Chinese New Year

March 20, 2010

As long as it took me to accept my overbearing mother and estranged customs I love being Chinese.

I’ve been raised in a wealthy, suburban, predominately white community my entire life.  The closest thing I had to a chinese heritage was my mother forcing me to take lion dancing lessons on sunday afternoons, something I always dreaded growing up.  As I was enrolled into a private catholic school, my biracial half along with two other students made up the entirety of the diversity percentile in my grade, and I dreaded my mom volunteering for field trips and room mom where she spoke in her thick Cantonese accent and carted around my peers with her-truly- awful driving skills.  For awhile I pretended not to like Chinese food, and was rude and moody about being dragged to Marin Chinese Cultural Association (MCCA) volunteer events.

I don’t precisely remember when my attitude changed, but I think going to school in San Francisco was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.  I met so many different types of people and made Chinese friends. Now, Asia is my absolute favorite place in the world  (Hong Kong, Taiwan Japan), and when I get home all I can think about is my next trip.  I can also no longer deny my love for dim sum and pan-fried seafood noodles. I opened myself up to the culture and realized how much my race significantly impacts who I am and my understanding of diversity.  It’s one of my favorite things about myself.

And while my mom has become genuinely americanized; between texting on her iPhone all day and  after hanging out with her girlfriends to play tennis, she’ll pick me up from school and we will go to Irving st. to get wonton noodle soup and duck.  I love my culture.

I also love celebrating chinese new year, sorry this post is so overdue.

My mom is now the president of the MCCA.  Every year, the group hosts a food booth at the discovery bay museum’s chinese new year celebration.  The lion dance team performs and the event attracts hundreds of elementary and toddler aged children.  I spent the whole day working the food booth, our menu:

Noodles= long life.

I spy cupcakes…….

of course I had to make something festive!  I decided to make some red velvet cupcakes; good call, they sold out fast!

And perhaps my favorite food we sold….

If you have never had lo mai gai, well then that is unfortunate indeed. A peek inside  reveals…

sweet chinese sausage, ground pork and egg surrounded by steaming sweet sticky rice delicately wrapped in a banana leaf.

and all within a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Red Velvet Cupcakes

From the Purple Foodie

Adapted from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Yield: 12 cupcakes. Double the recipe for 2 9 inch layer cakes.

4 Tablespoons / 60g. butter, at room temperature

¾ cup / 150g. sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 / 10g. Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp / 20ml. red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup / 120ml. buttermilk or well beaten yoghurt

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (if you’re using unsalted butter)

1 tsp teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.

In another bowl, beat butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.

Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).

Turn the mixer up to slow speed, add a third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, a third of the flour, half the buttermilk, and ending with the rest of the flour. You can fold in the last third of flour by hand.

Spoon mixture into cupcake mould line with paper or into silicone moulds.

Bake for about 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

From Milk and Honey Cafe

for 2 dozen cupcakes
adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Recipe, as well as from lucyinaz


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 oz Philly’s Cream Cheese, cold


1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt and vanilla until combined. At this point, the mix is going to look really dry and crumbly, but be patient and it will come together, about 4 minutes.
2. Add cream cheese and mix until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. DON’T OVERBEAT. Frost as desired!


11 Responses to “Chinese New Year”

  1. Donalyn Says:

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  2. Memoria Says:

    What a lovely post. I’m so happy to hear you are now proud of your Chinese heritage. It is so important to proud of you are no matter what other people’s are of you. If you don’t Cantonese, I also hope you learn it, too. Knowing more than one language is a great thing, especially when at least one of the languages come from your genetic history.

    These cupcakes look amazing. You did a great job!!

  3. Your blog makes me hungry! 🙂

  4. Ms. K. Says:

    Great post and love the food!

  5. Anna Says:


    This is the first time i encountered your blog. I must say, what a lovely post. It is a most wonderful thing to be ethically chinese, I myself am Singaporean. If nothing else, the cruisine is AWESOME hahah

    Do pop by singapore some day, you’ll love it here!

  6. jollof Says:

    a very delicious blog if I do say so myself. I’d love to go to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. There’s such a rich culture that I can’t wait to explore. Great pics! More grease to your wok, pardon me, blog 🙂

  7. gosh this makes me hungry- love the photos!

  8. Carolyn Jung Says:

    I think when we’re younger, we often shun our heritage. We want to fit in, not stick out. It’s only as we get older that we start to prize our individuality and care less about what everyone else thinks. Kudos to you for discovering that, and for creating this magnificent feast in tribute to all the facets of your life.

  9. breakfast foods should always be high in carbohydrates to provide the energy you need in the mornign *

  10. Bertha Says:

    Only a smiling visitant here to indicate the love (:, btw great layout.

  11. Hello There. I found your weblog the usage
    of msn. That is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I will definitely comeback.

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