by the time we left her house to go to bazaar malaysia! thanks dear kak linda!