Chopsticks expands Chinese new year menu
Things might be looking up for people short on funds; 2019 is the Chinese Year of the Pig, symbolising wealth and abundance.
To celebrate the start of the lunar new year, tomorrow, Chopsticks Fusion restaurant is offering a Chinese new year menu, with food from China and seven other Asian countries.
In previous years, they focused on Chinese food, but Chopsticks management changed up the menu after talking with their head chef Boyet Katigbak.
“I’m from the Philippines and we also celebrate the Chinese new year,” Mr Katigbak said. “The Philippines used to do a lot of trading with China, and that’s where that influence comes from. Countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore also celebrate it. The Chinese new year is a fresh start.”
General manager Kara Simmons said: “We wanted to bring in all the influences because Bermuda is such a melting pot. We wanted to show that within our new menu.”
Mr Katigbak said the new year is a special time at Chopsticks, and they start planning for it at least two months in advance.
He said they’d given all the dishes on the menu a little twist.
Dishes include prosperous chilli beef noodles, royal hoisin crispy snapper and grilled lamb chops grounded in fresh Chinese herbs, among other things.
Courses are deliberately kept small so that diners can taste a bit of everything.
“We tried doing full-sized portions a few years ago and people were full by the time they reached the main course,” Ms Simmons said. “Unlike most menus where you pick an appetiser and pick an entree, what you see is what you get. Of course, if you don’t eat fish, we’ll make sure you get extra whatever you want on the plate.”
The signature dish will be fried rice with barbecue pork, bacon and chorizo, a nod to the pig.
Mr Katigbak said they wanted to pay homage to the pig, but they didn’t want to “offend” him by having too much pork on the menu.
“Last year was the Year of the Rooster and we didn’t cook a lot of chicken for new year,” Ms Simmons said.
Based on the lunar calendar, the Chinese new year falls at a different time every year.
This year it is tomorrow, last year it was on February 16.
“The legend goes that years ago people were hiding in their house because there was a monster, a dragon called Nian,” Mr Katigbak said.
Nian means “new year”.
“Everyone was scared to go out on the New Year’s Eve so there was no celebration,” he said. “Then one day one boy went to fight the monster with fire crackers. Today people set off lots of firecrackers on New Year’s Eve and the colour red symbolises the new year. At the end of New Year’s Eve lots of lanterns are lit.”
And on New Year’s Day there are some no no’s. People avoid washing their hair or sweeping to avoid accidentally getting rid of their luck. They don’t eat porridge either which symbolises poverty and it is considered bad luck to knit.
Children are traditionally given red envelopes containing small amounts of money.
Chopsticks Fusion at 88 Reid Street is offering their New Year menu for $65.19 per person, but the regular menu is still available.
Walk-ins are accepted, but reservations are recommended.
“Every Chinese new year we are jam packed,” Mr Katigbak said.
• For more information see chopsticks.bm or call 292-0791.
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