Having a Dim Sum Brunch on the first Sunday in a Chinese New Year is my annual ritual. Like last year, I went to my favorite Chinese Dim Sum restaurant for brunch. The reason I went there is because I was brought up to always eat foods that were the Chinese New Year metaphor for good fortune. It was actually an excuse for my parents to indulge the kids and themselves to eat the not so healthy food that their freakish healthy lifestyle totally banned for the rest of the year. One of those banned foods that get their sanction temporarily lifted during Chinese Year are sweets. For their concern for diabetes (which none of us have), and tooth decay (which we all have more than one despite the ban on sweets), my parents didn't allow me to have candies or sweets, except for Chinese New Year. Christmas was no exception.
After being sweet deprived for most of the year, my dad suddenly would commend me to eat a lot of the sweet (Cantonse Style) Chinese New Year Rice Cake (as shown in the above photo) during Chinese New Year. I was ordered to eat so much of this rice cake that I totally dreaded for it by the middle of the 15-days Chinese New Year celebration...and I would so look forward to the end of the Chinese New Year so the rice cake would just get lost. The reason that my dad wanted me to eat a lot of this gluey rice cake that is made with rice flour and raw crane sugar, is because the Chinese pronunciation for "cake" is the same as "vertical growth", meaning eating this cake during Chinese New Year will help the kids grow taller, the parents' net worth grow more, every employed adult will get great promotion, and every student will score really high in exams. For anyone who wants high-performance in anything they do, this rice cake is the must-eat sweet during the Chinese New Year.
I remember my grandma always spent days to make lots and lots of this Chinese Rice Cake to give to her many siblings, relatives, cousins, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She turned her flat into a Chinese New Year Rice cake factory for a week every year to mass produce this cake. This tells how important it was for me and my siblings to eat a lot of them, for "vertical growth" in our height and "high performance" in school...
I never made this rice cake myself because this isn't my most favorite food. But I still eat a little of it now that I no longer live with my parents and my dad can't nag me into doing anything anymore. Strangely, I am starting to like it now. It's quite good after being pan-fried when the outside is crispy and the inside is gluey. I don't like it steamed, I only like it pan-fried, The pan-fried version is available at all Chinese Dim Sum restaurants here in Los Angeles, and the one offered by PV Palace in Torrance is almost as good as my grandmother's.
Restaurant: Restaurant: PV Palace
Address: 2166 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717
Hours: Friday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
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